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Zoo News Digest
May-Jun 2011


Galloway park's oldest captive-born lynx turns 21
A cat thought to be the oldest captivity-born Eurasian lynx living in the UK has celebrated its 21st birthday in southern Scotland.
The lynx, named Frank, came to the Galloway Wildlife Conservation Park near Kirkcudbright eight years ago.
It was born in 1990 at Riber Castle Wildlife Park at Matlock in Derbyshire and moved to Staffordshire before reaching Dumfries and Galloway.
GWCP conservation manager John Denerley said Frank was a "really good lynx".
"I like looking at him up close," he said.
"He moves really slow."
Mr Denerley said the Derbyshire park where Frank was born was well-known for its Eurasian lynx

Zoo gets new director
The Rosamond Gifford Zoo has a new director. He's the new king of the jungle, so to speak. Ted Fox has been appointed as the new director of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse.
Fox has been at the zoo for 20 years, most recently as a curator. His achievements include helping develop the zoo's Humbolt Penguin exhibit and raising the first Andean Condor chick to be used for conservation education in Venezuela.
Fox replaces retired director Chuck Doyle, with whom he worked closely.
"It's been seamless. We've worked really closely in the last six months to make this as good as it can be, to not miss a step in terms of all the progress we've made and all the plans that are on the table and the future of the zoo and we're pretty much in sync in terms of what we think is important, said Ted Fox, Rosamond Gifford Zoo Director.
One of Fox's first official acts as director

DNA kits to help combat rhino poachers
South African National Parks (SanParks) last week received 1 000 DNA kits from the University of Pretoria to ensure effective prosecution of rhino poachers.
According to SanParks, the kits from the faculty of Veterinary Services of the University of Pretoria will go a long way in ensuring management of the rhino population and effective prosecution of rhino horn poachers.
Speaking at the handover ceremony in Pretoria, SANParks CEO David Mabunda said that, throughout the years, DNA evidence had ensured that criminals were locked up as the analysis of information collected proved to be the only working weapon that could be disputed to halt criminals in their tracks.
"This will certainly go a long way in changing the trend of suspects found in possession of rhino horn only being charged with possession as the horns in their possession will be linked to a carcass lying somewhere in a national park or game reserve," he said.
According to Mabunda, the kits would also assist rhino managers with the individual rhino in their care: "The scourge of rhino poaching we are faced with needs

Two jaguars in Taman Safari Indonesia

Two jaguars (Panthera Onca) have arrived in the Taman Safari Indonesia conservation area, a director said Sunday.


“The two animals look like leopards,” Taman Safari Indonesia director Tony Sumampau said on Sunday, as quoted by


The jaguars arrived on May 15 from Tierpark, a German zoo, but they must be quarantined for about three weeks before being displayed to the public on

Too many tuatara with nowhere to go

The country's longest-serving tuatara breeder now has more of the reptiles than he can easily find homes for. Southland Museum and Art Gallery tuatara curator Lindsay Hazley, of Invercargill, started out 27 years ago with just two of the endangered "living fossils".


Now he has a colony of 80.


"I've got about 30 animals under 4 years of age which I need to move on shortly."


The museum's tuatara surplus is the result of Mr Hazley overcoming many captive-breeding problems and he is getting 20-30 fertile eggs each year.


"With the new acrylic roof I got from Germany that let's all the UV (ultra-violet light) through, I'm getting a 90% survival rate rather than a 90% failure.


"I'm sending eggs to Victoria University from now on because I'm saturated."


Mr Hazley would like to liberate some of his animals on a tiny pest-free island in Foveau,0

Female Cuban crocodiles endanger own species

Already in decline, they are often interbreeding with American mates


Two different crocodile species living in Cuba have been shacking up, producing hybrid offspring that have now been identified with genetic analyses. The interbreeding could threaten one of the species, the already declining Cuban crocodile, researchers say.


Scientists were aware that the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) and Cuban crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer) interbred in captivity. But this is the first genetic study to confirm hybridization in the wild.


The researchers found that American crocodiles living in Cuba are more closely related, genetically, to Cuban crocodiles than to American crocodile populations found along mainland Central America.


Researchers analyzed the DNA of scales clipped from the tails of 89 wild-caught Cuban and American crocodiles from Cuba, Central America (Costa Rica and Panama), Grand Cayman Island and Jamaica. Two of the samples came from North American zoos.


Because the researchers included mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down from mothers, they could tell that the hybrid offspring had come from a matchup between

Delhi zoo may shift its three elephants

More than a year after the idea was first mooted to whether shift the three elephants from the National Zoological Park to the wild or not, the fate of these elephants is still undecided. Following an idea mooted by the environment minister Jairam Ramesh, the Central Zoo Authority had issued a direc tive to all the zoos, which have any elephant population and also asked the chief wildlife warden of respective states to facilitate their transfer to open areas for free movements of the pachyderm.


Dr Brij Kishore Gupta, CZA's evaluation and monitoring officer, said, "CZA's evaluation committee would be submitting a report in July first week."


The park, popularly know as Delhi zoo, has three elephants: one is an African male apart from an Indian couple. There were 87

Decision to shift elephants from Byculla zoo to come next month

The fate of the two elephants in Byculla zoo will be decided in the next one month. A two-member expert committee visited the zoo on Thursday evening, to check if the two female elephants, Laxmi, 53, and Anarkali ,46, could be exempted from the central zoo authority’s (CZA) directive about sh ifting elephants in captivity to sanctuaries or national parks. “Most likely that these two elephants will be exempted as they are old and will not be able to be rehabilitated,” said a CZA official.


Following the CZA directive in November 2009, the zoo officials had written to them on several occasions asking them for an exemption for the two elephants on grounds that they were aged and would not be able to adapt to the new surroundings, or fend for themselves.


A two-member team from the elephant inspection committee formed by the CZA visited the zoo and took details about the animals, their feeding pattern and their routine.


“These two experts are on a visit to all the zoos that have asked for an exemption. They will submit their report to us in a month, based on which we will decide on the exemption,” said Brijkishore Gupta of the CZA.


The CZA circular had stated that the large animals required a large area to move around freely and that the environment of a zoo could be restrictive.


The elephants have been in captivity for more than 35 years. Currently both of them have one common enclosure of 4000 sq feet in area.


Forest officials from the Bilaspur reserves had inspected the elephants, to check if they were fit to be sent there for patrolling duty. They were found to be too old and were rejected.


As per rules the retirement age of an elephant is 65 years. The Byculla zoo elephants are around or above 50 years and no sanctuaries or national parks are willing to accept them.


The Byculla zoo authorities had also written to the state’s chief wildlife warden and the conservator of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivli, suggesting that the

St. Louis Zoo Holds Dinner In Honor Of Bees

When some see a colony ofbees they want to run away as far as they can. Not so for bee lovers who gathered at the St. Louis Zoo on Thursday night. A special dinner and honey tasting allowed bee lovers to learn as much as they could. The Monsanto Insectarium at the St. Louis will also have additional bee information on display this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


"About one third of the food that you eat from any given meal comes from pollinators," said Ariel Bubak,0,1309629.story

By Battling a Big, Bored Cat, Strongman Roars to Egypt's Aid

Critics: Loser in This Lion Fight Is Pride; Did the Sleepy Beast Snack on a Donkey?.


Self-styled strongman Al Sayed al Essawy had an idea for lifting his country out of its post-revolution economic funk: Fight a lion.


Which is why on Saturday Mr. Al Essawy stepped into a steel cage with a 660-pound lion here in the middle of a wheat field in this farming hamlet. He glared at the lion and bared his teeth. He carried a "shield" made out of an old satellite dish.


Addressing the crowd of a few hundred Egyptians bused in for the spectacle, Mr. Al Essawy roared: "Who is the lion?"


"You are the lion!" a couple dozen shouted back.


The lion itself looked bored. One man in the crowd claimed it had just been fed a whole donkey and was therefore sleepy.


It wasn't supposed to be this way. Mr. Al Essawy had wanted to fight the lion in the shadow of the Great Pyramids. His idea was to send a message to the world that "in Egypt you can see events that you can't see anywhere else." February's violent revolution here has taken a big bite out of tourism, which employs some 10% of all Egyptians.


The fight drew condemnation from animal-rights activists and tourism officials. Egypt's tourism minister, Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, vowed this month to "personally" prevent the "barbaric" act from taking place by demanding that the ministry of interior intervene to stop the fight.


For Mr. Al Essawy, the official reaction only reflects the government's unsophisticated sense of how to market itself. Mr. Al Essawy insisted that his intent

Expert says relaxing atmosphere key for successful zoo

The Henson Robinson Zoo doesn’t need a big exhibit with giraffes or lions to pull in the crowds.


As long as the zoo offers visitors a comfortable, relaxing place to see interesting animals, it should be able to succeed, said Charles Mayes, a principal at the Portico Group, a Seattle firm that has put together master plans for zoos across the country.


“I don’t think you need to have a big ‘wow’ factor,” Mayes said. “Zoos need to understand who their community is and who they are attracting. It’s the quality of the experience.”


Comfort is key


Last year, Springfield’s zoo hit a five-year attendance record of 83,411 people.


Other zoos across the country also have seen attendance increases, and most attribute the trend to




 New arrivals at Sharjah wildlife centre

The tiny black snakes hiss and hide behind their two-metre parents whenever they hear a sudden noise.
There are 16 of these Arabian cobras at the Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife (Bceaw) in Sharjah Desert Park. The largest venomous snake in Arabia, they are the first of their kind to be born in captivity in the UAE.
At barely three weeks old, they have yet to master the cobra’s trademark defence tactic – the expanded neck.
“They are actually quite shy,” said Paul Vercammen, operations manager at the centre.
There are about 45 species of snakes on the Arabian Peninsula and 10 sea snakes in the surrounding waters. The Arabian cobra, Naja Arabica, possess an extremely neurotoxic venom used to catch and kill prey – usually small mammals and birds. A single bite can deliver 175 to 350mg of deadly poison. Until recently they were considered to be a subspecies of the Egyptian cobra, Naja haje, but in 2009 taxonomists proved that the Arabian cobra is a separate species.
“The Arabian cobra is a secretive snake,” said Mr Vercammen. “We don’t know much about their biology and behaviour.”
The staff at the centre have gained valuable information from this batch of newborn cobras. It was back in mid-March when their mother laid 16 eggs that were then transferred to an incubator, where the temperature and humidity levels were monitored and valuable scientific data was collected. After 59 days all 16 of the eggs started to hatch, revealing miniature replicas of the adults.
The baby cobra are just one set of infants born this spring at the centre, which was set up in 1998 under the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (Epaa), Government of Sharjah. Among the babies are two Arabian Tahr, three Arabian wolves, six jackals, two Arabian Leopards, four cheetahs and one Arabian Porcupine.“We have to save and preserve all Arabian wildlife, including the not-so-cute and cuddly ones like the cobras,” said Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, the general manager of Epaa. “They are part of our natural history, and we need to make sure they are around for future generations to

Illegal hunters shoot endangered birds
Illegal hunters have shot and killed at least three houbara bustards, an endangered species threatened with extinction.
The birds had been bred in captivity and released in a protected area as part of efforts to re-establish the species after it was wiped out in the UAE. Hunters shot them after they flew out of the fenced-in zone.
The houbara were among nearly 200 released last year at the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR), and were fitted with satellite tracking devices. When scientists realised they had died and went to recover the bodies, they discovered the birds had been shot.
The houbara is the traditional prey used by generations of Arab falconers. "I would have expected falconry to be the threat, but they were shot," said Greg Simkins, the reserve's conservation manager.
"It's illegal to hunt any bird or animal species in the country and it's very


No more habitat for elephants in Malaysia. That Why They Entered The Village.
Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Wildlife) today arrested one more wild elephants destroying crops population reported in several villages in Mukim Baka and Cherang Hangus village near Machang, Kelantan.
Wildlife director, Rahmat Topani said, female elephant aged 25 years with estimated to weigh 1.5 tonnes was arrested at about 11.30 am by a team of fire department using sedatives in Bukit Lepan Rambai.
He said, it is one of a group of eight elephants are said to roam in that area since last month.
"In the middle of last month, we caught a 15-year-old male elephant, weighing two tons in the nearby area. After that, (Last week) we drove a group of males after they damage the crops of the villagers.
"The males elephants were believed to separate from the group," he said.
Rahmat said, the female elephants arrested

Aquarium in Penang reopens
There is a new tourist attraction in town -- the research-cum-public aquarium belonging to the Fisheries Research Institute (FRI) in Batu Maung.
The aquarium recently opened its doors to the public after being closed for almost two years.
The aquarium has separate areas for freshwater fish, and ornamental marine fish and corals, all of which are found locally.
There is a touch pool which has been given a makeover and a tank which can fill up to 200 tonnes of water for the bigger species of marine animals.
Rosly Hassan, who stood in for the FRI director, said the research aquarium is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.
He said unlike the more commercialised aquariums, the aquarium in Batu Maung showcases research and development work carried out by FRI.
"Our main purpose is to educate and create awareness of our research work. There is always a commercial value to it.
"We have carried out numerous research in the breeding

First Short-tailed Albatross Born In U.S. Fledges
Short-tailed Albatross chick has successfully fledged on an island in the Hawaiian archipelago, marking the first time this endangered species has ever been known to breed successfully outside of Japan.
The hatchling broke through its shell in January on Eastern Island, one of three small, flat, coral islands that comprise Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge over 1,300 miles northwest of Honolulu. The parents of the Midway chick first paired up on the refuge four years ago. During that 2007-8 breeding season, they were observed spending only a little time together, but the following season, their time together increased. By the third season, they arrived at the Eastern Island breeding colony together and built a nest, but did not lay eggs. This breeding season, one of the pair was observed incubating a freshly laid egg on November 16, 2010. The

Zoo debts total $24 million after panda enclosure fails to attract sponsorship
ZOOS South Australia needs public and private sponsors to help it dig out of a $24 million financial black hole.
Zoo chief executive Professor Chris West said sponsors had shied away from new commitments during the global financial crisis and he issued a plea for South Australians to rally behind the zoo.
"If you want us to continue to have one of the best zoo-based conservation organisations in the world, then come in, visit, support us, become part of our programs," Prof West said.
"And of course, in the run up to a possible indeed likely baby panda, clearly there is a real opportunity for a corporate partner to scoop an enormous amount of public interest, warmth and media profile, because then they could be associated with panda babies."
The not-for-profit conservation organisation's huge debt includes

Dubai Zoo debate heats up
Miles away from the climes where they should have made their homes, hundreds of birds, bears and cats appear to be struggling beneath the desert sun.
In Dubai Zoo, dozens of animals are crammed into small cages, share space with other species or have inadequate access to water.
The conditions in the government-owned zoo in Jumeirah have been a lightning rod for animal activists and online bloggers.
However, officials charged with running the park say that space is a problem but the animals are treated as humanely as possible.
On Monday, when temperatures reached 41°C, several animals were clearly struggling in the heat.
A brown bear paced in a central enclosure, its fur matted with sweat. The cage resembled a prison cell with a concrete floor and rusted jail bars.
The story was the same across the public zoo, which is thought to be about 20,000 square metres. In one pen, a gorilla sat in the centre of a dusty exhibit; in another, a lioness gulped hard with what looked to be dehydration; and in a small cage an Arabian fox walked in circles.
One visitor, a 31-year-old Indian shop worker who gave his name as Shiraj, said he was disturbed by the conditions.
"Some of the animals are doing OK but some of them are too hot," he said. "They look very sad."
All over the zoo animals appeared to be crowded into small enclosures. In one small cage, about 20 baboons fought for space. In another, as many as 30 flamingos huddled together next to a puddle of brown water.
The lack of space is evident throughout the zoo. Several ostriches in the collection are scattered throughout enclosures populated by other animals. One was placed with a herd of Barbary sheep, another with a large community of tortoises.
The pattern was repeated elsewhere - flamingos with a wallaby and a goldfish tank inside a lizard exhibit.
The zoo was almost deserted late morning on Monday. The majority of people were keepers charged with feeding the animals.
"There's nothing to be concerned about when it comes to feeding and taking care of these animals," said Ahmed Abdul Karim, the director of the Public Parks and Horticulture Department at Dubai Municipality, the authority that manages the zoo.
"That's up to international standards. The only issue is a lack of space. We have given a proposal to the concerned authorities about what's needed."
It would not be the first time officials have touted the idea of moving the animals to a new facility. The location has constantly been changing, from early plans in 2003 to relocate to Mushrif Park, to an ambitious scheme announced two years ago for a sprawling nature reserve in Dubailand.
Mr Abdul Karim declined to say what the new plans for expansion were or when they were likely to be ready.
The park opened in 1967 with several dozen animals. But that number has grown exponentially in recent years owing to the growth of a

Elk rescues marmot from drowning at Pocatello Zoo .

PU adopts two tigers in an attempt to save near-extinction species
In a crowded ceremony held at the Lahore Zoo on Tuesday, the Punjab University (PU) Department of Zoology adopted two tigers, namely Sam and Mohni, for a period of one year. PU Vice Chancellor (VC) Dr Mujahid Kamran was the chief guest of the event while PU Registrar Professor Dr Muhammad Akhter, PUCAD Principal Professor Dr Rahat Naveed Masood, External Linkages Director Maria Maldonodo, RO-1 Javed Sami, General Wildlife and Parks Director Dr Zafar Nasrullah and Lahore Zoo Director Dr Zahid Iqbal Bhatti were also present on the occasion. Talking to media, Kamran said that adopting animals promoted human sentiments among the people. “Looking after animals could help eliminate torture from society,” he said, adding that the university had taken the step keeping this very idea in mind. He said that beauty was the worst enemy of the tigers and the man was recklessly killing this beautiful creature, to the point of their extinction. He said that the university would try to create an endowment fund for saving such creatures. He said that if the expected HEC grant continued, the varsity would also be willing to prolong the project. Separately, Akhter thanked the VC and DG for taking the initiative which, he said, would provide an opportunity\06\22\story_22-6-2011_pg13_6

Stop hounding me you big ape! The unlikely friendship between an orangutan and a dog
They make an unlikely duo. But after meeting at a reserve for endangered animals, Suryia the orangutan and Roscoe the Bluetick hound have become inseparable.
And now the pals have released a picture book capturing their unorthodox friendship.
The best friends were besieged by young fans as they held their own signing for the new release at a bookstore in Georgetown, South Car

Jeddah zoo to become safari park on relocation
The Beautiful Creatures Zoo and Museum is to be relocated and expanded into a safari park.
The zoo needs to move as it is on land earmarked for the Haramain Railway project connecting Jeddah with the holy cities. The zoo was opened in 1985 by Wesmi Al-Wesmi.
“I have been managing this zoo for 25 years, and I have practically lived here. I’ve seen how it has grown, and I have added a museum to make it more exciting for visitors,” he said. Al-Wesmi is searching for land in north Jeddah to relocate the zoo.
“I’m looking for a bigger plot of land to transform the zoo into a safari park in northeast Jeddah but I cannot find a suitable place. All the land available is for rental, which is not suitable,” he said. “I want to own the land to ensure no one kicks me out later.”
Al-Wesmi also wants to add a horse stable, swimming pools and tennis courts.
Al-Wesmi is waiting for compensation from the government to start the relocation.
“It will be a long process to find land, hire engineering consultants and build it. You're talking about a huge space for animals, not buildings for people,” he said.
“Moving the animals from one place to another is a long process in itself. People working on this project might need to work round-the

Egypt: These protests are for animals!
Peaceful protests and the cooperation of animal welfare groups get results
At a time when Egypt is doing its best to establish a just and humane society for all of its inhabitants, so the animal welfare activists in that country are trying to do the same for animals, whether domesticated, working animals, or those in captivity.
The Giza Zoo in Cairo, in particular, was singled out for a demonstration on April 16th outside its main gate. Dina Zulfikar, one of Egypt’s most staunch animal welfare advocates, organized the demonstration to protest some of the conditions inside the zoo and to demand investigations into conflict of interest in management of the facility, with the same person heading up both the zoo and CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Wildlife unit.
Dina explained that “a zoo is a breeding and exhibition operation, while CITES deals with wildlife and other animals that travel between countries.” This can create a conflict when it comes to issuing permits for the entry and exit of animals.
Among the organizations participating in the protest were ESMA (Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals), ESAF (Egyptian Society of Animal Friends), and AWAR (Animal Welfare Awareness Research group), along with many individual animal rights activists, supporters and other concerned Egyptians.
The protesters also called for the adoption of more humane animal population control policies such as TNVR (Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Release) programs for dogs and cats, regulations and guidelines for pet breeders and pet shops, and an end to the illegal trade in primates, reptiles and other exotic animals sold on the black market.
In short, the protesters were asking for the passage of animal welfare legislation which will provide legal standards for the humane treatment of working animals, domesticated animals, zoo animals and wildlife, animals at breeders and pet shops, and humane standards for the slaughter of livestock. Without such laws being passed, there are no legal consequences for animal cruelty and mistreatment.

Tuna banned from wildlife park café
DALTON zoo boss David Gill has moved to ban tuna from his restaurant.
South Lakes Wild Animal Park used to go through two tonnes of the fish a year.
But then an inspirational pep talk from his nine-year-old son, Hari, brought about a sudden change of heart.
Mr Gill said: “We’ve decided to go tuna-free.
“My son prompted the move. He has a real passion for whales and dolphins. He did a three-mile sponsored walk last year to raise money for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.
“When Hari said to me: ‘I’ve found out about this problem and I don’t want dolphins to die, I’m going to do a sponsored walk to try and raise money to save them’, I thought raising money is brilliant but one thing we have to do is make people aware of the situation because education is everything.
“It is a wonderful thing that a young boy can have such an influence on his dad.”
And with tuna being banned from the menu, Mr Gill has sought a host of replacements.
He said: “We’re trying to be ethically correct and it’s no good us preaching about conservation then doing something that is going to be harmful to animals.
“We’re reviewing everything and this one is a big one.
“Now, instead of having tuna on a jacket potato, for instance, we’re using chilli.
“We feed nearly quarter of a million

Ailing Emperor penguin moves to zoo
The ailing Emperor penguin on the Kapiti Coast beach is being moved to Wellington Zoo where it will receive a full health check.
The juvenile penguin, which stands about a metre tall and weighs about 10 kilograms, was first spotted on Peka Peka Beach on Monday afternoon after swimming 7000 kilometres from Antarctica.
Vets have examined the penguin at Peka Peka Beach and confirmed that it is showing signs of deterioration in health, although they say it is not clear at this stage why.
To avoid unnecessary stress the bird is being moved as soon as possible in a large chilled container, the Department of Conservation said

Twelve arrivals at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park
Port Lympne and Howletts wild animal parks have welcomed many new additions to their ever-growing family of animals. At the beginning of May, Port Lympne wild animal and safari park greeted the birth of 12 Blue Wildebeest infants.
Most of the Blue Wildebeests, also known as Brindled Gnu, live within Port Lympne's new African Experience safari. The 100-acre area is already home to giraffes and zebras, and now welcomes more of the Blue Wildebeest.
Bob Savill, Head Hoofstock Keeper, said: "Because the African Experience is such a great open area, it allows us to replicate the natural herd life of the wildebeest."
The Blue Wildebeest arrived in Port Lympne wild Animal Park in 2004 after an Austrian zoo closed down. The 12 infants were born within a couple of weeks of each other, something that is not uncommon due to seasonal breeding.
Port Lympne offers visitors the opportunity to experience the safari park while aboard a special safari truck. As part of a 1 million-pound investment, the new African Experience aims to inform visitors about the great conservation projects they are involved in. The redevelopment also includes three new play areas and two restaurants that offer breathtaking views.
Managing Director Bob O'Connor said: "After extensive customer research, we re-imagined the park and have delivered a new format that not only overcomes the problems of scale and topography at our vast attraction

Rhino charges Irwin family at Qld zoo
A rhino has charged at Terri Irwin and her two children, forcing them to scatter as they promoted the hefty mum's new calf.
Ms Irwin, Bindi and Robert were sitting on a log inside the rhino enclosure at Australia Zoo, on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, when the protective mum became upset.
She charged to within a metre of the late Crocodile Hunter's family, after her curious calf Savannah wandered a little too close to the Irwin trio.
"Who's got a muddy nose?" Ms Irwin

Video here:

Tukkies vets launch plan to save rhinos
The University of Pretoria has joined the country's wildlife parks in the fight against poaching with a massive project to profile the DNA of all Southern Africa's rhinos.
In what will be a world first, the university's department of veterinary science and SANparks, which manages all South Africa's national parks, will compile a database of the DNA profiles of all the country's 22000 black and white rhinos, as well as of rhinos in Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana.
The database will enable investigators to match rhinos that have been killed by poachers to horns found in their possession.
It is likely to lead to a larger number of poaching convictions and tougher sentencing.
The project began informally in 2009 with fewer than 100 DNA samples but the database now contains more than 2000.
Cindy Harper, head of veterinary science at the University of Pretoria, said: "In the last month the project received about 1000 DNA profiles from rhino populations in national parks and the private sector. They were from poached animals, from stock piles and from hunting trophies."
She said the primary intention in the compilation of the database was to support poaching investigations. She said the university was supplying SANparks with DNA sampling kits.
The kits were developed by SANparks' environmental crime investigation unit, the police forensics laboratory and the university's veterinary genetics laboratory.
Harper said the university has produced and distributed the first 1000 kits with the support of a R100000 grant from SA Breweries.
SANparks CEO David Mabunda said the project would make it more likely that poachers will be charged not only with possession of rhino horn but also with illegal hunting and theft.
"This will go a long way towards changing the trend of suspects found in possession of rhino horn being charged only with possession because the horns in their

