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Zoo News Digest
March-April 2010


Private zoo discovered at Kyrgyz ex-leader's home
A pair of snow leopards and two bear cubs were among the exotic animals found in the private zoo of ousted Kyrgyzstan President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.
A golden eagle, two falcons, four African peacocks and Indian ducks were also found in the zoo at the family home in the southern Jalalabad region.
Investigators found the collection when they raided the estate after Mr Bakiyev fled the country. He is now in Belarus.
He has been charged in absentia with organising mass killings.
Mr Bakiyev was ousted in protests on 7 April in which more than 80 people died.
The interim government says his administration ordered troops to open fire on protesters. It plans to seek Mr Bakiyev's extradition fro

Government Lauded For Tougher Wildlife Conservation Laws
The tabling of the Wildlife Conservation Bill 2010 last week, with tougher penalties, is welcomed by the Malaysian Nature Society, Traffic Southeast Asia and the Wildlife Conservation Society-Malaysia.
The three non-profit organisations congratulated the government for the long-awaited bill to strengthen enforcement against illegal hunting and trade.
"We hope this new law will provide better protection for Malaysia's wildlife and close the gaps that have allowed wildlife criminals to continue operating.
"We are glad to note the Bill's provision for higher penalties and tougher action. This new Bill features many improvements, and we hope the ministry will continue to review and update

Calls for zoo closures after rare Siberian tigress found drowned
Campaigners have called for the phased closure of zoos after a Siberian tiger used for breeding purposes was found drowned in the enclosure of a zoo in Norfolk.
A full veterinary examination is under way at Banham Zoo, near Diss in Norfolk, after a post-mortem examination on the body of a pregnant Siberian tiger concluded the cause of death as drowning. The tiger, called Malyshka, had already given birth to two cubs and was pregnant with more. Further tests this week will examine if the five-year-old may have suffered a seizure. Martin Goymour, the zoo's director, said: "All the zoo staff, particularly her keepers, are very much saddened by her loss. We are professional in what we do in animal care at all times, but something like this hits home. We've kept tigers for years and the enclosure has been successful.
"Very few zoos in Europe are able to handle tigers, which is why the loss of Malyshka is such a severe blow," he told the BBC. "She was very important to the European breeding programme and was number three in the hierarchy of genetic diversity for captive tigers. We are also in contact with European stud book co-ordinators to find a suitable replacement female for our conservation programme involving either the senior male or one of the youngsters."
But after Mr Goymour's comments yesterday, campaigners called for a debate about breeding rare species in captivity. There are thought to be only 450 Siberian tigers left in the wild.
"There are still serious welfare issues regarding keeping animals in zoos and the argument of captive breeding is utterly irrelevant," said Craig Redmond, campaigns director for the Captive Animals' Protection Society (CAPS).
"There are so few cases where captive animals have been bred and brought back into the wild with success. Each time a situation like this occurs, it needs to be thoroughly investigated so that the public are made aware of the actual circumstances of the death and the necessity of the zoo – not be automatically led down the route of conservation. Zoos do not have a valid role any more. They are there purely for education purposes or a day out."
The comments mirror those of Angela Smith, the charities minister, who earlier this month denounced the concept of zoos, describing them as "relics of the Victorian era". Arguing that while certain venues "tried very hard", it was necessary to address the issue of animal welfare. Her

Dead elephant was poisoned, says Kiev zoo
The only elephant in Kiev's zoo, 39-year-old Boy, died Monday in his enclosure, apparently after being poisoned, the zoo's director said.
"This morning at 10.45 a.m. he let out a terrible cry and fell. I have the conclusions of veterinarians ... It was a poisoning," zoo director Svitlana Berzina told Reuters.
Boy, a 6 1/2 metric ton Asian elephant, arrived in Kiev zoo in the mid-1970s.
"It was a tragic and sudden death," she said. "The animal was in stable condition and nothing indicated any trouble. It was an instantaneous death."
Berzina said there had been an earlier attempt to poison Boy in the 1990s. "On that occasion, we managed to save him," she said. The circumstances of this previous attempt to poison Boy were not clear.
"The reasons for his death will be the subject of an investigation by veterinarians and law-enforcement bodies," Maria Azoryan, a Kiev city administration

Elephant provides breakdown assistance to zoo keeper
An elephant put its size to good use when it helped a zoo keeper start his car by giving it a shove.
Lawrence Bates was all set to call for assistance when his jeep at West Midland Safari Park broke down, until Five the elephant decided to give him a helping hand.
The 18-year-old African Elephant got behind and pushed the car out of trouble and out of the enclosure.
She even cleaned the car in the process.
Five reached into a bucket of water with her trunk, sprayed the vehicle with water to remove any dust, then gathered up a sponge with her trunk and cleaned the windows and paintwork with the style of a true professional.
Director of Wildlife, Bob Lawrence, said: "The jeep broke down one morning and the lads jumped out to have a look at it, popped the bonnet and had a look at the oil.
"We still couldn't get it to

How to apologize to an orangutan
Orangutans have social rules for apologizing, just like we do.
In the rare mid-April sun of drizzly, seaside Seattle I was watching orangutans at the zoo communicate.
It was a good day because the orangutans, each in their own way, in their own time, was letting the keeper Andy Antilla know that his apology was accepted.
Orangutans remind us of rudimentary courtesy and moral behaviour. If we forget, it damages the relationship with them, as it would with us.
They remind us of how much thought, understanding and communication is possible without words - something that our big brains stuffed with words have trouble grasping. Most of us cannot imagine who we would be if we couldn't write and speak.
They remind us that working with thinking, sentient beings creates a bond and, with a bond, comes responsibility.
I was pondering all this while watching the 310-pound, dominant male orangutan Towan extend a lower lip, as though pouting, to the keeper Andy Antilla to be touched and caressed, as if

Mogo Zoo Raising Endangered Species of Tigers
A hybrid Bengal tiger has been raised at Mogo Zoo on the NSW south coast, the cub is 70-kilogram, 10-month-old tiger and is known as Kinwah.
Clive Brookbanks and his partner Sally Padey, the owner of Mogo Zoo, who helped raising the small tiger, shared their experience as they said that the cub was often up on the table.
When born, the tiger had a defected hip joint and due to that it was feared that his mother would not accept him. Therefore, the option of hand-rearing was adopted when the cub was only

Chimps' emotional response to death caught on film
A video of the reaction of chimps to the death of an elderly group mate challenges procedures for dealing with terminally ill animals in captivity
In the final hour, they huddled around, studied her face and shook her gently as if to revive her. And when the others had drifted away, one stayed behind to hold her hand.
As death scenes go, it has all the poignancy of human loss, but this was no everyday tragedy. The last breath was drawn before scientists' cameras and represents one of the most extraordinary displays of chimpanzee behaviour ever recorded.
Video footage of the death of Pansy, who at fifty-something was the oldest chimpanzee in the UK, was released by scientists today. The film captures for the first time the complex reactions of our nearest evolutionary cousins to the death of a group member.
Studying the apes' behaviour could tell us as much about ourselves as the attachments and responses to death that chimpanzees exhibit within their groups and families, scientists believe. It could also challenge procedures for dealing with terminally ill animals in

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Animal Emotions 

Do animals think and feel?


Grief in chimpanzees, self-control in dogs, a drowned Siberian tigress, and a hearing on the educational benefits of captive marine mammals


Recent news in the world of animals shows us clearly that animals are far more than we give them credit for. Following up on a Psychology Today blog I wrote on grief in animals two recent papers published in the journal Current Biology report on the response of chimpanzees to dead individuals. In the first, individuals showed large changes in behavior when encountering dying and dead chimpanzees, including as a female named Pansy, grooming and caressing their friend, being significantly more subdued after her death, changing their nesting behavior so that they didn't nest on the platform where Pansy died although they had regularly used the platform for the month before she died, inspecting her mouth (perhaps testing for breath) and limbs, attacking the corpse (perhaps attempting to rouse her), removing straw from her body (perhaps attempting to clean her), and remaining lethargic, quiet, and eating less for weeks after her death. It is clear that Pansy's friends were feeling something and the authors of this report conclude: "We conclude that chimpanzees' awareness of death has been underestimated ... a thanatology of Pan [the genus of chimpanzees] appears both viable and valuable." They go on to write, "it might be more humane to allow elderly apes to die naturally in their familiar social setting than to attempt to separate them for treatment or euthanasia." The same might be said for elephants and other animals who

Orphaned Gorillas Arrive by Helicopter at New Rescue Center in Congo

The first group of orphaned gorillas was successfully airlifted by helicopter today to the Fossey Fund’s new GRACE (Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center) in Congo, where they will begin a new life geared toward returning them to the wild.


The flight was provided by the United Nations’ peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), after weeks of planning and logistics, to move the gorillas from temporary facilities in Goma. This included building crates to hold the gorillas, training them how to get in and out of the crates, choosing take off and landing sites, organizing necessary personnel and hoping for good weather.


Preparing for Flight


Just a few days earlier, storm clouds clung low on the horizon as the dust and heat filled the air on the streets of Goma. The welder had not finished the gorilla transport crates because there had been heavy rains and no electricity over the past few days. His open-air “studio” was located on the lava-encrusted side street and the crate-building process was behind schedule.


Eventually, the crates were ready, and Debby Cox, the Fossey Fund’s consultant on the building and operating of GRACE, kicked the door of a crate with all her

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PETA’s exaggerated claims

Organization unjustly equates human suffering to animal suffering


A few weeks ago, a really nice girl approached me outside the library and asked me to sign a petition. She explained that their organization was petitioning McDonalds to slaughter their chickens in a more humane way.


I ended up signing the petition, not because I care about how you kill my food, but simply because I like to support people who are active about what they believe in.


I came to find out a couple minutes later as I picked up a stray pamphlet flying down the walkway that she was a part of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).


Personally, I have always had issues with PETA. In my opinion, they go very extreme on issues that are not that important – I am sure you’ve heard about them throwing red paint on people’s fur jackets, symbolizing animal blood.


Not only do actions like this make them look crazy, all this energy used to sabotage celebrities’ clothes could be put to use for much better causes.


This brings me to my biggest problem with PETA overall: They stand by the belief

Rare Japanese crested ibis born at zoo in Ishikawa

A Japanese crested ibis chick hatched at a zoological park here on Sunday.


The Japanese crested ibis, designated a special Japanese natural treasure, hatched at Ishikawa Zoo in Nomi, Ishikawa Prefecture, at 7:31 a.m. on Sunday.


The egg was laid by a 6-year old female ibis that mated with an 8-year-old male at the Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center in Sado, Niigata Prefecture. It was the first egg to incubate among all four eggs laid together between March 27 and April 2.


It is only the second time that an egg moved from Sado to another facility to avoid mass bird flu infections and other risks has hatched successfully, following a hatching at Tokyo's Tama Zoological Park.


The city's natural conservation division said it still remains unknown whether the chick, which is about 12 centimeters in length and weighs 62.9 grams, is male or female. It will

Sedgwick County Zoo Responds to Baby Owl Controversy

The Sedgwick County Zoo says it did the right thing when it euthanized four baby owls. The owls were brought there by a Wichita family who found the birds. Family members say they're upset about how the situation was handled.


Brian Oster says four baby screech owls fell out of his tree Sunday as he was cutting it down.


"Their eyes were not open yet, but they were chirping a little bit," he said.


Not knowing what else to do, Oster's son David took the babies to the Sedgwick County Zoo.


"He said they wanted him to sign a form, and they are going to euthanize them," said Brian.


Within the hour, that's what happened. The zoo says the four owls were only days old and were not good candidates for rehabilitation. The Osters say they thought the zoo would spend more time finding the animals a home first.


The zoo says it's permits do not allow them to hold the animals for any period of time. It says euthanizing them was the most humane solution.


Ken Lockwood from the Eagle Valley Raptor

Sumatran Tiger Pair Making Love Nest in Zoo as Part of Bid to Grow Population

To provide them with the correct conditions to reproduce, two Sumatran tigers from Aceh’s Natural Resources Conservation Agency are scheduled to be moved to the Taman Safari Indonesia wildlife park in Bogor, West Java, the agency’s chief said on Monday.


Abubakar Chekmat said the agency, known as BKSDA, was scheduled to put both Cut Nyak, 5, and Salamah, 3, on a flight to Jakarta on Tuesday evening.


“It is no longer possible for both the tigers to be released to their natural habitat. Both are tame. Cut Nyak was even treated by a local resident before she was returned to BKSDA last year,” Abubakar told the Jakarta Globe. “If we release them to their natural habitat, the possibility that they will die is very high. We therefore decided to transfer them to Taman Safari. There will be a better chance for them to reproduce there, where they can be monitored by zoo officers.”


Bongot, a veterinarian from Taman Safari, confirmed on Monday that both tigers were physically healthy and ready for the flight to Jakarta, even though Salamah had lost one of her limbs following an emergency amputation after one of her feet got caught in a boar trap last year.


“They will first be tranquilized before they are flown off to Jakarta. They will be put in special cages,” Abubakar said, adding that he had previously reported the transfer plans to Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf, noting that BKSDA was overwhelmed with the responsibility of taking care of both tigers.


Yulius Suprihardo, spokesman for Taman Safari, said

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Taronga Zoo defies crisis to raise $46m

A DECADE after its formation to help dig Australia's most popular zoo out of a financial crisis that threatened its existence, the Taronga Conservation Foundation has managed to raise more than $46 million through canny marketing to benefactors and companies.


Under the guidance of chairman Maurice Newman, the foundation has become a key fund-raiser for the zoo, allowing it to continue work in a number of areas, including helping to fund its successful elephant breeding program and research into a cancer threatening to wipe out the Tasmanian devil.


"We have raised $46m and our target is $56m," Mr Newman said. "But I take very little credit for what has been done."


During the past 10 years, the foundation has had to market itself and the $225m redevelopment of the zoo to the single benefactors willing to offer support and the major corporations wanting to link their brands with the zoo's activities.


"We had the global financial crisis in 2008 and spilling over into 2009, (yet) we had record years and I think that must say we are doing something right," Mr Newman said. "At the beginning we really didn't have any skills in fundraising . . . and to believe

What a croc: Australia Zoo Anzac service 'crass commercialism'

RSL Queensland says Australia Zoo should face the full weight of the law after it remained open for business all day on Anzac Day.


State branch chief executive Chris McHugh today slammed the decision as a display of "crass commercialism".


"We are exceptionally disappointed in what they have done," Mr McHugh told


"The law is quite explicit ... they have thumbed their nose at a convention which all other businesses accept.


"You have to question what they thought they would achieve by doing that."


The Department of Justice is investigating why the Sunshine Coast zoo was open all day despite a ban on places of amusement operating before 1.30pm.


The home of the late Steve Irwin faces a maximum penalty of $20,000 if found to have breached trading hours laws.


But a spokeswoman for the park has defended its actions, saying it held a commemorative service in the Zoo's Crocoseum, including a minute's silence.


"Australia Zoo is a proud Australian business and on Sunday joined Australians around the country, marking their respects by hosting an ANZAC Day commemorative service in the Zoo's Crocoseum," the spokeswoman said.


"Patrons were up standing and acknowledged a minute's silence as ex-service veteran Alan Wilcocks, from Beerwah RSL Sub Branch, read out The Ode and bugler Sam Robb played The Last Post."


However, Mr McHugh said the zoo's decision to hold a memorial service at 11am did not make it exempt from the law.


"It is drawing a very long bow. They opened at 9am. They are not supposed to open until 1.30pm," Mr McHugh said.


Beerwah RSL Sub Branch president John Rouhan said he was not aware Australia Zoo did not have a permit to open early on Anzac Day.


"We didn't realise that they did not have the approvals this year," he told the Sunshine Coast

Rare Borneo rhino maybe has baby

Malaysian conservationists caught on film a Sumatran rhinoceros thought to be pregnant, raising hopes that the critically endangered species on Borneo island was breeding in the wild, an official said Wednesday.


A remotely controlled camera set up in a forest in Sabah state on Borneo captured a still picture of the rhino on Feb. 25, said Raymond Alfred of the World Wildlife Fund.


It is the first such image in the wild of a female thought to be pregnant, providing cheer to conservationists after the initial failure of a breeding-in-captivity program for the Borneo Sumatran rhino, whose numbers are believed to have dwindled to less than 30.


"The size (of the rhino) is quite extraordinary," Alfred told The Associated Press. "Based on the shape and the size of the body and stomach," it would appear that the rhino is pregnant.


But it is difficult to be conclusive on the basis of the picture alone, he said.


Another 50 cameras have been set up in the area to gather more evidence about the female, which appears to be 20 years old, he said, adding that researchers were also trying to find its dung for analysis.


Government officials and WWF experts had set up the first camera in January and retrieved it last week, Alfred said.


The picture shows the Borneo Sumatran rhino — a subspecies of the bristly, snub-nosed rhino native to Indonesia's Sumatra

Time to ban barbaric tools of the circus trade

The recent death of an animal groom at a Shrine-sponsored circus in Pennsylvania is a tragic end to an already tragic situation. Elephants have been beaten, battered and broken by the circus industry. Is it any wonder they snap from the stress?


Bullhooks look like a fireplace poker—they are batons with a sharp metal hook on the end. They are the standard tool that circuses use to break and manage elephants. These ugly devices are designed to cause pain and can rip and tear skin and leave bloody wounds.


Longtime elephant trainer Tim Frisco was caught on videotape viciously attacking terrified elephants with bullhooks and electric prods during an elephant training seminar. Frisco instructs other trainers to hurt the elephants until they scream and to sink the bullhook into their flesh and twist it. He also cautions that the beatings must be concealed from the public. The elephant who killed the groom in Pennsylvania is believed to belong to Terry Frisco, Tim Frisco's brother.


Let's imagine this scenario. A man with a dog act is hired to perform at a kids' party. He doesn't have the dog on a leash, he just carries a fireplace poker. When he wants the dog to walk with him, he uses the metal hook on the poker to catch the dog under the chin and yank. When the dog takes more than a step or two away from him, the man uses the poker to jab the dog under her armpit or behind her ear until she is so frightened that she stops moving and just cowers.


Can you picture how upset the children would be? C

Giraffe's basketball-sized heart beats for about 30 years (Video)

Mammal hearts beat 800,000,000 times in a lifetime

Egypt wildlife in need of protection

Egypt has a rich biodiversity and a vast number of animal species found on its soil. But in spite of this richness, Egypt’s wildlife is threatened by ongoing smuggling and illegal hunting, while captive animals suffer from a range of ill treatment that goes ignored by officials.


The law for the protection of wildlife, implemented in 1994, prohibits the killing of threatened species native to Egypt. The law was amended slightly in 2009 to protect all threatened species in Egyptian territory.


A total of 28 protected areas, scattered across Egypt, protect and control the habitat of certain wildlife.


“The biggest threat for wildlife in Egypt is hunting for bush meat,” says Dr. Sherif Bahaa Eddin, an ornithologist and member of the NGO Nature Conservation Egypt. “People hunt owls, quails, whatever they can catch for food, because

Heat wave claims crocodiles in Chhattisgarh zoo

A pair of crocodiles were victims of a heat wave at a zoo in Chhattisgarh where the maximum temperature has touched 45 degrees Celsius, officials said on Wednesday.


A postmortem report Wednesday said that male and one female crocodile, both aged about six years who were found dead at Nandan Van zoo on the outskirts of capital Raipur Monday, had died of the searing heat.


"The crocodiles failed to sustain a plus 45 degrees Celsius temperature. The female crocodile was pregnant and all 16 eggs were taken out from her stomach during the post-mortem," Jaikishore Jaria, the veterinary doctor of the zoo, told reporters.


Forest department sources said "poor care of the crocodiles" could also have played a role in their death.


"The zoo had just a pair of crocodiles left and both were kept in open-air water

Majority of New Diseases Coming from Animals

If reports are to be believed, 75% of emerging illnesses in human beings originate from animals. It includes bird and swine flu diseases. These are commonly known as “zoonoses”. HIV/AIDS, transmitted by African chimpanzees and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS has also emerged from bats.


Research has revealed that even malaria appears to be a zoonotic disease. It has been confirmed that malaria emerged from chimpanzees but was transferred to human beings during the last 2 to 3 million years.


This has still not improved our response to these

New species of monitor lizard discovered in Indonesia

Scientists have discovered a new species of monitor lizard, a close relative of the Komodo dragon.


Sam Sweet, a professor in the department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at UCSB, and Valter Weijola, a graduate student at Abo Akademi University in Turku, Finland, say that the distinctive lizard lives in the Moluccan islands of east Indonesia.


The scientific name of this lizard is Varanus obor; its popular names are Torch monitor and Sago monitor.


It's called Torch monitor because of its bright orange head with a glossy black body. Obor means torch in Indonesian. It is a close relative of the fruit-eating monitor lizard recently reported from the Philippines.


The Torch monitor can grow to nearly four feet in length, and thrives on a diet of small animals and carrion.


The Torch monitor exists only on the small island of Sanana in the western Moluccan islands. A unique aspect of this geographical region is the lack of mammalian predators, which may have given reptiles the space to evolve as the

Painting show calls for better Siberian tiger protection

A painting and photography show on Siberian tigers opened in northeast China Wednesday, calling for better protection of the animal, the organizer said.


Hundreds of works about Siberian tigers from all over China presented in "China Siberian Tiger Painting and Photography Show" are on view at the Siberian Tiger Zoo of Changchun, capital of Jilin Province.


The theme of the one-month show is "protect Siberian tigers, love nature."


"People are free to visit the zoo today for the opening, and visitors with zoo tickets can see the show at no extra charge starting from tomorrow," the zoo's spokesman said.


China has only about wild 20 Siberian tigers living in the regions of Changbai mountains in Jilin Province and the Wanda mountains of Heilongjiang Province near China-Russia border.


"With more efforts to protect the habitat in recent years, more

Raju's zoo heading for closure?

Ramalinga Raju’s personal zoo in Bahadurpally is headed for closure in a year’s time. Sources say that the zoo, spread over six hectares, located in Mahindra Satyam’s Bahadurpally campus, is being closed as the new management wants to prune expenses.


The little-known ‘Satyam zoo’ came up in 1996 when Ramalinga Raju decided to take his father’s love for wildlife a step ahead and put together a few animals and birds in the IT firm’s backyard. This mini zoo or the deer park is home to spotted deer, rabbits and tortoises among numerous species of exotic birds.


“The present management has already cut down the manpower in the horticulture section. Though they have applied for the annual renewal afresh from Central Zoo Authority (CZA) a few weeks ago, we are told that the zoo would be closed down in some time,” said a source. Raju’s zoo has another section for several exotic birds, peacocks, two ostriches and this will

Rare species of tiny, lethal frog is bred in British aquarium

Extract from the phantasmal poison frog produces a powerful painkiller which could save lives, say experts


A rare species of tiny, lethal frog normally found in South America has been bred at a British aquarium.


The phantasmal poison frogs, which measure less than a centimetre in length and whose poison is 200 times more powerful than morphine, have been bred at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Portsmouth. It is hoped that the frog, one of the most toxic amphibians on the planet, which exists in the wild in Ecuador, could help save lives.


Jenna MacFarlane, of the aquarium, said: "Despite their deadly status, scientists have discovered that an extract from the skin of the phantasmal poison frog, Epipedrobates tricolor, can block pain 200 times more effectively than morphine, without addiction and other serious side-effects and we are delighted to have been able to breed them successfully here in Portsmouth.


"It's imperative we are able to mimic exactly their wild environment in order for the species to thrive in captivity and it's a real achievement they are breeding so successfully.


The World Conservation Union considers the frog to be endangered. It is thought to survive at only seven

Snails Are Saving Endangered Gorillas

Humble snails are helping to prevent Cross River gorilla poaching in Nigeria, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.


The WCS has just launched a new program that promotes snail farming, which helps local people generate income, provides an alternative source of animal protein, and hopefully will eliminate illegal hunting of what is Africa’s rarest and most endangered great ape.


Eight former gorilla hunters were selected from four villages to participate in the new initiative. With help from the WCS, they've constructed snail pens, each of which was stocked with 230 African giant snails. Because of the snail’s high protein content, coupled with low maintenance costs, quick results, and easy replication, snail farming is expected to catch on quickly.


Just as French chefs prize snails, locals there view these gastropods as a delicacy and the high demand for them in villages and larger communities makes the prospect of farming viable.


“People living near Cross River gorillas have trouble finding alternative sources of income and food and that’s why they poach,” said James Deutsch, Director of the Wildlife Conservation

Tigers at centre of ownership stoush

Taranaki's new white tigers are caught in the middle of a legal cat fight between television's Lion Man and his mother.


Lion Man Craig Busch says he owns the tigers and never gave permission for them to be moved, while his mother's company says it is the real owner.


The three female bengals arrived at Pouakai Zoo in New Plymouth last week from Zion Wildlife Gardens in Northland.


Zion is the park that featured in The Lion Man TV series, fronted by Mr Busch and his former partner.


It has been embroiled in a number of sagas in recent years, including the death of a keeper, an assault conviction against Mr Busch, and a legal battle between Mr Busch and his mother, Patricia Busch, following Mr Busch's dismissal from the park.


Now, Mr Busch is again threatening legal action against his mother, who he says didn't have the right to move the white tigers away from Zion because she doesn't own them.


A spokeswoman for Mr Busch told the Taranaki Daily News that Mr Busch's trust, the Busch Wildlife Foundation, actually owned the cats and he didn't want them to be moved.


She said Mr Busch, who is overseas, would take the tigers back to Zion as soon as he regained control of the park.


"It's not the fact they aren't being looked after – they certainly look happy – it's more the principle of the thing," spokeswoman Jill Ward said.


"Patricia has now set the precedent that she can do what she wants. But Craig maintains he owns the animals and is supposed to have some control over them, which he doesn't."


Mrs Ward said she did not blame Pouakai Zoo for taking the tigers.


"Our only issue is that we made it quite clear that [the move] was contrary

Topeka Zoo Hires New Director

At a City Hall news conference on Wednesday, Brendan Wiley was announced as the Topeka Zoo's new director.


Wiley worked for 11 years at the Kansas City Zoo and most recently was the executive director of Animal Haven in Merriam, KS.


He starts May 24th and his annual salary was reported to be $78,000.


To find out more about Wiley and how he plans to turn the Topeka

Development of Zoological Parks

Central Zoo Authority has prepared a concept paper viz. Ex-Situ Wild Life Conservation and Zoos in India, Vision 2020. This document envisages achieving the objectives of zoos as indicated in National Zoo Policy, 1988 to compliment and strengthen the national efforts in the conservation of rich biodiversity of country particularly the wild fauna. Following are the important components of the Vision- 2020:


Master Plan, Construction of appropriate animal housings in zoos, Conservation Breeding Programme, Rescue and Rehabilitation, Animal Health care in zoos, Development of other infrastructure in zoos, Research, Training of in-service zoo personnel, Record keeping and International Co-operation.


The details of the financial assistance provided to the zoos State-wise, is at Annexure.


Central Zoo Authority provides financial assistance to recognized zoos in the country for better upkeep and maintenance of animals in the zoos. Central assistance is released after processing the proposals and as per availability of funds. During the last financial year (2009-2010), Central Zoo Authority has received proposals for financial assistance

National park to release Javanese lemurs into wild

Some 20 Javanese Lemurs (Nycticebus Javanicus) are to be released into the wild by the Halimun Mountain National Park in cooperation with International Animal Rescue (IAR).


"Their release is intended to return the animals to their natural habitats, and at the same time to observe the primate`s habits to devise a strategy to promote their breeding, " said Halimun Mountain National Park chief Bambang Supriyanto here Monday.


Bambang said the event would be conducted on Wednesday (Apr 14) in Ciapus, Bogor, West Java.


To monitor the primate`s activity, all the 20 lemurs would be equipped with six collar radio transmitters. The monitoring would be done over a six-month period by an expert from IAR, Dr. Richard Moore.


The research on the Lemurs would focus on their breeding habits and life cycle to obtain a scientific understanding of the primate`s role in the wild.


"This understanding will help to maintain their population. The effort is very important to prevent them from becoming extinct by human activity such as hunting

Labour call for zoo closures criticised

COLCHESTER Liberal Democrat candidate Bob Russell has criticised Basildon South & Thurrock East Labour candidate Angela Smith, who has called for the closure of all Britain’s zoos, despite Colchester Zoo being the biggest single tourist attraction in Essex.


He accused Mrs Smith, a minister in Gordon Brown’s government, of seeking to divert attention from what he described as “Labour’s betrayal” for its failure to ban the use of exotic animals in circuses, even though it has been a Labour Party commitment.


Elephants and lions were still being used

Zoo Kiwi Flight Of A Lifetime Will Help Kiwi Mates

Five North Island Brown kiwi hatched and reared at Auckland Zoo fly out to the United States this evening to assist the international captive breeding programme for our endangered national bird.


Destined for San Diego Wild Animal Park, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia, and Germany's Frankfurt Zoo, the birds (a single female and two pairs) will contribute valuable new bloodlines to the American and European kiwi populations, which currently stand at 16 and 22 respectively.


"This is the first international kiwi transfer from New Zealand in almost 20 years, and we've been working closely with the Department of Conservation (DOC) and our overseas partners to enable it to happen. We're delighted that as well as introducing new blood to the northern hemisphere captive population, it's going to help open lines of communication between kiwi

Female crawfish wanted to breed by Anglesey sea zoo

Fishermen are being asked to keep a look out for a rare female marine crawfish, so conservationists can breed them in captivity to increase numbers.


Anglesey Sea Zoo already has two male crawfish, one of which was found last weekend off the Lleyn peninsula.


Little is known about the crawfish, also known as rock lobsters, and why numbers are declining.


The plan is to build on expertise from an earlier breed and release scheme for the common European lobster at the zoo.


The male crawfish was found off Aberdaron last Sunday.


It is the first one the fisherman, or anyone at the sea zoo had seen for many years, according to Dr Dylan

Jal Sansthan allows separate water pipeline for zoo animals

Scorching heat, power cuts and resultant water crisis is nothing new for the denizens. But, where people have devised ways to fight these problems, the animals at the city zoo were left totally helpless. However, thanks to the timely action taken by the zoo authorities, the animals now have an assured supply of water to quench their thirst.


Till now, the zoo was dependent on the tubewells for water but owing to prolonged power cuts, the water supply remained affected on most of the days. It was then that the zoo officials thought of an innovative solution to the problem. They arranged for a separate water line directly from the Ganga Barrage water pumping station to the zoo.


Director, Kanpur Zoo, K Praveen Rao said, "It is for the first time here in Kanpur Zoo that we had to request for a separate water line from Jal Sansthan due to odd hours of power rostering. We were forced to think differently for keeping the wildlife alive. When we need to pump water from the tubewells, there was no power and when power supply is on, the timings

Riau to have Sumatran tiger study center

The Sumatran Tiger Conservation Program Foundation will establish a Sumatran tiger study center in Riau Province.


The study center was aimed at monitoring and preserving the remaining endangered Sumatran tigers as their population continued to decrease annually, Bastoni of the Sumatran Tiger Conservation Program Foundation, said, here, on Friday.


"The first study center will be set up in Sinepis, Rokan Hilir District, as a model. And later, if it runs well and shows concrete benefit, similar study centers will be established in other conservation area," he said.


The study center will be established with the cooperation of forest concession holders in Riau.


Around 20 to 25 tigers live in Sinepis conservation area. The study center is also expected to prevent any tiger attack or encroachment in human settlement areas in Rokan Hilir District.


"The study center will also monitor the movement of the Sumatran tigers in Rokan Hilir as they get wilder due to food shortage in the conservation area," he said.


Inhabitants of Pasir Limau and Sungai Daun villages recently

'Eden Project for butterflies' hopes to become world's biggest

Second stage of conservation project begins with release of hundreds of Heliconius chestertonii into butterfly house


Hundreds of specimens of a tropical butterfly – bred from just seven abandoned pupae – are now flying in Butterfly World, an ambitious scheme to create an Eden Project for butterflies by the M25.


Heliconius chestertonii, a small but striking butterfly with dark blue iridescent wings, was successfully bred by Clive Farrell, the lepidopterist and entrepreneur behind the £25m project to build the world's largest centre for butterfly conservation close to St Albans, Hertfordshire.


Heliconius chestertonii lives up to nine months in ideal conditions, compared with the typical two weeks for most butterflies. The specimens have been released into the butterfly house at Butterfly World to mark the opening of phase two of the unique development, which is supported by David Bellamy and Sir David Attenborough.


The final stage of the project – a 100-metre wide dome filled with lush tropical rainforest, Mayan ruins and 10,000 butterflies – is due to be completed in the autumn of 2011.


For Farrell, a property developer who has bred butterflies for 20 years, Butterfly World has been a lifelong ambition. He was sent seven fragile pupae in the post by a friend who had to abandon a breeding attempt owing to the heating costs involved. Unusually, Farrell managed to hatch all seven into adult butterflies, from which two females bred and laid more eggs. The cannibalistic caterpillars had to be placed far apart on tropical food plants. Last winter, Farrell successfully bred hundreds of the butterflies, which can race through their egg to

Zoo raises more than $103,000 for conservation, one quarter at a time

And the winner is .... the orangutan.


The orangutan — whose habitat in Borneo and Sumatra is being devastated by the clearing of forests for exotic wood and palm oil plantations — was the top vote-getter in the second year of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Quarters for Conservation program. But it isn’t the only species to benefit from the program. Year two of Quarters for Conservation raised more than $103,000 for conservation efforts around the world, zoo officials announced Friday morning.


Here’s how the program works: The zoo contributes 25 cents from each admission — or $2.50 from each family membership — to wildlife conservation projects. Half of the money goes to longstanding programs to protect black-footed ferrets, Mexican gray wolves and other species. The other half goes to a half-dozen projects represented in a display in the zoo’s entry plaza; visitors receive a token to vote for their favorite program, thus determining the percentage of funding each gets.


“Every time you come to the zoo, you help save wildlife,” said Bob Chastain, zoo president

Biodiversity Target Missed: World Fails to Slow Loss of Animals, Plants

World leaders have failed to fulfill their commitments to reduce the global rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, and have instead overseen "alarming" biodiversity declines, finds the first assessment of how the targets expressed in the 2002 Convention on Biological Diversity have not been met.


Since 1970, human activities have reduced animal populations by 30 percent, the area of mangroves and sea grasses by 20 percent and the coverage of living corals by 40 percent, the assessment finds.


"Our analysis shows that governments have failed to deliver on the commitments they made in 2002: biodiversity is still being lost as fast as ever, and we have made little headway in reducing the pressures on species, habitats and ecosystems," said the paper's lead author Dr. Stuart Butchart of the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre and BirdLife I

BD200,000 zoo opens at Al Areen

A BD200,000 complex housing exotic wild animals will be opened at Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve, Sakhir, on Monday.


It follows the opening of a BD100,000 aviary this month and officials hope the two new attractions will lead to an increase in visitors.


The new complex will house leopards, foxes, wolves and hyenas, which were shipped in from Africa and Asia in December.


Half the cost of the project, a joint venture by the government and private sector, has been paid by Batelco.


"More than 10,000 people visit the park every month and we are expecting more with the opening of these two attractions," said park tour guide head Saqer Khamis.


"The opening of the complex was due in February, but was postponed because of unfinished work.


"Now it's complete and will be opened on Monday."


The Al Areen wildlife sanctuary was officially opened in 1979 with a mission

Chinese Zoo Tigers Are Upfront and Personal With Visitors

In keeping with that old expression about letting the cat out of the bag, Wenzhou Zoo, Zhejiang province has done just that literally, and has received much criticism for its actions.


Visitors to the zoo are not only allowed to pet a tiger, they can also pose for pictures as they pretend to ride it!


An animal troupe puts on big cat shows every day at the zoo. They are not part of the operating zoo but rather rent space. After the 20-minute performance, visitors are invited to come up close, touch the tiger and pose for pictures as they pretend to ride the animal.


Three men supposedly “keep an eye on” the tiger, while a female photographer charges 30 yuan (about 6 US dollars) for taking pictures. Here’s where things get a little fuzzy and safety boundaries break down significantly. Keeping an eye on and restraining are two completely different things. How fast could these men intervene if the tiger is having a “bad hair moment” or something of that ilk?


The photographer claims that the tiger is tame and its teeth and claws have been filed down, but many have noted that she stands a considerable distance away while taking pictures.


“The zoo shouldn’t allow a tiger to pose for pictures with people

17 graduate from Zoo Academy

The inaugural class at the Henry Doorly Zoo’s expanded, full-day Zoo Academy graduated Friday at a ceremony in Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom Pavilion.


The 17 seniors from the Papillion-La Vista school district spent their entire school year at the zoo. They studied math, science and social studies while having hands-on learning experiences with zoo professionals.


“They actually had lockers on premises,” said Dawn Ream, a zoo spokeswoman.


The academy, currently in its 15th year, had previously brought students to the zoo

Animal bites visitor at zoo

Porter Zoo was bitten Friday by an animal that briefly escaped from her enclosure.


"There was a situation where a white-handed gibbon got off the island," said Ciri Haugh, marketing coordinator. "The keepers were responding to the animal being off the island and part of that response is moving the visitors away from the area."


Jerry Stones, facilities director, said he was driving along a walkway in a go-cart when a group of visitors wanted to stop and photograph him. As they moved away, one of them asked, ‘Is that monkey supposed to be here?’ "


Stones said he looked around to see Chanie the gibbon sitting on a wooden railing next to the walkway.


"I told those people ‘Please leave,’ " Stones said. "They left and moved on toward the spider

Polar bear poo helps in superbug hunt

Polar bear droppings are helping scientists shed light on the spread of deadly antibiotic-resistant superbugs.


Bacteria such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are a growing problem in hospitals and researchers are anxious to understand how they evolve.


Norwegian researchers said they had found little sign of such microbes in the faeces of polar bears in the remote Arctic, suggesting the spread of resistance genes seen in the droppings of other animals may be due to human influence.


In contrast to the results from polar bears on the Svalbard archipelago, antibiotic resistance has been discovered in a range of animals including deer, foxes, pigs, dogs and cats that live close to humans.


Trine Glad of the University of Tromso said her team's research, published on Thursday in the journal BMC Microbiology, was important evidence in the debate as to whether resistance occurs

Zoo wants 17 new animals; cost is $70,000

Visitors to the El Paso Zoo may be able to see 17 new animals this summer.


The City Council on Tuesday will consider spending $70,000 to buy the animals, pay for medical screenings and relocate them to El Paso.


The zoo would get six zebras, two greater kudus, five Thomson's gazelles, two African ostriches and two East African crowned cranes. It does not have these species now.


The animals would be part of the zoo's new Africa exhibit.


Zoo Director Steve Marshall said the public would be able to view them some time in July, as the exhibit is unveiled in phases. The first of them opened in March with lions and meerkats.


"This is really exciting," Marshall said. "This is our first large collection of African animals in the history of the zoo. We've had one or two before in an old-style exhibit. This is a modern immersion experience where you are surrounded by an African exhibit."


The animals will be purchased from Safari West of Santa

‘Euthanization’ of Renuka lion safari draws protests

In Himachal, we often hear of ‘Sangarsh Manch’ as a people’s action group formed to oppose a hydel project or some other mega-project, but in the Renuka area of Sirmaur, local people have organized themselves not to save their own livelihood, but the lives of ‘now helpless’ lions inhabiting the only lion safari in the state. Following direction from the Central Zoo Authority, the lion safari, spread over seven hectares of land, is proposed to be closed completely. Last week two lionesses were shifted from here to Gopalpur Zoo in Palmpur and the remaining one lion and three lionesses would also be sent to the same zoo in the coming days. Claiming that the state government and the wildlife department are to be blamed for the mess, residents have now decided to take up the cause themselves.


In an effort to save the safari, locals have now urged PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) to intervene in the matter. Office bearers of a ‘Sangarsh Manch’ formed to oppose the move have already sent a written complaint to them in this regard. It is learnt that CZA did not want to increase the number of these lions as they suspected the genetic purity of the breed residing here. Sources claimed Himachal government’s wildlife department not only failed to prove the genetic purity of the breed but, surprisingly, also avoided various guidelines set by CZA to know the purity or exact breed of these wild cats. It is also learnt that even after repeated requests, DNA samples of the lions were never provided to CZA by the wildlife department of the state.


Once an adobe for 28 healthy Indian-Afro lions, the safari officials were also targeted by former environment minister Menaka Gandhi for its worse upkeep. This safari came under strong criticism when lions started dying during 1996 to 2005. “Although there were no concrete findings about why the lions were dying, even than authorities straight-forwardly decided to close the safari,” said Vikram, an activist and member of Sangarsh Manch. It was said that as all lions here were coming from the same family, it might have created genetic problems. CZA had then banned proliferations of lions in the safari and their number started drastically reducing. The wildlife department was advised to bring lions from different families for cross-breeding, but they failed to do so.


“There is no logic that a lion can be safer in a cage at Gopalpur Zoo rather than in an open safari,” said Vikram, adding that five out of the six lions sent to the zoo till 2008

ICF and the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, April 28, 2010

In 10 years, the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP) has accomplished an impressive conservation result—the establishment of a healthy, migratory population of 103 Whooping Cranes, with high survival rates for both juveniles and adults. Released cranes in this population are now pairing, establishing breeding territories, nesting, laying fertile eggs, and initiating incubation. The cranes are not yet incubating their eggs to full-term.


ICF plays an integral role in this reintroduction project through our successful captive breeding program, for which we just received the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Endangered Species Recovery Champion Award. ICF’s Crane Conservation Department, in partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, leads the Direct Autumn Release (DAR) program. Thirty-three Whooping Cranes have been successfully released into the eastern flyway through the DAR program. ICF’s Veterinary Services Department has made improvements in health care, bird handling and disease identification within the flock. Through outreach programs and on-site tours, ICF has generated greater public awareness about Whooping Cranes and the importance of habitat protection and responsible stewardship.


WCEP organized an external review to address the challenges of this experimental reintroduction effort and to identify what works well, and what we could improve or change. The review team provided a comprehensive report that addresses the strengths and shortcomings of both the operations and organization of WCEP. The review

Big Plan For Zoo

A new, multi-million dollar visitor experience at the Auckland Zoo will become a reality thanks to a grant from the Lottery Significant Projects Fund.


The grant of almost $2.7 million will go to Auckland Zoo's Te Wao Nui development.


The zoo has been working for three years to secure funding for the project that will transform a third of the zoo into a botanical garden and conservation park.


The enclosure will feature native New Zealand species such as tuatara, kiwi, blue ducks, kereru and native plants.


Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye says she's delighted at the funding which is partnered with funding from the Auckland City Council.


"What makes this experience so special is that this exhibit

Bear shot in N.W.T. was grizzly-polar hybrid

Could be first 2nd generation hybrid found in wild


Biologists in the Northwest Territories have confirmed that an unusual-looking bear shot earlier this month near Ulukhaktok, N.W.T., was a rare hybrid grizzly-polar bear.


The unusual-looking bear caught the attention of biologists after David Kuptana, an Inuvialuit hunter, shot and killed it on April 8 on the sea ice just west of the Arctic community, formerly known as Holman.


The bear had thick white fur like a polar bear, but it also had a wide head, brown legs and brown paws like a grizzly.


Kuptana said he shot the bear from a distance after it scavenged through five unoccupied cabins near Ulukhaktok, then tried running toward the community.


Wildlife DNA analysis shows the bear was a second-generation hybrid, officials with the N.W.T. Environment and Natural Resources Department said in a news release Friday.


The bear was the result of a female grizzly-polar hybrid mating with a male grizzly bear, according to the department.


"This confirms the existence of at least one female polar-grizzly hybrid near Banks Island," the release said.

Octopus vs. Sea Lion—First Ever Video

New National Geographic Crittercam footage shows never before seen eating habits of the Australian sea lion—including video of a sea lion hunting a large octopus. The footage is from a project intended to help save the endangered sea lions, in part by uncovering where and how the

Pregnant rare Sumatran rhino spotted in Borneo

Wildlife experts here remain hopeful about the future of the highly endangered Sumatran rhino following a rare picture of a 20-year-old female that is believed to be pregnant.


The picture of the female rhino was captured by remote camera trap devices set up jointly by the Sabah Wildlife Department and WWF-Malaysia.


The picture was considered rare as there were estimated to be less than 30 rhinos left on the entire island

Wolf Conservation Center Receives $300K Grant

Plans for the Wolf Conservation Center’s move to the northeast corner adjacent to the 383-acre Leon Levy Preserve have just received a major boost and vote of approval from Parks Commissioner Carol Ash and the State’s Environmental Protection Fund.


{mosgoogle}The WCC is one of only three organizations in the Hudson Valley region to receive an Acquisition and Development Grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (NYSOPRHP).


In the letter awarding the grant, Commissioner Ash cited Governor David A. Paterson's commitment “to making smart investments in the environment, in historic preservation, and in community quality of life.” In keeping with that commitment, the state has made more than $20.8 million of grant funds available for distribution this year, and, according to the letter, the competition for this year's grant funding was “extremely keen.”


“It is immensely gratifying to receive this grant and acknowlegement, and to be in the company of amazing environmental institutions like Teatown and the Mohonk Preserve (the other two grant recipients in the region) – they have been around for over 40 years, and we are only 10 years old!” said WCC Executive Director, Deborah Heineman.


Founded in 1999, the WCC has a dual mission:


1.To educate people about wolves, their precarious recovery since near extinction at the beginning of the 20th Century, and their role as a top predator crucial to the maintenance of a healthy, balanced ecosystem.


2.To actively shelter and breed endangered Mexican gray wolves and red wolves as part of the national SSP (Species Survival Plan) program administered by U.S. Fish and Wildlife.


“We are very pleased with the strides we have made in our first decade,” explains Heineman, “and have had an impact on literally tens of thousands of people throughout the Northeast with our experiential education programs. We have also accomplished our dreams for our SSP program: We had our first litter of endangered wolves on Earth Day two years ago and currently have three breeding pairs that we hope will have pups. But there is NO room for further growth at our present site, and when a group of local$300K_Grant_2010050113229.html

Rare fennec fox cub triplets born at East Sussex zoo

Three rare foxes have been born at an East Sussex zoo as part of a European breeding programme.


The fennec foxes cubs were born at Drusillas Park Zoo, Alfriston, last month and are believed to be the first litter to be bred in Europe in 2010.


The animals are the smallest member of the dog family and have oversized ears, which can grow up to 15cm (6in) long.


Zoo manager Sue Woodgate said:"I am absolutely thrilled with the new arrivals."


Fennec foxes have a high mortality rate and the triplets, born to parents, Mali and Tabari, are

Lungs of the world are choking

The lungs of the world are suffering from serious breathing problems. It struck me again when we drove for ten hours on a dirt road on the Indonesian island of Borneo without seeing... trees. I mean real firm standing trees with leaves. The once stunning rain forest has been replaced by a scenery that mostly resembles a graveyard. Undefinable bush on both sides of the road where blackened burned remains of trees are the only evidence that this used to be a forest. Borneo-romantically described as the lungs of the world-is not the most cheerful place on this planet.


The island has turned into a wild west area where loggers, miners and greedy officials rule.


Far away from the capital Jakarta logging permits, conservation assessments, sustainable palm oil are just abstract concepts of people wearing suits sitting in airconditioned offices. Here the rules of the jungle apply.


The minister of forestry had put it bluntly. "Two million hectares of forest has been illegally converted into palm oil plantations."


The real amount is probably higher. Large established

IUCN to help on Iran wild cats

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is set to hold a workshop in Iran to study the living conditions of the country's wild cats.


Iran inked a memorandum of understanding with the IUCN as part of efforts to preserve the country's wild feline species of which two have become extinct, Mohammad-Baqer Sadouq, an official with Iran's Department of Environment told MehrNews agency on Saturday.


The environmental expert said little information was available about the condition of Iran's wild cats including Pallas cats -- also known as the Manul -- and Sand (Dune) cats, technically known as Felis margarita.


The new development comes as director of the Conservation of Asiatic Cheetah Project Alireza Jourabchian announced earlier that there were fewer sightings of the endangered wild§ionid=351020105

Me Tarzan! How Zoo heir Damian Aspinall is reintroducing gorillas into the wild

When your father is a millionaire eccentric, with a vision of creating some sort of equatorial rainforest in your back garden in Kent, your childhood is never exactly going to be 'normal'. Still, Damian Aspinall's earliest memories take some beating. One involves him climbing a tree, as six-year-olds do, and getting stuck. His father, 'being my father', reacted in a rather peculiar way.


'He just walked off, saying something like, "Oh, Damian, you'll figure it out". 'That's what he was like. Strict. Harsh. He thought things like that would toughen me up. Anyway, I remember crying my eyes out, for what seemed like ages. Eventually, one of our female gorillas climbed up and carried me down in her arms. She spent the rest of the day comforting me. I've never forgotten that feeling.'


Fast forward four decades and, in some regard, little has changed, save for the ' family' dynamics. His father is long dead, but the gorillas with whom the young Damian forged such a bond are still very much a part of his life. Now aged 49, he gets quite emotional when telling the story of how, on a recent trip to the west African country of Gabon, he was reunited with an old friend, Kwibi, a silverback gorilla who had, like so many, been raised on the manicured lawns of the family home.


'It was one of the most amazing, and moving, moments of my life,' he reveals. 'Kwibi's reintroduction to the wild had been so successful that the last time he'd had contact with a human being, a hunter, he had become very aggressive. But when he saw me, he recognised me. He greeted me like a long-lost brother. Eventually, he introduced me to his wife and children. It was so touching.'


It's not the first time he uses the family analogy. The purpose of the trip to Gabon had been to return three young gorillas, bred in captivity, to the wild. Damian went too, full of excitement, trepidation

Tiger tourism in India: the case against

Is tourism good for India’s vanishing tigers? Justin Francis, managing director of the travel agency, believes the decision to ban tiger tourism is correct.


This week, India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority announced that it plans to phase out tourism in its 37 tiger reserves. Here we ask two experts whether the government was right to take such a drastic step to arrest the decline of this endangered species, which now numbers just 1,350 in the whole of the subcontinent.


Justin Francis, managing director of the travel agency, says:


I have reluctantly concluded that the Indian government’s decision to ban tiger tourism in core conservation areas in the short term is the correct one.


The government’s failure to manage tourism responsibly has, by its own admission, resulted in lodges being built in sensitive habitats; hotels blocking corridors tigers follow between conservation areas; and unregulated viewing, which has disturbed tigers.


Despite the excellent work done by responsible tour operators and lodges to support conservation, tourism has damaged tiger populations.


My reluctance in agreeing with the ban stems from my belief that in the long term conservation works only when it is done in partnership with local communities who live around parks

Tiger tourism in India: the case for

Is tourism good for India’s vanishing tigers? Julian Matthews, chairman of Travel Operators for Tigers, says the decision to ban tiger tourism is misguided.


This week, India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority announced that it plans to phase out tourism in its 37 tiger reserves. Here we ask two experts whether the government was right to take such a drastic step to arrest the decline of this endangered species, which now numbers just 1,350 in the whole of the subcontinent.


Julian Matthews, chairman of Travel Operators for Tigers, says:


Having spent many years visiting India’s forests and wildlife parks, I am amazed by the decision of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to cast tourism out of core tiger areas.


These “over-loved” parks have the best habitats and the highest tiger densities. Corbett, the most visited park, still has the highest number of tigers in India (according to the NTCA’s 2008 census). Bandavgarh has the heaviest densities of tigers in its main tourism zone, with five breeding females and 14 cubs, and it receives 45,000 visitors a year.


When sub-adult tigers leave the tourist zone to seek their own ranges in buffer zones, they get “lost” – poached or poisoned. These facts suggest that the best security for tigers exists in tourism zones, and tigers and their prey sense it.


Travel Operators for Tigers (TOFT) estimated that one Ranthambhore tigress generated some $130 million (£90m) in direct tourism revenue in the 10 years of her adult life. Take this away,

7 Animals Being Eaten To Extinction (PHOTOS)



Killer whales more than one species, study shows
They may all look similar, but new genetic evidence shows that killer whales, also known as orcas, include several distinct species.
Tissue samples from 139 killer whales from around the world point to at least three distinct species, say researchers in the journal Genome Research.
Researchers had suspected this may be the case. The distinctive black-and-white or grey-and-white mammals have subtle differences in their markings and also in feeding behaviour.
Orcas as a group are not considered an endangered species, but some designated populations of the predators are. A new species designation could change this and affect conservation efforts.
One of the newly designated species preys on seals in the Antarctic while another eats fish, said Phillip Morin of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) South-west Fisheries Science Centre in La Jolla, California, who led the research.
His team sequenced the DNA from the whales' mitochondria, a part of the cell that holds just a portion of the DNA. Mitochondrial DNA is passed down with very few changes from mother to offspring.
New sequencing methods finally made it possible to do so, Dr Morin said in a statement.
"The genetic make-up of mitochondria in killer whales, like other cetaceans, changes very little over time, which makes it difficult to detect any differentiation in recently evolved species without looking at the entire genome," he said.
"But by using a relatively new method called highly

Tiger Got Out Of Cage At Local Wild Animal Sanctuary
Leticia Ford and her 7-year-old son, Prince Jr., spent Friday morning at the nonprofit Tiger World reserve in Rockwell for a class field trip.
While the rest of the first graders left, Ford said she and one other family stayed around for lunch.
Ford said that is when a Tiger World employee offered to let them watch two tigers being loaded into this trailer for a training exercise.
Ford said after the trainers put the tigers in the cage, “One of the tigers charged at the plexiglass and his head busted through, so I was like, 'Oh my God, he’s going to eat us.'”
Ford said she and the other family ran and hid behind a cash register area as the tiger came out of the cage wearing a leash, without a trainer for several moments. But Tiger World owner Lea Jaunakais said that was not the case.
She said the tiger cub came out of the cage but was on a leash being controlled by a trainer the entire time. Jaunakais said although the cubs are involved in daily training exercises, that was the first time the two 100-pound cubs had ever been put into the cage and they were a bit skittish. 
Ford said if that was the case, the trainers should have taken extra safety measures before inviting them to watch.
Ford said, “If you don’t have something in place then you need to not take those animals out when others are around.” When asked if they would do anything differently, Jaunakais said, “The next

Behind the scenes, the zoo is a whole different animal
Spider monkeys like to gaze at themselves in mirrors. Nothing makes an elephant happier than a six-foot pile of barrels to knock over and destroy. Roll a couple of balls toward a rhinoceros, and he'll kick them with his friends for the rest of the day.
For all the wonder that visitors experience on a trip to the Montgomery Zoo as they observe wild animals from all over the planet -- and with a giraffe feeding station in the works that will put zoo-goers face-to-face with the residents -- there is a world behind the world.
There, the care, enrichment and conservation of each species living in the zoo's habitats are the foremost concerns.
As one of the Montgomery Zoo's 18 full-time zookeepers, Richard Collins has learned all this and more.
"The life of a zookeeper is never dull," Collins said. "It's pretty tough work."
It's a mixture of the mundane -- day-to-day cleaning, feeding, habitat upkeep, interaction with visitors -- and the innovative.
Zookeepers continually devise ways to keep the animals as active, engaged and happy as they would be in their natural habitats, a crucial part of maintaining the well-being of every species on exhibit.
Hence the mirrors, the balls, the piles of barrels.
The zoo's residents need this kind of non-stop stimulation; without it, they could develop a kind of captivity-generated neurosis. Re-creating the feel of the wild for some 500 animals over 40 acres in Montgomery, however, can be hit-or-miss.
"A lot of things they love," Collins said of the various contraptions offered to animals to keep their lives interesting -- particularly the elephant habitat, where he works.
"A lot of things they kick into the moat and are never seen again."
The unexpected
It's certainly not all fun and games. The unexpected always looms.
"We've had keepers stay here 17 straight days before with animals that are sick," Collins said.
Some incidents do not end well; in 2008, an elephant calf fell ill following his mother's death, shortly after she gave birth to him. Even with bottle-feeding and perpetual care from staff, the calf died.
Most recently, one of the zoo's two African black-footed penguin chicks became sick and died, the zoo's deputy director Marcia Woodard said.
"Typically, when two eggs hatch (in the wild), there ends up being one survivor," Woodard said.
An inevitable loss is always hard on the staff, particularly after trying so hard to prevent it, Collins said.
"You can't help letting it affect you," he said of such situations. "You just do your best to not let it affect you. You put the animals first, and you just move on."
Still, Woodard and Zoo Director Doug Goode report that the majority of the zoo's animals live beyond their life expectancies.
And plenty of endings are happy. Recently, when a baby chimp's troop rejected her, a zoo manager and a few keepers "basically were taking care of her like a child," Collins said, and the chimp thrived.
Those who care for the animals often make small discoveries that result in huge differences. Elephants like to swim when they're tired of being on land. At night, the zoo elephants had been kept inside. But one warm night, Collins and his fellow keepers let them stay out in their habitat.
"Their overall mood is 100 times better when they're allowed to be outside at night," he said of the elephants. "We just started doing this. and they've improved by leaps and bounds."
In the zoo world, he said, "There are so many positive stories you can tell."
Pursuing diversity
The story of how the Montgomery Zoo's animals found their way here is based on careful analysis, said Montgomery Zoo Conservation and Enrichment Manager Ken Naugher.
As a zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, directors and staff abide by strict guidelines in terms of breeding, animal health and stimulation.
One of the AZA's primary aims is ensuring the survival of endangered or threatened species. Its Species Survival Program (SSP) aims not only to keep these species around, but to ensure that there are no genetic complications in breeding the animals.
AZA member zoos form a network through which facilities can exchange animals for breeding

To order or learn more please click HERE
Exotic Small Mammal Care and Husbandry is a practical reference for assessing, handling, and treating small exotic animals in the veterinary clinic. Covering common species such as mice, hamsters, rabbits, and ferrets, the book focuses on the basics of well–being in these less–common patients, including housing, nutrition, enrichment, and diseases. With information on basic anatomy, preventative care, and common diseases, Exotic Small Mammal Care and Husbandry provides a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of caring for small exotic mammals and communicating with owners.

In addition to introductory chapters with general information on the enrichment of these species and preventative medicine, the bulk of the book is devoted to species–specific chapters. Each species chapter takes a common format for ease of use, with information encompassing common breeds, reproduction, clinical techniques, treatment, and laboratory values. Exotic Small Mammal Care and Husbandry is a useful guide for veterinary technicians and veterinarians seeing a wide range of small exotic patients.

Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort set to showcase unique leisure and learning destination at Cityscape 2010

The Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort (AWPR) will showcase its unique, multi-faceted leisure and learning destination at Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2010 from April 18 to 21. Visitors to the stand will be able to view the park's master plan and other models designed to help exhibit goers learn more about the project and various initiatives being undertaken.


Construction of the 900 hectare park is already underway and will be completed in three phases. The project will be made up of several components; a crowning jewel is the Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre which will focus on the desert living experience. The park will also include wildlife safaris, a world deserts zoo and botanical gardens, resort hotel, as well as residential areas. A conservation and breeding centre will also be integral to the park.


Among the first components to be delivered in phase one will be the Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre, which is set to become a premiere example of Estidama's high environmental standards due to its combination of active and passive energy efficient systems. The centre will comprise a 10,000 square meter natural history museum focusing on the adaptation of life to the extreme climate of the desert environment. In addition, the geology, paleontology and anthropology of the UAE and arid land environments will be exhibited in an interactive and technologically advanced museum.


Once completed, the Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort will become an international

Rhino Conservation Video (Works in USA only)

Mountain View shifts focus to local species

They have names like tapir and fossa, and they came from the far reaches of the Earth all the way to Mountain View Conservation and Breeding Centre in Fort Langley to be saved from extinction.


For more than 20 years, founder Gord Blankstein has amassed a modern-day ark of exotic, strange animals, and some more known like zebras, giraffes, rhinos and leopards.


By the end of summer all those rare animals will be gone.


“Unfortunately we are moving away all our exotics,” said Malcolm Weatherstone, spokesperson for Mountain View.


“Like all close families, we will keep in touch.”


The mandate of Mountain View has always been to breed endangered species until their population is strong enough to be reintroduced back into their home habitat.


“With the addax we started with three to 30. We sent some to Senegal and now those are having their own offspring,” said Weatherstone.


However, the 350 animals from over 50 species, including hoof stock, primates and carnivores, currently living at the Fort

Orangutans - Keep Holding On

Bamboo flowering in Nehru Park concerns authorities

Bamboo flowering in Nehru Zoological Park here has triggered concern among the Zoo officials, prompting them to cut off the bushes to prevent the aftermath associated with it.


"There was bamboo flowering at some place in the 40-acre spread Lion Safari Park in the Zoo. We immediately ordered the bushes to cut to prevent the increase of rodent population associated with it," Zoo park director Gopal Reddy said.


Bamboo which flowers after 40 to 50 years dies after the flowering and the dried fruit of the flower serves as a rich protein diet for rodents.