Zoos must 'walk the talk' in their commitment to conservation
The world has changed immeasurably in the past decade and so must zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums.
In many countries historical and social perceptions of zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums as places purely for entertainment still persist and in some cases they are justified.
If zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums are to play an important role in conservation, they must face any opposition head on, by understanding criticism, adapting where necessary and explaining what they do in ways that gain community support.
They must be clear to their communities that their mission is conservation, which is carried out in unison with the highest animal care standards and best practice visitor experience.
The global vision for zoos and aquariums, as stated in the World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy 2005, is to operate across the whole spectrum of conservation activities, including off-site breeding of threatened species to sustain biological diversity within the collection or for breed-to- release programmes.
It also involves collaborative research projects, conservation partnerships, community engagement, training conservation specialists and advocacy for wildlife to support species survival, home range populations and wild habitats.
Zoos and aquariums now seek to be models of integrated conservation - educators, conservators, scientists and powerful agents for change.
Zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums in the 21st century bear a tremendous responsibility for the animals in their care and in helping to conserve biodiversity.
At the same time, if zoos and wildlife parks and aquariums are to remain relevant in today's society they must constantly challenge the way they respond to their responsibilities. They must "walk the talk" in areas of sustainability, conservation, animal ethics and advocacy.
Many zoos integrate sustainable practices throughout the whole organisation, and this is particularly true of Wellington Zoo.
The general success of zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums as conservation organisations that strive to meet the highest standards of animal welfare is a story still largely untold and not sufficiently celebrated.
Zoos and aquariums have a massive global audience (10 per cent of the world's population visit zoos each year) and are perfectly placed to advocate for species and change community attitudes and

Uggah: Zoo given ample warning before animal seizure
The Saleng Zoo management was given ample warning before its animals were seized by wildlife authorities.
Disproving the management's earlier claims, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said the zoo was issued notices of wrongdoings and given advice on how to improve the welfare of the animals.
“We took all the necessary steps. We could have done it much earlier, but we had to follow procedures,” said Uggah.
He said he told the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhi-litan) on June 8 to take action against the zoo under the Wildlife Conser-vation Act 2010.
“There was a lot of planning involved leading up to the operation,” said Uggah after opening the 11th South-East Asian Survey and 13th International Surveyors' Cong-ress here yesterday.
Some 80 Perhilitan personnel were involved in the animal rescue mission on Monday.
The department said as of 12.30pm on the

From now on, only one window to view zoo lions
UPSET with vistors who hurl objects and tease animals, Delhi Zoo authorities have put up bamboo and iron mesh curtains on three sides of the lion cage located at the centre of the zoo. The lions, shifted elsewhere earlier, have been brought back to the enclosure and visitors will now be able to see them only from a viewing area situated at a safe distance.
Zoo authorities say that in future, the enclosures of big animals will have a safe viewing area instead of having openings on three sides. Amitabh Agnihotri, Director of Delhi Zoo, said they reacted because visitors did not stop teasing animals. “Cages are meant to have just one viewing area. So we have put up the bamboo wall around the cage,” he said.
The lion cage, which required repairing, has a fresh stone boundary. “It was built years ago and was in need of repairs. So we repaired the place and brought back four lions

Bond with the beast at new abode
There will be a new address for animals lodged at the Jaipur Zoo. In an attempt to house them in a larger enclosure, most of the animals would be relocated at a new enclosure to be prepared at the Nahargarh Biological Park (NBP). The move to shift the zoo recently got a boost after a MoU with a Japanese organisation recently got through. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) since 1990 has been supporting 11 Indian states to protect and develop forests and environment--- out of which Rajasthan is one.
"There were problems of funds and water. But now that has been solved. We have arranged water from the Bagwara village under the Daulatpura panchayat through two deep tubewells and the MoU with Japan will give us the money. The move will follow soon," says R N Mehrotra, Head of Forest Forces and (HoFF) and Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF).
"Every cage in the new site will be prepared in accordance to the Central Zoo Authority norms. Enclosures that have a thick vegetation inside will be smaller in comparison to those that do not have much vegetation. The whole idea is to ensure visibility. We have already shifted at least six Sambhars and deer," says assistant conservator of forest Devendra Bhardwaj.
The new site for the zoo will be at the northern end of the NBP and there will be a separate enclosure for birds, water holes and a park with various facilities for tourists. "Except for the birds and the reptiles all the animals will be removed from the present zoo site and housed here. This will serve as a satellite zoo," he adds.
At the Nahargarh Biological Park, so far some work like road construction, building construction, construction of some enclosures, fencing of the boundary have been completed and the rest of the work is expected to be done soon. Officials revealed that for the development of the NBP, a plan having an outlay of Rs 10 crore has been prepared by the depar

Animal Rescue Rewards Worth Risks for Zoo Staff
Local animal shelter and wildlife preserve rescues possum and small dog within the last two months
John Bergmann joined the Associated Humane Society out of high school and 37 years later still has the same passion for rescuing animals.
Bergmann, the director of Popcorn Park Zoo, rescued a mother possum stranded on the top of a pilling in Barnegat Bay in late April. He took his own kayak to paddle out to the animal 20 feet out in the bay.
Saving stranded creatures is just one of many daily tasks for employees at Popcorn Park. The organization, established in 1977, provides safety and care for injured, abandoned and abused wildlife.
Spanning several acres

Zoo volunteers share amazing animal tales (Interesting read... just the sort of thing kids and adults like to hear)
How far can a tiger jump? How long can a python go with out eating? What is the most valuable substance on Earth?
From how a kangaroo got its pouch to how the tiger got its stripes, children heard folk tales and learned interesting facts about animals around the world, as told by Rolling Hills Zoo volunteers at the Clay Center Library's "One World, Many Animals" program Tuesday. Children also got to see up close some live animals, a rhino's horn, an elephants tusk and a python's hide.
Animals make great characters in stories, said Rolling Hills volunteer Cynthia Hoffman, and she recommended children pick up books about animals at the library, including a new book. "Armadillo Chilli."
An Australian folk tale on how kangaroos got their pouches starts with a mother kangaroo helping a cranky wombat find food and water.
"A long time ago kangaroos didn't have pouches," Hoffman said. "This one mother kangaroo, she had this joey that was unbelievable -- he was here, he was there, he was all over the place. She had a terrible time trying to keep track of this joey, and on that of that, she had this cranky, whiny joey to deal with."
When kangaroos and the wombat stumble across a hunter while grazing in a meadow, the mother kangaroo saves them by grabbing a hold of her joey, letting the wombat grab her tail and running to safety. The wombat, who's actually Mother Nature in disguise rewards the mother kangaroo by giving her a pouch, so she can always keep her joey close and safe, Hoffman said.
Baby kangaroos when they are born are only about the size of bumblebee, doesn't have eyes or back legs, and barely has forearms to hang on as it rides inside its mothers pouch, the children learned. They grow up to be six-feet tall as adults.
In Australia, kangaroos are like whitetail deer in Kansas in that they can be a nuisance, they destroy crops and cause car accidents, Hoffman said. Australia actually has a hunting season on the animals to control their numbers, and people

African hunting cheetah cubs at Mysore Zoo
The cubs of African hunting cheetah will now be available for public viewing at the Mysore Zoo.
The zoo will host them in an enclosure on Wednesday. In all, three cubs, including two females, were born to Brinda at the zoo on April 27. Brinda was brought

Four tiger cubs born in Chhattisgarh zoo
In welcome news for wildlife lovers, two tigresses have between them given birth to four cubs at Maitri Bagh zoo in Chhattisgarh’s steel city Bhilai.
‘We are thrilled to announce that Maitri Bagh zoo has four new guests, a rare white tigress has given birth to three cubs recently while a Royal Bengal tigress has borne a cub,’ a statement said Wednesday.
The zoo is located 30 km west of state capital Raipur. It is managed by the Bhilai Steel Plant, the flagship unit of the public sector Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL).
With birth of the three white tiger cubs, the number of white tigers in the zoo has gone up to 10 while the number of Royal Bengal tigers

Zoo and Aquarium Association Uses IBM Cloud Technology to Support Endangered Species Program
IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that the Zoo and Aquarium Association of Australia is using IBM cloud-based social collaboration services to help the organization accelerate its endangered species program. IBM is helping to speed up knowledge transfer and encouraging collaboration on priority projects across 90 zoos and aquariums in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
The cloud solution was donated though the IBM Trailblazer program which was established in 2010 to provide software, services and consulting grants to respond directly to the needs of local non-profit organizations to improve their effectiveness. Association members, such as keepers and planners, are using the software to help support the longevity of endangered species through breeding programs, which are amongst the largest in the world.
'LotusLive™ Engage is an integrated suite of social collaboration tools that combine a company's business social network with capabilities such as file storing and sharing, instant messaging, Web conferencing and activity management. This seamless, security-rich integration allows users to share

Srinagar zoo on cards
The summer Capital of Srinagar is all set to have a Zoo as the Central Zoo Authority has given a go ahead for the proposal, Minister of State for Forests and Environment, Shabir Ahmed Khan Thursday said during his visit to Dachigam National Park where he took stock of Wild Life conservation projects under execution.
The Minister said for the purpose two locations have already been identified in Srinagar, adding that formulation of concept plan is under process and would be forwarded soon to the Centre for release of funds.
The Minister during his extensive field visit of the park was satisfied by the measures taken by functionaries of wild life department for safeguarding wild animals besides eco-system and forest areas .
Wild Life Warden Central Division, Rashid

Darjeeling to get new off display breeding center endangered Himalayan animals
The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (PNHZP) Darjeeling, is all set to start an off display breeding centre for rare and endangered Himalayan species, specially snow leopards and red pandas at Tobgay Danra on the way to Peshok around 20 km from Darjeeling town. The forest department has allott ed 5 hectares of forest land for this.
The PNHZP was founded in 1958 and specializes in the captive breeding of endangered Himalayan species including Snow Leopard, Red Panda, Tibetan Wolf; Blue Sheep, Himalayan Tahr and Satyr tragopan (crimson horned pheasant.) At present all these animals are being bred in enclosures at the PNHZP premises in Darjeeling.
The PNHZP is the coordinating zoo for the red panda breeding programme (Project Red Panda) in India. Under this programme red pandas are bred in captivity at PNHZP, Gangtok zoo in Sikkim and Itanagar zoo. The first breeding success

Three employees of Chhatbir Zoo suspended for negligence
The Forest and Wild Life Protection Minister Arunesh Shakar today issued a show cause notices to three officers of Chattbir Zoo besides suspending a class four employee on the charge of negligence in duty.
According to an official spokesman, the action has been taken after publication of a photograph where some unidentified youth were seen making drink liquid substance mixed with cold drink to Jaguar lodged in Chattbir Zoo.
He said that the Minister has designated Gurbaz Singh Chief Wild Life Warden to hold an enquiry into the issue while Zoo Keeper Dharampal has been suspended. He said that show cause notices have been issued to

Training and foot care in Chester Zoo’s Greater one horned rhinoceros
Sarah Beck, Chester Zoo




Calls mount for China to boost animal welfare
Animal welfare advocates in Asia, who gathered in southwest China for a regional meeting, have called for better protection of animals.
Participants at the Asia for Animals Conference 2011, which ended in the southwestern city of Chengdu over the past week, particularly urged the timely passage of China's first comprehensive animal welfare law -- the China Animal Protection Law, which has been shelved at the national legislature since the release of its draft in September 2009.
About 100 countries in the world have enacted laws to protect animal welfare, experts say.
Mang Ping, a professor with Central Institute of Socialist Studies in Beijing, said abuses on animals commonly exist in the industrial breeding, transport, and slaughter of animals for food in China.
"The suffering of animals going through the whole process is beyond imagination," Mang said, adding that animals are reportedly raised with hormone-altering feed by some farm owners hoping to cash in on the rise in the number of full-grown animals for

Krill or kill: secret seal supper
THEY were plucking whiskers from a groggy leopard seal before they heard the crack. A few moments later, David Slip, four of his colleagues and the seal were sliding into near-freezing Antarctic water as the ice floe they were sharing broke apart.
''I was kind of hoping he was going to swim the other way,'' said Dr Slip, a biologist with the Australian marine mammals research centre at Taronga Zoo.
Fortunately the animal, weighing several hundred kilograms, showed little interest in hanging around.
The men, wearing special suits to protect them from exposure, clambered to safety aboard two Zodiac inflatable boats as several pieces of equipment sank to the sea floor.
Dr Slip returned to Australia in March after a summer spent with lightly tranquillised leopard seals on the Antarctic peninsula, using a rare isotope of nitrogen found in their whiskers to work out what the seals have been eating.
Nitrogen-15, which carries one more neutron in its nucleus than common nitrogen-14, stays in the body of animals longer, and a predator will

Zoo to turn poop into power
The Toronto Zoo plans to turn waste from its animals into power.
The zoo said that it would team up with ZooShare Biogas Co-operative Inc. to develop and operate a 500 kW biogas plant.
The project will be the first co-operatively-owned biogas plant in Canada as well as the first zoo-based biogas plant of its kind in North America.
Under the plan, Toronto-based ZooShare will be fully responsible for funding, designing, developing, constructing and operating the plant on lands leased from the zoo.
Both food waste from a major grocery retailer and all of the zoo's manure, which is currently composted, will go to the proposed plant where it will be processed into electricity, heat and fertilizer.
This will result in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 10,000 tonnes CO2, which

Will L.A. Zoo manage a better future?
City officials and advocates agree on one thing: They want the Los Angeles Zoo to thrive.
The question being explored now, however, is what is the best way to accomplish that.
Should it remain a department under control of the city or should it be spun off into a new public-private partnership?
It is a multimillion-dollar question involving one of the largest municipal zoos in the country with a $26 million budget from the city.
Councilman Tom LaBonge, whose district includes the zoo, said he has come to believe it would be better for the institution to be run by a private group, with city support being phased out over the years.
"Most zoos have some sort of partnership," LaBonge said. "What we need to do is develop a partnership to make sure the zoo is run well.
"I want to make sure it stays a zoo and not some amusement park. The L.A. Zoo has a very dedicated group of city employees and we have to make sure they are taken care of."
LaBonge is chair of the Arts, Parks Health and Aging Committee, which

City to acquire more animals for zoo
VISITORS can expect to see more animals and a carousel in the Cebu City Zoo soon.
Zoo keepers will buy more animals from abroad for local visitors and more domestic animals for foreign visitors to see, said Dr. Alice Utlang, head of Cebu City’s Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fishery.
They plan to acquire an albino carabao and Casuari, deer and a female Bengal tiger to give Bogart, the zoo’s lone tiger a mate, said Giovanni Romarate, Cebu City zoo manager.
The zoo’s only cobra and two colasisi died of old age earlier this year, he said.
Utlang said they aim to adopt international standards for keeping zoo animals free from pain, stress, hunger, thirst and disease.
They also want zoo staff to be given venom vaccines.
Utlang said procurement of veterinary supplies for the zoo is slow and should be improved this year.
Romarate said they will also replace cages with better barriers for the animals “so that they would not feel like captives.”
The zoo would be transformed to make it look more like the animals’ natural habitat.
They will also build a carousel in the zoo atrract more visitors, Romarate said.
From January to May 2011, the zoo recorded 400,000 visitors compared to 700,000 visitors from January to June last year.
Romar attributed the fall in the number of visitors to bad

Rio Zoo Primates Snuggle Up to Beat Winter Chill (Interesting Video)
As the southern hemisphere winter nears, animals in Rio de Janeiro zoo have been braving lower temperatures. But the chilly nights could be over as zoo keepers treat orangutans and chimpanzees to blankets and warming soups.
In a bid to keep the animals warm, zoo keepers doled out covers and changed their diet, after thermometers dipped as low as 49.3 degrees Fahrenheit in the past week.
The orangutans welcomed their new fuzzy blankets, with residents Tanguinha and Else wrapping themselves up in the covers throughout the day.
The chimps also seem to enjoy their tasty pea soups that are part of a new diet richer in carbohydrates and vitamin C. Tropical fruits like watermelon and pineapple have been replaced by corn, potatoes and oranges.
Biologist Karla Cunha said it was the first year they were giving soups to beat the cold.
[Karla Cunha, Biologist]:
"These animals are very sensitive to drastic temperature changes, so we have been doing these actions for some years now and every year we innovate, we invent something new. This year we started giving soups and broths."
Heaters have been installed in the building where baby animals are kept in Rio's zoo. Four baby monkeys from the Amazon arrived in the past days.
Even though the winter season doesn’t officially begin until June 21, a polar air mass arrived early

Alberta zoo owner declares his property a church
An Alberta man facing a deadline to close his private zoo has decided to call his property a place of worship in hopes that the designation will help him keep his animals.
Guzoo Animal Farm owner Lynn Gustafson has started calling his property near Three Hills "a parsonage," and has declared his hundreds of exotic and domestic animals as having found sanctuary.
The designation means, according to Gustafson, that his animals are protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
"We are kind of looking after God's creatures so I guess we are kind of the same as we have always been — a sanctuary," he said.
Gustafson has 400 animals including tigers, a New Guinea singing dog, lynx and a baboon.
The move doesn't impress Zoocheck Canada's Julie Woodyer, who said Gustafson is trying to stall the removal

Bill Haast, creator of Miami Serpentarium, dies at 100
If snake venom holds the secret to a long life, then Bill Haast had the magic.
The man who mesmerized generations of paying customers from 1947 to 1984 by extracting venom at his Miami Serpentarium as a spine-tingling South Florida attraction is dead.
He died of natural causes Wednesday in Punta Gorda, on Florida's west coast, where he had made his home. He was 100 years old.
Born William E. Haast on Dec. 30, 1910, in Paterson, N.J., he was a South Florida celebrity for surviving successive venomous snakebites. Friday, his wife, Nancy, put his lifetime tally at 172. The legacy left him immunized, enabling him to donate life-saving blood to 21 victims across the years.
All survived, she said.
Grainy black-and-white television footage from 1962, now part of the Wolfson Archive, shows a,0,3503132.story

Assam Zoo plans to breed highly endangered langurs
A breeding centre for endangered golden langurs may soon come up in the premises of the Assam Zoo.
Only a handful of golden langurs (Trachypithecusgeei) are found in the Manas Tiger reserve in lower Assam and in the Umananda temple on river Brahmaputra near here.
Zoo divisional forest officer Utpal Bora said, "The project is highly ambitious and right now it is at a preliminary stage. We have submitted the initial proposals to the government to set up the breeding centre inside the zoo which is a very suitable location for their breeding."
"This initiative has been approved by the government and a detailed report for forming an expert team and construction of an enclosure are being prepared," Bora said.
The zoo DFO said the

Activists oppose Chiangmai Zoo’s polar bear exhibition
After the Chiangmai Zoo has decided to showcase a polar bear, many people and activists denounced the move, saying it would be tantamount to animal cruelty.
Under heavy criticisms on the move to exhibit polar bear, Chiangmai Zoo had held a public forum to listen to public opinion. Over 100 people from different organizations participated in the forum.
A representative from Lanna Bird and Nature Conservation Club said polar bear exhibition at the zoo was unacceptable. He explained that the sub-standard conditions at the zoo and the tropical climate in Thailand were not suitable for the animal. It is pointed out that that

16 gharials born in Punjab zoo
As many as 16 gharials, categorised as critically endangered species, have been born at Chhat Bir zoo in Banur, about 15 km from here, officials said here today. The zoo officials are working overtime to save all the 16 broods in the wake of the death of 12 newborn gharials under mysterious circumstances last year. The gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) is one of the three crocodilians found in India. Characterised by long, slender snouts, it is one of the longest of all living crocodilians. The newborns have emerged in the past two to three days and have been separated from the adults, officials said. A gharial mother hides the eggs under sand during the 80 to 90 days of incubation period. However, the newborn creeps into water within a day or two

Snakes and leaders need a change of image

A red sand boa is missing from Mumbai’s Byculla Zoo. Hindustan Times quotes zoo director Anil Anjankar as saying: “The snake has not been misplaced... this snake was stolen.” The authorities have been very prompt in their response to the absconding snake; they have decided to raise the height of the zoo fence. But this is a sand boa (whose main activity is burrowing in the sand) and not part of the Chrysopelea (flying snake) family. The boa could have gone underground when its keepers were looking the other way.


According to Maharashtrian superstition, if the boa and an albino tortoise are killed with the nails of an owl, there will be a shower of money in the house. It is not as elaborate as Shakespeare’s “Eye of newt, and toe of frogge,/Wool of bat, and tongue of dogge,/Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,/Lizard's leg, and howlet’s wing.” But you must remember that for the spell to work, the boa must be more than 3.5 kg in weight. Sand boas, like the wives of some of our richest industrialists, are short and stout.


The boa is an unloved creature. You might conceivably have a crush on a boa constrictor; remember models Milind Soman and Madhu Sapre were pulled up for obscenity for appearing in an ad dressed only in a snake. They were trying to sell shoes. Both the shoe brand and snake have now disappeared.


Vanishing snakes are not a feature of Mumbai alone. In March, a cobra went AWOL from New York’s Bronx Z

African Penguins face extinction

Cape Town conservation group hand-rears penguins and releases them into refuge.


When four pickup trucks packed with boxes full of chubby African Penguins arrived at Stoney Point, the welcome was less than tremendous.


Hundreds of mature penguins in the existing colony lay out in the morning sun, oblivious to the 63 birds — adults first, then juveniles — who waddled out onto the sand and into the Indian Ocean. A handful of volunteers and onlookers showed up to watch the release.


"At Betty's Bay, people just see penguins, penguins, penguins. They're everywhere — people chase them out of their gardens," said Venessa Strauss, CEO of the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB).


The release of the penguins was part of the effort to boost South Africa's endangered African Penguin.


Cape Town's most famous penguin colony is at Boulders Beach which has a network of boardwalks and viewing points to protect the birds from humans and vice versa. Boulders drew some 88,000 visitors last year, says the National Parks service. Sometimes a few penguins will swim out to people at the next beach, or take a nip at a stray finger. The casual visitor would think that the penguins are thriving.


In fact the penguins are sometimes seen as a nuisance to people who live in neighborhoods near the few land-based colonies. More penguins live on nearby

Private rhinos under siege

Though the police have intensified their anti-poaching operations in national parks, owners of private game reserves fear that criminals are moving in on them and their rhino.


On Friday, a pregnant rhino was killed at a private reserve in Gauteng.


Selomie Maritz, of the eBlockwatch Rhino Dream Team - a private network of individuals fighting poaching - said rhinos had been killed at the same reserve two weeks ago.


She and her team believe the remaining rhinos there are in grave danger and so would not identify the reserve.


Five rhino were killed at the reserve last year.


In Limpopo on Thursday the carcass of a bull was found at a private reserve, she said. A month ago, on the same farm, poachers killed a rhino cow and calf.


"They took the mother's horn and the calf's tiny horn, and even removed its toenails," said Maritz.


Private game owners are now constantly on edge.


On Saturday, two reserve owners in North West called the police when they saw a helicopter hovering near their rhinos.


Reserve co-owner Jacqueline Burger said: "We were very concerned; we are anxious all the time because of what is happening to these animals in South Africa at the moment.


"I immediately called the police and got in contact with Andre Snyman, of eBlockwatch, who tried to get more information on the helicopter.


"My husband then followed the helicopter, which eventually landed next door. My husband was about to beat [the pilot] up when it turned out that our neighbour had decided to take a trip with a friend."


Maritz said poachers often wounded rhinos

Punjab budget: More funds for zoo than minority citizens

“The chief minister’s (CM) regard and vision for minorities can been judged from the Punjab government’s allocation of a measly Rs220 million for minorities. Even the Lahore Zoo has been allocated Rs390 million,” Pervez Rafique, PPP MPA on a reserved seat for minorities, said on Monday.

Officials remove 60 animals from Saleng Zoo

The animals at the Saleng Zoo have finally been “set free”, with the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) spearheading the rescue mission.


Armed with tranquilliser guns, metal cutters and blowtorches, a huge team of officials raided the zoo in an operation that began at 10am.


The entire exercise to remove the animals, said to number about 60, is expected to last at least a week.


The raid, the first in the country since the new Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 was enforced last December, culminated in the seizure of dozens of protected animals which included bears, tigers, lions, snakes, monkeys, porcupines, crocodiles, birds and ostriches. The zoo has about 40 species of animals.


Starprobe had exposed the situation at several zoos last month where animals were being kept in atrocious and pitiful conditions that went against international and local zoo guidelines.


Saleng Zoo was one of the zoos named. Its animal trainer and zookeeper J. Sivapriyan offered no resistance as the




Zoos and their flexible friend, the minister

It was good to see Malaysian NGO groups become more vocal, even encouraging the thoroughly discredited and despised Perhilitan to be more proactive is no bad thing. But, to suggest Perhilitan have their claws out for lawbreakers is, I fear, wildly optimistic.


Perhilitan have a well deserved notoriety along with their paymasters at the Ministry of Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, for complicity in the illegal wildlife trade and their cozy relationship with some zoo owners who participate in the trade as well as keep their animals in horrific conditions.


Just today, the illegal traders and zoo’s flexible friend minister Douglas Embas, announced he has given bad zoos yet another six month extension to comply with the new wildlife protection law.


So this means it will be 12 months before the new law, much heralded by Douglas Embas last year will be enforced – unless the minister provides the zoos with another generous ‘keep out of gaol’ card’.


When it comes to protecting wildlife the minister and his staff appear to model themselves on the three brass monkey’s: ‘Hear no evil, Speak no evil, See no evil’


Such is the contempt with which the minister is

Experts call for less care for pandas

Several wildlife experts have warned that China's giant pandas might be a little spoiled.


While the welfare of the animals must still be taken into consideration, experts have said that the pandas should actually be given less care than they are currently used to, as it may prevent them from adapting to living in the wild.


Giant pandas, one of the country's national treasures, often receive more care in zoos and research centers than other animals.


"It is unfair for the animals to breed them in captivity like pets," said Zhang Jinyuan, vice head of the Beijing Zoo.


Most panda cubs begin life in an incubator, far from the natural touch of their mother. These pandas don't even have to mate when they get older, as artificial insemination ensures that they will reproduce, regardless of their mating habits.


According to Zhang Hemin, chief of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, the ability of China's pandas to mate is eroding because of the tradition of using artificial insemination to help the animals reproduce.


In southwest Sichuan Province, the Wolong panda breeding research base is home to a variety of male and female pandas born in captivity. Approximately one-third of the base's female pandas and two-thirds of its male pandas, however, have shown no interest in mating.


"During their mating season, they have failed to seek out new partners on their own," Zhang Hemin said.


Zhang Hemin said that even with the help of breeding experts, about 70 percent of the base's panda couples will fail to mate.


The captive nature of the pandas also causes problems

Zoo inmates to get new home decor

The hoolocks at Lucknow zoo will get a feel of their native state -- Assam -- in their enclosure. The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has given funds to the zoo to carry out changes in the enclosures of some animals including that of Kaalu and Rani, the pair of hoolock gibbons.


Kaalu was brought here in 1988 from Dehradun. A decade later, Rani was brought from Mumbai to pair with him. But zoo officials are concerned that even after 13 years, the pair has not bred. Since hoolocks are found in Assam, zoo authorities thought about simulating climatic conditions of the tropical forests of northeast in their enclosure.


"We had asked for funds from CZA," said zoo director Renu Singh. The CZA has released Rs 33.23 lakh. The funds will be used to install sprinklers and foggers in hoolocks' enclosure. While doing the interiors, wooden logs, swings, platforms and huts will be added to give enclosure the look of a dense forest.


Breeding of endangered species is a defined aim for zoos. Since the hoolocks have not bred even once, there is a possibility that the pair has still not acclimatised

Lion Man owes Wayne Peters $86k

High-profile Northland lawyer Wayne Peters has taken "Lion Man" Craig Busch to court in a bid to recover more than $86,000 in legal fees.


The case has dragged on for about two years as attempts to serve Mr Busch, who is believed to be in Africa, with legal papers have been unsuccessful.


Mr Busch is the former owner of Zion Wildlife Gardens and starred in the TV show The Lion Man.


The Advocate has obtained a copy of Judge Keith de Ridder's decision in the Whangarei District Court, which said Mr Busch engaged Wayne Peters and Associates for a variety of legal services for 7 months in August 2008.


Mr Peters refused to comment on the case.


The court decision says Mr Busch was billed $86,351.47 and, when he failed to pay, Mr Peters filed an application for summary judgment in October 2009.


Summary judgment is issued where there is no real contest on any debt that is claimed.


Since attempts to serve legal documents on Mr Busch failed, Mr Peters sought an order in May 2010 that the Lion Man's lawyers be served, and the order was granted.


No statement of defence was filed by Mr Busch, and Mr Peters

Copyright row over video of Dublin Zoo orang-utan and chick

A FILM of the dramatic rescue of a drowning chick by an orang-utan at Dublin Zoo has sparked a copyright row. Michael McGrane, Ashbourne, Co Meath, filmed a Bornean orang-utan called Jorong fishing a distressed baby moorhen out of a pond in its enclosure with a leaf more than four years ago.


In the clip, the orang-utan is seen coaxing the struggling bird out of the water with a leaf before examining it carefully, much to the amazement of onlookers.


Mr McGrane posted the clip on YouTube immediately. It sat largely unnoticed on the video-sharing site until early this week when it became an overnight internet sensation after being sold to a number of British national newspapers by a Birmingham-based news agency called News Team International.


The four-minute clip was filmed by Mr McGrane on his mobile in 2007. It has now been watched by hundreds of thousands on YouTube but until now, there had been confusion about its source.


The Daily Mail, one of the most popular websites in Britain, posted the video and an accompanying story on its site earlier this week, saying both the location and the cameraman were unknown. It also said copyright on the clip

Devon web star rhino Zuri moves home

A rare black rhino which was born at a Devon zoo and became an internet star has moved to a new home.


Zuri became the first rhino calf born at Paignton Zoo, when mother Sita gave birth in March 2007.


She became a hit on the BBC Devon website when webcams showed her mother's pregnancy and birth, and attracted interest around the world.


Now just over four-years-old, and weighting about a tonne, Zuri is at Chester Zoo.


'Cheeky and confident'


Curator of mammals Neil Bemment said: "Zuri is still a bit young to breed with our male, Manyara, so she is going to Chester as they have a female of a similar age.


"We don't know at this stage where or when Zuri will breed in the future."


Zoo spokesman Phil Knowling

Kenyan hated by poachers but loved by animals feted

A Kenyan who has saved hundreds of lions, vultures and birds from poisoning became Africa’s top conservationist when she won the prestigious National Geographic Annual Award.


“The award is the greatest accolade I have ever received for my work,” an elated Dr Paula Kahumbu the executive director of the Kenya Land Conservation Trust and WildlifeDirect said on learning of the award on Thursday.


The environmentalist, hated by poachers and loved by elephants for her fight against ivory poaching will today briefly break her quest to protect wildlife and travel to Washington to receive her award and $25,000 (Sh2.2 million) at a ceremony to be held on Tuesday.


Born and raised in Nairobi, she was mentored into the wild life care by the well-known conservationist Richard Leakey during the 1980s when elephants were being hounded in every corner of the country for their ivory.


With fervour, fellow conservationists say, she has been most vocal against poaching and calls to renew international trade in ivory.


“One of my happiest days in life was July 18

Great ape debate

The historical value of the chimpanzee as a disease model is indisputable. It was important in developing the Sabin polio vaccine; instrumental in discovering the infectious nature of the spongiform encephalopathies; and essential to both the creation of a vaccine against hepatitis B and the identification, in 1989, of the hepatitis C virus (HCV).


Humankind has benefited handsomely. Since the United States instituted universal childhood vaccination for hepatitis B in 1991, there has been a 98% decline in the disease in children under the age of 15 years. And with the identification of HCV, screening of donated blood for the virus reduced the risk of transfusion-associated hepatitis in the United States from 4% in 1989 to almost zero in 2000.


Today, chimpanzee research is still bearing fruit, especially for hepatitis C, a disease that infects at least 170 million people globally and often results in permanent liver damage or cancer. No approved vaccine yet exists. A study published in 2002 put the annual economic costs of the disease in the United States at more than US$750 million.


The chimpanzee is the only animal model in which human strains of HCV can replicate, making it especially important in work to develop a vaccine. And studies in this animal have propelled at least one hepatitis C vaccine into human trials. Other chimpanzee experiments are making inroads in developing better therapies for the disease. The case for chimpanzee use in some other circumstances — such as the effort to develop a vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus, which mainly affects

A Moratorium, or More of the Same?

In December 2007, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono launched Indonesia’s orangutan conservation strategy and action plan, which calls for all wild orangutan populations to be viable and stable by 2017.


The plan calls for an end to the destruction of orangutan habitat. Without such action, populations will not be stabilized by 2017.


To these ends, last month came the presidential instruction many of us hoped would be a step in the right direction. At first glance, the instruction looks good. It suspends the issuance of new licenses within primary natural forest and peatlands, in conservation forest, protected forest and production forest areas, with the aim of reducing Indonesia’s emissions of carbon dioxide that result from deforestation and forest fires.


As usual, however, the devil is in the details.


The instruction to suspend issuance of new licenses raises two problems. First, the instruction does not apply to areas with primary forest cover or peatlands that are outside the national forest estate. This has consequences for orangutans.


For example, many areas of peatland on the west coast of Sumatra with important orangutan populations do not appear on the map. These carbon-rich peatlands, which the government purportedly seeks to protect, are not covered.


Business as usual, therefore, means oil palm companies in these areas can clear what remains of these peatlands, and in doing so indirectly exterminate any remaining

Arabian oryx leaps back from near-extinction

The Arabian oryx, a desert antelope that may have sparked the legend of the unicorn, has bounced back after being hunted almost to oblivion, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said on Thursday.


Native to the Arabian peninsula, Oryx leucoryx has two long slender horns that in profile look as one, which may have fuelled the myth of the unicorn, the IUCN said.


The last Arabian oryx in the wild was shot in 1972 but after a nearly 40-year effort in captive breeding, its population stands at 1,000 individuals, the IUCN said, trailing an update of its "Red List" of threatened species.


An oryx was successfully reintroduced to the wild in Oman in 1982 and other returns have taken place in Saudi Arabia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and more recently in Jordan.


The oryx has now qualified for a move under the Red List

Scotland's 'bizarre' seal plans under fire

The Scottish government is coming under fire from environmental groups over plans to protect coastal sites used by only half of the nation's seals.


Numbers of harbour (or common) seals are declining, and campaigners say not protecting all the sites where they haul themselves onto land is "bizarre".


The government says it wants a balance that does not impact "other sustainable activities around the coast".


Its consultation on seal haul-out sites ends next week.


In the sites it designates, seals would be protected from "harrassment", under measures contained in the Marine Act passed last

Oklahoma City Zoo workers save spider with superglue

The brown tarantula gently sandwiched between Jeff Rife's hands didn't move or fuss much as an Oklahoma City Zoo staff member glued it back together.


The spider is about 6 or 7 years old and has been a resident of the Oklahoma Trails exhibit since it opened in 2007, said Rife, antelope supervisor at the zoo.


She's pretty good, as far as tarantulas go, Rife said, and she was her normal, docile self when zookeepers glued up her exoskeleton after a dangerous injury.


Zookeepers aren't sure how the tarantula got a nick on her abdomen, Rife said, but they spotted a soft, watery glob on top of her at the end of May.


“We weren't quite for sure what it was,” Rife said.


After some research, zoo staffers figured out it was part of the spider's innards. They used a cotton swab to gently tap the mass back inside, and then they dabbed skin adhesive — a kind


Read more:

Zoo launches new £25k hospital plea

EDINBURGH Zoo has launched a fundraising campaign to help finance urgently needed developments at its on-site animal hospital.


The attraction had planned to build an all-new facility, but was forced to put the plans on hold due to a lack of cash.


Now RZSS bosses hope to fill the money pot with up to £25,000 in donations so it can modernise the current hospital, including its key surgery and research areas.


In a statement outlining the appeal they pointed out that the facility required "urgent assistance to help ensure the highest standard of

Zoo authority spanner in rescue centre work

Central Zoo Authority (CZA) appears more interested in blocking the setting up of wildlife rescue centre in city than facilitating its setting up. It has, for the second time, returned the proposal with flimsy objections.


The proposal was first submitted to the CZA on October 15, 2010. On January 4, 2011, the CZA asked Gorewada zoo director to comply with six conditions. The revised proposal was submitted on March 25 after compliance. However, on June 6, the proposal was sent back to the PCCF (wildlife) asking fulfilling 12 conditions. Most of these are old ones that have already been complied with raising question whether CZA was intentionally stalling the move.


CZA sources said wildlife wing had been asked to rectify staffing pattern, plan for procurement of feed for carnivores, reconciliation of contour level, reduce height of boundary wall from 2.5 to 2 metres, restricting number of quarters and lowering estimate

Moscow Zoo closed because of infection

Moscow Zoo has urgently closed for suspected African swine fever infection. Yesterday night a 7 years old African river hog died. The animal didn't look ill the day before. The Zoo is closed on June, 16 and 17 because of this, for necessary experimentations and sanitary disposal.


By now, official veterinary has carried out disinfection already two times. They also took tests of feeding stuff and isolated animals contacted with a died hog.


Precise causes of the river hog's death will be found out today, on Friday. By now it is known only, that it was not anthrax. If the tests wouldn't confirm an African Plague, the Zoo can open already today.


African swine fever, or Montgomery

Take a number, get in line: Zoo wants to stay open

Take a number and get in line … The Minnesota Zoo would like to be exempted from the coming shutdown. Jessica Fleming of the PiPress reports: “Under Gov. Mark Dayton's plan, half of the zoo's 300 employees would be out of work, and the facility would be closed during what is generally its busiest month. The zoo earns about $50,000 in daily admissions in July, said zoo director Lee Ehmke. ‘We're not sure how we would ever recoup what was anticipated to be earned on these days,' Ehmke said. ‘It's what we count on to carry us through the colder and less visited months’. ... The zoo plans to argue that because it can survive on admissions revenue during the summer months, it should be allowed to stay open. Admissions revenue

Ex-safari park worker drops case

A former worker at Buckinghamshire's Woburn Safari Park who claimed he was forced out of his job after he raised concerns about conditions at the attraction has dropped his case for constructive dismissal.


Dr Paul O'Donoghue, of Ellesmere Port previously claimed he was the victim of constructive dismissal by Bedford Estates after leaving the job he held from January 5 2009 to December 5 2009.


He told a tribunal panel during preliminary legal argument in March that the "last straw" came in November that year when he had believed an elephant would escape, and "it did in fact escape".


He told the panel in Bedford: "There could have been disastrous consequences for staff, visitors and myself, as a result of that escape."


The park is owned by the Duke of Bedford and visited by more than 500,000 people a year.


Dr O'Donoghue also previously told the panel he was seen as a "trouble maker" and he believed that was for "raising issues".


But an official from the Bedford Employment Tribunals Service confirmed the case, due to resume on Monday, had been settled.


A statement on Woburn Safari Park's website said: "Woburn have recently been informed that ex-employee Paul O'Donoghue has withdrawn his case for unfair di

Naked Russian diver Natalia Avseenko tries to tame rare beluga whales

FACING sub-zero temperatures, with no protection from the elements, a female diver frolicks naked with beluga whales in a bizarre experiment designed to tame the shy creatures.


Diver Natalia Avseenko, 36, agreed to participate in the experiment designed by Russian scientists who believe belugas dislike artificial materials such as clothing and diving suits.


The average human could die if left in sub-zero temperatures for just five minutes, but amazingly Natalia survived in temperatures of minus 1.5 degrees Celsius for more than ten minutes.


Using her skills as a diver and yoga breathing techniques, she was

Tiger Encounter Linda Terry and Felicia Frisco

There is a paparazzi style media group called Splash that seem to make a career out of promoting cruel acts involving animals.


They promoted Jim Jablon spending a month in a cage with two lion cubs. The unemployed Jablon claimed to have made more than $70,000 off that publicity stunt, but did not say how much he had to pay Splash.


The very next month Splash was promoting Kevin Antle, who calls himself Doc Antle, on Good Morning America who vouched for the circus family of Frisco's who call their act Tiger Encounter. GMA had learned that Antle had sold the tiger to them, but he claimed that the cub was born at the Frisco's compound and that the cats were not related to his. No government agency currently keeps very good track of where they are born, sold or end up when they die which could explain why the U.S. is the second largest consumer of illegal tiger parts.


Some accounts state that Terry, Linda and Felicia Frisco are based out of Peoria and others say they are camped out in Tampa, Florida. They travel with tigers and elephants that are made to perform un natural acts before crowds of ill informed, or ill mannered people who either don't know or don't care about the suffering inherent in being forced to travel long hours, relegated to circus wagons, only to be put through their paces at the end of a whip or

bull hook



While the family claims to only train using positive reinforcement, that is what all

Insect virus creeps into North America, shuts down Portage commercial cricket grower

An obscure virus studied by only a handful of scientists is sending ripples of alarm through this country’s zoos and reptile-breeder communities.


The virus doesn’t hurt reptiles or any other animals. But in Europe, it wiped out a staple of the captive reptile diet.


Now it’s here.


“It moved through this factory like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” said Bob Eldred, general manager of Top Hat Cricket Farm Inc. in Portage, one of the country’s largest wholesale suppliers of crickets.


“We were seeing dead crickets everywhere within a matter of weeks. We dumped 30 million crickets we had right in the garbage.”


Until last year, cricket paralysis virus was Europe’s problem.


An outbreak of the pathogen swept that continent in 2002, essentially rendering the common brown cricket commercially extinct there.


But the virus found its way across the Atlantic Ocean and into Canadian and U.S. cricket-rearing facilities.


“My Canadian contact said it is spreading through the cricket

Eat or be Eaten is a fun, experiential bird show at the Tracy Aviary

In their continuing effort to educate people about birds and the environment, Tracy Aviary debuted their new bird show “Eat or be Eaten” Memorial Day weekend.


Along with crowd-pleasing king vulture and Australian emu, the show featured some local birds. Storm, a red-tailed hawk, swooped in from his perch on high to grab his prey. He also displayed a behavior known as mantling where he covered his food with his wings to hide it from thieves.


Maleficent, an American crow, showed off her caching prowess. Crows will store food for the winter either in a tree or buried. Buried items may be forgotten and grow into new plants.


Irvana, the turkey vulture, found the carrion that was left for her without flying to it. During a live show, it is good for everyone to expect the unexpected.


The show ends with Maleficent taking donations for the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. Bring some bills for that experience.


With plenty of audience participation and birds flying low overhead, “Eat or be Eaten” is an entertaining half hour that is included with admission to the Tracy Aviary.


During the summer, the Tracy Aviary will be open until 8:00pm on Mondays. Other interactive offerings, including feeding sun conures and pelicans, carry an additional cost. The Owl Forest

Norway-Indonesia forest deal: US$1 billion dollars worth of continued deforestation?

Here’s a copy of the Letter of Intent (pdf file 341 KB*) signed yesterday by Norway’s Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim and Indonesia’s Foreign Minister RM Marty M. Natalegawa. One billion dollars sounds like a lot of money, but it’s worth putting in perspective.


In 2010 alone, Norway will invest US$21.7 billion in its petroleum industry, including oil exploration. Every day, Norway produces 2.2 million barrels of oil. Oil production is declining, according to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, but gas production is increasing. This then is where Norway’s money comes from. Similar to its dual role in Amazon conservation and destruction, Norway is simultaneously ensuring that climate change gets worse, while claiming to address climate change through financing REDD.


Will the Norway-Indonesia forest deal at least reduce deforestation in Indonesia? Not very likely, at least judging from the Letter of Intent.


The first step is to produce a document “tentatively by October 2010, detailing the deliverables in the LoI . . . This Partnership will not be effective until the document has been agreed.” The Letter of Intent outlines three phases. Phase 1 is called “Preparation”, and runs until the end of this year. Phase 2, which runs from January 2011 until the end of 2013, is called “Transformation”. Phase 3 starts in 2014 and presumably runs

Race is on now that the session is out

One of the laws passed in the legislative session that just ended establishes the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre at Assiniboine Park.


In the final moments of the last session of the 39th legislature, provincial politicians unanimously passed a bill introduced just two weeks ago to clean up Lake Winnipeg.


The vote was barely recorded when the NDP fired out a press release questioning the Conservative Party's sincerity in supporting a law that clamps down on hog farmers and requires the city of Winnipeg to build a modern biological nutrient removal sewage treatment plant. It accused the Tories of flip-flopping on both issues.


Opposition Leader Hugh McFadyen shot back that cleaning up Manitoba's largest water body seemed to be the government's lowest priority. He said in nearly 12 years under the NDP's watch, the lake has deteriorated. He said the Conservatives will do better.


Let the election campaign begin.


Thursday was a day of emotional farewells and spirited debate as MLAs sat for the last time before the Oct. 4 provincial election. Ten MLAs -- several with family members looking on from the visitors' gallery -- said their goodbyes, including former Filmon cabinet minister Len Derkach, the most senior of the retiring members, and House Speaker George Hickes.


Flooding along Manitoba's rivers and lakes gripped the legislators' attention this spring, but underlying every political move was this fall's election in what promises to be a close race.


The Conservatives hammered the NDP at every turn over its decision




BP Oil Spill Turtles Released Into Gulf
All endangered sea turtles rescued off the coast of Louisiana in the wake of the BP oil spill last year have been released into the Gulf of Mexico.
The 30 turtles, the last of nearly 200 nursed back to health by Audubon Nature Institute of New Orleans, were released into their habitat off the coast of Venice, Louisiana, on Friday, May 27, 2011.
Audubon Nature Institute’s Louisiana Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program (LMMSTRP) worked closely with federal and state agencies such as Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, along with zoos and aquariums across the country, to quickly create and operate a highly effective program at Audubon Aquarium’s Aquatics Center to handle the turtles injured in the Deepwater Horizon incident. Most turtles

Disease endangers bat population
Despite their sometimes dubious reputation, bats are one of man's best friends in the animal kingdom, but a devastating disease is killing Pennsylvania's winged denizens of the night in staggering numbers.
Exactly what the impact of losing many of these natural exterminators remains to be seen, but it's safe to say a lot of bugs will not be getting eaten.
"A common female bat ... can eat about 4,500 insects per night," Pennsylvania Game Commission biologist Greg Turner said.
"They're above ground foraging for about 200, 220 days out of the year, so they have the potential to eat 900,000 insects per bat, and then, if we're going to lose millions of bats, that number of insects that are not going to be eaten is astronomical."
Just last week, a coalition of conservation, organic farming and anti-pesticide groups asked Congress to appropriate $10.8 million for research and management of White-Nose

Crocodiles in Cheshire trained to obey commands
Crocodiles at an aquarium in Cheshire have been trained to obey the commands of their keepers.
The Blue Planet Aquarium in Ellesmere Port said the two reptiles could open and close their mouths and hold out their front legs on demand.
The male and female cuvier's dwarf caimans have also been taught to respond to their names, to stay still and to return to the water, it added.
The training programme is based on a similar scheme in India.
Blue Planet Aquarium's Adam Mitchell said: "We are one of the very few places in the world that have trained our crocodilians. Not a lot of people do it.
Target stick
"It enables us to move them and put them in transport crates and do medical procedures without having to restrain them, which would potentially stress them out.
"Plus handling a dangerous animal can also be dangerous for us."
The cuvier's dwarf caimans are the smallest of the crocodilian species The crocodiles, a male called Paleo and a female called Suchus, have been trained

Fresno Zoo works to improve nutrition for animals
Every day at Fresno Chaffee Zoo, food is chopped, sliced and diced for hundreds of hungry mouths.
It's not happening at the snack bar. This is an industrial kitchen where getting that food to the animals takes hours of preparation.
Zookeepers can't just toss raw meat or a bucketful of grain at feeding time. And now Chaffee Zoo is getting help to make sure it is providing its animals the best possible nutrition.
Chaffee is the first zoo in the U.S. to join with the San Diego Zoo in a program to improve animal nutrition, said Michael Schlegel, director of nutritional services for the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park.
Schlegel will help guide Chaffee through its hundreds of different meals that meet specific dietary needs

Devon park operator secures Zoo Licence
Maximum Fun Holdings (MFH), the group which operates Crealy Great Adventure Park in Devon, has been successful in its application to the local authority for a Zoo Licence.
Devon County Council's decision to grant the licence will allow MFH to add exotic animals to the existing visitor offer at the attraction near Exeter.
A breeding pair of meerkats have become the first animals to go on show at Devon's Crealy Great Adventure Park, with marmoset monkeys due to arrive at the park in due course.
MFH managing director Rod Pearson said: "To receive our licence we have had to meet stringent criteria and ensure we have the resources to meet conservation standards at the zoo, as

Deadly amphibian disease found in Panama
A fast-spreading amphibian disease reached the last disease-free region of Central America, National Zoo scientists in Washington said Monday.
The discovery of chytridiomycosis in Panama's Darien region is troublesome for the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project, a consortium of nine U.S. and Panamanian institution trying to rescue 20 species of frogs in danger of extinction, the zoo said Monday in a release.
Chytridiomycosis has been tied to seep population drops and the extinction of amphibian species worldwide.
"We would like to save all of the species in the Darien, but there isn't time to do that now," said Brian Gratwicke, biologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and coordinator for the Panama project. "Our project is one of a few to take an active stance against the probable extinction of these species."
In 2007, Doug Woodhams, a research associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, tested 49 frogs at a site bordering the Darien region