Mizoram, which had been faced with three cycles of bamboo flowering so far since 1907, suffered famine after the first two flowering cycles. The State Government had to offer Rs 1 for every rat tail

Cameras capture secret life of the 'Highland tiger'

A new research project in the Highlands has provided a rare insight into the secret world of one of Britain's most endangered and elusive species.


Scottish wildcats are notoriously secretive, but conservationists are hoping to gain a more detailed understanding of their behaviour.


They have attached specialist camera equipment, known as photo-traps, to trees in the Cairngorms National Park.


The cameras have already provided images of wildcats and other animals.


Motion detectors and infra-red technology allow the devices to capture images of passing animals over a period of days, weeks or even months.


The project is still in its early stages but the cameras have already provided images of Scottish wildcat - popularly known as the Highland tiger - and other animals

Endangered: are Scotland's wildcats running out of lives?

Persecuted by man since prehistoric times, Britain's most elusive mammal is to be found only in the Highlands. Now the wildcat is under threat from loss of habitat, speeding traffic – and its domesticated cousins


Distinguishing between a hungry Scottish wildcat and a ray of sunshine is rarely difficult. Hamish, top feline at the Highland wildlife park in the Cairngorms, provides a perfect example. It is lunchtime and he is in a stroppy mood. His keeper is late with his dish of raw meat. Hence Hamish's display: a tail bristling like a Christmas tree, a set of snarling fangs and a barrage of hissing and yowling for the humans standing outside his enclosure. This is an animal with a grievance – and a temper.


Hamish is massive, as big as a medium-sized dog, and weighs almost 8kg, double the weight of an average household tomcat. This is a real muscled bruiser. "I have come out of that enclosure with blood dripping from my hands on many occasions," says Robbie Rankin, a keeper at the wildlife park.


A solitary hunter that kills rabbits, not to mention the occasional hare or young roe deer, the Scottish wildcat is ferocious, elusive – and endangered. Once widespread across the British Isles, the wildcat has disappeared from all but a few ecological niches in the Highlands. And numbers continue to tumble, an issue that

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Some seven years after abandoning the life of an international journalist for a life in the wilds, Mike Tomkies began a remarkable experiment, rearing the most ferocious animal to roam wild in Britain - the Scottish wildcat. The true wildcat is now an endangered species and only to be found in inaccessible parts of the Scottish mountains. It may look like a giant domestic tabby, but with its bright red tongue and vicious claws, it is a formidable and fearless opponent of mankind. It is justly noted for being untameable.To begin with, Mike became the custodian of two spitfire kittens, found abandoned in a ditch when only a few weeks old. Even before they were fully weaned in his kitchen, they could be approached only with extreme care, usually with thick gauntlets as protection against the ravages of tooth and claw. He named them Cleo and Patra, and built them a sturdy natural pen between his lonely cottage and the west wood. The kittens were only seven months old when a spitting and snarling ten-year-old tomcat arrived from London Zoo to change all their lives.Mike resolved to breed a wildcat family and prepare them for a return to the wild. In the years that followed little of the scant scientific theory on wildcat behaviour was bourne out by his careful observations. An update of the lengthy appendix which discusses wildcat populations, history and research on the breed including issues of genetic purity is included in this new edition.Mike's extraordinary adventures in raising and releasing no fewer than three litters, two pure wildcat and one hybrid from a domestic male gone wild, are full of incident, at times hilarious, and deeply moving. The runt of Cleo's second litter demolished Mike's last defences by giving him her total trust and affection while fiercely retaining an utterly wild and independent nature, so he became first to 'tame' a wildcat. This unique story of communion between man and animal is taken from two books that have long been out of print - "My Wilderness Wildcats and Liane", "A Cat from the Wild" - revised and updated by the author and illustrated with many new photographs, all in colour.

EU Grants Bulgaria, Romania Zoos Over EUR 1 M

The Bulgarian municipality of Dobrich and the Romanian municipal city of Constanta have received an EU grant of over EUR 1 M to boost their tourist infrastructure and revamp their zoos.


The funds are provided by the EU Romania-Bulgaria Trans Border Cooperation Program and are aimed at increasing the popularity of zoos in the Bulgarian municipality of Dobrich and the Romanian city of Constanta.


The two municipal cities will work on a project for increasing the development potential of the cross-border region by improving its tourist infrastructure.


The Bulgarian city of Dobrich will cooperate with the Museum Complex for Nature and Science in Constanta, Constanta's municipal council and the ProZoo association in Dobrich.


In 18 months the tourist services in the two cities will be given a substantial boost. The Center for the Protection of Nature and Animals in Dobrich will be equipped with a new shelter for brown bears as well as a veterinary clinic and a warehouse.


Cages for birds and small rodents and a small lake will also be provided. An information center will also be set up in the Dobrich zoo and a special tourist bus line will transport visitors to both Dobrich and Constanta.


The infrastructure of the Constanta Museum Complex for Science and Nature will also be improved, new shelters for ponies, deer, pelicans, swans

To order or learn more please click HERE
Environmental enrichment is a simple and effective means of improving animal welfare in any species – companion, farm, laboratory and zoo. For many years, it has been a popular area of research, and has attracted the attention and concerns of animal keepers and carers, animal industry professionals, academics, students and pet owners all over the world.

This book is the first to integrate scientific knowledge and principles to show how environmental enrichment can be used on different types of animal. Filling a major gap, it considers the history of animal keeping, legal issues and ethics, right through to a detailed exploration of whether environmental enrichment actually works, the methods involved, and how to design and manage programmes.


Waldo the grizzly bear dies at age 36 at Winnipeg zoo

Staff and zoo visitors are mourning the passing of Waldo the grizzly bear who died at the Assiniboine Park Zoo at the age of 36, said officials.


The grizzly bear and his sister Hilda were orphaned in 1974 near Banff and came to Winnipeg from the Calgary Zoo later that year.


Waldo's sister passed away three years ago.


Waldo died in his sleep last week and few bears reach the age he lived to, said zoo staff.


Officials said the grizzly bear will be missed

Elephant in zoo program found killed in Africa

San Diego Zoo officials expressed dismay Wednesday that an elephant being tracked in Africa as part of a multicountry conservation program had been shot and killed.


The elephant, named Kachikau, is one of three highlighted in the zoo’s Project Elephant Footprint program that raises funds for conservation efforts.


Zoo scientist Dr. Michael Chase, who is in Africa, has been leading a study on elephant herd movements between the southern African countries of Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe. He had attached a GPS collar on Kachikau, a 30-year-old elephant with a 2-year-old calf who served as matriarch of her eight-member herd.


The herds move in and out of national parks into areas where they are in danger of being killed for damaging crops and property.


Chase and his researchers found Kachikau’s body four days

Endangered species 'may be breeding'

Hopes that the endangered Sumatran rhinoceros is breeding in the wild have been raised by Malaysian conservationists, who caught film footage of a pregnant rhino on Borneo island.


Raymond Alfred of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said a remote camera set up in a forest near Sabah state had captured stills of the animal, numbers of which have dwindled to around 30.


While acknowledging that it was difficult to be certain about its condition, he said: "The size is quite extraordinary. Based on the shape and the size of the body and stomach it would appear that the rhino is pregnant."


A picture released by the WWF shows the creature, a subspecies of the bristly, snub-nosed rhino native to Indonesia's

Freaky frogs, but can you spot them?

A GROUP of rare Vietnamese mossy frogs has gone on display in the Lothians.


The bizarre-looking frogs, which measure just 7cm in length, were bred at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust on Jersey last year.


The frogs are renowned for their camouflage – they have green and black bodies covered with bumps and spines.


They have gone on show at Deep Sea World in North Queensferry, and once mature it is hoped

To order or learn more please click HERE
Detailed chapters are devoted to the following animals:

∗ Domestic animals: puppies, kittens, ferrets, sugar gliders and rabbits

∗ Farm animals: foals, kids, llamas and piglets

∗ Wildlife: squirrels, opossums, raccoons, rabbits, deer, foxes, bears, bats, and hedgehogs

∗ Zoo animals: ungulates, non–domestic equids, exotic felids, polar bears, elephants, rhinoceroses, macropods, pinnipeds, large and small primates, lemurs and sloths
Dr Laurie Gage is well known for her work and expertise in the rearing of seals, sea lions and walruses and has experience in rearing many other mammalian species.

From Dung to Coffee Brew With No Aftertaste

Goad Sibayan went prospecting recently in the remote Philippine highlands here known as the Cordillera. He clambered up and then down a narrow, rocky footpath that snaked around some hills, paying no heed to coffins that, in keeping with a local funeral tradition, hung very conspicuously from the surrounding sheer cliffs.


Reaching a valley where coffee trees were growing abundantly, he scanned the undergrowth where he knew the animals would relax after picking the most delicious coffee cherries with their claws and feasting on them with their fangs. His eyes settled on a light, brownish clump atop a rock. He held it in his right palm and, gently slipping it into a little black pouch, whispered:




Not quite. But Mr. Sibayan’s prize was the equivalent in the world of rarefied coffees: dung containing the world’s most expensive coffee beans.


Costing hundreds of dollars a pound, these beans are found in the droppings of the civet, a nocturnal, furry, long-tailed catlike animal that prowls Southeast Asia’s coffee-growing lands for the tastiest, ripest coffee cherries. The civet eventually excretes the hard, indigestible innards of the fruit — essentially, incipient coffee beans — though only after they have been fermented in the animal’s stomach acids and enzymes to produce a brew described as smooth, chocolaty and devoid of any bitter aftertaste.


As connoisseurs in the United States, Europe and East Asia have discovered civet coffee in recent years, growing demand is fueling a gold rush in the Philippines and Indonesia, the countries with the largest civet populations. Harvesters are scouring forest floors in the Philippines, where civet coffee has emerged as a new business. In Indonesia, where the coffee has a long history, enterprising individuals are capturing civets and setting up minifarms, often in their backyards.


Neither the Indonesian government nor the Association of Indonesia Coffee Exporters breaks down civet coffee’s tiny share of Indonesia’s overall coffee production. The Association of Indonesian Coffee Luwak Farmers, created in 2009 to handle the rising demand for civet coffee, or kopi luwak, as it is called in Indonesian, said most civet producers were small-time businessmen who exported directly overseas.


Given the money at stake, fake and low-grade civet coffee beans are also flooding the market.


“Because of its increasing popularity, there is more civet coffee than ever, but I don’t trust the quality,” said Rudy Widjaja, 68, whose 131-year-old family-owned coffee store in Jakarta, Warung Tinggi, is considered Indonesia’s oldest.


Competition is touching off fierce debates. What is real civet coffee, anyway? Does the civet’s choice of beans make the coffee? Or is it the beans’ journey through the animal’s digestive tract? Can the aroma, fragrance and taste of beans from the droppings of a caged civet ever be as tasty as those from its wild cousin?


Vie Reyes, whose Manila-based company, Bote Central, entered the civet coffee business five years ago, said she bought only from harvesters of the wild kind. Ms. Reyes exports to distributors overseas — Japan and South Korea are her biggest markets — and also directly sells 2.2-pound bags for $500, or about $227 a pound.


Maintaining quality was a constant challenge because distinguishing the real stuff from the fake was never easy. One time, harvesters sold her regular beans glued to unidentified dung.


“I washed it,” she said. “But the glue wouldn’t come off.”


One of her suppliers, Mr. Sibayan, 37, buys beans from collectors throughout the Cordillera, a mountainous region in the north that can be reached only after a punishing 12-hour drive from Manila. On a recent day, he dropped by to see the Pat-ogs, who own a 1.7-acre lot just outside this town.


Until Mr. Sibayan began buying their civet coffee four years ago, the Pat-ogs had never given much thought to the droppings left behind by the civets that came to munch on the family’s coffee trees at night. They discarded the beans or mixed them with regular beans they sold

Panthers in danger of becoming ‘best-documented extinction ever'

State's big cats may already be beyond saving


On a quiet spring morning two years ago, a sheriff's deputy cruised along a dark suburban street near Fort Myers. The deputy heard a thump, slammed on the brakes. Too late. A tawny body lay cooling by the roadside.


The deputy had hit a 2-year-old, 85-pound, male Florida panther. When a veterinarian dissected the cat, he found signs that the endangered Florida panther is in deeper trouble than ever before.


Genetic defects


In his May 2008 report, Dr. Mark Cunningham listed three genetic defects: a badly kinked tail, an undescended testicle and, most troubling, a quarter-inch hole in the big cat's heart.


Such defects were supposed to be gone from the panther population, vanquished by a bold experiment 15 years ago that involved crossbreeding with Texas cougars.


But now they have resurfaced. And because of a series of decisions made by federal officials, panther experts say fixing the problem this time will be nearly impossible. In short, the Florida panther is a dead cat walking.


“It's going to be the best-documented extinction ever, unless they do something,” said Laurie Wilkins of the Florida Museum of Natural History.


Over the past 15 years, the federal agency in charge of protecting the habitat where panthers roam, hunt and mate has given developers, miners and farmers permission to destroy more than 40,000 acres of it.


The panther is Florida's state animal. It's a license-plate icon, the namesake of Miami's pro hockey team and the mascot of schools around the state. Yet it hasn't received the protection promised by the Endangered Species Act. Here's why:


• The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which spends more than $1.2 million a year on panther protection, has not blocked a single development that altered panther habitat. Former agency employees say every time they tried, “we were told that, politically, it would be a disaster,” said Linda Ferrell, who retired from the agency in 2005.


• To bolster the case for allowing development, agency officials have used flawed science. They even manipulated figures to make it appear at one point as if there were surplus panthers.


• Agency officials say they've required developers and others to make up for destroying the habitat. But their own figures show those efforts have fallen short, and

Iran receives Siberian tigers

Two Siberian tigers from Russia were presented to Iran Friday. The animals will live in a nature reserve in north Iran. Iranians plan to restore tiger population and Siberian tiger is the closest to the species which got extinct in Iran because of poaching. Russia got two Asian leopards in exchange. They are also endangered. The animals will live in

Levines donate $1M endowment to Palm Beach Zoo Animal Care Complex

No matter how you celebrated Earth Day, Melvin and Claire Levine may have you beat.


The Palm Beach couple gave a $1 million endowment to fund operations of the Palm Beach Zoo’s Animal Care Complex.


The center, which bears their name, opened a year ago on Earth Day.


The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified property features drought-tolerant landscaping, building materials and adhesives that emit low amounts of volatile organic compounds, and 80 energy-producing solar panels on the complex’s roof, among other green features.


The complex demonstrates the zoo’s efforts to become one of the most environmentally friendly zoos in the nation, according to Terry Maple, zoo president.


Altogether, the Levines have contributed $4 million to the zoo. A matching grant from the couple allowed the zoo to bring in $500,000 from another source, Maple said.


“When we talked to them about the endowment, they realized that this was a commitment they had made to the advancement of (wildlife) conservation and medicine,” Maple said. “There aren’t many zoos that have this combination. And because of their gift, we were able to recruit one of the top veterinarians

Miami Metrozoo gets major honor

Miami Metrozoo is celebrating another five years of accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. AZA accreditation is recognized as the benchmark for the finest animal care institutions in North America and Miami Metrozoo is the only animal attraction in Miami-Dade County to hold this accreditation. Metrozoo, which has been renamed Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, is consistently rated one of America's Top 10 zoos.


"Your Miami Metrozoo now joins a world community of 221 other accreditated zoos and aquariums, most of them in the United States but we also have members in Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Bermuda, Bahamas and Hong Kong, which all meet the highest standards in zoos and aquariums in the world," said AZA Executive Director Kris Vehrs during Tuesday's Miami-Dade Commission meeting.


"Your Miami Metrozoo is a community asset and a treasure," said Vehrs. "It's a place where people can connect to nature and where we take that next step and inspire our

Lion cub born in Sussex County zoo is part of species extinct in wild

At the Sussex County zoo that was once home to the world’s largest bear, the latest attraction is a 25-pound ball of feline fur named Siren.


The 10-week-old African lion cub was recently born at Space Farms Zoo & Museum in Wantage, which opened today for the season.


Currently the size of a large housecat, the cub looks like a plush toy come-to-life, but her constant pacing, piercing glare and menacing growls reveal her true nature.


The family-owned zoo has had lions for nearly 40 years. But because cub births only occur occasionally, the arrival of a new lion gives Space Farms something to crow about. Siren is the zoo’s fifth-generation of Atlas lions, also known as Barbary lions, which are extinct in the wild.


"We haven’t had a lion cub since 2002, so that’s why it’s a special occasion," said zoologist Lori Space Day. "We don’t

Safari park to be created outside Baku

Azerbaijan is building a new, open zoo at Guzdek, just to the northwest of Baku.


Azerbaijan's minister of ecology and natural resources, Huseyn Bagirov, told a press conference today that the project would be completed in two stages.


'I think that the animals will be held in as natural conditions as possible. The new zoo will have these conditions,' Bagirov said.


He said that specialists from Holland would be involved in creating the safari park.


The first part of the project is

[Ant Control] Sensitive Account: Ant Control at the Zoo

The Caribbean crazy ant is an emerging pest ant in the southeastern United States. So after an infestation was discovered at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Jacksonville, Fla., University of Florida researchers put their IPM skills to the test.


Lions, tigers and giraffes are exotic animals one expects to see when visiting the zoo. Visitors to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Jacksonville, Fla., however may encounter another exotic animal, the Caribbean crazy ant.


The Caribbean crazy ant, Paratrechina pubens (Forel), also known as the brown crazy ant and the hairy crazy ant, is an emerging pest ant in the southeastern U.S., especially in Florida and Texas. Reports describe infestations of enormous numbers of ants foraging in dense trails.


In 2005, an infestation of Caribbean crazy ants was discovered around the administration building at the Jacksonville Zoo. It is believed the ants were introduced to the zoo via potted shrubs brought in for a landscape project. Two years post-introduction, the ants infest more than 140 acres of the zoo. Caribbean crazy ants are a concern to patrons of the zoo who often mistake them for red imported fire ants, another introduced species known for their very painful sting. Although Caribbean crazy ants do not sting, they do infest animal feed and forage, invade buildings becoming a nuisance for occupants, nest in electrical switch boxes causing shorts and service interruptions and have even brought the zoo’s train to a halt due to the density of trailing ants on the tracks.


Little is known about the biology and behavior of these ants and there are no comprehensive control methods. Researchers from the University of Florida (UF) have been invited by the Jacksonville Zoo to investigate the biology, behavior, habitat and diet of the Caribbean crazy ant with the goal of developing an effective Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy.


THE PLAN. The first task was to map the distribution of the ants at the zoo and establish a baseline population to determine success of future control efforts. Mapping the location and relative numbers of ants over time will also provide information about patterns of movement and effects of adverse weather events.


In previously conducted macronutrient preference studies, Caribbean crazy ants at the zoo had demonstrated a preference for proteinacous foods. During the mapping studies, UF researchers placed slices of Vienna sausage at 136 preselected waypoints marked by GPS in 12 separate sampling sites at the zoo. After five minutes, the numbers of ants foraging on the bait were counted and recorded. The bait counts were conducted approximately every six weeks from June 2008 through June 2009.


Weather data were also recorded (visit to see a table that summarizes the data collected from these counts). From the study start, the highest numbers of ants foraging on baits were found at sampling sites 1, 2, 3, 11 and 12. Although there were fluctuations due to weather, the counts remained consistent through the length of the study. Most of the sampling sites with heavy infestation are on the perimeter of the zoo. These sampling sites are adjacent to

Rare tiger drowns in Norfolk zoo

A rare tiger, which played an integral role in a breeding programme ensuring the survival of the endangered species, has drowned in her enclosure at Banham Zoo.


Malyshka, a female Amur (Siberian) tiger, was found lifeless in her territory paddock by her keepers early Sunday morning.


Martin Goymour, zoo director, said an extensive post mortem examination has identified the cause of death to be drowning, but how this occurred to an apparently healthy tigress remains a mystery.


More tragically the post mortem also revealed that Malyshka, who was in the top five most important breeding females in Europe, was pregnant with three cubs which would have been of great importance to the international effort to bolster the Am

St. Louis Zoo worker brews Wild Ass Ale to benefit animal causes

Jim Lovins, a longtime St. Louis Zoo employee and Florissant home brewer, has created a beer recipe that will be contract-brewed at O’Fallon Brewery next month and available for sale at area stores by Memorial Day.


Wild Ass Amber Ale — named for the African Wild Ass, an endangered, zebra-like donkey – is dry-hopped with Willamette hops and oak-aged. It contains

White bengal tigers roar in to Pouakai Zoo

A trio of white tigers have arrived in Taranaki and are ready to roar for the public.


The rare white bengals come from Zion Wildlife Gardens in Northland and will live at New Plymouth's Pouakai Zoo for the next year.


Azra, Anila and Kahli, all young females, are three of only 120 white tigers in the world.


They were bred at the wildlife park for their pale fur and light blue eyes, using parents who also had the recessive white gene.


Zookeeper Bart Hartley, who went to Whangarei to pick up the tigers in a truck on Wednesday, said the girls were settling in well at their new home.


Mr Hartley said the trio spent Thursday in their den and were let out into the enclosure for the first time yesterday, to the displeasure of their fellow inhabitants.


"The lions got a bit fired up; they're a bit snarly about the tigers being on their turf," Mr Hartley said, as Aslan the male lion paced up and down his enclosure.


"But the tigers didn't take any notice, they've grown up around lions."


Vervet the monkey was also a bit put out, and barked his thoughts loudly from

Zoo Atlanta Gets New Rhino; Hopes For More

Andazi Will Be Quarantined 30 Days


Andazi, a 3-year-old female eastern black rhinoceros, is settling into her new home at Zoo Atlanta Thursday.


She made the trip by trailer from Miami Metrozoo, arriving at Zoo Atlanta on Wednesday. She will be quarantined for 30 days before going on view to the public, according to Zoo Atlanta officials.


Andazi is a potential mate for Boma, a 23-year-old rhino who has been at Zoo Atlanta for more than 20 years without producing any offspring.


Boma’s longtime companion, 19-year-old female Rosie, was sent to the Columbus Zoo in November 2009.


Now found only in zoos and on wildlife preserves in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia and South Africa, black rhinos are among Earth’s rarest mammals. Hunted

'Zoo guards did nothing to stop securitymen with Lalu'

A probe into RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav's recent visit to a zoo here with gun-totting securitymen in tow, has revealed that the park guards did nothing to stop them.


Director of the Park Abhay Kumar today said instructions have been issued to disallow securitymen with arms to enter the zoo, and added that "the rule has to be adhered to."


"The probe has revealed that the guards at the gate of the zoo didn't muster courage to stop securitymen accompanying Prasad during his visit to the temple," he said.


Lalu Prasad visited the Sanjay Gandhi Zoological Park here last week to offer prayers at a temple inside the park premises with his security guards carrying sophisticated weapons. The visit had sparked controversy with the zoo authorities

Gaza's only zoo up for sale

Marah Land, Gaza's only zoo, is in danger of closing down.


During Israel's three-week war with Gaza in 2009, almost 90 per cent of the animals in the impoverished zoo were killed.


Since then, securing food, medicine and care for the few that survived has been a daily struggle for the zookeepers.


So, along with its fatigued and

Arabian Center gets groovy with pet animals this Earth Day

The mall houses a live mini zoo in an effort to bring nature closer to its customers


The heat of the summer does not have to deprive you of natures beauty. For the first time, you can experience an indoor pet animal sanctuary at the Arabian Center Mini Zoo. The mall, the latest hotspot for shopping, leisure and entertainment located on Al Khawaneej Road, Dubai, is housing this unique concept from April 22, 2010 as part of its Earth Day celebrations. The zoo will be housed at the Arabian Center for two weeks. Entry to the zoo is free for all.


Commenting on the Arabian Center Mini Zoo, Mr. Tim Jones, COO, Arabian Center, said, We are delighted to host this exceptional display at Arabian Center. Through the live mini zoo concept, we

Noah's Ark farm zoo attracts praise and protests

ANIMAL rights activists say they intend to picket Noah’s Ark at Wraxall every weekend until it closes.


This is despite an inspection of the zoo farm by North Somerset Council giving it a clean bill of health.


Last weekend more than 10 animal rights protesters waving placards stood at the entrance gates of the zoo farm handing out leaflets calling for a boycott of the farm.


Noah’s Ark houses several important species classified as ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.


But it is the big cats and some of the more exotic breeds which are causing conflict between the zoo farm and the animal rights groups.


While one says it is cruel to keep animals in captivity the other says it is helping to save animals on the IUCN Red List like tamarins, rhinos, tapirs and gibbons.


Last year an undercover operation by the Captive Animals Protection Society discovered a dead tiger carcass buried on the farmland and complained sickly animals were being put on display.


Its findings were made into a television documentary for BBC Inside Out West and broadcast last October.


But the inspector called 16 allegations against the zoo farm 'grossly unfair' and exonerated its working practises.


Bristol Animal Rights Collection spokesman Jo Penny said: “Animals don’t belong in captivity and in our view the owners of Noah’s Ark are unable to look after animals.”


Zoo owner Anthony Bush invited the animal rights demonstrators to come and look around for themselves.


Jo said: “Every time he asks us we are always there on a demonstration…it is not appropriate.


“Animals don’t belong in captivity and we don’t agree with its breeding programme and connections with the Great British Circus.


“At the end of an afternoon the animals don’t get to go home, this is their life.”


Given the stalemate I went with my family last weekend to see for myself.


It was the best day of the year so far so with the sun shinning and I even though I lived down the road it was the first time I have visited.


We wandered around the meandering Moat House Farm and its many acres.


All seemed peaceful, clean and well organised and I took the photos which are posted in the Nailsea People gallery.


After the tour Anthony asked the two grandchildren I had in tow what they liked best.


The guinea pigs, chicks and lambs, they enthused.


He said: “Do you mean I go to all this expense to bring in exotic species and you like the domestic animals best?”


My biggest complaint was the entrance cost.


Earlier in the week we went to the Cotswold Wildlife Park at Burford.


This cost £11.50 for adults and £8 for children.


Noah’s Ark is £11 for adults and £9 for children – although on this occasion I did have a complimentary ticket for myself from Christina Bush who is a fellow member of Nailsea and District Chamber of Trade & Commerce.


In my opinion the couple – who are committed creationists – are kind, well-meaning and sincere.


The issue is should animals be kept in cages for captive breeding purposes? What do you think?


Anthony told the children they were hoping for baby rhinos but the pair they had spent more time fighting than canoodling.


However, all this pushing and shoving is for a purpose, he explained.


The female will only breed with a male when he is heavier and at the moment the lady was winning.


On Tuesday, April 27, the zoo farm is to hold a special day to mark Troy the Brazilian Tapir's first birthday on World Tapir Day which will be go global via a webcam.


Tapir keeper Emma Godsell said the threat to the survival of tapirs is indicative of the ecosystems in which they live – and of the many other species that share their forest homes.


She said: “Habitat destruction is the largest threat that they face, but poaching has now become an ever-increasing problem.


“The three Brazilian tapirs we have at Noah’s Ark are hugely popular with both our visitors and webcam viewers throughout the world.


“They have witnessed Troy’s birth and followed his progress since last year and feel a big part of the tapir’s lives.


“We wanted to allow all tapir fans to be included in Troy’s first birthday celebrations”.


The award-winning Noah’s Ark was begun in the late 1990s and attracts more than 130,000 visitors annually.


It is one of the most popular

Two snakes at zoo lost, then found

A Calgary Zoo employee is taking responsibility for two snakes that went missing from their enclosure Monday afternoon.


Zookeeper Garth Irvine, who has worked at the zoo for 23 years, said he left the drain open while cleaning their enclosure. The reptiles were on their own for four hours and when he returned, two Malagasy giant hognosed snakes vanished and a search began immediately.


Zoo officials said Tuesday the reptiles have been found and are being looked after by veterinarians


Irvine said had been worried the reptiles might perish because of his mistake.


"I also deeply regret the fact that I have tarnished the zoo, a place that truly is my home. The people and animals here are part of my family," Irvine said. "I made mistakes yesterday. I should not have left that drain uncovered in spite of the fact that there was a 200-pound python sitting on top of it. I should have got help or waited for her to leave so I could return the drain cover.


The snakes, which are brother and sister, are non-venomous and zoo officials said there was no chance they could have made it into the city's sewer system. The snakes were found Tuesday afternoon just below the drain in the snake enclosure.


The zoo is being reviewed by the A


Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski visited Skopje Zoo yesterday to introduce with its reconstruction, taking into consideration the fact that the government provided funds amounting to Denar 42 million two years ago.


"What I have seen is very impressive. A huge progress was made in the past several months. Zoo garden receives another dimension. The zoo’s ambitions is becoming one of the best zoo gardens in South East Europe for one to two years, which will attract visitors not only from Skopje and Macedonia but from the neighbouring countries," Gruevski said.


Zoo director Dane Kuzmanovski said that the zoo was built in 1926 covering an area of 12 hectares. Over 30 new animals of seven new species were brought and 18 new living areas are built and 85% of the current ones are renovated. At the moment there are 500 animals of 40 species and education centre and botanical garden are established.


Skopje Mayor Koce Trajanovski said that the Skopje city will finance two new area for the elephant and the giraffe. At the next meeting of the coordination body also other mayors of Skopje’s municipality will be asked to donate animal and space for them because this zoo does not belong to Skopje but to all municipalities.


PM Gruevski commended the work of the City of Skopje not only in the reconstruction of the Zoo but also in other projects, which will make Skopje

An Amazing and Slightly Frightening Video (MUST WATCH)

How to cuddle with an elephant seal

The integration of Om and Ah Chong at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

A Competition to Save the Sumatran Tiger

Listen up. If you are between 18 and 25 years of age, are concerned about saving the Sumatran tiger from extinction and live in Indonesia or Germany, then there is a competition that is just for you. Forest Friends, a joint program launched this month by the Indonesian and German chapters of the environmental group World Wildlife Fund, is seeking people to blog about Sumatran tigers and the Sumatran forest.


“This program’s goal is to facilitate the development of creative ideas from young people for saving the environment,” said Annisa Ruzuar, WWF Indonesia’s communications officer for the forest, species and fresh-water program.


Annisa said the group chose to focus on the Sumatran tiger in conjunction with WWF’s Year of the Tiger campaign, which was launched this year.


WWF is an international nongovernmental organization that works on issues regarding conservation, research and the restoration of the environment. The organization is the largest of its kind in the world, with more than five million supporters.


Until May 15, participants can create a blog with articles that discuss the competition’s theme, “Real action to conserve the forest and

New animal species discovered in Borneo

Wildlife researchers said on Thursday they have discovered around 120 new species on Borneo island, including a lungless frog, the world's longest insect and a slug that fires "love darts" at its mate.


Conservation group WWF listed the new finds in a report on a remote area of dense, tropical rainforest that borders Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei on Borneo.


The three governments in 2007 designated the 220,000-square-kilometre (88,000-square-mile) area as the "Heart of Borneo" in a bid to conserve the rainforest.


"We have been finding on average three new species a month and about 123 over the last three years, with at least 600 new species found in the last 15 years," Adam Tomasek, head of WWF's Heart of Borneo initiative told AFP from Brunei.


"The new discoveries just show the wealth of biodiversity on Borneo island and the promise of many more future discoveries that could eventually help cure illnesses like cancer and AIDS and contribute to our daily lives," he said.


The "Heart of Borneo" region is home to 10 species of primate, more than 350 birds, 150 reptiles and amphibians

World grabs more and more toilet paper

NEXT time you reach for the toilet roll, consider this: 60 million rolls of toilet paper are flushed away in Europe every day. And the average American gets though 57 sheets a day, six times the global average.


In a report last week, the Worldwatch Institute in Washington DC highlighted the wastage of paper in rich and rapidly developing nations. In the US, 14.5 million tonnes of office paper and newspaper will be dumped this decade, despite being ideal for recycling as toilet paper.

Zoos want to know why they're excluded from stimulus funds

Zoos and other recreational facilities are ineligible to apply for Federal Stimulus money. But zoo directors say they offer a valuable service to the community, and want to know why they were left out.


When the Federal Stimulus package was approved in March many organizations and programs were looking forward to those dollars to provide much needed funding. But almost all zoos, aquariums, pools, golf courses and casinos are barred from applying for that money. And now they want to know why.


Frank Buck Zoo in Gainesville serves 20 counties in Texas and Oklahoma, mostly as an educational venue.


"Our annual visitation is about 65,000, a lot of that is the school groups that come through in the spring and on into the summer,” said Suzan Kleven, Frank Buck Zoo Director.


While they are seen as a recreational facility, Frank Buck provides a valuable service to the community.


"In the classroom is really important, but just to get out in nature and learn about animals is really important,” said Tammy Neese, a counselor at Bowie Elementary School.


And Kleven said they provide extra activities and programs that are even designed around theachers’ curriculums.


"We've got all sorts of packages to help bring to life their studies and their interests, so we really do bring a lot to the community,” said Kleven.


And it shows as teachers and students were all smiles at school trips



Dusit Zoo's wildlife suffer from rallies
Street rallies in Bangkok are affecting the wildlife at Dusit Zoo, which houses more than 2,000 animals.
The zoo, which is close to the Royal Plaza and parliament where protesters have been gathering, recently relocated 14 animals to provincial zoos.
Three elephants, two cranes, six red kangaroos and three wallabies were moved last month.
The elephants were moved to Songkhla Zoo, while the other animals were sent to Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo.
"We normally relocate animals whose cages are close to Uthong Noi Road, which is close to the gathering site of various protest groups," said Karnchai Saenwong, director of Dusit Zoo.
"Animals that are in other zones will not be moved as they are not much affected by the rallies. We moved them for their own safety. They also may be affected by tear gas if it is used to disperse the protesters." When the situation returned to normal, the animals would be moved back to Dusit Zoo.
Protests by the anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship have caused the number of zoo visitors to drop by almost 90%, said Mr Karnchai.
In March last year, 2,000 to 6,000 people visited the zoo a day. Last month, there were only 1,000 visitors a day.
"We are not worried about losing money, but we are worried about the safety of our animals and visitors should any unexpected incident occur," said the zoo director.
Dusit Zoo was also affected badly when yellow shirt demonstrators led by

'Cute' mate for Delhi Zoo's female gibbon
After a long wait, a 20 something female hoolock gibbon in Delhi Zoo has finally got a mate in five-year-old 'Cute' which arrived here from Itanagar a fortnight ago.
Rescued from Delo village in Lower Dibang Valley district in the Northeast region about two years back, Cute will help authorities in undertaking the species breeding conservation programme.
"Delhi's lone female hoolok gibbon was without a mate for a last few years and arrival of 'Cute' is the outcome of intensive efforts by authorities as per zoo policy which states that no captive animal should be without a partner," says Delhi Zoo director Anand Krishna.
Hoolock gibbon, which falls under

Gorilla's On The Brink

See Bristol Zoo's WebCam by clicking HERE

Gorillas to have new pad at Werribee Zoo
Bachelor gorillas will have a new pad this summer at Werribee Open Range Zoo.
The state government is kicking in $1.5 million towards a new exhibit that will initially house the silverback male Motaba and his two young sons, Yakini and Ganyeka. It will include more males once they are old enough.
"Motaba has already sired five young, so the silverback Rigo has been introduced to the zoo's family group with a view to breeding with the four females," Environment Minister Gavin Jennings said.
"Gorilla family groups are polygamous in nature with only one silverback breeding male in the group at a time."
Mr Jennings said construction of the exhibit was expected to start mid-year and be completed during summer.
"The new exhibit will be located on

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Lego Artisan Creates Endangered Species for Zoo

With the precarious state of ecosystems throughout the world today, it is difficult to know for certain which threatened species will continue to be around for future generations - and which will have gone the way of the Dodo. But as sobering of a legacy that may be, it is increasingly important to raise awareness of these fading animals early and often to the children of today, whose attitudes and actions as adults may determine the fate of the planet's biodiversity. So, with that in mind, one zoo is educating its young visitors

PHOTOS: Girrrrrrl power helps tame the wild beasts at Naples Zoo

Everybody laughed at Cindy Hall when she first said she wanted to become a zoo keeper.


“I remember being 5 years old. We found a baby bunny with a broken leg and took it to the vet,” said Hall, who grew up in Maysville, Ky. “They asked me what I wanted to be and I said a veterinarian or a zoo keeper. I couldn’t pronounce ‘veterinarian’ and I didn’t really know what a zoo keeper was.”


Now the 15-year-veteran zoo keeper is one of 14 female zoo keepers working at the Naples Zoo. Her job includes feeding alligators, giving public lectures on wildlife and training ocelots — a wild cat indigenous to Central and South America. Hall said it’s more

Chinese zoo leaves tigers outside sports centre over land dispute

Two tigers and a lion are the latest victims of land theft in China to take their grievances to the streets.


The big cats, each in its own individual cage, have taken up positions in front of a sports centre next door to their home in Zhengzhou City Zoo, in central Henan province, to press for the return of land borrowed 26 years ago.


On a fence dividing the zoo from the sports centre hangs a banner reading: “Return our 50 mu of land, return the greenery to the people.”


The long-running dispute between the zoo and the sports centre came to a head after it emerged that there were no plans to return the land. Instead, the borrowed land was to be developed into a street of bars and

The curious case of the Kiwi hedgehog

Hugh Warwick was a vocal opponent of the cull of hedgehogs on the Scottish islands known as the Outer Hebrides. However, in this week's Green Room, he argues that sometimes there are compelling reasons to support a cull.


Killing hedgehogs is wrong, isn't it? The public outcry against the cull of hedgehogs in the Outer Hebrides was intense.


So why am I, a devoted fan who helped end the cull of Hebridean hedgehogs, finding it hard to argue against the killing of hedgehogs in New Zealand?


The reason begins back in the mid-19th Century. In retrospect, what happened seems a little foolish. No, more than that, it seems barking mad. New Zealand is still cleaning up the mess that arrived thanks to the 1861 Animal Acclimatization Act.


The Act enabled the establishment of Acclimatization Societies to help ease the pains of being so far from home. There were some pretty obvious species that were shipped

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Government to move Laxmi, Anarkali out of Byculla zoo

Nearly 15 days after Laxmi killed an unidentified man at the Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan in Byculla, the state government has decided to shift the elephant and her zoo mate, Anarkali, to the custody of the forest department.

Some people should not be allowed to keep animals and others should not be allowed within a hundred yards of them

Asia’s biggest zoo beckons tourists

Area-wise it is Asia’s biggest Zoo and is named after the Lord of Seven Hills. Spread over an area of 2,212 hectares of natural forest, Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park is all geared up to entertain the summer visitors.


It boasts of a wide variety of animals including 75 species of animals, birds and reptiles. In all, there are 1,008 animals. Unlike other zoos, SV Zoo Park has been developed on a mythological theme. It highlights the role of wild animals in mythology. SV Zoo Park, which has not witnessed any notable development since its inception in 1987, is now adding feather after feather to its tail, after P Ramachandra Reddy, who hails from the district, took over as Forest and Environment Minister.


Earlier, the visitors used to return from the zoo with pale faces, as they were not only dissatisified but also tired, with going round the zoo on foot. Though private vehicles are allowed inside the premises for a price, after paying the entry ticket, majority of the people are not in a state to hire the vehicles and are left with no option but to walk. But, the introduction of a train and battery-operated golf carts enable the visitors to round up the entire zoo and watch all the species only for a marginal charge of Rs 20 per a person.


Some of the salient features of zoo are the recently introduced Lion Safari. The beautiful and colourful winged associates of man, the birds, do have befitting place in the zoo and they include Pelicans, Ducks, Parakeets, Macaws, Peacocks, etc..


The creation of herbivores safari, ropeway, mono rail and others are on

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Spring is in the air for Vienna zoo's pandas

Hopes are high in Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo that the patter of tiny bear paws could be heard soon after its two pandas, Yang Yang and Long Hui, mated twice this week, the zoo said Tuesday.


Schoenbrunn already made history when Fu Long, Europe's first panda to be naturally conceived in captivity, was born there in August 2007.


Coupling of pandas in captivity is extremely difficult, since females are only fertile three or four days a year.


But the arrival of spring in the Austrian capital this year appears to have also set the hearts aflutter of Yang Yang and Long Hui, who mated twice on Monday, the zoo said in a statement.


The panda pair even chose the same place in their pen as last time for their mating, the statement said.


"Now, we have to be patient and see if we're going to have a new birth in three or six months' time," the zoo's experts said.


With pandas, a pregnancy can last between

Endangered species stamp celebrates Scottish wildcat

The Scottish wildcat is featuring on a new stamp which aims to highlight the plight of endangered animals in the UK.


Experts believe there could be as few as 400 wildcats left in the wild, making it even rarer than the Bengal tiger.


The survival of the wildcat, also known as the Highland tiger, is threatened by interbreeding with domestic cats.


Dr David Hetherington, of Cairngorms Wildcat Project, said the "iconic" animal was now seriously endangered.


But he added: "If everyone pulls together, for example by making sure their pet cats are neutered and vaccinated and by reporting wildcat sightings, I'm sure we can save our Highland tiger from extinction."


'Conservation message'


Helping to launch the stamp was Seasaidh, a three-year-old Scottish wildcat from the Highland Wildlife

Climate link found in strange Arctic bird deaths

‘You see a bird for apparently no good reason fly into the cliff and die’


Like scenes out of Gary Larson's "Far Side" comic strip, scientists have discovered a tragicomedy playing out in deaths of Arctic seabirds.


Some crash into each other in heavy fog. Others perish when heavy winds slam them into cliffs. Still others simply bleed to death after being attacked by mosquito swarms.


"We saw birds dying of what at best could be called Gary Larson events," said Mark Mallory of the Canadian Wildlife Service in Iqaluit. "You see a bird for apparently no good reason

Circus elephant kills 13-year-old boy

A 13-year old boy was killed Saturday by an elephant belonging to a traveling circus in the southern province of Dong Nai.


Pham Xuan Tin, a sixth grader in Bien Hoa Town, and several friends found an elephant chained to a truck inside a local stadium at around noon. They sneaked in and teased the elephant by throwing stones and pulling its tail, a student said.


The upset animal, weighing more than two tons, tried to attack them with its trunk. Tin failed to run away in time and the elephant grasped him in its trunk and flung him to the ground twice.


Tin suffered brain injuries and died on the way to hospital.


Nguyen Van Hung, deputy head of Sao Mai Circus, said his troupe had come from the northern province

Parks, zoo try to clear bats' bad rep with public

Nocturnal creatures are focus of new educational program on good that animals achieve


Bats, commonly believed to be nocturnal marauders or vampire-like bloodsuckers, often frighten people and send them running for cover.


But it's an undeserved rap, experts say.


''Bats are one of the most misunderstood, most important animals in the world,'' said Autumn Russell, director of education at the Akron Zoo.


They won't get stuck in your hair. They aren't flying rats and they don't carry rabies in greater numbers than other wild species, she said.


And the kind that sucks blood is found only in Hollywood horror movies.


There is no question, bats aren't all that cute and cuddly, Russell admitted. Insect-eating bats have wrinkled faces to help funnel radar-like echoes as they search for food, Russell said.


Bat expert Mike Johnson, chief of natural resources for Metro Parks, Serving Summit County, believes society's dislike of the bat is unfounded.


''Any nocturnal animal has the connotation of fear. The fact





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Ocelot found out of usual element
Mysterious carcass sparks debate, interest
A phone call Texas game warden Matthew Waggoner took two weeks ago was like one game wardens and wildlife biologists get every year.
Folks regularly contact Texas Parks and Wildlife Department with reports they have seen, photographed or found some dead unusual animal — one that doesn’t exist, is extinct in Texas or is so rare and the report coming from so far from the animal’s range that it’s unlikely the caller saw what he thought he saw.
Almost without exception, they are mistaken. The black panther turns out to be a large feral house cat or bobcat. The jaguarundi is really an otter. The wolf is a big coyote or a feral dog. The chupacabra is just a dog or coyote with a bad case of mange.
So when Waggoner got word a woman claimed to have found a dead ocelot along Highway 180 between Mineral Wells and Palo Pinto in north-central Texas, he was properly dubious.
The nation’s entire population of ocelots consists of fewer than 100 animals in two small patches of habitat in Texas’ Cameron and Willacy counties near the mouth of the Rio Grande.
While the medium-sized cat’s range once covered coastal and eastern Texas before habitat destruction and unregulated hunting reduced them to the two remaining pockets
For sale: the rarest animals on earth
A flourishing illegal online trade in exotic animals is threatening the survival of many species. Sonia Van Gilder Cooke investigates just what creatures are for sale
From Burmese pythons to pygmy marmosets, there is a roaring illegal trade in animals online. A recent convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species found one rare species – the Kaiser's spotted newt (an orange and black salamander in the highland streams of Iran) – now numbers fewer than 1,000 adults in the wild because of internet trading. So what can you find on the internet? In just one day, I discovered dealers who appear to be selling some of the rarest species on earth.
Within a few hours, I was staring at an advert for one of the world's most endangered creatures. It read, "Very superb, jumbo size and most of all very rare". Only 200 mature ploughshare tortoises survive in the bamboo scrublands of north Madagascar; the rest, it seems, are online. And what would this pair of 30-year-old tortoises cost? £24,000, and a trip to Kuala Lumpur: there's no international
Missing monkey captured in Cumbrian church
A missing South American monkey has been recaptured in a church, five days after escaping from an enclosure at a Cumbrian wild animal park.
The small Capuchin went missing from the South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Dalton on 8 April.
Park staff called in police, fearing for the animal's safety.
The monkey was spotted close to Dalton Railway Station on Tuesday and eventually recaptured when it ran
Black rhino calf makes Dubbo zoo debut
A black rhinoceros calf has made her public debut at NSW's Taronga Western Plains Zoo, watched by hordes of excited children on school holidays.
Born on February 17, the calf is the latest addition to the Dubbo zoo's rhino herd, which includes white, black and Indian rhinoceroses.
After weeks of careful monitoring away from public glare at the open range zoo, the 40-kilogram tot was given star treatment on Tuesday.
Zoo staff said parents and children gathered early to catch a glimpse of the calf.
"She seems unfazed by the public attention but isn't straying far from first-time mum Bakhita," says zoo spokeswoman Shallon McReaddie.
"She seemed quite relaxed
Bristol Zoo's £70m appeal for wildlife park
A giant wildlife park could open near Bristol by 2017 – but only if £70million is raised in the next few years.
The project, currently being called The National Wildlife Conservation Park is vast – a 136-acre site by junction 17 of the M5, which will be made up of different areas representing a number of threatened ecosystems.
Sallie Blanks, one of the Bristol Zoo team behind the plans, told Bristol business leaders yesterday that the zoo had an extraordinary project ahead of them.
Conservationist Tony Fitzjohn: born to be wild
When Tony Fitzjohn was hired by the conservationist George Adamson to replace his assistant, killed by a lion, he had found his calling. Four decades and one near-fatal mauling of his own later, Fitzjohn is the last of a dying breed. Jessamy Calkin meets him at his rhino sanctuary in Tanzania.
Arriving at Mkomazi, the national park in northern Tanzania established by Tony Fitzjohn, we are met by his wife, Lucy. 'I'm just getting the children's rooms ready for you,' she says apologetically, 'because a couple of elephants went on the rampage last night and trampled the guest tents.' The children have just left for boarding school; the elephants have scarpered, and Fitzjohn himself appears, smiles briefly and barks orders in Swahili into his radio. His staff call him the governor, everyone else calls him Fitz. He is a restless, good-looking man in shorts and a singlet that doesn't conceal the leathery scars on his neck and shoulders caused by his near-fatal mauling by a lion. He reports that he and Ephraim, the night-watchman, had to chase the elephants off with a JCB and a tractor. There is a drought; they had come in search of water and when they found none they ripped up the guest tent. While tearing out the shower and


Denver Zoo is a Sustainability Champion! Recently, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Connected Organizations for a Responsible Economy (CORE) recognized Denver Zoo as one of three Sustainability Champions for their efforts to reduce waste and greenhouse emissions, among other accomplishments. Winners were selected from more than 100 entries. A team of judges examined how each candidate met criteria for the environment, economy, society, innovation and education.
Denver Zoo’s efforts were intently shaped by its Workplace Conservation Committee, which has worked for several years to make the zoo’s operations more sustainable. Their efforts were especially noticeable in wide-ranging environmental initiatives. In 2009 zoo employees logged 156,000 commuter miles using alternative transportation such as public bus, light rail, walking, biking, and carpooling. The zoo diverted about 680 tons of compostable material from the landfill between 2008 and 2009 and recycled 2,600 pounds of electronic waste, 37 tons of commingled recycling, 54 tons of cardboard and 6.25 tons of metal.
“We’re a conversation organization, and we’re here to protect a secure habitat for all species,” said Denver Zoo Sustainability Coordinator Jennifer Hale. “Being sustainable just rolls into that mission.”
Additionally, Denver Zoo was recognized for its innovative, educational and economical thinking. The zoo is developing its gasification system, which will develop a way to use waste to generate heat and power and divert about 90 percent of its waste stream from landfills. The zoo
Dolphin that didn't fit in at MN Zoo starts new life in Chicago
Having trouble fitting in since her mother died, Spree the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, below, has been moved from the Minnesota Zoo to a new home in Chicago.
Making the charter-flight trip Wednesday with 8-year-old Spree were three other dolphins that since last summer had been living at the Minnesota Zoo while Chicago's Brookfield Zoo renovated its Seven Seas Dolphinarium.
Spree had difficulty fitting in with the dolphin pod since her mother, Rio, died in 2006 at age 35, according to zoo officials in Apple Valley.
In Rio's absence, Spree
Experts complete Calgary Zoo review
A team of experts has finished a draft report looking into operations at Calgary Zoo.
The review team completed the draft about two weeks ago and sent it to the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums and its American counterpart, said Nancy McToldridge, chairwoman of the review team and director at the Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens in California.
"Those organizations will review it, but not change content," McToldridge said in an e-mail.
The associations are expected to finish with the report in about another week.
It then comes back to the review team for final approval before it will be submitted to the Calgary Zoo, said McToldridge.
Once the report arrives in Calgary, zoo officials will take some time to put together an action plan addressing the issues, said spokeswoman Laurie Herron. Once the plan is in place, the report will
Mystery unveiled: Cross-breed cub is a female; named Chitra
The mystery on the gender of the mixed-breed cub, born to yellow tigress and fathered by a white Royal Bengal tiger, was unveiled today. The 13-day-old cub turned out to be a female and was named Chitra by Minister for Forests and Wildlife Preservation Tikshan Sud.
The zoo authorities had to wait for the tigress to get used to human touch after giving birth to the cub on April 2. After eight days, she stopped licking, caressing and feeding Chitra. It was then the authorities of Chhatbir Zoological Park decided to put her on hand rearing. Last year, the tigress, Chorni, had a miscarriage.
On the ninth day, zoo keepers observed reduced feeding by the mother, who later completely stopped. As the cub became weak, it was shifted to the zoo hospital on April 11 for hand rearing due to the mother’s lactating problem. On the
Gibbons, the smallest of the apes, find sanctuary in Summerville
Tucked away on the back roads of a quiet southern town, surrounded by the very gibbons she has vowed to protect, lives a powerful woman who knows how to keep promises.
Each morning, for the past 37 years, as Dr. Shirley McGreal and her dedicated staff have worked to make the world a better place for all primates, the whoop-whoop-wooing of the gibbons happy songs outside their office windows, have been a constant reminder
Lions from Bulgaria will be flown to Lionsrock, South Africa
Two lions from Bulgaria will be transported to South Africa, after they were rescued by Four Paws from private owners across the country and brought to Sofia Zoo for temporary treatment, a Four Paws media statement announced on April 14.
Lea, a cub from the Bulgarian town of Haskovo, was brought to Sofia in good condition. Reportedly, she is young, playful and non- aggressive. She is due to be flown to Lionsrock in South Africa within a month.
She will be taken to Africa along with a four-year-old lioness Aphrodite. The lioness was saved from a private hotel in Melnik at the end of March 2010.
Lionsrock is a sanctuary in the eastern free state of South Africa for big cats, about 18 km from Bethlehem and about 300 km from Johannesburg. Once there, the animals will live in an environment closer to their natural habitat, the report said.
The European animal welfare organisation Four Paws, which
Marten captured at site of crested ibis slayings
A male marten was captured Tuesday night at a conservation center where nine rare Japanese crested ibises were killed in March, the Environment Ministry announced Wednesday.
The marten was captured in the same cage at the Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center on Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture, where the nine slain ibises were being prepared for release into the wild. Based on fur found in the enclosure after the attack, the birds are thought to have been killed by a marten, though it is not yet
New Conservation Efforts At Fort Worth Zoo
The new herpetarium at the Fort Worth Zoo has an interesting treasure between its walls that most visitors will never see.
There are four quarantined rooms being used to breed animals that are on the brink of extinction.
The zoo's Museum of Living Art, or MOLA, is now home to more than 5,000 reptiles and amphibians. But the new $19 million exhibit is helping the zoo take part in a worldwide effort.
"It's a mass extinction event that's happening with amphibian species," said Diane Barber. She's the Curator of Ectotherms at the zoo. She's helping lead the U.S. effort in saving some critically endangered
Every (Wild) Dog Has Its Day
We humans are suckers for certain kinds of wildlife, from lions to elephants. I hadn’t known I was a zebra fan until I drove my rented car into a traffic jam of zebras here. My heart fluttered.
As for rhinos, they’re so magnificent that they attract foreign aid. Women here in rural Zimbabwe routinely die in childbirth for lack of ambulances or other transport to hospitals, and they get no help. But rhinos in this park get a helicopter to track their movements.
Then there are animals that don’t attract much empathy. Aardvarks. Newts. And, at the bottom tier, African wild dogs.
Wild dogs (which aren’t actually wild dogs, but never mind that for now) are a species that has become endangered without anyone raising an eyebrow. Until, that is, a globe-trotting adventurer named Greg Rasmussen began working with local villages to rebrand the dogs — and save them from extinction.
It’s a tale that offers some useful lessons for do-gooders around the world, in clever marketing and “branding,” and in giving local people a stake in conservation. For if it’s possible to rescue a despised species with a crummy name like “wild dogs,” any cause can have legs.
Mr. Rasmussen was born in Britain but grew up partly in Zimbabwe. He bounced around the world for years as a sailor, zookeeper and kennel owner, surviving a charging elephant, a venomous 12-foot black mamba
Rare lemur species born in Dundee
Pair of red-bellied lemurs - believed to be the only pair in the UK - born at Camperdown Wildlife Centre.
An extremely rare species of lemur has given birth to a pair of twins - believed to be the only pair in the UK - at a Dundee wildlife park.
The tiny pair of red-bellied lemurs were born at the Camperdown Wildlife Centre last month.
The birth of twins is extremely rare among red-bellied lemurs. The pair are the only set of twins in Scotland - and believed to be the only pair in the UK.
The future of Red bellied lemurs is vulnerable due to a threat to their natural habitat in the tropical forests
Zoo needs more funds, less bad press
Although the National Parks Commission (NPC) has been receiving increased funding, Board Chairman John Caesar yesterday said that the Georgetown zoo requires a lot more for its development.
Breaking a month of silence on the condition of the city zoo, Caesar told a news conference that the NPC was concerned about the negative publicity the Georgetown zoo has received recently and stressed that the facility is a “critical treasure” that requires more funds to meet its developmental needs.
Funding, according to Caesar, has increased significantly over the years. In fact, government subventions increased by 27% from 2003 to 2006. Last year, it received $110.2M. It must be remembered, Caesar urged, that this amount is used to support the National Park in Georgetown, the Kaieteur Park, the zoo and several other locations for which NPC is also responsible. Last year, $28.5M of the total sum given to the commission was allocated to the zoo. Despite this, Caesar said, the zoo still needs $75M to $80M to get other works done.
Although he added that the NPC is not adverse to criticism, he explained that the Board decided to hold the press briefing in order to deal with recent negative publicity, in wake of reports by Stabroek News.
The lack of space, poor housing facilities and poor health and safety practices as it related to the animals at the zoo were highlighted in recent reports. The poor working conditions and lack of safety gear for zookeepers were also pointed out and later a former senior manager came forward and blamed the situation on a combination of poor decisions by NPC and inadequate funding. Stabroek News had also viewed a decade old management report that provided evidence of some of the same issues needing to
Swamp deer remains dear to Lucknow zoo
When it comes to breeding of swamp deer, Lucknow zoo has a clear edge over other zoos in the country. Reason being that the zoo is home to 57 swamp deer. In addition, the animal has been the mainstay of zoo’s exchange programme.
"We have got many animals in exchange of our swamp deer," said zoo director Renu Singh. Currently, there are 19 males, 27 females and 11 unsexed deer. And with the scientific breeding of the species already on the cards, the future for this schedule (I) animal appears bright. The present lot of 57 deer has descended from the founder stock which had come from Bahraich way back in 1965. And now, they have presence in almost all the zoos of the country, viz, Kanpur, Mysore, Nandan Kanan, Jhaldapara, Hyderabad and Delhi. In fact, the zoo has got many
The Year of dead Tigers
Was the starvation of 11 Siberian tigers an isolated incident or the tragic consequence of a larger issue? Hu Yongqi and Wu Yong in Shenyang, and Cao Li and Wang Zhuoqiong in Beijing report.
After the starvation deaths of 11 tigers in Northeast China, animal rights campaigners this week attacked owners of private zoos for "caring more about profit than animal welfare".
The scandal at Shenyang Forest Wild Animals Zoo, which was exposed by disgruntled staff last week, not only raises fears about the poor management of these facilities, but also highlights the government's lax supervision, experts claimed.
The Siberian tigers, which died of malnutrition between December and February, were among 40 at the zoo. "Another three are in critical condition and one of them is on the verge of death," said Zhang Chenglin, director of the veterinary hospital at Beijing Zoo and one of three experts who investigated the tragedy. "We are not sure if the tigers can be saved."
It is not the first time the zoo has been mired in scandal. In 2009, two tigers, allegedly also dying of starvation, were shot dead after they mauled their handlers in separate incidents.
The park in Liaoning province is currently closed to the public, according to a security guard on duty on Tuesday. Almost two thirds of its 145 staff went on strike over unpaid wages on March 10 but city officials said the dispute has been
Two lion cubs escape Beltrami County wildlife park, briefly
You've heard of the lion lying down with the lamb. But what about lion cubs on the lam?
Two cubs were found Thursday morning in a Beltrami County yard along Hwy. 2, wrestling with a dog, the Sheriff's Office said, adding that no one was hurt.
The 6-month-old males, from the nearby Paul Bunyan's Animal Land, bumped open a gate on a temporary pen used during some cleaning and went for a walk, according to the Sheriff's Office. The cubs, Marjan and Aslan, respond by name and are fed by hand.
The cubs followed 