Scottsbluff zoo moves animals
Volunteers swarmed into the Riverside Zoo in Scottsbluff Monday morning after increasing floodwaters made a lake out of the employee parking area and caused a small stream to form around the education building.
Riverside Discovery Center Executive Director Anne James said floodwaters began invading the zoo property Sunday afternoon, and by Monday morning, about 6 to 12 inches of water covered much of the employee parking lot. In addition, the education building is surrounded by water.
Volunteers transferred animal food to a refrigerator truck and moved all items from the education building to the front office. James said a trailer will be used for storage.
She said that nearly all the animals have been moved to the quarantine/hospital building, which sits on higher ground, but that the hoof stock would remain in enclosures, along with the chimpanzees and large cats.
“The animals are all where they need to be for a high-water event,” James said.
She said Roger Rojas of Oregon Trail Plumbing would dig a trench where the water is coming in to slow the amount of water entering the zoo. Rojas is a Riverside Discovery

Merced zoo backers fear worst if city halts funding
The city's budget crisis has now invaded the Applegate Park Zoo, and some of the zoo's supporters warn that the financial crunch could mean killing some of the animals.
Not so fast, city officials retort. They're just trying to cover the budget shortfall and have no immediate plans to close the popular attraction in the center of the city.
The Merced Zoological Society may have to cover as much as half of its

Dublin Zoo 'most visited' Irish attraction
Fáilte Ireland has confirmed that Dublin Zoo was the country's most visited attraction - both fee-paying and non fee-paying - in 2010, welcoming more than 960,000 people.
According to the tourism agency's latest figures, Dublin Zoo reported a 7 per cent growth in visitor numbers - compared with nearly 900,000 for the previous year.
Dublin's Guinness Storehouse welcomed 930,000 visitors in 2010 - down from more than 1 million in 2009, while more than 720,000 visited the National Aquatic Centre.
The capital's National Gallery of Ireland was revealed to be the top non fee-paying attraction, with nearly 737,000 visitors - down from more than 782,000 in 2009.
Fáilte Ireland said that, overall, the top 10 fee-paying and top 10 non fee-paying sites reported a decline of 2.6 per cent in the number of visitor numbers for 2010.
However, the agency also revealed that half of all Irish tourism operators believe that business performance is poised to improve this year, compared with 7 per cent in 2008.
It is one of the main findings

DEP: Slain Mountain Lion Was Held in Captivity
The state Department of Environmental Protection’s police unit is investigating whether a mountain lion killed on the Merritt Parkway in Milford over the weekend escaped from illegal captivity — despite the fact that the animal had no physical signs of being domesticated.
“Our division is actively investigating this case as a violation of Connecticut laws,” said Lt. Kyle Overturf, of the state Environmental Conservation Police. “We really need the public’s help on this case

Zookeeper hospitalised after bear attack at Ähtäri Zoo
Another keeper came to victim's rescue, chasing the bear away
bear attacked a female zookeeper at the Ähtäri Zoo and Wildlife Park in Ostrobothnia on Monday, as she was working indoors at the bear enclosure.
When the zookeepers are working indoors, the bears are confined to the outdoor enclosure.
For some reason as yet unclear, a young female bear of two years managed to get into the indoor working space, where it attacked the zookeeper. Another keeper came to help.
Together the two zookeepers managed to shoo the bear into a confined space in order to make their escape.
The victim of the bear attack was taken to the Ähtäri Hospital for medical treatment, where she had to be operated on. The other keeper who had come to her assistance sustained minor injuries and was examined at the local health centre.
”The attack victim sustained scratches from bear claws, but her condition is stable. The bear that was locked in the confined place was anaesthetized. The animal was later taken back to its own enclosure”, Ähtäri Zoo intendant Mauno Seppäkoski reports.
According to Seppäkoski, nothing similar has ever happened previously in the Wildlife Park.
Later on, there will be a more detailed investigation of exactly how the bear had managed to get indÄhtäri+Zoo/1135266896509

Time to shut down Johor's Saleng Zoo
The Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (Mycat), comprising the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) – Malaysia Programme and WWF-Malaysia, commends the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (Perhilitan) on their decision to not renew the operating permit of Saleng Zoo in Johor.
Over the years, the zoo has been in the spotlight for various run-ins with the law and has been the subject of many public complaints. The most shocking find by Perhilitan was the 21 dead tiger cubs in its freezer in 2008.
Among the zoo's other previous offences is possession of wildlife without permits including a baby elephant, two slow lorises, a Tomistoma and a number of pythons and storks which were seized by Perhilitan in various raids. The zoo owner also claimed in an interview in December 2008 that Perhilitan has seized more than 20 animals from his zoo in the past six to seven years.
It has been known to rent its tiger cubs for appearances and 'roadshows' - a violation of the law in which the wildlife permit is attached to the animal at the stated premise only, which means that it cannot be taken from one place to another.
In terms of evidence, these compounding offences alone give Perhilitan enough reasons to shut down Saleng Zoo.
We request that Perhilitan disclose records of Saleng Zoo's past cases that have been settled and compounded, pending cases especially the case of the dead tiger cubs, and other offences such as the breeding and hybridisation of protected wildlife.
MYCAT urges Natural Resources and Environment Minister Douglas Uggah Embas to boldly pursue zoos that repeatedly flout our laws and ensure that the owners are never granted a special permit again.
MYCAT calls upon the public to support current efforts to evaluate zoos, and demand strong action against errant zoos. This is the time for members of the public, who had asked for better protection for captive animals, to walk the talk and make your voice heard. We need to make sure that these establishments are closed, and will remain closed, as too many chances have been given in the past, with the only result being that the offender repeatedly violates wildlife laws time and again.
We also call upon the media to cease publicising Saleng and other zoos which are known offenders.
With the passing of the strengthened Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, Malaysians have a real chance to clean up our act in an organised and legal way to

Zoo deputy director assaulted
The deputy director of Alipore zoo, Piyali Chattopadhyay, was allegedly assaulted by a section of employees who barged into her chamber on Monday afternoon.
Led by a union leader at the zoo, the workers gheraod her and punched and slapped her repeatedly, alleged Chattopadhyay. She rushed to director Raju Das' room where the workers followed her and slapped her again. An FIR was filed at the Watgunge police station against four members of the Kolkata Zoological Garden Employees' Federation.
The deputy director had been suspended last month on charges of leaking out official documents. The charge was later withdrawn and she was reinstated on May 26. On June 6, she resumed duty. "I was in the middle of a discussion with our accountant Chandicharan Santra when union leader Rakesh Singh forced into my chamber. He was accompanied by about a dozen men. They started abusing me and then charged at me. I was punched and slapped. Singh snatched away my dupatta and tore it. He

Sanctuary director in scathing attack
Monkey World director Dr Alison Cronin has launched a stinging attack on the research of a visiting American academic and has urged students in the south to boycott her lecture.
The University of Portsmouth is hosting a visit on Wednesday by Professor Sally Boysen from the Department of Psychology at Ohio State University.
Her lecture on ‘chimpanzee intelligence’ is the result of 35 years of researching the creatures, say university chiefs.
But Dr Cronin says such research is unnecessary and has been conducted at the expense of orphaned chimpanzees that have been removed from their mothers at birth and are then trained to participate in sign language and cognitive experiments.
“In the name of science, this type of research into the intelligence of the great apes has been ongoing since the 1960s and there have not been any significant findings over the past

Health Checks At The Zoo (Great Video)

Great day out at Chester Zoo carnivorous plants show

ONE of the greatest collections of carnivorous plants ever displayed will go on show at Chester Zoo this summer.


Leading experts from across Europe will descend on the zoo for the two-day exhibition as part of the European Carnivorous Plant Expo – seen as Europe’s showpiece carnivorous plant event.


Visitors on July 2 and 3 will enjoy a rare chance to see the bizarre collections close up and explore a specially built carnivorous plant village.


Tim Bailey, chairman of the UK Carnivorous Plant Society, who has the job of organising this year’s event, said: “The event will bring together the biggest display

The bird that may explain why people are unfaithful

It may not work for Ryan Giggs but as a get-out clause for philandering finches it is just about perfect: I can't help cheating, it's in my genes.


Scientists studying the sexual behaviour of zebra finches have discovered that promiscuity is passed down through generations, providing an insight into how an animal's genetic make-up may influence its willingness to take multiple partners.


Like mourning doves and swans, zebra finches generally form lifelong relationships with a single partner. But

Joe Biden versus the Desert Tortoise

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden sent me an email today about cutting government waste.


“There’s a new sheriff in town,” read the subject line of the email.


Great, I thought, finally someone’s going to saddle up and lasso a few of those sacred cows -- Social Security, Medicare, runaway military spending -- that are killing our country’s budget. Like Gary Cooper in “High Noon,” Biden, six-shooter at the ready, was going to stand up to the implacable enemies of a balanced budget, no matter how tough it got. I could hear heavy, authoritative steps and spurs jing


Competition between females leads to infanticide in some primates

An international team of scientists, with Spanish participation, has shed light on cannibalism and infanticide carried out by primates, documenting these acts for the first time in the moustached tamarin (Saguinus mystax). The mothers, which cannot raise their infants without help from male group members, commit infanticide in order to prevent the subsequent death of their offspring if they are stressed and in competition with other females.

Hyena attack boy undergoes surgery

There were no signs put up to warn pupils that they should not take food into their tents at the Sontuli Camp in Imfolozi Game Reserve, Thomas More College principal Shane Cuthbertson said yesterday.


He was speaking after one of his pupils, Nicholas Hudson, 13, was mauled by a hyena in the game reserve at the weekend. A group of 40 pupils were on a sports tour of Zululand when a hyena tore into the Grade 7 pupil’s tent, attacking him while other pupils watched.


Nicholas was taken to the Bay Hospital in Richards Bay, where he underwent surgery on Sunday and yesterday.


Cuthbertson said it was not true that staff at the park had warned the pupils not to take food to their tents. “There are no signs anywhere warning pupils or anybody else that they should not take food into their tents,” he said.


Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokeswoman Maureen

Animal trade threatens bears

In 1902, former American president Theodore Roosevelt went to Mississippi with his friends to hunt for bears. All his friends could manage to hunt something down, except for Roosevelt. The next day, there was a cartoon in the Washington Post, where there was an American black bear caught by his attendants and Roosevelt was asked to kill it, but he refused to kill the bear. This cartoon character of the bear soon started selling by the name of Teddy bear by a toy company. Roosevelt’s nickname was Teddy. There is no child who does not like Teddy bear. There is no nature lover who has not appreciated the WWF mascot, which is a panda bear. Baloo (a sloth bear) is one of the favourites of all The Jungle Book, written by Rudyard Kipling, lovers. However, in reality, many know very little about them.


There are eight recognised species of bears in the world. Out of these, four are found in India — the Indian sloth bear, Asiatic black bear, brown bear and the sun bear. The others are the American black bear in north America, spectacled bear living in south America, the giant panda in China and the polar bear in the arctic region.


Of the four species found in our country, just the sloth bear is endemic, while the rest are found in other regions too. Two continents famous for wildlife — Africa and Australia, do not have any bear population, but yes, bears are not found in Antarctica too. Bear guards the health of the forest, as its primary food is termite. With the gigantic three-inches-long claws, the bear digs out mounds of termites and uses the lips like a vacuum cleaner nozzle to suck up the termites and during this time, they are capable of closing their nostrils to keep dirt away. We all know the relation between bear and honey; the thick fur prevents the bear from honeybee stings. However, a sloth bear’s main food can

India’s Human-Elephant Conflict Rages

Last week, two elephants ran amok in the city of Mysore, killing a man and injuring several others. The two elephants, which were separated from their herd on the outskirts of the city, also injured and mauled many cows.


The incident once again highlights the fragile nature of the co-existence between people and elephants – a relationship that is becoming increasingly strained as human development impinges on the natural habitat of the animals.


There are some 26,000 wild elephants in India. According to a report by the Elephant Task Force, which was set up in 2010, roughly 400 people in India are killed every year by elephants. Retaliatory killings lead to 100 elephant deaths, on average, while many others are poisoned by farmers trying to protect their crops.


The number of elephant attacks in India is on the rise, especially in the country’s northeast and south, where the majority of wild elephants live. In 2008, an elephant killed three people at a temple ceremony in Kerala, and in December 2010 a herd of 70 elephants – intoxicated after drinking from barrels of rice beer – went on a drunken rampage through a village, killing four people and destroying 60 h’s-human-elephant-conflict-rages/

Letter: Orangutans need protection

The Jakarta Post (May 17) had a photograph of two female orangutans, both with babies clinging to them, enduring a “parade ride” at the Ragunan zoo during a public holiday. I suppose that day was chosen because visitor numbers are at their highest.


I can only describe this picture as greatly upsetting. How can any zoo, or other establishment which confines animals, call it educational or informative to subject these intelligent and sensitive great apes to such a pointless, dangerous and exploitative experience?


Have the multitude of visitors surrounding the four orangutans all been screened for TB, common cold and flu viruses before entering the zoo?


I very much doubt it. The two adult orangutans look stressed and unhappy in the photo. It must have been extremely hot, uncomfortable and confusing for them with a crowd so close by. Goodness knows how the young orangutans must have felt amongst all the noise and commotion.


Orangutans are not clowns or objects to be poked fun at. They are deeply curious, thoughtful and clever beings who are now on the brink of extinction.


We are going to lose them soon. In my view, the few that

Oldest rainforest in the world to become a palm oil plantation

In Cameroon, 60,000 hectares of rainforest are to be cleared for a palm oil plantation. Kenya, Liberia, the Ivory Coast and other African countries have already given large areas of their rainforests up to palm oil plantations. The Blackstone Group now wishes to cultivate palm oil in Cameroon as well. As a result of this project, one of the oldest rainforests on the planet could be destroyed forever. The palm oil will primarily be produced for European industry.


One of the oldest rainforests could be destroyed forever


In Southwest Cameroon, one of the oldest and most bio-diverse rainforests on the planet is facing destruction. The area planted for logging directly borders the Korup National Park and the

Marin turtle's trek has biologists amazed

A western pond turtle appears to have made an incredible journey across Marin County in the past two years, traveling some 18 miles and making his way around large dams on a trek from Ross to near Point Reyes Station.


"It does seem hard to believe, but it is possible," said Eric Ettlinger, a Marin Municipal Water District aquatic ecologist. "If he did, it was done very slowly."


It was Ettlinger who first marked the turtle -- known as Turtle No. 9 -- in 2004 at Phoenix Lake near Ross. The same turtle was recaptured in 2009 at Phoenix Lake, measured and released back into the lake.


This past April, Ettlinger was near Point Reyes Station on Lagunitas Creek measuring, weighing and observing coho salmon. The fish are caught in a large rotary screw trap in a cascading portion of the creek. Researchers remove the fish daily and place them

No Ape is an Island

(though sometimes must live on one)

Pioneer George barred the bars from Chester Zoo

The man pictured laying bricks with a chimpanzee is George Mottershead – the founder of Chester Zoo and one of Sale's famous sons. The story goes that George, on visiting the long-gone Belle Vue Zoo as a child, became so upset at seeing large animals in cages he told his father he would one day create a zoo without bars.


This comment is featured in most histories of the zoo, but a lesser known fact about George is that he is from Sale – a fact rediscovered by another George.


Historian and author George Cogswell has published a book about George’s life and his connection to Sale, which coincided with the zoo’s 80th anniversary celebrations.


George said: "I had an immediate empathy with George.


"His dislike for the Belle Vue zoo and the conditions in which animals were housed there had a familiar ring about it from my own personal experiences as a lad at the London Zoo."


George was born at 33 Lindow Terrace, now Lindow Street, in Sale Moor in 1894, to botanist Albert and Lucy and was baptised at St Ann’s Church.


The family, who later moved to Old Hall Street, visited Belle Vue Zoo to celebrate the end of the Boer War, where George was struck by the sight of an elephant standing in a foul-smelling building, its face pressed against thick iron bars.


It was an image that would

Chester Zoo launches national animal charity Act For Wildlife

CHESTER Zoo is launching an online global conservation charity.


The flagship charity is called Act for Wildlife and the zoo has set a £50,000 target this year alone.


The zoo, which has an annual intake of 1.4 million visitors every year, is to forge closer links with its on-field conservation projects across the world.


As an international umbrella charity, it will supply five key conservation

Borth Animalarium leopard Rajah stays as removal fails

Wildlife experts have failed in their second attempt to remove a leopard from a small Ceredigion zoo.


The Cat Survival Trust spent six hours trying to lure Rajah out of his cage at Borth Animalarium and into a transport box with a trail of meat.


Three people made several attempts to coax Rajah out but he was suspicious of the transport box.


Last year the zoo was fined and told the animals would be removed for not having the correct paperwork.


The team from the Cat Survival Trust in Hertfordshire, which looks after unwanted or surplus zoo cats, arrived at the animalarium at 0715 BST on Wednesday, and started work at 0900 BST.


It said it would plan another attempt to remove the animal, while owner Jean Mumbray has lodge an appeal against the leopard's removal.


The trust, which has been asked by Defra [the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] to remove 15-year-old Rajah and two black and white ruffed lemurs, tried to coax the leopard from its cage into a rectangular-shaped box with a trail of chicken and rabbit.


Rajah ate most of the food near him

The Elephant Man

In the world of zookeeping, Charles “Chuck” Doyle is, well, something of a rock star. A native Syracusan, he began working at the then city-owned Burnet Park Zoo in 1976, initially as an animal keeper and night watchman. Doyle eventually developed a particular bond with the zoo’s Asian elephant, Siri, and he was promoted to senior keeper in 1982.


His approach to elephant care laid the groundwork for the Asian elephant exhibit—and successful breeding program—that now exists. It also made Doyle highly sought after as a consultant for other elephant programs in the United States.


When he became director of the facility—since renamed the Rosamond Gifford Zoo—in 2006 after 13 years as general curator, Doyle, 61, was determined that administrative tasks would not disrupt his commitment to the welfare of the animals and close relationship with staff. In ways large and small, Doyle has had a hand in many of the projects that have taken the zoo from a small, city park collection to one of Onondaga County’s best-loved attractions and home to about 700 animals


Although he had been a full-time employee for just a year when the county agreed to take over the zoo from the city in 1979, Doyle believes the transfer of ownership was ultimately best for the animals. By 1987, the zoo received accreditation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums for its commitment to ecology, education and animal care. Less than 10 percent of all animal exhibit facilities in the United States currently have

Rare poison dart frog breeds for the first time at Blue Planet Aquarium

A RARE species of poison dart frog has bred successfully for the first time at the Blue Planet Aquarium in Cheshire Oaks.


The strawberry poison dart frogs are renowned for their high levels of parental care, with both the male and the female looking after their young.


Originally from Central America, the tiny frogs, which measure just two centimetres in length, are also famed for their vivid colouration which warns would-be predators of their deadly poison.


Despite their name, strawberry dart frogs occur in up to 30 different colours ranging from bright red




Elephant treatment protest hits Fresno
Five Fresno activists turned heads Saturday when they held signs and passed out literature that said elephants are suffering at zoos.
"I didn't know that," a little girl said as her parents rushed past the demonstrators outside the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.
The people who stopped to take the literature learned that elephants who are confined in small pens get foot diseases and die prematurely, said Donald Tayloe, who organized the demonstration.
The only solution, Tayloe said, is to turn the elephants -- as well as all zoo animals -- over to a wildlife sanctuary where they can roam freely.
"They are trapped in a quarter-acre cell," Tayloe said of the Fresno zoo's two elephants -- Shaunzi and Kara. "In the wild, elephants walk up to 20 miles a day. Here, they just stand around and get little exercise."
But his words meant little to some people.
"No one walks free anymore," said Fresno resident Deanna Sanders, who took her family to the zoo. Sanders took the literature, but said the reason she came to the zoo was to see the elephants and the other exotic animals.
Letta Lollis, of Fresno, also took the literature, but said Fresno's elephants aren't suffering. "They have adapted to their environment," she said.
Lollis also said zoos play a vital role in society. "How will we educate our children if they don't see the elephants?" she said.
Saturday's demonstration was part of the International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos, a global outreach aimed at bringing attention to the tragic effects of keeping elephants in small, barren pens.
The protest, sponsored by In Defense of Animals, an international wildlife protection organization, was to take place at zoos in such places as Philadelphia, Seattle, Miami and in the Bronx of New York City. Protests also were planned in Canada, England, Spain and the Net

180 years of animal magic at the zoo
CELEBRATION: Top attraction pays tribute to its heroes
CHIMP tea parties, elephant rides, and ice-skating on the lake -- Dublin Zoo has always found new ways to entertain the capital's residents throughout its long and rich history.
The institution is celebrating its 180th anniversary this weekend by paying tribute to its heroes, the animals and their keepers.
One of the most celebrated figures of the Phoenix Park attraction is Pat Kenny's father, Jimmy Kenny, elephant keeper from 1936 until the 70s.
"Jimmy Kenny was extremely well known in Dublin, he was the only one who could look after Komeli, who was the younger elephant female," zoo historian Catherine de Courcy told the Herald.
Komeli, who arrived in 1950, gave rides to children in a chair on her back. One day she made a dash towards a group of youngsters led by a nun -- and turned over a tractor.
Jimmy was at home suffering from pneumonia, but immediately cycled into work to take care of Komeli after the incident.
"Jimmy and his father really knew elephants, and those were the days when you needed

Zoo Staunch On Elephant Ambitions
Auckland Zoo is under fire for a decision to bring two juvenile elephants to provide company for its remaining elephant, Burma. Sarah Harvey reports.
There's an elephant in the room at Auckland Zoo, and it's not Burma, the lonely last pachyderm.
It's the anger of the international conservation lobby and the New Zealand SPCA, who have attacked the zoo's plans to import two more elephants as part of an international breeding programme.
The critics see it as cruel entertainment, and have doubts about practices at the elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka where the new ones are likely to come from. One expert says Burma should be sent somewhere else.
But the zoo says it has the facilities to offer the new arrivals a great life.
Burma has been alone since 2009 when longtime favourite Kashin died at the age of 40. An attempt to use a horse to keep her company did not succeed, and an earlier attempt to import an elephant also failed when the animal became violent in quarantine in Thailand.
But at the end of last month the Auckland Council agreed to loan the zoo $3.2 million to bring in two elephants.
Auckland Zoo director Jonathan Wilcken said the critics have mostly not come to see the good work the zoo is doing in this area.
"It is very different from a traditional zoo elephant programme. It is very different from what we used to do here 20 years ago. We give our elephants a lot more space, we have a great deal more understanding of their behavioural needs and indeed their social needs."
The zoo recently had a visit from US-based Alan Roocroft, who is internationally

Rare skink saved from extinction in Mauritius
Scientists from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust have brought 22 Critically Endangered orange-tailed skinks to the UK.
The animals are thought to be extinct on their native Flat Island in Mauritius, because invasive shrews that prey on them are now established there.
This rescue should enable the trust to start a captive breeding programme.
"We ultimately hope to reintroduce the species to the island," said Durrell's head of field programmes, Andrew Terry.
The orange-tailed skink was only discovered on Flat Island, which is the largest of the Mauritian islands, in 1995.
"Before humans turned up in Maritius, the natural world there had a very strong reptile component

Zoo facing public's ire in shooting of escaped wolf

Last year when a Mexican gray wolf ran loose in the north metro, officials waited days for the right moment to capture it.


The Wildlife Science Center assured police the wolf didn't pose a public threat, said Peggy Callahan, the center's executive director.


Police listened and helped tranquilize the wolf in New Brighton.


A Mexican wolf on the run Wednesday met a different fate at the Minnesota Zoo. The escaped wolf became a danger when it found its way onto a public path with children and other visitors. To assure public safety, zoo staff shot and killed the animal.


"We did our job, and we did it according to preapproved policies," said Tony Fisher, the zoo's animal collection manager.


On Friday - three days after the escape - the Apple Valley zoo continued answering emails asking why the 8-year-old male wolf was shot and killed instead of tranquilized.


Callahan also questions why the animal needed to be euthanized. If staff had moved all visitors into buildings, the wolf could have been cornered and tranquilized, she said.


"I think we handled it better than they did," Callahan said.


Because the wolf was on a public path on the Northern Trail "near a large number of guests," tranquilizers were not a safe option, according to the zoo, because they work slowly and are imprecise.


Tranquilizers can take up to 15 minutes to

Turtle recall as rescued reptiles return to the sea

A family of 13 sea turtles shuffled back into the wild yesterday after living for more than a year in a rehabilitation tank.


And some of the group of 12 juveniles and their adopted mother, an adult green turtle, needed less help than others to make the journey to the open waters.


The smallest one - about 15cm long and the only baby green turtle among the batch of 11 hawksbills - was the first to find its bearings when taken out of the blue plastic tank and placed on the sands

Student dies while pursuing passion for reptiles, volunteering

A 21-year-old Purdue student, who had a life-long passion for reptiles, died on Friday while on a volunteer trip to the Cayman Islands with the Blue Iguana Recovery Program.


Hamilton, senior in the College of Agriculture, died from hyperthermia, or heat stroke. He was found in the thick bush in Grand Cayman where he was taken by paramedics to a hospital but later died. He was from Hebron, Ind.


The resonating message from family and friends close to Hamilton was that his passion has always been reptiles and wildlife.