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Zoo asks city to raze aviary exhibit
City lawmakers are calling a request by the board of the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park to raze the zoo's aviary building "perplexing" and "a shame."
The City Council has asked to tour the A-frame building the city owns at the zoo to determine how the exhibit can be used and whether the city should renovate it.
"If it's deteriorating, then it should be fixed and used for its intended purpose," Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham said. "It's an odd-looking and unique structure. I'm perplexed by the letter asking for it to be demolished."
In letters to the council, the zoo's board said the structure, which was built in 1979, has fallen into disrepair. The board requested that the city raze the structure by
Zoo director interviews begin this week
The city of Topeka is set to begin interviews for the position of zoo director. The job was vacated by the retirement of Mike Coker in December. His retirement came after non-compliance citations from the USDA and an outside inspection by a three-member team from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
City spokesman David Bevens says the interviews of the five candidates will start late this week and continue into next week. All five are from outside the city. They will be interviewed by a six-member panel, including city manager Norton Bonaparte.
The city is not releasing the names of the candidates
Zookeepers in China eat monkey meat
Zookeepers at a zoo in China are eating monkey and giraffe meat believing that these have extra nutritional value, a media report said.
The bizarre report came from a soon-to-be-opened zoo in Dongguan in China's Guangdong province, where dead animals were reportedly given away as gifts or eaten by zoo workers, Global Times reported.
The Xiangshi Zoo, which plans to open in July, is an animal lover's nightmare, the report said.
The tiger enclosure is smelly because it is never cleaned and their excrement is allowed to pile up while no animal keeper attends to the big cats.
Some wild animals purchased from zoos in other cities could not get acclimatised to the local weather and food. Thus, many giraffes, peacocks and monkeys sent from Beijing died.
'A giraffe transported from Beijing in December 2009 was weak when it arrived. It just lay in the cage and died, while two monkeys and several peacocks died two weeks ago,' a zoo employee was quoted as saying.
Another employee said several animals that died at the zoo were either eaten by staff members or sent to friends as gifts, believing that wild animal meat has extra nutritional value.
'The workers at the zoo surely cannot eat the whole giraffe. Therefore, some
New species unveiled at wildlife park
A pack of six Black-backed jackals are now roaming the grounds of the Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort (AWPR).
This is the first time at AWPR that this species has been presented to the public. The pack consists of two males and four females. ??As the name suggests the Black-backed Jackal’s most distinctive feature is the mantle of black hair on the back that contrasts with its rust-coloured body.
Indigenous to the Southern and Eastern regions of Africa, the Black-backed Jackal is one of the few animals that mate for life. While they are not currently
Frog Tadpoles Scream Underwater
Breaking out of the zoo: study finds high risk of species escape
Lax security at zoos is putting ecosystems at risk for invasion by exotic species according to a new study by researchers in Spain.
Mar?a Fabregas and fellow study-authors evaluated 63 of the existing 83 zoological parks in the country. They found that 221 out of the 1,568 evaluated enclosures were not secure against animal escape.
Of these, 98 (48.3%) were deemed insecure because the public could release the animals directly.
Zoos already are the 2nd biggest contributor of exotic species invasions in Europe. At least, 82 non-native terrestrial vertebrate species have been introduced to the continent as a consequence of zoo escapes.
The study did not mention the specific species - though after searching, I found references to the sacred ibis as an example.
The study found that non-secure enclosures held 183 different
Japanese Zoo Features Fish Vending Machine
You've all seen it: thoughtless people throwing popcorn and junk food to zoo animals regardless of how many "Do Not Feed The Animals!" signs are posted in plain sight. The critters eat what's tossed their way because they don't know any better; the idiot humans SHOULD know better but , well, they're idiots. The result is sick animals living in littered enclosures.
G.W. Exotic Animal Park Receives Special Guest
The G.W. Exotic Animal Park located in Wynnewood, Oklahoma was surprised last Wednesday with an amazing white lion as a loan through a Texas Corporation to draw more visitors to the park to help boost customers during the summer. The park was hit with a devastating ice storm and a series of very unusual snow storms which all but closed its doors.
Casper the white lion was born at the zoo in Belgrade Serbia nearly two years ago. He was bottle raised by Nadja, one of the zoo's caretakers. Nadja spent sleepless nights taking care of the rare infant and his brother and with time they grew into two of the worlds' rare pure white lions. At the age of almost two, Casper flew across the world to live it up at the G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma. Casper is now living in a large compound getting all the prime rib he wants and is sharing the park with some very rare neighbors. Casper is just feet away from two of the park's rare Barbary Lions which took part in a DNA program with an African group studying Barbary Lions.
Casper was well cared for by Nadja who spent endless
Painting Beluga

Surat zoo plans to get lions in exchange for Indian Otters
Keen to get a pair of Asiatic lions, the Surat zoo officials have once again approached the Rajkot zoo and Sakkarbaug Zoo in Jungadh. This time, they plan to exchange it with Indian Otters. The captive breeding of Indian Otters is successfully done only in Surat, according to the zoo officials.
Sarthana Zoo, run by the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC), lost the hybrid Lioness Sita (21) in 2008. Sita, along with Bahadur, were brought from a Ranchi zoo nearly five years ago. While there was hardly any chance of Sita producing offspring as she was already 19 when she was brought here, her companion Bahadur was also showing signs of aging.
“We would like to have a couple of Asiatic lions so that we can keep them for public display, and if everything goes well, we would also go for captive
Lion cubs to test alien species law
A pair of African lion cubs seized by conservation officers could be the first test of B.C.’s new alien species legislation.
Environment Minister Barry Penner confirmed that the lion cubs were seized as part of an investigation in the Cariboo region in March. He declined to comment on a news report that the cubs were seized from Kim Carlton, whose property near 100 Mile House was the site of a fatal attack by a Siberian tiger in 2007, until Crown prosecutors decide if they will proceed with charges.
The death of 32-year-old Tania Dumstrey-Soos prompted the B.C. government to act, and new provisions of the Wildlife Act came into full effect on April 1. Possession or breeding of restricted species now requires a licence, which for now at least can be obtained at no charge.
The list of species is long, from the Asiatic elephant to the snow leopard to the yellow-blotched pit viper. It includes dozens of mammals, snakes and reptiles, plus three types of poison dart
Zoo tigers to roam free
Imagine coming face to face with a Bengal tiger, separated only by a (toughened) glass wall. That's as close you can get to this ferocious cat and live to take a picture of it. And you can soon do this, right here in the city, at the Alipore Zoological Gardens.
The oldest zoo in the country is set to become the first to have a massive all-glass enclosure for tigers.
Severely criticized for decades by the zoo community and conservationists for its cramped cages, Alipore zoo is taking a step at liberating the king of beasts. The open air enclosure will sprawl over 90,000 square feet of trees, grass and waterbodies, where a single tiger will roam supreme.
The plan has been approved by the Central Zoo Authority of India (CZAI), say sources. This will entail a lot of modification of the entire zoo by rearranging the enclosures in a particular order. The white tiger and white fallow deer enclosures will be merged to make the glass enclosure (the erstwhile occupants will be moved elsewhere).
Over the years, Alipore zoo has grown somewhat unplanned, in an unscientific manner, admit officials. A lot of places have been left unutilised, while a few places are overcrowded. "The most important thing right now is a complete rearrangement of enclosures for



THE great zoo debate has divided the nation after the Sunday Express revealed a Labour minister wants a ban on animal collections.
One side believes zoos protect endangered species, while others say they are relics of the Victorian era.
The debate – which followed last week’s story “Labour call to ban zoos” – generated a huge phone poll vote with 57 per cent of callers in favour of zoos and 42 per cent against.
Charities Minister Angela Smith sparked the debate, saying: “It’s inappropriate to keep wild animals in captivity in this way. You can’t shut down every zoo tomorrow, but we have to set a point in the future where we don’t bring in any more animals, then set another point saying ‘This is the last zoo’.”
Ms Smith, MP for Basildon in Essex, revealed she had received letters from children who were upset at the conditions in which animals were kept.
The internationally respected London Zoo last night said it welcomed the debate.
A spokeswoman for the Zoological Society of London, which runs the zoos in Regent’s Park as well as Whipsnade, said: “We constantly carry out and fund research into animal care and conservation so we can advance our understanding. The comments of Angela Smith represent her personal view, not those of the Government.
“It is a shame when someone’s preconceptions result in t

Olympic-sized pool at the cost of a rare marine zoo
On the busy Veer Savarkar Marg, a few steps away from the mayor’s bungalow, Dr Nandkumar Moghe and volunteers for the Wildlife Wanderers Nature Foundation (WWNF) have nursed a treasure of marine life over the last 25 years. From Baob, the African knife-fish, the Red-fin Barb from Argentina, the Moon Oscar to the Leopard fish (scat) that were found in the deluge of July 26, 2005, the modest marine zoo has been home to over 250 different and rare species until recently.
But if the BMC has its way, the marine zoo will be replaced with the Mahatma Gandhi swimming pool that the corporation is currently renovating. The WWNF was served an eviction notice by the BMC on April 9. “They served the notice in the evening and asked us to vacate the premises in 72 hours,” Moghe said.
Left with no option, the WWNF then moved the city civil court seeking a stay on the eviction notice. WWNF’s advocate Jamshed Mistry told the court that the corporation has allotted the 2005 square meters of land at the prime location in June 1986 for the “unique project” of breeding rare marine life and medicinal forests.
In 1992, when the BMC had first tried to evict WWNF from the premises, the high court had heavily come down on the corporation and stated in its order, “Should the court be a silent spectator when the municipal authorities forcibly take possession and brutally destroys the property of the citizens?” The court

Marineland may end up being used as a bus centre
Napier's Marineland, one of Hawke's Bay's top tourist attractions since the mid-1960s, could be turned into a bus centre.
An adventure park or water park has also been suggested for the Marine Pde site once the marine zoo is finally closed.
The options are being considered by Napier City Council, according to documents obtained by The Dominion Post under the Official Information Act.
About 50 animals, including seals, sea lions and penguins, remain in the zoo, which has been closed to the public for a year because visitor numbers dropped sharply after the last dolphins died.
It will cost the council $606,000 to maintain the zoo during the coming financial year.
An ambitious redevelopment plan, based on work by Wellington company 3D Creative, has been examined by the council but mayor Barbara Arnott says the $11 million-plus cost is not affordable.
That means there is no chance that Marineland will reopen in anything like its present form, though the possibility of keeping some of the animals in a new attraction has not been ruled out. No decisions have been made on finding new homes for the remaining animals.
The council has a resolution on its books that, if Marineland is shut permanently, the site will be used for a new tourist attraction with a "wow factor".
However, council sources say that anything with a genuine wow factor now seems to be beyond the council's budget, and the Marineland replacement will be something

Wolves v hamsters: a risk assessment
Wolves have been contentious in Scottish wildlife circles over recent years, mainly due to the long-running attempt by the Alladale estate to reintroduce them to our hills and glens.
Even Alladale, however, with its formidable PR machine, has never managed to generate column inches by daring to compare the relative ferocity of wolves and hamsters. But that’s what has happened this week. Yes, that’s right – wolves versus hamsters.
It started on Tuesday, when a wolf escaped from the Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig. This was widely reported, and the BBC interviewed Douglas Richardson, the park’s animal collection manager. In describing how the wolf was returned to its enclosure, Richardson argued that there had never been any risk to public safety. “There is so much mythology about how dangerous wolves are,” he said. “Your average hamster is more dangerous.”
Blimey. Either Richardson had been misquoted, or that was quite some claim – so The Caledonian Mercury, concerned about the risk to hamster-owning children across the country, did its civic duty and sought clarification.
“My comment, although a tad exaggerated,” said Richardson on Thursday, “was to underline the fact that wolves have a reputation for being dangerous that is not deserved, and hamsters are common pets that are small and cute and fluffy and are notorious biters.
“In my own experience of over 30 years working with wolves in a wide range of facilities, I and no-one I know has ever been attacked. This is particularly key as it is routine to work in with wolves, as opposed to moving them to an adjacent enclosure as you would with a big cat or a bear. Wolves will generally keep their distance, although sometimes a more confident individual may come closer for a look at you. Occasionally a dominant animal, usually a male, will solicit play behaviour, but never aggressive or attack behaviour.
"On the other hand, hamsters are notorious for biting the hand that feeds them, especially when they have not been gradually habituated to handling by their owners or are disturbed when sleeping during the day. Introducing one hamster to another can be fraught and violent and blood is usually drawn.
“Of course wolves are physically capable of doing real damage as they are large powerful animals with large sharp teeth and a strong bite, but they don’t. You would be very unl

Baby Rhino Requires Assistance for Eating
Blood sores in the white rhino calf's eyes intended that he had problem finding his mother Kito's tits to suckle milk from them.
Hamilton Zoo Acting Director, Samantha Kudeweh said that she had not heard of anyone having milked a rhino in Australasia.
Rhinos are usually docile animals and milking one was a thrilling experience, but obviously with an element of risk.
Mrs. Kudeweh said, "If they get a fright they flick round and they can't see particularly well so they rush towards something if they don't know what it is".
But sitting under a mother rhino and hand-milking her had not been a frightening experience. She said that they do a lot of conditioning with their rhinos on a daily basis so they're happy to stand in their defensive chute.

Appeal to Colchester Zoo not to replace Subu the lion
Campaigners are urging a zoo not to replace a lion which had to be put down on health grounds.
Subu, a male, was a popular attraction at Colchester Zoo and lived in an enclosure opened in 2004. He was put down on 1 April.
The Born Free Foundation has appealed to the zoo's owners for Subu not to be replaced with another lion.
"Subu was examined several days before to assess a deteriorating condition," a statement on the zoo's website said.
"Due to his age, after a final examination and on veterinary advice it was decided that putting him to

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Bonaparte lauds zoo applicants

Faced with a variety of impressive applicants, the city has moved back its target date for hiring a new Topeka Zoo director.


City manager Norton Bonaparte, who initially had planned to hire a new director by early May, said Wednesday he hoped to fill the job by early summer.


"We have had over 30 applicants, and a number of them are very, very qualified," Bonaparte told reporters at his monthly news conference.


He said the city hoped to soon schedule interviews with some of the candidates, adding that all of the applicants were from out of town.


City spokesman David Bevens said the city also was reviewing applications it had received for the zoo's vacant veterinarian's position and would fill that job after a new zoo director is hired.


Former zoo director Mike Coker retired at age 54 in December after the Association of Zoos and Aquariums conducted a review at Bonaparte's request that identified problems at the zoo. After the AZA chose March 2 not to revoke the zoo's accreditation, the city received applications f

Chimpazee dies after fall from tree at Alipore Zoo

A 22-year-old female chimpanzee, Jessy, died at Alipore Zoo on Thursday after falling from a tree.


Being treated for a back injury, the chimpanzee climbed a tree when the branch on which she stood gave way. The chimpanzee fell from a height of height of 15-20 feet and died on the spot.


“The post mortem report revealed that the cause of death was internal head injury,” said Raju Das

Lower Basildon is home to newborn lemur triplets

Keepers at a children's zoo in Berkshire are celebrating the "rare" birth of ring-tailed lemur triplets.


Bosses at Beale Park, near Reading, said the triplets were born to parents Rosie and Sam last month.


Curator Dave Coles said: "We were very surprised by the arrival of three babies as this is such a rare event.


"We would normally expect a lemur to give birth to a single baby in the wild and possibly twins in captivity, so triplets are really quite remarkable."


Rosie, who has had twins for the last two years, gave birth to the triplets on 21 March, the same date she gave birth last year.


Her keeper visits the new family several times a day to ensure that Rosie's milk production is

Pair nabbed with tiger cub

TWO alleged members of a tiger trading gang were arrested yesterday at a checkpoint in Chaiyaphum's Ban Khwao district while taking a twomonthold tiger cub to a customer in southern Thailand.


Police at the checkpoint on ChaiyaphimBan Khwao Road stopped a black pickup in which the two men - Sawaeng Nanoi, 35, and Jamnong Srijan, 59 - were travelling. A search of the car found the 10kg cub hidden in a plastic box.


The pair reportedly confessed to police they had brought the cub from Laos and were on the way to deliver it to a customer

RSPCA backs push for koala removal inquiry

The RSPCA says an Upper House inquiry would give it the opportunity to tell its side of the story about the removal of eight koalas from Gunnedah's Waterways Wildlife Park in north-west New South Wales.


The NSW Coalition has announced it will support the Greens' push for a parliamentary investigation into why the animals were removed.


The park's owners have disputed claims that the animals were malnourished and dehydrated and have accused the RSPCA of ignoring its own guidelines.


The inquiry would also examine the organisation's relationship with a reality TV show that filmed the removal.


RSPCA CEO Steve Coleman says his organisation has done nothing wrong.


"The RSPCA welcomes the inquiry, why wouldn't we?" he said.


"It provides an opportunity for the RSPCA to tell the other side of the story. It's then and only then a point in time when people can make an informed judgment about what has or hasn't occurred.


"We would hope to be able to tell the whole story without fear or favour, we have been unable to do that up until know due to issues around fairness and

Police warning after monkey escapes from Cumbrian zoo

A search is under way after a South American monkey escaped from a wild animal park in Cumbria.


The small beige Capuchin went missing from his enclosure at the South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Dalton.


Staff from the centre, which is home to dozens of exotic animals, called in police to help in the search operation.


Capuchins are native to the Amazon basin, about 20ins (51cm) high and recognisable by a distinctive

Conservation centre to boost science awareness

The Centre for Conservation Science at the National Zoological Gardens (NZG) will be used as a platform to create awareness and to promote careers in science said Science and Technology Minister, Naledi Pandor.


Pandor, who visited the NZG on Wednesday, said the Centre's focus on conservation medicine and conservation science, places it in the forefront of innovation in zoo-based research.


As a component of a National Research Facility, the Centre will afford access to equipment and a well managed animal collection to the research and student community.


"The aim is to build professionals of the future that contribute to biodiversity conservation knowledge on a national and international level. The general public visiting the NZG will also be encouraged to walk through the Centre and view researchers at work.


"This will enable the NZG to contribute to the mandate of creating an awareness of science and promoting careers in science," said Pandor.


Pandor said the Centre will also conduct, coordinate and

Has CITES had its day?

Governments, conservationists and pro-trade groups have been trying to make what capital they can from their respective "victories" at last month's meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). But, asks Mark Jones, is the 37-year-old convention successfully doing the job it was established to do?


CITES is mandated to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants, or products derived from them, does not threaten their survival.


An impressive-sounding 175 parties (member countries) are committed to implementing various protection measures for some 5,000 species of animal and 28,000 plants.


Yet at times on the floor of last month's conference in Doha, Qatar, one had the impression that the arguments and outcomes had more to do with protecting commercial interests than protecting wildlife.


The process of decision making has become intensely political. Parties choose to use scientific evidence to support their positions when it suits them, and refute the validity of the science when it

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Wildlife Park pleads not guilty to charges

The companies that run Whangarei's Zion Wildlife Gardens, where a big cat handler was mauled to death, have pleaded not guilty to two charges brought under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.


Dalu Mncube was attacked by a Bengal tiger while cleaning its cage last May.


The Department of Labour had previously laid two charges against Zion Wildlife Services for "failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees while at work". Two charges were also laid against Zion Wildlife Gardens for "failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that no hazard" in a workplace harms people working as employees of a contractor.


Department of Labour counsel Karena England withdrew one of the charges against each company when

Big cat handler's family still haunted by his death

Family members will re-open painful memories of big cat handler Dalu Mncube's death when Zion Wildlife Gardens faces charges in the Whangarei District Court today.


Born in Zimbabwe, the 26-year-old died in May last year after Abu, a 260kg Bengal white tiger, mauled him.


The Department of Labour laid two charges under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 against Zion Wildlife Services for "failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees while at work".


Two charges were also laid against Zion Wildlife Gardens.


Fortune Shumba, Mr Mncube's brother, said that nearly a year, on the family still felt raw about the way his brother had died.


"It's going to be something really terrible talking about it, having all those memories come back.


"We don't want anyone to go through this again."


Mr Shumba said he had an open mind about the park's culpability, and hoped the court case would show

Snow makes Mercedes a 'silly' old polar bear

The UK's only polar bear has revelled in deep snow and freezing conditions during her first winter in the Highlands, one of her keepers has said.


Mercedes was moved from Edinburgh Zoo to the Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig in the Cairngorms last year.


Animal collections manager Douglas Richardson said its estimated age of 29 was old for a polar bear.


He said staff and visitors had seen it rolling around in snow, bouncing on ice and "generally being silly".


The Highlands region experienced one of its longest and harshest winters since the 1960s with heavy snowfalls and prolonged spells of subzero

Cheetah Release in Iran


'Kooshki' an Asiatic Cheetah captured by a poacher as a cub is released into a large enclosure in Pardisan Zoo near Tehran in June 2008. The project is a cooperatively managed venture involving Western scientists in spite of differences of opinion over Nucleur matters.

Cooking oil stolen from safari park

COOKING oil worth about £500 was stolen from the West Midland Safari Park in Bewdley.


The oil was in 33 boxes stolen from a catering store room after thieves broke into the site between 6.30pm on Tuesday, March 30 and 7am the following day.


Each box contained 20 litres of oil in smaller boxes, measuring approximately 18 inches by 8 inches, with a yellow teardrop logo on the sides.


PC Julian Ward said: “We would like to hear from anyone who knows anything about this theft and would

Tracking the Secretive Blanding's Turtle


Wildlife Matters




Public scepticism prompts Science Museum to rename climate exhibition

The Science Museum is revising the contents of its new climate science gallery to reflect the wave of scepticism that has engulfed the issue in recent months.


The decision by the 100-year-old London museum reveals how deeply scientific institutions have been shaken by the public’s reaction to revelations of malpractice by climate scientists.


The museum is abandoning its previous practice of trying to persuade visitors of the dangers of global warming. It is instead adopting a neutral position, acknowledging that there are legitimate doubts about the impact of man-made emissions on the climate.


Even the title of the £4 million gallery has been changed to reflect the museum’s more circumspect approach. The museum had intended to call it the Climate Change Gallery, but has decided to change this to Climate Science Gallery to avoid being accused of presuming that emissions would change the temperature.


Last October the museum launched a temporary exhibition called “Prove It! All the evidence you need to believe in climate change”. The museum said at the time that the exhibition had been designed to demonstrate “through scientific evidence that climate change is real and requires an urgent solution”.


Chris Rapley, the museum’s director, told The Times that it was taking a different approach after observing how the climate debate had been affected by leaked e-mails and overstatements of the dangers of global warming. He said: “We have come to realise, given the way this subject has become so polarised

Jaglions (Included for interest - in no way do I approve)

Orangutan uses bridge to find mates

MALAYSIAN wildlife activists said on Sunday they have photographic evidence of the endangered orangutan using man-made treetop bridges to find new mates and prevent inbreeding.


Orangutan habitats in Malaysia and Indonesia have been devastated as jungles are cleared by logging companies and to make way for plantations, putting the ape at risk of inbreeding as they are split into smaller populations.


Activists in Malaysia's eastern Sabah state on Borneo island since 2003 began building bridges in a bid to save the species, which could be virtually eliminated from the wild within two decades if deforestation continues. 'Over the years we have received numerous local eyewitness reports of the orangutans using these rope bridges but this is the first time we have received photographic evidence,' Isabelle Lackman from environmental group Hutan said.


She said a group of pictures captured by a local in February showed a young male ape crossed the single rope 20-metre bridge, one of the six built by activists, in the Lower Kinabatangan Sanctuary in Sabah.


Experts say there are about 50,000 to 60,000 orangutans - Asia's only great ape - left in the wild, 80 percent of them in Indonesia and the rest in Malaysian's eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo.


Ms Hutan said the evidence marked a success in efforts to conserve the population but called for the establishment of wildlife corridors that would ena

Circus fatal blamed on wire sparks

The worker killed by a Shrine Circus elephant on Friday is identified as Andrew Anderton, of Florida.


More details regarding the Friday afternoon death of an elephant handler were coming to light Saturday, but the exact details may never be known.


The death of Andrew Anderton, a handler for Dumbo, the elephant which performed at the Irem Shrine Circus held at the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 109th Field Artillery Armory most of this week – was ruled accidental by Luzerne County Coroner John Corcoran.


An autopsy performed Saturday morning by Dr. Mary Pascucci determined the handler, Anderton, 48, of Florida, died from multiple traumatic injuries, Corcoran said.


Anderton was pronounced dead at 4:50 p.m. Friday at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital after he was found lying on the floor in the back of the armory roughly 20 minutes earlier, Corcoran said.


Irem Shrine Circus Service Chairman John Richards explained there are only two entities that know exactly what happened Friday night and

Delhi Zoo to get face-lift ahead of Commonwealth Games

Delhi Zoo is all set to get a face-lift ahead of the Commonwealth Games in October, with two air-conditioned food courts, a souvenir shop, cloak room and an ATM facility to come up under a major refurbishment plan.


The Environment Ministry, in a recent meeting, had directed the Delhi Zoo officials to come up with a modernisation plan to showcase one of the oldest zoological gardens in the country to tourists thronging the city during the mega sporting event.


"Signages, modernisation of cloak room, setting up of an ATM facility and a souvenir shop are on the cards while a proposal to construct two air-conditioned food courts inside the premises has already been finalised," Delhi Zoo Director Anand Krishna said.


"Besides, animal enclosures will be renovated and coated with fresh paint. The cost of the project is yet to be finalised. Once it is approved and we receive funds from the ministry, we will go ahead with the plan," he said.


B S Bonal, Member Secretary of Central Zoo Authority (CZA), a statutory body under the Ministry, said, "We have also suggested installing of 'Shera' -- the mascot of Commonwealth Games -- at a strategic location near the entrance gate to attract visitors."


Located close to heritage structure 'Purana Qila' (Old Fort), the National Zoological Park is being seen as a good bet for the tourists looking for a break during the ten-day sporting event beginning

Daley, Brookfield zoo letters threatens kidnapping

FBI probes note referring to wolf killed at zoo, past letters


The FBI is investigating possible connections between a threatening letter opened Tuesday at a suburban high school and similar letters sent to Mayor Daley and a Brookfield Zoo official.


The anonymous letters dating back to 2003 address two high-profile animal deaths by human hands.


Chicago Police gunned down a wild cougar running through the Roscoe Village neighborhood on April 14, 2008. In 2003, a gray wolf named Cinnamon Bear was fatally shot at the Brookfield Zoo after a woman ignored barriers and tried to pet the animal, causing the wolf to latch onto her arm.


The most recent letter, opened Tuesday at Riverside Brookfield High School, said a child might be kidnapped and alludes to the wolf death.


The school district issued a safety alert to parents about the letter.


"We are looking at the letters and past communications that have been received to see if there are any connections," said Ross Rice, FBI spokesman. "We don't know who sent these,CST-NWS-letter08.article

Endangered vultures may find breeding centre in Patna

Endangered vultures may soon find a new nesting place with plans to start a breeding centre for the birds at a biological park here known for its success with gharials, says the Patna Zoo director.


Patna-based Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park is likely to be selected by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) as a breeding centre for vultures, Patna Zoo director Abhay Kumar told IANS.


CZA member secretary B.S. Bonal, during his visit here Wednesday, has said the Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park was a suitable place to start a breeding centre for vultures, according to Kumar.


“We will be happy to start a breeding centre for vultures here after the successful breeding of gharials and rhinos,” Kumar told IANS.


A forest official said vultures have been spotted in the flood-prone Bihar districts of Bhagalpur, East Champaran, Supaul, Araria and Khagaria.


Haryana, West Bengal and Assam also have vulture breeding centres, but these are run by the Bombay Natural History Society with the help of Britain’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.


Until 1992, as many as nine species of vultures were found in India. The decline in the population of vultures during the decade 1997-2006 is reported to be as high as 98 percent.


According to experts, a drug used to treat animals killed the scavenging birds by the

Investigations called on possible illegal export of local primates

NGO questions if the protected long-tailed macaques are being exported to Laos


An international animal welfare organisation is raising questions on whether locally protected long-tailed macaques are being illegally exported to a monkey-breeding farm in Laos.


This farm is said to be the largest monkey farm in the region.


The Malay Mail learnt that the Laotian farm owner's son and workers had told investigators from UK-based British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (Buav), that over the past few years, the company had imported a number of long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) from Malaysia for use as their original breeding stock.


Macaca fascicularis, which has been listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (Cites) appendix, is a protected species in Malaysia and, their export to other countries is not permitted.


Buav Special Projects director Sarah Kite told The Malay Mail "During the Buav investigation into the primate trade in Laos, our investigators were informed by the farm owners and workers, that a large number of wild-caught, long-tailed macaques had been imported from Malaysia in recent years to establish the farm." She said, according to the Cites database, there is no record of the export of these macaques from Malaysia over the past 10 years, not

Miami MetroZoo Gets Lengthy New Name

Miami's MetroZoo is getting a new name, actually two new names. Tuesday morning, the board of Miami-Dade County Commissioners approved a resolution that formally renames Miami MetroZoo to "Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens." The working name, or day-to-day name, will be "Zoo Miami" for marketing and recognition purposes.


The zoo's community director Ron Magill says that change is good.


"It's kind of a rebranding. Letting people know it's not the same old zoo," Magill told CBS4.COM. "The zoo is really changing and growing and it's a fresh approach to the zoo."


Miami's MetroZoo is consistently rated one of America's top ten zoos. The new name, "Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens" is more consistent with that of other leading world-class zoos and it better encompasses

Reality Stars Plunge into Polar Bear Exhibit at San Diego Zoo

Thanks to celebrities (and their reality show film crews) like Tori Spelling, Candice Cameron and Denise Richards, the opening of the San Diego Zoo’s new Polar Bear Plunge exhibit was about as wild as it gets, nevermind the earth’s largest land predators romping around their cozy enclosure.


The VIP event for celebrities, donors, media and other special guests last week was held to highlight the new eco-friendly enhancements to the Polar Bear Plunge. There was an eco-chic green carpet where celebs like Tori Spelling her two kids posed for photos (with at least a 5-10 person entourage from her show Home Sweet Hollywood in tow), hands-on demonstrations of melting polar ice caps, hors d’oeuvres served on

Animals in Jeddah public zoo not mistreated: Official

Reports published in some local newspapers that animals in Jeddah’s municipality-owned zoo are sick and mistreated have been denied by Bahjat Hamwah, Director of Parks and Landscaping at Jeddah Mayoralty. The zoo located at Kilo 11 has been closed for a number of years but animals are still kept there as the municipality says that it has plans to reopen the facility to the public.


“Anyone who claims that animals inside the zoo are mistreated should be sued in the court because such people are not doctors and such judgments cannot be made by looking at pictures taken from behind fences,” said Hamwah.


He also explained that there are veterinarians taking care of the animals and that his department signed a contract with a company a year ago to develop the zoo and reopen it to the public. When he was asked why the zoo has been closed for such a long time, Hamwah said that he had no knowledge about that, and quickly added that he preferred to end the interview with Saudi Gazette as he did not like to be asked so many questions.


“I don’t have to answer your questions and I’m not willing to cooperate with you,” said Hamwah. “You may write in your newspaper that I’m not cooperative enough. I really don’t care,” he added


A source in the municipality, who spoke to Saudi Gazette on condition of anonymity, said that the zoo situated in southeastern Jeddah has been closed for almost a decade and was supposed to reopen to the public last year but that this has been delayed because the black Wednesday floods damaged the zoo’s infrastructure. The source said that the zoo contains more than 23 animal species, including a rare species of tiger.


Upon a visit to the zoo, Saudi Gazette tried to get a close look at the animals and the conditions under which they are being kept, but those in charge of the zoo’s administration refused saying “it would be dangerous because it is the animals’ feeding time”.


The administration also explained that they do not trust the media. They said that they once let a journalist take pictures of the animals, only to be surprised when he published a photo of an elephant with a caption saying “zoo animals are not cleaned”.


Regarding this incident, the municipality source told Saudi Gazette that instead of correcting the sad situation of the elephant as depicted in the photo, the mayoralty instead launched an investigation of the supervisor of the zoo demanding to know how the journalist had

Seal mystery deepens as zoo baffled

CONFUSION SURROUNDS the origins of a seal pup which was washed up on a beach last week wearing a tag urging finders to contact London Zoo.


The female pup who has been named “Mighty” by the Irish Seal Sanctuary (ISS) was found on Skerries beach in Co Dublin on Wednesday in an emaciated condition. She was parasite-ridden and suffering from starvation.


The yellow tag was located on her flipper in such a way that it inhibited her swimming and may have contributed to the state in which she was found.


London Zoo said it knew nothing about the seal, adding it did not use the type of tag found on the animal.


ISS volunteer Pauline Beades said it was

Man injured by elephant at Belgrade Zoo

A man was attacked and seriously injured Thursday by an elephant as he rescued his grandchild who had sneaked into the animal's enclosure at the Belgrade Zoo, doctors and local media said.


The man had several broken ribs and severe injuries to the abdominal area and chest, but was in stable condition after surgery, Belgrade emergency hospital spokesman Drago Jovanovic said.


The attack follows a series of security incidents at the zoo in the center of the Serbian capital.


B92 television identified the man as 65-year-old Miroslav Petrovic. The station reported, quoting witnesses, that the child suddenly crossed over into the elephant's enclosure. The man went after the boy and managed to lift him out over a wall, but was then hit by the elephant from the back, it said.


State TV later showed footage of a small, fenced section at one end of the enclosure which seemed easily accessible from the visitor's area. The TV station said the fenced section is usually used by zoo employees

Wild fox kills 15 flamingoes at Helsinki Zoo

An ambitious fox swapped the hen house for a flamingo coop when it sneaked into a menagerie and killed 15 pink flamingoes at Helsinki Zoo, its director Jukka Salo said Friday.


Salo said the fox wandered across the frozen sea to reach the island zoo, near the center of the Finnish capital, in the overnight raid. It climbed up the wire fencing of the roofless pen to reach the birds.


"The paw marks are very clear - it was a wild fox," Salo said. "When it got in, it acted just as if it were in a hen house, killing and creating mayhem."


The intruder mauled and killed

Wombat victim 'thought he was a goner'

A Victorian man attacked by an enraged wombat says he thought he was going to die during the 20-minute ordeal.


Bruce Kringle, 60, was knocked over by the wild marsupial after stepping out of his caravan in Flowerdale on Tuesday morning before being repeatedly bitten and scratched all over his body.


"I thought I was a goner, I really did," Mr Kringle told Nine News.


"Those teeth were something shocking."


But the Black Saturday survivor managed to grab the wombat by the ears and push its face into the dirt before yelling for help.


His neighbour came to his aid and killed

Abandoned cubs defy all the odds

Four cheetahs at Orana Wildlife Park have beaten the odds to celebrate their first birthday.


Mazza, Kunjuka, Shomari and Cango were abandoned by first-time mother Kura soon after birth.


Park staff worked 12 hours every dayto care for them during their first six weeks of life.


Head keeper of exotic animals Graeme Petrie said it was a privilege to see the cats develop.


"They each have distinct personalities and we still have daily contact with them. They are awesome animals," he said.


Yesterday's birthday celebration was bitter-sweet for park staff because Kura died suddenly last week.


Animal collection manager Ian Adams said the past week had been rough for staff, but Kura had made a significant contribution to the breeding programme by producing eight cubs. "She is sadly missed, but her legacy lives on

No Asian lions for Winnipeg zoo

Planning to welcome African cats, instead


WONDERING where the Asian lions are?


Well, the pair the Assiniboine Park Zoo was preparing to welcome this summer aren't coming.


"Although we did our best to enter the Asian lion breeding programs in Europe and India, we were informed there is a waiting list of dozens of zoos ahead of us," zoo spokesman Dr. Bob Wrigley said.


"The animals are so rare, and the breeding so carefully controlled among participant zoos, that it will likely be many years before we are selected."


Now, the zoo is planning to get some equally majestic, albeit less-rare and exotic, African lions, he said.


There are just 350 Asiatic lions left in the wild -- all of them in the Gir National Park and Lion Sanctuary in northern India.


The animals were almost wiped out by sport hunting over the last two centuries, the Asiatic Lion Information Centre reports.


When the lion hunt was outlawed in the 1900s, the greatest threat came from the destruction of habitat. Vast tracts of jungle forest were cleared for timber to sell and to make way for the increasing human population. To bolster the endangered Asiatic lion population, co-operative inter-zoo breeding programs were set up. In 1990, two Asiatic lion couples from India were brought to the London Zoo, the Asiatic Lion Information Centre said. Zoos in Zurich and

Barbaric spectacle: Orangutans kickbox and parade in bikinis for cheering tourists

Dressed in garish shorts and boxing gloves, orangutans trade punches and spin-kick each other in a boxing ring.


Horrifying footage shows cheering tourists drawn to the barbaric sport at a theme park called Safari World on the outskirts of Bangkok in Thailand.


The same company was banned from doing exactly the same thing just six years ago.


While an orangutan pretends to be knocked out of the boxing ring, others, dressed in bikinis are trained as round card girls and bell ringers.


The apes kickbox each other as a spectacle for tourists in a show lasting more than 30 minutes, before being returned to their dark cages. It is not known how many orangutans have been captured and trained by Safari World.


Animal campaigners say the apes - weighing up to 250lbs - could do themselves serious damage in the boxing ring.


They warn it is hastening the end of the orangutan, which experts

Parks commission board solely responsible for zoo management

The National Parks Commission (NPC) board is solely accountable for all the administrative, health and safety issues at Zoological Park, Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon has said, in wake of concerns about the management of the facility.


Luncheon, at a post-cabinet briefing last week, explained that while Office of the President (OP) is the budgetary agency responsible for NPC’s expenditure, it has nothing to do with policy-making. Policy-making for the zoo, he said, is done by NPC’s board.


Last month, Stabroek News reported on the animal housing conditions and poor health and safety practices at the zoo and a former senior manager has blamed the situation on a combination of poor decisions by NPC and inadequate funding. While Luncheon admitted that he is not conversant with NPC board recommendations– which are forwarded to OP for approval before funds are released–he said that these had been submitted in the latter part of 2009, in preparation for this year’s budget. NPC’s 2010 budget, Luncheon suggested, could have designated improvements in the zoo’s landscape and the conditions under which the animals are being kept. “All I can say is that the

First cheetahs born in UAE in 38 years

Four cheetah cubs are the first to be born in the wild in the UAE in 38 years, conservationists working with the Sir Bani Yas Island breeding programme said yesterday.


The seven-week-old northern cheetahs are about 25cm long and closely trail behind their shy mother, Safira, who was brought to the 4,100-hectare Arabian Wildlife Park from captivity two years ago.


Visitors on guided nature drives have already spotted the new family, said Marius Prinsloo, the manager of conservation and agriculture at Sir Bani Yas Island.


“Some groups have been lucky enough to encounter the female with the cubs,” Mr Prinsloo said yesterday. “The mother is very secretive about her movement, but the babies are very playful. They go around with her, following her wherever she goes and they’re fighting, rolling around, sneaking and chasing each other.”


As the cubs mature and grow into their hunting instincts, he said, Safira will take them on longer journeys. Safira is roughly 31kg and nearing six years old as a fully grown female.


The birth of the four cubs doubled the island’s population of northern cheetahs. The northern cheetah is classified as a “vulnerable” species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and is a close relative to the indigenous Arabian cheetah, which became extinct in the UAE in 1972.


“This is a very significant event because with these animals, both the mother and father were captive-bred,” Mr Prinsloo

Tiger Woods May Have Cheated, but do Tigers?

Sure, there's been a ton of tabloid coverage of the alleged infidelities of Tiger Woods and Jesse James, but only those two men know what they really did, and what their real motivations were. They damaged their marriages, reputations and careers.


Was it a much-debated sexual addiction? A series of bad choices? Or would they argue that it was, in part, nature?


That's not for us to decide, but one thing we can say: Tigers don't always cheat


In the animal kingdom, tigers often choose just one partner — though they hook up just a few days before consummating their union, mating as often as 150 times in a two-day period when the female is in heat.


We toured the Wild Animal Park at the famed San Diego Zoo to observe animal behavior first hand. We began with the monogamists.


Take the red-cheeked gibbons, apes that may swing from vines but not from mate to mate. They choose one lifelong partner and raise their young together.


The crowned crane is also among the animal kingdom's most faithful. It is revered in some Asian countries as a symbol of m



Charge dropped in late-night zoo visit
One of two men who had an after-hours encounter with a Siberian tiger at the Calgary Zoo this fall no longer faces a trespassing charge.
Trever Wearmouth, 27, had his charge under the Petty Trespass Act dropped when he made his first appearance Monday in provincial traffic court.
No reason for the decision was given.
Wearmouth's co-accused, Thomas Bryce-Hart, also 27, still faces the same charge of entering onto land without permission.
A warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to show up for his first appearance Monday.
According to the tickets, issued shortly after the Oct. 5 incident, a voluntary $287 payment could have been

Chhatbir zoo gets a new member, a mixed-breed tiger cub
Making the tiger-breeding programme a success after a period of three years, a mixed-breed cub was born at the Chhatbir Zoological Park.
The gender of a one-day-old baby tiger has not yet been ascertained as its mother, a seven-year-old yellow tigress, has not yet fully removed the placenta from the baby’s body, which visibly lacks white genes. Fathered by a four-year-old white Royal Bengal tiger Lucky, the new cub was born on wee hours of Saturday.
The newborn cub’s mother Chorni has accepted her baby and began feeding it. The zoo officials have heaved a sigh of relief and are quite optimistic of its survival. Last year, the same tigress had conceived but had a miscarriage.
No one, except a zookeeper, is allowed to enter the enclosure to avoid any irritation to the mother. Even the father was kept out of the den, said zoo Field Director Tushar Kanti Behra.

Identifying X, Y and zoo
You know your visit to the zoo fell below expectations when the most exciting episode of the trip happened right outside the entry point. As my friends and i took the tickets and waited in line to enter, the level of enthusiasm was at an all-time high. In my 25 years, i had only been to the zoo once, and that was about 12 years ago back home in Kerala. My fellow zoo-goers had similar stories as well that dated back a decade or so.
My two friends who were ahead of me flashed their tickets and were immediately granted entrance into the magical world of the zoo. I too flashed my ticket and assumed i would be given smooth entry. However, the ticket-checker guy stuck out his hand and looked straight into my face and said, "Aap kaunse desh se ho?" Granted being from Kerala and having been in Delhi for only about two years, my Hindi was still mediocre. But i knew enough to comprehend what the question meant. Now, if you thought it was weird saying the words "I'm from India" outside India, imagine having to say it inside India to another Indian.
Not convinced with my answer, the ticket-checker demanded ID proof that i was from India. Sure, the combination of my shaved head, goatee beard, half-pants and, how should i put it, tanned complexion may have bamboozled him but i found it amusing that my nationality mattered while visiting the zoo. Was the white tiger going to object to being viewed by a non-Indian? Was the chimp going to say: "Hey, this guy isn't desi. I'm going back to my cave"?
At this point, my north Indian friends stepped in and explained in Hindi that i was from Kerala and not some equatorial country. This ticket-checker was, however, committed to the cause of disproving my racial roots. He said, "Kyunki yeh South Africa ke lagte hain." He apparently believed Indians were either fair or brown but never mocha. Now, besides bordering on being racist, i found this remark to be a tad dim-witted. If i were indeed from South Africa, the home of all kinds of exotic animals, why on earth would i leave all that and come to this particular zoo where most animals looked half-dead and incredibly lethargic? I mean, i could count the number of feathers on the poor wreck of an emu that i later saw inside the zoo.
At last, the ticket-checker gave in and i was granted entrance. One of my embarrassed north Indian friends pointed out that tickets for foreigners were more expensive, which was what caused the ticket-checker to interrogate me about my race. To be honest, it sounded more bizarre that a South African adult would have to pay more money to see the same monkeys and bears that an Indian adult gets to see for about 10 bucks. Then why not up the rates for movies, food at restaurants and lodging in hotels as well? One rate for Indians, and one rate for non-Indians.
So, clearly the opening act at the zoo was a tough one for the zoo animals to try and match. The one incident, however, that came close was the unmistakeably bovine-looking beast i saw in the midst of a dozen Sambar deer (which at first i tho

Wild dogs roam jungle in Terengganu
The Terengg­a­nu govern­­­­ment has requested the National Park and Wildlife Department to conduct research on a pack of wild dogs discovered at a secondary jungle along the borders of Terengganu and Kelantan in Besut.
“We hope the department gathers more facts about this species. Probably it could be the only pack of wild dogs in the country,” Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said said after receiving a gift in the form of a pair of tigers presented by the Malacca Zoo to the Kemaman Recreational Park and Mini Zoo at Bukit Takar here, on Friday.
The Malayan Tigers (panther tigris jacksoni) were bred at the Malacca Zoo before they were handed over to the Kemaman Municipal Council. The tigers are a two-year-old male weighing about 70kg and fondly known as Chiko and its female companion Courtney, a seven-year-old that weighs about 100kg.
Ahmad said the state government would support researchers who wished to carry out studies on the wild dogs.
The dogs were spotted by villagers in Keruak, Besut when they went in search of their missing livestock some time

Cheetah Cubs Born on Sir Bani Yas Island
As its mission of wildlife and nature conservation continues to evolve, Sir Bani Yas Island, part of Abu Dhabi’s Desert Islands destination, welcomed four cheetah cubs as a result of a successful breeding programme. As the cheetah is classified by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as extinct in the UAE, and vulnerable worldwide, the births are of particular significance to the continuation of the species globally and locally. Following the birth of the first ever hyena cubs in the wild in the UAE, this is yet another success for Sir Bani Yas Island in protecting and re-introducing previously extinct animals.
The cheetahs on Sir Bani Yas Island are from captive bred populations. The mother and father of the cubs, Safira and Gabriel were raised in His Excellency Sheikh Butti Al Maktoum’s Wildlife Centre, and the Sharjah Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife, respectively. The cheetahs were brought to the island as part of TDIC’s conservation efforts which include breeding, re-wilding, releasing into the Arabian Wildlife Park to become an integral part of the natural population control for hoofed species on the island.
“As wildlife and nature conservation are part of our mandate, TDIC takes the responsibility of preserving the environment of the Western Region very seriously, and this is one of Sir Bani Yas Island’s main objectives,” said Lee Tabler, Chief Executive Officer of TDIC. “Through this and similar programmes we hope to continue to support Abu Dhabi in its quest to become an international tourism hub, while maintaining respect for the local heritage and environment.”
The Sir Bani Yas Island conservation team spends a great deal of time and effort into putting animals that are brought to the island from captive populations through a re-wilding programme and ensuring that the animals are trained to hunt and be self-sufficient before they are released into the Arabian Wildlife Park. Once they are released, the conservation team is removed completely from the animals’ day-to-day activities, and the cheetahs, Safira and Gabriel, are a telling example of what can be achieved through re-wilding as they hunt and fend for themselves without human interference.
“The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi is spearheading action to protect the rich wildlife of Abu Dhabi and its habitats, particularly endangered species, for the benefit of the country’s sustainable development and our future generations. And so, we regard these cheetah births as a landmark accomplishment for Abu Dhabi especially as this announcement comes soon after the births of the previously extinct striped hyenas on Sir Bani Yas Island,” said H.E Majid Al Mansouri, Secretary General of EAD.”
Survival rates for cheetah cubs are very low both in the wild and captivity, and according to the conservation team, Safira, the cubs’ mother, is doing an impressive job of taking care of her cubs, even though she was raised by humans. She has not yet moved the cubs from their original birth place in a small cave in the mountains, which is known because Safira is fitted with a radio collar and can be tracked and monitored by the conservation team on the island.
Visitors to the island will soon be able to see the mother and her cubs venturing into the 4,100-hectare Arabian Wildlife Park, which is the only of its kind in the region bringing guests closer to nature by taking them through guided tours and educating them

Care to adopt a hippo or rhino?
Byculla zoo officials say the proposed adoption scheme will reduce the burden of maintenance on the management. At present, the zoo houses around 194 mammals, including a lioness, a rhino (Shiva, who has been famously lonely for years), two sloth bears, four hippos and black bucks, around 497 birds and 47 species of reptiles, including the endangered gharial.
Several zoos like the Mysore zoo, the Mohindra Chaudhary Zoological Park in Punjab, Aadumalleshwar Mini Zoo in Karnataka, Lucknow zoo and Bhopal zoo are running similar programmes to offset increasing costs of maintenance of the animals and their enclosures.
In fact, the scheme at Mysore zoo is very successful and patrons include Karnataka CM B S Yeddyurappa, who is said to have adopted a Royal Bengal Tiger for a fee of Rs 90,000 for one year. At the Mysore zoo, adoption fees vary from Rs 500 for a small bird to Rs 1.5 lakh for a big animal like an elephant.
Officials are hoping that a successful scheme will invite more public participation in Byculla zoo, which is one of the oldest in the country but has a history of being in the news for all the wrong reasons. Animal activists also hold that it is not the best in terms of animal care, hygiene and security.
Recently, 56-year-old elephant Laxmi killed a drug addict, who illegally broke into her enclosure. Last year, a five-year-old male hippopotamus, Shakti, died in the zoo due to respiratory failure. In 2006, 12 black bucks and a horned antelope died in a stampede after three stray dogs entered their enclosure. The worst story is the death of Guru, a hippo who died in 1998 after falling into the ditch near its enclosure.
“We are confident that the adoption scheme will help us create

CITES Gives Enforcement of Tiger Trade Ban Top Priority
Countries could begin treating illegal trade in tiger parts as seriously as they treat arms and drug trafficking under a deal reached Monday at the triennial meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES.
The UK-brokered agreement, the result of negotiations between the European Union and the tiger range countries India and China, provides for increased intelligence sharing against criminal networks that smuggle big cat parts, and builds on recent training provided by the international police force INTERPOL.
Parties to the CITES treaty agreed to develop a database to help monitor the illegal trade in tiger, leopard and snow leopard parts.
Although all commercial tiger trade has been banned by CITES since 1987, wild tiger populations have

Free Laxmi, the elephant
The killing of a man by an elephant at Byculla zoo last Sunday draws attention to the unbearable stress felt by large animals kept in close confinement. It also begs the question what influence it has on children when they see animals kept in cruel conditions.
To see the 55-year-old elephant, Laxmi, chained inside her enclosure on a lazy weekday afternoon shouldn’t surprise you. We’ve unfortunately come to accept such practices at our zoos.
But even the most indifferent visitor would be concerned if he knew what PAWS volunteer Sunish Subramanium observed on his daily trips to the zoo after Laxmi killed a man last Sunday. He visited the zoo at different hours in the day and didn’t see Laxmi free from the chains. Deputy municipal commissioner Chandrasekhar Rokade believes that she should be freed gradually from her chains. “But that sounds like they are punishing her for killing the man who was not supposed to have been in her unmanned enclosure,” says Subramanium.
More than the perceived injustice of it, however, the incident draws attention to the unbearable stress on large animals like Laxmi kept in close confinement in zoos like the one at Byculla. It also begs the question what sort of amusement or ‘education’ it is for children to see animals kept in such cruel conditions.
Throughout the 30 minutes we spent observing Laxmi, she couldn’t stop head-nodding — a stereotypy also found in humans with mental retardation. Experts say 40 per cent of captive elephants exhibit this behaviour due to boredom and stress.
Nilesh Bhanage, founder of Plants and Animals Welfare Society (PAWS), Thane, is surprised that people still haven’t joined the dots. “Is the city shocked that a social animal like an elephant killed a man? Just look around our zoos at the way these animals are displayed for our amusement.”
According to a report by PAWS that studied elephants in the Mumbai, Pune andAurangabad zoos, Laxmi was born in captivity in a circus, before she was brought to the Byculla zoo 16 years ago. One can imagine the trauma she must have undergone in being forced to learn tricks and perform. Add to that the lack of access to sufficient water, mud and walking space in the zoo, and you can understand why so many zoo elephants die prematurely, says Bhanage, who authored the research paper.
But are these also reasons enough to drive a zoo animal, with no history of violence, to wrap its trunk around a man and bash his head against a wall?
The answer is yes, according to conservationists who have closely worked with animals. “Over time, the frustration of being in such close

Seized koalas set to return
The owner of the Waterways Wildlife Park in Gunnedah says koalas seized from the park in early February by the RSPCA are to be returned.
The 60-day holding period within which the RSPCA is legally allowed to keep the animals ended yesterday.
Local politicians are calling for an Upper House inquiry into the seizure, which was filmed by reality TV show RSPCA Animal Rescue.
Nancy Small says she cannot wait for the§ion=news

Lions withdrawn from public view to highlight numbers decline
Lions at an animal visitor attraction were withdrawn from full public view to highlight the decline in population numbers worldwide over the past 50 years.
The animals at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent were "shrouded" with tarpaulins around their enclosures for 90 per cent of the day, to represent the 90 per cent fall in their numbers.
Experts believe there may now be fewer than 20,000 African lions left in the wild, prompting a nationwide campaign by charity Lion Aid called Where Have All The Lions Gone?
Animal director Adrian Harland, who is leading the campaign at Port Lympne, said: "We want to force the public to consider a future when they will no longer be able to see lions.
"Animals like tigers and pandas receive a lot of media attention but if lions decline at the current rate they will be in danger of being lost forever.
"The lions have been very curious about all the attention today, but we hope that a small inconvenience on their part will

Visitors flee as wolf escapes enclosure at wildlife park
Park chiefs are trying to remove visitors from a public area at Highland Wildlife Park in Kingussie.
A wolf has escaped from its enclosure at a wildlife park in Inverness-shire.
The animal is still in Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig, Kingussie, but is running free in a public area.
Members of the public are seeking cover at the restaurant, according to reports.
The park is home to the European Grey Wolf, Canis lupus lupus, which hunt in packs.
On its website the parks says the animals are highly intelligent, adding: "Our wolves are fed a va

Wolf escapes at Highland Wildlife Park
A wolf that escaped from her enclosure at a wildlife reserve in the Highlands has been recaptured.
The female escaped at the Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig at about 1600 BST.
The animal walked into an empty enclosure before being shot with a tranquiliser gun at 1700 BST.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Zoological Society, who owns the park, said visitors were kept away from the

Czech zoo first in Europe to breed Chaco tortoise
The Zlín zoo has become the first in Europe to manage to breed the endangered Chaco tortoise, Pavel Shromazdil, from the zoo, told CTK Friday.
One young tortoise has already hatched and the keepers take care of another three fertilised eggs in hope of new arrivals.
In Europe Chaco tortoises are kept only by the Zlín zoo and the zoos in Barcelona and Gdansk, Shromazdil said.
The species' original habitat are Chacos, the semi-deserts in Argentina and Paraguay. In the wild these tortoises' population has been devastated by illegal traders in animals and by poachers who catch them for meat. They are also endangered by cattle grazing on the plains.
The Zlín zoo has kept Chaco tortoises since 2007. The tortoises

Endangered Asiatic lions of Gujarat's Sasan Gir relocated to another zoo
The Asiatic lions of the Sasan Gir Lion Sanctuary in Gujarat's Junagadh district have been relocated to a newly built sanctuary in Rajkot.
The newly built enclosure is called the Pradyuman Park Zoo.
The Rajkot Municipal Corporation is planning to further expand the zoo by getting exotic animals from different parts of the world. Eco-friendly battery-run vehicles will also be introduced inside the zoo to keep it pollution-free.
"The zoo will soon be expanded. There will be separate wings for Australian animals, African animals, birds and monkeys too. And little by little, this zoo will grow to be the best natural enclosure in whole of Gujarat and India," said Sandhya Vyas, Mayor of Rajkot.
In addition to lions, visitors can also see several big cats like tigers and panthers, as well as crocodiles, rhinos and other exotic animals at the Pradyuman Park Zoo. The animals here,endangered-asiatic-lions-gujarat-sasan-gir-relocated-zoo.html

Busy Easter in Lakes but Zoo visitors fall to a 12-year low
South Lakes Wild Animal Park owner David Gill is concerned by the attraction’s lowest Easter visitor figures since 1998 and believes they are proof the recession is far from over.
Mr Gill said the downward trend has been noticeable for several months and thinks rising petrol prices are partly to blame.
He said: “I can honestly say it’s the worst Easter we’ve had in 12 years. It’s been absolutely desperate, frightening to be honest.
“Most people on average drive one-and-a-half to two hours to get here.
“About £5 has been put on their journey from last year, so that’s £5 extra to come and that’s without even getting in.
“We haven’t put our prices up for three years. “The prices are the same but staffing and costs are going up tremendously.
“Our business relies on people driving

USA visitor flies in to meet Dudley Zoo tapirs
A WORLD-renowned expert on tapirs travelled almost 5,000 miles to meet Dudley Zoo's tapir family.
Sheryl Todd is president and founder of the Tapir Preservation Fund based in Oregon in the USA, and has raised two young tapir herself, so was delighted to meet Dudley Zoo's Meena, Chico and baby Ronnie.
During her trip, Sheryl also chatted to chief executive Peter Suddock and keeper Laura Robbins.
Sheryl said: "In researching tapirs around the world, I came across the Dudley Zoo website and I couldn't wait to see it in the flesh. It is a beautiful zoo ­ I love it.
"The tapirs here are in wonderful condition and seem very happy, curious and friendly. It is lovely to get so close to them, particularly the baby."
Peter Suddock said:

White Oak Conservation Center in Nassau County Breeds Gerenuk
Dwindling in numbers worldwide, a species of antelope has received some first-in-the-world good news from right here on the First Coast.
Gerenuk, an antelope whose name derives from the Somali word for "giraffe neck," have been successfully artificially inseminated at the White Oak Conservation Center.
Dr. Linda Penfold from White Oak said she and her team have spent over a decade working on artificial insemination, and tried it on six gerenuk. To their surprise and delight, four of the females got pregnant.
Gerenuk are native to east Africa, and their population has been decimated by drought in recent years.
Twenty-seven of the animals call White Oak home. The four youngsters

Widowed emperor penguin moving to Taipei for mates
The widowed emperor penguin in the National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium (NMOMBA) in Pingtung will be moved to Taipei Zoo at the end of March, so that the penguin can mate with other emperor penguins in the Taipei Zoo.
NMOMBA originally had a pair of emperor penguins. Since the female penguin died two years ago, the male penguin became the zoo's sole emperor penguin and has been living with the other penguin species in the zoo.
In the mating season last year, seeing all the other penguins mating and laying eggs, the penguin found an egg-shaped stone and incubated it. People at the NMOMBA do not want the penguin to bear loneliness any longer. They have decided to send their only emperor penguin to the Taipei Zoo so that it can have some company.
Li Jan-Jung, spokesperson of NMOMBA, said since the female emperor penguin died, they had wanted to import another mate for the male penguin from Russia. After the H1N1 outbreak, however, there were many more restrictions on importing birds. Knowing that the Taipei Zoo is very experienced in penguins, and that they already have some emperor penguins, they have decided to move the penguin there.
The future offspring of the male emperor penguin will be divided by the two zoos. The first one will stay at Taipei Zoo, the second one will go to NMOMBA.
Emperor penguin is the tallest and heaviest of the living penguin species and is endemic to Antarctica. They are serially monogamous. They stay faithful

Celina Jaitly asks Zoo authority to transfer elephants
Actress and animal activist Celina Jaitly has written a letter to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) asking the agency to transfer the two elephants, Laxmi and Anarkali, from the Byculla Zoo to a sanctuary.
Jaitly also asked the CZA to expedite the relocation of all captive elephants who are currently used in Indian zoos and circuses.
The plea by the Bollywood actress comes after Laxmi killed a zoo visitor here last week.
Elephants who are incarcerated and kept shackled in chains often become frustrated and angry and sometimes lash

Taiwan sends indigenous goats, spotted deer to mainland
Taiwan will send a pair of indigenous goats and a pair of spotted deer to the Chinese mainland as early as June, after the mainland gifted a pair of pandas in December 2008.
The animals, aged from three to five, had already been selected from the Taipei Zoo, and currently were in isolation for quarantine inspections, local media reported.
After crossing the Taiwan Strait, the animals would live in Liugongdao National Forest Park in Weihai of Shandong Province in the eastern part of the Chinese mainland.
Although both the indigenous goats and the spotted deer could adapt to different environments quite easily, Taipei Zoo director Jason Yeh said it might take a while for them to get used to the weather in Shandong
According to Yeh, the indigenous goats would

A (six) grand gesture helps Monkey World
How much would you pay for a VIP tour of Monkey World with Dr Alison Cronin as your personal guide?
The chances are not as much as Jim and Michelle Mellor.
The couple from Manchester wrote out a cheque for £6,000 on Saturday after making the winning bid for Lot 107 at a special charity auction.
The event, which included a gala dinner attended by over 300 guests at Poole’s Lighthouse, was in aid of the Jim Cronin Memorial Fund.
“It’s worth every penny to us,” said a delighted Mrs Mellor. “We think Monkey World does amazing work and we really want to support them.”
It was the culmination of an evening that raised tens of thousands of pounds for the memorial fund, established by Alison after the death of Jim Cronin three years ago.
Jim set up Monkey World in Wool to rescue and rehabilitate abused and endangered primates around the world, starting with chimps used by beach photographers in Spain.
Alison told guests: “Jim knew that you could make a difference and Monkey World was his dream.
“He was a voice for those who could not speak for themselves and he saw through the ‘fun face’ of the so-

Biblical Zoo is Israel's No. 1 tourist destination
Some 740,000 visitors enjoyed Jerusalemite animals over past year, Dan & Bradstreet reveals. Ramat Gan Safari ranked second; last year's winner, Masada, down to third place
Israelis' favorite touristy destination is the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, according to Dun's 100 ranking published recently by the Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) company, which provides credit information on businesses and corporations.
Dun's 100 rates the leading and most attractive tourism and recreation destinations for Israelis over the past year, and this is the 30th year it is published.
According to the data, the Biblical Zoo was the most profitable and attractive destinations for Israelis over the past year, with 738,304 visitors – a 7.4% rise compared to 687,647 visitors last year.
The zoo returned to the first place after being beaten by Masada last year and falling to the third place. The site's,7340,L-3870083,00.html

Corals flourishing on our doorstep
IN FUTURE, visitors to Underwater World Singapore may be able to see beautiful corals that it has reared, and learn about the coral reproductive stages without getting wet. It hopes to rear juvenile corals and put these marine animals on display as part of its public-education programme.
Its assistant curator, Mr Roy Yeo, 32, said: "We hope to also be able to raise the public's awareness that Singapore's waters (are) rich in biodiversity and that we should do our part in preserving it."
In the long run, Underwater World Singapore hopes to conduct coral-breeding programmes, re-introduce corals into the wild and play a role in future coral-reef restoration here.
Representatives from Underwater World Singapore, including Mr Yeo, are among 18 scientists and researchers learning coral-rearing and reproduction techniques at a workshop being held in Singapore and South-east Asia for the first time.
The participants come from all over the world, including the Smithsonian Institution in the United States and the Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands.
In the eight-day workshop, which ends today, they went on dive trips off Raffles Lighthouse on Singapore's southern coast to see coral spawning - the release of bundles of egg and sperm into the sea by corals.
They also collected these bundles for