Rod Williams, an associate professor of wildlife science, helped Hamilton share his love for reptiles through one of Williams’ classes called nature of service learning. Hamilton was able to go to a local elementary school and present to children a lesson on wildlife and the environment.


“In my interactions with Daniel, he had two passions. He had a passion for herpetology (study of reptiles and amphibians) and a passion for teaching people about natural resources and the environment, especially if it involved amphibians

Ghosts of persecution past and present

“The sins of the fathers may be visited upon the children.”


However, sins visited upon fathers may also be visited upon the children.


This is a natural history blog, so I raise the idea in a natural history context, and I do so because of two pieces of newly published research; on brown bears and wild boar respectively.


Both studies show how the hunting by people of these animals has altered a defining aspect of their lives, changing what scientists call their life history.


What’s more, these changes echo down the generations, long after the hunt has ended, and the guns, spears or traps have been retired and the kill forgotten.


Forgive me for equating hunting with a sin. I’m not setting out here to attack hunting per se.


Subsistence hunting can be beneficial, culls can be important and hunting can even work as an important conservation measure. Many of you have previously debated on this blog the pros and cons of hunting, and discussed

Woman Mauled By Chimp Gets Face Transplant

A Connecticut woman who underwent a full face transplant after an attack by a chimpanzee wants to eat hamburgers and pizza again.


Officials at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston say they performed the face transplant on Charla Nash late last month.


Nash's brother, Steve Nash, said at a news conference Friday that his sister wants to enjoy a slice of pizza from their favorite pizza parlor in their hometown of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.


The 30-member surgical team under the leadership of Dr. Bohdan Pomahac also performed a double hand transplant on Nash, but the hands failed to thrive and were removed.


Pohmahac says Nash will slowly regain facial functions over the next six to nine months.


John Orr, a spokesman for the Nash family, said Nash developed numerous health problems after the surgery and only recently regained consciousness.


"She developed pneumonia, she had kidney failure, she had the

Slideshow: Fen Tiger on the prowl once again

The legendary Fen Tiger is still on the prowl, according to eagle-eyed residents.


There have been four sightings recorded in the last two months alone.


Bosses of Shepreth Wildlife Park received the calls about "big cat" sightings and sent out investigators.


And scores of "big cat" sightings and evidence of their killings have been reported to Cambridgeshire police, the News can reveal.


Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show residents have called police 63 times since 1998 about the mysterious creatures.


Rebecca Willers, the zoo’s animal manager, told the News: "In the last two months we have four people calling to report sightings of big cats in a 10 mile radius around Royston and Melbourn and we have sent people out and set up cameras but we have found nothing as we have done over the years.


"We are not saying it does not exist but people can get a bit overexcited."


The Freedom of Information Act response showed other unusual creatures reported to police include a 2ft long snake with black and yellow in March on September 22 last year.


A "large exotic bird" was spotted on a roof in 2007 and a 4ft long snake in a garden.


In Huntingdon an exotic bird landed in garden and was the "size of peacock orange/yellow with a black and

Born to be wild in forests of Poland

Ireland's biggest wildlife park was praised yesterday for its role in helping to successfully re-introduce one of Europe's most majestic animals -- the bison -- to the vast forests of Poland. Bison had been hunted to extinction in Poland over the past 150 years.


From humble beginnings in 1983, the Cork park now ranks as one of the world's outstanding nurseries for rare species, and is on target to attract 400,000 visitors this year.


European bison have now been successfully re-introduced to the wilds of Komancza forest in eastern Poland, and four of its fledgling herd were born and raised here.


Two more females are currently being bred at Fota for future export to Poland.


Bison are not the only success story. Fota has also helped breed scimitar-horned oryx for re-introduction to parts of Tunisia's interior.


Yesterday, the park hosted the

Significant Litter of Cheetah Cubs Born at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Five cheetah cubs were born May 28 to 6-year-old Amani at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va. Amani is a dedicated mother according to keepers, who have observed her nursing and grooming the cubs.


This litter is particularly significant to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan for cheetahs because cheetah births in zoos across the country have dwindled. The SSP matches animals across the country to ensure genetic diversity in the population. This is the only litter of cheetahs born this year in a North American zoo. Cheetah experts recently met to discuss dramatic management changes to bolster the population, recommending that cheetahs that are genetically valuable and of reproductive

Timber firm could axe endangered Amur tiger habitat

The discovery of plans to log key Amur tiger habitat in a proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site has led to a public outcry demanding the cancellation of the logging lease in Russia’s Primorsky Province.


WWF Russia and the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Primorsky Province are leading the call against JSC Les Export, a wood harvesting and export company that specializes in parquet flooring.


Primorsky Province in the Russian Far East is one of the last remaining strongholds of the largest of all big cats, the Amur tiger, which numbers less than 500 in the

Galapagos Tortoise Migration

In June, the climate changes in the Galapagos Islands. The temperatures are cooled by the arrival of the Humboldt Current from South America. A garua (marine layer) begins to cover the islands – especially in the highlands. As the seasons change tortoises make their way down the islands to the southwest coast of Santa Cruz.


Cold blooded animals, Galapagos Tortoises find it hard to moderate their body temperatures during the cooler season. The males who have a larger body find it easier to regulate their temperatures and many remain in the highlands year round. While the females are substantially smaller animals find it necessary to migrate in order to keep their body temperature levels up. It is here, along the coast where the tortoises lay their eggs.


In April of 2009 the National Park began fitting tortoises

Dolphin dies after jumping out of pool into gallery at aquarium

A dolphin died when she jumped out of the pool into the gallery at the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium, it said Sunday. The 2.11-meter, 106-kilogram dolphin, estimated to be 17 years old, became popular because of her successive jumps and tail-walking on water.


She fell into the gallery after jumping across the outer edge of the pool when she was doing a backflip during practice Saturday afternoon, and died from blood loss

Robert Irwin fearless like his dad

SITTING comfortably like a normal seven-year-old would on a seesaw, Robert Irwin wasn't fazed by the 600kg beast underneath him.


Not a strand of his signature blond bob moved out of place as he helped wrestle the prehistoric reptile.


It was the first time Agro the croc had been caught since it was brought to Australia Zoo in 1988.


Twenty-three years ago it was Robert's late father, Steve Irwin, who wrangled the reptile by himself in North Queensland, filming the entire thing with a sole camera atop a tripod.


Yesterday, as the Irwins moved Agro to a new enclosure, Robert told a film crew: “I now know why my dad called him Agro!”


But Robert wasn't scared at all.


“Ah, no, they're just awesome,” he said.


“Well, you've actually got to hold the tail down so it doesn't actually move, because if the tail arches around that means he's getting ready to death roll.


“And if he death rolls around then you're in pretty big trouble.”


With mum Terri at the

Opposing GuZoo hardly 'wacko'

To care about the welfare of animals is to be a frothing, wild-eyed zealot, unreasonably angered by any exploitation of pets or wildlife.


This, over three decades, is all PETA has really accomplished: In 2011, any person who expresses concern over the treatment of animals is easily dismissed as radical nutcase, with a tenuous grasp on reality.


That’s what 31 years of bare-breasted models and outrageous metaphor buys you — plenty of attention and a total lack of credibility among the general population.


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has earned every ounce of the scorn most people feel for their organization — comparing slaughterhouses to the Jewish holocaust does that.


But PETA hasn’t only hurt itself through stupidity and ill-conceived campaigns, like when it linked Canada’s horrific Greyhound beheading murder to the meat industry.


To care about animals, their actions proclaim, is to care nothing about human feelings — and winning the battle means pulling no punches, no matter how upsetting or disgusting the message.


Because of PETA, the term “animal rights” has been irreparably tainted, so anyone who raises a voice of concern about animals is now condemned as an unthinking, heartless lunatic.


As so it’s been this past week with Alberta’s troubled GuZoo. Thanks to PETA, the simple question of inadequate animal care has been reduced to an us-versus-them battle between those who support the Three Hills, Alta., zoo and those who oppose it.


“Animal rights wackos” is how one pro-GuZoo pundit described the other side, handily dismissing valid concerns about the zoo.


Call an animal advocate crazy, and some Albertans will simply believe it — that’s the legacy of PETA.


It’s too bad, because this should be a debate about a business owner allegedly failing to maintain the standards set out by the industry he chose to work in.


Two decades of complaints and a full inspection by animal experts — in this case a veterinarian and a representative of the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums — found the zoo badly lacking. Like a trucking firm that doesn’t maintain its fleet, or a restaurant that fails to keep the kitchen clean, warnings pile up. If nothing changes, the business will eventually lose its licence.


It’s a system meant to protect the public from negligent ownership and in the case of GuZoo, public complaints had been heard almost since the facility opened in the 1980s.


Some of the complaints were esthetic — carcasses left to rot and filthy pens — but others expressed concern

Spay or neuter Bob Barker’s mouth

The Price is Wrong when game show host sticks his nose into Alberta’s Guzoo


The war against the Guzoo has gone nuclear.


Bob Barker, the former game show host and animal rights extremist, has decided to take a shot at the little zoo from Three Hills, Alta. He’s never been to the Guzoo, of course. But that doesn’t matter when you’re a Hollywood bigshot.


For more than 20 years, the Guzoo has been a favourite of kids and adults alike — but it’s been public enemy No. 1 for people who want to shut down zoos. That’s because unlike the big, government-funded zoos, the Guzoo doesn’t have a lot of lawyers and political friends to defend it. So it’s vulnerable.


Bob Barker knows a lot about things like the price of a washing machine or the price of a new car. That’s pretty much his area of expertise — guessing the price of things.


But how to run zoos? Not so much. Barker’s never run one, of course. He’s certainly not a biologist. But being a celebrity — even a C-list celebrity, long into the twilight of his career — somehow gives him a moral authority, at least with journalists.


And, apparently, with the politicians in Alberta’s Progressive Conservative government. Barker’s barkings and those of other foreign animal rights extremists are enough to make them jump to attention. Six hundred voters in Three Hills rallying to support the Guzoo? Not so much.


Barker told reporters the Guzoo didn’t “provide even the most basic needs of animals such as the provisions of fresh water, nutritional food and adequate care.”

No animal died in Yerevan zoo

No animals died in Yerevan zoo, and former head of the zoo, Sahak Abovyan, spread false information, current head of the zoo Ruben Khachatryan informed Armenian


The current manager added that former head’s behavior is the desire to return to his post.


“He even organized signature campaign against me,” stated Khachatryan and added that two swans died indeed but outside the zoo territory.


The reason was virus, as former veterinary did not show

My, what big teeth. All the better to eat krill

WITH their big sharp teeth, Antarctic leopard seals have no trouble gobbling down their favourite food: penguins and crab-eater seal pups.


''They are famous for their ferocity,'' said David Hocking, a research student who has been studying the marine giants.


A diet of large animals helps the seals become enormous - some females weigh 500 kilograms. But this food is not available all year round, and in winter the seals must survive on tinier creatures, such as

Catfight: Man Plans to Battle Lion in an Effort to Boost Egypt's Tourist Industry

Forget bullfighting. In the animal entertainment sector, lion fighting is the hot new commodity. At least according to 25-year-old Egyptian al-Sayed al-Essawy, who plans to fight a full-grown African lion in front of the Pyramids at Giza. He told Egyptian publication Al Masry Al Youm that “the world will flock to see the Egyptian man who defeated a lion with his bare hands.” And given the state of the economy, now is as good a time as any. "After the revolution, with the economy the way it is, I've been given the perfect opportunity to realize my dream," he says.

Zoo educator is bound for Borneo

One of the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park's educators is working on her own education and will be traveling to the island of Borneo.


On Saturday, Colleen B. Bernard, education coordinator for the zoo, will travel to the state of Sabah in Malaysia for a 10-day immersion program dealing with primate conservation, ecology of Southeast Asian rain forests and community-based conservation. The trip is part of requirements for a master's degree in zoology from the University of Miami, Ohio.


"These trips, for me, are personally such an amazing experience," Ms. Bernard said. "It really helps reconnect you to the purpose of why I went into this field."


Her classroom is the landscape, her study guides are living creatures and the living quarters, if she's lucky, will provide running water and a bathroom. Despite the lack of basic amenities and the need to rough it at times, Ms. Bernard is looking forward to her third trip for credit, and

Fish keeper ventured into cordon area to save charges

For almost a week after the Christchurch earthquake, a fish keeper ventured into the city cordon every six hours to save hundreds of animals from a quake-hit aquarium.


The Southern Encounter Aquarium and Kiwi House employee returned to the Cathedral Square tourist attraction to help the fish and animals, including geckos and tuatara, trapped after the quake.


For six days he kept the backup generator fuelled to keep tanks and other equipment operating, said Lynn Anderson, chief executive of the Orana Wildlife Trust which owns the aquarium.


The man, who has declined to be named, progressively evacuated about 500 animals.


The "brave staff member continued to go back in there every six hours and feed the backup generators and on every trip he got more out", Anderson said.


"We are incredibly proud of what was achieved but I must admit we were extremely worried. The end result is absolutely outstanding, but I still could not condone it with the risk".


Anderson said 53 of the 700 animals, including seahorses whose tank was knocked over,




Wolf escapes from MN Zoo enclosure; killed minutes later
The Minnesota Zoo is reviewing its wolf holding area for possible weaknesses after a Mexican gray wolf escaped from the enclosure and was killed minutes later.
On Wednesday around 10 a.m., zoo officials say an 8-year-old male wolf found a weak spot in the chain link holding area and nudged his way into an outer enclosure. He then jumped an 8-foot fence to gain access to the public area of the zoo.
It was at that point that the zoo staff switched its strategy of how to recapture the wolf.
"Last thing we want to do is kill one of our animals. We would've chosen to tranquilize him if we had had the option. However, in that situation the wolf can be threatening and can be aggressive. And we don't want to take the chance," said Tony Fisher, the zoo's animal collections manager.
Fisher said the staff also couldn't rely on a tranquilizer, given that it can take a while for the drugs to take effect. The animal can

Zoo officials defend shooting of escaped wolf
Dangerous predator or terrified runaway?
Minnesota Zoo officials and wolf experts disagreed Thursday over the threat posed by the Mexican gray wolf that briefly escaped its pen on Wednesday before being shot to death.
"We had thousands of people on-site and the potential for danger," said Lee Ehmke, the Minnesota Zoo director.
"That animal wouldn't have been dangerous, period," countered David Mech, a wolf researcher and vice chairman of the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minn.
The escape, which occurred when the 8-year-old wolf apparently squeezed out of its enclosure and jumped a fence into a visitor area, was the first in the zoo's 33-year history involving an animal classified as potentially dangerous. Ehmke said the quick killing of the wolf was not a departure from procedure.
"This is a traumatic event for all of the staff," Ehmke said. "But things worked out the way they were supposed to. It actually ended as planned."
Mech and others said that the zoo had to reassure the public it was doing everything it could to protect the safety of its patrons, even if the danger was minimal.
"They were protecting themselves from the perception and the insurance and so many other things," Mech said. "It would have looked pretty bad if the wolf got out of the zoo and caused a big fuss around town. But I don't think there was any risk to anyone."
Peggy Callahan, executive director of the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake, said she and her staff last year chased a female Mexican gray wolf for three days after someone released it from its cage.
Her policy at the wildlife center is to use tranquilizers on wolves if they escape, not kill them. "We told the police she was not a threat," Callahan said. "She was terrified."
Although Minnesota Zoo officials said that they feared the animal would become aggressive if cornered, documented attacks by wolves on humans are exceedingly rare, said both experts. There are about 3,000 wolves in Minnesota and an estimated 60,000 in Canada.
The only known fatal wolf attack in modern U.S. history occurred last year in Alaska when a pack of four is believed to have killed a woman who was jogging.
While zoo officials acknowledged that wolves are not inherently aggressive toward humans

Vandals slaughter animals at zoo for children
FOUR guinea pigs and two finches were slaughtered during a break-in at a popular children’s zoo.
The animals and birds were found after the rampage at Pets’ Corner in Darroch Park, Gourock.
A rabbit and another bird were also left seriously injured and are currently receiving treatment from a vet, while 12 animals, including three ducks, three guinea pigs, three love birds and a chicken, were also stolen from the council-run animal enclosure.
Council workers discovered the destruction when they arrived for work at the zoo yesterday at 8am.
The attack is believed to have taken place between 7.30pm on Tuesday and 8am yesterday.
The property was also badly damaged by the vandals, who broke their way through a locked door.
Pets’ Corner, which normally houses 75 animals, has been forced to close due to the incident.
Michael McCormick, Inverclyde’s Provost, said: “Words fail me to describe the kind of person who would be capable of something like this and I know news of this unspeakable act will cause a great deal of upset across Inverclyde.
“Pets’ Corner is hugely popular for people of all ages and to

Little Rock Zoo Gets Two New Elephants
Two elephants are getting acclimated to their new home at the Little Rock Zoo.
The former circus performers were donated by Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey after the death last month of the zoo's elephant Mary, who had been suffering from cancer.
The new elephants will serve as companions for another elephant Ellen, who has been at the zoo since 1954.
“It's really important for these guys to socialize,” said Joseph Darcangelo, curator of the elephant exhibit, looking out at the elephants after their arrival Wednesday.
Jewell, 60, and Zina, 50, traveled to Arkansas by truck from a center in Florida that cares for retired circus elephants.
“Right now you can tell that both the elephants are a little bit tired because of their long travel,” said Darcangelo, “but the fact that they are grazing in the

Nobody to sign Gorewada zoo staff pay cheques
The upgradation of IFS cadre has disturbed the set up of Gorewada international zoo, spelling doom for the Rs 720-crore high-profile project in the city.
The post of zoo director (IFS cadre), who is also the drawing and disbursing officer (DDO) has been scrapped as per the notification issued by the Centre in May 2010 and subsequently by the state government in August 2010. As there is no post of zoo director after May 27, the powers of DDO wrested with him have also stood withdrawn. Over 27 staffers, most of them protection staff, now face a peculiar problem.
The employees' salary cheques are ready but they cannot withdraw as there is no DDO to authorize them. Sources said of the around 50 staffers in Gorewada, over 27 working in the field and an assistant conservator of forests (ACF) have not received May month's pay.
Those who got their salary were lucky as a divisional forest officer (DFO) who was having additional charge had signed some cheques. The Gorewada office functions directly under principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife). Despite knowing well in adva

RZSS chief executive - 'His main task is to regain the zoo's respect'
IN his first major interview since taking over as head of Edinburgh Zoo, Hugh Roberts today makes a brave attempt to paint an optimistic future for the much-loved institution.
He's right to suggest that the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) stands on the brink of something great at the moment, with the imminent arrival of giant pandas offering the tantalising possibility of an even brighter future both as a visit or attraction and as a player in global conservation.
But everyone who cares about the zoo knows that it in recent months it has also strayed too close to the precipice of disaster.
There's no need to recap the various calamities on Corstorphine Hill, but suffice to say that it seemed almost predictable when we revealed on Monday that officials had forgotten to apply for planning permission for the new panda enclosure.
So far, the Chinese don't appear to have been too troubled by such problems, or the suspension of two senior managers, and the pandas could still be here as early as July.
But the main task facing Mr Roberts is to rid the RZSS of this recently-acquired reputation for cock-ups and return it instead to one of respect for an admired institution.
It helps that he was brought in with a reputation as a calm but determined troubleshooter. What's more, he handled the planning application fiasco deftly, conceding the mistake without obfuscation. He even took a share of the blame himself - even though he has only been in post for three weeks.
We sincerely hope this is a sign that the zoo now has good, pragmatic leadership and that this will continue in the key months ahead, for the sake of the city as a whole as well as one of its best-loved features.
Ward awards
When TV chiefs decide to make their next fly-on-the-wall documentary, they should consider setting it inside the ERI - specifically in the offices of private contractor Consort.
The moment when the company's own maintenance inspectors get stuck in a lift and find the emergency button doesn't work might leave viewers in stitches - of the non-A&E variety, of course.
And when senior managers decide that

Animal rights activists allege elephant abuse
Have Trunk Will Travel, a company that provides elephant rides at the San Diego County Fair, is being accused of serious abuse by a group of animal rights activists.
An undercover video that was recently released by Animal Defenders International (ADI) purportedly shows a trainer striking a baby elephant with a sharp-ended heavy stick known as a bullhook. That elephant was later featured in the current blockbuster “Water For Elephants,” and therefore the allegations of abuse have garnered international attention.
During the June 7 board meeting of the 22nd District Agricultural Association (22nd DAA), spokespeople from ADI, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the San Diego-based Animal Protection and Rescue League all publicly spoke out against the company, claiming it also uses high-voltage electrical prods to make the animals submissive. They all urged the board to exclude Have Trunk Will Travel from this year’s fair, or at least investigate the claims.
22nd DAA board president Barry Nussbaum said he had seen the video and discussed it at length with the director of San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, who told him he was “not uncomfortable with what he saw.” However, Nussbaum also claimed that because he is not an animal expert, he was not entirely sure how to interpret the video. Therefore

Live feeding continues at Badaling
In spite of claims that their live-feeding program was banned a year ago, tourists have reported that they were encouraged to buy live goats and chickens to feed lions and tigers in the Badaling Wild Animal Park (BWAP) in Yanqing county over the past holiday weekend.
"It was 40 yuan [$6.17] for a live chicken, and 300 yuan [$46.29] for a goat. The price list was posted on the tour bus, and there was a coop with live chickens," Zhou Ming, a lawyer from the Beijing Yuecheng Law Firm who visited the park on Sunday, told the Global Times on Tuesday. "But nobody wanted to buy anything to watch such a cruel scene, and besides that, there were children with us," she added.
According to Zhou, the tour guide kept encouraging them to buy chickens to feed the lions even after they refused, because live feeding would give them a "more spectacular scene to observe."
"What kind of impact would it have on children to see live animals being bitten and torn apart? That's just too bloody and cruel," Zhou said.
A Beijing woman with the user name "qiubenjiumeiziAK" posted a picture taken in BWAP on her Weibo on Sunday that showed two lions awaiting chickens being dangled from a small hole in the protective cage around a tour bus. The photo's caption read "lions drooling over 'chicken snacks.'"
"That can't be true. Providing live chickens and goats to feed lions and tigers has been banned for over a year, and I've never heard of such things happening ever since," BWAP's office director, surnamed Liu, told

National Zoo Welcomes Quiverful Of Cheetah Cubs
The National Zoo recently welcomed a quiverful of cheetah cubs to its conservation center in Front Royal.
"Armani" gave birth to five cubs, a large litter for cheetahs, and the only one in North America so far this year.
Biologist Adrienne Crosier says since their birth on May 28th, Armani has

Bob Barker urges Alberta to protect all animals at closed private zoo
Animal rights advocate and retired game-show host Bob Barker has entered the debate over a shuttered private zoo in central Alberta.
Barker, 87, who for years led the long-running show "The Price is Right," said Thursday he wants to see all the animals at GuZoo protected by the province — not just the exotic ones.
"All of us who are trying to protect these animals applaud the government of Alberta for taking this first step to revoke the zoo's licence, but what we're concerned about is that all of the animals won't be protected," Barker said in an interview.
Last week, the Alberta government said it would no longer issue GuZoo a permit because an independent review found deficiencies in all categories of its operations.
However, GuZoo owner Lynn Gustafson has suggested he might reopen as an unlicensed facility that featured only domestic animals.
Dave Ealey of Sustainable Resource Development

Zoo artificially inseminates elephant for 9th time since 2005
The Woodland Park Zoo artificially inseminated its 32-year-old Asian elephant, Chai, June 8 in the hopes of turning around a string of nine inseminations over six years without a successful pregnancy and help preserve Asian elephants in zoos and their native habitats.
Dr. Dennis Schmitt, an expert in elephant reproduction physiology, helped zoo staff with the insemination. The zoo will not be able to confirm a pregnancy for another 15 to 16 weeks.
Chai’s only pregnancy since 2005 ended in miscarriage, according

Elephant in the room causes two walkouts from zoo meeting
A dispute over how to evaluate new homes for Toronto’s elephants prompted two city councillors to walk out of a zoo board meeting Thursday, bringing the proceedings to a halt.
Councillors Gloria Lindsay-Luby and Paul Ainslie refused to vote on whether the board should approve an animal welfare group’s offer to pay for Councillor Raymond Cho to visit PAWS, an expansive California sanctuary that wants to house the pachyderms.
The board voted last month to shut down its elephant exhibit and move Toka, Thika and Iringa to another accredited zoo. After that meeting, Mr. Cho says he was approached by Zoocheck Canada about a trip to PAWS, which is not accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
“I said yes, I want to go,” said Mr. Cho. “I like to make sure that we choose the best place for our elephants.”
He flagged it with the integrity commissioner, and on Thursday Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker moved a motion asking the board to OK the trip for Mr. Cho, other board members or staff, thus sparking a heated debate.
“I hit the boiling point,” said Ms. Lindsay

Dugong health hit by floods
HERVEY Bay's dugongs have fared worse than their Moreton Bay counterparts after the summer floods, a Sea World and University of Queensland survey has found.
Researchers from UQ, Sea World and Taronga Zoo spent the past two weeks catching wild dugongs to survey the health of the populations.
It was the first time the team had carried out its revolutionary capture methods in Hervey Bay, which suffered massive losses to its dugongs after the 1991 floods.
“We've been studying dugongs with UQ for many years, probably 10 years, but it was only four years ago we developed the techniques and processes to be able to lift them (dugongs) out on board and do the work,” said Sea World's director of marine sciences, Trevor Long.
“You've got to remember these are big animals and they're very sensitive