Dallas Zoo unveils Apple iPhone App
Mobile advertising and marketing has gone wild, literally. Today The Dallas Zoo announced the launch of a new iPhone app, making it the first zoo in North Texas to offer an iPhone app, and only the second zoo in the state, to do so. What makes this app different? The Dallas Zoo is the first in the nation to offer an app that provides guests with information both in English and Spanish.
“Guests with phones programmed to default to Spanish will automatically download the app in Spanish,” said Sean Greene, Deputy Director for Education and Interpretation. “We’re proud to offer educational and entertaining tools to our visitors in a way that fits their lifestyle.”
With the Dallas Zoo’s new Giants of the Savanna exhibit opening May 28, 2010, the launch of the iPhone app comes at a perfect time. “The new Dallas Zoo iPhone app can keep guests up to date about

Egg transport new twist in condor recovery
Oregon Zoo bird curator Shawn St. Michael is involved in an elaborate game of transporting soon-to-hatch condor eggs. The zoo is involved in a captive breeding operation designed to help restore wild populations of endangered California condors.
St. Michael recently drove seven hours with a fist-size condor egg so close to hatching that he could hear the tiny bird's beak "tap, tapping" against the shell. He transported the egg to The Peregrine Fund's World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, where it hatched early this week in the company of eager condor "foster parents."
The theory is that it's easier and less stressful to move eggs than to move enormous birds.
In coming weeks, St. Michael plans to transfer two Oregon-laid eggs to the Los Angeles Zoo. Those birds eventually will be released in Southern California

New species of giant lizard discovered on Philippines’ Luzon Island
A species of giant lizard has been discovered in the forests of the northern Philippines. The 2 metre-long Varanus bitatawa was found by University of Kansas students during an expedition last summer to the heavily populated and largely deforested Luzon Island.
DNA testing has placed the fruit-eating species in the Komodo dragon family.
The discovery was described as an “unprecedented surprise” by scientists documenting the find in the Royal Society’s Biology Letters journal, even though indigenous communities were well aware of the lizard’s existence and have long eaten its meat as part of their diet. It went undiscovered by scientists partly owing to its tendency to hide in trees and partly because comparatively few studies of amphibians and reptiles have been conducted in the

Chester Zoo director announces he plans to step down
AFTER 15 years at the helm steering Chester Zoo to becoming one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions, the director general has announced he is stepping down.
Professor Gordon McGregor Reid plans to leave his position later this year and return to academic work and research.
Tony Williams, chairman of the zoo’s trustees, said: “Gordon feels it is the right time for him to make this move and I know that, as a professional biologist, he is very keen to fulfil his passion for zoological research, field conservation and university teaching.
“Gordon has done a sterling job for the Society. He has seen us through some very challenging times and has transformed the Zoo into the UK’s number one wildlife attraction of choice.”
Prof McGregor Reid, 62, has enjoyed a distinguished decade and a half running the zoo, which has grown from “comparatively small beginnings in the 1930s” to become the second most visited leisure attraction in the UK.
He started out as a researcher at the British

New Zoo Rules In Effect
Last week, the zoo experienced the worst case scenario.
25,000 packed in at one time.
Many were high school students who may have come looking for trouble.
That didn't stop Turner from coming and she's is glad to hear the zoo has made some changes, "It sounds like they got it under control. what i heard, they put some new policies in place where it wouldn't be a problem."
Beginning today anyone 16 or under who comes to the zoo must be accompanied by an adult who is at least 21.
The zoo is also limiting the number of people allowed in at one time to 10,000.
Also, the zoo will no longer offer free Tuesdays to patrons during the month of March when many schools are on spring break.
Brian Carter is with the Memphis Zoo, "we later found out it was because they were sending text messages and word of mouth that the zoo was the place,0,3733240.story

Unchained, gentle and playful: elephants have overcome trauma, say zoo officials
Laxmi, the elephant that killed a trespasser in the Byculla zoo, and her companion Anarkali are now free of their chains, calm as ever, playful with their mahout, and seemingly unmindful of the visitors whose numbers have multiplied since her uncharacteristic behaviour 10 days ago
Laxmi, 53, and Anarkali, 46, both appeared to be in high spirits on Monday, wandering close to the moat and allowing a satisfactory view to the public. Occasionally, they sprayed mud on their backs, as elephants commonly do in summer, trumpeted, and locked trunks with each other.
For the past week, Anarkali and Laxmi have been roaming free inside their enclosure and both have been very well behaved, their mahout said. “Last weekend, a large crowd came to see them but they were calm,” he said, standing between



To save a species
Performing IVF on a giant - and dangerous - mammal is a tricky but exciting business, writes Deborah Smith.
"She has eggs.'' The animal reproduction expert Dr Thomas Hildebrandt is carrying out an ultrasound on an 800-kilogram black rhinoceros and tells everyone around him the good news visible on his computer screen.
It is early morning in a dusty enclosure at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo and an Australian and German team of more than 25 has gathered to attempt rhino IVF.
Each part of the procedure has been specially adapted for the giants, from the harness attached to a bulldozer that lifts the anaesthetised rhino, Rocket, onto an operating table, to the long thin needle used to flush out her precious eggs.
It is more than 30 years since the first human IVF baby was born but rhinos present big challenges, says Hildebrandt, of the Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin.
Rather than the 15-centimetre distance to an ovary in a woman, the team must collect the eggs from 1.5 metres inside the animal. ''We had to develop new equipment and concepts,'' he says.
The same applies to the electrical stimulator he uses the next day to obtain sperm from a male rhino, Kwanzaa.
In the neighbouring yard, a little black rhino - the latest arrival in the zoo's natural breeding program for the critically endangered species - is leaping about beside her mother. Now six weeks old, she is the 11th black rhino calf born at the zoo.
But Rocket is unable to conceive naturally because of uterine problems, making the creation of an IVF embryo the only option if she is to contribute to the genetic diversity of the breeding stock, says the zoo's reproductive biologist, Tamara Keeley. ''And we don't want to lose her genes.''
The day starts at 7.15 with a warning from senior veterinarian Dr Benn Bryant. Humans are particularly sensitive to the anaesthetic he will shoot into Rocket, so great care must be taken. ''A very small exposure could be very dangerous to you,'' he tells the team.
There is also the possibility the rhino could rouse at any point. ''You always need a clear route of escape.''
Two keepers have been assigned to Rocket for three months - one playing the ''good cop'' and doling out affection and treats, such as banana and sweet potato, the other the ''bad cop'' who gives the injections.
In the previous week she has received three big doses of hormones to make her super ovulate, and since 6am the good cop, Karen Ellis, has been talking to her to keep her calm.
Rocket, who was born in the wild, is the favourite of Jennifer Conaghan, the zoo's black rhino supervisor. ''She's not difficult but she keeps that raw quality,'' she says. ''Sometimes she's not very trusting.''
The savvy rhino instantly twigs that her routine has changed when Bryant arrives with the dart gun, and she trots up and down the yard. But within 20 minutes she is flat out on a ground sheet and the team moves in.
Once it has been established she has a good supply of eggs, she is lifted onto the operating table. At the front end, Bryant gives her an anaesthetic gas, and vital statistics such as her heart rate, temperature and the amount of carbon dioxide she breathes out is monitored. A shade cloth protects her from the heat and ice packs are placed on her back. The risk is that her huge body weight will affect her ability to breathe, Bryant says.
At the back end, the three German researchers are preparing the equipment to reach the rhino's ovaries. The ultrasound device, which is inserted into her anus, has a long thin tube attached, which will direct the tip of the egg collection needle to just in front of the ultrasound, so it can be seen on the laptop.
Dr Robert Hermes must reach far in with his arm and hold the ultrasound device in place for more than half an hour at a time, while Hildebrandt inserts the collection needle and jabs it into a follicle. Next to him, Dr Frank Goeritz controls the flow of fluid to suck out the eggs.
It's risky. Hildebrandt could hit a big blood vessel which is only two centimetres away from the ovary, near the spine. ''We are very tense when we do this procedure. If we make a mistake it has a severe consequence,'' he says.
This is the fifth year the team has tried rhino IVF at the zoo and everyone's contribution is vital, he says. ''It is a joint effort. And we found the best collaborators in the world in Dubbo.''
In 2006, they obtained rhino eggs for the first time. In 2008, their last attempt, they achieved another world first, producing a rhino IVF embryo, but it survived for less than 24 hours.
By 10am both of Rocket's ovaries have been flushed. It is important the rhino is not kept unconscious longer than necessary and there is a sudden, adrenalin-pumping rush to pack up and get everyone out of the yard and out of view before she wakes up.
Hildebrandt spends about six months a year travelling the world with his colleagues, assisting institutions with animal reproduction. In the early 1990s he developed ultrasound for elephants, followed by a non-surgical method of artificial insemination, which involves threading a two millimetre thick tube about three metres into the uterus of an unsedated female.
Elephants are much more intelligent than rhinoceros and can be readily taught to accept the procedure, but rhinos must be sedated.
The main challenge, says Hilde brandt, whose team has produced five rhino calves around the world by artificial insemination, was to develop a special catheter to pass through the convoluted passage in the female's cervix to deliver the sperm to the uterus.
This twisty route is the reason male rhinos spend about an hour and half having sex, compared with the minute or less it takes an elephant, because they must try to fill up the cervix with sperm.
An advantage for the males is that they can reach new tree branches while mounted and they have plenty of time to snack, he says. ''They start to eat between orgasmic waves.''
The scientists, on the other hand, like to complete the rhino artificial insemination in about 20 minutes. While at Dubbo last week, the team used frozen sperm from a white rhino, Thomas, who died six years ago, to inseminate a wild-born female white rhino, Intombi. Hildebrandt also works with other animals such as Asian lions, bears, and European hares, which can become pregnant again when they are already pregnant.
His favourite animal is the naked mole rat of Kenya, which lives in a colony with only one female queen, a few males and lots of sexually repressed workers who dig tunnels and fight predators. ''No other rodent can reach the age of up to 28 years,'' he says while three other team members are in a neighbouring laboratory, scrutinising Rocket's fluid for precious eggs.
When an egg is spotted under the microscope, an enthusiastic cry rings out from the lab where Keeley, and vets Dr Lisa Maclellan, of Seven Creeks Equine Vet Clinic in Victoria, and Dr Jenny Kelly, of the South Australian Research and Development Institute, are working. The tally of eggs is eight. They are safely stored in a warm incubator to await the arrival of sperm the next morning.
The team hopes the black rhino IVF research will eventually be applicable to the northern white rhino. They are extinct in the wild and only eight remain in captivity. ''A technology like IVF would potentially save the species,'' Bryant says.
Apart from conservation, Hildebrandt says they are driven by a competitive desire to improve on technology that can sometimes do more harm than good.
For the collection of sperm the team has developed a large, 15-volt electrical probe that is inserted in the bull's rectum and used to stimulate nerves that control muscles in the reproductive tract so sperm is squeezed out. ''It is not like a normal orgasm,'' he says.
Previously researchers have used probes that burnt or even killed the animals. But his team's device is very safe, he says. ''If you hold it in your hand you don't feel anything.''
As we observe early the next morning on an anaesthetised Kwanzaa, ultrasound is also used to find the best spot to apply the stimulator, a process

Autopsy Report Reveals SeaWorld Trainer Dawn Brancheau Was Brutally Attacked by Killer Whale
Last night Florida's Orange County medical examiner released the autopsy report on the death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau. The report cites "multiple traumatic injuries and drowning" as the cause of death. The excessive injuries she suffered are contradictory to earlier reports that her death, on February 24th, 2010, was accidental, the result of over-zealous horseplay on the part of a killer whale she had been working with. It is clear from her injuries—and subsequent witness accounts that her body had to be pried from the orca's mouth, that this was a brutally violent attack.
Initial reports indicated that Brancheau had fallen into the tank, but these reports were amended after investigators examined witness statements and concluded that Brancheau had been grabbed by her ponytail and pulled into the tank by the 12,000-pound killer whale named Tilikum. There was also speculation that Brancheau may have inadvertently provoked Tilikum into the playful frenzy that resulted in his holding her underwater until she drowned.
A seven-minute home video shot by a SeaWorld tourist just seconds before the attack, and released by Florida television station WESH, clearly shows Brancheau laughing and playing with Tilikum in the water literally seconds before her death. This video does not show the attack, and it also does not show how, or where, Brancheau entered the tank. But the video does show that she didn't seem to be panicked or in fear of Tilikum. Nor were her fellow trainers panicked in their calls to 911.
Perhaps Brancheau, and her co-trainers, should have been more concerned on that day. Dawn Brancheau was not Tilikum's first victim. He had already been blamed in the deaths of two other people. In 1991 he and two other orcas sharing his tank were blamed in the death of a marine trainer in British Columbia, Canada. Tilikum's horseplay was also blamed in the 1999 death of a 27-year-old man whose body was found mysteriously floating in the killer whale's holding tank.
Brancheau's family has requested that autopsy photos, as well as video from SeaWorld's surveillance cameras, not be released to the public, but the medical examiner has released his findings. According to a news video released this morning on The Today Show, the medical examiner found blunt force injuries, broken ribs, broken sternum, dislocated elbow/knee, abrasions and contusions. Parts of the autopsy report are extremely graphic, saying that Brancheau's arm had been ripped from her body, her scalp torn from her skull...

Big cats don't exist - official
BRITAIN'S environment watchdog has ruled out the existence of big cats in the wilds of the Westcountry, despite countless sighting claims by members of the public.
Natural England said it was "confident that there is no breeding population of big cats" in the UK after releasing a list of the exotic species reported to it by the public.
But WMN wildlife expert Trevor Beer, who has been researching the animals since the 1980s, said the agency was wrong to write off thousands of genuine sightings.
"The big cats are out there," Mr Beer said last night. "I don't know why Natural England is going down this line – they are just making fools of themselves."
The agency's list contained several reports from Devon and Cornwall over the past five years, ranging from big cats to wild boar and even a wallaroo – a kind of kangaroo.
Photograph of an alleged big cat taken near St Austell. Do you think big cats exist? Fill in the comment field below and share your views.
The document, released under the


Dolphin trader has a change of heart, decides to set them free
Chris Porter, a controversial dolphin trader with a lucrative business capturing the animals in the Solomon Islands and selling them to aquariums, says he has had a change of heart and is planning to release his last 17 dolphins.
Porter, a marine mammal trainer, trained Tillikum the killer whale when he was at Sealand in Victoria and then became Vancouver Aquarium's head trainer. In his latest career, Porter has sold 83 dolphins around the world in the past nine years, drawing the fury of animal-rights groups.
"To be sure, I have a bad name. I have been deemed the Darth Vader of dolphins," said Porter in an interview.
"But I have decided to release the remaining animals back to the wild. It's driven by the incident with Tillikum and I'm disillusioned with the industry," said Porter, who splits his time between Victoria and the Solomon Islands.
Late last month, Tillikum pulled SeaWorld Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheur by her ponytail off her poolside platform, drowning her. Porter said the news shook him, and proved trainers have been unable to provide for the needs of such an intelligent animal.
Another catalyst for his decision to quit was the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, which shows the bloody capture and slaughter of dolphins in Japan.
Porter, who used to believe some animals must be captive educational ambassadors for their species, is beginning to doubt the value of shows, where animals are forced to perform tricks.
"Are we really educating and providing the best representation of wild animals in an aquarium?" he asked.
The artificial, sterile environment in which most marine mammals are kept bears little resemblance to their habitat. Killer whales are likely to become frustrated, increasing the chance they will lash out, he said.
But from the start of the Solomons project, Porter said he saw himself as saving dolphins, which were being slaughtered by the thousands by islanders there, who used their teeth as currency.
Hunters have now been educated to realize there can be a much larger value in dolphins, Porter said.
"When I got there a dolphin was worth $20, and last year dolphins were worth $140,000," he said.
Porter's Free-the-Pod venture is likely to

Claws out over Lion Man's lost kingdom
DEATH threats have been made to Craig "Lion Man" Busch and his replacement at the big cat park as tensions between the two camps threaten to boil over.
The threats against Craig and Tim Husband come ahead of Wednesday's court case over the fatal mauling of handler Dalu Mncube last May.
Sunday News this week received a copy of a threat to Craig's official website from an email address entitled "CraigBuschMustDie". It claimed to be written in response to his treatment of the park's cats including declawing them.
This newspaper has also been sent photos showing big cats lured to almost the top of their enclosure's wire fences by keepers, as tourists watch nearby.
The images, which also appear on Craig's official Facebook page, have sparked outrage among his fans who have raised both public safety and welfare concerns.
Management from the Zion Wildlife Gardens, near Whangarei, were unavailable for comment.
Craig's spokeswoman would not comment on the specific nature of the photos, but speaking

Steve Irwin's Six-Year-Old Son Training to Feed Crocodiles
For now he's feeding the new giraffes at Australia Zoo but by the end of the year six-year-old Robert Irwin hopes to be feeding crocodiles, The (Brisbane) Sunday Mail reported.
The son of the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin wants to take after his father and has been undergoing written lessons on croc feeding.
His mother Terri expects he could be in the Crocoseum at the Australia Zoo with sister Bindi, 11, by the end of the year.
Robert was only one month old when his father famously dangled him a few feet from the jaws of a crocodile while feeding it.
The spitting image of Steve, Robert has taken a shine to reptiles. He told journalists Saturday about his favorite feature of the planned expansion of Australia Zoo to include a resort which will overlook

Jackson Zoo's Sumatran tigers get $1.2M yard
Instead of small dirt and concrete runs, the Jackson Zoo's three Sumatran tigers now have an 6,500-square-foot grass yard with a pool, waterfall, and lots of trees.
The three tigers - Emerson, Kipling and Taymor - are brothers. Director Beth Poff tells The Clarion-Ledger that the new enclosure has enough space for five tigers. She says any decision about whether to bring in a female is at least a year in the future.
Construction contractor Donald Hammons

Cincinnati Zoo Rhino Will Not Be A Dad
"Ratu", the mate of “Andalas,” the Cincinnati Zoo’s first Sumatran rhino calf , has lost her pregnancy.
Andalas and Ratu, both eight-years-old, were expecting a calf in May of 2011. Both are living at the Sumatran Rhine Sanctuary in Indonesia.
An ultrasound revealed Ratu was pregnant in early February. However, recent examinations indicate that the embryo is no longer present. Officials say this is not unusual for a rhino's first pregnancy and they continue to hope that the two will mate and produce an offspring.
Andalas was borng in 2001, the first Sumatran rhino born in captivity in 112 years. Ratu, a native Indonesian, wandered into a village just outside the Way Kambas Park and was brought to the Sanctuary to keep her safe. The two rhinos will remain at the 250-acre complex built and supported by the International Rhino Foundation.
Considered the most endangered of all rhino species and perhaps the most endangered mammal species on earth, it is estimated that 50 percent of the Sumatran rhino population has been lost in the past 15 years. The primary cause is conversion of rhino habitat for agriculture, even

FDLE clears zoo president
Lex Salisbury might have had a conflict of interest when he was Lowry Park Zoo president and CEO at the same time he was setting up a for-profit exotic animal park, but he didn't break any laws, according to the results of a yearlong investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The FDLE report, released Wednesday, came on the heels of a city inquiry into Salisbury's dealings with the Tampa zoo. The city's inquiry was spurred by a News Channel 8 and Tampa Tribune investigation showing that zoo money, staff and supplies were used in Salisbury's efforts to start a for-profit exotic animal park in Polk County called Safari Wild.
Tampa's audit, initiated by Mayor Pam Iorio, flagged more than $200,000 in specific expenses. Auditors found that Salisbury gave himself an unauthorized bonus, took a zoo-paid side trip to Paris after an international conference, and traded a lawnmower to the zoo for an antique Mercedes safari vehicle.
But in the 13-page FDLE report issued Wednesday, assistant statewide prosecutor Harold Bennett concluded there was "no evidence to support allegations that Salisbury intended to use the structures built at Safari Wild for

Can Animals Be Gay?
The Laysan albatross is a downy seabird with a seven-foot wingspan and a notched, pale yellow beak. Every November, a small colony of albatrosses assembles at a place called Kaena Point, overlooking the Pacific at the foot of a volcanic range, on the northwestern tip of Oahu, Hawaii. Each bird has spent the past six months in solitude, ranging over open water as far north as Alaska, and has come back to the breeding ground to reunite with its mate. Albatrosses can live to be 60 or 70 years old and typically mate with the same bird every year, for life. Their “divorce rate,” as biologists term it, is among the lowest of any bird.
When I visited Kaena Point in November, the first birds were just returning, and they spent a lot of their time gliding and jackknifing in the wind a few feet overhead or plopped like cushions in the sand. There are about 120 breeding albatrosses in the colony, and gradually, each will arrive and feel out the crowd for the one other particular albatross it has been waiting to have sex with again. At any given moment in the days before Thanksgiving, some birds may be just turning up while others sit there killing time. It feels like an airport baggage-claim area.
Once together, pairs will copulate and collaboratively incubate a single egg for 65 days. They take shifts: one bird has to sit at the nest while the other flaps off to fish and eat for weeks at a time. Couples preen each other’s feathers and engage in elaborate mating behaviors and displays. “Like when you’re in a couple,” Marlene Zuk, a biologist who has visited the colony, explained to me. “All those sickening things that couples do that gross out everyone else but the two people in the couple? . . . Birds have the same thing.” I often saw pairs sitting belly to belly, arching their necks and nuzzling together their heads to form a kind of heart shape. Speaking on Oahu a few years ago as first lady, Laura Bush praised Laysan albatross couples for making lifelong commitments to one another. Lindsay C. Young, a biologist who studies the Kaena Point colony, told me: “They were supposed to be icons of monogamy: one male and one female. But I wouldn’t assume that what you’re looking at is a male and a female.”
Young has been researching the albatrosses on Oahu since 2003; the colony was the focus of her doctoral dissertation at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, which she completed last spring. (She now works on conservation projects as a biologist for hire.) In the course of her doctoral work, Young and a colleague discovered, almost incidentally, that a third of the pairs at Kaena Point actually consisted of two female birds, not one male and one female. Laysan albatrosses are one of countless species in which the two sexes look basically identical. It turned out that many of the female-female pairs, at Kaena Point and at a colony that Young’s colleague studied on Kauai, had been together for 4, 8 or even 19 years — as far back as the biologists’ data went, in some cases. The female-female pairs had been incubating eggs together, rearing chicks and just generally passing under everybody’s nose for what you might call “straight” couples.
Young would never use the phrase “straight couples.” And she is adamantly against calling the other birds “lesbians” too. For one thing, the same-sex pairs appear to do everything male-female pairs do except have sex, and Young isn’t really sure, or comfortable judging, whether that technically qualifies them as lesbians or not. But moreover, the whole question is meaningless to her; it has nothing to do with her research. “ ‘Lesbian,’ ” she told me, “is a human term,” and Young — a diligent and cautious scientist, just beginning to make a name in her field — is devoted to using the most aseptic language possible and resisting any tinge of anthropomorphism. “The study is about albatross,” she told me firmly. “The study is not about humans.” Often, she seemed to be mentally peer-reviewing her words before speaking.
A discovery like Young’s can disorient a wildlife biologist in the most thrilling way — if he or she takes it seriously, which has traditionally not been the case. Various forms of same-sex sexual activity have been recorded in more than 450 different species of animals by now, from flamingos to bison to beetles to guppies to warthogs. A female koala might force another female against a tree and mount her, while throwing back her head and releasing what one scientist described as “exhalated belchlike sounds.” Male Amazon River dolphins have been known to penetrate each other in the blowhole. Within most species, homosexual sex has been documented only sporadically, and there appear to be few cases of individual animals who engage in it exclusively. For more than a century, this kind of observation was usually tacked onto scientific papers as a curiosity, if it was reported at all, and not pursued as a legitimate research subject. Biologists tried to explain away what they’d seen, or dismissed it as theoretically meaningless — an isolated glitch in an otherwise elegant Darwinian universe where every facet of an animal’s behavior is geared toward reproducing. One primatologist speculated that the real reason two male orangutans were fellating each other was

Lions seized from B.C. man whose fiancee was killed by tiger
An animal trainer whose fiancee was killed by a tiger at a B.C. zoo three years ago could face charges of violating the very laws that were spurred by her death.
Kim Carlton's fiancee, Tania Dumstrey-Soos, 32, was killed by a tiger at Siberian Magic, his exotic-animal zoo near 100 Mile House, B.C., in 2007.
She had been standing outside the tiger's cage saying good night when the big cat inexplicably lashed out, apparently killing her with a single paw swipe, according to reports at the time.
The tragedy spurred the provincial government to regulate dangerous-animal ownership.
Carlton is now back in the exotic-pet business with a film agency called the Vanishing Kingdom.
Environment Minister Barry Penner confirmed that two African lion cubs have been seized from Carlton in connection with allegations of "the unlawful breeding of controlled alien species contrary to the B.C. Wildlife Act."
The new breeding laws were phased into effect last spring, Penner said. The cubs, seized about three weeks ago, are being kept in a safe, undisclosed location, he added.
Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie said charges are being reviewed.
Carlton, a former pro fighter-turned-animal trainer, recently said he was tricked into the seizure. Agents invited him to bring the cubs to a fake children's birthday party near 100 Mile House.
"They set me up. They called me for a birthday

Tough Start For Zoo-Born Rhino
A baby white rhinoceros recently born at Hamilton Zoo had a rough start to life but is now making good progress.
The male calf was born at the zoo in the early hours of Friday, 12 March to first-time mum Kito (9-years-old) and father Kruger (21-years-old).
Born with blood blisters in his eyes, the calf had almost zero vision at birth.
Hamilton Zoo acting director Samantha Kudeweh said the calf's eye problem caused further difficulties when it came to feeding.
"In the end staff had to milk Kito in order to bottle-feed the calf, as his lack of vision and Kito's inexperience as a mother meant they weren't having any success with suckling," said Mrs Kudeweh.
"However since then the calf's eyesight has gradually improved and with support from staff a breakthrough came five days after the birth when the calf found the right spot

A zoo-per kind of love
As a young man, Manny Tangco, owner and manager of Malabon Zoo, often wondered why a man would build something as beautiful as Taj Mahal in the name of the woman he loves. Until Bubut Obusan came strutting her way to his life.
Manny remembers the day so vividly, like it was only yesterday. He arrived in his office and found his desk, drawers, and cabinets completely empty. Then, in came a lady who looked him straight in the eye without saying a word. It was like a scene in a romantic movie. Well, not exactly. But it was close to that.
“I was caught off guard. It was as if the clouds outside stirred in rapid movements and there was a sudden haze inside the room,” Manny said. “I learned later that she was a new employee in our company and one of her first tasks was to bring all my stuff to my new office because of my promotion. I was smitten the first time I laid eyes on her.”
It went on from there. They became friends, worked together, and got to know each other more. Then one Sunday, Manny mustered the guts to ask her out. They shunned the typical candlelight dinner and spent their first date shopping for plants.
“I asked her if she wanted to shop for plants and she said yes. So we drove to Puerto Azul in Cavite to buy all sorts of plants and took a walk on the beach after that,” he shared.
As their relationship flourished, so did the number of horses, lions, tigers, grizzly bears, monkeys, birds, fishes and various plants in Manny’s collection. And when he decided to resign from the corporate world to work full time on his animals, he finally proposed to Bubut.
“It was funny because we were plant shopping in Tagaytay that time. He bought this huge palm tree he’s been saving up for and asked me to marry him. I didn’t notice the ring he was holding so I thought, ‘Is this an engagement tree?’” Bubut recalled laughing.
They got married in 1989 and together they developed and improved a small garden and turned it into one of Malabon’s main attractions, the Malabon Zoo. Manny’s personal

Chimpanzee Love In The Air At Zoo Negara
Love is in the air at Zoo Negara, with the chimpanzees having a swinging time with their new-found mates.
The zoo is playing matchmaker to breed more chimpanzees, with help from New Zealand's Hamilton Zoo and social organisation Way Out Experiences (WOX).
'Black', one of the four chimpanzees selected to take part in the breeding programme, has been given a new partner. His father, 'Raja', will soon be united with another mate.
Zoo director Dr Mohamad Ngah hoped this would be a start to a new generation of chimpanzees at the zoo which had been without baby chimps for some time.
"If this programme is successful, it will become a milestone in Zoo Negara's conservation efforts," he told a news conference Friday.
Reporters were taken to the zoo's Mawas Centre to view the four chimpanzees and 'Tina', a seven-year-old female chimpanzee from the Taiping Zoo.
Fourteen-year-old 'Black' and 'Tina' were united a week ago, and it was love at first sight.
"We hope 'Black' and 'Tina' will soon breed baby chimps to motivate 'Raja' and 'Cumbi' to do the same," said the centre's supervisor, Ishak Bakar.
The breeding programme is considered a challenge because uniting a group of chimpanzees is not as easy as it looks. Their suitability is of primary importance.
"Understanding chimps is complex, but rewarding. Some of them are very dominant and some feel inferior. The first few days are usually spent to get to know their personalities

Brookfield Zoo's new CT scanner saves animals a trip
The days of hauling dolphins, gorillas and tigers from Brookfield Zoo to Loyola University Medical Center for checkups are over.
The Maywood hospital donated a CT scanner able to handle weights of up to 400 pounds to the zoo, which joins the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo as the only zoos in the country with on-site scanners.
"It makes it much easier and safer for the animals," said Michael Adkesson, a zoo veterinarian who scanned an aardvark named Jessi for possible dental problems Thursday. "When we take an animal to Loyola, it has to be under anesthesia for the move."
Most of the animals are still anesthetized for the quick scans. Slow-moving turtles and small amphibians that are unlikely to move in the seconds needed are the exceptions, he said.
The CT scanner will be used as part of the zoo's routine wellness checks, Adkesson said. For 6-year-old Jessi, that means a check of the teeth, which are hard to examine because of her distinctive snout.
"Her mouth doesn't open very wide, and she has a long tongue, which makes it very difficult," he said. The scan gave,CST-NWS-zoo02.article

Gorillas in the midst of grieving: London Zoo's three lonely 'wives' mourn the loss of their mate Yeboah
The reaction was a very human one. The three females sat apart, making no eye contact, sometimes staring at the ground for minutes on end.
During breaks in the rain, they got up and mooched around forlornly, mourning their lost mate.
They had known Yeboah for only a few weeks. But the sudden death of the western lowland gorilla has clearly had a great impact on his 'wives'.
It is also a tragedy for London Zoo. Yeboah was 12 and this is the second time in less than two years that it has lost a young male gorilla to unexpected illness.
In December 2008, Bobby - a 25-year-old silverback - was found dead in his nest after a heart attack.
The average lifespan of a gorilla in captivity is between 35 and 45 years.
Yeboah, who weighed 20 stone, had been brought over from France in November to breed with the zoo's three females.
After months of gradual in

White Bengal tiger cub makes debut at zoo
It was a big day for little Zusha.
The 11-week-old white Bengal tiger cub made her debut as Washington Park Zoo’s newest resident Thursday, trotting across the zoo’s courtyard with Mayor Chuck Oberlie in tow. Like any toddler, Zusha (pronounced Zoosha) was curious about those who were allowed to pet her, and got a little grumpy when zoo workers tried to hold her.
She had little patience for photographers, pausing just long enough to gulp down the last bottle of formula she’ll ever drink.
She’s growing up fast, said the zoo’s general curator Elizabeth Emerick. As one of only two white tigers at zoos across the state, Zusha’s a very special baby.
“It’s definitely been an interesting experience getting to raise her,” Emerick said. “It’s neat to watch her develop.”
Zusha was born Jan. 14 at Wildwood Wildlife Park in Minocqua, Wis., and was brought to Michigan City just 12 days later, weighing only 5 pounds. Emerick bottle fed her every three hours, up to seven feedings a day. And she took the cub home with her every night for three months, letting her sleep in a spare bedroom.
“My cat pretty much hid from her. She wanted to play a lot and tried to pounce on him a few times, but he would just run away really fast,” Emerick joked. “She required lots of attention.”
Zusha moved into the zoo full time last week, Emerick said. She’ll live in the nursery, which now has a glass front so visitors can see what she’s up to. She won’t move in with the rest

Inseparable for 15 years, zoo's otters die together
They were inseparable in life, so it is perhaps not surprising that they went together in death.
When one of Natureland Zoo's two male otter old-timers died last week, his longtime companion was unable to carry on life alone.
It is believed Daz, 19, and Chip, 16 - both having lived to ripe old ages for otters - died of heart attacks within an hour of each other.
"The biggest consolation for us was that we weren't left with one lonely otter. As much as we hated what had happened," said zoo operations manager Gail Sutton.
The pair had been residents of the Nelson zoo for 15 years and had lived largely healthy lives until they recently fell ill, she said.
"About two weeks ago they were a bit off-colour. And so we ran tests on them, and with the vets we decided to give them

'Killer elephant' Laxmi still in chains
Mahouts keep elephant chained for several hours during the day as a precautionary measure; activists feel it's unfair on the animal
Four days after Laxmi killed an intruder in her enclosure at Byculla zoo, the 55-year-old elephant has been kept bound to chains for the most part of the day. While Anarkali, the other elephant in the zoo, is set free in the enclosure, the mahouts are cautious with Laxmi.
One of the mahouts said, "From the time Laxmi killed the man, we have to constantly keep a watch on her. She is kept chained as a precaution, otherwise it may be difficult to control her if an incident occurs again."
However, J C Khanna, secretary of Bombay Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, believes animals

National Zoo continues to check for signs of panda pregnancy
The National Zoo said Thursday that the crucial period in Washington's annual giant panda pregnancy watch began last month, when experts detected the start of a rise in hormone levels in its adult female, Mei Xiang.
Once these levels start to rise, it is usually 40 to 60 days to the time when the panda gives birth or concludes what scientists call a false or pseudopregnancy, which is common in pandas and other bears.
Zoo reproduction expert Janine Brown said a panda's level of the hormone progesterone goes up when the bear first goes into heat, and then starts to go up a second time 70 to 100 days later. It is during the second rise that experts believe, if the panda is pregnant, the embryo implants in the uterus. Mei Xiang's secondary rise began around the middle of last month, Brown said.
"We're guessing the end of her breeding season is going to be around early May," she said.
At the end of that time, the panda's hormone level will drop back to baseline. "If we don't see a cub at that point, we just assume she was pseudopregnant," Brown said.
Mei Xiang, 11, was artificially inseminated Jan. 9 and 10 with semen from the zoo's male panda, Tian Tian, 12. The two adults are the parents of Tai Shan,

Rescued Lions Are The Pride Of Yorkshire
Thirteen lions rescued from Romania have "vastly improved" since arriving in South Yorkshire five weeks ago, according to the vet who is caring for them.
The pride of African lions was saved from an uncertain future when Oradea Zoo admitted it could not look after the animals properly.
A £150,000 fundraising campaign paid for them to be flown to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, near Doncaster, where they will stay for the rest of their lives.
Vet Alan Tevendale says they arrived from Romania suffering from open sores caused by living in cramped, wet pens.
Standing outside their new quarantine accommodation, also paid for with donations from the public, he said the beasts have put on weight and look much healthier.
"There were plenty of wounds and sores on them before, that have healed up beautifully," Mr Tevendale said.
"Their general condition now is a vast improvement."
The lions will go on display this summer in a nine-acre lion enclosure which is currently under construction.
It is thought they have never been

Steve Irwin's dream lives on
AUSTRALIA Zoo hopes to employ “hundreds of Aussies” as part of its ambitious plan to create a wildlife showcase in Las Vegas.
Terri Irwin said the US zoo would employ almost 900 people and would be followed by an African themed resort at Beerwah which would employ another 1000.
Ms Irwin said the Las Vegas facility would not only promote her late husband’s animal conservation message to some of the 37 million visiting Las Vegas each year – but also Australia’s tourism.
The wife of the late Crocodile Hunter said he had signed off on a 10-year business plan which included the Las Vegas venture two months before he died.
He would be so excited. You know what he would be saying… ‘Go quicker because you are not doing it quick enough’,” she said.
“Steve’s dreams are exactly what we are following.
“Las Vegas was very much part of the plan.”
Ms Irwin told a VIP breakfast on Thursday, celebrating the Zoo’s 40th birthday, that tourism had the potential to replace mining as the nation’s biggest employer.
“Australia is the most incredible tourism destination on the planet,” she said.
She said the Las Vegas facility would go a long way to promote everything about Australia, including Steve Irwin himself.
“I think our new slogan should be: Australia…it’s closer than you think,” she said.
Ms Irwin said she hoped to see a turning of the sod for the US facility next year and completing construction two years after that.
Work could start on the Coast resort about 18 months later, once the Las Vegas facility was operating.
She said the US project would be a ‘stabiliser’ for the Coast resort which would have 300-350 rooms.
Ms Irwin paid tribute to Steve’s father Bob and mother Lyn for their 22 years of work in running Australia Zoo after first opening it out of a caravan in 1970.
Bob Irwin, who suffered a heart attack on the weekend, was not at the celebration but Ms Irwin said they had been in contact.
“I know that Bob is the

Chimps go bananas for island bridge
Chimpanzees at a wildlife park saw their horizons expand with the opening of a new bridge linking different parts of their enclosure.
The £80,000 six-tonne steel structure spans 40 metres of water to link the chimp house on the mainland with their island.
It is thought the bridge at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling is the first in the world to take chimps across

Turkish zoo expects 1.5 million visitors in 2010
The Gaziantep Zoo is located on a land of 1,000,000 square meters and has around 4,000 animals from 250 species.
Authorities of the Gaziantep Zoo are expecting 1.5 million visitors in 2010.
The Gaziantep Zoo is located on a land of 1,000,000 square meters and has around 4,000 animals from 250 species.
The Gaziantep Zoo happens to be Turkey's biggest zoo and is among the most popular zoos in Europe.
Aside from receiving visitors from all corners of Turkey, the Zoo also attracts visitors from Aleppo, Syria.
Speaking to the AA, Director General of the Gaziantep Zoo, Celal Ozsoyler, said that "Syrians love the Gaziantep Zoo".
After the mutual visa requirement was lifted by Turkey and Syria recently, we are receiving dozens of Syrians on a daily basis. We expect more visitors as the temperatures in Gaziantep are getting warmer with the arrival of spring, Ozsoyler said.
The construction of the Gaziantep Zoo began in 1998 and ended in 2001.
Gaziantep is amongst the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. The city has two central districts under its administration, Sahinbey and Sehitkamil, and the metropolitan area has a total population of 1,252,329 (2007) and an area of 7,642 square kilometers (2,950 sq mi). Gaziantep

Bronx Zoo sponsors race to save lions
Bronxites need to get their running shoes ready and prepare to unleash their wild side in preparation for the 2nd Annual Wildlife Conservation Society Bronx Zoo’s “Run for the Wild.”
In its second year, the “Run for the Wild” was started to raise funding for the benefit one of the many animals in need of assistance, and possibly even facing extinction.This year funds raised will help the endangered tigers.
According to the WCS, their estimates indicate that there may be as few as 3,000 tigers left in the wild today, with roughly half of those living in India, and possibly only about 1,000 breeding females.
The 5K run/walk, held on Saturday, April 24, begins at the Bronx River parking lot entrance and finishes at the Fountain Circle.The runners will get a chance to enjoy the scenery as they stride by nearly all of the zoo’s areas and attractions.
Competitive runners can choose to enter the race as an individual runner, which will begin at 8:30 a.m.More casual runners, walkers or families can participate in the Family Fun Run/Walk, which will begin at 9 a.m.
Prizes will be awarded to those who raise the most money for the cause.The top individual fundraiser will receive the “Tiger Breakfast,” a chance to bring a party of 10 on a personalized tour of Tiger Mountain

Zoo Holds Easter Egg Hunt For Orangutans
Every year, Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa hosts an Easter egg hunt.
Like any similar event, the goodies are hidden bright and early.
But this egg hunt isn't for zoo visitors. It's for the residents -- five Bornean orangutans.
Zookeepers say the event has a stimulating effect for the primates.
"They get real excited," said primate

Layoffs won't hurt public's zoo experience, director says
Proposed layoffs and budget cuts at Springfield’s Henson Robinson Zoo won’t be noticed by the public and won’t hurt the quality of care given to animals, the zoo’s director said Friday.
“It is very unfortunate that it’s come to this with our budget,” said Talon Thornton. “But we’re going to still provide the same exact services to the public and provide the same level of care for the animal collection. That’s not going to change.”
The Springfield Park District has announced plans to lay off 27 full-time employees, including four of seven zookeepers and two of three maintenance workers at the zoo. The layoffs, which take effect at the end of the month, are expected to save about $400,000.
The four laid-off zookeepers, who are represented by a union, will be offered seasonal positions, but the seasonal jobs will come with a pay cut and without benefits. Thornton said the zoo plans to hire a fifth seasonal zookeeper to ensure there’s enough staff.
The seasonal positions will last eight to nine months, but employees will be rotated so that there are six zookeepers working every month. Five will be on duty most days, he said.
Thornton said he doesn’t foresee the cuts causing any problems with the zoo’s accreditation.
Henson Robinson is one of 221 zoos and aquariums nationwide that have received accreditation

Fishing banned on the Sea of Galilee
Fishing in the Sea of Galilee has been banned, Israel's Ministry of Agriculture has announced, amid claims stocks have fallen to a dangerous low.
It is the site where Jesus told his disciples: "I will make you fishers of men." As the Bible tells us, four of the Apostles - James, Andrew, John and Peter - worked as fishermen on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
Were they to ply their trade now, however, the Apostles would find themselves in court. Officials at the Ministry announced the fishing ban, claiming that stocks have fallen to a dangerously

African Wild Cat Escapes from Leesburg Animal Park
The missing feline looks like a large spotted cat and is wearing a harness. This particular animal was hand raised and is not considered to be a threat to residents. Residents are urged not to approach the Serval as it is extremely skittish and will likely run away.
Since it escaped the Leesburg Animal Park—on Route 15 south of Leesburg—the animal has been spotted in the area of Gleedsville Rd. There have been several sightings, but the animal has not yet been confined.
A Serval is a medium-sized African wild cat, related to the lion although it appears

Normally quiet zoo commission gets hot over issue of whether to charge a fee for the St. Louis Zoo
ZOO KNEW?: Insiders on the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District commission say the fur nearly flew at the group’s meeting on Monday when Ben Uchitelle and David Weber again talked about support for charging a fee to get into the St. Louis Zoo.
They are the only two commissioners on the eight-member board who support the idea. Weber and Uchitelle, a former mayor of Clayton, support a measure introduced in the Legislature by Sen. Joan Bray, D-University City, that could set the stage for a vote to expand the St. Louis Zoo-Museum District and its property tax to other area counties.
Donna Knight, who was chairman of the commission last year, was opposed to the idea of charging to get into the zoo and it never

Dusit Zoo's wildlife suffer from rallies
Street rallies in Bangkok are affecting the wildlife at Dusit Zoo, which houses more than 2,000 animals.
The zoo, which is close to the Royal Plaza and parliament where protesters have been gathering, recently relocated 14 animals to provincial zoos.
Three elephants, two cranes, six red kangaroos and three wallabies were moved last month.
The elephants were moved to Songkhla Zoo, while the other animals were sent to Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo.
"We normally relocate animals whose cages are close to Uthong Noi Road, which is close to the gathering site of various protest groups," said Karnchai Saenwong, director of Dusit Zoo.
"Animals that are in other zones will not be moved as they are not much affected by the rallies. We moved them for their own safety. They also may be affected by tear gas if it is used to disperse the protesters." When the situation returned to normal, the animals would be moved back to Dusit Zoo.
Protests by the anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship have caused the number of zoo visitors to drop by almost 90%, said Mr Karnchai.
In March last year, 2,000 to 6,000 people visited the zoo a day. Last month, there were only 1,000 visitors a day.
"We are not worried about losing money, but we are worried about

At the zoo: In the pink
The hope is that a new island and pool will encourage the zoo’s flamingos to mate.
Although the flock of pink flamingos that resides on the banks of the lake in the Jerusalem Zoo may seem quite large, its numbers are a cause for concern. Keepers are perplexed because the flamingos aren’t breeding, and never have done so. Now a new island in the sun may provide the solution.
Flamingos are found all across Africa, America and southern Europe and can live for well over 50 years. There are several different species, and the zoo has three, the greater flamingo, the lesser flamingo, and the Caribbean flamingo. They get their beautiful pink color from their food. The birds feed on animal and plant plankton that they forage using their specially adapted beaks. Their natural food contains carotenoids, organic pigments that give them their distinctive color.
At the zoo the birds are given beetroot to eat, along with minced meat and fish to provide the natural coloring they need. Aside from their bright color flamingos are notable also in that they stand on one leg. Exactly why the birds do this is unclear, although one theory is that they are resting.
The first flamingos arrived at the zoo 15 years ago. At the time it was hoped that the community would gradually increase in size as chicks were hatched. Flamingos can be reluctant to breed in captivity, but although other



Girl, 3, walks wire above tigers
A Chinese zoo has been slammed for letting a three-year-old girl walk a tightrope eight metres above a tiger enclosure.
The little girl walked along the 130 metre long high wire above six hungry Siberian tigers at Changzhou Yancheng Zoo in Jiangsu province.
She was part of a routine which also involved two adult acrobats who crossed the wire using a bicycle and a ladder as props.
But the crowd gasped when three-year-old Zhang Xiaoyan started to walk along the wire, with a thin safety rope attached around her waste.
Witnesses said people screamed when she nearly lost her footing on the first step, as a strong gust of wind nearly blew her off the wire.
The little girl walked along the wire without even a pole, using just her arms for balance, as the tigers prowled below. One even jumped up towards her.
Horrified visitors criticised the zoo for putting on the stunt which they said amounted to child abuse.
"If she was my child, I would never let her do anything like that no matter how talented she is," complained one parent.
A zoo spokesman said they had hired a professional group, the Jiangxi Elite Children Arts Troupe, to put on the routine which met all safety requirements.
Zhang Shenwen, director of Jiangxi Elite Children Arts Troupe, said Xiaoyan was the world's youngest high wire walker, and had been training since she was just one.
"She has very good psychological control," he added, saying she would
Campaign against shark sales scores first victory
The Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA) launched a campaign earlier this month aimed at raising awareness about the importance of sharks to Egypt's ecosystem and economy and to inform the public about the dangers associated with consuming shark meat.
The first phase of the initiative, dubbed the "Stop Shark Sales" campaign, aims to halt the sale of shark meat at French hypermarket chain Carrefour. The campaign's long-term objective, meanwhile, is to have shark fishing banned outright countrywide.
Unbeknownst to much of the public, shark meat is currently being sold on the Egyptian market as well as being exported to markets overseas. According to HEPCA, studies confirm that increased demand for shark meat has led to overfishing, the result of which has been an estimated 97-percent decrease in the Mediterranean Sea's shark population.
Though most sales of shark meat take place at local fish markets, HEPCA has targeted the prominent hypermarket chain in particular
Second Nature: Environmental Enrichment for Captive Animals
To purchase click HERE
SECOND NATURE brings together the work of animal behaviorists, zoo biologists, and psychologists to explore innovative strategies for environmental enrichment in laboratories and marine parks as well as in zoos. Providing a theoretical framework for the science of environmental enrichment in a variety of settings, the book renews and extends a humane approach to the keeping and conservation of animals. 28 illustrations .


Death of a tiger
After poachers, it is sustained official insensitivity, and the human-animal conflict that threatens the endangered species of the great Indian tiger
Akash Bisht Ramnagar/Dhikala
Every night, the Kiari village on the fringes of Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand attracts several intruders from the wild who pillage the fields of farmers, dependent on the little produce that the land yields. The increasing loss of crop over the years has forced farmers near the park to wage a war against herds of wild boars and elephants. Wild boars, the most frequent among these uninvited guests, are considered 'enemy number one' as they destroy an entire crop with amazing speed. This phenomenon has pushed farmers to lay traps (wire snares) near their fields. Ironically, the tragedy is that in this battle for survival, these ugly confrontations sometimes claim innocent victims - precious tigers and leopards.
On March 16, one such wire snare killed a tiger near the Phata range. This was the fifth tiger death in the past four months that even had Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sit up and take notice at the recently held National Board for Wildlife meeting.
Corbett has the densest population of tigers in the world and some tigers are bound to die owing to natural causes like ageing, diseases and animal-animal conflict. Out of the five tiger deaths, one was poisoned, while the rest, except for the Phata tiger, died of natural causes. The Wildlife Protection Society of India
Humidifying Bugs at ZSL London Zoo
JS Humidifiers has supplied and installed three Neptronic SKE resistive steam humidifiers at the BUGS exhibit and Invertebrate Conservation Centre of ZSL London Zoo. The humidifiers are helping maintain high humidities around exhibits such as Giant Fregate beetles, Partula snails and colonies of Leaf cutter ants. The humidifiers have fan units fitted to the top that disperse steam directly into the room. One of the steam generators is located in the Cool Humid room where it maintains a constantly humid and comfortable atmosphere for stick insects, leaf insects and leaf-cutting ants. Another is located in the Fregate Island Room, which contains rare species only found on Fregate Island in the Seychelles, including Palm Beetles and Fregate Island Enid Snails, both endangered species. The room is kept at a sweltering 28oC and 70-80%rH due to the requirements of the animals. The third humidifier will be fitted in a display breeding room for sensitive Polynesian Tree snails, most of which are extinct in the wild. Dave Clarke, Team Leader at London Zoo's Bugs Exhibit, comments, “We selected the Neptronic SKE as we wanted an industrial unit that could withstand the type of intensive use we put them through, and required steam humidification to provide totally hygienic conditions for the staff working in the area. Since the humidifiers have been in they've been performing really well and have required minimal maintenance.” Unlike electrode boiler humidifiers, which need replacement boiling cylinders when they become full of limescale, the Neptronic SKE has a cleanable boiling chamber. The heating elements are made from scale-resistive Incoloy 825 super alloy, which when heated causes any limescale that does build up to crack from the surface in small manageable pieces. These are then mostly washed to drain during normal operation. When combined with RO water, the scale that builds up inside the humidifier is dramatically reduced. As very few minerals are in the RO water
Students to get hands on at Paignton Zoo open day
Paignton Zoo Environmental Park and the Royal Veterinary College are teaming up to give young people a unique taste of life as a vet.
It's the first time the Royal Veterinary College has done anything like this in partnership with a zoo.
The students will even get to handle genuine animal organs. Paignton Zoo educator Katy Barton said: "The plastinated organs are impregnated with polymers Students get hands-on at Zoo vet open day to preserve them for teaching purposes - they are the real thing!"
The open day, which is during the Easter holidays, is aimed at 16 to 19 year olds with a keen interest in veterinary nursing or surgery. The event will be staffed by the RVC and by Paignton Zoo educators and will feature talks, videos and practical sessions.
Katy Barton: "The students will try getting into a surgical gown while keeping sterile, bandage a toy dog, learn how to do the correct knot that vets use when they sew up wounds, discover how micro-chipping works and test a teddy bear to see if they can read its microchip. They will also be looking at x-rays and doing anatomy exercises using the plastinated organs. It's a great way to find out more about veterinary science as
To purchase click HERE
To save a species
Performing IVF on a giant - and dangerous - mammal is a tricky but exciting business, writes Deborah Smith.
"She has eggs.'' The animal reproduction expert Dr Thomas Hildebrandt is carrying out an ultrasound on an 800-kilogram black rhinoceros and tells everyone around him the good news visible on his computer screen.
It is early morning in a dusty enclosure at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo and an Australian and German team of more than 25 has gathered to attempt rhino IVF.
Each part of the procedure has been specially adapted for the giants, from the harness attached to a bulldozer that lifts the anaesthetised rhino, Rocket, onto an operating table, to the long thin needle used to flush out her precious eggs.
It is more than 30 years since the first human IVF baby was born but rhinos present big challenges, says Hildebrandt, of the Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin.
Rather than the 15-centimetre distance to an ovary in a woman, the team must collect the eggs from 1.5 metres inside the animal. ''We had to develop new equipment and concepts,'' he says.
The same applies to the electrical stimulator he uses the next day to obtain sperm from a male rhino, Kwanzaa.
In the neighbouring yard, a little black rhino - the latest arrival in the zoo's natural breeding program for the critically endangered species - is leaping about beside her mother. Now six weeks old, she is the 11th black rhino calf born at the zoo.
But Rocket is unable to conceive naturally because of uterine problems, making the creation of an IVF embryo the only option if she is to contribute to the genetic diversity of the breeding stock, says the zoo's reproductive biologist, Tamara Keeley. ''And we don't want to lose her genes.''
The day starts at 7.15 with a warning from senior veterinarian Dr Benn Bryant. Humans are particularly sensitive to the anaesthetic he will shoot into Rocket, so great care must be taken. ''A very small exposure could be very dangerous to you,'' he tells the team.
There is also the possibility the rhino could rouse at any point. ''You always need a clear
Cash donation will make zoo wheelchair accessible
A SMALL zoo has been given a massive funding boost for its extension plans.
Shaldon Wildlife Trust has been given £20,000 to build new walkways into its newly extended coastline home.
The money came from Ugbrooke Environmental Limited, funded by Viridor Waste Management.
The new boardwalks will go through the whole £150,000 extension, due to open this Easter, making the zoo wheelchair accessible for the first time.
The extension also includes new and enlarged enclosures for some of the animals and an education building.
Shaldon Wildlife Trust's director Tracey Moore said: "The directors of Ugbrooke Environmental Ltd have said they were delighted to help with the funding towards this project and hope many more visitors will now be able to enjoy seeing this diverse collection of animals and birds and learning about their conservation.
"The trust has been fortunate enough to receive legacies totalling £90,000 which will go towards the extension and hopes to secure funding for the remaining £60,000.
"Without the generosity of contributions
Educator's Activity Book about Bats
 To purchase click HERE
Primarily for grades K-5, this book includes 18 games, craft projects, and many more fun activities that enable children to learn the facts about bats before negative stereotypes become established. Grade level guidelines and pertinent background information are included to help teachers plan study units on bats.
E coli scandal at zoo that left dead animals to rot
AN investigation has found a potentially deadly strain of E coli at a popular children’s petting zoo where dead animals were openly left to rot for weeks.
An undercover reporter who spent several weeks working as a volunteer at the unlicensed zoo discovered:
- Corpses of animals left to decompose near where visiting children play.
- Staff alternating between working with the animals and helping out in the visitors’ cafe, wearing the same clothes and shoes.
- Cafe food stored next to dirty parrot cages.
- No hot water for handwashing except in the cafe kitchen. One worker said there had been no hot water in the toilets for five years.
- Animals suffering with painful diseases and fed inappropriate food such as chocolate, lollipops
Tiger Splash at Out of Africa Wildlife Park near Sedona, Arizona
Eagle Heights owner fears closure of animal park
A ZOO keeper claims he has been given an ultimatum by a council to get rid of his animals or face closure.
Eagle Heights owner Alan Ames has been told he needs to upgrade his wildlife park’s perimeter fence because he has potentially dangerous animals on site such as cheetahs and a camel.
Sevenoaks District Council met with Mr Ames on Thursday (Mar 25) following a routine Defra inspection which concluded his current fence needs upgrading before his zoo licence expires in two years time.
But the council has told Mr Ames he is unlikely to get planning permission to put up the type of fence required, as the zoo falls on green belt land in Eynsford.
However it says he would
Films drive trend for keeping pet monkeysRSPCA condemns trade in 'cute' primates and says that they suffer distress in captivity
Hollywood movies and popular television shows featuring cute monkeys and other primates are driving demand for them as exotic pets, only to leave the animals psychologically damaged.
The RSPCA and Wild Futures, a Cornwall-based sanctuary which cares for distressed primates, are increasingly concerned at the new fashion. Figures on the UK's primate trade are difficult to obtain, partly because some of it is underground and illegal. But the RSPCA said it had been told by one dealer that there are now some 20,000 pet primates in the UK, about four times original estimates. The trade is lucrative. Prices for the popular marmoset monkey reach £800, while capuchins can fetch £2,000.
Recent changes in legislation have made it easier to own many types of primate. The government has removed a number of smaller primates from the dangerous animals list, which means they can be bought and sold freely.
Larger primates kept in private residences are subject to checks every two years, rather than the original one year, leading to concerns that it is more difficult to monitor their welfare. Many pet primates will live for decades and there are examples of some living into their 50s, which means that they require long-term care.
Taken from their mothers at an early age to live alone in small cages, often without access to the outdoors, many primates kept as pets will suffer acute psychological distress.
Wild Futures, which is looking after 23 rescued monkeys, said all the animals in its care are suffering from
Keeper of the Animals - A Dream Job at Out of Africa Wildlife Park
Forest dept plans making tiger safari a zoological park
The forest department has decided to give the status of zoological park to Tiger Safari, which is the only zoo in the city. Authorities have forwarded a proposal to senior officials in Delhi. The proposal of extension and upgrade of the zoo has also been sent under Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) project where the mini zoo will get a new look with improved facilities for visitors and animals.
According to information provided by an official, this year, the zoo would get tigers, leopards, crocodiles and few species of the birds. Along with that, for visitors, an interaction centre would be constructed where the models of animals would be displayed. He added that a control room would be established where animal behaviour would be monitored through closed circuit television cameras.
The zoo has a dispensary for the animals, however, if their condition gets too bad, they are taken to Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University. From this financial year, it has been planned that the dispensary would be conducted into a full-fledged veterinary hospital, so there is no need to take the animals outside the zoo.
"The only facility in the city where residents can take children to inform them about birds and animals is the Tiger Safari. An upgrade of facilities in the safari is bound to help it in attracting more visitors," said Preeti Sabharwal, a resident of the city.
While talking to TOI, divisional forest officer Vishal Chauhan said a detailed plan for the upgrade had been prepared. He mentioned that the proposals sent for the purpose included one for the financial year and another for the master plan, which
Cute Grizzly Bears (Emma B's Animal Adventures at Out of Africa Wildlife Park)
Giraffe at zoo butts heads with keeper
A playful giraffe at Roger Williams Park Zoo reached down and bumped heads with its keeper Saturday afternoon during a routine cleanup near its indoor enclosure, officials said.
The keeper was working in an access area between the exhibit and the public viewing section, when Griffy, a 20-year-old, 18-foot-tall giraffe, took a swipe at the keeper, said Jan Mariani, director of marketing and public information at the zoo.
The keeper remained conscious and was able to walk to safety. She was taken to Rhode Island Hospital, treated for minor head injuries and released.
Griffy is not an aggressive animal and is known for trying to make contact on occasion, Mariani said.
“[He] does have a tendency to reach,” Pat Sharkey, the general curator, said in a release. “Keepers are always on alert. This time, unfortunately, he made contact.”
Adds Mariani: “[Griffy] likes to get close to folks. He likes to get his head petted.”
Mariani said the keepers assigned to the giraffe exhibit frequently come in and out of the access area, which is in front of the exhibit.
They do a number of things, such
Jellyfish brought 'miracle' to ailing aquarium
As Tatsuo Murakami watches the jellyfish gracefully swimming in the large tanks at the Tsuruoka municipal Kamo Aquarium in Yamagata Prefecture, he cannot help but get emotional.
As far as Murakami is concerned, it is all thanks to the jellyfish that the aquarium is even open today.
"We've come this far thanks to them," Murakami, 70, who has served as director of the aquarium for more than 40 years, said as he watched the jellyfish in the darkened exhibition room.
Indeed, the aquarium has been through its share of rough patches. It closed down once, faced the threat of closure again, saw visitor numbers dwindle and had previous attempts to revive its fortunes fall flat.
The aquarium could be a thing of the past if it were not for the jellyfish at the "Kuranetarium," a combination of the Japanese word kurage (jellyfish) and planetarium.
Murakami started his career at the aquarium as a staffer in charge of breeding in 1966 after studying freshwater fish at Yamagata University. The following year, the municipal government sold the aquarium to a public corporation. As Murakami, then 27, was the eldest of the three remaining employees, he was appointed aquarium director.
However, at the end of 1971, the public corporation dropped a bombshell on Murakami and other aquarium staffers.
"We can't run the aquarium any more. We'll have to lay all of you off," the official said. The public corporation had become virtually bankrupt.
The aquarium was forced to close its doors, leaving seals, penguins, monkeys and other animals without a place to go. Murakami, who was fascinated with living creatures, decided he would take care of them with other staff members from his own pocket.
"I just can't abandon these animals," he recalled thinking.
"My life was at its lowest point, and I had no solid future prospects," Murakami said. His wife resorted to borrowing money from her parents to cover their living expenses, but never once let on why.
Fortunately, after a wave of requests from the public, the aquarium reopened a few months later and Murakami got his job back.
After the aquarium reopened, the number of visitors increased. However, the initial euphoria did not last long as a string of bigger aquariums opened in the 1980s and left the Kamo Aquarium
Let's put the endangered Bengal tiger out of its misery and open the Indian jungle to everyone
If you had to choose, who would you save first: the endangered Tiger or the Indian call centre executive? It’s a toughie on so many levels. Who doesn’t want to save the noble Shere Khan, king of the jungle? Who hasn’t at least once in their lives wanted to do terrible things to a poor unsuspecting call-centre operator guilty of nothing more than doing their job, talking by numbers and forcing you to take half an hour out of your day to answer a ten second query?
But as I press into my fifth year in India, the charm of the subcontinent’s wildlife has worn thin, and I find myself in increasing and unlikely solidarity with unwanted phone pests. Throughout India, and despite several decades of ‘Save the Tiger’ campaigns, the king of the jungle is threatened with extinction as never before. Until a few weeks ago there were just 1411 tigers living in the wild in India, but today the number is down to 1,409 after two were poisoned in Ranthambore National Park. Every day television advertisements here – featuring a man with feline handlebar whiskers – shame us with these figures, and urge us to play our part in saving Stripes.
But a different story emerges in Corbett National Park, where, inexplicably, the tiger and leopard populations are rising. This tremendous success story is measured in the number of attacks by man-eaters on locals. One woman was recently killed by a tiger, and a group of three boys were attacked by a leopard. Wildlife officials fear more humans will be
Letter of the day: Zoo funding is beastly mistake
Wait a minute. So the state will spend $20 million to make a better entrance and education center, among other things, at the Minnesota Zoo, yet our schools are in need of funding ("The zoo's extreme makeover," March 25)? Field trips and resource centers are being discontinued; teachers' pay is being cut, and class sizes are increasing. So who exactly will get to enjoy the remodeled zoo education center? I think the future of our students is more important than the remodeling of the entrance of the z
'Zoo enclosure is saddest place on earth for elephant'
Animal experts have stated that continuously teasing zoo animals, especially large animals like elephants, and trespassing into their territories are the main provocations that cause the animals to react, sometimes fatally.
The secretary of the Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA), Lt Colonel (Retd) J C Khanna, told TOI, “There is not adequate discipline among the visitors at the Mumbai zoo. They generally tease the animals. But what is more shocking about Sunday’s incident is that a stranger somehow managed to stray into the elephants’ enclosure. The elephants can see this as a major threat.’’
Khanna added that if one is not familiar with large, emotional animals like elephants, one must never violate their space, leave alone trespass into their enclosures. It could be met with a sharp, deadly reaction from the large animals, he s
Cornish Choughs head to Jersey
Two pairs of Cornish choughs have been sent to Jersey to try and re-introduce them into the wild.
They were born at Paradise Park in Hayle and are being looked after by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.
It's hoped they will breed and their young can be released.
Nick Reynolds from Paradise Park says: "It's taken a lot of time and perserevance and just getting the birds fit and giving them the right diet."
The Cornish Chough is recognised by its striking red feed and elegantly curved bill.
It was a well known sight throughout the UK, but after years of decline it disappeared from the county in 1973.
But the decline of the chough in Cornwall is believed to have started at the end of the 18th century. Back then there were concerns that choughs were suffering at the hands of sportsmen.
Here in Cornwall the chough
CCTVs, barbed wire, revised roster in jumbo security rejig at city zoo
A day after Laxmi the elephant killed a trespasser in her enclosure at the Byculla zoo, the BMC announced it would install CCTV cameras in the enclosures, fence the boundary walls in barbed wire, repair the enclosure walls, rework the weekly off system for guards, and press for the shifting of slumdwellers from outside the zoo.
“There are slums outside the zoo and trespassers get in by jumping walls or fences. We are going to press for the shifting of these slumdwellers and also repair the wall immediately,” said Chandrashekar Rokde, deputy municipal commissioner, on Monday.
He said 32 CCTVs will monitor visitors and anyone teasing the animals would be dealt with strictly, he said. “Vigilance will be tightened around the enclosures of animals that are most prone to get harassed by people,” he said.
The 45-acre zoo currently has 36 guards, but an average five of them have their we
Firefighters pull lazy S.F. Zoo tiger from moat
San Francisco firefighters got a call Monday to help rescue a cat — a really big cat.
Battalion Chiefs James Blake and Lorrie Kalos and their crew arrived at the San Francisco Zoo at 8:30 a.m., after zoo officials decided their geriatric Siberian tiger Tony was spending too much time alone in his moat.
A little more than two hours later, a drugged and subdued Tony was pulled from the moat and temporarily moved to the Lion House, where he will remain until the zoo figures out how to "geriatrify" the outdoor exhibit.
San Francisco Zoo keepers waited four days before requesting the assistance of the fire department to fetch Tony, who is 18 years old — the equivalent of 90 human years, according to a news release issued by the zoo.
While zoo spokeswoman Lora LaMarca said it is not unusual for Tony to crawl down into his moat, too many days had passed since he took the keeper steps down into the moat on Thursday afternoon.
While Tony was keeping himself entertained in the moat, zoo officials were concerned that accumulating water mingling with food would attract flies and pose a health risk.
In order to move the 360-pound tiger, a crew of firefighters and zoo keepers first anesthetized the big cat, then moved Tony onto a board and lifted him out with a combination of people-power
AGW Today: Biofuels May Kill Off The Flat Headed Cat
Torquay's Living Coasts wins award
A seaside zoo in Devon has won a national award.
Torquay's Living Coasts was voted best all-round seaside attraction by the readers of Coast magazine.
The coastal zoo - believed to be the only one of its kind in the UK - has netted aviaries and underwater windows for watching seals and penguins.
As a registered charity, Living Coasts is involved in education, research and conservation - all of which gained praise from the judges.
Living Coasts director, Elaine Hayes, said the award was a tribute to the hard work of staff and volunteers and was particularly important because it was voted for by the public.
The attraction was competing against aquariums, piers and leisure complexes from around the coastline of the UK.
It was also named as runner
Cannibal croc ends fast with chicken dinner
The manager of a Sydney wildlife park says a saltwater crocodile that made a name for itself in Darwin after eating two prospective mates has put its life in the Top End behind it.
The 4.6-metre reptile, known in Darwin as Igor, is now called Rex and lives in Darling Harbour in a specially designed enclosure where the water is warmed to 30 degrees Celsius.
It was sent to the harbour city in December after killing two prospective mates at the Darwin Crocodile Farm.
Concerns were raised over how Rex was settling in to his new surrounds after he lost his appetite.
The crocodile broke a three-month fast yesterday when it devoured a chicken.
Sydney Wildlife World's life sciences manager, Mark Craig, says there is nothing unusual about the reptile's three-month fast.
"If after six months he
Zoos or tiger farms?
After the starvation deaths of 11 tigers in Northeast China, animal rights campaigners this week attacked owners of private zoos for “caring more about profit than animal welfare”.
The scandal at Shenyang Forest Wild Animals Zoo, which was exposed by disgruntled staff last week, not only raises fears about the poor management of these facilities, but also highlights the government’s lax supervision, experts claimed.
The Siberian tigers, which died of malnutrition between December and February, were among 40 at the zoo. “Another three are in critical condition and one of them is on the verge of death,” said Zhang Chenglin, director of the veterinary hospital at Beijing Zoo and one of three experts who investigated the tragedy. “We are not sure if the tigers can be saved.”
It is not the first time the zoo has been mired in scandal. In 2009, two tigers, allegedly also dying of starvation, were shot dead after they mauled their handlers in separate incidents.