Private zoo fights to stay open
The keeper of a controversial private zoo says he will not surrender his animals without a fight after the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) decided not to renew its operating permit.
Saleng animal trainer and zoo keeper J. Sivapriyan said he was devastated when he received the letter from Perhilitan yesterday.
“This means I will lose all my animals, including the 32 tigers we have in the zoo.
“These animals are like my children and I will do everything in my power to ensure that the zoo is not closed down,” he said.
Under the Perhilitan ruling, animals found in illegal zoos are to be confiscated and sent to various designated animal facilities, in-cluding the Malacca zoo.
Sivapriyan said he had also appealed to the Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas.
He said he had held numerous meetings with Perhilitan but his pleas were ignored.
Sivapriyan said instead of hurling accusations, Perhilitan should come up with proper evidence on why they think that the zoo was not up to standard.
“Our animals are actively breeding and if they were unhappy or abused, why would they do that?” he asked, adding that he would be starting a signature drive to prove that he had the back

Zoo cuts its carbon footprint
JOBURG Zoo is the owner of the country’s first “zoo poo” biogas installation. The environmentally friendly project is part of its renewable energy demonstration site, which includes a 3.75Kw solar panel.
A biogas digester at the zooLocated near the zoo’s Education Centre, these facilities were unveiled at an official launch on 8 June. They were donated to the zoo by Project 90 by 2030, a non-governmental organisation committed to reducing the country’s carbon footprint by 90 percent by 2030.
Roslynn Greeff, the member of the mayoral committee for infrastructure services and environment; Brenda Martin, the director of Project 90 by 2030; Gary Fahye, the owner of Grey Green Installations, which installed the alternative energy projects; Stephen van der Spuy, the chief executive of the zoo; and zoo board members, among others, were at the launch.
They were given a tour to witness firsthand the three individual projects: a solar panel that

Int'l research body launched for giant panda protection
An international research center was launched Tuesday in Southwest China's Sichuan province to improve research efforts directed at the protection of giant pandas and other endangered species.
The International Center for Giant Panda Conservation Biology is a joint project sponsored by the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base and the US-based Global Cause Foundation.
The center will employ both domestic and international resources, technologies and funds to tackle major threats that endanger the survival and development of giant pandas and other endangered species, said Professor Zhang Zhihe, the director of the Chengdu base.
Zhang said the center is a "new step" in international cooperation on giant panda protection.
"It will provide an international platform for researchers dedicated to the conservation of endangered animals and biodiversity," Zhang said.
The Global Cause Foundation will introduce leading biologists and environmentalists from across the world to the conservation program, including noted ecologist James Spotila, who is also the foundation's vice president.
The Global Cause Foundation, based in Fairfax, Virginia, is a nonprofit organization that works to help developing nations boost economic growth while simultaneously

Jackal survey to involve people's participation
An online survey of jackals, initiated by Mysore-based Nature Conservation Foundation, began on the World Environment Day, last Sunday. The survey titled ‘Days of Jackal' will be completed in two months. Sharing details of the project, M. D. Madhusudan, Senior Scientist and Trustee, Nature Conservation Foundation, told The Hindu that the objective of the survey is to enlist researchers, wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, and common people to answer a few simple questions about jackals based on their observations. Where do jackals occur? Are they being seen as often today as in the past? What threats do jackals face in the areas where they are found? Based on answers to these questions, the organisation will be able to map the regions where jackals are found. Apart from this, population trends, and documenting the threats faced by jackals across its ranges were some of the other works, the organisation proposed to take up, Dr. Madhusudan said.
This is not the first online survey on wildlife, he said. Migrant Watch, a project coordinated by the Citizen Science Programme by Suhel Quader working in National Centre for Biological Sciences, pioneered enlisting people for observing and reporting of wild animals. Another project called Season Watch has sought to take this forward. Projects such as this online survey are valuable means of complementing field ecological research.
It becomes possible to involve non-specialists

A tiger in the tank
Police in China were surprised to find that a driver of a 4x4 had taken the expression 'put a tiger in your tank' to heart when they ordered him off the road following a hit and run accident.
A search of the rear of the vehicle revealed a Siberian tiger secreted in the cargo space.
The driver, who had sped off after colliding with another car on a motorway near Yizhang in Hubei Province, was intercepted by police at a toll gate and then arrested.
Officer Chen Yin said: "There was a strong stench coming from the boot so we opened it found something wrapped in a large canvas.
"We unwrapped it and found a giant tiger sitting in a cage. We don't know why the man had it or where he was taking it but he didn't have any papers for it."
Police say they are still investigating

Israeli, Arab researchers unite over shared ecosystem
Twelve marine and environmental studies graduate students from the Middle East and Europe are taking part in a two-week Mediterranean research project off the shores of La Spezia, Italy, to protect the unique ecosystem shared by countries that might not typically have relations.
The project, which began on Sunday and is called “Environmental Impacts Know No Boundaries,” hosts graduate students from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Malta, Lebanon, Tunisia, Italy, Greece, Turkey and the UK, according to Israeli conservation NGO EcoOcean, one of the sponsoring organizations behind the venture.
EcoOcean worked together with Italian organization Environmental Ocean-Team, as part of an overall initiative to bring the region’s scientists together to find solutions for an often-threatened ocean habitat, the Israeli group said

CEPD signs cooperation deal with world's No. 1 indoor aquarium
The Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Thursday with the John G. Shedd Aquarium, the world's largest indoor aquarium, for exchanges in marine research and conservation of biodiversity in Taiwan.
The deal will drive exchanges of research staff between the Chicago-based aquarium and two Taiwanese aquariums -- the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium in Kenting and the Farglory Ocean Park in Hualien -- to allow the sharing of experience in exploring the ocean, said CEPD Chairwoman Christina Liu.
"We expect that our staff will learn how to manage big indoor aquariums and pick up professional knowledge on how to conserve Taiwan's ocean resources, " Liu told reporters at a signing ceremony

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cheetahs, but Were Too Afraid to Ask (blog with a difference)




Elephant researcher works with Birmingham Zoo
Take it from an expert -- an elephant never forgets.
Bob Dale is such an expert. A professor of psychology at Indiana's Butler University, he teaches undergraduate courses in animal learning and evolutionary psychology and an honors course on elephants. He has studied elephants for 10 years, their social behavior and, among other things, their memory.
And part of his time observing the animals is being spent at the Birmingham Zoo with its three male African elephants.
"This is the only exhibit of its kind in North America, and as far as I know, in Europe," Dale said. "So it affords an opportunity that you could only get perhaps in Africa."
Elephants travel in female-dominated herds in the wild, with males pushed out between the ages of 10 to 15 to roam on their own. The Birmingham Zoo's Trails of Africa exhibit has three male elephants, with a fourth expected later this summer. Zoo officials have said they hope to make the Trails exhibit a center for elephant research.
Because of this, Dale recently spent time in Birmingham getting to know 29-year-old Bulwagi and 10-year-old Callee. He

Zoo calendar helps out charities
PROCEEDS from Dudley Zoo’s 2011 calendar, which features animals with their favourite Best of British foods, has been split between its Madagascar Campaign – supporting lemurs in the wild – and Help for Heroes.
Zoo chief executive, Peter Suddock said:?“The calendar has sold tremendously well this year.
“We have despatched funds to Madagascar and are sorting out a date to hand over the Help for Heroes £500 cheque.”
“Our Madagascar Campaign was set up several years ago and to date we have sent more than £9,000 to this very worthwhile project.”
He added:?“It is the first year we have supported Help for Heroes, but with the calendar’s Best

Zoos 'boost conservation knowledge'
A trip to the zoo can boost a child's knowledge of science and conservation more than simply learning through books or lessons, research suggests.
Youngsters knew more about issues such as endangered species and conservation efforts after a visit, according to a study by researchers at Warwick University.
The study, conducted at London Zoo, asked more than 3,000 schoolchildren aged seven to 14 about their knowledge of animals, habitat and conservation before and after their trip.
The findings show that after visiting London Zoo, more than half (53%) of pupils knew more about at least one area of the zoo's education or conservation efforts, such as understanding animals and their habitats, endangered species or conservation.
Youngsters were more likely to say that zoos are for saving animals from extinction and that they are for learning after their visit.
They were also likely to have more personal concern for wildlife conservation, and to use terms such as "canopy" and "rainforest" correctly.
Pupils were asked to draw pictures of a

Cheetahs leave UAE for new life in Ireland
It is the first plane journey for six rare North African cheetahs, and it will be spent in wooden cages at the back of the plane.
The animals, raised as part of a private collection in Dubai, were leaving for Ireland early today as part of a conservation effort.
The four females and two males were born in captivity at the Wadi Al Safa Wildlife Centre, owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance.
With 31 captive-bred cheetahs and other rare animals, the collection is a member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. It has been part of efforts to breed the North African cheetah, the numbers of which have declined steadily in the wild.
At 2.30am today, the cheetahs were to have boarded an Emirates Airline flight to London. Each animal would be in a wooden box, about 86cm tall and large enough to turn around in.
From London, the cheetahs are to continue to the Fota Wildlife Park in Cork.
"They will spend about 24 hours travelling

Tiger population in state zoos static for five years now
The state wildlife department is concerned about the tiger population in Punjab zoos, which has remained static for the last five years.
Chief Wildlife Warden (Punjab) Gurnaaj Singh said experts from Guru Angad Dev veterinary sciences university (GADVASU) will be approached for suggestions in this regard.
While the Ludhiana zoo has five tigers, Chattbir zoo has 10. Only one tigress, in Chattbir, has given birth last year. It had later died.
In the city zoo, there are two tigers and three tigresses but interestingly, experts have only allowed one couple to mate.
“The others are very violent and there behaviour needs to be studied,” said Singh.
He added: “But even in this couple’s case, no success has been achieved. I

Zoo blunder sees work grind to a halt on panda enclosure
EDINBURGH Zoo bosses have been forced to halt work on the panda enclosure because they did not apply for planning permission, the Evening News can reveal.
Officials admitted that due to turmoil caused by recent suspensions and a vote of no confidence in ex-chair Donald Emslie, bosses "forgot" to submit plans to the council's planning department when they decided to expand the enclosure and surrounding walkway.
The £250,000 panda pad did not originally need planning consent because bosses were only aiming to refurbish the old gorilla pen, but developments have become so extensive that permission is now required. The Health and Safety Executive has also raised concerns about risk assessments being carried out on site.
Newly appointed chief executive Hugh Roberts held his hands up to the error and said the zoo was taking swift action to get building back on track. Director of business operations Gary Wilson, who last week returned to the zoo after being suspended following "malicious and unfounded" allegations against him, has now taken up the reins.
Mr Roberts admitted that a senior official had told zoo officials last week that it needed to submit its plans immediately, and most work will have to stop for the time being.
He said: "We should have applied for planning permission a few weeks ago. The original design didn't require planning permission, but we needed to do more than originally thought. There should have been bells ringing, we should have said 'hang on', we should have applied, but we didn't. This has very much slowed things down for us, but

Waste Slime Turns Jellyfish Into Ecological Vampires
That waste is useful is one of the animal kingdom’s cardinal principles. One creature’s discards are another’s dinner, and so continues the circle of life. But jellyfish, it would seem, bend the rule.
Their waste is generally inedible, food mostly for a few odd species of bacteria that live just long enough to emit a whiff of CO2, then sink. All that nutrition and energy vanishes with barely a trace.
During a jellyfish bloom, food webs may thus be plucked and rearranged, configured to feed jellies that in turn feed almost nothing. Whether this represents the future of Earth’s oceans depends on whom you ask, but it’s an interesting phenomenon in itself.
“Jellyfish are consuming more or less everything that’s present in the food web,” said Robert Condon, a Virginia Institute of Marine Science and co-author of a jellyfish-impact study published June 7 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “They’re eating a lot of the food web, and turning it into gelatinous biomass. They’re essentially stealing

Knoxville Zoo facing fines related to elephant keeper's death
The Knoxville Zoo has been fined more than $12,000 dollars after an inspection by TOSHA following the death of an elephant trainer.
Stephanie James was killed in January when Edie, an 8500 pound African elephant, pushed her into a stall.
The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA) inspected the zoo after the incident, and their findings were released to 10News on Monday.
In the Investigation Summary, we learned more information about what happened the day James was killed. James was trying to serve Edie a treat box, filled with an end of the day snack. She was standing in one of the elephant stalls and called Edie inside to get her treat. Other keepers in the elephant barn said that Edie's eyes widened when she entered the stall, like she was spooked. James told Edie, "No." The elephant continued to walk toward James, stopping within 8 inches of her. Another keeper called

Zoo appeals TOSHA report on trainer's death
Notice of contest filed with agency over citations, results
The Knoxville Zoo is contesting both the citations and conclusions in a Tennessee Division of Occupational Safety and Health investigation into the Jan. 14 death of park elephant keeper Stephanie James.
James, 33, died after 8,500-pound African elephant Edie pushed her into the bars of an elephant stall.
The zoo announced Tuesday it filed a formal notice of contest with TOSHA, part of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
“We have appealed TOSHA’s citations,” said Zoo Executive Director Jim Vlna. “We respectfully disagree with the citations, as well as the conclusions drawn in the investigation summary. The zoo takes numerous precautions to protect its employees while providing the utmost care for the animals. We look forward to a proper resolution.”
Before James’ death, keepers cared for Edie and the zoo’s other female elephant, Jana, in a free contact approach where humans and animals were together without barriers. The elephants are now handled in protected contact with bars or other barriers between them and keepers.
TOSHA is recommending the zoo be cited “for not placing dangerous animals such as Edie … into a ‘protected contact’ environment to prevent the keepers from being injured.” It proposes the park be fined $5,400 for not providing James a workplace “free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm” and $3,000 for not reporting a work-related death to the agency within eight hours.
The TOSHA report found 12 other zoo workplace violations, many related to the use or condition of maintenance department equipment. Those violations total the proposed fines at $12,600. The zoo also is appealing those citations.
TOSHA mentions two past incidents in which Edie pushed a keeper, including James, and a third in which a rock or mud ball the animal threw

After 24 Years, Suddenly Alone at the Central Park Zoo
Do bears feel grief?
On Friday, workers at the Central Park Zoo euthanized one of its most popular and beloved residents: Ida, a 25-year-old polar bear who had suffered from liver disease. It was a painful moment for her keepers, who were given time with her before she was put down.
But Ida also left behind Gus, her companion for 24 years. Now, Gus, the zoo’s only other polar bear, is alone.
The worry is how Gus, also 25, will respond. In 1994, when he would seemingly swim lap after endless lap without stopping, zookeepers believed he suffered depression. They brought in a therapist, who introduced toys and games and got Gus to cut back on his swimming.
But now will Gus mourn?
Bears do not mate for life, but they are fairly social, according to Dr. David Shepherdson, a scientist at the Oregon Zoo in Portland who has studied bear behavior extensively. “For any animal that forms a close bond with another one, there would be some sense of loss.”
A Central Park Zoo official said Gus’s behavior would be monitored in coming days.
“We haven’t decided what we’re going to do next as far as Gus goes,” said Dr. Robert Cook, a top official at the Wildlife Conservation Society,

Giraffe At Peoria Zoo Begins Taking Birth Control
Vivian, a nubile giraffe in the Peoria Zoo in Illinois, is back on the pill after shunning the contraceptive-laced food that she was served for about a month.
While zookeepers scrambled for a solution to the long-necked, 18-month-old spotted vixen's finicky eating habits, they separated her from Taji, the menagerie's sexed-up male giraffe that had eyes for the spotted specimen since she arrived in November.
Zoo officials put Vivian on birth control to prevent her from mating with Taji, because the pair aren't considered a good genetic match.
"We look at the whole population [of giraffes] in North America," said Peoria Zoo Director Yvonne Strode, "and the ones that don't have a lot of brothers and sisters and cousins are the valuable ones. We want to capture their

When the neighbor keeps tigers, leopards
There's wildlife, then there's exotic wildlife.
Rich Travis was expecting to see a deer or maybe hear a coyote during the night when he moved from Malta to Mayfield in Fulton County. He did not expect to find leopards and tigers in the neighborhood.
"When you hear a tiger roar at 4:30 in the morning, your eyes pop out of your head like billiard balls," Travis said.
Travis, 54, moved in 2006 with his wife, Kimberly, to a new, 3,500-square-foot house off state Route 30.
The following year, his neighbor Steve Salton moved two tigers onto his property. In 2008, when the owners of the Ashville Game Farm in Washington County were forced by the state Department of Environmental Conservation to give up their big cats, Salton took three of them -- a tiger and two leopards.
The tiger, a female named Calcutta, is the same animal that scratched a boy in 2006 at the Saratoga County Fair as the child posed for a photograph with a kangaroo.
Travis has been working every avenue open to him to have the animals removed.
"Safety is my primary concern. I have friends come for dinner; they won't come back. If they have kids, the kids are terrified," Travis said. "The other thing is my property value: The contractor who built my house is sitting on a similar house that he can't sell because of the tigers."
The contractor, Don Russell, said he bought 25 acres and subdivided the land with the intention of building a dozen houses. Travis bought the second one. The third has been for sale for three years and had two perspective buyers. Both, Russell said, backed out when they found out about the big cats in the backyard. It's not the economy holding back the sale, Russell said.
Salton said he minds his own business and would not comment for this story. But public records show he is licensed to keep the cats. State law requires that he have a permit from both the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has the job of monitoring Salton to make sure he complies with

'Bizarre' rabid beaver attacks 3 in Philly park
Rangers say it probably contracted the virus after a brawl with raccoon
A rabies-ridden beaver that wreaked havoc in a Philadelphia park, biting three residents over the last week, likely contracted the virus after a scuffle with a rabid raccoon, park rangers say.
While beavers rarely transmit rabies in the area, residents should try to avoid the park and nearby areas of northeast Philadelphia where rabid raccoons might be hiding.
A single animal loose in the city's Pennypack Park first bit a married couple fishing on Wednesday, then a child on Thursday. The three victims were admitted to the hospital and treated for the infection.
After Thursday's attack, the animal was found and killed by a park ranger. It tested positive for rabies at the Pennsylvania Health Department lab, and also showed signs of blunt force trauma, consistent with the first attack, when the bitten husband claimed to have hit the beaver with a rock to chase it away.
"At this point, we do have reason to believe it was the same animal," Pennsylvania Game Commission spokesperson Jerry Feaser told LiveScience. "It's unusual that it was beavers, it was unusual that there were two incidences so closely together and it was truly bizarre

Chinese flee Mozambique over ivory smuggling
Two employees of a Chinese company have fled Mozambique after police stopped the smuggling of 166 elephant tusks and other animal parts, state media reported on Tuesday.
The manager and a machine operator for Chinese firm Tienhe returned to their home country after authorities discovered 161 containers of unprocessed timber at Pemba port in northernmost province Cabo Delgado, according to Noticias newspaper.
Elephant ivory, excrement and internal organs, as well as pangolin scales were found hidden between the wood in some containers, implicating Chinese company Miti, the largest logging company in the province.
Miti denied all responsibility and launched a court case against partner company Tienhe for the crime, prompting the two workers to flee the country.
"Here we are, and all we know is that we've been betrayed with the deepest betrayal possible," the owner of the Mozambican division of Miti, Faruk;facebook

Look Ma, No Dad!
In what appears to be a biological first, researchers have discovered an invasive crayfish that can produce little nippers without sperm from a male. Czech scientists were surprised to find that female spiny-cheek crayfish, a North American species that has become a pest in European waterways, were capable of “parthenogenesis.” The strategy may explain why the crustaceans are such successful invaders.
Understanding why some introduced species take hold, and others don’t, has become a mainstay of conservation biology. In their study, the Czech team was exploring mating patterns in spiny-cheek crawfish, which were introduced into Europe in the 1890s. They captured 90 females and 45 males from a small brook, and then divided them into three groups. In two of the groups, the two sexes were allowed to mingle. In the third, however, the boys were separated by a mesh cage from the girls, but they shared the same water. That’s important because crayfish are known to communicate using visual, chemical and tactile cues.
Normally, the crayfish mate twice a year, in autumn and spring, but lay eggs only in spring, the team reports in PLoS ONE. Not surprisingly, the two mixed groups did their best to sustain the species. The researchers were surprised, however, when most of the segregated females also produced young after 10 months in the lab. One possible explanation was that the females had stored sperm from earlier matings, and then used it when their trysts with the males were blocked. But genetic tests strongly suggested a different answer: That the females had used “apomixis,” or single-sex reproduction, to produce genetically-identical offspring.
Crayfish aren’t the only organisms that can shift baby-making gears and practice “virgin birth.” Everything from sharks to lizards do it (or don’t do it, depending on your perspective). “Nevertheless, this mode of reproduction has, to our knowledge, never been observe

Panda staff signed off sick
TWO leading members of staff working on Edinburgh Zoo's beleaguered panda enclosure project have been signed off on sick leave, the zoo has confirmed.
The Evening News revealed yesterday how work on the enclosure had run into difficulties because the zoo "forgot" to apply for planning permission after it extended plans for the site.
Today a zoo spokeswoman confirmed that two key members of staff on the project were signed off ill, although she could not say why.
The zoo has insisted that the building of the enclosure is on track despite the setbacks.
The spokeswoman said: "Two leading members of staff are on sick leave at present. We cannot confirm the reasons for this as this is a confidential matter but we take our duties as an employer seriously and continue to support our staff."
One source claimed that staff had been working excessively long hours to try to finish the project on time, but the spokeswoman said this was completely untrue.
She said: "Staff have not been made to work unacceptable hours.
"Some staff have had the opportunity to work overtime and have done so, but the numbers of hours has been at their own discretion and in line with the working time directive."
The enclosure is being designed and built using the zoo's in-house trades staff, with occasional assistance from agency staff for highly specialised tasks.
Work on the £250,000

Is it time to ban tiger farms?
Any conservation gains made to protect wild tigers are overshadowed by the large breeding centres that supply the illegal trade in body parts
Isn't it time to ban tiger farms? This question was on my mind as I returned from a reporting trip to Thailand to look at efforts to save the world's favourite endangered species.
Conservationists and law enforcement officers had good news to share in the south-east Asian nation. The Thaplan national park has more tigers than previously believed and police and customs officers have notched up an impressive series of arrests of poachers and smugglers.
But they warned that these small gains were overshadowed by the continued presence of large breeding centres, which supply and maintain the illegal market for tiger bones, penises and other products.
As is the case with their even bigger counterparts in China, these commercial farms often label themselves conservation zoos even as they lobby for a resumption of the tiger trade.
They argue that a legal supply from registered farms could ease the pressure on the wild population. At international conservation meetings, this view is often supported by the same lobby groups that push for a resumption of whaling, the loosening of the ivory trade and the conversion of forests to palm oil production.
Higher-minded scientific advocates of captive tiger breeding are driven by a desire to supplement the dwindling wild population, but there has yet to be even one successful reintroduction.
Some are motivated by commercial and cultural interests related to the lucrative market for traditional Chinese medicine. Others cite free-market ideology to explain their support of tiger farming and the tiger trade: if an animal is valuable, they say, it will create an incentive to save it.
At last year's tiger summit in St Petersburg, this debate was pushed to the fringes because the farming issue casts China - the main market and breeder - in an unflattering light. But it is increasingly irresponsible to ignore, because the raw numbers suggest tiger commerce has expanded while conservation has declined. Despite the ban on the trade in tigers, the captive population is now four times bigger globally than that in the wild.
Partly because of this, a colleague from an Indian newspaper recently suggested to me that the west was too dogmatic in sticking to a conservation approach that seems to have failed. "Why not try breeding and trading?" she said. "Why not leave an Asian animal to Asians?"
I put this to the deputy head of Thailand's wildlife police, Colonel Kittipong Khawsamang. He was adamant that tiger farms were part of the problem rather than the solution, because they encouraged the poaching of wild animals to improve the DNA of their stock.
In market terms, it is cost-effective to poach. A tiger brought up in captivity costs its owner a great deal in terms of food and veterinary bills, yet it is worth less than a wild animal, which has greater rarity value and stronger DNA.
Steven Galster, the founder of the Bangkok-based conservation group Freeland, says farms maintain a market

Experts meet to find solutions to global “bushmeat crisis”
This week 20 governments, representatives of indigenous and local communities, and experts of international conservation and development organizations from Africa, Asia, America and Europe are meeting in Nairobi to find solutions to what is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest current biodiversity crisis—the over-exploitation of wild meat, also known as “bushmeat” for food.
The harvesting of wild terrestrial animals for meat has long been a vital source of food for indigenous and local communities, providing up to 80 per cent of the protein in rural diets in some tropical and subtropical developing countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas.
However, the rapid growth of domestic, regional and international commercial markets for bushmeat has become the most significant driver of unsustainable and often illegal hunting of wild animals in some parts of the world, thereby threatening both biodiversity and the food source that many people depend upon.
In Central Africa alone, it is estimated that over one million  