Czech zoo to cooperate with India to save crocodiles

The local zoo, specialising in breeding crocodiles, will cooperate with Indian breeders on saving endangered species from extinction, the Protivin zoo owner Miroslav Prochazka has told CTK.


Under a fresh agreement, seven gharials will be imported to Protivin from Chennai, India, and five Cuban crocodiles will leave Protivin in the opposite direction.


The goal of the transfers is to preserve the gene pool of these endangered animals in captivity at least, Prochazka said.


There are the last several tens of gharials living in the wild in India. The species is dying out as a result of water pollution, hunting and changes in the landscape.


The population of Cuban crocodiles is estimated at 3000 to 6000. It is endangered as a result of the small area it inhabits and also of crossbreeding with other species.


The Protivin zoo will cooperate with the Indian centre Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, the world's best-known crocodile breeding and protection centre.


Two experts from the station visited Protivin at the weekend. They pledged to send three gharial males and four females to the Protivin zoo and take two male and three female Cuban crocodiles to India.


Prochazka has bred crocodiles since 1996. At present he keeps 101 crocodiles of 20 species, reportedly all but three existing crocodile species. The g

The Phoenix Zoo is used to hosting birthday parties, but this one was a little different



Duchess the orangutan turned 50 on Saturday, and the zoo treated her to gifts, an ice cake filled with fruit and a rendition of "Happy Birthday" by hundreds of zoo visitors.


Her keeper, Bob Keesecker, said Duchess didn't seem too stressed about the milestone.


"I told her it was her birthday today and she didn't seem to be overly concerned about it," he said. "I made sure her hair looked good before she went out."


Keesecker said Duchess has quite a sweet tooth and worked pretty hard to get to the fruit in the ice cake.


Zoo officials say Duchess is the nation's oldest captive Bornean orangutan, and is now 10 years older than the 40-year life expectancy of orangutans in the wild.


Duchess was just 2 years old when the zoo opened in 1962, and is one of only a few remaining original animals. She has given birth seven times

Owner of killer tiger resumes business

In 2007, Kim Carlton's fiancee, Tania Dumstrey-Soos, was killed by a tiger at Siberian Magic, his exotic-animal zoo near 100 Mile House.


The tragedy spurred the government to regulate dangerous-animal ownership. But Carlton is back in the exotic-pet business with a film agency called the Vanishing Kingdom.


And he's already facing charges for violating the very laws stemming from Dumstrey-Soos' death.


Environment Minister Barry Penner confirmed that two African lion cubs were seized from Carlton in connection with allegations of "the unlawful breeding of controlled alien species contrary to the B.C. Wildlife Act."


The new breeding laws were phased into effect last spring, Penner said. The cubs are being kept in a safe, undisclosed location, he added.


Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie said charges are

Thailand fails to be delisted from ivory 'shame file'

Nation still ranked as 'third worst offender'


Thailand has failed to convince the international body on wildlife trade to delist the country from the illegal ivory trade watchlist.


Thai wildlife officials proposed the delisting during the triennial general assembly of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) in Doha, Qatar, which ended last Thursday.


Thailand is ranked the third worst offender on Cites's list of nations where the ivory trade has been most rampant since 2006, after Congo and Nigeria.


Adisorn Noochdamrong, of Thailand's Cites office, said Thai authorities had successfully confiscated large amounts of smuggled ivory, but this had not helped improve the country's status on the watchlist because the listing was based on how many ivory confiscations there are, not the seized amount.


Mr Adisorn, a member of the negotiating team, said his team had proposed a revision of the ranking system, but failed to get support as the adjustment could affect other countries negatively.


Failure to remove Thailand from the watchlist, however, would not hamper authorities' attempts to crack down on the illegal ivory trade.


"To prove that we are serious about cracking down on the illegal ivory trade in order to be delisted from the watchlist, we will focus more on legal enforcement and confiscation of the illegal items," he said.


"This means wildlife officials need the closer cooperation of related agencies

Will China kill all Africa’s elephants?

Aidan Hartley investigates the illegal ivory trade in Tanzania, and discovers that hundreds of kilos of bloody tusks from poached elephants are being smuggled out each year


At first he was coy. ‘Yes my brother,’ Salim the dealer smirked. ‘How many kilos you want?’ It had taken us only a day to find a man in Tanzania who would sell us ivory tusks from poached elephants. We met Salim in a Dar es Salaam hamburger joint and the whole exchange was ridiculously easy. I asked him: ‘How many kilos have you got?’


‘I have 50, 100, 200 kilo. How much you want?’


‘How about 200 kilos?’ I challenged. Salim licked his lips. At Tanzanian prices, this was worth $24,000. On the international black market, it could fetch $200,000. That meant dozens of dead elephants.


This week CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) quashed an appeal by African countries to relax a 20-year trade ban in ivory. Many conservationists argue that keeping ivory off the market will kill the trade in dead elephants’ tusks, but there is nothing to prove that on the ground in Tanzania.


But even with a trade ban, what I witnessed with my TV producer Alex Nott while filming in East Africa suggests that the elephant population is in freefall. Tanzania’s wildlife chief Erasmus Tarimo recently called poaching in the Selous — the country’s biggest game reserve — ‘minimal’. But by the government’s own figures, the Selous has ‘lost’ 31,000 elephants in just three years.


The Selous still has 40,000 surviving elephants, but when I visited this huge wilderness I became sickened by seeing so many fresh elephant carcasses: bullet-riddled, heaving with maggots, skulls hacked up with axes where poachers extracted the tusks. And what astonished me was that this was going on under the noses of foreign tourists, each of them paying a fortune to visit Tanzania’s game parks.

Zoo visitors get into the swing of a chimpanzee's way of life

IT'S the perfect way to keep those little monkeys occupied on a day out.


After watching chimpanzees swinging from the trees in their adventure playground, visitors can now try the same themselves.


Edinburgh Zoo has opened its SkyTrail, featuring rope bridges and beams, six metres above the ground. People can test their physical strength and nerve, while seeing the world from a chimpanzee's eye view.


Situated next to the award-winning Budongo Trail chimps' enclosure, the attraction is the first of its kind in a British zoo.


Visitors will be secured to a full body harness, as they navigate the bridges with their hands

Thailand announces world's 2nd in vitro Eld's Deer birth

A Thai veterinary team has announced the country's first successful birth of an Eld's Deer conceived by a hind that was artificially inseminated.


The female fawn was born at Kasetsart University's Kamphaeng Saen campus last month.


The month-old fawn is very healthy, Nikorn Thongthip, head of the Eld's Deer insemination project, said yesterday.


The fawn is only the second Eld's Deer in the world to be born from an artificially-inseminated embryo. The United States' Smithsonian Institution recorded the first such birth 17 years ago, said Dr Nikorn.


The sperm used in the project, which aims to increase the local Eld's Deer population, was collected from a Burmese Eld's Deer at Huay Sai Wildlife Propagation Research Station in Phetchaburi province in 2008.


Four Eld's Deer hinds, from Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Chon Buri province, were inseminated with the sperm last June. But only one became pregnant.


"The Eld's Deer is a very sensitive animal. A minor mishap during the insemination process could be fatal for them. So we have to take very good care of them," said Dr Nikorn.


Boripat Siriaroonrat, of the Zoological Park Organisation of Thailand's research centre, said the project's successful insemination of a Burmese Eld's Deer gave hope that the practice could also work

Doctors applaud Perth Zoo smoking ban

A new proposal by Perth Zoo to ban all smoking within its grounds has been welcomed by the Australian Medical Association.


It was reported today that the government-run venue would introduce a complete smoking ban as part of a lucrative sponsorship deal with WA health promotion agency Healthway.


The deal follows last year's decision by the Perth Royal Show to go smoke-free as part of a similar sponsorship arrangement.


"Perth Zoo has followed the lead of the Perth Royal Show by putting the health and wellbeing of children first," said association president Gary Geelhoed.


"But there's many other major outdoor venues like Gloucester Park and the Ascot and Belmont racecourses which still haven’t got the message

Sushi-cide: Secret ballot kills hopes for bluefin tuna protections

The triennial meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is still underway in Doha, Qatar, this week, but so far news coming out of the conference is a mixed bag. Some trees have been protected, tigers gained a few friends, and a rare salamander got some attention, but all hopes to save the critically endangered bluefin tuna were sunk in a secret ballot that put commerce ahead of science and conservation.


As I've written here before, populations of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) have dropped 97 percent since 1960, but the tasty fish remains in high demand in Japan, where sushi bars are willing to pay up to $100,000 or more per fish. A possible

Mideast animal trade under fire

Animals thought to be the 3rd largest illegal trade


A 2-year-old lion, emaciated and barely breathing, is found in a tiny cage off a Beirut highway. Monkeys are hauled through the dark tunnels of Gaza, bound for private zoos. Rare prize falcons are kept in desert encampments by wealthy Arab sheiks.


The trade in endangered animals is flourishing in the Middle East, fueled by corruption, ineffective legislation and lax law enforcement.


"It's a problem in the Arab world that we can no longer ignore," said Marguerite Shaarawi, co-founder of the animal rights group Animals Lebanon.


The group is pushing for Lebanon to join the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, whose signatories are meeting this month in Qatar. It is the first time the 175-nation convention is meeting in an Arab country.


Lebanon and Bahrain are the only Arab countries yet to sign the convention.


Delegates at the U.N. conference are considering nearly four dozen proposals on a range of endangered species from rhinos to polar bears.


John Sellar, chief enforcement officer for CITES, said it is difficult to estimate the extent of the illegal trade in the Arab world, but Animals Lebanon estimates that it is the third largest illegal trade in the region, after weapons and drugs.


"Much of the illegal trade that takes place here is of a specialized nature," Sellar said, citing the example of prize falcons, kept by many Arab sheiks in desert encampments, particularly in the United Arab Emirates.


"We've also seen some smuggling of very exotic species ... like very rare parrots, young chimpanzees, gorillas and leopards that seem to be for the private collections of some of the rich individuals in the Gulf area," he said.


Abusers fined just $15


Several recent incidents have underscored the plight of animals in Lebanon — a country where the only law that refers to animal rights stipulates that anyone who purposely harms an animal has to pay a fine of up to $15.


Willem Wijnstekers, the secretary-general of CITES, said countries must have strong laws in place to discourage animal smuggling. Otherwise, he said, smugglers will simply see the penalties as part of the cost of doing business, and not a deterrent.


In December 2009, Animals Lebanon began a campaign against Egypt's Monte Carlo Circus after it received a tip that the circus animals — six lions and three tigers — did not have proper certificates and had not received water or food during the six-day trip from Egypt to Lebanon.


The group sent several activists and a veterinarian to the circus grounds to investigate, and they reported the animals were malnourished and that one cub had been de-clawed.


The circus was declared illegal in January after Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan sent the ministry's own experts to investigate, but the circus has appealed. While the case continues, the circus is still giving daily performances attended by small crowds.


"The case of the circus, and the trade of the lions and tigers, highlighted the urgent need to have Lebanon join CITES and protect these endangered species," Hajj Hassan said.


A circus employee at a recent performance denied the animals were treated badly.


"They say we are not feeding them. Look at them, do they look hungry to you?" the employee asked the audience as lions and tigers dutifully performed acrobatics around a caged tent near a highway just north of Beirut.


There was no official comment from the circus.


The animals looked healthy at the performance, weeks after the allegations were made.

UN blue helmets to airlift nine orphan gorillas to DR Congo nature reserve

..... Nine orphan gorillas will start new lives in a nature reserve in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), thanks to assistance from peacekeepers serving with the United Nations mission in the country, known as MONUC.


Following a request from the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) and the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund, blue helmets will airlift three young primates from Goma, in North Kivu province, and six adolescents from neighbouring Rwanda, to Kasugho, near the Tayna Nature Reserve.


Scientists believe that ground transportation would be too difficult and traumatic for the gorillas, and the decision was made to move them by air. They will be accompanied on their trip by veterinarians and other helpers.


“Caring for the Earth we all share is not just the job of governments,” said Alan Doss, head of MONUC, who announced the decision to help relocate the gorillas at a conservation awards ceremony yesterday in the capital, Kinshasa.


“It requires us to reach across boundaries and do things we would not normally expect to do.”


In DRC, Rwanda and Uganda, there are only about 750 Mountain Gorillas and 5,000 Eastern Lowland Gorillas surviving in the wild.


“Transferring these animals will help replenish the population and will contribute to restoring an ecosystem that has suffered, just as the human population has suffered from war and violence,” Mr. Doss, who is also the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for DRC, said.


Hundreds of thousands of people in North Kivu have been uprooted from their homes by violence in recent years.


Last night’s awards ceremony honoured 19 Congolese men and women, eight of whom died last year trying



Monterey Aquarium: Pink alert on global warming

When people think about pink flamingos, they might think about kitschy lamps, hideous lawn ornaments, a John Waters movie or "Miami Vice." They probably do not think about the world's changing climate.


Its impact on these tropical wading birds and other creatures, however, is the focus of a new exhibition at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. "Hot Pink Flamingos: Stories of Hope in a Changing Sea" also features green sea turtles, Magellanic penguins, a coral reef, spotted jellies, scarlet and white ibises, roseate spoonbills and cattle egrets - current or potential casualties of the global climate crisis.


"This is certainly a different sort of topic for us," said Jeff Doyle, exhibition and graphic production manager at the aquarium. "Theme-wise, it's a little deeper. It's not so straightforward as 'here are some fish in a tank,' and it's a challenge to find ways to present it."


Faced with an issue that is significant but soporific, urgent but mind-numbing in its complexities, the creators of the exhibition knew they had to make it fun and engaging. One answer: a flatulent plastic cow that wears a gas mask to avoid smelling the methane it produces - with full sound effects - when it belches, breaks wind or evacuates. Although methane is a climate-changing gas, it also can be used to produce biomass energy. Still, it's not a good thing on the whole, and the fiberglass ruminant makes that clear.


"Buurp! I can't believe I'm saying this, but what the world needs now is less methane - and that means fewer cows," it declares. Nearby, a woman in a 1950s-style poster asks, "Is my cheeseburger causing global warming?"


"It was hard to come up with visuals," said Chuck Saltsman, the aquarium's film and video production manager. "Sea horses are so easy, and jellies are a no-brainer. But this is a message exhibit, and you want to approach it in an original fashion."


A sense of lightness helps offset the heavy subject matter, said senior exhibit developer Jenny Sayre Ramberg.


"You could fill a whole gallery with the scientific papers and survey data that we looked at," Ramberg said. "Most people are not aware of the connection between climate change and the oceans. They think about land-based impacts, about Hurricane Katrina and the Arctic and polar bears."


Planned for 2 years


The 7,000-square-foot exhibition cost $3.5 million and required two years of planning and six months of construction, which wrapped up just before the preview for donors on Thursday. Running until late 2012, "Hot Pink Flamingos" takes visitors through six galleries to illustrate how humans' use of fossil fuels creates carbon pollution that dramatically affects the oceans.


"We usually come up with the animals first and develop the stories later," said David Cripe, the aquarium's special exhibits coordinator. "This time was the reverse. And we had to find animals that were impacted, and iconic enough for people to care about. Not a tiny crab where someone could say, 'So what?' This is the most taxonomically diverse exhibit we've ever done. We go from corals and jellies to reptiles and several different groups of birds."


The six Chilean flamingos came from the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Shy and skittish animals that will never be mistaken for rocket scientists, they honked loudly and clustered in a holding area when The Chronicle visited two weeks before opening day. They would soon be entering their new habitat, a mangrove mudflat designed to avoid drop-offs and trip hazards, lest the stars of the show plunge off the deep end or stumble over some object they might fail to notice.


"These are very long-legged birds that have very small brains," Cripe said. "And they are sort of clumsy and bumbling."


Inside a building in the nearby town of Marina, the flamingos' future housemates zipped back and forth in the air and strutted around on the ground.


Aimee Greenebaum, associate curator of birds, said the spoonbills are highly social and curious, and love to play with people's shoes and swish their beaks through the water. Their companions, by contrast, are a little more cautious. The cattle egrets gobble up insects, the ibises poke around and investigate, and the lone bittern is roadrun

Two Kruger Park rhino poachers to serve 10 years behind bars

Two rhino poachers, Joao Mdlovu and Berlito Mdlovu who were arrested on the Nwanetsi section of Kruger National Park in January 2010 for rhino poaching activities were both found guilty for the possession of a illegal firearms namely a G3 fully automatic fire arm and a .375 hunting rifle.


Both accused offered a plea of guilty in the Nelspruit Regional Court for the possession of the illegal weapons. They were both sentenced to 10 years imprisonment without the option of a fine on Tuesday, 23rd March 2010.


Joao Mdlovu is still undergoing court proceedings, together with Phanuel Mnisi, for the illegal hunting of rhino in the KNP in 2009.


Dr David Mabunda, Chief Executive of South African National Parks said: “SANParks is leading the way against rhino poaching and has been mandated by the Minister of Environment to co-ordinate other conservation agencies

Kenya Wildlife Service Set for Rhino Census in Tsavo Sanctuary

The Kenya Wildlife Service plans to conduct a census at the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary in the vast Tsavo West National. The count, to be carried out between July and October, aims to ascertain the numbers and distribution of the rhino population.The number of black rhinos at the sanctuary has been steadily rising since 1992 when the first count was conducted. At that time, the area had an estimated number of 17 black rhinos. However, during last year’s count the number had risen to 60. This accounts to nearly 10 per cent of the total black rhino population in the country. Currently, there are around 610 black and about 320 white rhinos in Kenya. Despite the devastating drought that hit the country for the better part of last year, no single rhino death was reported at the sanctuary. Mr Benson Okita, the KWS Senior Scientist in charge of the Rhino Programme, predicts a slight delay in birth numbers attributed to the prolonged drought. “However, we still expect this year round the numbers to go up again,” he says. Massive conservation efforts by the KWS and other wildlife stakeholders are finally starting to give results as black rhino numbers are on the rise after years of decline from poaching and habitat loss.


The dry months of July through to October are selected as this is the time that all the natural watering points dry up, leaving only the artificial water holes that the rhinos can drink from. The exercise is carried out at night during clear full moon sightings when the rhinos

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Product Description

Wild Mammals in Captivity, the first handbook of its kind, focuses on new approaches to the management of wild animals in captivity. In one comprehensive volume, the editors have gathered the most current information from field and captive studies of animal behavior, advances in captive breeding, research in physiology, genetics, and nutrition, and new thinking in animal management and welfare. Featuring contributions from dozens of internationally renowned experts, this book is a professional reference of immense practical value, surveying every significant scientific, technical, and management issue. This extraordinary book is an essential resource for administrators, keepers, veterinarians, and everyone who works directly with mammals or is concerned generally with their management and conservation.


"This is the only up-to-date and comprehensive manual on the problems of and the solutions to keeping and handling wild mammals outside their natural environment. . . . [A] magnificent manual."—Harry Miller, Times Higher Education Supplement

Toronto Zoo elephant program draws criticism

The Toronto Zoo is facing heavy criticism for the December death of matriarch elephant Tara, the fourth elephant fatality in four years.


In Defense of Animals, a California-based watchdog, recently rated the Toronto Zoo number two among the Top Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants in North America.


The Toronto Zoo made the Top Ten list because of “deadly” conditions for these animals, including the lack of space and cold climate that has produced four death, the group said.


“This is the highest mortality rate for any zoo in North America in the last four years,” said Catherine Doyle, elephant campaigner for the group.


Meanwhile, an elephant expert from Sweden, Dr. Joyce Poole, is urging city council to shut down the elephant program entirely.


In a letter sent on behalf of the group Elephant Voices, Poole pressed council to send the three remaining elephants to a sanctuary, arguing Toronto is no place for elephants.


But some say the hostility toward the zoo is unwarranted. Ward 38 councillor

22 citations issued; zoo animals seized

Collins Zoo volunteer Dionne Dufour seemed a bit anxious as she led a group of media around the zoo grounds.


But she continued to speak in a loving voice about the variety of animals in cages scattered throughout the fenced enclosure.


"He is not usually like this," Dufour said as she watched Brother, a large tiger, growl and charge at the front of his cage.


"He's just been aggravated with all of the people who have been in here this morning and the bad energy and stuff," said Dufour, a Collins Zoo volunteer of several years.


The negative energy Dufour spoke of was the result of a surprise investigation by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks on Wednesday morning.


About 20 state wildlife agents swarmed upon the zoo and seized several

Brentford's Tropical Zoo faces race against clock

THE OWNER of a zoo in Brentford has just two months to raise £300,000 or some of his animals will face "euthanasia".


The lives of hundreds of creatures at The Tropical Zoo hang in the balance as fund-raising chiefs work to gather a cool £1.5 million to see the attraction moved to another place.


Co-founder Tony Purdy said his zoo has been forced out of the Syon Park site to make way for a new hotel. He told The Chronicle: "All the animals here have been rescued and came to us because nobody wants them, it's going to be very difficult for us to find homes for the animals.


"Euthanasia might be the only option for a number of the animals here. It is difficult and expensive to move some of them so we could have a problem that way. I don't want to look at it like that though, I want to keep looking at the positive side."


Despite being found a new site to occupy by the London Borough of Hounslow, time is running out for the organisation to gather the much needed funds. It has been

Secret of Assam Zoo's turnaround success

The Assam State Zoo with its whopping 1200 odd animal species, including rare ones such as emus and black panthers, has over the years become a tourist favourite while also witnessing manifold increase in revenues.


From a humble start in 1957, the Assam State Zoo and Botanical Gardens (ASZBG), located in the heart of Guwahati has crossed many hurdles from being one of the worst managed zoos with a serious fund crunch to one that can boast of a series of successes in breeding rare and endangered animals.


In year 2009-10 the zoo's earnings rose to a record Rs 60 lakh as over 5,24,598 Indian tourists and 166 foreigners visited the

Biology, Medicine, and Surgery of South American Wild Animals
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Product Description


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KL's great apes: Creating an orang utan sanctuary in the city

Submitted by pekwan on Friday, March 26th, 2010


ape sanctuaryDatuk Seri Douglas Uggah EmbasLocalMinister of Natural Resources and Environment


Government ended weeks of speculation on such a move


The government ended weeks of speculation on the setting up of an ape sanctuary in the city, by confirming that plans are afoot.


“Yes, it will be one-of-its-kind in the region and a semi-artificially created centre for the great apes, or orang utan,” said Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas, in a phone interview with The Malay Mail.


He said a committee had been set up to carry out a feasibility study and it will take some time as there are many factors to take into account.


“I don’t want to set a time-frame as we have to give the committee the leverage to come up with the best solution,” said Douglas.


“We want to be absolutely sure the orang utan can survive and breed in an artificially-created sanctuary.”


Asked if it would be set up in Kepong at the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), as speculated by the media, he said the ministry was looking for a more suitable place.


“Kepong is too close to the city to be an ape sanctuary, really. Besides, FRIM is about forests and plants and not animals.


"Nevertheless, the location will be near the city so as to attract tourists but conducive and protective enough as a sanctuary for apes," he added.


On whether it would be similar to the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, which is just 20km from Kuching or the Sepilok orang utan sanctuary near Sandakan in Sabah, Douglas said that in Sabah, there was no threat of tigers to the apes.


“Here in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, the sanctuary is going to be different as we have to take into account a lot of factors," he said.


In a recent news report, FRIM director-general Datuk Dr. Abd Latif Mohmod denied a Tourism Ministry statement that the institute had requested the setting up of an orang utan sanctuary.


“Orang utan conservation comes under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan). We are a forest research centre focusing on flora,” Dr Abd Latif had said.


The Tourism Ministry had recently announced that an orang utan sanctuary in Kuala Lumpur would be a big success and it would leave a lasting impression on visitors, in line with the government’s intention to make eco-tourism a more prominent sector.


Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr. James Dawos Mamit told the Press on Monday

Photos: Tehran Zoo -


Rodeo bull goes head-to-head with zoo dolphins in a study of balance

Now a study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has contradicted a leading theory, which held that the animals moved their heads so vigorously that they had to have smaller, less responsive balance organs to avoid overwhelming their senses.


Working with a Midwestern zoo and a local rancher, the researchers, led by Timothy E. Hullar, MD, a Washington University ear, nose and throat specialist at Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals, directly measured the head movements of dolphins and compared them with those of a closely related land animal — a rodeo bull. Cattle have much larger balance organs than dolphins, yet the tests showed that both species had similar head motions.


The findings will be published in the April issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology. Hullar says the results deepen our understanding of the role of balance systems, including those of people.


Much of an animal's or person's balance is controlled by the semicircular canals located in the inner ear. Even though a bottlenose dolphin is about 8 feet long, its semicircular canals are as tiny as those of the average mouse, an animal that could comfortably ride on the tip of the dolphin's nose.


"About 35 million years ago, the ancestors of whales and dolphins went from a terrestrial habitat to an aquatic habitat," says

Indonesian zoo welcomes birth of 25 Komodo dragons

An Indonesian zoo is welcoming the births of 25 endangered Komodo dragons, hatched after eight months in incubators.


Veterinarian Rahmat Suharta says the eggs, from three giant female lizards, hatched at the Surabaya Zoo in East Java over the past week.


He said Thursday that the babies, weighing between 2.8 ounces (80 grams) and 4.2 ounces (120 grams), brought to 69 the number of the giant lizards at the zoo, one of the largest in Southeast Asia. Eleven more eggs are expected to hatch in coming weeks.


Komodo dragons can be found in the wild primarily

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Tigers cause a splash in zoo's pool

A 47-stone tiger playing with inflatable toys is a common sight at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park, in Camp Verde, Arizona.


For 30 minutes every day a pair of the zoo's six Bengal and Siberian tigers take to the 50 foot pool for fun and games.


Aston Powell, who works with the animals, said the activities bring variation to their lives in captivity.


She said: "It might look crazy from the outside, but these tigers love what they are doing as it comes naturally.


"To be honest if a 47 stone tiger doesn't want to play like this, there's not much we could do to make him.


"Our keepers are very experienced and they have the utmost respect for the power of the big cats and safety is paramount.


"Tiger Splash began in 1993 when the park purchased a SiberianTiger cub, Genesis

Okapi, Okapi Wildlife Reserve, Congo

Big debut at Budapest Zoo

Six Aldabra Giant Tortoises went on display from Thursday at the Budapest Zoo where they had been living since last year but not yet shown to the public.


The six tortoises are estimated to be aged between 10 and 15 years and they are currently sized like two medicine balls, the zoo said. They are housed in the recently opened building for venomous animals, even though they are not a venomous

Is Chinese Economic Demand Killing Africa's Gorillas?

Perhaps the worst misfortune to befall the world's gorillas is that they live in some of the most resource-rich and lawless parts of the planet. Their forest homes in Africa are rich in timber, gold, diamonds and coltan, the mineral used in electronics like cell phones, and the scramble to get at those minerals has been joined by ragtag militias, national armies, multinationals and governments alike.


That means it is an unusually bad time to be a gorilla. A new U.N. report warns that most of the remaining gorillas in Africa could go extinct within 10 to 15 years in the Greater Congo Basin, the swath of forest and savanna that stretches from Africa's Atlantic coast across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Rwanda and Uganda in the east.


(See pictures of species near extinction.)


The races for timber, gold and coltan are largely to blame for habitat loss, said the report. Militias sell their goods to middlemen and corporations that ignore the destruction caused by the resource trade, and they must be held accountable for the loss of biodiversity in the region. "Companies involved, also multinationals, have shown little or no concern regarding the origins of the resources obtained," says the report, co-authored by the U.N. Environment Program and Interpol. Militia groups that control mining in parts of Congo keep afloat with "an influx of arms in exchange for minerals and timber through neighboring countries, including the continued involvement of corrupt officials and subsidiaries of many multinational companies."


Along with habitat loss, the apes face threats from human population growth and a surge in the bush-meat trade — locals and organized traders killing wildlife to eat,8599,1975555,00.html

Edinburgh Zoo poo proves a gardener's delight

GARDENERS around Scotland's capital have discovered a secret ingredient to give their vegetables a boost – dung from zebras, camels, warthogs and rhinoceros at Edinburgh Zoo.


The powerful manure is becoming increasingly popular for use on allotments across Edinburgh, and the zoo is keen to put the dung to good use.


It is also being used by the zoo itself to grow cabbages, carrots, lettuces and green beans to feed the chimps, and is spread on the herbaceous borders to make them flourish for visitors.


The zoo, with the help of a student on a work placement, devised a technique to collect and store the dung to avoid sending it to landfill – which costs £50 a tonne.


It is dumped on a concrete pad which was built by the army and turns into a rich manure after about a year.


When the zoo discovered it had a

Monkeys taking over as London Zoo allows visitors and primates to interact

Out of the steamy jungle canopy leapt a small South American monkey, which paused for a moment before darting off in the direction of Euston Road.


The monkey is one of the inhabitants of London Zoo’s indoor rainforest, the country’s fullest re-creation of an Amazonian ecosystem.


From Saturday, thousands of visitors will join the monkeys in the “bio-dome” where humans and primates interact freely, with no bars or glass in the way — a model for the rest of the zoo’s exhibits.


The monkey, dashing between our legs, did not seem too concerned. “As you can see, the Golden Headed Lion Tamarins are really not bothered by crowds,” said Tony Dobbs, senior keeper of

Three Owls - the 'Born Free' email

In July 2009 an animal welfare and conservation charity, 'Born Free', sent an email to Rochdale Borough Council that started a chain of events that culminated in the sudden closure of the Three Owls Bird Sanctuary.


With the permission of Born Free, Rochdale Online can now reveal the content of the original email and an explanation by Born Free of their reasoning.


While we naturally understand the great concern over the closure of Three Owls Bird Sanctuary, we must reiterate that we regard this as a matter for the Trustees of the Sanctuary and for Rochdale Council. However, as there is an ongoing desire to see the original correspondence from the Born Free Foundation to Rochdale Council regarding Three Owls, it is reproduced here in its entirety:


“Dear Sir or Madam,


I am contacting you from the Born Free Foundation, the international animal welfare and conservation charity.


It has come to my attention that the premises known as Three Owls Bird

'Miscommunication' led to giraffe remains in trash

Albuquerque city officials blamed miscommunication for the remains of a Rio Grande Zoo giraffe being placed in a trash bin.


A memo Friday from a city official to Mayor Richard Berry said it was not an act of insubordination or disrespect but appears to be the result of unfortunate miscommunication between the zoo manager and an employee.


Berry ordered an investigation after learning about the remains of 16-year-old Kashka. The giraffe was euthanized at the zoo last week after a debilitating leg injury.


The zoo said large animals are dismembered before necropsy, with remains then going to the landfill for burial in a special area set aside for animals.


The report by Betty Rivera, director of the city department that oversees the zoo, said an employee told a manager no dump truck was available




Elephant Sanctuary supporters are upset at co-founder's ouster

Elephant haven in Hohenwald offers no explanation of the board's action

Supporters of an elephant sanctuary in Lewis County are threatening to withhold donations after learning that one of the co-founders of the refuge has been fired.

Carol Buckley co-founded The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee 15 years ago with Scott Blais. Buckley served as executive director and chief executive officer while the nonprofit group grew to include 2,700 acres in Hohenwald, where 15 elephants roam, including Tarra, a female Asian elephant who was the first resident.

The sanctuary takes in elephants that have been retired from zoos or circuses, or rescued from abusive situations. The elephants at the sanctuary are not trained or forced to entertain but encouraged to live a more normal herd life.

Buckley said she was terminated on March 17, after being placed on administrative leave nearly four months ago. The sanctuary released a statement the same day Buckley was fired, but offered no explanation as to why the organization's board of directors decided to dismiss her.

Bill Schaffner, president of the sanctuary and a member of the board, said issues involving employees will remain confidential. Schaffner said all decisions were made with the elephants' best interest in mind.

Buckley, who declined to speak with a reporter, has posted statements on her Web site, She wrote that the board instructed her not to communicate with employees, donors or the media when she was placed on leave in November.

"As you can probably imagine I never thought that this could happen at my beloved sanctuary that I envisioned, co-founded and built," Buckley wrote. "I had hoped through mediation or some reasonable action the board would have found a solution."

Buckley wrote that some sanctuary employees complained that they were intimidated by her management style. Buckley said she was removed as CEO, president and a board member on Jan. 19.

Buckley's termination and the sanctuary's reluctance to explain the board's decision could lead to a drop in donations. The sanctuary is supported by a network of animal lovers across the globe. Many of those supporters said on Buckley's Web site and on a Facebook page put up by her supporters that they are standing behind her and won't be writing checks to the sanctuary unless they're given a reason she was fired.





Diggers move in to build the lions' lair

A giant digger has been drafted in to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park at Branton to create what bosses at the attraction expect to be a unique facility.

The JCB has been used for lifting and moving huge rocks around the site to create what will be called The Lion Country.

Operations director at the park, Neville Williams, said work on the enclosure had been delayed by the cold winter, and was now likely to be completed by early May. It had originally been hoped it would be ready by Easter.

He said the enclosure would be surrounded by banked walkways which allow visitors to look down into the cage. There will also be a bridge over the lions' home.

The three prides of lions will be kept apart by lakes.

Mr Williams said: "We think the way people will be able to see the whole of the Lion Country will be unique in the UK.

"We have seen great improvements in the condition of the lions. A lot of their sores they had when they arrived have cleared up and they're on a good red meat and supplements diet. The vets are delighted with their progress.

"They are getting vocal now which is a good sign that they are settling in. I never tire of hearing the lions roar."

He added when work



Croc, 140, dies at Australia Zoo

MOST people would consider living until you're 140 a pretty big achievement – especially if you're blind and have been shot twice.

It was an amazing feat for one of Australia Zoo's oldest and most colourful residents, Mr Freshie; a freshwater croc who died on Tuesday.

The old reptile, who was estimated to be between 120- and 140-years-old, had called the Sunshine Coast zoo home for decades.

He was caught in North Queensland almost 40 years ago by Steve Irwin and his dad, Bob.

The pair travelled to Moorehead River to rescue a severely wounded male croc.

Mr Freshie, "a harmless reptile", had been shot twice – once in the tail and once in his left eye, leaving him blind and badly injured.

As they prepared to rescue Mr Freshie, the Irwin duo discovered he was no ordinary croc. A local tribe of Aborigines considered the reptile sacred





Dismembered giraffe tossed in dumpster

Mayor wants answers by end of week

The way the Rio Grande Zoo disposed of the body of a beloved giraffe broke the law and outraged the mayor of Albuquerque.

A zoo staff member tossed the dismembered body of Kashka, a giraffe who was euthanized last week after a debilitating leg injury, into a dumpster on zoo property.

A garbage truck eventually took the dumpster containing the deceased giraffe to a local landfill.

Zoo animals are sent to the landfill when they die, but Albuquerque's Cultural Services Director Betty Rivera said the way Kashka was handled is shocking.

Rivera oversees Albuquerque's Rio Grande Zoo.

"It is totally inappropriate and something that should outrage everyone," Rivera said.

She said Kashka was dismembered so the zoo veterinarian could perform a necropsy, which is a standard practice.

"When the vet was complete, the director of the zoo instructed the persons at the zoo to take the





Educational visit to Sea Turtle Management and Conservation Centre

Some 158 students along with five teachers from Pusat Tingkatan Enam Katok made an educational visit to the Sea Turtle Management and Conservation Centre in Serasa, Muara yesterday as part of their school holiday activity.

The group, led by Cikgu Faezah Sa Bali, was welcomed by Haji Sh Al- Idrus bin Sh Hj Nikman and Awg Hariel Haji Simpol at the centre.

During the visit, the students were briefed on the biology of sea turtles and their habitats, as well as on the exploitation of sea turtle eggs and on the decreasing sea turtles population. Among the sea turtles that can be found at the centre are Olive Ridley turtles, Green turtles, Hawksbill





Illegal bush-meat, wildlife trafficking at alarming levels

Viet Nam's ecosystem was seriously threatened by the widespread consumption of wild meat and trafficking of wildlife, experts said at a recent conference.

Urgent action was needed on several fronts to prevent this destruction of the nation's wildlife and their habitat, they said.

They called for strengthened, more effective public awareness campaigns against hunting and trafficking in wild animals and for the inclusion of this subject in the school curriculum, especially in rural areas.

Tom Osbon of the Viet Nam-based Wildlife Management Office stressed the need to legalise multi-sectoral co-operation in preventing, discovering and punishing forest violations





Hunt for rarest gorillas in Africa

The Cross River Gorillas, the rarest gorillas in the world, live along the border of Nigeria and Cameroon.

CNN travels into the remote jungle to try to get a glimpse of the critically endangered primate and see what is being done to protect the few remaining.

They searched one of west Africa's last rainforest for its last remaining gorillas. Eco-guard Joseph Njama says it's a rare sign that there are actually any gorillas left here. He's an ex-poacher, now turned guardians for the gorillas.

They only see them maybe twice a year. The difficult terrain of these mountains has helped keep the gorillas out of sight and hidden





Killing by whale result of human disrespect

Kudos to John Crisp for his very insightful March 4 column "Why did Tilikum kill?" which says that "we kill animals casually, by the billions, but when an animal kills one of us, we take notice."

He points out how in Tilikum's case, humans captured this whale, disrespecting the fact that it was not designed to live in confinement, let alone be trained for our viewing pleasure. Tilikum recently attacked and killed his trainer - a tragic loss - but we have learned nothing from this most recent incident as the show will continue to go on at SeaWorld Orlando.

We see examples of our disrespect toward animals every day but don't give it a second thought. A beaver at our local zoo pitifully claws the glass of his tank enclosure, desperately trying to get out. Dogs languish as they are tied to chains and exposed to the elements or enclosed in crates for hours on end.

Lobsters at the grocery store aren't fed so their tanks stay clean. They begin to starve while they wait to be purchased so we can drop them into boiling water while they are still alive. Is life from any of their perspectives a consideration of ours?

If we even give it any thought at all, at the end of the day it's selfishly about what we humans need and want or find convenient. We abuse and extort the gift of nature we have been so generously given, forgetting



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Customer Review -

This is wonderfully edited 3 volume set which is one of the best and most complete series on reptiles available. Even when compared to veterinary texts, which often only focus in on one aspect of biology, the Ackerman, et. al stands heads and shoulders above them as a resource tool. Having purchased this set two years ago, I only have one regret and that is having not bought this sooner. Being an amateur herpetologists for the past twenty-two years, I find this to be a resource that is always helpful.



Volume One - Biology of Reptiles = This is a great overview of the biology and physiology of the world's reptiles. This volume focuses mainly on the more "popular" reptiles seen in captivity, but most of this data can be applied to other species as well. The anatomical charts and dissection photos are also very useful in knowing the locations of important structures (very helpful for Vol.3) and anatomical landmarks.


Volume Two - The Husbandry of Reptiles = WOW! This volume is worth the price of admission alone - I have not seen anything as thorough as this for the captive care of any reptile species let alone an entire phyla. Housing, diet, breeding, light spectrums (species specific), hibernation - its all in here and in detail.


Volume Three - The Healthcare of Reptiles = This is the volume that sold me on the entire set. This covers many ailments and pathogens that can affect reptile species. Symptoms, preventive measures, and medications (with dosages) are plotted out in charts and diagrams; color photos of pathological conditions and treatment are given; dietary supplements; surgical and necropsy protocols and procedures are also included.


All three volumes are filled with full color photographs and plenty of charts and text.

Review by - Jason R Blalack





Like her 'Crocodile Hunter' father, Bindi Irwin works to helps wildlife

Bindi Irwin walked out of the private panda enclosure at the National Zoo with a look of amazement. "I've never heard a panda speak before!" she gushed. "It was amaaaaaazing."

Indeed, pandas don't speak very often (it sounds like a sheep bleating), so maybe they wanted to impress a kid who has seen just about everything when it comes to wildlife. Bindi is the 11-year-old daughter of the late Steve Irwin, the Australian wildlife expert and television personality known as the "Crocodile Hunter."

From an early age, Bindi appeared with her father in stage and television shows and performed as both a singer and dancer in a variety of kid-focused productions. But since his death in 2006, she has become a star in her own right, hosting her own wildlife show, creating various fashion and doll lines and starring in a feature film, "Free Willy: Escape From Pirate's Cove," which comes out today on DVD.

Bindi and several family members, including mother Terri and brother Robert, 6, came to Washington to promote the movie, so a stop at the zoo made sense. As a devoted conservationist, Bindi wanted to see the pandas, among the most endangered species in the world, up close.

"I want to carry on in my dad's footsteps," she said. "Everything that I do is really about getting the conservation message out." She said she understands that she can teach other kids that they can make a difference. She wanted to make the "Free Willy" movie in part because her character will not take no for an answer when it comes to securing th





Polar bear exhibit renovation at San Diego Zoo

The shrinking Arctic ice cap has prompted the San Diego Zoo to renovate its popular polar bear exhibit with global warming messages.

The Polar Bear Plunge will reopen Friday after the zoo spent $1 million to add more backyard space and displays supporting cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions. Zoo officials say they are on the leading edge of a movement by American zoos to highlight the impact of climate change on animals.

Biologist Megan Owen of the zoo's Institute for Conservation Research says they have a responsibility to share their knowledge with the 3 million people who visit each year.

The San Diego Zoo has three polar b





Are Aquariums Getting Too Lifelike?

On the reefs in the Florida Keys, plenty of snorkelers and scuba divers take in the sights, and others fish with spear guns for sport. But a small third group collects blue-legged hermit crabs, peppermint shrimp and other invertebrates, not for food or fun, but for the aquarium trade.

There are an estimated 700,000 saltwater home aquariums in the United States, and tropical fish with a bit of rock and a plastic Diver Dan are no longer enough to satisfy the keepers of many of these miniature oceans. The fish are still there, but as technology and technique have improved, the aquariums are now often small-scale reef ecosystems, with living coral and "live" rock brimming with anemones, shrimp, sea urchins, crabs and snails.

The result has been a growing market for these and other reef invertebrates, many of which are supplied by about 165 licensed collectors in Florida. Those involved in the Florida fishery, which is concentrated in the Keys, say that it is sustainable and more closely managed than many others, with no new licenses permitted and daily limits on many species.

But scientists argue that the collecting poses a threat to the very ecosystems aquarium hobbyists aim to replicate. Aside from the long-recognized ecological impact of the trade in live coral itself, these researchers say the demand for invertebrates — creatures that often serve the same cleaning and pest-control roles in a tank that they do in nature — is such that the fishery may be unsustainable.

"We may be increasing the catch up to a point where you push something over the edge," said Andrew Rhyne, a marine biologist with Roger Williams University and the New England Aquarium who has studied the Florida invertebrate fishery. "The question is, where is that edge?"

If a species is overharvested to the point where its numbers decline dramatically, Dr. Rhyne and others say, there can be a cascading effect in the ecosystem. Without invertebrate grazers and herbivores, for example, a reef may be overrun with algae.

Jessica McCawley, a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, disagrees that the fishery is threatened. She helped update the regulations last year, and said: "These collectors are a special type of fisherman. They're very concerned about the environment and the sustainability of the fishery. And they came to us and said, `Can you put some regulations on us?' "

Collectors also say that scientists don't have the experience they do in seeing these invertebrates go through regular cycles of bust and boom.

Pete Kehoe, who has been collecting marine life near Key West for 35 years, recalled that after Hurricane Ike in 2008, he found one reef that had been scoured clean of blue-legged hermit crabs, which are valued in reef tanks because they eat detritus, helping to keep the coral clean. "You couldn't find a shell on that reef," he said.

But two years later, he said, the crabs have recovered, and then some. "The other day we were on that reef and someone said, `Have you ever seen so many blue-legged hermit crabs in your life?' " Mr. Kehoe said.

While acknowledging that some collectors are aware of the dangers of overfishing, Dr. Rhyne said there had been little scientific study of the blue-legged crabs and the hundreds of other species that are collected, including the 15 that make up about 90 percent of the catch. For example, with certain snails it is not known how long it takes for them to start to reproduce. If it is more than a year, then harvesting many of them from the same location year after year could be disastrous. There are many species that are probably not a concern, Dr. Rhyne said, but he added, "I don't think anyone can use the word `sustainable' when they don't know enough about the animals."

What is not in dispute is that the fishery has changed in the past two decades, coinciding with the rise in popularity of reef tanks. These aquariums include home or office tanks of a few gallons to several hundred gallons or more, and attractions like the 20,000-gallon coral reef tank at Atlantis Marine World in Riverhead, N.Y., considered one of the finest anywhere.

Jeff Turner, owner of Reef Aquaria Design of Coconut Creek, Fla., which builds and maintains large reef aquariums in homes, offices, hospitals and other institutions, says these are not mere decorations, but "an educational window into the sea." The hobbyists and professional aquarists who undertake these projects, he said, "are concerned about the marine environment."

The popularity of the tanks is reflected in a study of Florida fishery data by Dr. Rhyne, Michael Tlusty, director of the New England Aquarium, and others. As the researchers detailed in a paper earlier this year in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, the number of organisms collected from 1994





Steve Irwin's dad has heart attack

The father of the late Steve Irwin is reportedly recovering after suffering a heart attack.

Bob Irwin, who is married to Judy, was flown by the Royal Flying Doctor Service to Brisbane's Holy Spirit Northside Hospital, where he is currently in a specialist cardiac care unit.

Judy told AAP: "He suffered a large heart attack but is currently stable in ICU. We would appreciate respect for our privacy so that Bob may make a full and speedy recovery." She also thanked the health professionals for "the wonderful care provided".

Bob's daughter-in-law Terri released a statement reading: "It has been a worrying time, but Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin and the


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Product Description



This handbook presents an up-to-date review of the ecology and behavior of ungulates inhabiting eastern Europe and northern and central Asia, a vast area covering one sixth of the Earth. It provides detailed descriptions of 26 ungulate species focusing on quantitative data and condensing presentations of the autecology of the species, in order to facilitate comparisons between species, including data from several areas. Each species description includes data on geographical range and variability of body measurements over its range; preferred biotopes and evaluations of limiting factors of the abiotic environment; descriptions of social and territorial behavior; feeding features including lists of used plants; parameters of breeding in different parts of the range; factors of mortality with information on predators, diseases and parasites; and dynamics of numbers and harvesting in all parts of the range.




Twilight: New Moon hit with wolves

A group of wolves were given a "preview" of The Twilight Saga: New Moon, as part of a bizarre publicity stunt to promote the film's release to DVD.

In what appears to have taken the phenomenon's publicity to new low, the animals at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire watched the film on a 16sqm screen at the weekend in one of the country's only wolf enclosures.

Ian Turner, the park's deputy head warden said: "We've certainly never had a request like this before, so we were very intrigued to find out how the wolves would react to seeing their counterparts on screen.

"While they weren't so interested in the romance - the scenes of the wolves certainly got their attention and prompted a series of howls as the film went on."

Martin Gough, a spokesman for Film company E1 Entertainment, who were behind the stunt, said in a statement: "Whilst we're used to deafening screams for Robert Pattinson, it's a nice change to hear howls of a





Zoo officials respond to pelican deaths

Two pelicans have died at the Santa Barbara Zoo; one on Sunday, March 14, and the other on Monday, March 15, 2010. Questions have been raised about whether the deaths were related to West Nile Virus.

"We don't know if it is West Nile Virus that caused the deaths of these two pelicans," commented Alan Varsik, Assistant Zoo Director. "It will be three weeks before we have the results of the pathology, so we can't say definitively if it was West Nile Virus.

"Anytime any animal dies at the Zoo it undergoes a complete necropsy and we take any possible causes into consideration . We test for everything and West Nile is just one of the possible causes we test for," said Nancy McToldridge, Zoo Director.

The two birds were vaccinated for West Nile Virus during their 30-day quarantine, which every animal undergoes upon arrival at the zoo. The birds were received in fall 2008 from Santa Barbara's Wildlife Care Network; they had been rehabilitated but could be re-released into the wild. West Nile Virus vaccinations are repeated every year for all the Zoo's birds.

"Should it be West Nile Virus," added Varsik, "we will be in contact with the local Public Health Department who monitors such cases and they will respond as they see fit."

"Pelicans have been found to succumb to West Nile Virus," comments Dominic Travis, Lincoln Park Zoo Epidemiologist, who has been studying West Nile Virus.

The Santa Barbara Zoo began vaccinating its bird population against West Nile Virus in 2003 as the disease made its way west across the country. It is now widespread. The immunization does not prevent the birds from contracting the virus, but has proved to greatly cut down on avian fatalities related to the virus. The West Nile Virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.

The Zoo is in regular contact and cooperates with the local Mosquito and Vector Management District who conducts research in the Zoo vicinity and works in mosquito abatement. No mosquitoes with West Nile Virus have been found as of March 19, 2010. Monitoring will conti





Prize For Protected Parrots

Orana Wildlife Park's new walk-through Kea habitat was judged the winner of an Exhibit Design Award (small scale category - under $500,000) at the regional Zoo and Aquarium Association's annual awards ceremony last week. The prestigious Exhibit Design category recognises 'outstanding achievement in animal housing and exhibit design.'

Native Fauna Head Keeper, Tara Atkinson, is delighted to receive the award: "We are very proud of our Kea aviary as it enhances the wellbeing of our birds whilst offering an immersive encounter for visitors. It is extremely gratifying to receive an award, judged by our industry peers, that recognises high standards in animal care."

The 352 square metre aviary was designed to showcase the intelligence and uniqueness of Kea whilst highlighting the fact that the birds are endangered. Visitors traverse a board walk through the aviary and then exit via an alpine themed musterer's hut.

"There are numerous benefits of the habitat. In terms of animal management, we are seeing natural behaviours that were not evident in the past. For example the birds enjoy stretching their wings in flight, landing hard on the veranda roof then running along it just






Ex-Lowry Park Zoo director Lex Salisbury opens Giraffe Ranch attraction in Pasco

A setting right out of Africa. Only it's northeast Pasco.

That's how Lex Salisbury describes his ranch north of Dade City, which he is marketing as a giraffe attraction that visitors can tour for $59 each. The former Lowry Park Zoo director — who resigned in 2008 amid a controversy over transferring animals between the zoo, his Safari Wild venture in Polk County and his northeast Pasco ranch — has now christened his homestead Giraffe Ranch, ready and open for business.

"Have you ever fed a giraffe? Have you ever smelled their grassy breath? These are memories that will last you a lifetime," said a Web site devoted to Giraffe Ranch, at 38650 Mickler Road.

Visitors will board a four-wheel drive, safari-style vehicle



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Product Review-

This is a fantastic collection of enrichment ideas, recipes for snacks, foraging mix's and directions on making toys to keep primates busy. I love the color pictures of the monkeys using the enrichment toys.The space to add my own recipes is so convenient, and the schedule page for treat feeding is a big help for my busy days.. This is a wonderful 70 pages packed full of ideas. This is great book for the beginning primate owner and one that has had primates over 20 years will still get fresh ideas from it too...


Review by - Karline Elder






Councillor proposes zoo replace real elephants with interactive displays

Fourth elephant death in four years prompts concerns

The Toronto Zoo should replace its live elephant habitat with an interactive display that has everything to satisfy a visitor's curiosity about elephants - except the elephants themselves, according to zoo board member Glenn De Baeremaeker.

"I've been convinced - that in terms of the compassionate care of elephants, they shouldn't be here," said Ward 38 Scarborough Centre Councillor De Baeremaeker.

"Their requirements to live a balanced and healthy life just can't be met at the zoo - even a zoo as large as the Toronto Zoo. Where they walk dozens of kilometres in the wild, here they have to walk in a circle. In some ways, it's the equivalent of keeping a human locked up in a bathtub."

De Baeremaeker





Beef will be supplied to zoo animals

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Tuesday allayed apprehensions by authorities over getting supply of beef to zoo animals in the wake of ban on cow slaughter, for which a Bill was passed by the state Legislative Assembly last week.

A group of citizens and activists have been opposing the ban of cow slaughter. A delegation led by MLA Roshan Baig of the Congress on Tuesday called upon the Karnataka governor H R Bharadwaj and urged him not to give his consent to the Bill.

Addressing presspersons here, the Chief Minister said government would take steps to ensure adequate supply of beef to zoo animals. "I will not allow animals to suffer. I will soon convene a meeting of officials to find a solution", Mr Yeddyurappa said.

Mr Yeddyurappa said the Government has decided to develop a plot of the present Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) in the City as a garden for the benefit of the public. The Karnataka High Court on Monday gave a ruling





New Elephant Arrives at Woburn in time to celebrate the Safari Park's 40th Birthday

A 32 year old Asian elephant arrives at Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire from the Netherlands.

It is said that good things come in small packages, but the reverse was true today when Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire took delivery of a fifteen tonne package, two months ahead of its 40th Birthday!

Inside the ten tonne crate, which arrived at the park from Emmen Zoo in the Netherlands this morning, was Yu Zin a five tonne, female Asian elephant.

Born 32 years ago, she joins three other Asian elephants that have lived at the Park for over a decade. Coincidentally it is thirteen years to the day since Woburn's other elephants, male Raja, and females Damini and Chandrika arrived in Bedfordshire from India in 1997.

Now that she has arrived, it is hoped that Yu Zin, who has already given birth to three sons, will kick-start Woburn's elephant breeding programme. The gestation period for an elephant is two years, so although the pitter, patter of tiny elephant feet is some way off, Woburn Safari Park is eagerly looking forward to the day when a baby is born.

Dr Jake Veasey, Head of Animals and Conservation at Woburn Safari Park commented; "We're delighted to welcome Yu Zin today and we're pleased that her arrival went smoothly. She's now settling into her new home here at Woburn and over the next few weeks, we'll be watching her closely to see how she and our other three elephants interact. We're hoping that she will become the matriarch of our herd and with her previous breeding experience will encourage our other t





Rare animals are being 'eaten to extinction'

Rare animals, including chimpanzees and gorillas, are being hunted into extinction because of record levels of demand for bush meat, according to a new study.

Research in the Congo Basin in Africa found more than three million tonnes of 'bush meat' is being extracted from the area every year, the equivalent of butchering 740,000 bull elephants.

Most of the animals are small antelopes like blue duiker or rodents like the porcupine but larger mammals like monkeys and even gorillas are also taken.

The study published in Mammal Review found the rate of hunting is higher than ever because of malnutrition in the area and is calling for more funding to help the local community find alternative sources of food.

Meat from wild animals or 'bush meat' is one of the most important sources





Toronto Zoo elephant program draws criticism

The Toronto Zoo is facing heavy criticism for the December death of matriarch elephant Tara, the fourth elephant fatality in four years.

In Defense of Animals, a California-based watchdog, recently rated the Toronto Zoo number two among the Top Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants in North America.

The Toronto Zoo made the Top Ten list because of "deadly" conditions for these animals, including the lack of space and cold climate that has produced four death, the group said.

"This is the highest mortality rate for any zoo in North America in the last four years," said Catherine Doyle, elephant campaigner for the group.

Meanwhile, an elephant expert from Sweden, Dr. Joyce Poole, is urging city council to shut down the elephant program entirely.

In a letter sent on behalf of the group Elephant Voices, Poole pressed council to send the three remaining elephants to a sanctuary, arguing Toronto





World's first amphibious insects discovered

The world's first amphibious insects have been discovered by scientists.

The tiny caterpillars belong to the moth genus Hyposmocoma which includes an enormously diverse group of at least 350 species found only on Hawaii.

Entomologist Professor Daniel Rubinoff and colleagues observed larvae feeding and breathing in streams and on dry rocks - a newly discovered phenomenon.

Many insects can withstand extreme conditions in a dormant state, but never before has one been known to survive an entire life cycle above and below the water's surface.

The team sequenced the caterpillars' genes and say their versatility represent an example of parallel evolution - a rare event in which unrelated organisms develop similar characteristics simply by living in the same place.

And they believe it has occurred three separate times during Hyposmocoma's history beginning six million years ago before the current islands existed.

Prof Rubinoff, of Hawaii University, said similar patterns




African wild dog kills himself in bizarre accident

(This post contains some quite gory photos… As American TV likes to say: "Viewer discretion is advised"!)

Anyone who has been following this blog for long will have realized that one of the major threats to the survival of wild dogs is human-related, namely when the dogs get caught in snares set by poachers (see the last post). Almost 80% of recorded adult mortality in our population is due to snaring.

Nonetheless, wild dogs do occasionally die from natural causes as well, i.e predation of pups by lions, fatal injuries sustained while hunting, contraction of certain diseases and infrequent natural accidents. Here is one such example of the latter – an incredibly sad and unusual thing to witness.

On Saturday evening, Rueben found the Star Pack and confirmed all individuals were there. On Sunday morning, when he re-located the pack in order to show some safari clients, he found one of the adult male dogs, dead from impaling himself





Wii technology used to study sharks' mating habits

Scientists are using the same basic devices that make your Wii work to study sharks while mating.

Mote Marine Laboratory scientists attached motion detectors to the fins of nurse sharks, and the devices then tracked the sharks' movements. The detectors picked up every tail twitch and flick, details researchers did not know about before the two-week study.

Scientists have monitored shark movements for years with satellite trackers and hydrophones, but that research revealed only where they traveled.

"We've gotten very good in the past 10 to 20 years figuring out where sharks go. We don't know much about what they do," said Nick Whitney, a scientist at Mote's Center for Shark Research and lead author of the study published in the Endangered Species Research journal.

The project tracked four female





Man attacked by Tiger in Zoo Sibiu

Not unexpected really as he ignored the barriers and actually stuck his leg into the enclosure. He and a number of friends had arrived at the zoo drunk. Initially they spent time annoying the monkeys before moving on to the tigers. If it had not been for the assistance of his friends the incident would have been more serious.




Even in China's animal kingdom there are the haves and have nots

Meng Meng enjoys one of the most expensive luxury apartments in Beijing, with maintenance costs alone running over a million yuan each year. She has her own kitchen staff, VIP valet service, air conditioning and an ornamental garden where she is often seen frolicking with her friends and nibbling on bamboo shoots for lunch, with oranges and honey for dessert.

Meng Meng is pampered at government expense because she is a giant panda, the hug-gable creature that has unofficially replaced the dragon as the emblem of China.

Meanwhile, in China's frigid northeast, far from the Beijing Zoo, three more of China's national treasures are clinging to life in a Siberian tiger cage, being fed intravenously in a wildlife park where 11 rare tigers recently starved to death.

In China's wilderness, Siberian tigers eat up to 40 pounds of raw meat a day from fresh kills of wild hogs and Tibetan antelope. At the Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo in the capital of Liaoning Province, the world's biggest cats were fed only chicken bones.

The income gap between China's rich and poor is once again at the heart of the problem, with the profit motive extending even to the animal





New Website Tracks Jellyfish Strandings Around the World

Suppose you're walking along the beach and you see a jellyfish washed up on the sand. Then you see another and then another. It's a jellyfish invasion! What do you do? Who do you call?

If MBARI researcher Steve Haddock has his way, you'll take some photos and maybe a few notes, and send them in to his new Jellywatch website (, to share your discovery with the world. Haddock's new website combines marine biology and social networking to create a resource that both scientists and ocean lovers can appreciate. Visitors can not only post their sightings and photos, they can also compare their sightings with those of beachcombers around the globe.

Comb jellies or ctenophores are another common type of jelly that occasionally wash up on beaches in large numbers. Unlike many jellies, ctenophores do not have stinging cells, but capture prey using sticky tentacles. Image: Jim Rehkopf © 2002 MBARI

The Jellywatch website was created by Haddock and two summer interns, Katherine Elliott and Alison Case. According to Haddock, "People have been talking about jelly bloo





Tiger dies of cyanide poisoning

The most endangered animal in the country, the tiger, now seems to be at threat in captivity too. In a latest, a Siberian tiger was poisoned to death around a week ago, in one of the Bannerghatta Biological Park enclosures. The case surfaced after post-mortem report was out recently. The tiger was killed due to cyanide poisoning.

The zoo authorities filed a complaint with the Bannerghatta police station on Monday evening. They suspect foul play and the hand of caretakers in poisoning the 16-year-old animal. "It has been poisoned as confirmed in the post-mortem report. Four caretakers who were on duty that day have been summoned to court. But as investigations are on, we will not be able to divulge their names. It will take us some time before we can confirm who are the culprits," sub-inspector K Vishwanath told TOI.

None of the authorities from Bannerghatta Biological Park were available






Another lion found dead in Gir sanctuary

A day after a lion was axed to death, a decomposed carcass of an Asiatic lion was found in Junagadh on Tuesday. The postmortem report, however, stated the big cat died of old age a fortnight ago.

The body was found along Machundri river at Jokhiya, near Gir West, Babariya range, infamous for poaching of six lions by a Madhya Pradesh gang in 2007. Basbariya range deputy conservator of forests Sandeep Kumar said the carcass is of a 14-year-old lion which died of old age 15 days ago.

"All 17 claws and nails were found intact on the body, except one which might have fallen off due to old age," Kumar said. Animal lovers, however, expressed surprise





"Spider woman" defies the odds at Liverpool region aquarium

Plucky Stephanie Wainwright proved she has no fear of spiders... when she came face to face with a huge tarantula.

Stephanie, 24, had her close encounter with a giant Chilean Rose tarantula at an aquarium in Cheshire where it is one of the latest arrivals.

The amazing picture of the six-inch long tarantula on Stephanie's face defies research by psychologists in the USA which shown girls are born with an aversion to spiders.

Aracnophobia is the most common fear among humans and it afflicts fifty per cent of women, compared to just ten per cent of men.

Stephanie, an assistant retail manager at the Blue Planet Aquarium at Ellesmere Port, encountered the spider when it arrived as part of a new exhibit named "Venom".

And although it looks fearsome the Chilean Rose tarantuala




Claims against zoo 'grossly unfair'

ALLEGATIONS of animal cruelty made against Noah's Ark Zoo Farm were 'grossly unfair', according to a team of zoo inspectors.

The Wraxall attraction was inspected by officials acting on behalf of North Somerset Council on March 2, following allegations made by the Captive Animals' Protection Society (CAPS).

CAPS carried out an undercover investigation at Noah's Ark last year and published its findings in October.

This included allegations about the treatment of animals, the zoo's connection with the owner of the Great British Circus and issues surrounding the death of a tiger, Tira, and her cubs.

As a result, North Somerset Council carried out a special inspection.

The resulting report looks into all 16 allegations made by CAPS.

Its conclusion states: "There is no doubt that the animals at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm are generally well cared for, by experienced and dedicated people.

"Allegations of cruelty, on the part of them or of Noah's Ark generally, are in our view grossly unfair."

In relation to allegations made by CAPS, the report concludes that zoo staff do have enough experience to manage big cats, enough visits are made to the zoo by a qualified vet, the zoo does have the necessary drugs to treat and manage tigers and that sufficient care was taken when transporting Tira to the zoo while she was pregnant.

The report also says that the animals used by the Great British Circus are legally held and there is no evidence that their welfare is jeopardised.

The inspectors were satisfied that Noah's Ark complied with regulations ensuring animals are only passed on to responsible people with the facilities and expertise to manage them.

However, the report does also say the inspectors found that there have been some clear failures to comply with appropriate standards relating to modern zoo practice.

One serious failure was that an appropriate post mortem was not carried out on Tira's body after her death.

Another issue covered by the report was the fact tiger cub corpses were stored in a freezer next to animal food - the inspectors said the bodies should have been properly bagged and labelled.

The report states that the causes of the zoo's failures are varied, they are capable of being addressed and that animal welfare was not harmed as a result.

The failings are also not considered serious enough to revoke the attraction's zoo licence.

To ensure such failings do not happen again, seven extra conditions will be added to the licence.

Noah's Ark owner and founder Anthony Bush said: "I am very happy for my dedicated team of staff that this matter is finally concluded.

"Animal rights people have tried everything to tarnish our excellent reputation over the last





London Zoo has created a walk in jungle named The Rainforest Life

London Zoo has recreated a walk-through tropical wilderness where you can skim treetops among free-running mammals, birds, and insects named The Rainforest Life.

Many of us live in a concrete jungle these days. But how about having a real rainforest right in the middle of your city? London Zoo has done just that by recreating a walk-through tropical wilderness where you can skim treetops among free-running mammals, birds, and insects.

The Rainforest Life exhibit coincides with 2010 being the International Year Of Biodiversity, as people all over the world work to safeguard this irreplaceable wealth of nature.

`We've recreated a section of South American rainforest,' says Lucy Hawley, second-in-command on the exhibit. `We have large trees from the region, low-lying plants and vines wrapped round trunks and branches.

`Visitors will experience monkeys running over the tops of their heads, birds flying along their pathway and butterflies landing close by. Everywhere you look you'll see something new.'

The project took seven months to complete and involved digging deep below the zoo floor to accommodate trees up to 7m high. Exotic plants were delivered to the zoo on the London Underground, with keepers temporarily turning the Bakerloo line into a moving garden centre. A walkway was then installed to take visitors around the top of a canopy teeming with wildlife.

While Britain may have enough rainfall to support a rainforest, it certainly doesn't have the climate.

`Everything is enclosed in a dome with a special roof to let in UV light,' explains Hawley. `There are also hot-air blowers and a mist sprinkler system to mimic rain and get the humidity right. It might be a bit chilly outside but by the time you get inside you'll be stripping off.'

Animals running free include red titi monkeys, emperor tamarins, sloths and trumpeter birds, which, as their name suggests, make a right din.

`Our titi monkeys are particularly sweet because they mate for life. They sing a little love song in the evening



Singapore Zoo Goes African this March Holidays with `Africa Hooves and Horns' Tour

An African getaway is set to become reality as Singapore Zoo introduces Africa Hooves and Horns, a guided tour for participants to explore the world of the white rhino along `Wild Africa'. The special Behind the Scenes feature will allow participants to come up close with this magnificent species and discover more about the treatment they receive. The tour will commence on 13 March 2010.

The two-hour Africa Hooves and Horns tour will transport visitors via buggy to the Wild Africa trail where they will get to experience the first ever in Asia white rhino feeding session. In addition, visitors will learn more about other animals from the African continent such as the giraffes, lions, zebras, and cheetahs.

"The white rhinoceros is an animal which has survived millions of years. Today, it is considered a threatened species. Vigilance is needed to ensure that it does not go on the brink of extinction. We hope with the new Africa Hooves and Horn programme at Singapore Zoo, more can be gleaned on conservation through the guided tour," said Ms Isabel Cheng, Director, Sales, Marketing and Communications, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

The guided tour, which begins at 12.45pm, will also introduce visitors to various specimens such as a rhino horn and ostrich egg.

Registration fee for adult and child (7 years and above) is at S$100 per person and registration is required one week in advance. All participants of the guided tour will walk away with exclusive tour mementos.

At the same time, those who are up for more feeding action will be delighted





Rhino poaching surge in S.Africa linked to organised crime

The rhinoceros walking down the road at South Africa's largest game reserve had no horns, one of the few to survive a surge in poaching that has sent killings to a 15-year high.

A startled tourist alerted game rangers to the animal, the first time a poached rhino had been found still alive at Kruger National Park.

"That was really the first case that I know of where we found a rhino which the horn was removed and it was struggling on the road," said Kruger spokesman William Mabasa.

His theory is that poachers used a tranquiliser to let them remove the rhino's horns silently.

Although the animal survived the amputation, veterinarians were unable to save its life.

"They eventually had to destroy it because the wound was rather too big," Mabasa said.

Two rhinos at a nature reserve near Pretoria suffered a similar fate earlier this month after poachers overdosed them with tranquilisers.

Their fate is emblematic of an insidious turn in the poaching trade, a top agenda item at the general assembly of the 175-nation wildlife treaty CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) underway in Doha.

Black-market demand for rhino horn has soared in the past several years, largely due to the economic boom in east and southeast Asia, where the horn is used for medicinal purposes.

That surge in demand has combined with endemic poverty in many rhino habitats to push rhino poaching worldwide to the highest levels seen in 15 years, according to the wildlife monitoring group Traffic.

South Africa and neighbouring Zimbabwe are responsible for 95 percent of the poaching, Traffic said.

Now conservation experts and South African parks officials say international crime syndicates have entered the trade.

The syndicates sponsor organised hunts and, increasingly





Fungus affecting frogs, salamanders found in R.I.

A fungus that has decimated frog and salamander populations around the world was found in some Rhode Island amphibians last summer. Since then, local ecologists have invited a scientist working on saving amphibians in Panama to speak at their annual conference April 8 at the Quonset O Club.

Edgardo Griffith, director of the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center in Panama, will be the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the 2010 Rhode Island Natural History Survey Ecology in Rhode Island Conference.

He wrote in one recent paper that "massive amphibian die-offs" have been well documented, prompting new conservation programs and radical alternatives in Panama and other parts of the world "to give some of the most amazing creatures on earth an opportunity to survive."

Co-sponsors are Roger Williams Park Zoo, the University of Rhode Island's Department of Natural Resources Science and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Other speakers will be Tim Georoff of Roger Williams Park Zoo; Carlos Rodriguez of the Wildlife Conservation Society; and Eric Baitchman of Zoo New England in Boston. Moderator will be David Skelly of Yale University.

The conference will focus on the chytrid fungus and ranavirus, another pathogen that has been detected in Rhode Island frogs.

There will be a discussion of the chytrid study done in Rhode Island last year, ranavirus in wetlands in Rhode Island and New York state, the historical presence of the pathogens, as well as posters and displays.

The conference is titled "Emerging Threats to Amphibian Conservation in New England with Attention to Chytrid & Ranavirus."

Also, the 2010 Distinguished Naturalist Award presentations will be made.

Based on an assessment in 2004 by the World Conservation Union, one-third to one-half of the 6,000 species





Farming the tiger to extinction?

With captive tigers in China's breeding units now outnumbering those in the wild throughout Asia, the Chinese government's attitude to the trade in tiger parts could be crucial to the survival of the species

THE DISCLOSURE that, so far this year, 11 Siberian tigers have died of starvation or been shot at a zoo in China has placed under further scrutiny the controversial breeding facilities, or tiger farms, first established in China back in the 1980s. There are approximately 6,000 captive tigers held in 200 breeding units around China, almost double the number of wild tigers that now remain across the whole of Asia.

The deaths of captive animals at the mainly privately owned Shenyang Zoo raised suspicion that the tigers had been slaughtered for their body parts and bones, an accusation denied by management. Nevertheless, the controversy about how these tigers died brings their fate into timely focus in a week when members of the Convention of the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) are attending a special conference in Doha, Qatar.

One of the issues up for discussion there is the illegal trade in tiger parts and the controversial existence of tiger-breeding facilities. "The general public do not appreciate just how close we are to losing the tiger," says John Sellar, chief of enforcement at CITES. "It's got to the point where it's very questionable whether it's now a genetically viable species."

Tiger farms started appearing when China's native tiger vanished in the wild. The extermination of the south China sub-species had provided an endless supply of tiger parts for use in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). When the reserve of tiger carcasses finally dried up in the late 1980s, TCM practitioners were forced to look elsewhere for their supplies, which led to an increase in the poaching of tiger populations in India and Sumatra.

Counsellor Lan Heping, at the Chinese embassy in Dublin, explains: "In the development of TCM, people found the medicine values of the tiger bone could invigorate the circulation of blood . . . drive away stroke and strengthen bones. Tiger-bone plaster and tiger-bone wine used to be an important part of TCM and were used for almost 1,000 years. Since 1993, China has never approved any use of tiger bone for medical purpose and





Baby elephant born at Berlin Zoo

Baby Asian elephant calf Bimas made his first public appearance today at the Tierpark in Berlin, Germany.

The four-day old elephant was born on 15 March to mother elephant, Cynthia.

He weights 194 kilograms and stands 94cm tall.

Bimas is the 16th elephant to be born at the zoo, Europe's largest landscaped zoo, since 1998 as part of its successful Asian elephant breeding and





Alligator found 20 miles out to sea swimming with whales

If you were a shipwrecked sailor lost 20 miles out to sea, you'd probably imagine having a lot more dire things to worry about than getting chomped by a 5-foot freshwater alligator-- but think again.

In a bizarre discovery, researchers with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources were out conducting a study on North Atlantic right whales when they came across something they'd never expect to find so far out at sea: a Georgia alligator.

According to the report, the first to spot the wayward gator were whale observers Monica Zani and Heather Foley, who at first thought they were looking at a partially submerged tire or perhaps a dead alligator carcass washed out to sea. When the boat was pulled in closer, however, the researchers were surprised to see that the animal was still alive and able to swim.

"Heavy rains that washed marsh wrack and other debris miles into the sea from the mouth


Order Book HERE


Product Description



The seminal reference on the care of laboratory and captive animals, The UFAW Handbook on the Care and Management of Laboratory and Other Research Animals is a must–have for anyone working in this field. The UFAW Handbook has been the definitive text since 1947. Written for an international audience, it contains contributions from experts from around the world. The book focuses on best practice principles throughout, providing comprehensive coverage, with all chapters being peer reviewed by anonymous referees. As well as addressing the husbandry of laboratory animals, the content is also of great value to zoos and aquaria.


Changes for the new edition:



Revised and updated to reflect developments since publication of the previous edition.


New chapters on areas of growing concern, including: the 3Rs; phenotyping; statistics and experimental design; welfare assessment; legislation; training of people caring for lab animals; and euthanasia.


All material combined into one volume for ease of reference.





Xiamen Haicang Safari Park to relocate to Xiang'an

Haicang Safari Park, or Haicang Wildlife Zoo will be relocated to Xiamen's Xiang'an District this year, Mr. Ke Zhimin, governor of Xiang'an District told a conference Tuesday.

Covering an area of 180,000 square meters, Haicang Safari Park currently has more than 1000 wild animals of over 70 kinds.

The new site will be located at Neicuo Town of Xiang'an, with an estimated area of 860,000 square meters, more than 3 times larger than the current one.

The whole project involves a total investment of 700 million yuan, integrating wildlife displays, scientific research, popular science, catering, leisure and entertainment into one park.

Upon completion, it will be the largest of its





Tiger Deaths Raise Alarms About Chinese Zoos

The local authorities in northeastern China recently took control of a 10-year-old zoo where 11 rare Siberian tigers starved to death, and they are sending experts to try to save the remaining 20 or so tigers, three of which are in critical condition.

The zoo, which is in Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning Province, is fast becoming a symbol of the mistreatment of animals in China, with allegations of misspent subsidies, bribes, and the deaths of at least dozens of animals.

The plight of tigers in China is a central concern of international conservation groups, and recently delegates at a meeting in Doha of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or Cites, approved a voluntary conservation plan for endangered tigers. It calls for tougher legislation in countries






In December 2009, four of the last eight northern white rhinos left on earth were moved from captivity at Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic to a new breeding project in Kenya.

Although it is yet to be officially announced, northern white rhinos are now effectively extinct in the wild and the breeding project, based at Ol Pejeta in northern Kenya, represents the last chance to save the species from extinction.

Berry White, formerly Head Rhino Keeper at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent, UK, prepared the rhinos for their journey back to Africa and has been looking after them on a day-to-day basis ever since.

Neil Bridgland spoke to her recently to find out the project is progressing…

NB – So how are the rhinos acclimatising to Kenya after so long in Europe?

BW – The rhinos have acclimatised brilliantly in Kenya since their arrival here in Africa from the Czech Republic on 20th December 2009. It was a pretty big transition for them. The week we left their old home at Dvur Kralove Zoo the temperature was minus 9 degrees. They were only going out from their lovely warm heated





China's Shenyang Zoo closed after tigers starve to death

Employee accuses bosses of making drink from bones of endangered animal

It is the Chinese Year of the Tiger but it has been far from auspicious. China's Shenyang Zoo has closed after 11 Siberian tigers died of starvation or were shot this year amid murky tales of body parts being used for traditional medicinal remedies.

The government has ordered an inquiry into the deaths of the rare Siberian tigers, of which there are only an estimated 300 left in the wild, 50 of them in China. But what has already played out before an enraged Chinese audience is a story of terrible neglect and poorly financed zoos.

The 11 tigers died after they were fed nothing but chicken bones at Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo, according to Chinese media reports this week. Another three listless big cats are shedding fur and have lost their appetites, the Xinhua news agency reported. A further two were shot dead after mauling a zoo worker in November 2009. The tigers are not the only victims of a cash crisis at the mainly privately owned zoological park. Twenty-six animals from 15 species have died this year, including four camels, a lion, a brown bear and a Mongolian horse. In all, the number of animals in the zoo has dropped by half in a decade, according to Xinhua.

Rumours swirled immediately that the tigers had been killed for their bones, which are prized in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Every year there are widespread illegal sales of tiger bones, penises and other parts because many believe that tiger parts can increase potency or cure diseases. A zoo worker, quoted by Xinhua, said the remains of the dead animal were used to make


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Product Description



This book describes the welfare implications of keeping wild and domesticated birds in captivity. The environmental and social requirements of various avian species are discussed and suggestions made for appropriate housing and management techniques. Particular attention is paid to human-bird interactions and their impact on the behaviour and welfare of the birds involved. Training methods for companion birds are also described. Possible future trends in keeping birds in captivity are discussed in relation to evolving laws and codes for both wild and domesticated birds and in the light of developing ethical attitudes to animals. The book will be invaluable to all those who keep birds including poultry farmers, pet owners, and managers and caretakers of birds kept in laboratories, zoos, wildlife aviaries, and rehabilitation centres. It will also be of great interest to poultry production, zoology, wildlife and veterinary students.





Flat-headed cat of southeast Asia is now endangered

One of the smallest and most enigmatic species of cat is now threatened with extinction.

According to a new study, habitat loss and deforestation are endangering the survival of Asia's flat-headed cat, a diminutive and little studied species.

Over 70% of the cat's habitat has been converted to plantations, and just 16% of its range is now protected.

The cat, which has webbed feet to help hunt crabs and fish, lives among wetland habitats in southeast Asia.

Details on the decline of the cat's range are published in the journal PLoS ONE.

The flat-headed cat is among the least known of all wild cat species, having never been intensively





Nunavut lawmakers vote to ban European booze in seal row

Nunavut lawmakers voted to ban European alcohol in the northern Canadian territory in symbolic retaliation for an EU ban on seal products, a government official told AFP on Wednesday.

However, the motion is unlikely to become law, said Emily Woods, spokeswoman for Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak.

The members of the legislative assembly voted 9-0 in favor of the ban. Aariak and her cabinet abstained over concerns it breaches international trade rules.

"It may also be unhelpful to Canada's WTO (World Trade Organization) complaint with respect to the European ban on seal products," Aariak said in a speech to the legislature.

Figures on how much French wine or British beer are sold annually in Nunavut were not immediately available. But government-run liquor stores sell an estimated total of 1.4 million dollars worth of booze annually, said




Tigers in Africa

Tigers in Africa seems a fanciful thought…but they are there! Though they do not roam completely free in the wilderness, the South China Tiger can be found in carefully managed, large wildland areas in South Africa, the subject of an ambitious effort to rescue it from extinction. The 33,000ha (82,000 acre) LaohuValley Reserve is the centerpiece of Save China's Tigers experimental bid to breed the South China Tiger and eventually return it to its natural habitat.

This effort has generated significant controversy, so I went there in January to better understand what it is doing and to determine its role in the broad spectrum of conservation work occurring around the globe. I found a valid initiative, doing good work, and fighting two battles simultaneously: one to save a tiger (arguably a sub-species), and (as if that were not enough) another to defend itself against the (sometimes) seemingly endless internal sniping of the nature conservation world. Who needs enemies when fellow conservationists often serve that function?!

I encourage you to go to the SCT website to see details. They're making progress. I'll just briefly give my response to some of the "sniping" I've heard from





The rare Albino wallaby putting rivals in the shade at wildlife park

A rare albino wallaby has been born at a British wildlife park — despite the owners having no adults with the skin-altering condition.

The tiny joey is still tucked away in its mother Erin's pouch but will start to venture out on its own when it reaches six months old.

Staff at Seaview Wildlife Encounter say the joey is a 'genetic throwback' because albinism is most commonly passed from parents to their offspring.

And they hope the young marsupial will prove a huge attraction when the park, which is





Wildlife Reserves appoints Icon for Bird Park, Zoo and Night Safari

Wildlife Reserves Singapore has appointed Icon International Communications as its public relations agency-of-record.

Icon is charged with overseeing the communications business for Wildlife Reserves Singapore's entities including the Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo, and managing the launch of the river-themed park, River Safari, which is scheduled to open in 2012.

The independent agency is charged with promoting Wildlife Reserves' attractions both locally and regionally, and highlighting the company's mission to raise conservation





Zoo admits mix-up in sexes of animals -- again

Sapporo Maruyama Zoo here has announced it failed to identify the correct gender of animals -- again.

The city-run zoo said Thursday it had wrongly determined the genders of 2-year-old lion "Genki" and 1-year-old Yezo deer "Ayumi." This is the second time the zoo has admitted to animal gender mix-ups, following the discovery in November 2008 that two polar bears had been mistakenly identified as male.

"We want to be extremely careful from now on," a zoo official remarked.

Genki, one of a pair of twins born in November 2007, was identified as male by a zoo employee shortly after birth on the ground that the distance between his external genitals and anus was longer than that of his, or rather her, sibling.

However, the zoo conducted a DNA test on Genki because the lion had not developed a mane -- a distinctive characteristics of males of the species -- and no scrotum was visible. The test





Zoo director quits after 25 years

A top Calgary Zoo director who helped the facility mop up after several recent blunders and animal deaths -- including a gorilla that got hold of a knife and a capybara that was crushed by a door -- has stepped down.

Cathy Gaviller, the zoo's director of conservation and research, resigned Wednesday after more than two decades at the facility, saying she wanted to "pursue other opportunities."

The move comes just weeks before the results of a probe into the zoo's operations are expected to be released.

Zoo officials said the decision was a personal one for Gaviller.

"She cares so much about the zoo, she decided moving on was for the best right now," said Simon Scott, director of communications.

Gaviller, who earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Waterloo, joined the zoo in animal care in 1985. Three years later, she joined the apprentice zookeeper program. Over the next 20 years, she worked her way to the senior director's position.

In recent months, as the zoo weathered sharp criticism over a series of bizarre and fatal incidents, Gaviller often spoke to reporters to clarify what happened and reassure the public of the facility's dedication to animal care.

Three days before she resigned, Gaviller spoke on behalf of the zoo after a gorilla nearly escaped from its pen.




Will Mountain View Conservation Centre animals get justice?

There appears to possibly be an attempt to brush all the decision-making about the animal abuse at the Mountain View Conservation Centre in Langley under the rug so that when the permits to keep exotic animals are given out later this month, the Mountain View Conservation Centre (multi-millionaire Gordon Blankstein's private zoo) will be able to get one, since CAZA refuses to decide whether to pull their accreditation even though this has been going on since last November and there is a ridiculous amount of proof of the abuse going on there that is freely available over the internet from the media, and since the Ministry of Environment refuses to take responsibility for giving out the permits themselves like they should and originally had said they would. Please do the following 2 things to help protect animals in BC. Email the Minister of Environment, Barry Penner (  ) & tell him that the Ministry, not a zoo association looking to protect its own like they are doing with the Mountain View Conservation Centre, should be deciding whether someone





Crikeys from beyond the grave

BETWEEN the gates of this world and the next, one might have overheard the odd "crikey!" and "s'truth!" with the late Steve Irwin's dad Bob telling Woman's Day he made contact with his son through the magazine's psychic Deb Webber.

Bob is reported to have felt "goose bumps" after the psychic relayed things that only he and the late great crocodile hunter would have known.

Steve even wanted to know what his dad had done with all the old socks he'd taken.

"We talked about so many things, some too personal to talk about," Mr Irwin said.

"He told me everything is OK, not to be sad and to keep up the fight, to continue looking after the animals."

It was not the first time the crocodile hunter and face of Australia Zoo in Beerwah had contacted his family from





PETA: Shelve plans to build dolphinarium

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal rights group, has asked Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh to shelve plans to build a dolphinarium in New Delhi, terming it an "unviable idea".

"Dolphins cannot cope with life in captivity. Torn apart from their families, dolphins kept in captivity are confined to small tanks and left to swim continuously in circles in their own diluted urine as their sonar bounces off cement walls," PETA activist Dharmesh Solanki said.

In a letter to the Environment Minister, he said that most captive dolphins live to only half the age of wild dolphins





Zookeeper shares almost similar fate as animals

Clean, feed, clean – this is the routine of Georgetown zookeepers. Risk, minimum wages, and poor facilities are their rewards.

Like the animals imprisoned at this crumbling place, the zookeepers are also being denied their rights. For more than a decade, love for these animals has helped Chip (not the zookeeper's real name) to endure these harsh conditions.

"The animals," Chip says while sweeping a cage. "I have a soft spot for the animals. Sometimes I get angry but I feel sorry for the animals, because they're my friends. I stay here to take care of them and it prevents me from doing something better to make more money."

Chip is wearing black pants, a t-shirt, long boots and is working with a broom made from the stems of coconut branches. Gloves or even a mask for the dust are not luxuries the Zoological Park offers Chip and other zookeepers.

Shortly after 7am every day Chip, a naturally friendly person, greets everyone while walking to the zoo. Chip is expected at work by 7.30 am. The first thing Chip does is change into the limited gear provided by the zoo.

There is an old building in the compound – it's made of clay bricks and once housed a medical facility –where the male zookeepers change. The zoo has two female keepers, Chip says, and they have no changing room either. These women change into their shirt, pants and long boots behind some cage or the other in the compound.

"Anyone passing can see the women changing," Chip explains while taking a break from sweeping the cage, "and it isn't fair that the women can't be allowed even that amount of privacy."

As soon as Chip slips the long boots on it's time to get into the cages. Every keeper



Dubai zoo faces 20% cut in food budget for 2010



More than 950 animals at the Dubai Zoo may have to make do with a 20 per cent cut in their food budget this year, XPRESS has learnt.


Sources at Dubai Municipality said this year's budget is Dh840,000, a sharp fall from Dh1.1 million in 2009.


"This is the first budget cut [for the zoo], but I think we can manage," a Dubai Municipality official said. XPRESS contacted the budget office at Dubai Municipality, but there was no official comment forthcoming.


The current number of animals is down nearly 14 per cent from about 1,100 animals reported early last year.




Dr Al Syed Ahmad, Programme Director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), earlier said overcrowding in cages and keeping different species together were "a matter of concern". He also said that zoo authorities would have to consider shifting some animals to similar facilities in the neighbouring emirates until a bigger facility was ready. A master plan for a new zoo in Mushrif Park was abandoned in 2003.


The municipality in November 2005 had announced












Dingo found to be one of the world's oldest dog breeds


Australia's iconic dingo has been found to be one of the oldest breeds of dogs in the world.


An international study examining the domestication of the dog from its wild wolf ancestry has found the dingo and its relation, the rare New Guinea singing dog, bear the closest genetic similarity to wolves of all the breeds tested.


The research, analysed at Cornell University and UCLA in the US and published in the science journal Nature, confirms widely held theories about the dingo's history.


A group of scientists from around the world tested 48,000 different sites of DNA from the dog genome on 1,000 dogs from 85 different breeds, as well as hundreds of










Zion denies selling 'Killer Tiger' parts


The management of Whangarei-based Zion Wildlife Gardens have denied claims they sold body parts of the tiger that killed handler Dalu Mncube last year.


Mr Mncube was attacked by a 260kg rare white royal bengal tiger called Abu as he cleaned its enclosure last May.


Allegations surfaced this week on social networking site Facebook that Zion's owner - Patricia Busch, mother of the Whangarei park's founder and TV's Lionman Craig Busch - had sold Abu's body parts for "megabucks", the Northern Advocate reported.


Zion responded by posting up a notification on their website denying the allegations.


"The management of Zion are concerned about certain allegations concerning Abu's corpse," the statement reads.


"The day that Abu was buried was a very sad day for the management, staff and friends of the park. Abu was buried at the park as per the statutory protocols, once the authorities had completed their investigations.


"We can only wonder at the motive as to why there are individuals with malicious comments about our friend Abu."


A spokesperson for Zion said that these allegations would be referred to the park's legal advisers.


Charges over Mr Mncube's death have been adjourned. The Department of Labour laid two charges against Zion Wildlife Services for "failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety o










Workers of Zoo with 13 Dead Tigers Gets Paid after 18-month Delay


Workers of the zoo where 13 Siberian tigers died over the last three months in northeast China's Liaoning Province, finally got paid after an 18-month delay, said zoo workers.


A total of 13 Siberian tigers have died over a span of three months in Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo including 11 which died of malnutrition and another two were shot dead while mauling a zoo worker in November 2009, said Liu Xiaoqiang, vice chief of the Shenyang Wild Animal Protection Station.


The news of the dead tigers was broken by zoo workers who stopped working last Wednesday to demand their salary after 18 months of not being paid.


"A total of 11 tigers were starved to death. We haven't been paid for 18 months and we are starving too," said a zoo worker.


The shocking news about the zoo has drawn worldwide attention. The workers were paid on Sunday by the management committee of Shenyang City's Qipanshan Development












Temburong Zoo Falls Under LegCo Spotlight


Funds should be allocated to revive the neglected Temburong Mini Zoo located in Batang Duri as it has the potential to become a tourist attraction, suggested State Legislative Council (LegCo) member Dato Paduka Hj Idris Hj Abas at yesterday's LegCo session.


"If I'm not mistaken, two years ago I raised this issue with regards to the state of the zoo, whereby its animals have been left unattended and their lives threatened," stressed Dato Hj Idris.


He added that the area, open to tourists, could one day be visited by WWF (World Wildlife Fund) officials. "As such, it would be of benefit to rebuild the zoo that can fulfil international Wildlife standards and become a tourist attraction," he added.


Minister of Development Pehin Orang Kaya Hannah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdullah Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar said that the park falls under the pur• view of the Department of En. vironment, Parks and Recreation and assured that the matter will be looked into.


Dato Hj Idris also brought tc attention the Labu immigratior post







Building a Future for Wildlife: Zoos and Aquariums Committed to Biodiversity Conservation

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Building a future for wildlife is the slogan of the World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy. Modern zoos and aquariums are indeed playing an increasingly active and important role in conserving species in their natural habitat. This richly illustrated book provides an overview of the partners, approaches and achievements of the world zoo and aquarium community in wildlife conservation. The book's main focus is on 25 conservation success stories from around the globe, portraying the many ways in which zoos and aquariums are committed to biodiversity conservation. This book was edited by Gerald Dick and Markus Gusset from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), who are both conservation biologists themselves.








City zoo could be better with some fresh ideas


Given the recent criticism our zoo has endured as to the care of their solitary elephant, I was disappointed, but not surprised, by Friday's article on a further incident at the Valley Zoo.


While dealing with the escape and subsequent death of an addax, the reporter failed to mention that this species is currently listed as critically endangered worldwide. As such, I would hope that care would reflect its value.


Instead, we have a gate left open and the statement that the staff has been briefed on proper gate-locking procedure. Surely this would have been dealt with previously in staff training? Alberta ranch and farm kids learn this as a matter of course by the time they are 10 or 12.


I work as a wildlife biologist and am pro-zoo, or to put it more correctly, pro "good" zoo. A good zoo should have as its primary aims conservation and education. Both these laudatory goals are under question for our zoo given its present state.


I realize that the current situation has been to some extent brought about by long-term funding problems and likely by some unfortunate choices made by previous directors. However there is little excuse for some of the ongoing problems.


These range from things such as very poor signage to seriously substandard caging for many of the animals. Wild animals in captivity should be able to engage in, if not all, at least a reasonable array of their signature behavioural and social traits. A creature










Rights group files complaint over Woodland Park Zoo elephant breeding


An animal rights organization, In Defense of Animals (IDA), has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture charging that Woodland Park Zoo's elephant breeding program violates the federal Animal Welfare Act.


The complaint, filed Wednesday, comes after the zoo announced it had artificially inseminated its elephant Chai.


"It is grossly irresponsible for the Woodland Park Zoo to continue breeding elephants, knowing that any infant born there faces a high risk of disease and death," said Catherine Doyle, IDA campaign director, in a release. "IDA is calling on the USDA to stop the reckless breeding of elephants in herpes-affected zoos."


Chai — whose popular 6-year-old calf, Hansa, died in 2007 from an elephant herpes virus — was inseminated last Wednesday and again on Thursday after she showed signs of ovulating, said Nancy Hawkes, the zoo's general curator. Chai was artificially inseminated after Hansa's death and miscarried in 2008.


Chai is one of three female elephants living in the zoo's 1-acre enclosure. Controversy has swirled for years about the elephants' lack of space and their living conditions in captivity. After Hansa's death, animal advocates called for the zoo to stop breeding elephants.


But zoo officials said last week they remain










Zoo reveals everything, warts and all


On Tuesday morning, Jolayne Davidson Gardner bundled up her baby daughter and drove in to Calgary from her home just west of Nanton.


Her husband Cam didn't share her excitement over her 16-month-old's first trip to the zoo.


"He told me a gorilla had escaped, and maybe it wasn't such a good idea to go today," said the first-time mom with a smile. "He thought it might be better if I postponed it."


Not only was Davidson Gardner at the zoo on Tuesday afternoon, when I met her and baby Hazel, it was right in front of the gorilla enclosure at the zoo's Destination Africa. The bad news of the night before had clearly done little to dissuade parents and kids from converging on one of the zoo's most popular exhibits: the overwhelming hoards of baby strollers in the labyrinth-like building housing the zoo's star mammal attractions was like something out of a science fiction movie.


When I heard the news late Monday that Shana, a seven-year-old male gorilla, had nearly escaped from his enclosure early Monday morning, I caught myself gasping out loud over such a prospect. Last summer, I had the pleasure of meeting the Bronx Zoo transplant's roommates, when invited to help head gorilla zookeeper Garth Irvine feed spoonfuls of yogurt through the fortified bars of a cage.


We fed the likes of Kakinga, the brooding alpha male of the gang.


You don't need to see the blinding white teeth of a 450-pound gorilla from a foot away, though, to understand the power and potential destruction that one liberated from its cage could have on humans. Neither do the people who run the Calgary Zoo: on Monday morning, they alerted the media first thing, with a press release and interview availability with Cathy Gaviller, the zoo's director of conservation and research. After explaining the incident -- which included Shana coming face-to-face with a surprised zookeeper -- Gaviller assured the public that an experienced zookeeper had been suspended, but not for how long or whether it was with or without pay.


The proactive move is part of the zoo's new face after a few turbulent years, which saw the deaths of two elephants, four gorillas, a hippo (which died in transit en route to the zoo by truck), 41 stingrays and, most recently, the escape of two non-poisonous snakes that slithered into an open drain inadvertently left open by a zookeeper.


Along with working to be more open and transparent with the public, the zoo's management also recently initiated an outside review by the Canadian and American associations of zoos and aquariums. On Tuesday, I spoke with Gaviller about the zoo's new public face, and find that she is indeed more than forthcoming about its challenges over the past few years, and the zoo's determination to










Agency could strip B.C. zoo of accreditation


The organization that sets standards for animal care at zoos across Canada says it may strip a B.C. facility of its accreditation if allegations of animal neglect against it are proven.


The British Columbia SPCA forwarded criminal and animal abuse charges to Crown counsel against the Mountain View Conservation Centre in Fort Langley, B.C., this week when a giraffe at the facility died after being sedated for an emergency hoof-trimming procedure.


A probe into the private zoo began in November 2009 after a group of ex-employees and volunteers contacted the SPCA with allegations the centre failed to properly care for dozens of injured and dying animals – in some cases euthanizing them in an inhumane way.


Bill Peters, the national director of the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, says his organization is taking the allegations against Mountain View very seriously and will take "whatever action is necessary" if it is found one of their accredited facilities does not comply with its code of ethics and standards for animal care -- heralded as among the toughest in the world for zoos and aquariums.


"We keep tabs on things going on at our institutions," he told in a telephone interview from Ottawa. "Often we just get a report from the facility if there are concerns. But if it's more than










Endangered pheasants from UK to join Darjeeling Zoo


Brightly coloured Crimson Horned and Crimson Bellied pheasants will soon be seen in West Bengal's Darjeeling zoo with steps being taken to bring the winged birds from UK.


"Paradise Wildlife Park in UK has agreed to give us four Satyr Tragopan (two male and female each) and eight (4:4) Temminick Tragopan, both endangered pheasants," A K Jha, director, Darjeeling Zoo which is also known as Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park told PTI.


Veterinary protocol has been already prepared from both sides in this regard. They will soon join our collection of 80 pheasants, he says.


Satyr Tragopan also known as the Crimson Horned Pheasant and Temminck's Tragopan also called Crimson-bellied Tragopan have been identified for the purpose of breeding under the










Zoo to help grow snake population in Lake County


The Lake County Forest Preserve District will be assisting another slithering critter this season.


Biologists will be counting smooth green snakes on forest preserve property, and hope to capture pregnant females, as part of a two-year program to boost their numbers in the wild.


"It's not quite on the threatened or endangered list but there is a definite decline," explained Gary Glowacki, a wildlife biologist with the forest preserve district.


Ranging from about 14 to 26 inches in length, the smooth green snake is the distinct bright green color of healthy grass and has a white belly tinged with yellow. Small populations have been found in a few scattered





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The keeping of zoo animals has become a central tool in the conservation of some of the world's most fascinating, yet threatened, species. But how do zoos operate on a day-to-day basis? What are the key problems zoos face in trying to feed, breed and keep healthy the animals in their care? How do they play their part in conserving biodiversity?





Zoo Animals: Behaviour, Management and Welfare addresses the key questions surrounding the keeping of zoo animals, and reveals how we can apply our ever-growing understanding of animal behaviour to ensure zoo animals are managed as effectively as possible.




Drawing on their extensive experience of zoo research, practice, and teaching, the authors blend together theory with a broad range of both mammalian and non-mammalian examples to give a highly-readable overview of this burgeoning field. Zoo Animals: Behaviour, Management and Welfare is the ideal resource for anyone needing a thorough grounding in this subject, whether as a student or as a zoo professional.







Mystery of dead zebras to be answered at Hogle Zoo Thursday


The mystery of two zebras who died under puzzling circumstances last January at Hogle Zoo may finally be solved Thursday morning when the zoo holds a news conference to announce its findings.


One of the zebras, Taji, was found dead the morning of Jan. 26, and the second zebra, Monty, showed signs of distress and was euthanized the afternoon of Jan. 27.


The results of toxicology and pathology tests could be announced Thursday to shed light on the untimely deaths of the animals.


Nancy Carpenter, the zoo's associate director of animal health, had said last January the two zebras were mature, but not old. She said both animals had suffered nosebleeds and possibly blunt force trauma.


"Very suspicious and odd" was how she described the mysterious deaths.


Well-known for their bright stripes, these two male Grevy's zebras were the zoo's only such animals. They first went on display at Hogle Zoo in 1998. They came to Utah from Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas










Elephant symbolises Chester's links to its zoo


A HEAVY-WEIGHT new arrival has charged its way into Chester- in the form of a three foot bronze elephant calf symbolising the links between the UK's largest Zoo and the city.


The sculpture, a gift on behalf of Chester Zoo and similar to that at its own main entrance, has now taken up residence on Werburgh Street, close to the Barclays Bank.


It is hoped that the one-metre tall statue, created by Hampshire-based sculptress Annette Yarrow, will encourage city tourists to venture to the zoo.


Alasdair McNee, corporate director for Chester Zoo, said: "We are delighted to unveil the latest










Pandas have dung well


Adelaide Zoo's giant pandas Wang Wang and Funi are proving they are more than just pretty faces.


The pair are unknowingly helping their extended Chinese relatives by donating their droppings for "Panda Poo and Friends" an organic compost on sale in almost 200 shops across SA.


Part proceeds will support international giant panda breeding programs and help Adelaide Zoo to grow special bamboo for Wang Wang and Funi.


The compost was unveiled last week by 11-year-old Sheidow Park student Jordan Steed, who won a national all-ages competition to design the artwork for the front of the bag.


Wang Wang and Funi the only giant pandas in Australia are producing between 70 and 100kg of poo per panda per week.


Combined with other zoo droppings, it's estimated they initially will produce










Flamingos Fooled Into Fornicating


Spring usually means the birth of new animals at the Fort Worth Zoo, and flamingos are right on time. Lesser flamingo chicks are arriving one after the other, at least nine, so far.


The zoo has hatched and hand-reared 59 lesser flamingo chicks since 2002, and learned some things along the way. For example, wild flamingos breed in colonies with thousands of birds. The zoo's breeding group has only 18 to 20 birds. So, to get them to breed, zookeepers had to get creative.


"Mirrors on the walls create the illusion that the flamingos are members of a much larger group," said said Remecka Owens, public relations manager for the Fort Worth Zoo.


The younglings are fragile little things, weighing about 1.75 to 2.6 ounces at birth. The zoo puts them in an incubator-type container for the first 24 hours so their down is dry and fluffy.


The bird's first food is its own yolk followed by two-hour feedings of formula beginning 24 hours later. In many cases, it's the zoo's bird curator Katy Unger taking the chicks home to










Like humans, gorillas too cajole bored pals to continue a game


Gorillas, just like humans, have the tendency to keep bored friends into a game


by cajoling or even by deliberately losing if need arises, a new study found.


The above tendency indicates that gorillas may have "theory of mind" - the capacity to attribute mental states to others, said Richard Byrne and Joanne Tanner of St Andrews University in the UK, who videotaped gorillas at San Francisco Zoo.


Other than engaging with a toy and another gorilla, the animals seemed aware of how their playmate was interacting with the toy.


"The gorillas could encourage their playmates when they were losing interest, or self-handicap if there was a danger of winning the game," New Scientist quoted Byrne as saying.


This is the first time animals have been observed following a playmate's interaction with a third object - a skill picked up by humans at 9 months old.


However, with dogs, cats, lions and bears "the animal










Threatened animal species require captivity to survive


Upon finding the article "Trainer death highlights animal captivity issues," I was pleasantly surprised as I have been very interested in this issue.


However, after starting to read, I became aware of its bias and its incomplete representation of some facts.


First, it is hard and maybe impossible at this point to return Tilikum to the wild.


His teeth have become very worn down, he spends a lot of time surface resting (a hazardous practice in the wild), and the cost would be great without guarantees of survival.


As SeaWorld has one of the largest tanks capable of holding him, where else could he go?


I agree that there is a problem with keeping wild animals in captivity and especially using them as entertainment.


Those problems are numerous and strongly publicized when accidents and neglect occur.


Personally, I know that animals, and especially intelligent predators, need to do something in captivity.


Activity and jobs that require some degree of thought from the animal are needed to keep them happier and much less bored.


They cannot simply just sit in captivity. Another issue that I would like to bring up is that captivity (cruel as it is) has become necessary.


You're right in this quote: "How much are zoo spectators learning while










The economics of zoo Pandas








Zoo begins breeding program for rare animals


Their habitats are shrinking, and their numbers are already greatly reduced. The survival of endangered species such as orangutans and Malayan tigers could depend on breeding efforts half a world away, in places such as Fresno Chaffee Zoo.


The zoo - which sent two endangered addaxes to a preserve in Africa in 2007 - has received permission from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to begin breeding its two tigers and three of its four orangutans.


Officials say participation in breeding programs gives credibility to Fresno Chaffee Zoo, which less than three years ago was in jeopardy of losing its accreditation with the national association because of inadequate housing for some animals and political infighting among










When Calgary Zoo loses its 'celebrities'


When Calgary Zoo president Clement Lanthier announced in December that he had commissioned an independent review of the zoo's practices, he was already under fire from angry animal rights groups, local reporters and distressed citizens over a string of high-profile accidental animal deaths.


"To continue their support for this institution, our community needs answers -- no more accusations, no more allegations, no more irresponsible criticisms -- but documented facts that will give them good reason to maintain their confidence in us," Mr. Lanthier said.


A week earlier, a capybara that had arrived at the zoo only a few months before had been crushed to death by a hydraulic door closed improperly by an employee, who was subsequently suspended for two days without pay.


But if Mr. Lanthier hoped that announcing the review would take some heat off his organization, he was wrong. Things have only gotten worse.


In January, local reporters confronted the zoo with an anonymous tip, allegedly from someone on staff, that two mule deer had died in recent










Duke's secret in the forest


Tucked away in Duke Forest is the largest and most diverse collection of lemurs outside their native Madagascar.


The Duke Lemur Center is home to 213 of the prosimian primates. There is the aye-aye, the big-eared silly-looking creature with a bushy tail. There is also the ring-tailed lemur, perhaps the most recognizable, which raises its grey-and-black-striped tail in the air as it walks through grass. The center houses more than 20 species of lemurs -- gentle, endangered animals whose only natural habitat is the African island.


While open to the public, the center doesn't have the set-up it would like to serve large groups of visitors, so it's in the running for a $50,000 Pepsi Refresh Project grant.


The grant would help the center become more friendly to tours, providing, among other improvements, a new path.


The more people that visit the center, the more people that learn about lemurs and the more people who appreciate lemurs, the more people who might want to help them, said Keith Morris, the center's education program manager. The Duke Lemur Center is funded by Duke University, the National Science Foundation and private












Python parts and pangolins seized in raid


The Department of Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) has confiscated over 26,000 pieces of python gall bladders, 35,000 pieces of python skins, and three pangolins in two operations in Kedah and Perak.


In the first raid at a business premises in Kulim last week, the officers found the python bile and dried pieces of python skin in sacks and zinc boxes.


"This is the biggest seizure of python bile we have ever had," Perhilitan law and enforcement division director Saharudin Anan told a press conference at the department's headquarters here yesterday.


"We are investigating how the owner of the shop, a man in his 40s, obtained these parts," he said.


The python bile is believed to be sold between RM500 and RM800 per kg while the python skins is said to be worth between RM50 and RM80 per piece.


In the second raid, the Wildlife Crime Unit (WCU) officers found the three pangolins and a piece of pangolin scale at a home










Monkey World founder Jim Cronin died three years ago


"I WISH he could have been there." Today, Monkey World Dr Alison Cronin is in Vietnam releasing two gibbons onto a 40-acre island sanctuary.


If all goes well, this will be the half-way house to their eventual and complete return to the wild of the rainforest.


`One of the greatest sadnesses is that Jim is not here to share it'


The project has been seven years in the making and there could not be a more appropriate or poignant day for the release to take place.


It was Alison's husband, Monkey World founder Jim Cronin, who started the Vietnam initiative.


And today is the third anniversary










China zoo shut amid tiger parts harvest allegation


A zoo in northeastern China has been shut after a spate of Siberian tiger deaths as reports Wednesday said dozens of the dead animals may have been used to make a virility tonic.


China's forestry ministry has ordered the zoo in the city of Shenyang to suspend operations and urged the local government to step up a probe into the deaths of 13 of the endangered tigers, the state-run Global Times reported.


Authorities are investigating whether the Shenyang Forest Wildlife Zoo in Liaoning province was harvesting tiger parts to produce ingredients for the lucrative traditional Chinese medicine market, the Beijing News said.


The problems at the zoo have thrown a spotlight in the current Year of the Tiger on the 6,000 captive tigers held in the nation's zoos and breeding farms.


In the 1980s, China set up tiger farms to try to preserve the big cats, intending to release some into the wild, but conservation groups say many farms harvest ingredients for traditional medicine.


The Beijing News quoted an unnamed zoo official saying between 40 and 50 tigers may have died at the privately operated zoo since 2000 and that it was an "open secret" that the zoo was producing tiger-bone liquor.


Tiger parts, such as penises and bones, have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to increase sexual potency or treat certain illnesses.


Troubles at the zoo first came to light in November last year when two hungry tigers were shot and killed as they mauled a zoo worker, who survived.


Since then, 11 more tigers have died at the financially strapped zoo due to malnutrition and poor conditions, press reports have said.


Large vats of tiger-bone liquor have been produced at the zoo since 2005 and were given to high-level officials of the provincial forestry, parks, and police bureaux, the Beijing News reported.


China banned all trade in tiger bones and relat










Calgary Zoo employee suspended after near-escape of young gorilla


An experienced Calgary zoo keeper has been suspended after a gorilla nearly escaped from its pen after it leaped from a pile of ice in his yard, pulled himself onto a glass fence and sat perched on the ledge.


Officials say the incident happened before 8 a.m. and the zoo hadn't yet opened so there was no danger to the public.


The seven-year-old male — named Shana — jumped back into the yard when it was noticed.


"A staff member spotted him and I think the gorilla was more startled than the staff member," said Cathy Gaviller, the zoo's director of conservation and research. "He immediately leapt back into his enclosure and the whole thing was over before it began."


Zoo keepers were immediately alerted, and Shana was brought indoors. Within two hours, a team began work on removing the pile of ice.


Gaviller said it's unlikely the "mischievous" gorilla, who arrived from the Bronx Zoo last spring, would have strayed very










Park operators to blame for tiger deaths


A park operator's mismanagement is responsible for the starvation of 11 tigers at Shenyang Wildlife Park. Because of financial distress, the park's director allocated the funds meant to feed the tigers for other purposes.


The abnormal death of tigers in Shenyang is not the first such case and will not be the last. A manchurian tiger was killed in Three Gorges Forest Wild Animal World in Yichang, Hubei province at the end of 2007 after 7 tigers had already died there. Of the seven tigers that died, three starved to death, and the remaining four died in fights or of diseases. Cu Guozhong, chief expert from the Wild Animal Protection Research Institution under the Chinese Academy of Forestry, said that investments in wildlife parks have exploded in China, and there are over 80 wildlife parks across the country. Some cities may have over three such parks and Wuhan once had as many as seven large-scale animal parks. Data shows that there are only ten similar wildlife parks in all of the U.S.


Most of these private-run wildlife parks merely seek profits, and forget the original purpose of a wildlife park in vicious competition. They are not interested in protecting the animals or carrying out scientific research. What they want








Endangered species dilemma: Protect whales or salmon they eat?


When it comes to dinner, Puget Sound's killer whales show no respect for international boundaries. It's long been known that their favorite meal is Chinook salmon.


However, using new genetic tests on the orcas' feces, and fish tissue and scales taken from the waters near where the whales are feasting, scientists say that as much as 90 percent of the Chinook they eat are from Canada's Fraser River.


Though the dietary habits of killer whales may not seem like a big deal, the orcas and various salmon species are protected on both sides of the border. Efforts to revive endangered species that share the same ecosystem can become intertwined.


"It is fascinating the whales specialize in a particular species, and the species they focus on is one of the rarer ones and in some case protected," said Michael Ford, the director of the conservation biology division at the National Marine Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. "Recovery of the whales could be dependent on the recovery of salmon. It is all related."


Ford was among a group of U.S. and Canadian scientists who published the results of their study in the recent edition of the journal Endangered Species Research.


The problem of killer whales nibbling on declining salmon runs isn't just an international one. Federal scientists say that Puget Sound killer whales may also be taking their toll on endangered salmon from California.


Though their numbers fluctuate, about 90 killer whales make up the southern resident population that swims the inland waters of Washington state and British Columbia from south Puget Sound to the Strait of Georgia. From late spring to early fall, the whales stay










Year of the Tiger billed as last stand against extinction


The Year of the Tiger has been billed as the big cat's best chance to escape extinction, but activists say poaching and government inaction are undermining a campaign to double the number of wild tigers.


Just 3,200 tigers are believed to survive in the jungles of Asia and the forests of Russia's Far East, down from an estimated 100,000 a century ago, and that number is still declining.


Butchered for traditional medicine, deprived of their habitat and killed for encroaching on villages -- the onslaught has already seen three sub-species wiped out and the South China tiger has not been sighted for decades.


Conservationists are seizing on the Year of the Tiger to secure the funding and political will needed to protect wild populations and suppress demand for tiger products from the major markets of China and Vietnam.


The unprecedented focus includes a summit on tiger conservation in Russia in September, and the UN wildlife trade body's talks in Doha this month which will consider a resolution condemning tiger farming.


A ban on trade in tiger parts was implemented in 1975, marking one of the first initiatives under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).


But CITES chief Willem Wijnstekers admitted in Doha this week that efforts to save the tiger had "failed miserably" and the great cat was walking ever closer to extinction.


"2010 is the Chinese Year of the Tiger and the International Year of Biodiversity. This must be the year in which we reverse the trend. If we don't, it will be to our everlasting shame," he said.


The spotlight on the charismatic species has bolstered the hopes of activists who have












Proposed Law Bans Starving Animals after Tiger Incident


An amendment to a proposed national law against the abuse of animals will ban Chinese zoos from starving animals, following an incident involving the deaths of 11 Siberian tigers at a zoo in northeast China's city of Shenyang.


Chang Jiwen, an expert with China's Academy of Social Sciences and the chief drafter of the law, said the item was included in response to media reports of the tigers' starvation.


A ban on killing animals in the presence of minors has also been added, the Beijing News reported.


Items on criminal liability for abusing animals and bans on organizing animal fights and animal massacres remain in the law, said Chang.


The proposed law gives flexibility on eating cats and dogs according to ethnic and local customs, as the original item aroused heated disputes among the public.


China's proposed animal protection law was released for





Animals deserve to run wild, not to be cooped up in cages



Last month, at the Sea World amusement park in Florida, a whale grabbed a trainer and pulled her underwater. By the time rescuers arrived, Dawn Brancheau was dead.


The death of the trainer is a tragedy, and one can only have sympathy for her family.


But the incident raises broader questions: was the attack deliberate? Did the whale, an orca named Tilikum and nicknamed Tilly, act out of stress at being held captive in a sterile concrete tank? Was he tired of being forced to perform to amuse the crowds? Is it right to keep such large animals in close confinement?


Tilly had been involved in two previous human deaths. In one episode, a trainer fell into the pool and Tilly and two other whales drowned him. In another, a man who appears to have snuck in when the park was closed was found dead in the pool with Tilly. An autopsy showed that he had a bite mark. One of Tilly's offspring, sold to an amusement park in Spain, has also killed a trainer.


Richard Ellis, a marine conservationist at the American Museum of Natural History, believes that orcas are smart and would not do such a thing purely on impulse. "This was premeditated," he told the Associated Press.


We will never know exactly what was going on in Tilly's mind. We do know that he has been in captivity since he was about two years old – he was captured off the coast of Iceland in 1983. Orcas are social mammals, and he would have been living with his mother and other relatives in a pod. It is reasonable to suppose that the sudden separation would have been traumatic.