Plastic spells death in the ocean
PLASTIC bags and declining fish stocks have been highlighted as the two biggest challenges for our oceans on World Oceans Day today.
Hayley McLellan, an animal behaviourist at Cape Town’s Two Oceans Aquarium, said plastic was a serious threat because animals and birds often mistook it for food.
She said most at risk were African penguins, pelicans and turtles.
The aquarium has started a “Penguin Promises” campaign to encourage the public to help save the threatened African penguin.
McLellan explained that the aquarium had joined forces with the Animal Keepers Association of Africa, which chooses an endangered animal each year on which to focus. This year it was the African penguin.
McLellan, who works with the penguin population at the aquarium, said people did not realise the effect plastic bags had on animals at sea.
The campaign also encouraged people to support the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (Sassi), help with coastal clean-ups, and make a pact to support at least one environmental day every year.
Dr Samantha Petersen, manager at the World Wildlife Fund’s responsible fisheries and Sassi programme, said the organisation was working to raise awareness, not only among consumers but among commercial fisheries.
Its SMS campaign encouraged consumers to SMS the name of the fish they were considering eating. They then received a reply informing them of whether or not the fish was endangered.
“Fish listed as green are the best choice. Fish on the orange list means people have reason to worry, while fish on the red list are either unsustainably produced, or endangered.”
Petersen said penguin population numbers had declined by 90 percent since the 1900s when there were about two million African penguins.
She blamed pollution, climate change, threatened habitats, and changes in weather patterns.
“The penguins mainly eat small fish that live in the open ocean. They also breed very slowly and are not able to repopulate very quickly. That is why oil spills also have a big impact on population numbers,” Petersen said.
She explained that this was one of the reasons the organisation was working with commercial fisheries and the government to not only enforce quotas on how much fish could be taken out of the sea, “but on how much fish we need to leave in the sea to sustain the ecosystem”.
McLellan said people needed to rethink their use of plastic bags, as well as other “single-use plastic products”, such as straws.
“Turtles see plastic bags as jelly fish and eat them

Mysore Zoo gets three species of crocodiles
The Mysore Zoo on Tuesday got three pairs of crocodiles of three different species, including the world's second largest (Nile crocodile) and smallest (Dwarf Caiman) crocodile species. With this, Mysore Zoo joins the league of zoos in India housing a total of eight different species of crocodiles for display.
Zoo executive director K B Markandaiah said three species of crocodiles were donated to Mysore Zoo by Madras Crocodile Bank Trust. It includes Nile crocodile, Dwarf Caiman and African slender-spouted crocodiles. It arrived in the zoo on Tuesday. Mysore Zoo is currently housing five species and with the addition of the three new species, the number has gone up to eight species. Very few zoos in the country have put on show eight species of crocodiles, the executive director claimed.
Zoo veterinarian Dr Suresh Kumar told TOI: "At present the zoo has displayed a total 33 crocodiles of five different species -- Mugger, Gharial, Caiman, Saltwater and morelets. With the addition of these six of three different species, the number of crocodiles in zoo will go up to 39," he stated.
With this, the number of species on display at Mysore Zoo g

Interview: Hugh Roberts, chief executive of Edinburgh zoo
IT probably couldn't be more appropriate that Hugh Roberts' favourite animal at Edinburgh Zoo is the Indian rhino
After all, the new chief executive of the embattled institution is going to need a thick skin to get through the next 12 months. Roberts, who specialises in troubleshooting at businesses, organisations and charities which have hit hard times, has been in place for all of three weeks of his 52-week tenure. But despite the ongoing internal staff strife, the installation of a new board chairman, and the latest planning permission problems with the panda enclosure, he is still smiling.
In fact it's a rather bright, white smile given that it's set against his south of England tan. It's also one which has a glint of a gold tooth about it. Which could be why he's been described by some as having a hint of "East End gangster" about him.
He laughs, rather pleased with the idea. "But what's not to like about being here? This job is a fantastic privilege, and it's fantastic to be back in Edinburgh. I was a student here a long time ago. So there's a lot to smile about. Obviously this is a challenging time for the zoo, but I hope that people will now start looking forward and not keep going over what's happened."
What's happened is that since March, one zoo director was sacked while two others were suspended as internal investigations into anonymous allegations about them were carried out. Chief operating officer Gary Wilson, is now back at work, while the other investigation, which involves director of animals, conservation and education, Iain Valentine, is yet to be completed. The honorary treasurer, Max Gaunt, quit the board when his financial advice over a loan was not heeded, and a plan to lease the zoo to a Spanish company was leaked - although later ruled out.
The apparent lack of leadership at the zoo _ there has been no chief executive since last November - resulted in an emergency general meeting of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland membership last month, and a vote of no confidence in the then chairman Donald Emslie. Unsurprisingly, there have since been concerns about the damage done to the zoo's and society's reputations and the impact of that on the arrival of two Chinese pandas later in the year.
In the midst of it all, 61-year-old Roberts was appointed. "Obviously I knew that there was a lack of leadership, that there were strong individuals here but no-one at the helm, but then in terms

Llysfaen sealion trainer leaves zoo to start new business
A FORMER sealion trainer is using her animal magic to launch a new business.
Vicki Small, from Llysfaen, set up her own animal training and consultancy firm after gaining experience at the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay.
Vicki said Small Steps Animal Training & Consultancy offers customers “help with any animal with any issue”.
After Moving to Wales nine years ago to study at Bangor University, she graduated with a joint honours degree in marine biology and zoology.
Vicki then went on to work full-time for the zoo as head of the sea lion section.
Whilst working there Vicki also began teaching ‘captive animal husbandry and enclosure

Cheetah owners club would increase smuggling, expert says
A wildlife expert has criticised plans to set up a club for cheetah owners , warning it could lead to an increase in the number of cubs smuggled into the country.
Dr Reza Khan, a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas, said: "We cannot have a club for cheetah owners because this is not a pet animal.
"It will encourage more smuggling. It is bound to open a mad race to become the proud owner of as many cheetahs as possible by club members."
Dr Khan also questioned a suggestion that most captive cheetahs in the country were well looked after. He quoted the case of the young animal recently found wandering the streets of Karama in the capital, with a heavy chain around its neck and a broken foreleg.
The idea for a cheetah club was raised last week by the conservationist Dr Mordecai Ogada, of Kenya, who is calling for a campaign in the UAE to raise awareness of the damage caused to wild populations by the illegal trade in cubs.
The club would raise funds for or sponsor conservation and research, and organise trips to see wild cheetahs in Africa.
Dr Ogada, the East African co-ordinator of a cheetah conservation programme, said most captive cheetahs in the UAE were loved and cared for at great expense.
"Where they are not well cared for, this is a result of ignorance, not malice, on the part of the owners," he said.
But Dr Khan, from Dubai, said: "The

Taipei, Singapore zoos exchange rare animals
Taipei and Singapore will cooperate on wildlife preservation and education by exchanging endangered reptiles housed in their city zoos, according to Taipei Zoo June 7.
“We believe this move will bolster joint efforts aimed at protecting endangered animals and crack down on international smuggling,” Taipei Zoo Director Jason Yeh said.
Animals slated to participate in the program include four elongated tortoises, four red-footed tortoises and two yellow-footed tortoises. Taipei Zoo has experienced success in breeding these reptiles over the past few years.
The tortoises, which arrived in their new home May 27, will be featured in a new section at the Singapore Zoo set to open in 2012. In return, Singapore will send Taipei three rhinoceros iguanas and four Burmese mountain tortoises.
“The incoming rhinoceros iguanas include one male and two females. As Taipei already keeps one male iguana, this addition is expected to enlarge the

Center opens to protect rare turtle in Cambodia
An extremely rare soft-shell turtle species has a new, protected home in Cambodia.
The critically endangered Cantor's giant soft-shell turtles is one of the rarest freshwater turtles in the world. Scientists last saw one in the Cambodian wild in 2003, and small numbers have been seen in neighboring Laos.
U.S.-based Conservation International says it opened the Mekong Turtle Conservation Center on Wednesday in Kratie province, 160 kilometers (100 miles) northeast of Phnom Penh.
An 18-kilogram (40-pound) female turtle was released




Flooding fills up parks, moves zoo animals
Parts of Clay Center felt a little like Venice early Thursday morning.
Last night's rain and 6.6 inches of rainfall in Clay Center caused extensive flooding in the city. Several streets were under water early Thursday morning as water from Wednesday night's storm began to drain away.
Flooding at Utility Park prompted Public Utilities staff to move animals out of the Clay Center Zoo Wednesday night. The zoo, the fountain, and much of the park was under water as of Thursday morning, though the water had not reached the playground in the park.
About a dozens animals had to be relocated, including the bobcat, groundhogs squirrels, raccoons and others, said Public Utilities Superintendent Bill Callaway.
"We put them in pet carriers and took them out and relocated them," he said Thursday. "The water

Flooding, Fire, Disaster....Whenever I read of such things I remember that excellent book:

Resources for Crisis Management in Zoos and Other Animal Care Facilities
Essential for every zoo library. Every Zoo Professional will have taken the time to read it and ensure that trainees do the same. The only sure thing about a crisis is that it is unexpected. It is best to have some advance knowledge of how to cope. Is there a copy in your Zoo Library?

Dead zoo rhino found in backyard
Dozens of other carcasses also discovered
Dozens of sheep, three horses and a rhino were found rotting in a South Valley backyard for months, according to officials at the Bernalillo County Environmental Department. City officials conrfirmed the rhino was the body of the Biopark's beloved rhino, Sally.
Albuquerque Police and Bernalillo County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to Reuben Saavedra's home near Coors and Arenal SW on Wednesday night in reference to the smell of something dead.
"It's just that dead rotting flesh smell," said neighbor Julie Evans. "I don't know where it was coming from. I was concerned it was a dead animal under my deck."
County environmental specialist Lucas Tafoya said it was hard to determine the exact number of dead animals found on Saavedra's property but many of the animals have been left decaying for months. He said there was no immediate health risk to the public.
"We can't give you an accurate number on that because of the stages of decomposition," Tafoya said. "They're in piles, so we're not going to dig through and find out how many animals there are."
Tafoya said Saavedra is a licensed contractor who is hired by different agencies to pick up animal carcasses and drop them off at the Cerro Colorado Landfill.
Albuquerque City Spokesman Chris Ramirez confirmed the dead rhino was the beloved zoo animal named Sally that was euthanized at age 44 last December. Ramirez said city officials turned Sally's body over to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to make

Easy tiger (see Photos)
Zoo practises catching big cat..with man in suit
ARMED zookeepers looked Tigger-happy yesterday after practising hunting down an escaped tiger - with a man dressed up as one of the beasts.
Onlookers were stunned as the crack team pounded through the

Don't send peacock eggs to other zoos: Experts
Chhatbir zoo's move of transporting at least 50 eggs of peacocks to a mini-zoo in Beehar Talab, Bathinda, will not just leave the mothers-to-be heartbroken. Wildlife experts say it may also not leave the right impression on tender minds of the chicks.
They said that without their mothers' care, chicks would find themselves under stress on the very first day of their lives. Transporting the eggs itself was a risky affair, they added.
Founder president of Wildlife Conservation Society, Nawanshahr, Nikhil Sangar stated that it would be not easy for the chicks to grow without their mothers. ''How will they learn about predators and feeding schedules? Peacock is our national bird and needs extra care,'' he added.
Officials at Chhatbir zoo have been claiming that they have a dense peacock population. However, wildlife experts say the wildlife department had not conducted a census to get an estimate of the number of birds. ''We cannot understand how this programme is being carried out. They have not conducted a census of the peacock population and it would be risky to take these eggs to the zoo in Bathinda,'' said Punjab State Wildlife Board member Sandeep Jain.
Zoo officials said there are over 100 peacocks in the Lion Safari of Chhatbir zoo. This is considered the heaviest peacock population among zoological parks of Punjab. The decision for taking eggs from here for breeding purposes was taken during a recent meeting between Punjab's wildlife department and Centre.
Officials said the department was coordinating with experts from Wildlife Institute of India (Dehradun) to initiate peacock breeding.
Quoting some studies, officials of Punjab wildlife department said urbanization and use of pesticides had led to a decline in the bird population in Malwa region of Punjab.
One of them stated that they were coordinationg with poultry experts for successful hatching of these eggs.
The department intends to release the peacocks in Malwa's forests. ''The peacock population is dense here. In future, it may be difficult to keep such a big number of peacocks here and we cannot transfer live peacocks to the other locations that is very difficult

Illegal ankush' used on jumbos at Amber
Gross neglect in caring of elephants was exposed on Wednesday here, when six mahouts were allegedly found carrying banned traditional goads, sharp-edged iron rods commonly known as ankush, while riding elephants in Amber locality of the city.
Wildlife activists, along with the representatives of Jaipur Association of Elephant Owner,s found the ankush, used to control' elephants while riding, with six mahouts, who were on their way back to Hathi Gaon' from the Amber fort.
"On a sudden check of elephant riders the ankush, which has been banned by the Rajasthan High Court, was found. We seized the goads and warned them to not

Wildlife bureau against feeding tainted ‘bangus’ to zoo crocodiles
An official of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau frowned on the decision of zoo officials to feed seized “bangus” (milkfish) suspected of coming from areas affected by a massive fishkill in Batangas and Pangasinan provinces to crocodiles at the Crocodile Park in Pasay City.
Theresa Mundita Lim, PAWB national director, on Friday said like humans, animals were also at risk if they were fed so-called “botcha” or spoiled fish.
“We are issuing an advisory against this and we are writing a letter to the Crocodile Park to stop feeding the wildlife animals with dead fish from fishkills,” said Lim, who arrived here from Manila in connection with the investigation on coral smuggling.
Lim said that thiaminate developed in the gut of spoiled fish. Thiaminate, Lim said, destroyed vitamin B in the body of humans or animals.
“Once animals ingest fish with thiaminate substance, they will suffer from nervous system related problems,” she warned.
Lim said ingestion of thiaminate could lead to convulsion

Thailand seizes hundreds of turtles in air luggage
Thai customs have discovered hundreds of live turtles and other rare animals in luggage at Bangkok's main airport, the latest in a series of wildlife seizures in the kingdom, an official said on Thursday.
The haul, which included 35 star tortoises and is worth an estimated one million baht ($33,000), was discovered in suitcases from Bangladesh in transit at Suvarnabhumi Airport on the way to India.
The owner of the luggage, which also included gavials, a reptile related to crocodiles, escaped before police could arrest him.
The star tortoise, which is popular in Asia as an exotic pet, is listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and a permit is required to export them.
Last September Thailand -- home to some of the world's largest wildlife trafficking operations -- seized more than 1,000 star tortoises

Considerable dip in mortality rate at Vandalur zoo, says Director
There has been a considerable reduction in the mortality rate of animals in captivity at Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur.
Giving the details, K.S.S.V.P. Reddy, Chief Conservator of Forests and Zoo Director, told The Hindu that the zoo housed mammals, reptiles and birds totalling 1,342 belonging to 148 species.
Between April 2010 and March 2011 only 22 animals were reported dead. Of this nine died due to old age and the remaining owing to other health related problems and infighting.
Environment enrichment, psychological well being and animal husbandry and veterinary care were the three important captive management practices that contributed to the longevity of animals.
Similarly, the zoo authorities ensured hygienic feed and clean water to the housed animals. Apart from this maintaining the enclosures hygienically by cleaning them periodically had provided a safe

Zoo of death uncovered in St Helens as cops raid reveals stuffed bears, Canadian lynx and red squirrels
A FREAKISH farm of horrors was uncovered as a Merseyside police raid netted a haul of stuffed rare animals and illegal skins.
A team of 30 animal crime experts yesterday stormed a farm, arresting a 45-year-old man.
The macabre collection included three stuffed black bears, two stuffed Canadian lynx, baboon skins and a frozen dead red squirrel, ready to be stuffed.
Horrified officers were also confronted with a stuffed spitting cobra, the skin of an ocelot, bobcat and a rare caracal cat and a stuffed

Rare dolphins found tied to concrete slab
Authorities are disgusted by the discovery of two rare dolphins found dead, tied to mangroves, and weighed down by a slab of concrete in north Queensland.
A local recreational fisherman found the rare snubfin dolphins near the mouth of Two Mile Creek, north of Townsville.
Authorities say the dolphins were hand-tied to the mangroves and they are appealing for leads to find those responsible.
Richard Leck from the World Wildlife Fund says he is incensed.
"The killing and concealing of these two dolphins is totally reprehensible

Bid to save sandpiper at risk of extinction in Russia
Conservationists have embarked on a mission to save one of the world's rarest birds, the spoon-billed sandpiper, from extinction.
Fewer than 200 pairs of spoon-billed sandpipers were thought to exist in 2009, and since then, the population has thought to have declined by a quarter each year.
So a specialist team of bird experts are flying to the sandpiper's home in northeast Russia to collect and incubate eggs and set up a captive breeding population.
The captive population of spoon-billed sandpipers will be housed in Moscow Zoo for quarantine purposes, then moved to a specially built unit at the headquarters of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, UK.
The emergency mission is being undertaken by the WWT and Birds Russia, working with colleagues from the

Ice sculpture in Sydney raises polar bear plight
A huge ice sculpture of a polar bear designed to raise awareness about global warming and the plight of the endangered creature was unveiled in Sydney.
A whopping four metres (13 feet) high and 2.2 metres wide, the bear was carved from a ten-tonne block of ice on the city's harbourfront and will melt over three to four days, revealing a bronze sculpture of its skeleton.
Now on its sixth global stop since being launched by British artist Mark Coreth in 2009, the bear was whittled into shape in the pre-dawn hours after a giant crane dropped the ice beside the harbour.
Bypassers can pay Aus$2 to touch the creature, feeling "the ice melting under your hand," said Coreth, who hopes to raise awareness about global warming and its effect on polar bears, an endangered species.
"This is the human impact," he said.
"When the ice goes from the ice bear, there will always be a bear, but it will be very different bear. It will be a skeleton, a pool of water

Alberta zoo owner vows to have animals stuffed
As Alberta officials formulate a decommission plan for GuZoo, its embattled owner remains hopeful he will reopen — with all his exotic animals on display.
Lynn Gustafson, who has run the controversial zoo near Three Hills, Alta., for more than 20 years, said he'll ask officials with Sustainable Resource Development for a new permit — with conditions he make improvements to the facility — so he can remain open.
"You have to have a permit to keep the animals and every permit is issued with some conditions," he said. "Hopefully the conditions will be to make certain improvements, maybe it won't be, we'll see. ... Maybe I'm in denial."
Gustafson has said he is considering offers from taxidermists to kill and mount one of each species — including a lion, tiger, bear and lynx — if the permit is denied.
The GuZoo permit was revoked Wednesday and replaced with a temporary, seven-day licence to begin the decommission process after a recent independent review

German police train vulture 'detectives' to find bodies
German police are trying out a new weapon in the fight against crime - vultures that can find hidden corpses.
Three feathered detectives - called Sherlock, Miss Marple and Columbo - are being trained in Walsrode bird park in northern Germany.
The birds' keen eyesight and acute sense of smell might make them as skilful as their fictional namesakes.
But worryingly Sherlock sometimes prefers to hunt on foot, rather than scan the ground from above.
Police used a piece of shroud from a mortuary for the training exercise, German media report.
The vultures are thought to be better than sniffer dogs at finding bodies when a large area has to be searched and the terrain is difficult, for example if it is densely overgrown.
But the experiment raises ethical concerns because of the risk that a vulture could start pecking at

Climate scientists receive death threats
A Canberra university has increased security following death threats to its climate scientists.
The Australian National University has received a large number of emails with threatening and abusive language directed at some of its scientists.
Some of the scientists have been moved to a safer location.
"Obviously, climate research is an emotive issue at the present time, but these are issues where we should have a logical public debate," Professor Young told ABC News 24.
"In fact it's completely intolerable that people be subjected to this sort of abuse and to threats like this."
Professor Young said the threats had unsettled the scientists.
"Academics and scientists are actually really not equipped to be treated in this way," he said.
"The concept that you would be threatened for your scientific views and work is something that is completely foreign to them."
The Australian Federal Poli

China expands program to prep giant pandas for life in wild
After the completion of the initial stage of the Wolong panda wild training program, the giant panda research center in southwest China's Sichuan province is planning to release six more breeding female pandas into wildness this year, according to the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda. The move aims to expand a wild training program for captive-bred pandas to adapt to the wild environment.
It has been proven that the first phase of wild training has equipped Cao Cao and its cub Tao Tao with basic skills to survive in the wild. Tao Tao, the first-ever panda baby born under wild training, has successfully endured the heavy snow that hit the Wolong Nature Reserve in March. The stronger and more independent Tao Tao has started to develop a sense of territoriality

Killing Fields: Africa's Rhinos Under Threat
Nestled in the golden bush grass of an open savanna, a black rhinoceros lies on her side. Her head is haloed by a dried pool of blood. The animal's horns have been sawed off at the stump. Her eyes have been gouged out. "That's a new thing," notes Rusty Hustler, the manager of South Africa's North West Parks and Tourism Board, whose job includes tracking the escalating number of endangered rhinos poached for their body parts. "The Vietnamese have started keeping the eyes for medicine."
Hustler and an animal pathologist begin the postmortem. The stench and the proliferation of flies and maggots indicate that the beast, which was found at the Shingalana private game reserve by a local guide, has been dead at least a week. Eight bullet cartridges are scattered near the carcass. Wearing white boots and blue latex gloves, the pair get to work, sharpening a series of butcher's knives, then ripping into the rhino. A metal detector is passed over the exposed flesh. After an hour, the metal detector squeaks, then emits a louder shriek. The pathologist reaches the heart. "That's the kill shot," says Hustler, slicing the heart to uncover an inch-long slug.
(See pictures of 10 species near extinction).
The South Africans rest and survey their grisly work. In 1993 international trade in rhino horn was banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), which now includes 175 member countries and regions. But somewhere, almost assuredly on an illicit route to Asia, the horns and eyes of a 9-year-old female Diceros bicornis are traveling, destined for often desperate people who believe in the mystical curative powers of the rhinoceros.
Unlike the elephant, its pachyderm cousin, the rhinoceros possesses little of the majesty needed to evoke worldwide sympathy. It is shy, low-slung, seriously nearsighted. It does not dazzle with its intelligence. Yet for millennia, these bulky lawn mowers have entranced humans with the agglutinated hair that makes up their horns. Ancient Arabs carved dagger handles from it; Yemen was a popular destination for the animal's parts through the 1980s. Western colonialists in Asia and Africa lined their parlors with rhino-horn trophies and sometimes fashioned ashtrays out of the beasts' feet. Most of all, though, rhino horn was prized in Asia for its purported medicinal value. Ancient traditional Chinese medicine texts recommended the powdered horn for ailments like fever and arthritis, and modern-day practitioners have prescribed it for,9171,2075283,00.html

Hey, I think that's our kid, 3,233rd from the left: Stunning pictures of island where penguins have created the world's largest crèche
These stunning aerial images of a King Penguin colony in South Georgia show just how extraordinary penguin parenting really is.
In what looks to be the world's largest creche, thousands of King Penguins instinctively herd their recently born young into giant huddles to stop them freezing to death
Parental instinct takes over in the inhospitable climate of the South Atlantic and the chicks with their long, brown, downy coats are made to crowd together to retain their body warmth in the equivalent of bird creches - visible as brown swathes on our photo.