Moreover, the degree of confinement in an aquarium is extreme, for no tank, no matter how large, can come close to meeting the needs of animals who spend their lives in social



Zookeeper suspended after gorilla's near-escape

A Calgary zookeeper has been suspended after a gorilla nearly escaped his enclosure.



Shortly before the zoo opened Monday morning, a seven-year-old male gorilla jumped about three metres from a pile of accumulated snow and ice onto the top of the glass perimeter screen that separates the primates from the public.


"There was some sort of accumulation of snow and ice in the moat of his enclosure," said zoo spokeswoman Laurie Herron. "He managed to use that as a bit of a jumping board and was able to reach the top of the glass enclosure."


The animal's keeper was supposed to have checked the enclosure's yard to ensure it was safe to let the two gorillas outside. That wasn't done, Herron said.


A zoo staff member then walked around the corner by the gorilla exhibit and came face-to-face with Shana sitting atop the glass.


"The gorilla was every bit as startled as the staff member and jumped right back into the enclosure," said





9 rare crested ibises killed in animal attack at breeding center



The Ministry of the Environment has announced nine Japanese crested ibises were killed at the Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center on Niigata Prefecture's Sado Island after being attacked by at least one marten.


The Japanese Crested Ibis, referred to as "toki" in Japan, is a designated special national treasure. According to the ministry, at least one marten entered a large cage for 11 ibises scheduled to be released into the wild in autumn this year, attacking most of them. Experts confirmed the culprit was a marten based on footprints left in the cage, where it is believed the animal remains.


Two male birds born in 2009 and seven female birds born between 2004 and 2008 were reportedly killed. At around 8 a.m. on Wednesday, a center employee noticed that ibises were not










Attacks on rare birds at Japanese conservation center cause concern


A marten was caught in a cage for breeding ibises on Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture, in Japan last year in February, but no measures were taken to reinforce the cages protecting the rare birds, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.


The revelation comes just days after a marten, a small weasel-like carnivore, sneaked into a neighboring pen and killed nine Japanese crested ibises. Ibises are long-legged wading birds that usually feed in groups.


Several holes were detected in the enclosure's wire mesh after last year's intrusion, but they were repaired and no further steps were taken.


A total of 203 openings, including those found Friday, had been detected in the wire mesh of the cage in which the birds were attacked. Observers have noted that if measures had been taken










Calls for end to killing of wild animals for food


Pelawan assemblyman Vincent Goh called on the locals to stop killing anteaters and other wildlife to maintain the ecological balance of the environment


Speaking to The Borneo Post yesterday, he said he was saddened to read the story of the weeping pangolin and its offspring which were caught and almost ended in the cooking pot.


He praised the woman reporter for being kind enough to buy the mammals for release into the wild.


"This is what we should do. Not only should we learn to love and protect our wildlife, but we ought to pass on such affection to our children,î he said.


"Wildlife in Sarawak is protected by law, and if merciless killing and poaching of pangolins continue, what would happen if there are too many ants and termites?"


He said nature had a purpose and wildlife had their roles in maintaining ecological balance in the forest.


"When there are too few pangolins and too many ants and termites, people will turn to insecticide to kill










Orangutans have 'caller ID'


The calls of male orangutans contain information about the apes' identity and the context of the call, researchers say.


An international team of researchers, led by Carel van Schaik of the University of Zurich, tracked the behaviour and calls of three male orangutans on a nature reserve in Borneo's Indonesian region.


While all orangutans have a wide variety of calls, only sexually mature male orangutans with enlarged cheek pads, or flanges, can make long-distance calls through the jungle.


Brigitte Spillmann of the University of Zurich described the calls as "a series of long, booming pulses and grumbles, which can be heard










Collins Zoo responds to Humane Society complaints


Collins Zoo workers said Monday a complaint filed against them by the Humane Society of the United States is inappropriate, and they are defending the facility.


After conducting a 28-day undercover investigation at the Collins Zoo, The HSUS filed the complaint against the zoo with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks alleging significant welfare and safety violations of state laws which governs the possession of wild animals considered inherently dangerous to humans.


"It's very sad to me to see these animals living in these conditions and suffering this way," said Humane Society Animal Cruelty Director Adam Parascandola. "A number of the larger cats in particular the cougars and the lion appear to be very underweight"


From enclosures not meeting law requirements and deprived living conditions, Parascandola said the State Department needs to intervene, and soon.


Tammy Daley, a volunteer at the zoo for 20 years, said the complaint is misguided. She added, the animals are well cared for, and many of them were pets others w










Extinct giant bird DNA recovered from fossil eggs


If you want to read an extinct bird's genome, you've got to crack a few eggs. That's how DNA has been isolated in a 19,000-year-old emu eggshell – the first time such a feat has been pulled off.


Big extinct birds such as the giant moa, thunderbirds and elephant birds all left eggshells behind them. But the hunt for ancient DNA in the shells has bagged nothing until now.


Charlotte Oskam and Michael Bunce of Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia, who isolated the DNA, say researchers (including themselves) were using techniques designed to extract DNA from bone, not eggshells. They even threw out the most DNA-hardy bits of eggshell.


Oskam and Bunce successfully isolated mitochondrial DNA from the eggshells of several extinct megafauna, including the giant moa of New Zealand and a 19,000-year-old emu from Australia. They also got DNA from the egg of the elephant










First Condor Egg in 100 Years Found


The conservation of the California condor has been riddled with challenges, but for the first time in over a century, a condor egg has been laid in central California. Biologists at Pinnacles National Monument confirmed the news after hiking to the site on Friday.


This is big news for the bird species whose numbers had dropped to only 22 in 1982 and was consequently placed on a captive-breeding program. The US Fish and Wildlife Service estimates a total of 600 condors roamed the wild in 1890, but as human population increased condor population did the opposite. Occasional sport shooting, declines in food sources and poisoning were some of the causes of death leading to the establishment of the California Condor Recovery Program in 1975.


By 1987, the last wild condor had been transported to the San Diego Wild Animal Park and captive breeding began. Unanticipated success built the population up to 63 in 1992 when the program began to reintroduce the birds back to their habitats. By April 2000, 62 of the 157 condors were once again in the wild, soaring above California and Arizona's terrain.


Despite impressive progress, run-ins with power lines and lead poisoning were serious issues for concern. Last May, two condors were recaptured due to illness symptoms and were found to have been shot. In addition to wounds,










Steve's on the trail of some slippery customers


AN animal keeper at West Midland Safari Park will head to Papua New Guinea – on the hunt for the third most venomous snake in the world.


Steve Slater will fly out for a three-week field expedition today to find, catch and milk the venom from wild Papuan taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus canni) for the Australian venom research Snakebite project.


Although the park already houses two of the snakes, it will be the first time Mr Slater, a senior keeper, will be catching the wild snakes, which are responsible for 400 deaths a year in Papua New Guinea.


Mr Slater said: "It is a once in a lifetime experience and I am










The white lions of Entabeni


South Africa is home to a small number of rare white lions, Abbie Eastwood visits the beautiful animals and explores the Entabeni wildlife reserve on horseback.


It is rare enough to spot a lioness with three young cubs at the best of times, but when a game ranger stumbled across a family of lions in South Africa's Timbavati Reserve he knew by the whiteness of their fur that he was witnessing something rather special.


White lions first came to public attention in the 1970s in Chris McBride's book The White Lions of Timbavati, when he recounted this first sighting by a ranger. But, sadly, with as few as 30 white lions left there is now little choice but to keep them in captivity. The reason being is that distinct colouring gives them away to their prey and makes them a prized kill for trophy hunters. But Arrie, the lion handler at legends Golf & Safari Resort in the far north of South Africa, has different ideas.


Three white lions and two young cubs are currently being housed at the resort's Wildlife and Cultural Centre, but not for long. It was a rare enough to come face to face with these beautiful creatures but the knowledge that this will the first pride to be reintroduced to into the wild of the 22,000 hectare Entabeni private game reserve makes any visit here a real privilege.


As we arrived to meet Arrie at the enclosure, we were immediately stuck by the beauty of these beasts, their










Understanding Asian Bears










Untamed ambition: Alligator wrestlers set to compete


Until now, alligator wrestling might have been considered a poor career choice. The pay is not steady, the travel is exhausting, and the occupational hazards are apparent.


Now a group of alligator wrestlers says it wants to change all that, except for the hazardous part, which they say isn't so scary at all, by forming the Freestyle Alligator Wrestling Competitions -- a professional organization, with annual meets, that promotes the activity as a legitimate sport.


To help get the point across -- and to promote an alligator wrestling competition at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino near Hollywood this weekend -- James Holt dove into a pool with an eight-foot-long alligator on Tuesday afternoon.


Holt, who said he is six-feet-one tall and weighs 350 pounds, made the point that size does not give him an advantage. Mental acuteness does.


``The hardest part is making sure you're in the right frame of mind,'' he said. ``You gotta be in the moment.''




Then he pointed out that the alligator's body is made up of more than 50 percent muscle, while guessing his body is probably closer to 15 percent muscle.


``That alligator is a lot stronger than I am,'' Holt said.


Minutes later, Holt dove head first into the pool, still wearing his green cargo shorts and yellow button-down shirt.


The alligator, lying at the bottom of the pool, hardly budged.


Holt, 31, waded slowly toward the gator, explaining that he always approaches one face first. Then he jabbed at the water, and grabbed the reptile by a flap of skin under its jaw. The gator splashed around, rolled free of Holt's grip and sidled away to a corner of the pool.


Holt then approached the gator from behind, grabbing it by the tail. The gator didn't react as Holt pulled it toward him and slowly slid his hand under its jaw, where he once again grabbed the flap of skin, then the top of the gator's mouth, and pried it open.


Holt poked his head into the gator's mouth, and then pulled out.




After a few more tricks, Holt broke down the art of alligator wrangling and anticipating the reptile's sudden movements.


``You have to feel the body,'' Holt said, ``and feel when they're going to explode.''


He urged gentle handling -- ``The gator won't feel you as a threat,'' he said -- and anticipated great potential for professional alligator wrestling.


``This is going to be a sport that hopefully goes to a global level,'' he said.


Holt's worldwide aspirations begin with this weekend's competition, the first one sanctioned under the FAWC.


Organizers expect at least 10 alligator wrestlers, though registration closes Thursday, and prospective wrestlers must demonstrate experience handling gators. Wrestlers will compete for more than $10,000 in prizes, including a $5,000 first-prize pot.


Wrestlers will compete in 10-minute timed events and be judged in six




The Pointlessness of Alligator Wrestling








Poachers wipe out park's elephants


Poachers "wiped out" the entire elephant herd in Sierra Leone's only wildlife park, managers said Thursday after police said they had arrested a gang of 10 poachers.


"It is likely that the elephant population is wiped out," Ibrahim Bangura, senior superintendent of the Agriculture Ministry's Conservation and Wildlife Management Unit.


The six elephants were shot and "crudely butchered, their bodies slashed with sword marks and their tusks virtually wrenched from their skins," said










Zoo plans to introduce elephants


A privately-owned zoo in North Somerset says it wants to bring elephants to the Wraxall-based attraction.


Noah's Ark Zoo Farm has applied to planers for permission to build an elephant house and outdoor enclosure.


It comes months after the farm was banned from membership of the British and Irish Association of Zoos (BIAZA).


The zoo was subsequently inspected but the results of this have not yet been made public. It denies any wrong-doing and says it expects to be cleared.


'Detailed information'


Jo Penny from Bristol Animal Rights Collective (BARC) says they believe the zoo should not take on something as large or as specialised as elephants.


"Other zoo keepers and people from other zoos are saying 'we don't think this is a good idea for them to get elephants'," Ms Penny added.


In a statement Noah's Ark Farm said it had always been its long-term aim to provide a spacious, modern enclosure for elephants.


"We will of course provide detailed information and discuss our plans... and conduct this project in line with all of the required legislation and with close consultation








Gundo, Iranian crocodile in Sistan










Siberian tiger parts not used for liquor: zoo manager


The 11 Siberian tigers which have died in the last three months have been frozen by the zoo in northeast China's Liaoning Province, the zoo manager claimed Monday.


A total of 11 Siberian tigers died of malnutrition over a span of three months at Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo in the provincial capital.


"After each tiger died, we invited vets and experts from Shenyang Agricultural University to conduct an autopsy and report the results to the animal protection authorities," said Wu Xi, manager of the zoo.


"The tiger meat, skins and bones are kept in storage freezers," Wu said.


But a zoo worker who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the tiger bones were used to make tiger-bone liquor, and said "the liquor was used to serve important guests. Only the boss has the key."


Officials with the Shenyang Wild Animal Protection Station and the experts who ran the autopsies on the tigers told Xinhua that none of them took part in dealing with the tigers parts.


It is illegal to sell tiger parts in China, as stipulated in the Wild










Two Fined in Lincoln Park Zoo Bear Attack


The woman whose hand was bit by a bear at a Manitowoc zoo and her boyfriend have been fined for violating the zoo's rules. Tracy Weiler and Lawrence Bosworth reportedly went past barriers at the Lincoln Park Zoo and tried to feed two Asiatic black bears. The two will pay fines of










Zoo artificially inseminates elephant


Elephant management staff at Woodland Park Zoo and a visiting veterinarian performed an artificial insemination procedure on Chai, the zoo's 31-year-old Asian elephant, this week.


The procedure was carried out at the recommendation of the Elephant Taxon Advisory Group of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums with the assistance of Dr. Dennis Schmitt, an expert in elephant medical and reproductive management and the reproductive advisor for that group.


"This insemination comes at the recommendation of the world's leading experts on elephant health and breeding and is a continuation of Woodland Park Zoo's longstanding commitment to preserving this endangered species," Dr. Nancy Hawkes, the










Zoo moves animals for rally


Cages lie close to UDD route, food stockpiled


Dusit Zoo has relocated more than a dozen animals amid fears that areas around the zoo could be disrupted by red shirt rallies


Fourteen of the 2,000 animals have been moved to zoos in Nakhon Ratchasima and Songkhla since Monday. They included three elephants, two cranes, six red kangaroos and three wallabies.


Elephants and anteaters were moved to Khao Khiew Zoo in Chon Buri last April for the same reason.


Dusit Zoo director Kanchai Saenwong yesterday said the 14 animals were the first to be moved because their cages were close to Uthong Nai Road, which runs between the zoo and the parliament. The zoo will relocate more animals










Aardvark born in UK


The only successful aardvark breeding group in the UK has added to its numbers with the arrival of a new baby, Colchester Zoo said today


The pink and wrinkly youngster, who was born on February 27, is the fourth offspring for mother Oq and father Adela, and the fifth born at the zoo.


The mother, who would separate from her mate during new births in the wild, has been moved with her baby to the zoo's new rearing burrow, which is being used for the first time in a bid to boost breeding success.


The burrow is away from visitors to give the new arrival, who has not yet been named, peace and privacy, but CCTV gives members of the public at the zoo a peek at the progress of the little aardvark.


Keepers said mother and baby will be in the rearing burrow for another month, before being moved back to be with the










China's elephants jostle for a little room


The country only has 300 wild elephants left, squashed into a patchwork of ever-smaller spaces. A wildlife park, and programs to help villagers view them more kindly, may help stave off extinction.


The love between man and elephant does not come easily.


Just ask villagers in this tropical swath of southwestern China, where pachyderms gobble up crops, rampage through greenhouses, and have been known to knock laundry off clotheslines.


When angry, elephants can turn deadly. In 2008, a woman was trampled to death in her food kiosk in a tourist park here called Wild Elephant Valley. A few months later at the same park, an elephant critically injured a U.S. tourist trying to take pictures.


In a nearby village in 2001, another apparently camera-shy elephant killed a Chinese television cameraman who was investigating complaints about crop destruction.


Yet there is little doubt who has the upper hand in the competition for Chinese land: There are 1.3 billion humans compared with 300 wild elephants.,0,4881988.story












Potential CITES trade ban for rare salamander underscores wildlife e-commerce


A little-known Iranian salamander is poised to become the first example of a species requiring international government protection because of e-commerce – a major threat to endangered wildlife that authorities are struggling to address.


The Kaiser's spotted newt, found only in Iran, is considered Critically Endangered and is believed to number fewer than 1,000 mature wild individuals. The amphibian is being proposed for an Appendix I listing during a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Endangered Fauna










Local gov't funds zoo following Siberian tiger death


The Shenyang Municipal Government in northeast China has allocated 7 million yuan($1.03 mln) to assist a local zoo in protecting animals after 11 Siberian tigers were reported to have died of malnutrition there due to lack of funds.


Zhang Jinghui, secretary-general of the Shenyang Municipal Government, said on Sunday that 5 million yuan would be spent on the protection of animals in the Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo in the capital of Liaoning Province.


The rest of the fund would be used to facilitate its management and operation, he said.


The municipal government had established three work teams to save and treat the animals, probe the reason behind the massive tiger death and take over part of the zoo management, according to the official.


Local animal protection officials said Thursday a total of 11 Siberian tigers, an engendered species with its worldwide population stand between 350 to 450, died of malnutrition in the zoo over the past 3 months.


The zoo, which is mainly privately owned with the










Private company to give zoo a facelift


Work on the installation of stylish and decorative sign-boards has started at the Kanpur zoological park to lend it a new, improved look. It is in this very regard that the Kanpur zoo authorities have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a private entity which will be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of these better quality sign-boards.


Made out of aluminium, these display boards will be specifically meant to highlight the scientific description of animals that are kept in various enclosures. It is through this manner that more than hundred-odd sign-boards will be replaced by new ones.


It is for the very first time that the project at the Kanpur zoo is being taken up under the public-private partnership (PPP) model wherein the zoo authorities










Albatross crash-lands in fierce storm


A massive albatross is recovering at Wellington Zoo after crash-landing in last Friday's storm.


The female northern royal albatross - with a massive wingspan of more than 3m -was found injured in a Wainuiomata yard after the brief but powerful












Animals imprisoned in Georgetown zoo


facilities deplorable, health practices not observed


In her natural habitat the lioness is among the strongest and fastest of predators. Running as she hunts for food in the rolling grasslands of Africa keeps her healthy. At the Zoological Park in Georgetown she lies in a cage with just enough space to pace a bit.


She is the only lioness there – at least the only one visible to the public – and she has no mate. Hour after hour she snoozes on the concrete floor of her small cage. She might get up to stretch occasionally, maybe move through the cage's rear opening which leads to her private quarters for when she's not on display, but most of the time she just lies there.


Smaller cousins of the lioness are housed in similar cages. They too seem low on energy and lazily open an eye when the occasional visitor bangs the rail or calls out to them. Bare bones remain in some cages left over from the animals' last meal. What would these predators say if they could talk?


The monkeys are housed together in cages. They are not as lonely as the cats and perhaps because of this they seem in slightly better spirits. A lone monkey – it is not clear whether it escaped from the zoo's caged set – jumps from cage roof to cage roof. It stops and carries out its version










Chinese medicine societies reject tiger bones ahead of CITES


WWF and TRAFFIC welcome a World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS) statement urging its members not to use tiger bone or any other parts from endangered wildlife.


The statement was made at a symposium Friday in Beijing and notes that some of the claimed medicinal benefits of tiger bone have no basis. The use of tiger bones was removed from the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) pharmacopeia in 1993, when China first introduced a domestic ban on tiger trade.


"Tiger conservation has become a political issue in the world. Therefore, it's necessary for the traditional Chinese medicine industry to support the conservation of endangered species, including tigers," said Huang Jianyin, deputy secretary of WFCMS.


Illegal trade in Asian big cat products is a key issue at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Conference of Parties meeting at Doha, Qatar. China is among the 175 countries that are signatories










Zoo crocodile moves to London looking for love


A RARE crocodile from Dudley Zoo has moved to London in search of love as part of an international breeding programme.


Stani, a female African Dwarf Crocodile, will join fellow crocs at London Aquarium.


She will be paired with a male dwarf crocodile, who is being transferred to London from Twycross Zoo.


Weymouth Sealife Centre, which owns the London Aquarium, has organised the transfers in the hope of widening the gene pool and breeding more of the endangered species in captivity.


Stani was born at Bristol Zoo in 1997 and came to Dudley as a tiny hatchling but has never bred.


She is the largest of three African Dwarf Crocodile, living at the Castle










Jambi Officials Plan to Investigate After Tiger Mauls Villager in National Park


Local officials will investigate a tiger attack in Jambi province in which a villager was severely injured last week, an official said on Sunday.


Ishak, 37, has been receiving intensive treatment at Raden Mattaher Hospital in Jambi city after being mauled by a Sumatran tiger Wednesday morning. He suffered severe injuries to his legs and neck.


Ishak and three of his friends were wandering in Berbak National Park, five kilometers from their village, to collect agarwood, according to his friends.


Based on his friends' testimony, the tiger attacked while Ishak was asleep and it tried to drag him into the forest by his leg. His friends manage to save him but his legs were badly injured.


"We're still trying to find out exactly what went on out there because it seemed a bit out of the ordinary that tigers could have just jumped and attacked like that," said Didy Wurdjanto, the head of the Jambi Natural










Pig Adopts Tiger Cubs


A sow adopted three tiger cubs abandoned by their biological mother at the Xiangjiang Safari Park in Guangdong province, China




Pigs and Dogs and Tigers






Lemurs and meerkats for Dehiwala Zoo


The Dehiwala Zoo has received a pair of Ring-tailed Lemurs and a pair of Meerkats. The animals were delivered under an international animal exchange programme. In exchange, Sri Lanka has given two pairs of Giant Squirrels and a male Rusty-Spotted Cat to Britain's Rare Species Conservation Centre.


The Dehiwala Zoo was to receive a second pair of Ring-tailed Lemurs, but the animals had to be held back due to ill-health, shortly before they were due to be shipped to Sri Lanka.


Lemurs are primates indigenous to the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar. The newly arrived Meerkats will join the Dehiwala Zoo's established Meerkat family. Meerkats are desert animals that live in burrows.


This is the second shipment










Gujarat Govt identifies area in Rajkot for lion conservation


Gujarat government has identified an area near Wankaner in Rajkot district for relocation of lions from Gir National Park, even as it is fighting a battle in Supreme Court against Centre's proposal of their trans-location to Madhya Pradesh.


The area near Wankaner is the second area identified by the state government after Bardo Dungar in the Porbandar district for the lion gene pool project, to guard against the threat of a possibility of an epidemic which can wipe out the entire population of lions in Gir.


Gir is the last abode of Asiatic lions where in the census held in 2005 their number was 359. The Gujarat forest department would conduct fresh census later this month.


"We have identified vast area of land near Wankaner for conservation of lions," state forest minister Mangubhai Patel told the state Assembly recently.


The state government said they have identified










Lord Bath announces retirement from Longleat safari park busine


The most colourful and exotic creature in the menagerie at Longleat safari park has decided it is time for a rest.


The Marquess of Bath has announced his retirement from the family business at the age of 78 and handed over to his son.


Bath was nicknamed the Loins of Longleat after he confessed to having had 74 "wifelets" in addition to the woman he married.


He now intends to devote himself to his memoirs and watching his son Ceawlin, Viscount Weymouth, guide the £157 million enterprise which includes the safari park, Longleat House and the Ched










Support 'withdrawn', zoo in a spot


The well-being of animals at Alipore zoo is at stake with the Centre virtually withdrawing budgetary support to the zoo. The step was taken after the authorities failed to meet the December 31, 2009, deadline to begin shifting of the zoo from the posh south Kolkata locality to Bhagwanpur in Sonarpur, South 24-Parganas.


To make ends meet, the zoo authorities have now been forced to double visitors' entry fee.


The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) had directed Alipore zoo authorities to shift 17 species of animals to its new location by the deadline. Others were to follow later. For now, though, there is no question of shifting as the










11 Malnourished Siberian Tigers Die at Chinese Zoo


In a horrific case that highlights the possibility of poor animal care and neglect, 11 Siberian Tiger deaths occurred over the past 3 months at China's Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo.


Reporters blame the deaths on starvation and poor living conditions, claiming the endangered big cats were fed nothing but chicken bones and confined to small, metal cages. Zoo officials state otherwise, blaming the deaths on unspecified diseases. One thing is clear: the animals are under-fed and kept in poor conditions.


A zoo staff member, who would only reveal her last name to be Wang, acknowledged that the zoo is having financial problems. Feeding tigers alone cost nearly $1,320 (9,000 yuan) per day—that's half the food allowance received from the local government and it has to provide care for all of the zoo animals










China investigating zoo over dead tigers


Authorities are investigating a Chinese zoo where three dozen animals including 13 rare Siberian tigers died recently, amid charges it was harvesting their parts, state media said Monday.


The probe of the zoo in the northeastern city of Shenyang will look at whether the animal parts were being used as ingredients in Chinese medicine and other products, Xinhua news agency said.


China banned the international trade in tiger bones and related products in 1993, and is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which also bars such trade.


But such transactions exist as many tiger parts, such as penises and bones, are commonly believed to increase sexual potency or cure certain illnesses.


Xinhua quoted a manager at the Shenyang Forest Wildlife Zoo as saying that the carcasses of the dead tigers, 11 of which starved



Biodiversity: Out of sight, out of mind

Once species disappear from the face of the Earth, they are quickly forgotten, says Samuel Turvey. In this week's Green Room, he warns that extinctions must be treated as a warning that human activities, such as overhunting and agriculture, are making the planet a poorer place to live.


It has been widely reported that the Earth's species are facing a sixth mass extinction and that human activity is to blame.


What is less well known is that humans have also been responsible for causing species extinctions throughout history and recent pre-history.


In the British Isles, we have lost most of our native large animals as a direct result of overhunting and the way humans changed habitats.


How many people living in the UK would consider lynx, wolves, or pelicans to be part of their native fauna, though? We have no direct cultural memory of any of these species ever being part of the British environment.


Sooner or later, communities will inevitably forget about the former existence of species that used to occur in their environment.


Local perceptions of past ecological conditions are expected to change over time, as older community members die and younger members become adults, because accurate information is unlikely to be passed down from generation to generation.


Over time, more and more degraded environmental conditions may therefore be seen as "normal". This social phenomenon is called "shifting baseline syndrome".


The existence of shifting baseline syndrome has been widely discussed and debated. However, few studies have investigated the rate at



Baby elephant dies at Taronga Zoo


A baby Asian elephant has died during labour at Sydney's Taronga Zoo.


The calf's 18-year-old mother Porntip was in and out of labour over the past week, after a pregnancy lasting almost two years.


Zoo keepers and veterinarians were concerned about the progress of the labour, with Porntip showing unusual movements and behaviour.


Taronga Zoo's director Cameron Kerr says the calf was in the wrong position to move down the birth canal, and an ultrasound this morning indicated it had died.


He says staff are still coming to terms with the news.


"Very tired and very sad I think for all of us really. It's very sad," he said.


Mr Kerr said Porntip still has to give birth to the calf which could take





Bills in Missouri House would create regional taxing district for Kansas City Zoo


A second bill to allow the creation of a regional taxing district for the Kansas City Zoo has been filed, this one in the Missouri House. It is a companion to one filed last month in the state Senate.


The bill would allow voters in area counties to levy a sales tax of up to a quarter-cent on themselves to support the zoo. It was sponsored by Rep. Chris Molendorp, a Raymore Republican, and co-sponsored by Rep. Jason Holsman, a Kansas City Democrat.


The Kansas City Council





Dallas Zoo slated to have 6 elephants soon


The Dallas Zoo plans to have six elephants on display just two years after animal rights activists were calling for the shutdown of an aging exhibit with just one pachyderm.


Zoo officials stirred controversy in 2008 when they said they planned to move their lone remaining elephant, Jenny, to Mexico. Activists wanted the facility shuttered and the elephant placed at a U.S. animal preserve.


Guidelines require zoos to keep at least two elephants because they need social interaction.


The Dallas Zoo decided to keep Jenny and added a new companion, Gypsy, last year. Two African female elephants — Kamba and Congo — were recently brought in, and two more are expected to arrive this month.


The new shipment will include 41-year-old Stumpy, who weighs 10,500 pounds, and Mama, 37, who weighs 4 tons.


The elephants are kept separate for now but will be introduced to each other gradually over the coming weeks. They




Elephant dung to power green energy plans at Paignton zoo


Zoo joins 10:10 campaign to cut carbon emissions with plan to use biogas from dung to generate electricity


Mucking out the elephant enclosure may not be the most glamorous job at Paignton zoo in Devon, but managers there are hoping that in future the task may help reduce its energy bills - and carbon emissions. It aims to use the animals' digestive ruminations to create biogas that can be burned to generate electricity.


Paignton and its sister zoo, Newquay zoo in Cornwall have signed up to the 10:10 campaign and pledged to meet the campaign's goal to reduce their carbon emissions by 10% by the end of 2010.


Paignton has already begun producing more food for the animals on site using a unique soil-free growing system, thus saving on food miles. But it also has plans to use the plants fed to its herbivores - such as elephants, giraffe and rhinos - when they come out the other end. The zoo's two elephants alone produce two tonnes of dung every week.


"We are looking into being able to produce biogas from our animal waste," said a spokesperson for the zoo, "It's something




Four arrested for aquarium fish smuggling in Phuket


Four residents of a Sea Gypsy community in Rawai were arrested yesterday for smuggling protected marine species.


The suspects, 34-year-old Pichit Bangjak and three minors, were arrested at 11am in a pickup truck parked along Thepkrasattri Road in Rassada, near the Phuket Highways Department Office.


A search of foam coolers in the bed of the truck uncovered 250 aquarium fish, 300 corals and 20 sea fans ready for transport in plastic bags and other types of packaging.


The value of the items was estimated in excess of 200,000 baht.


The arrests followed a report that men in a truck would be loading protected species onto a Bangkok-bound tour bus leaving the Phuket Bus Terminal in Phuket Town at 10:50am.


The operation was led jointly by Phuket Marine and Coastal Resources Conservation Center director Paitoon Panchaipum and Phuket Marine Police deputy inspector Lt Natthapong Preugtharathikul.


The officers followed the P2 company bus out of the station to Rassada, where the men were waiting to flag down the vehicle and load the containers into the storage hold.


The victims confessed to transporting the items, but insisted the marine life did not belong them.


They were simply hired to transport the fish and coral to Bangkok, they said.


All four suspects were taken to Phuket City Police Station for questioning and charged with possession of protected species without permission.


Police will try to expand the investigation and bring





Dubai aquarium leak: The inside story


Faulty application of acrylic cement on a panel joint or a structural snag may have caused last week's mishap


Improper application of acrylic cement or a pressure-induced structural problem on the panel may have caused the rear left side of the shark-filled aquarium at Dubai Mall to leak on February 25, sources told XPRESS.


Specialist teams from Australia and Japan were called to check the problem at the aquarium, whose size earned it an entry in the Guinness World Records when it first opened in November 2008.


The leak was detected around 11.45am on Thursday on the left-hand side of the tank near the entrance of the walk-through tunnel, sending shoppers scampering to higher ground



No Relocation for Rampaging Elephants Who Trampled Homes in Riau Village


Despite the threat of more elephant attacks in the Bengkalis district of Riau, an official said on Sunday that there was little chance of relocating about 40 wild Sumatran elephants that went on a rampage a day earlier and destroyed at least three houses in the village of Petani.


"At this stage, there is no way we can do a large-scale relocation of the elephants because, as territorial animals, they would find it difficult to adapt to a new habitat, wherever that may be," said Trisnu Danisworo, head of the Riau Natural Resources Conservation Center.


Trisnu said that there had been suggestions of relocating the pachyderms to the Tesso Nilo National Park, the native habitat of the Sumatran elephant that stretches across the Pelalawan and Indragiri Hulu districts in Riau and is home to hundreds of endangered flora and fauna, including about 80 Sumatran elephants.


The 40-odd elephants began entering Petani village a little over a week ago before going on a rampage on Saturday, destroying at least three houses and leaving 20 other homes with minor structural damages. Although no fatalities were reported, 11 families, fearing for their lives, have moved from the village since the attack.


Trisnu said on Sunday that the center had already dispatched a special taskforce to drive the elephants away from the villages






TO commemorate the bicentenary of Charles Darwin's birth reporter JO DAVIES looks at how the pioneering scientist's work remains a hot topic of discussion today, despite it being 200 years since he was born.


IT is testament to the ongoing impact of Charles Darwin's work that the debate over how to tackle alternative versions of the origin of the world is still waging on, some 150 years after he published The Origin Of Species.


But what exactly do creationists believe, why all the controversy and what actually is or should be discussed in the classroom?


The publication of The Origin of Species became an immediate success in the 1850s and revolutionised our understanding of how all life came about.


His theory that living things evolved by keeping the traits that helped them survive and losing the ones that didn't has helped us understand the natural world.


Darwin's theories are often presented as adversarial to Christian beliefs – that God created the universe and everything in it – but church leaders locally believe the two can sit alongside.


Father John Watson, of St Mary's Church, in Duke Street, Barrow, notes that the Vatican accepts evolution.


He says: "The Roman Catholic C.............................Director of South Lakes Wild Animal Park, David Gill, is a passionate believer in Darwin's theories, so much so that he named his youngest son Indiana Darwin Gill.


He believes there's a range of possibilities and polarising people isn't necessarily helpful.


"These arguments about religion and theories, I'm sure they balance out somewhere," said Mr Gill.


"It makes you wonder in religion whether they use stories to illustrate meanings.


"Do you believe God created the




Paphos Aquarium closes its doors


Paphos Aquarium has closed its doors for the last time.


Owner Takis Tsiolis told the Cyprus Mail, "The business is no longer viable for us. We have been losing money hand over fist for the last two years and we can no longer sustain these kinds of losses. It's a very sad situation."


The aquarium closed on March 1, fourteen years after it opened in Paphos at an initial cost of £500,000.


The privately owned attraction opened in 1996 and has been popular with visitors and locals in the past. No expense was spared in creating a natural environment for the residents and fish and marine life from oceans, seas and rivers graced the venue's specially designed and filtered tanks.


Seventy-two tanks held the creatures, including a crocodile tank.


But according to Tsiolis a number of factors have all led to the current situation.


"Most of the aquariums in other places are supported by the municipality or the authorities, but we are a private, family-run company.


"We have asked for help from the mayor and the municipality and other bodies, but no one came forward," Tsiolis said.


According to the Paphos businessman, he presented a tender for the space of the En Plo gallery, which is situated in the harbour area of Kato Paphos two years ago.


"That would have been a perfect solution for us," he said. "The port authority gave us the tender but the municipality refused to grant the licence – they




Sea Life London Aquarium opens Rainforests of the World area


The Sea Life London Aquarium has opened a new Rainforests of the World area featuring crocodiles and piranha fish.


The section contains more than 4,000 marine animals in 13 themed displays featuring forest foliage, mists and waterfalls.


Creatures featured in the exhibit include a pair of six-foot West African dwarf crocodiles sisters, 15 poison arrow frogs and 30 piranhas.


The Sea Life London Aquarium general manager of events Michael Aldridge said: "Guests will literally be within snapping distance of the crocodile sisters. The new Rain Forests of the World exhibit offers










Bristol Zoo's Alfred the gorilla becomes an unlikely media star


Bristol Zoo's much-loved gorilla Alfred has become an unlikely media star after his kidnapping was revealed as a student prank.


Evening Post reporter Liz Webster exclusively revealed that Alfred, who died in 1948 and was stuffed, was kidnapped from Bristol Museum in 1956 by three Bristol University students.


The story and photographs of Alfred dressed up in various guises has gone all around the country.


The truth which came to light after the death of estate agent Ron Morgan, 79, from Clevedon, made page three of the Daily Mail as well as getting coverage in the Daily Mirror, Daily Telegraph, The Times and the Metro.


Closer to home the Western Daily Press and



Woman Loses Fingers Feeding Bear at Manitowoc Zoo


A woman lost several fingers when she and her boyfriend were bitten by a bear Friday morning at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Manitowoc.


Police say both adults admitted they'd been drinking in the park.


Police say 47-year-old Tracy Weiler wanted to impress her three-year-old granddaughter.


She started feeding the bear Bugles snack chips from a plastic bag when the animal clamped down on her hand.


Weiler's boyfriend, 51-year-old Larry Bosworth, then jumped the observation deck to try to help.


"He tried opening the jaws of the bear and she eventually did get released from the bear. She's missing some fingers. He also got bit," Officer Larry Perronne, Manitowoc Police Department, said.


Both adults were transported to the hospital.


Police say the woman lost two full fingers and severed several others.


Weiler went past the designated viewing areas, ignored the safety signs, and went up to the fence.


"There's a protective lower fence. Because she's taller, she had to actually physically reach in to try to feed those bears, and that's more than what most people would do," Perronne said.


The three-year-old was safe the entire time, police say.


Police are investigating whether any laws were




Jaguar Tears Off Visitor's Thumb at Florida Wildlife Sanctuary


A jaguar at a privately owned wildlife sanctuary in South Florida recently tore a visitor's thumb off.


The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported Friday that a woman, whose name wasn't released, had her hand in a cage at the Panther Ridge Conservation Center in Wellington when a jaguar bit her. The Feb. 19 attack remains under investigation.


Panther Ridge's owner, Judy Berens, was cited for not having the proper supervision and barrier between the public and the exotic cat. She faces a fine of up to $500.


The jaguar will not be euthanized.


The 10-acre center, founded in 1999, is home to 22 large cats including,2933,588267,00.html



Seven cases against popular zoo, says Perhilitan


The zoo that came under the spotlight over breeding and trading in endangered animals has had at least seven run-ins with the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) since 2003.


These have resulted in two court cases and one compound notice being issued. The rest are currently at various stages of the legal process, the department said.


The department, however, did not provide details on the nature of the offences, or the outcome of the court cases.


Media reports of some of the seven cases relate to the zoo being in possession of animals without the requisite permits.


As a result of these cases, animals have been seized from the zoo, among them a baby elephant, two slow lorises, a baby wild boar and an unspecified number of pythons and storks.


The most shocking case was a raid on June 11, 2008, that unearthed 19 tiger cub carcasses in a freezer in the zoo.


Perhilitan, in a statement, said genetic sampling of 10 of the 19 carcasses showed that they were hybrid species, attesting that they were cubs bred in the zoo and not from the wild.


The zoo keeper explained that the carcasses were accumulated over a period of at least three years.


"We inform Perhilitan of every tiger birth and death. The carcasses are kept until Perhilitan comes to check."


On the high mortality of tiger cubs, the keeper said: "They died from the cold during the rainy season or because their mothers were not good at taking care of them. But we have improved now. There are fewer cubs dying."


As to the raids, he said that there had been 11 since 2003.


"I am not sure about the progress of the court cases."


The zoo is one of three facilities that caught the attention of NatureAlert, an organisation based in Britain that fights for the welfare and protection of orang utan.


It sent its observation report on the facilities to Perhilitan last month, and is awaiting a response on action to be taken by the department.


In its report, a copy of which was made available to The Star, NatureAlert director Sean Whyte questioned the inhumane and filthy living conditions of the pair of orangutan at the facility, which he believed contravened at least two provisions of wildlife law.


The report cautioned that the zoo was a potential breeding ground for zoonotic diseases that not only threatened the animals but also zoo visitors.


It further queried the perceived immunity enjoyed by the zoo management despite the string of offences.


It pointed to Section 44 (1) of the Wildlife




Radio Gibbon




Concern as elephant takes turn for worse


CONCERN is growing for the future of one of Paignton Zoo's most popular animals.


Elephant experts from around the world are helping zoo staff as they fight to save Gay the 40-year-old Asian jumbo, who has abscesses on her feet and suspected arthritis and has been on strong painkillers for months.


The zoo fears it is running out of choices as her condition worsens.


A zoo spokesman: "She is having the very best care, we are pulling out all the stops, no expense spared and no stone left unturned."


Four-tonne Gay, formerly a circus animal, came from Longleat Safari Park in 1977.


The zoo has called on vets and elephant experts from across the globe including zoos at Marwell, San Diego in California, Twycross, Chester, Whipsnade, Woburn Safari Park and Dublin Zoo, as well as vets from Nottingham and Bristol to discuss techniques for treating abscesses.


Neil Bemment, zoo curator of mammals, said: "Gay has taken a turn for the worse in recent weeks.


"We bought special boots to keep her feet cleaner during treatment but she has become less tolerant of these and has not been wearing them.


"She has been on painkillers for several months but there were signs that she was in greater discomfort.


"We have now put her on morphine for more effective pain relief but this is not a long-term solution.


"Welfare is always our first priority — with Gay it is a growing concern.


"We are considering our options. While the morphine is working well, she now has abscesses on all four feet and the suspected arthritis is incurable




Hawaii bringing back endangered birds


Hana Hou" in Hawaiian means, "one more time," or "encore." It can be heard in the islands after a concert or any other performance – like the hula. It is also the name of Hawaiian Airlines in–flight magazine suggesting you visit Hawaii "one more time." Hana Hou is my favorite in–flight magazine. Every issue contains an article on the islands' natural history. Birds are frequent subjects and I suspect the editor, Michael Shapiro, is a birdwatcher. On our latest trip, there were articles on birds in both the January and February issues.







Dallas Zoo says response to gorilla escape was by the book


For the past few years, the gorillas at the Dallas Zoo have behaved themselves. They're smart, and they're curious. The big apes are even being taught the names of their body parts so they can undergo routine checkups without leaving their wire enclosures.


"We're teaching the gorillas to come to the mesh and present an ear for a temperature probe or present a hip for a shot," said Gregg Hudson, the zoo's executive director.


But sometimes the oversized primates are too smart and curious for their own good. They watch their keepers' every move, noticing when someone leaves a door or gate open that promises them a quick trip to freedom.


That's what happened Feb. 13.


It was the fourth time in 11 years that a gorilla has escaped its confines at the Dallas Zoo. In comparison, one or more gorillas have escaped from a dozen other zoos around the world since the mid-1980s, The Dallas Morning News found.


"Gorillas are not more prone to escape than other primates," said Jane T.R. Dewar, who has studied apes for decades and operates Gorilla Haven, a sanctuary in Georgia.


"Chimps, monkeys and orangutans are more curious, whereas gorillas are more laid back," she said. "It also depends on the motivation for a gorilla to escape. Was it just because there was a chance to escape, or because there was something the gorilla wanted?"


Last month's escape at the Dallas Zoo occurred when a keeper was trying to clean a "community room," where gorillas hang out when they aren't on public display.


The keeper, who was not identified, was preoccupied with gathering her cleaning tools and didn't notice the two gorillas sitting high up on a ledge inside the two-story pen. She unlocked the door to the room, turned away and, by the time she looked back, one of the gorillas was walking down the hallway.


The escapee was 19-year-old Tufani, a 180-pound female described as having the temperament of a "sweet girl." She was just taking a little stroll – outside her cage.


The zoo's immediate response followed the textbook for dealing with dangerous animals that manage to get out of their cages, zoo officials said.


A "code red" alarm was sounded throughout





Questions raised about Birmingham's nature reserves and aquariums


The Captive Animals' Protection Society (CAPS) have criticised nature reseves and aquariums like the West Midlands Safari Park and Birmingham Sea Life Centre for the captivity and treatment of the animals they keep.


The Manchester based organisation commented after the recent death of trainer Dawn Brancheau at Seaworld in Florida, that it was a `consequence of the way that people have close contact with wild animals in captivity'.


The society who have campaigned in Birmingham before to put a stop to the National Cage & Aviary Birds Exhibition at the NEC told us that `Since 1990 over 200 people worldwide have been injured or killed by elephants in zoos, circuses and other captive environments'.


What the WDCS do


According to the Birmingham Sealife Centre website they have been working in partnership with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) to stop whaling and claim to be `working together to make the world a better place'.


Laura Stansfield from the society explained that they work towards completely banning captivity due to the breeding, transfer's whales and dolphins go through and the way they are kept.


This is because whales are as intelligent as humans and have very complex brains, so being cooped up in barren tanks causes stress




Breeding and research center of Iranian cheetahs


There is only tens of critically endangered Asiatic cheetahs in Iran which are protected in a semi-captive breeding and research center in the eastern Province of Semnan. Approximately 12,400 cheetahs remain in the wild in twenty-five African countries; Namibia has the most, with about 2,500.





China buys up African rhinos `to farm for horn'


RHINOS, among the world's most endangered and iconic animals, are being farmed on Chinese wildlife reserves in order to harvest their horns, a report by international conservation monitors has suggested.


The monitors have found that China has imported 141 live white rhino from South Africa since 2000, far more than is needed for tourism purposes.


They have also gathered evidence that the aim of the purchases is to set up rhino farms.


"The suspicion is that these rhinos are being aggregated into herds and farmed for their horns, which are valued for medicinal purposes," said Tom Milliken of Traffic, the wildlife trade monitoring




Don't think coral is something found only in tropical waters


Conserving the planet's coral is a significant issue for people around the world. Some people in the Northwest see it as an issue unrelated to them. Commonly, people tend to associate coral and coral reefs only with warm, tropical waters. But some coral species live right here in the much colder, local waters of Puget Sound, bringing the issue a lot closer to home.


Among the coral species found in Puget Sound are Orange Cup, Sea Strawberry, Pale Soft Coral and Sea Fan.


Coral structures look like plants, but are actually groups of small, individual animals that live together in a colony. Corals, along with animals like sea anemones and jellyfish, belong to a group of animals, called Cnidaria, known to sting their prey. They also get food from algae living inside them. The algae make their own food from sunlight, just like a houseplant, and help feed the coral with the food they've made.


Coral colonies come in two basic types: hard or soft.


Hard corals secrete a calcium skeleton




Hopping to it to preserve the rare mountain yellow-legged frog


Researchers' efforts to breed more of the California amphibians include refrigerating them to mimic their winter hibernation.


Some like it hot. Apparently, the endangered mountain yellow-legged frog is not among them.


The 3-inch-long amphibians much prefer it cold as melting snow. So conservationists at the San Diego Zoo have placed two dozen of the nearly extinct frogs in refrigerators they joshingly refer to as "Valentine's Day retreats" in hopes the amphibians will emerge with the urge. To mate, that is.


The big chill at the zoo's Institute for Conservation Research represents one of the nation's most ambitious wildlife reintroduction experiments.


If it is successful, the frogs could produce upward of 6,000 tadpoles next month -- all of them scheduled for a spring homecoming in a remote San Jacinto,0,2192473.story



The five-year race to save India's vanishing tigers


With some conservationists claiming only 800 tigers still live in the wild, radical steps are needed if the species isn't to disappear from India within five years


The poachers perch on the rough platforms they have built in the trees about 15 feet above the forest floor, waiting patiently for the tiger to come. They have been searching the forests of India's Ranthambhore reserve for days, following the pug marks and other tell-tale signs. When they found the fresh kill, they knew it would only be a matter of time before the tiger returned to eat. Working quickly, they placed their traps on the path, scattering small stones across the dry sandy soil, knowing that tigers hate to walk on them and will pick their way around if they can.


The tiger pads forward, guided by the stones into the trap, which springs shut with a snap. The poachers have fashioned the device from old car suspension plates; there are no teeth, because a damaged pelt will fetch less money. In pain and desperate to free itself, the tiger thrashes around. Another foot catches in another trap, then a third.


The poachers watch to make sure it cannot free itself, then edge down to the ground, still cautious, because a male Bengal tiger can weigh up to 500lb (227kg) and a female 300lb (136kg) and a single blow from those claws could kill a man. One man carries a bamboo stick into which he has poured molten lead to give it more weight. The other has a spear on the end of a 10ft pole. As the tiger opens its mouth, the poacher with the spear lunges forward, stabbing between its open jaws. As the blood starts to flow, he stabs again and again. His colleague






Recently, a research team from Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE) and park staff from Royal Manas National Park (RMNP) confirmed the recording a new mammal species inBhutan. No record exists of any ferret badger (Melogale Species) sighted so far in the Kingdom and this is the first record for Bhutan. The colouration suggests that this species is the small-toothed ferret badger (Melogale moschata), but the team is conducting further research to make a definitive identification of the species. This small dark grey carnivore has a black bandit's mask on its face, paler or white lips, chin, throat, belly, and inner legs. It has a dorsal white streak that starts on its head






Tigers chase zoo keepers into pool


On first glance, it appears as if a group of unsuspecting swimmers are about to become a tiger's lunch.


But despsite appearances, the picture actually shows the animal playing with zoo keepers in a pool.


Used to human contact, the tigers play a harmless game of chase with their trainers around the pool edge before diving into the water.


Although they look ferocious, the animals don't protract their claws, so no harm comes to their trainers as they tussle in the water.


The game involving six Bengal and Siberian tigers has become a popular attraction at the Africa Wildlife Park, in Camp Verde, Arizona, in the US.


Kathleen Reeder, 52, a wildlife photographer who captured the images, said: "The show starts with about three to five keepers coming into the pool area with the tigers.


"The tigers walk and run around the pool area, showing love and affection for their keepers by rubbing



Noah's Ark plans for elephants


A ZOO farm in Wraxall is hoping some new residents will lumber in to the attraction early next year.


Noah's Ark Zoo Farm has applied to North Somerset Council for permission to build a seven acre outdoor elephant enclosure to house a minimum of three adult elephants.


The enclosure will include a water pool, sand pit, acres of pasture and a heated house.


Staff plan to acquire African or Asian rescue elephants in need of a good home.


If permission is granted building work will hopefully start later this



No signs of cruelty at PATA zoo


Online social networks have joined forces to call for Bangkok's Pata Pinklao Shopping Mall to provide better living conditions for Bua Noi, a 25-year-old female gorilla.


The mall has been defending itself by inviting these Internet surfers to come and see things for themselves, and has also revealed that Dusit Zoo is planning to bring more gorillas over from Belgium.


After observing the comments on websites such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as forwarded e-mails, The Nation decided to visit Pata Zoo.


This writer saw parents and children being allowed to take pictures with Bua Noi, provided they kept the flash off.


The cage was kept clean, with carers hosing it down regularly - contrary to the allegations on the Net.


Bua Noi lives in a 10-by-10-metre air-conditioned cage, with the sunroof sometimes being opened when the weather is nice.


During the three-hour-long observation, Bua Noi was mostly seen sitting still, dozing off or sometimes snacking from the food tray.


Every time she saw a carer walk past, the gorilla looked excited as if she had caught sight of a parent, though she banged her chest to mark her territory when a stranger was sighted.


Every time the television in the hallway was turned on, the gorilla looked closely with great interest.


Pata Zoo director Khanit Sermsirimongkol said the veterinarians and carers were always at hand, and that the zoo's other gorilla, Bua Na, had been well taken care of. Bua Na died of old age when he turned 50.


These calls for giving Bua Noi a better life are nothing new.


The protests began two or three years ago but things went quiet after Pata Zoo proved that no animals were being tortured.


Khanit said a former employee, who wanted to get back at Pata after being fired over embezzlement charges, had released the false allegations and doctored photographs.


He said allegations that Bua Noi was tortured so much that she cried were not credible because monkeys and gorillas cannot cry.


In addition, he said, people making these allegations had never actually visited the zoo.


Khanit added that Dusit Zoo was planning to bring over more gorillas from Belgium to breed and therefore Pata Zoo would be given a chance to learn more about proper care for the animals.


However, a 37-year-old visitor, who visits the zoo often and wanted to only be identified as Kae, said though the cages were clean, they were rather small.


She also said Bua Noi was not as big and cheerful as she used to be, and that other animals were also confined in small cages.


She advised they be housed in a greener and bigger area.


Veterinarian Panthep Rattanakorn from Mahidol University said more disease-prevention measures should be adopted for






Roadside zoo comes under national scrutiny


If you've never stopped to go behind the pink fence and take a look inside the Collins Zoo on Highway 49, let the Humane Society of the United States become your eyes. The group conducted an undercover investigation at the zoo, planting an associate there under the guise of a volunteer.


"A 28-day operation at which time they allegedly found some serious discrepancies in the care of the animals, sanitary conditions and public safety," says Jim Walker with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.


Their video reveals exotic animals in small enclosures and muddy conditions. Some of the animals are limping, others are pouncing at each other. A lion's ribs are protruding in the video.


The Humane Society of the United States says it also videotaped venomous snakes in an unmanned room that were housed in a manner that could put visitors at risk.


Also, the creatures do not appear to be kept in double






SPCA filing charges against Mountain View zoo


After winning its war this week to obtain a report on a giraffe death at the Mountain View Conservation Centre, the B.C. SPCA is now filing criminal animal-cruelty charges against the zoo.


Since December, three Masai giraffes have died at the rare-species centre in Fort Langley.


In early December, a four-year-old giraffe and a six-week-old named Gemma died during a cold snap. On Feb. 5, a nine-year-old male named Jerome died after being sedated for a hoof-trimming procedure.


The SPCA ordered Jerome's "dramatically overgrown hoofs" to be trimmed in late November, but Mountain View was not adequately equipped to complete the operation, which resulted in the tragedy, said Eileen Drever, senior animal protection officer for the SPCA.


Mountain View's management had previously co-operated with the SPCA in releasing results of the four-year-old giraffe's necropsy or animal autopsy.


But zoo vet Dr. Bruce Burton was advised not to pass over Jerome's death report, Drever said. Thursday, the SPCA successfully executed a warrant to obtain the report. "Jerome's hoofs were neglected, [Mountain View management] failed to trim the hoofs back and they failed to provide us with a copy of the necropsy report," Drever said Thursday. "We were successful in getting this warrant, and as a result we have enough evidence to present a charge to Crown counsel next week."


Marcie Moriarty, head of the B.C. SPCA's cruelty-investigations department, said charges will be filed under both the Criminal Code and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals act.


Shawn Eccles, B.C. SPCA's chief animal protection officer, said the maximum penalty for an animal-cruelty charge under the code is a five-year prison term or a $10,000 fine. Under the act, the maximum is six months in prison and a $10,000 fine.


Gordon Blankstein, Mountain View's





Zoo conducts experiment on preserving Va. state bat


From the outset, the National Zoo said, it knew it was risky to work with the Virginia big-eared bat, the odd-looking winged creature that happens to be Virginia's state bat.


But looking for a way to help the species survive a disease threat, the zoo set up quarters for 40 of the animals at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va. The idea was to learn how to keep at least some of the bats alive in case wild populations were devastated.


But efforts to maintain the big-eared bats in confinement "have proved challenging," and only 11 remain alive, the zoo said Friday.


A big problem was getting the animals to eat.


Normally, the big-eared bats dine in flight, picking juicy insects out of the air. In the experiment, some bats learned to eat mealworms (insect larva) from pans. But even some of them failed to thrive.


"They stress easily and do not do well in captivity," said Jeremy Coleman, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a sponsor of the Zoo's project.


In recent years, some wild






UW student group tries to stop tiger show


A UW-Madison law school student group is trying to stop a Wisconsin Dells resort from continuing to use tigers in a magic show and from building a hotel lobby habitat for the animals.


Law school student Roxie Rewolinski of the University's chapter of the animal legal defense fund said animal handler Mark Schoebel, the man who provides the Chula Vista resort with the white, Siberian tigers has a checkered history. Schoebel pleaded guilty in the nineties in a federal case involving Schoebel's provision of black bears for slaughter. In the 1999 book, Animal Underworld: Inside America's Black Market for rare and exotic species, author Alan Green and the Center for Public Integrity cite several instances of animal trafficking and questionable animal care by Schoebel.


"Mark Schoebel does not take animal welfare into consideration," Rewolinski told WKOW27 News.


Rewolinski also said preliminary plans for the construction of the animal habitat at the resort involve too small a space by animal care standards if housing more than one tiger.


Rewolinski is circulating a campus petition to try to stop the tigers' presence at the resort.


Chula Vista chief executive officer Mark Kaminski has told 27 News safety and proper care of the show's tigers are paramount, and has praised Schoebel's animal handling.


Wisconsin department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection spokesperson Donna Gilson told 27 News on March 1st state officials had referred an investigation into Schoebel's activities to Marquette County district attorney Richard DuFour and asked for Schoebel's prosecution. Gilson said one of the investigation's findings was Schoebel "illegally imported a tiger and a moose."


But late Thursday, Gilson revised




Korkeasaari Zoo's Escaped Wolverine Found



A wolverine that escaped from Helsinki's Korkeasaari on Monday has been safely recovered some six kilometres south of the facility.


Large snowdrifts aided the male wolverine in its escape. Patrols searched for the escaped creature, advising the public it was no threat to humans.


The wolverine in question is already an elderly






Man Arrested For Causing Disturbances at Zoo


Zoo officials say the man has psychiatric problems


Police in Washington, D.C. arrested a man who was trespassing on the grounds of The National Zoo Saturday afternoon.


Kevin Brandon Wright of 16th Street NW was acting in a disorderly manner outside the elephant enclosure that has been closed for a multi-million dollar renovation, a source said. He was then escorted out of the park by zoo park police.


It's not clear what the dispute was about, but the man "never actually entered the elephant house," as was first reported, Lindsay Renick Mayer, a public affairs specialist for the zoo told NBC4.


Wright, 28, then returned to the zoo and was creating a disturbance near the Cheetah Conservation Station, according







Zoo review


The city and zoo are considering privatization.


Tulsa is joining other cities in considering the growing trend of privatizing the management of their zoos.


"There is a reason such a large percentage of accredited zoos are doing this," said Susan Neal, the mayor's director of community development.


Those reasons, she said, are to make the zoos more efficient, better able to respond to customer wants and needs, and other marketing trends.


"There also is no doubt that cities go this route with their government-owned assets because of budget issues," she said.


Neal said Mayor Dewey Bartlett is committed to the process and the opportunity to determine whether "we can have private management that will allow the







Pet shop manager caught stealing penguin from Japanese zoo


A pet shop manager has been caught attempting to steal a penguin from a zoo in southern Japan.


A security guard at the Nagasaki Bio Park noticed Akira Honda, 24, ushering the Humboldt Penguin into his suitcase in January. According to the zoo, the penguin is worth about Y400,000 (£2,960).


Mr Honda told police that he had run up debts which he intended to pay off by selling the creature to a collector.






Nature is zoo's pest control (Great Article - Peter)


Misty Minar descends the steps below the Amazonia rain forest exhibit at Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden and opens a refrigerator, reaching into its 44-degree coolness to lift a small, round container.


"There are about 50 ladybugs in here," said Minar, a horticulturist and caretaker for Amazonia where 270 animals and about 5,000 plants coexist in humid comfort.


Actually, there are a lot more residents inside Amazonia if you include the good, the






Zoo Breeding Beach Mice To Help Ecosystem


Brevard County Zoo officials say over the last three years, the zoo has spent roughly $50,000 working to breed Perdido Key beach mice. The zoo started this project in 2007.


Eighty of the mice call the zoo their home.


Experts say devastating storms, feral cats and land development are main reasons why there are not too many mice in existence.


They live in sand, and help with the growth of sea oats, which are plants that help the dunes.


Zoo leaders say these beach mice are vital to dune development, which ultimately protects the beaches and the homes and businesses that surround them.


"When you take out the mice, you are taking out a species that spreads seed," said Michelle Smurl, Director of






Cruelty in zoos


Cruelty towards animals is all too common in Pakistan. Across the country we can see dogs with gaping head wounds inflicted by people who consider it normal behaviour to stone feral canines. Donkeys and other beasts of burden are beaten mercilessly, and even pet animals are sometimes subjected to the harshest of treatment.


But the savagery doesn't end there. Zoos are supposed to be a refuge for animals, especially those on the list of threatened or endangered species. The modern concept of a zoo envisages an environment where animals whose numbers are dwindling in the wild are protected, and perhaps bred, in surroundings that resemble their natural habitats. Instead, what we get in Pakistan is the imprisonment of animals in conditions that are cruel and degrading.


As this paper highlighted on Monday, the situation is particularly alarming in `mini zoos' such as the one located in Karachi's Korangi area. There is simply no justification for these woebegone institutions when the authorities concerned cannot even address the pitiful conditions prevailing at the city's main zoological garden. There and in other `zoos' in Karachi, many animals tend to be malnourished and diseased, and are mistreated by staff and visitors alike.


Elsewhere in the country too, zoo animals die in mysterious circumstances in the absence of adequate care by staff and prompt treatment by






Deadly Australian snake bites man in face twice


A snake-handler was bitten twice in the face by a deadly Australian brown snake Tuesday, as experts warned people to avoid the reptiles, which have emerged from hiding amid warm weather and rain.


The 38-year-old man was recovering in hospital after the eastern brown bit him on the forehead and nose at his home in Aberdeen in the Hunter Valley north of Sydney, an ambulance spokesman said.


Jane Melville, a snake expert with Museum Victoria, said the face was an unusual place to be attacked by a snake.


"There are situations where people need to handle snakes with their hands of course, but I would say it is unusual to have a snake near your face," she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


"Often professional snake handlers are careful and take precautions in what they're doing."


Meanwhile, a woman was in a serious but stable condition after being bitten by an unidentified snake in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney also on Tuesday.


She was the eighth person to have been bitten







Reintroduction of Cheetahs


The Government will conduct detailed surveys and analysis to ascertain habitat suitability, etc. for reintroduction of cheetah in the country. So far, no decision on reintroduction of Cheetah in India has been taken. A consultative meeting on Cheetah reintroduction in India was held in Gajner, Rajasthan during last September. Wildlife Trust of India organized it in collaboration with other conservation organizations including International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and International Cheetah experts, apart from Central and State Government officials.


No Cheetahs have been imported from any country for the purpose of reintroduction in wild. However, four numbers of African Cheetahs (2 male and 2 female) were acquired by the Sakkarbaug Zoo at Junagarh, Gujarat on 29th March 2009 from Singapore Zoological Gardens, Singapore, under the `Zoo-to- Zoo Animal Exchange Programme'. There are no reports






Sea lions killed for eating too many salmon


Wildlife officials have tried everything to keep sea lions from eating endangered salmon, dropping bombs that explode under water and firing rubber bullets and bean bags from shotguns and boats. Now they are resorting to issuing death sentences to the most chronic offenders.


A California sea lion last week became the first salmon predator to be euthanized this year under a program that has been denounced by those who say there are far greater dangers to salmon — including the series of hydroelectric dams on the Columbia.


This is the second year of the program, which is administered by wildlife officials in Oregon and Washington and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


Last year, 11 sea lions were euthanized. Another four were transferred to zoos or aquariums.


The sea lions represent a massive headache each year as chinook salmon begin arriving at the Bonneville Dam east of Portland, congregating in large numbers as they return from the ocean. Sea lions have become keenly aware that the dam is a great spot to feast on salmon, easy pickings as they wait to go







The Killer Whale Who Kills



The death of an animal trainer in an attack by a killer whale, or orca, named Tillicum (or Shamu) at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, has raised inevitable questions. Are these shows necessary? Did animal cruelty trigger the attack? Should trainers work with orcas in this way?


Animal-rights activists followed with pronouncements: "The attack proves that this animal led a tortured life in captivity!" "Free Tillicum!" "Close the zoos! They're just in it for the money!" Animal exhibitors countered, "It was a freak accident."


The questions are legitimate and SeaWorld Orlando must answer them. The pronouncements by activists and exhibitors, however, are self-serving and damage the cause of conservation.


Calls to free Tillicum infer that exhibiting killer whales is illegitimate because a trainer died. No. This tragedy had nothing to do with the ethics of putting orcas on public display for conservation education. It is an animal-handling issue.


I agreed to train Keiko, the orca, for the 1993 movie "Free Willy" because the emotional story of a whale's journey to freedom motivated kids to care about whales, despite the fact that the film oversimplified the issue.


Ethically speaking, the use of Tillicum at SeaWorld is the same as the use of any wild animal, be it a chimp, a bat or a hippo, at any zoo.


In "Ethics on the Ark (Zoo & Aquarium Biology & Conservation)," some of the world's foremost animal experts, including ethicists, field biologists, zoo professionals and animal rights philosophers, sought to find a consensus on the use of wild animals by man.


They reached consensus on three issues and failed on three others. One question on which they did reach consensus was that taking an animal from the wild for conservation education at zoos and aquariums is ethical.


Yet if you fail to properly care for an animal, you should not keep it.


Was Tillicum well cared for? The activists claim that the attack proved a tortured existence doesn't hold up. Successful reproduction is a recognized measure of animal wellbeing. Tillicum sired some 13 calves, and has lived with females rearing healthy offspring for decades.


Activists also claim that animals can't be "normal" unless they live in nature. But natural habitats constantly change. Even bees change their behavior to deal with short-term environmental change — or they die.


The craft of maintaining animals on display is based on creating "adaptive" rather than "natural" environments. Zoo professionals don't mimic nature per se. Rather, they provide comparable opportunities for exercise, mental stimulation and social interaction.


To provide adequate care for sentient animals, like orcas, caretakers must interact with them. Studies show that training animals is enriching for them. They have to work for their food just as they do in the wild. The problem is keeping humans safe while meeting the animals' needs.


The working assumption must be that the SeaWorld trainer's death was no accident. Killer whales know their trainers' tolerances. While Tillicum may not have intended to kill Dawn Brancheau, he knew he was hurting her. He did it for a reason. Why? I'll leave that to the investigators.


But I can comment on some underlying factors. Orcas are trained using positive reinforcement (giving the animal something it wants for doing something you want). However, orcas will manipulate training in many ways. They will refuse to cooperate. They will keep other orcas from performing. They will deliberately misbehave, trying literally to train their trainers.


All this is actually healthy because it gives orcas control, something fundamental to animal well-being. It's fun for skilled trainers, too. But sometimes, in particular with breeding male orcas, it can be dangerous.


I worked with a male orca, Orky, in the 1970s and 80s at Marineland of the Pacific in California. Orky became more dominant and aggressive as he matured sexually. While Orky never killed anyone, he came very close. We handled him safely for years afterwards in much the same way SeaWorld handled Tillicum prior to the tragedy.


The quandary is how do you let a male orca like Tillicum be a dominant, breeding bull and safely provide for his needs?


Activist groups reportedly raised $40 million to "save" Keiko, the star of "Free Willy." In doing so, they housed him alone for years. Keiko finally died in an environment he could not adapt to. What happened to Keiko stands as a lesson of what not to do about Tillicum.


On the other hand, the continued use by zoos and circuses of elephant training methods involving physical punishment, when options for more humane handling are well established, are difficult to defend.


Zoo organizations still using these archaic techniques need to review their ethical obligations to their animals. Ethical animal display (or activism) hinges on the use of the animal and its care.


My heart goes out to a fallen comrade, Dawn Brancheau, and










Evans: After Tilly -- What about zoos?


I`m impressed, but also a little surprised, at the public reaction to the tragic killing of a Florida SeaWorld trainer who was dragged beneath the water and killed by "performing" orca Tilikum on Feb. 24. I expected an outcry more or less calling for "Tilly`s" head.


Sure, we`ve come a long way from 1916, when Mary the elephant was hanged to death for crushing the head of Red Eldridge (a true circus freak: he poked and prodded Mary into a fury); crowds at the hanging chanted, "Kill the elephant!" and newspapers called her "Mary the Murderer."


But we`re still a little insane about animals we perceive as dangerous. To this day, wolves -- which have not attacked a human (with one possible, sketchy exception) in all of recorded North American history -- are labeled by some as "vicious" killers. Pit bull terriers, as nice a breed of dog as you could find -- until vicious humans get hold of them -- are demonized all the time in the press. Sharks are in precipitous decline, not just because they taste good, but because it`s still considered acceptable to kill "cold-blooded killers."


But our reaction to the Tilly tragedy was impressive. There were immediate calls to spare the whale`s life; big-hearted, if misguided, demands that he be set free, Hollywood style; and outrage over confining him in insanely unnatural conditions for the purposes of a few human giggles.


And why not? The real villain in this tragedy is jailing an orca and demanding that he perform tricks for his supper.


"Keeping a whale like Tilly in an aquarium is like putting a goldfish in a cup," except that the whale has powerful emotions and cognitive ability, says Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus at the University of Colorado, Boulder and one of the world`s experts in animal emotions.


Whales and dolphins, which use sonar to navigate, may experience life as incessant noise when confined in concrete and glass tanks. Where naturally they range over thousands of miles of open ocean, in captivity they literally can`t go anywhere.


Bekoff -- who has mellowed into a humane pragmatism over the years -- is especially opposed to captive breeding of large animals like orcas. Tilly, he notes, has sired 13 calves. As always, it`s about money.


"I think it`s safe to say SeaWorld is the equivalent of a puppy mill," he says. "It`s a whale mill."


But where the public has rallied to Tilly`s defense and called out SeaWorld for pimping such intelligent creatures for entertainment and money-grubbing breeding, many of us have not asked the next logical question: What about zoos?


Bekoff understands that zoos are likely to be with us always. But the benefits of zoos often pitched by zoos are often specious.


Education? Conservation values? In his latest book, "The Animal Manifesto" (New World Library, $14.95), Bekoff points out that the Association of Zoos and Aquariums itself has not been able to show that visiting zoos educates visitors in conservation. Just 4 percent of visitors to Scotland`s largest zoo said they went there to be educated. It`s all about entertainment.


With the heart-stopping quality and beauty of video today (e.g. the gorgeous series "Earth" ), Bekoff says, "what you can see is just as likely to instill awe and imagination, desire to study and learn about conservation."


And while many of us think living in a zoo is pretty keen -- free food, no predators, free health care -- it`s not, especially for large animals and carnivores. Tatiana the tiger, who leapt from her enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo in December 2007, attacking three men (who were, it should be noted, taunting her) and killing one, had been documented by zoo staff as "frantic for food." No wonder: her "rations" had been cut progressively over the years from 42 pounds a week to 32; she had dropped from 292 pounds to










In a better world, we wouldn't keep animals in captivity


I'm 10 years old and it's my first visit to a zoo. My parents and I walk past cages full of fascinating animals for several hours. At one of our stops my Dad points out the biggest rat I'd ever seen peacefully lumbering around in its enclosure.


"He weighs about 100 pounds," Dad said, "which means he's heavier than you." That sobered me up quick. As he talked about the capybara, I moved closer to the cage and came eye-to-eye with one of the big rascals.


What I saw was sorrow. A longing for home. "They can be found in Panama, Columbia, Venezuela, Peru..." Dad droned on, but his words were lost in my growing sadness.


I never went to a zoo again. I don't criticize others who enjoy going to the zoo. I understand they are entitled to their views. Most children love to see real animals; especially the exotic ones. So do curious adults.


A natural offshoot of zoos are the entertainment parks featuring wild animals doing tricks for the delight of an audience. Sea World Orlando is famous for its killer whale (orca) shows.


There is a dark side to using wild animals for entertainment purposes. Sometimes, as recently happened, animals kill their trainers. When a 40-year-old trainer at Sea World Orlando was drowned by a massive 12,000-pound killer whale named Tilikum, an old controversy came to the forefront.


"Humans trying to incarcerate orcas or elephants or any type of large brain o










None for the show


Killer whale performances are breathtaking, remarkable -- and sadly out of step with the times.


Like just about anyone with the ability to say, "Ooh! Aah!," we've gotten a kick out of watching those strikingly marked, black-and-white cetaceans leaping and waving and splashing in response to human commands at marine amusement parks. We've marveled at their size when we've gotten a close-up look through the clear walls of their tanks.


But it's time for the killer whale show to end, or at least to prepare for its final splash once the orcas in captivity today have died. In an era when society is growing more aware of the need for humane zoo enclosures for elephants -- if they should be enclosed in zoos at all, a question that hasn't been resolved -- we're still complicit in turning killer whales into circus animals, confining them to tanks that barely register as swimming space compared with the 100 miles a day they roam in the wild and that don't even pretend to mimic their natural habitat. Many a goldfish gets a better break.


The recent death of a trainer at SeaWorld Orlando, though tragic, isn't the reason to call for a halt to the performances by animals that are by nature wild, not domesticated. Dawn Brancheau surely realized that her chosen and beloved career carried inherent dangers. She, like her colleagues, found the rewards worth the risk.


It also would be a mistake to believe unquestioningly the would-be killer whale whisperers on both sides of the debate who claim to understand the thoughts, feelings and actions of Tilikum, the 12,000-pound male that pulled Brancheau into the water by her ponytail. He's a genetically cruel man-killer, some say, because he caused two earlier deaths. Others say he was just playing, not realizing the game was deadly. Or that he was "distracted" or "irritated" by the ponytail. Or his apparent attack was a sign of stress and anger. A conservative Christian blogger argued that all of this would have been avoided had SeaWorld followed the precepts of the Bible and, at least metaphorically, stoned the killer whale to death a long time ago.


These statements are as presumptuous as SeaWorld's assertion that the performances featuring Tilikum and other orcas show that its trainers have a "close relationship" with the animals, which are forced to depend on their keepers for food, space and mental stimulation.


The name of the show is "Believe," and frankly, it's hard to do, despite the heightened conservation theme. The trainers might well love the animals and care for them assiduously; what the orcas make of the whole thing, humans can never fully fathom. We certainly don't believe that intelligent, social animals that ordinarily live in free-swimming, free-hunting pods spanning familial generations are well served by their artificially manipulated lives as performers. The data don't back up the implied SeaWorld message that the killer whales are eager, happy collaborators,0,2839858.story?track=rss






Bible ignored, trainer dies


You are aware by now that a 12,000 pound killer whale at SeaWorld Orlando killed his trainer Dawn Brancheau yesterday by pulling her into a pool and dragging her around until she drowned, in front of a crowd of stunned guests.


Chalk another death up to animal rights insanity and to the ongoing failure of the West to take counsel on practical matters from the Scripture.


According to the Orlando Sentinel, "SeaWorld Orlando has always know that Tillikum...could be a particularly dangerous killer whale...because of his ominous history."


The Sentinel then recounts that Tilly, as he was affectionately known, had killed a trainer back in 1991 in front of spectators at a now defunct aquarium in Victoria, British Columbia.


Then in 1999 he killed a man who sneaked into SeaWorld to swim with the whales and was found the next morning draped dead across Tilly's back. His body had been bit and the killer whale had torn off his swimming trunks after he had died.


What about the term "killer whale" do SeaWorld officials not understand?


If the counsel of the Judeo-Christian tradition had been followed, Tillikum would have been put out of everyone's misery back in 1991 and would not have had the opportunity to claim two more human lives.


Says the ancient civil code of Israel, "When an ox gores a man or woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten, but the owner shall not be liable." (Exodus 21:28)


So, your animal kills somebody, your moral responsibility is to put that animal to death. You have no moral culpability in the death, because you didn't know the animal was going to go postal on somebody.


But, the Scripture soberly warns, if one of your animals kills a second time because you didn't kill it after it claimed its first human victim, this time you die right along with your animal. To use the example from Exodus, if your ox kills a second time, "the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death." (Exodus 21:29)


If I were the family of Dawn Brancheau, I'd sue the pants off SeaWorld for allowing this killer whale to kill again after they were well aware of its violent history.


SeaWorld is apparently, however, unrepentant. Chuck Thompson, its curator in charge of animal behavior, says Tilly continues to be "a valuable asset not only from a breeding standpoint but from a behavior standpoint, too." Chuck might want to ask Dawn's Mom what she thinks about that.


Thompson did add, helpfully, "I think we





The Ethics of Keeping Whales and Dolphins Captive


In February 1984, there was a workshop on "Animals on Display: Educational and Scientific Impact" held at the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. In it, the AAZPA's Ethics and Law Working Group considered the ethics of keeping animals in captivity. The group, which included representatives from marine parks and Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute, acknowledged a "special responsibility to preserve and respect animals as part of the natural environment" and a "moral obligation" to show "compassion and humane treatment to animals in captivity."



Its report said: "Those who work with captive animals in aquariums and zoos have a special obligation to convey knowledge of the natural world to the public, to interpret the lives of animals accurately .. to portray animals as they are, to display animals under conditions that, so far as possible, allow them to behave naturally, and to offer them adequate social contact, ideally with others of their species. In addition, a workable ethic for the treatment of animals in captivity must include a requirement to provide appropriate space, nutrition, and health care."


The group felt that if "bringing animals into captivity .. causes adverse effects, these effects, on balance, are outweighed by such benefits as enhancement of human appreciation for all animals, conservation of species, and advancement of knowledge." But then, they took their views a step further, trying to pre-empt any possible argument: "Some people contend that it is morallv wrong to remove animals from the wild and hold them in captivity, either because they believe that some animals have evolved sufficiently to acquire rights equivalent to those recognized for human beings, or because they believe animals are severely harmed by life in captivity ... These beliefs are not currently supported by sufficient scientific evidence. Consequently, they do not provide a factual basis for an overriding moral objection to displaying animals in captivity."


The AAZPA statement, however, misses the whole point of a moral or ethical view, which is that is a matter of belief. There is no need for facts, only a true conviction. The AAZPA panel and other marine park proponents have a right to their beliefs, too, but they cannot disprove those who disagree with them.


The AAZPA workshop was partly a response to the "Whales Alive" conference (Global Conference on the Non-Consumptive Utilisation of Cetacean Resources) held at the New England Aquarium in Boston in June 1983. Whales Alive was attended by a wide group of whale researchers and environmentalists, as well as those affiliated with marine parks and aquariums. Consensus could not be reached on the moral issue, but participants came up with a number of recommendations, suggesting better standards for captive cetacea and further research into the possible effects of capture. A report of the conference noted that captivity for cetaceans would need "to be continually reviewed in the light of ... future research findings, aquarium experience and changing public sentiments." Yet in the end, the conference resolutions suggested: "Efforts should be made to bring to an end, in due course, the keeping of cetaceans in captivity."


Since then, at an April 1990 "Earth Week" symposium held in Ottawa, Canada, entitled "Whales In Captivity: Right or Wrong?", participants drawn from marine parks, as well as whale scientists and environmentalists, sought greater understanding and dialogue on the issues. But, after a day with some fierce arguing, they came up with no consensus.


In July 1990, as the issue became more polarized, the Bellerive Symposium on Whales and Dolphins in Captivity, met in Geneva. There were no marine park owners or curators in attendance, no one arguing in favour of keeping whales and dolphins captive. The Chairman's conclusions: "Whales and dolphins are self-aware beings that routinely make decisions and choices about the details of their lives. They are entitled to freedom of choice. Thus, they are entitled to freedom. Imprisoning them in captivity is, quite simply, wrong."


The greatest impact of this view - in changing the rules and regulations about keeping cetaceans captive - came in the state of Victoria, Australia where, in 1985, all further capture of cetaceans was banned. At the national level in Australia, the



Boy dies after a puma bites his hand off 

A boy of seven has died after being attacked by a puma at a zoo in Peru.


It happened when Joseph Obregon Balbin stuck his hand in the animal's cage at the wildlife park in the city of Abancay.


The puma bit down on the boy's hand, tearing off his arm.


Joseph's older sister was also injured as she tried to help her brother.


The children were taken to a nearby hospital where Joseph later died.


The authorities have ordered an inspection of the zoo's safety measures but its manager insists the boy's parents were negligent because they should have




Iran agrees to give Russia wild leopards



Iran has promised to donate two wild leopards to Russia, officials said Sunday, bringing closer the aim of settling the rare animals near the 2014 Winter Olympics host city of Sochi.


The reintroduction of the Persian leopard -- extinct in Russia's Caucasus region since the start of the last century -- is being championed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ahead of the games.


"There is an agreement with the government of Iran... Initially two female (leopards) will be given. They will be delivered in the spring," the head of the Sochi National Park, Nikolai Penkovsky, told the Interfax news agency


The inititaive to reintroduce the leopard is part of a drive to promote the mountainous region around Sochi, marking the western edge of the Caucasus mountains, as an area of natural beauty and diversity.


The agreement with Iran follows a visit to Tehran by








The only man who could tame hippo horror Harry


THE ONLY person able to tame Coventry Zoo's infamous Harry the hippo died in Spain last year.


But efforts to trace John Vose have shed a fascinating light onto the life of an eccentric man who loved animals.


The former head keeper saved the lives of two young keepers nearly killed by the two tonne hippopotamus in attacks at the former zoo in Whitley.


John was known to be the only person able to control the volatile beast after working with him from a young age at Chipperfield's touring circus.


Now friends and former colleagues of John have paid tribute to the animal lover who retired to Spain before his death last year.


The hippo first mauled 17-year-old keeper Richard McCormick, who was dragged into Harry's pool in 1966 and thought to be the only known survivor of such an attack.


Richard, now 61, contacted the Telegraph desperate to track John down after he freed him from Harry's huge jaws using an iron bar.


In 1967, 15-year-old Paul Blatch was crushed










Dogs killed 17 flamingos Sunday night at Baton Rouge Zoo


Baton Rouge Zoo officials are investigating the death of 17 flamingos that were killed Sunday night by dogs that found their way into the zoo.


Zoo Director Phil Frost, in a statement Monday, says their staff is deeply saddened by the loss. He says the collection of flamingos took years to develop










Ex-employee says Six Flags has let crisis team founder


Six Flags Discovery Kingdom may be courting disaster by allowing its trained animal escape team to dwindle to nearly nothing, says former employee Dale Udell.


The rifle team is meant as a last resort in case a potentially dangerous animal gets loose and/or attacks someone, as happened on Christmas Day in 2007 at the San Francisco Zoo, where an escaped tiger killed a man, said Udell, the team's former leader.


He also noted the death last week of a trainer who was attacked by a killer whale at Orlando's SeaWorld.


Discovery Kingdom, which also has orcas, maintains whale safety protocols, spokeswoman Nancy Chan said.


The rifle team is something most people are unaware of, Udell said.


"No one wants anyone to misconstrue the reason for the team, and we weren't supposed to go out and talk about the team, though they didn't say we couldn't talk about it," Udell said.


In 2008, the park's rifle team had 14 members and engaged in regular training and drills, Udell said. It is down to two members now, and there have been no drills or training sessions in more than a year, he said.


Udell said he was fired in 2008 in retaliation for pulling his dive team from water that was too cold.


Chan strongly denied suggestions that park safety procedures may be sub-par. She said the park's had an animal escape team since it opened.


"The safety of our guests, staff and animals is our top priority," she said. "As part of our standard










Giant Panda Cub Leaves Mom for Good


After 18 months together, giant panda cub Xi Lan will gain his independence and become permanently separated from his mother on Monday morning at Zoo Atlanta.


"From a mom's standpoint, it's kind of sad," said zoo visitor Renee Blackmar of Cumming. "It's so different. We get our children for 18 years before we get this, right?"


But giant pandas are considered solitary animals.


Weaning for a cub at Xi Lan's age of 18 months is considered completely natural.


"It's like 18 months, that's too little," said visitor Ursula Spackman of West Cobb. "But I guess that's the way it works in nature."


Sunday was the last day of a gradual separation process that started a few weeks ago.


Each day Lun Lun and Xi Lan have spent more time apart.


It's the same process successfully used to wean Mei Lan from Lun Lun. The process was developed by the San Diego Zoological Society.


"Eventually, he won't be with








White Tigers on show from today


The new tenants at the Dehiwela National Zoological Gardens – a pair of White Tigers from China's Ziang Jiang Safari Park – will be on display from today, March 2.


The Zoo's Education Officer, Nihal de Silva Senerath, told The Island yesterday that the two white tigers had been tamed and anybody could stroke them. "Though they are less than two years old, they are well grown and certainly would be a special addition to the zoo because, we never had white tigers before," he said


The two animals arrived in Sri Lanka on February 24 under an Animal Exchange Programme. "We gave a male chimpanzee, a pair of Silver Leaf monkeys and two pairs of Toque Monkeys. Certainly it was a favourable deal our part," he said.


According to Nihal, Tigers are the biggest










Perth Zoo must be privatised


With the Barnett government set to privatise everything but the kitchen sink, late crocodile hunter Steve Irwin shows why Perth Zoo must be on the hit-list.


In December, the government's Economic Audit Committee razor gang made 43 recommendations aimed at streamlining WA's public sector.


Many of the recommendations were about getting community groups to step up to the plate and make the state less dependant on the government.


Zoos elsewhere, and Perth Zoo's failure to address any real market failure, indicate it should be shifted from the government to the private, or at least community, sector.


Queensland's Australia Zoo - founded in 1970 by Irwin's mum and dad - is privately owned.


It may be a tad Hollywood, but the zoo's "give 'em what they want" approach has proved a winner in convincing tourists to pour money into the Queensland economy.


Australia Zoo has bagged a swag of national tourism awards, and is continuing Irwin's conservation legacy.


Likewise, the National Zoo & Aquarium in Canberra is privately owned and ranks with Federal Parliament House as one of the capital's most popular attractions.


Its combination of major zoo and aquarium is unique in Australia and the facility participates in many breeding programs for endangered species.


And, importantly, it does not drain the nation's coffers.


I'm sure Perth Zoo is doing an equally good conservation job.


But its public ownership contributes not one iota to its tourism potential - because there










The elephant and india: Tusker tales


Halid haathivala is used to curious onlookers, as are his wards. Basking in the winter sunshine by the Yamuna, recovering from a long night of ceremonial work at Delhi weddings, his three elephants are being gawked at by children from a nearby school. Minders warn them to behave, as Khalid and his colleagues go about feeding the beasts.


A special sight for most Indians still, these majestic animals appear to have fallen out of favour in more elite circles. Many critics now routinely carp at India being commonly characterized as a 'lumbering elephant'.


This label may be traced to media reports from the late 1970s, when several South East Asian nations began rapidly industrializing, and China began its ascent to economic superstardom. Experts soon began conjuring up an entire menagerie of beast metaphors.


Booming East Asian 'tiger economies' were contrasted with a 'slow' Indian 'elephant', hobbled by its infamous 'Hindu rate of growth'. Thirty years later, much is now made of competition between a roaring Indian economy and the mighty Chinese 'dragon'. Many feel a tiger would now be a better symbol for a new India.


Such angst is misplaced. For a nation vast in every way, the elephant metaphor is apt. Besides, while the elephant is a substantial reality, the dragon is a mythical creature — an appropriate comment on some of China's economic statistics?


Jumbo Presence


Unlike the larger African elephant, fiercer and notoriously untamable, the Indian elephant (elephas maximus indicus) — distinguished by its smaller ears and prominent forehead — has always been easier to domesticate. That's largely why it has had a special hold on the subcontinent's collective imagination. Mythology, religious tradition and history here positively abound with distinctive elephant motifs — usually representing divinity, strength and fortitude.


One strain of divinity leads to Ganesha, elephant-headed destroyer of obstacles and lord of good beginnings. Pot-bellied with a taste for sweets, and granted a rat as vahana, Ganesha's symbolism is as diverse as his many depictions. The elephant and the rat denote the overcoming of opposites — a richly meaningful theme in Hindu tradition. Not surprisingly, Ganapati is one of India's most popular deities.


Elephants are everywhere in other Hindu myths too. Lakshmi is often depicted with elephants, hence Gajalakshmi. Airavat, Indra's winged white, four-tusked vahana, was one of eight ashtadikpalakas created by Brahma from a ball of mud to guard various celestial realms. In one account, crimes of passion — involving the usual mix of comely apsaras, angry sages and guilty gods — led to a fall and the elephant's arrival on earthly planes.


The Mahabharata, greatest of Indian epics, is stuffed with the elephant motif. Ganesha, legend holds, played scribe to Vyasa — using a pen fashioned from his tusk. Mighty Bheema's strength is often compared to many elephants. And, in Indian literature's most infamous instance of distortion of fact, it is the death of an elephant named Ashvathama that enables the slaying of Dronacharya, leaving an indelible blot on Yudhishtira's legendary truthfulness.


Buddhism greatly reveres the elephant too. Tradition has it that the Buddha was conceived in a dream in which his mother was pierced by a white elephant with six tusks. Previous incarnations of the Bodhisattva were also born as elephants — a major reason Buddhist literature and art frequently depict elephants as symbolizing wisdom, steadfastness and strength. Grey elephants are said to symbolize an aspect of










Where have all the sparrows gone? Experts call on public's help to search for `cheeky' birds


An event hosted by Bristol Zoo Gardens aims to investigate the rapid decline in the numbers of sparrows – once one of Britain's most common birds.


Steve Micklewright from Avon Wildlife Trust will talk about the ecology of the birds, and spell out how the decline has been so fast that the "cheeky" birds are now a species of "conservation concern".


House sparrows have been identified as a species requiring special attention in the Bristol Biodiversity Action Plan. The wild sparrow survey has been organised by Avon Wildlife










Video: Zoo tops Google contest


More people would enjoy a virtual tour of the Detroit Zoo than any other theme park or zoo in the United States, according to results released Monday from the Google Street View "Trike" contest.


With more than 15,000 votes, the Detroit Zoo was the national winner in the theme park/zoo category.


Last fall, Google asked its users to submit nominations for pedestrian-only locations they'd most like to see on its popular map feature in the categories of theme parks and zoos, parks and trails, university campuses, pedestrian malls, landmarks and sports venues. From more than 25,000 submissions




Popular zoo has tame front but may hide 'wild' activities



IT brands itself as a zoo and brags about the conservation works it does. It also proudly talks of its educational role in highlighting the plight of endangered species.


But behind its animal-loving front, this popular private establishment in the southern part of Peninsula Malaysia could be one of the worst examples of a successful commercial enterprise riding on the back of exploiting, breeding and trading in endangered animals.


This zoo, like several others, has earned a name for itself by announcing the birth of new tiger cubs to coincide with major events like the Lunar New Year, or even to commemorate the death of celebrities like Michael Jackson.


To many, it's the perfect zoo. The beautiful cubs hog airtime and newsprint space, and the tills get filled by the long lines of visitors.


The Year of the Tiger promises to be a boon for the zoo.


A visit before Chinese New Year revealed that one of its tigresses is pregnant. The zoo also allows tiger cub to be hired and this has been a hit with many companies in the Tiger Year.


"We're fully booked until year-end," says the zoo keeper proudly. "People are willing to pay between RM1,000 and RM5,000 to `borrow' a tiger cub for a day."


He says the zoo has two cubs but only the eight-month-old is used for roadshows. Such activities have conservationists up in arms.


To have perfectly timed cubs require the adult tigers to be subjected to "controlled mating". This as well as the "tiger cubs for hire" schemes are considered heinous and hardly in line with conservation.


The legality of the "rent a tiger cubs" schemes are also questionable. The zoo claims to have the requisite permits from the Wildlife and National Park Department (Perhilitan) for everything it does but are these possible.


Perhilitan had to step in following a spate of pre-Chinese New Year publicity from establishments with tigers promoting photo sessions.


The zoo keeper confirms department's order for such sessions to stop: "We have been told to hold on until further notice."


The zoo's justification is of course pure economics. "The money is needed to feed the animals," the keeper says. He says the zoo's Year of the Tiger roadshow could bring in enough revenue to cover expenses for six months.


"Photography sessions in the zoo would further contribute to 50% of the tigers' maintenance costs," he adds.


Another worrying result from the zoo's breeding programme is the creation of mixed-breed tigers which Perhilitan has acknowledged as "worthless" in terms of conservation.


The Guidelines for Zoological Gardens prohibits the cross-breeding of species but this does not seem to concern the zoo keeper.


He says the zoo is allowed to carry out tiger breeding programme, again under a special permit issued to it by Perhilitan.


He says the zoo currently has 24 tigers and reproduction is controlled by having four pairs of breeding animals. As each pair is allowed to mate twice a year, the average newborns will be 32 cubs annually.


"Over the years, we have been cross-breeding them," says the keeper. "Yeah, there's a lot of new sub-species created in this way." He nevertheless admits that the hybrid specimens produced by the zoo can never be released into the wild, dashing any claims to the zoo playing a conservation role.


Questions to Perhilitan such as if the special permit covered the offsprings and if the breeders are obliged to keep a record of its breeding programme were left unanswered.


Neither was the issue of why a zoo which talks of the need to raise money be allowed to operate a breeding facility.


There are also concerns of whether the zoo is involved in the trading of endangered species.


Asked if the zoo has ever sold cubs to anyone, the keeper merely answers that there is a market for tiger cubs and they could easily fetch between RM15,000 and RM30,000 per animal.


He acknowledges that the zoo has supplied three young tigers to another facility before.


Asked if money crossed hands, the keeper says: "That's between my boss and them." A spokesman






Seven cases against popular zoo, says Perhilitan



The zoo that came under the spotlight over breeding and trading in endangered animals has had at least seven run-ins with the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) since 2003.


These have resulted in two court cases and one compound notice being issued. The rest are currently at various stages of the legal process, the department said.


The department, however, did not provide details on the nature of the offences, or the outcome of the court cases.


Media reports of some of the seven cases relate to the zoo being in possession of animals without the requisite permits.


As a result of these cases, animals have been seized from the zoo, among them a baby elephant, two slow lorises, a baby wild boar and an unspecified number of pythons and storks.


The most shocking case was a raid on June 11, 2008, that unearthed 19 tiger cub carcasses in a freezer in the zoo.


Perhilitan, in a statement, said genetic sampling of 10 of the 19 carcasses showed that they were hybrid species, attesting that they were cubs bred in the zoo and not from the wild.


The zoo keeper explained that the carcasses were accumulated over a period of at least three years.


"We inform Perhilitan of every tiger birth and death. The carcasses are kept until Perhilitan comes to check."


On the high mortality of tiger cubs, the keeper said: "They died from the cold during the rainy season or because their mothers were not good at taking care of them. But we have improved now. There are fewer cubs dying."


As to the raids, he said that there had been 11 since 2003.


"I am not sure about the progress of the court cases."


The zoo is one of three facilities that caught the attention of NatureAlert, an organisation based in Britain that fights for the welfare and protection of orang utan.


It sent its observation report on the facilities to Perhilitan last month, and is awaiting a response on action to be taken by the department.


In its report, a copy of which was made available to The Star, NatureAlert director Sean Whyte questioned the inhumane and filthy living conditions of the pair of orang utan at the facility, which he believed contravened at least two provisions of wildlife law.


The report cautioned that the zoo was a potential breeding ground for zoonotic diseases that not only threatened the animals but also zoo visitors.


It further queried the perceived immunity enjoyed by the zoo management despite the string of offences.


It pointed to Section 44 (1) of the Wildlife








NGOs: Review issuance of permits for keeping endangered species


Several non-governmental organisations have urged the Natural Resources and Environ­ment Ministry to be stricter in issuing special permits for keeping endangered species in zoos and animal parks.


Various organisations have stepped forward to draw attention to the issue, following a Starprobe report yesterday.


Regional director Bill Schaedla of Traffic Southeast Asia, which monitors the wildlife trade, said zoos with special permits could be conducting questionable activities.


"Zoos with bad track records receiving permits are obviously a thing we find worrisome.


"We hope the Government will carefully evaluate these practices," he said, urging the authorities to investigate the acquisition of all protected species by zoos and animal collections.


Schaedla also called for better monitoring of existing holders of permits and licences for protected wildlife.


"A special permit should not imply special treatment under the law," he told The Star.


He said several zoos had cases pending against them for illegal wildlife trade.


"It is difficult to understand why licences continue to be issued to those who are under investigation by the authorities for involvement in this trade," he said.


"Zoos which claim to work towards conservation on one hand and then become involved in the illegal trading of animals on the other are damaging the very biodiversity that they purport to protect and are deceiving their visitors."


The Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (Mycat) has also pushed for more action to be taken against errant zoos.


It urged the authorities to terminate their permits and licences to prevent further violations, adding that some had committed repeat offences over the years.


"If effectively policing the activities of zoos is a task too great for the authorities to handle, considering that their primary responsibility is to safeguard wildlife in the wild, perhaps only internationally accredited zoos which do not commit wildlife crimes should be allowed to operate," it added.


It is learnt that the ministry has extended the purview of the existing taskforce set up by Perhilitan to include the issuance of special permits to private facilities breeding tigers.


The taskforce was set up following a Starprobe report last August on convicted Malaysian wildlife trader Anson Wong.


Several Malaysian zoos have been linked to the illegal wildlife trade in the past.


They include Perak Zoo for its involvement in







Lions and tigers and ... caterpillars?


Cincinnati Zoo began with birds brought in for pest control


Say what? The Cincinnati Zoo got its start because of caterpillars? And people once worried that the park's location was too remote?


Yes on both counts, says Joy W. Kraft, author of "The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden" (Arcadia Publishing; $21.99), a 128-page paperback packed with more than 170 historical photos. It's out this week.


The book, the latest in Arcadia's Images of America series, traces the nation's second-oldest zoological park (after Philadelphia) from its beginnings in the 1870s to modern day.










Dr. Mel Richardson: No good reasons for elephant trainers to use bull hooks


A tool of elephant trainers has been around for centuries. It essentially is a fireplace poker with a sharp point to push and a sharp hook to pull. And whether you call it an ankus, a bull hook or a guide (the favored politically correct term currently in use by zoos and circuses), it is in my experience all too often just a cruel weapon.


Zoo spokesmen, like Jack Hanna, claim the hook is meant merely to tell the elephant to come along, no different than me taking you behind the elbow and leading you. I asked a friend and longtime elephant handler: If this were the case, then why wouldn't a wooden cane work? His reply was simple:


"Mel, if it doesn't hurt, the elephant will not respond to it."


At one point in my career, I was veterinarian for an animal dealer in Texas with 52 elephants under my care. The majority were 2- to 5-year-old African orphans from the elephant culls in Zimbabwe, where adults were slaughter










Call to castrate Knut the polar bear


AN animal rights group has called for Knut the polar bear, who shot to global stardom as a cub in 2007, to be castrated to avert incest with his cousin.


The three-year-old darling of Berlin Zoo was given a female companion, Giovanna, last year but the German chapter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) warned against their mating.


The group's zoo expert, Frank Albrecht, noted that Knut and Giovanna, known as Gianna for short, had the same grandfather.


Any offspring would threaten the genetic diversity of the polar bear population in Germany and risk susceptibility to a condition known as "incest depression", he said.


"Knut fans need to know that only Knut's castration would allow a long life together with Giovanna," Mr Albrecht said today.








Baby monkeys receive environment cues from mother's milk


A new American study suggests that baby rhesus macaque monkeys receive signals about their environment through their mother's breast milk.


The research, conducted by scientists from the Smithsonian Institution and the University of California, Davis, points out that this signal may program the infant's behaviour and temperament according to expectations of available resources and discourages temperaments that prove risky when food is scarce.


For the study, researchers used large groups of rhesus macaques living in an outdoor enclosure at the California National Primate Research Center at UC Davis. Researchers collected milk two different times from 59 mothers: once when their infants were 1 month old and again when the infants were 3 1/2 months old. They recorded the quantity of milk produced by each mother, and the energy value of each one's milk was analysed for its sugar, protein and fat content. These figures were combined to calculate the available milk energy generated by each mother.


While all the monkeys were fed the same diet, the scientists discovered natural variation in the quantity and richness of the milk produced by the 59 mothers. Milk from mothers who weighed more and had had previous pregnancies contained higher available energy when their infants were 1 month old than the milk of lighter, less experienced mothers.


Katie Hinde, the study's lead author and anthropologist at the California National Primate Research Center and the nutrition laboratory at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, said: "This is the first study for any mammal that presents evidence that natural variation in available milk energy from the mother is associated with later variation in infant behavior and temperament.


"Our results suggest that the milk energy available





No signs of cruelty at PATA zoo



Online social networks have joined forces to call for Bangkok's Pata Pinklao Shopping Mall to provide better living conditions for Bua Noi, a 25-year-old female gorilla.


The mall has been defending itself by inviting these Internet surfers to come and see things for themselves, and has also revealed that Dusit Zoo is planning to bring more gorillas over from Belgium.


After observing the comments on websites such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as forwarded e-mails, The Nation decided to visit Pata Zoo.


This writer saw parents and children being allowed to take pictures with Bua Noi, provided they kept the flash off.


The cage was kept clean, with carers hosing it down regularly - contrary to the allegations on the Net.


Bua Noi lives in a 10-by-10-metre air-conditioned cage, with the sunroof sometimes being opened when the weather is nice.


During the three-hour-long observation, Bua Noi was mostly seen sitting still, dozing off or sometimes snacking from the food tray.


Every time she saw a carer walk past, the gorilla looked excited as if she had caught sight of a parent, though she banged her chest to mark her territory when a stranger was sighted.


Every time the television in the hallway was turned on, the gorilla looked closely with great interest.


Pata Zoo director Khanit Sermsirimongkol said the veterinarians and carers were always at hand, and that the zoo's other gorilla, Bua Na, had been well taken care of. Bua Na died of old age when he turned 50.


These calls for giving Bua Noi a better life are nothing new.


The protests began two or three years ago but things went quiet after Pata Zoo proved that no animals were being tortured.


Khanit said a former employee, who wanted to get back at Pata after being fired over embezzlement charges, had released the false allegations and doctored photographs.


He said allegations that Bua Noi was tortured so much that she cried were not credible because monkeys and gorillas cannot cry.


In addition, he said, people making these allegations had never actually visited the zoo.


Khanit added that Dusit Zoo was planning to bring over more gorillas from Belgium to breed and therefore Pata Zoo would be given a chance to learn more about proper care for the animals.


However, a 37-year-old visitor, who visits the zoo often and wanted to only be identified as Kae, said though the cages were clean, they were rather small.


She also said Bua Noi was not as big and cheerful as she used to be, and that other animals were also confined in small cages.


She advised they be housed in a greener and bigger area.


Veterinarian Panthep Rattanakorn from Mahidol University said more disease-prevention measures should be adopted for



This is my report on my last visit to Pata Zoo: Pata Zoo in Bangkok Thailand

Includes some video footage.






Bengal tigers in India conserved by Bournemouth family


Geoff Whittle, his wife Cherrie, and sons, Olly and Jamie, had fallen on hard times.


During the recession, their business was experiencing a "trough", and their property was in negative equity.


They decided to reassess their lives and opted for an adventure that suited their "love of the outdoors", and enabled them to "give something back".


Geoff said: "Jamie was nine and Olly was 11 at the time.


"Jamie was quite happy to stay with me and Cherrie and do what we thought was best - not that we really knew what that was - but, Olly was miffed by whole idea.


"He had just got a paper round and was thinking about girlfriends. His initial reaction was 'what have I done wrong?'


"Reluctantly, he packed up his things like










First Siberian Tiger cub found in the wild dies two days later


In much sadder conservation news, the first Siberian tiger cub to be found in the wild in two decades died just two days after being discovered.


According to the Guardian:


Early on the morning of 25 February, Han Deyou, a forester in the Wanda mountains in the northern province of Heilongjiang claimed to have discovered a wild tiger cub trapped in a pile of firewood in his yard.


Afraid of its roars and aggression, he called local police and forestry officials, who fed the captive animal beef and chicken as they waited for wildlife experts from a tiger breeding centre to arrive in the remote area the following morning.


The tiger was anaesthetised with a dart, taken away and detained in the jail of the local public security bureau. Experts confirmed it was a Siberian tiger, weighing 28.5kg and thought to be about around nine months old.


It was supposed to be one of the best conservation stories of the year - there are an estimated 300 Siberian tigers in the wild, of which 40 to 50 perhaps remain in the country. As we reported earlier, wild tigers are so endangered, there's the chance they won't make it to see the next Year of the Tiger. While breeding programs for the beasts have been relatively successful, up until this discovery, nobody










British Couple Faces Jail for Selling Endangered Animals on eBay


A British couple were warned they could face jail after pleading guilty to selling dead endangered animals, The Sun reported Tuesday.


Former animal care professor Graham Pitchforth, 61, and his wife Norah, 65, used auction website eBay to trade exotic species, including monkeys, a baboon and a lion cub, in a $44,700 operation.


The pair, from northern England, admitted 24 charges of importing and exporting animals.


Other animals sold by the couple included a Yellow-Billed Kite bird, a Crab-Eating Macaque monkeys and 59 Malayan flying foxes.


They also brought and sold a Crocodile Monitor lizard, a North American otter, 14 Javan Black Langur monkeys and four Pig Tailed Macaque monkeys.


The illegal trade was finally uncovered after,2933,587735,00.html












Blackpool Zoo is on the hunt for a new species of animal to add to its collection – a group of intrepid bookworms!


The award winning attraction launched a new competition on World Book Day that will offer its younger fans the chance to win animal related books every month.


In addition, at the end of this year the zoo will choose from all the correct entries and present an overall winner with a collection of books and an annual membership for 2011.


Each month a question is being posted on the zoo's website, Facebook and Twitter accounts and handed out to all visitors as well as children who attend the education department's workshops.


Budding bookworms can then research the answer and either hand it into reception or the education department as they leave or email it to  to be in with the chance to win that month's must read book.


Jude Rothwell, Marketing and PR Coordinator at Blackpool Zoo said: "More than 45,000 people passed through our education department last year and this competition is another way that we can










Claws out over zoo's stamp on Mardi Gras


THE inclusion of a Taronga Zoo float in the Mardi Gras parade has been branded a "slap in the face" to Animal Liberation.


Sumatran tigers won out against a protest over battery hens when it came to the parade held on Saturday.


Animal Liberation spokeswoman and Mosman resident Lynda Stoner accused Mardi Gras organisers of hypocrisy in refusing the Animal Liberation float in the parade but giving the green light to the float organised by Taronga Zoo staff.


Ms Stoner also accused organisers of a conflict of interest because she said the zoo was an official supporter of the event.


"The Mardi Gras organisers have shown hypocrisy in telling Animal Liberation we weren't gay enough, bisexual enough or lesbian enough to be in the parade. It's bunkum," Ms Stoner said.


"It's a slap in the face for us to allow the zoo float and not ours. Our floats are designed to protect all species of animals not just one exotic animal designed to make money for the zoo."


Should Animal Liberation have been allowed to be part of the parade? Comment below.


Animal Liberation has taken part in the parade for the last 14 years. This










Elephant dies at Fla. zoo from age-related illness


A 63-year-old elephant has died at the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens in Orlando.


Zoo officials say the elephant named Mary died Tuesday of age-related illness. A necropsy is being conducted to determine the exact cause of death.


The zoo's director of animal collections, Bonnie Breitbeil, says that Maude, the zoo's other elephant, was able to say goodbye to Mary. Like people, elephants also mourn.


Mary was born in 1946 and joined a circus in the United States in 1952. She came to zoo in 1983.


Mary liked when zookeepers rubbed her stomach and was known for sneaking up on new keepers.


The Orlando Sentinel reports that according to










Topeka Zoo's accreditation delayed one year


A national group has delayed accreditation for the troubled Topeka Zoo for at least a year.


The Association of Zoos and Aquariums on Wednesday said zoo officials must deliver a progress report in six months. After that, the association will conduct an inspection and decide in one year whether to reinstate the zoo's accreditation.


The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that during the group's meeting in Virginia Beach, Va., Wednesday, four Topeka and zoo officials argued that the zoo should be reaccredited. They pointed










Rare turtle rescue station set up in central Vietnam


This station will rescue and preserve the endemic turtle species in central Vietnam - Mauremys anammensis.


This species of turtle was discovered in the wetlands of Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh and Phu Yen. The turtle is seriously endangered because of its narrowed living environment, caused by rapid urbanization.


ATP made a field trip to the central region and found out that Binh Son district in Quang Ngai province will be the best environs










Zoo's nocturnal animals receive grant


Though the Woodland Park Zoo's energy-inefficient Night Exhibit closed March 1 as a cost-savings measure, the has committed to continue caring for seven of the exhibit's 15 species. Now, BNSF Foundation has stepped forward with a $20,000 challenge grant to help toward the long-term care of these animals.


"BNSF is issuing a challenge to the community to match our gift and help the zoo raise $50,000 for the nocturnal animal fund by May 1," Gus Melonas, regional director of public affairs with BNSF Railway, said in a press release.


The fund will help make modifications to existing areas at the zoo for the Night Exhibit animals that will remain, support their long-term care, and help toward an assessment process to determine the future of the Night Exhibit building.


Since the Night Exhibit closure date was announced in January, the community has already contributed $5,500 to the







Where captives put on a show



The whale and dolphin shows I saw at SeaWorld in San Diego a couple of years ago with my wife and daughter weren't just good, they were spectacular. I think that's one reason they gave me the creeps.


The more amazing the stunts were, with super-intelligent mammals performing circus tricks for us humans, the dumber I felt.


I had subjected my daughter to a contrived spectacle, just a mile from the natural wonders of the open sea. Did I really want her to think that wild animals exist for our amusement, or that it's OK to ride a killer whale as if it were a pony?


Soon after, I talked about it with my cousin, a marine biologist.


The general rationalization by marine parks, he said, is that the shows raise public interest in the mammals and enhance conservation efforts.


But those claims strike me as dubious after the death last week of an Orlando SeaWorld trainer who was grabbed by the ponytail and killed by a killer whale before an audience.


The same killer whale had been involved in two other deaths, and orca shows were temporarily halted in Orlando and San Diego. Now officials are investigating the death and prior incidents in Orlando, even as the shows have resumed and crowds have returned.


"We stand very strongly behind the fact, and our surveys bear this out, that people are coming here and gaining a greater appreciation for these animals and the ocean environments they live in," said Dave Koontz, a San Diego SeaWorld spokesman.


"The fact that they have an opportunity to see these animals in person makes a huge difference," he says.


But aren't they seeing something artificial?


"We don't feel that there's anything about it that's artificial at all," Koontz told me.


I don't think he was kidding.


Look, I'd agree that many of the exhibits at the San Diego marine park are legitimate educational tools -- although if you want to really learn something about sea creatures, you're far better off going to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach or the Monterey Bay Aquarium.


But the big draws at parks like those in the SeaWorld chain, which was just bought for $2.7 billion, are the killer whale and dolphin shows.


It's not about education, it's about big business, says Ric O'Barry, who you may have seen in "The Cove," the Oscar-nominated documentary that exposed the secret slaughter of thousands of dolphins in Japan -- and how a few of the most beautiful mammals are spared and sold to marine parks.


"It's a form of bad education," O'Barry says of theme park shows. "There's no connection between conservation and stupid dolphin tricks."


O'Barry traveled a long way to get to that point of view. He caught and trained the dolphins used on the TV show "Flipper," and he has been credited with training one of the first killer whales used in a show.


"I was as ignorant as I could be for as long as could be, and I was making a lot of money," says O'Barry, who told me he used to lug a television down to the docks "so Flipper could watch himself on TV on Friday nights at 7:30."


O'Barry says he eventually learned enough about the mammals, which depend on sound waves to navigate, to know they were suffering in captivity, subjected to unnatural confines and bombarded by noise for the sake of human entertainment.


He believes that one of the dolphins used in "Flipper" committed suicide by refusing to come up for air.,0,7894108.column







The case for captive animals



The tragic death of a trainer at Sea World last week revived a number of long simmering questions. While we still grapple with "how did this happen?" the central question for many revolves around the role of large mammals -- like Tilikum the killer whale -- in zoos and aquariums: Should they be there or not?


Animals in zoos, aquariums and museums play an important and powerful part in our cultural and formal educational processes. Humans are inherently interested in nature. We are not very far removed from a time when being knowledgeable about nature was vital to life; you either knew how to find your dinner or you were dinner.


Today, with well over 50 percent of our populations living in cities, we are rapidly becoming divorced from the realities of the animal world. The dialogue we see in the media, read on blogs and hear in conversation makes it clear that many people have lots of ideas about what's happening in our natural world, much of it not correct.


This lack of knowledge is concerning in a world beset by environmental problems, where species are disappearing at an alarming rate. We need people to understand the changes taking place in our natural systems and appreciate that each of our actions has an impact. More interest and knowledge, not less, is essential.


Zoos and aquariums provide access and a vital connection to the world of wildlife and our environment, helping to foster an understanding of nature and how it works, and an appreciation for why it matters.


Most professionally operated zoos and aquariums, such as those accredited by the Canadian or American Associations of Zoos and Aquariums, are dedicated to increasing engagement and raising awareness and participation in conservation issues. They conduct active programs that aid species survival, research and conservation, both at their public display facilities and in the field.


The Vancouver Aquarium has operated our Marine Mammal Rescue (MMR) program since the mid 1960s. Each year, hundreds of marine mammals are rescued from situations of distress and rehabilitated by our dedicated team of staff and volunteers, led by our veterinarian. Their goal is to return marine mammals to good health so they can be released back to the ocean.


The Vancouver Aquarium has not had killer whales on exhibit since 2001. However, our orca research continues in the field with experts working off the British Columbia coast to observe and study social interaction, behaviors, migrations, and feeding patterns.


We do have beluga whales, including two calves born recently. Belugas are ideally suited to an aquarium environment. The calves' births have allowed researchers to study the social structure of a beluga family, and in collaboration with the University of British Columbia we have conducted beluga vocalization studies since 2002 to understand contact calls and other forms of communication between these beautiful and communicative animals.


As our visitors see beluga whales and learn about their communication, natural history and the challenges they face due to climate change in the Arctic, a unique chain is created, moving from initial amazement of observing these creatures to the inspiration to care about them and finally to take action, in large or small ways, to protect their future by conserving their natural environment.


We see our role as more important now than ever before. The time of simply displaying animals merely as curiosities is, thankfully, over.


Our aquarium, and many others like it, represents often the only -- and the best -- opportunity for urbanites (particularly youth) to establish a connection with the natural world of animals. Sadly, many of us will never experience the joy and wonder of encountering animals in their natural habitat. But can get learn about them up close and personal in a modern and reputable aquarium or zoo.


If you have had the good fortune to spend time in such an institution, and have seen the sense of awe and wonder on the faces of youngsters meeting a sea otter, for example, for the first time, you'll know what this is all about.


What's more, having access to, and learning about, Tilikum and other whales in aquariums and marine parks since such amazing creatures were first displayed in the mid-1960s, has totally changed people's perceptions about them.


Before then, killer whales were feared, termed "wolves of the sea", and even had a bounty on their heads in some places; being able to see them personally helped spark people's curiosity and interest. The resulting change in public perception was dramatic and swift, leading to their protection by the U.S. government in the 1970s under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.


Today, most people revere killer whales and understand a great deal more about the challenges this species faces around the world -- with overfishing depleting their food supply, the impacts of climate change and pollution threatening their environment and their ultimate survival.


With so many changes confronting nature and the animals that make it their home, human










In Light of Sea World Tragedy, We Should Honor Animals By Freeing Them


I'm in good company blogging this week about the recent death of veteran orca trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was killed when Tilikum, a 12,300 pound "killer whale," grabbed her in front of an audience at Orlando's Sea World. In addition to the obvious second-guessing that happens when wild predators kept in unnatural environments exhibit what might reasonably be viewed as natural behaviors, last week's tragic attack has prompted much important public discussion of the detrimental effects of lifelong captivity in a glorified pool on a massive, highly intelligent animal.


Similar questions were raised two years ago on Christmas Day when Tatiana, a Siberian tiger at the San Francisco Zoo, escaped over the wall of her enclosure and killed a man who had been drinking and smoking marijuana and who, according to witness accounts and the city's lead investigator, had been with a group of men who were taunting her and other zoo animals immediately preceding the attack. Tatiana was fatally shot by responding police officers. I've always had a special fondness for tigers, and I know I was one of many who cried at the tragedy and the indignity of her death.


Ultimately, even though we like to think of the Sea World orcas and dolphins as playful characters happy to perform, and of zoo animals as regal ambassadors of their swiftly disappearing natural habitats, I don't think any of us is truly shocked when wild animals do attack. Rather, many supporters of zoos and aquariums, whether they're corporate suits profiting from the captivity of these animals or conservationists who have dedicated their lives to the survival of their species, argue that it is a risk that is worth our continuing to accept. And as a society, we do continue to accept it. Not because, by and large, we have no regard for the welfare of these animals, but rather, because we do care, and because we want so much to know and love them.


I mean, I get it. I don't dismiss outright the argument by many conservationists that the best hope of disappearing species is to foster empathy for them by allowing people, especially children, to have an in-person experience that captivity makes possible. I do believe that captivity degrades animals removed from their natural environments and, in a very real way, also degrades us humans in our objectifying them. And yet we love these strange and relatable and fascinating beings so much that we squelch that discomfort for the opportunity to be with them, to look into their eyes and to have them look back at us.


As a child born with a fascination for animals, I didn't just want to read about animals or watch Wild Kingdom—I wanted to see them in person, even though viewing them behind bars often left me in tears for reasons I did not fully comprehend. I believe many people become orca trainers or zookeepers not out of a wish to dominate animals or exploit them for profit, but because they sincerely love and care about animals. One of my best friends, a long-time ethical vegetarian, was a zookeeper before we met as colleagues at an animal rights organization. I would never judge or question her genuine commitment to the protection of animals. I mean, wouldn't it be nice having as my "co-workers" the very beings I have in some ways dedicated my life to, rather than sitting at a desk talking on the phone and staring at my computer all day?


Viewed through a sentimental lens, it's an understandable conundrum. And it's a conundrum that highlights why, despite attacks suggesting the contrary, the work of animal rights is a highly unsentimental enterprise. To argue that we must consider the rights of animals like Tilikum and Tatiana is to accept that we must put a










Matt Damon on Sea World - "Shut Them All Down"


"I think they should just shut them all down. I've never been a fan of places like that."


—Matt Damon on SeaWorld


This weekend, Damon joined Bob Barker and tons of other stars who are speaking out against SeaWorld ......... Add your voice to the thousands who have already told SeaWorld to release its animals to sanctuaries








It's time to end stupid pet tricks at zoos, aquariums and circuses across America. Tilikum, the O.G. killer whale with three deaths now on his fins, saw to that this past week when he drowned his veteran trainer, Dawn Brancheau, by dragging her to the bottom of a tank at SeaWorld in Orlando.


Park officials were quick to announce that Tilikum, who has fathered a baker's dozen of profitable calves for the corporation, would not only be spared (good), but would resume his role of providing huge water splashes, which are the highlight of SeaWorld's daily aquatic shows (not surprising, but still sad).


If you'll pardon the pun, it's a decision that's all wet.


The argument is not against zoos and aquariums per se, if they have the funding to put together proper exhibits that showcase animals in the closest proximity to their natural habitats. It is understood that for a lot of families with limited resources, the closest look they may ever have at African wilderness is at the local zoo.


The problem arises when man's arrogance pushes our foibles onto nature's innocence. I've long grown tired of the annual Super Bowl tradition of a bevy of commercials featuring too-far-gone-for-12-step alcoholic wild animals shamelessly scheming how to get their paws on a case of Bud. One year even had a menagerie stealing an entire beer delivery truck, which elicited a host of comments like "Aw, that is so cute" from the women at the party I attended. I thought, substitute your teenage son for that zebra and see what happens to the cuteness factor, because Budweiser isn't looking to the inhabitants of the Serengeti to push the bottom line.


Wild animals are just that -- wild. Taking a 12,000-pound killer whale out of the Pacific and slapping it into a tank at SeaWorld isn't quite as benign as rescuing a retiring greyhound from the track.


It's arrogance to presume that after a period of training animals like Tilikum have been "deprogrammed" of their feral tendencies. The big










Making a whale into a killer


In the wake of the SeaWorld attack, an expert explains how captivity drives orcas crazy -- and can turn them deadly


On Wednesday, a female trainer at SeaWorld was killed when a 12,000-pound orca named Tilikum ("Tilly") grabbed her by the ponytail, dragged her under water, and thrashed her about in his jaws. Twenty audience members, lingering after a production of "Dine With Shamu," witnessed the act. It was the third human death Tilly has been involved in, and yet the park has no intention of euthanizing him, partly because his motives were unclear. Was his intent to kill, or was it an accident, the result of roughhousing with a mammal 1/100th his own size?


No one knows. But the stresses of captivity seem responsible. Captive orcas often decline to eat, and are force-fed until they do. And while there are no known cases of an orca killing a human in the wild, around two dozen cases exist of captive orcas attacking humans.


In response, SeaWorld, whose brand-image depends on friendly-looking killer whales, has found itself in a public-relations quandary akin to what Accenture experienced with its "Go on. Be a Tiger" ads. And yet it's been suggested that Wednesday's death may generate a new audience for the park -- that of teens and young adults, enlivened by the possibility of violence.


Salon recently caught up with Philip Hoare, author of the nonfiction book "The Whale," to










Is a killer whale a moral being?


Philip Hoare, author of "The Whale," has spent years studying these mysterious creatures and what surprises him most is how little we actually know.


There are so many reasons, Philip Hoare points out, to grieve over the tragedy last week at SeaWorld Orlando, when a killer whale named Tilikum dragged his trainer underwater to her death. Hoare, who spent years following whales while researching his new book, "The Whale," has long been troubled by the practice of keeping the giant creatures in captivity.


"The fact that 200 killer whales have died in captivity since oceanaria shows opened in the 1960s points out the glaringly obvious fact – whales and dolphins should not be kept in captivity," Hoare writes from Australia, where he is currently touring to promote his book.


"The Whale," which was reviewed in the Monitor last week, is "an intricate exploration of history, literature, and science.... a spiritual voyage to understand the whale's place ... in the world."


Hoare recalls the first time he ever saw a whale in captivity, in Windsor Safari Park, near London, in the 1960s.


"The massive predator entered the pool – basically an overgrown swimming pool – from a gated compound," he writes. "It was like seeing Jaws let loose in the municipal baths. Yet its magnificence was bowed by its state – a fact vividly symbolized by its enormous, six foot high dorsal fin, which had keeled over into an emasculated flop through the stress of captivity. (Newly captive orca often decline to eat, and have to be force-fed)."


Hoare also worries about the whales in the wild, wondering what impact noise and water pollution have on them.


"We anthropomorphize animals at our peril," he points out. "The terrible events at SeaWorld only underline that queasy state. When we take animals into our world, we contaminate their lives, and perhaps endanger our own."


But perhaps what is most troublesome, he says, is how very much we


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