35.000 People Visit Ragunan Zoo Today
Ragunan Zoo (TMR) in South Jakarta visited by 35 thousand people today, (Friday, 6/3). This number decreased, since yesterday (Thursday, 6/2) 50 thousand people visited the cheap yet fun recreation place.
To TMR Public Relation officer Wahyudi Bambang said it is normal because not all companies use the public leave policy for their employees. He optimists TMR will be visited by 200 thousand people by the end of this week.
According to him, residents are enthusiast to visit the zoo because of its affordable entrance fee, which are Rp 4.000 for adult and Rp 3.000 for children. While for toddler age of below 3 years, the ticket fee is free.
In order to create secure and comfortable recreation for its visitors, TMR cooperates with the police, Transportation Department, Marines, and local resident wich total of 200 people. They also provided one unit of ambulance and three medical posts along with paramedics from Indonesian Red Cross (PMI). The three medical posts are located near TMR office, information center, and primate center.
Bambang explained TMR has various entertainment shows

Noel the turtle proves amputees survive in wild
Grave fears were held for "Noel" when she was released back into the wild after having a flipper amputated.
But the resilient 93 kilogram (204 pound) green sea turtle, who was fitted with a tracking device, has proved it is no handicap by swimming more than 2,600 kilometres (1,612 miles) since last December.
"This is a mindblowing achievement, given she only has three flippers," the head of Australia Zoo's rescue unit, Brian Coulter, told the Courier-Mail newspaper.
"It is very important research because it shows that amputee turtles can survive. Some institutions have euthanased them in the past, thinking they would not make it."
"Noel" was taken to Australia Zoo's Wildlife Hospital, established by 'Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, after being found entangled in

Roman shipwreck: Giant fish tank in a 2,000-year-old ship?
Roman shipwreck: Scientists say that an ancient Roman shipwreck had the plumbing for a salt-water aquarium.
An ancient Roman shipwreck nearly 2,000 years old may once have held an aquarium onboard capable of carrying live fish, archaeologists suggest.
The shipwreck, which lay 6 miles (nearly 10 kilometers) off the town of Grado in Italy, was discovered by accident in 1986. Approximately 55 feet (16.5 meters) long, it dated back to the mid-second century and had a cargo of about 600 large vases known as amphoras that contained sardines, salted mackerel and other fish products.
Curiously, its hull possessed a unique feature — near its keel was a lead pipe at least 2.7 inches (7 cm) wide and 51 inches (1.3 meters) long. Why pierce

Orang utan gets unprecedented genital surgery
A BABY Bornean orang utan at a South Korean zoo underwent surgery last month to lace up one of his testicles where it should be after it had been found abnormally stuck inside the anthropoid's abdomen, a zoo official said on Friday.
The two-hour surgery was the first of its kind in the world and drew a team of six local urologists and veterinarians, according to Mr Kang Hyung Uk, a public relations official at Seoul Zoo, located just outside of Seoul. Mr Kang said he had checked with other zoo associations abroad to see if a similar surgery had ever been done.
The orang utan, barely 3 years old, was too young to undergo surgery when one of his testicles was found hidden inside his belly during a medical checkup last year, a potentially deadly case that could have developed into cancer and caused infertility, Mr Kang said.
'So we waited until Baekseok was strong enough, and a team of local urologists came forward in the meantime to help bring the testicle down to

Saving a Living Treasure of Asia
China has emerged as the world's largest market for smuggled endangered animal species. Just as some of our own environmental transgressions are born of the Western notion of man's hegemony over the natural world, China's destruction of its natural heritage is rooted in social and cultural mores that include the role of animal parts in traditional Chinese medicine. The freedom to spend currency abroad and the rise of the Chinese middle class have, despite government avowals to the contrary, increased trade on protected and threatened species worldwide. Tigers, rhinos, and bears are some of the most publicized and emblematic victims of smuggling and butchery, but there is another, nearly silent extinction epidemic underway in Asia -- the decimation of Asian turtles.
Included among these is the Giant Asian Forest Tortoise, Manouria emys, which occurs as far south as the Indonesian Island of Sumatra, and as far north as the Chinese border with Burma. Reaching as much as 100 lbs., but more typically half that, the Giant Asian Forest Tortoise -- the largest tortoise in Asia and fourth largest terrestrial turtle in the world -- is losing habitat daily, and is wantonly slaughtered for both medicine and food. Despite its bleak outlook, the species (both the smaller, southern, lowland race and the rarer, darker, larger, mountain variety) may ultimately owe their survival not to sweeping law enforcement or local fieldwork, but to the passion of unlikely conservation hero living not in Asia, but in a small town in North Florida.
63-year-old Vic Morgan has no idea where his love of animals came from. As far as he knows, he's the first in his family tree to be happier in the woods than in town -- his father sold insurance -- but after moving from Virginia to Florida when he was six

Saving bears is a necessity
The death this week of a mother grizzly on the train tracks near Lake Louise - leaving two cubs orphaned - has renewed calls for Canadian Pacific and Parks Canada to do something about the problem of bear deaths.
A number of initiatives have been in place for years, including vegetation management along the right-of-way and the vacuuming up of grain fallen from passing railcars. As well, crews report bear sightings to the rail traffic controller, and other crews are thus alerted to the bear's presence. It's heartening, however, to learn that new initiatives will be unveiled in a joint announcement in the next few months by CP and Parks Canada, and that future efforts arising from CP's five-year, $1-million research program will begin to focus on the science around bear behaviour.
Parks Canada estimated in 2009 that between Field and Revelstoke, B.C., alone, 17 bears -blacks and grizzlies -were dying annually from collisions, with 9,000 vehicles and

Never-before-seen video reveals how penguins stay warm
A brilliantly choreographed wave made up of little penguin shuffles every 60 seconds, in unison for hours, keeps them warm and alive in the Antarctic winter, says the physicist who captured the dance on film for the first time.
The circumstances are dire:
Two thousand Emperor penguins are stuck in desolate Dronning Maud Land. It’s minus 50 with winds gusting to 180 kilometres per hour. All the female penguins are off hunting for food.
The males have nothing to eat for 110 days. Most of them are carrying an egg.
“If you would put thousands of people together like that they wouldn’t be able to move,” Daniel Zitterbart of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg told the Star on Thursday.
But these penguins do. Every 60 seconds, they waddle 12 centimetres. The penguins in the toasty middle, where temperatures can zoom to plus 37, rotate to the outer edges to give the chilly birds on the outside a turn.
The shift is imperceptible to the naked eye. Zitterbart captured the undulating penguin mass with high-resolution, time-lapse photography over four hours.
“If it’s pretty warm, a huddle doesn’t last longer than two hours. From what I could see, this huddle was at least eight hours.”
As the temperature drops, “some penguins start to gather,” said Zitterbart. “More penguins come from behind and the huddle gets more

Infants in groups must pay to enter Zoo, Night Safari and Bird Park
All children below three used to enter for free
A tweak to Wildlife Reserves Singapore's admission policy for children that began this month has already caused some confusion among visitors.
A 51-year-old visitor who only wanted to be known as Mr Lim discovered this new policy yesterday when he accompanied a group of about 20 from overseas to the Jurong Bird Park. The two-year-old infant in the group required a children's ticket to enter the attraction. "When I heard this, I felt it was ridiculous ... at one or two years old, do they know anything? They won't cause any inconvenience," said Mr Lim.
Clarifying its new policy yesterday in response to MediaCorp's queries, WRS said only infants aged one and above who visit the Zoo, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park as part of a group need to purchase children's tickets to enter. This includes tour groups as well as groups from childcare centres.
Previously, any child below the age of three could enter for free.
For independent travellers, each child below three still gets to enter for free - provided the child is accompanied by an adult, said Ms Isabel Cheng, WRS director of sales, marketing and communications. For example, if there is one adult accompanying two children aged above one, the adult has to buy one children's,-Night-Safari-and-Bird-Park

Chimps go ape over Sydney zoo donation
It was an announcement that was greeted with a hoots of approval.
The chimpanzees of Taronga Zoo in Sydney seemed delighted to hear the zoo's conservation society will donate $150,000 to help their fellow creatures in Africa.
Either that or they were just pleased with their Sunday morning breakfast.
Making the announcement on World Environment Day, Taronga Zoo director Cameron Kerr said the donation to the Tchimpounga chimpanzee sanctuary in the Congo would make a big difference in protecting the endangered species.
"The backdrop to all the sound that you hear ... is one of the greatest mass extinctions since the loss of the dinosaurs," Mr Kerr said, over the chimpanzees' hullabaloo.
"This is something we really need to think about."
The zoo's tribe of 17 chimpanzees

A secret oasis for the world's most endangered turtles
The Turtle Conservancy, tucked in the foothills of Ventura County, cares for species ravaged by habitat loss, wildfires, hunting and black markets. Its latest project: breeding the rare ploughshare tortoise.
When it comes to caring for the world's rarest cold-blooded animals, few places match the pampering and security provided to hundreds of critically endangered turtles and tortoises at a secret compound in the foothills of Los Padres National Forest.
In paddocks and aquariums protected by surveillance cameras and electric wire, Okinawa leaf turtles feast on silkworms and mulberries in a temperature-controlled greenhouse. Nest-building Burmese black mountain tortoises relax in piles of freshly cut oak, sycamore and bamboo. Forest-dwelling impressed tortoises dine exclusively on organically grown oyster mushrooms. Philippine pond turtles spend the night in snug tunnels made of cork bark.
But Saturday's VIPs were eight ploughshare tortoises flown in from Hong Kong in padded crates. Among them is a female of breeding age, which Eric Goode and his associates at the nonprofit Turtle Conservancy's Behler Chelonian Center hope to mate with the only male ploughshare tortoise of breeding age in North America.
"That male, which is en route from a zoo in Texas, hasn't seen a female ploughshare tortoise of breeding age in more than 25 years," Goode said as he marveled at the new arrivals in a quarantined pen. "We're hoping for the best. These creatures have seen nothing but bad luck, corruption and greed in captivity."
Some would call that an understatement. With fewer than 300 left in the wilds of Madagascar, the ploughshare tortoise holds the dubious distinction of being the rarest tortoise on Earth. They are heavily targeted by global animal traffickers, and the high-domed creatures fetch,0,7251385.story

Rare cat, antelope sighted in state sanctuaries
Two rare sightings ahead of the World Environment Day at state sanctuaries have brought cheer among wildlife lovers. While a fishing cat, an endangered species, was sighted at the Keoladeo bird sanctuary, the Sariska tiger reserve had a rare glimpse of the four-horned antelope believed to be extinct for years.
According to state wildlife board member Rajpal Singh, "The two sightings are definitely a thing to rejoice for any wildlife enthusiast. The four-horned antelope was last seen at Sariska about four years ago while the fishing cat that was sighted at the Keoladeo sanctuary has confirmed

The dive of the tiger: Big cat makes a splash in animal park waterfall (GREAT PHOTOS)
In the searing heat, this tiger was looking for a novel way to cool off as it endured the rising temperature.
The graceful but deadly cat first surveys the drop below before using her huge paws to launched herself into the water.
However, this is no tropical waterfall in the depths of the Indian jungle. Sayan is an endangered Amur Siberian Tiger and is a new arrival at Yorkshire Wildlife Park - and staff say she is proving to be quite the water

The Bear Necessities
The shooting and killing of a black bear at the Piedmont Triad International Airport this week prompted a lot of questions about the NC Wildlife Commission's bear policy. Specifically, under what circumstances are bears trapped, euthanized (i.e., killed), or left to roam.
It is important to keep in mind that it was not a wildlife officer who shot the bear in the first instance. It was an airport worker.
Nevertheless, the folks over at the Wildlife Commission have issued a press release clarifying the bear policy and listing some helpful

Tortoise cam to be featured on
Tortoise lovers can get a closer look at the Knoxville Zoo's male giant tortoises Al and Tex today with the "Al Cam," a camera attached to Al's shell.
Live streaming video will play 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on the News Sentinel's website at .
Al and Tex met loaned female tortoises Patches and Corky last week, the first time the male tortoises have encountered females since the 1980s.
Public response to the event, covered in the News Sentinel and on, has been enthusiastic.
"Because they are so rarely bred in the U.S., we want to make sure zoo visitors have the chance to continue seeing Aldabra giant tortoises. And everyone loves a good romance story where the guy gets the girl," said Michael

Barges allowed to pass through accident area, sunken sugar vessel to be refloated
The Office of Water Transport in Ayutthaya yesterday allowed cargo barges to pass through the area where a sugar barge sank and expressed confidence that the barge would be refloated on Wednesday
... discovery of dead fish in the river, Pathum Thani Fishery officer Thanong Thaklaewtossapon said four mantra rays were found dead so far in the Chao Phraya passing through the province. He said he suspected several more rays were dead but hadn't floated to the surface yet and that their deaths might...

Biodiversity a huge asset for tourism development in Oman
The biodiversity of Earth is declining at an “unprecedented rate”. Many plants and animals are threatened for extinction. The numbers of threatened species are increasing across almost all major taxonomic groups. There is growing global concern about the status of the biological resources.
The world’s oldest and largest global environmental network — IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) — helps the world find pragmatic solutions to most pressing environment and development challenges. It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organisations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice.
Dr Jean-Christophe Vié, Deputy director of IUCN’s species programme leads all the diverse aspects of the Programme, including biodiversity assessments, the Red List of Threatened Species, and gives inputs to international agreements, and supports the Species Survival Commission (SSC) as well as the Water and Nature Initiative. On the occasion of Environment Day 2011, he speaks to Seema Sangra about the concerns of loss of biodiversity, contradictory studies about extinction rates and reintroduction of the Arabian Oryx.
Excerpts from the interview:
According to a recently published study, the extinction rates are overestimated, what is your take on it?
The new study you are referring too has been misinterpreted

Buffer habitats for Persian leopard
An investigation on Persian leopard was carried out from September 2007 to October 2008 in Ghorkhod & Behkadeh Reserve, northeastern Iran. The area is the main buffer habitat around the core (source) population in Golestan National Park, but it suffers severe depletion of natural prey species due to lower level of protection measures, and is probably a sink population. We conclude that to ensure corridors and buffer zones, the most urgent and achievable solution is perhaps to designate additional “No Hunting Areas”and

Egypt arrests “lion fight” man
The Egyptian government has intervened and arrested a man who had attempted to promote tourism through a public battle between himself and a lion. According to the country’s ministry of tourism and Egyptian animal welfare activists who had been following the ordeal, El-Sayad al-Essawy has been arrested and is currently under investigation.
Early indications from the ministry are that the man is mentally ill. It is unclear what exactly will happen to him and if he will be charged with a crime. According to activists, the man had not actually bought a lion on the black market.
Minister of Tourism Munir Fakhry Abdel-Nour said in public statements that “under no circumstance will the Ministry of Tourism tolerate any degree of inhumane acts against animals.”
His comments come as a number of foreign nationals, and potential tourists, had spoken out against the “battle” saying they would not come to Egypt if the event went as planned.
“This is disgusting, to fight a lion to death to raise public attention is so wrong,” one animal rights activist in Egypt said in an email to Bikya Masr detailing the situation.
According to local reports, an Egyptian citizen purchased a lion for around 25,000 Egyptian pounds – in violation of stated international wildlife regulations – and is “”to fight the lion to death with swords.” It has been learned that the lion was in fact not purchased.
Egyptian Arabic newspaper al-Youm al-Saba’a said the idea was to “raise

Elephant Poachers Are Back in Mara Siana!
What a tragedy a majestic Bull Elephant was poached yesterday. He was poisoned with a spear and arrow by poachers.He was trying to reach some heavy bush but died in the open about 100 metres from the thick bush.The poachers were chasing him on piki pikis (motorcycles) but he could go no further before collapsing. The poachers had to abandon the scene as it was daylight and they were in the open. They were not able to take the tusks and got away.A herdsman reported this activity and our Simba Scouts went to the incident along with Narok county Council Rangers and the Kenya Wildlife Service Rangers. It was terribly upsetting to all and believe it or not this was the second Elephant killed in 24 hours in this area.This just highlights that the Mara region is being targeted




Decision looming for controversial zoo
D-Day may be looming for the controversial GuZoo Animal Farm.
Following allegations of animal neglect, prompted by an Internet campaign featuring several pictures of animals in distress, GuZoo owner Lynn Gustafson was given a 60-day conditional permit while the province investigated operations at the property, about 140 km northeast of Calgary.
The conditional permit expires Wednesday and there is still no word on what the findings were, or what’s going to happen to Gustafson and his hundreds of exotic and domestic animals.
Gustafson said he hasn’t heard a word.
I blame them — why didn’t they get these inspectors six weeks earlier instead of waiting until the last week or two?” he said.
“It’s not my fault — I was here.”
But Gustafson predicts his licence will be renewed.
“Otherwise what are they going to do with all the animals? I’m not all that concerned.”
Communications for Alberta Sustainable Resource Development declined to comment about the conditional permit that was issued April 1 or the investigation before Wednesday.
“We hope to make some kind of announcement (Wednesday) — when that happens we will be providing people with information at that time ... there’s nothing more to

Private Alberta zoo ordered to close
A controversial private zoo northeast of Calgary, Guzoo Animal Farm, has been ordered to close its doors after investigators found a long list of deficiencies at the business.
The zoo, which is near Three Hills, Alta., had been the target of an online campaign to have it closed over what its critics said were unsuitable living conditions for the 400 animals, which include tigers, mountain lions, lynx and a baboon.
On Wednesday the province announced it had issued a seven-day limited permit, during which time the zoo's owner, Lynn Gustafson, will be required to decommission his business, officials said.
The zoo is no longer allowed to receive visitors, they added.
Photos posted on Facebook in March

Security plea after yobs beheaded 27 birds, stabbed a frog and smashed 170 windows in Wythenshawe Park
Park volunteers say they are desperate for extra security following an horrific vandal rampage which left birds, frogs and fish dead.
The callous yobs broke into glasshouses within Wythenshawe Park and used nets to catch 27 tropical birds which they beheaded.
Around £3,500 of Koi carp were also killed during the spree. The thugs left a trail of carnage, smashing 173 panes of glass and wrecking a pond.
The break-in was the third at the park in just two weeks. Vandals previously wrecked 28 allotment plots on one occasion and broke-in and stole two parrots from the park's farm on another.
Volunteers say they have been pleading with park bosses for months to install more CCTV and fencing. Following the latest break-in, council chiefs have pledged to carry out a review.
Hilary Lloyd, secretary of volunteer group Park Watch said: "Every month at the Park Watch meetings we have been bringing this up with management. We

Great zoo escapes: confessions of a zookeeper
With a 40-year career, zookeeper Terry Boylan has just about seen it all, including some amazing escapes.
ANIMAL ESCAPES ARE RARE EVENTS at Taronga. Nonetheless, keepers are well prepared for this unlikely incident and a zoo team is equipped with various duties to carry out if the animal escape alarm is activated: veterinarians with anaesthetic dart guns, security marksmen with firearms and general keeping staff with nets and other paraphernalia.
Contrary to what you would reasonably assume, most zoo animals are very reluctant to leave the security of their enclosures. I found this out one day when, as a junior keeper, I was assigned on rotation from the reptile department to assist with the primates.
Monkeys are mischievous at the best of times and none more so than crab-eating macaques. My task was to hose out their exhibit, which consisted of a huge circular pit surrounded by a high wall.
I entered the enclosure via a locked outside door, short tunnel and a final bolted door opening into the monkey pit itself. I realised that I didn't have the right tap key to turn on the hose I had dragged in with me. I emerged again after carefully bolting the doors behind me and attached the hose to a garden tap outside the exhibit, foolishly throwing the end of it down into the pit.
Strolling nonchalantly back down to the outer door, I entered the exhibit again, just in time to see the last of our fifteen monkeys shinny up the hose and onto the concrete parapet encircling the pit.
From there it was just a hop, skip and a jump to having the run of the zoo grounds.
For a moment I couldn't quite take in what was happening; not two minutes ago the same monkeys were studiously ignoring my existence and lounging about in the sun. I raced back out the tunnel, bumping into Bruno, our Italian gardener, as I did so.
"Quick," I said. "Contact switch - tell them the macaques are out. Hurry!" I had no time to take in Bruno's quizzical reply as I clambered to the upper edge of the pit, where the hose still dangled accusingly.
"Hurry, Bruno!" I yelled down to the puzzled gardener. By this time the monkeys had run around the rim of the pit to the other side. Shouting and waving my arms in the hope

Leopard stolen from zoo in Paraguay
A male leopard has been stolen from a zoo in Paraguay where authorities had put it after seizing it from animal traffickers.
Zoo director Carlos Miranda said the leopard is very attractive and has a good size and that could make its pelt worth between 6,000 and 10,000 US dollars on the black market.
The potential value is why zoo workers nicknamed the eight-year-old animal Sapphire, likening it

The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo Goes Green
"The Little Zoo That Could" in Gulf Shores is turning into "The Amazing Green Zoo" the first of it's kind, environmentally friendly animal park.
"The Little Zoo That Could" in Gulf Shores is turning into "The Amazing Green Zoo" the first of it's kind, environmentally friendly animal park.
It's been a rough go for the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.
"In 2004 the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo was completely destroyed by hurricane Ivan and battered again by hurricane Katrina," recalls Zoo Director Patti Hall.
But things are looking a lot better. "We're living proof that a cat has nine lives," she says.
After years of planning, the new zoo is ready to be built. And not just any zoo, the first planned, sustainable green zoo, in the world says Steve Jones. "We can sustain this 365 days a year and nature is going to sustain it for us with wind solar and

"The Amazing Green Zoo!"
"It's not much more than red clay now, but the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo will be going completely green."
Solar energy, wind power, ultraviolet light, even the burning of animal waste...
That's what will power the new location of "the little zoo that could", making it the world's first environmentally sustainable zoo built from the ground up.
Clyde Weir/Donated land for the new zoo
"It's going to be very unique, probably the only one like it in the world. With everything trying to go green anyway in the country, we're kind of setting a good example I think."
The design includes power sources that overlap in case one goes down.
Dennis Thomas/Designer
"You don't design one system that may fail. You design 5 separate and they're all integral, so if one fails the other's can power the other."
In fact, they plan to produce so

Police investigating international smuggling ring after theft of rhino head
Police are investigating a suspected international smuggling ring after a gang of professional thieves broke into a museum and stole a rhinoceros head.
Officers are investigating whether the head was stolen to order for foreign clients due to the high price demanded by the rhino’s horn in alternative medicine.
The burglars broke into the Educational Museum in Haslemere, Surrey, in the early hours of May 27 before fleeing after setting off an alarm.
The rhino head was the only item stolen.
The price of horn has spiked in recent months and it has been particularly noticeable in auctions, where 19th century mounted rhino heads or even entire stuffed animals have been sold for much more than previously.
The rumours in the market were that Far Eastern buyers were purchasing the antiques simply to harvest

Delhi zoo water not fit for consumption
A year after nearly 20 blackbucks died in the Delhi zoo because of contaminated water, little has been done. A study by the central pollution control board reveals that the water in the zoo remains contaminated.
The report found high levels of dissolved solids - upto 16 times over the permissible limit of 500 milligrams per litre. This can lead to kidney stones and intestinal infections in mammals. High levels of Biological Oxygen demand were found upto 35 milligrams per litre way above the limit of 3 milligrams per litre, beyond which, fish don't survive. The total hardness of the water too was 5 to 8 times beyond the normal.
High levels of Total Dissolved Solids or the minute solid particles found in water ranged from 950 to 8000 mg/litre that is 2 to 16 times more than the permissible limit of 500 mg/L. This can lead to kidney stones and intestinal infections in mammals. High level of Biologial Oxygen Demand or the amount of oxygen required

Zoo tigress gives birth to two cubs
Trusha, a tigress in Kanpur zoo has given birth to two cubs. Her mate Abhay has been sifted to a new enclosure. The zoo authorities are providing a conducive environment to the tigress and her newly born cubs.
Senior zoo authorities were elated to learn about the birth of tiger cubs after a long time. It may be recalled that Trusha and Abhay were brought to Kanpur zoo from

New zoo plan gives park land reprieve
Opponents of the Auckland Zoo's plan to increase its elephant population have won a small reprieve, with plans to take part of Western Springs Lakeside Park off the agenda.
The Auckland Council's strategy and finance committee approved a revised plan to bring in two young elephants to keep the zoo's only remaining elephant Burma company.
Last year the zoo sought approval from the former Auckland City Council to introduce a herd of elephants, with land from Western Springs needed to provide enough space. But the revised plan means the zoo doesn't need the extra land, which is being welcomed by Western Springs residents.
"I'm very, very pleased. That land is very well used, especially before and after work, depending on the season," West View Rd resident Annette Isbey says.
"Some people who have just arrived in Auckland are surprised there's a bit of free bush in the middle of the city that is a great walk."
She says many native birds use the patch of land as a rest stop before continuing on to the Waitakere Ranges and it could be set up as a bird sanctuary.
However she's not convinced the zoo should be bringing in more elephants.
"It's cruel to keep elephants in zoos. They die young like Kashin."
Albert-Eden-Roskill councillor Cathy Casey is pleased the plan to take part of Western Springs for an elephant enclosure is off the table because it would have

Alleged UAE animal smuggler escapes Thailand
A man who was arrested as he attempted to smuggle a luggage-load of live endangered animals on a first class flight out of Thailand has escaped from the country, immigration police said Tuesday.
Noor Mahmood, a 36-year-old citizen of the United Arab Emirates, was detained on May 13 by undercover officers at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport with the animals -- all aged under two months -- in his cases.
They included four leopard cubs, a Malayan sun bear, a baby marmoset and a baby red-cheeked gibbon, according to wildlife campaign group Freeland.
Mahmood was charged with smuggling endangered species out of the kingdom and released on a 200,000 baht ($6,600) bail, but he left Bangkok on a May 23 flight to the UAE, immigration police told AFP.
Freeland called for Thai and UAE collaboration to continue with the case.
"Thai police did a great undercover operation to nab Mr Mahmood just as he was about to board his first class flight to Dubai," said the group's director Steven Galster.
"But since he was caught red handed and charged, we want to know why he is not being prosecuted?"
If he had been convicted in Thailand, Mahmood faced up to four years in jail and a 40,000 baht ($1,300) fine, police earlier said.
Thailand is home to some of the world's largest

Humboldt penguins, jaguars may move into Byculla zoo
Central Zoo Authority permits only three exotic species as against 15 proposed by the BMC
If you’ve been waiting to see a line-up of exotic animals at the city zoo, there’s bad news for you. The Central Zoo Authority has recently given the 150-year-old Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan, Byculla the go-ahead to house only three species of exotic animals.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had sent a proposal to have at least 15 species.
The term ‘exotic animal’ is applied to those which are not found in our country.
So, perish the thought of seeing a kangaroo hop about with its joey in pouch at the zoo or watching a cheetah’s majestic gait. That’s because your city zoo has the sanction to house

Zoo visitors urged to contact doctor after bat tests positive for rabies
Health officials are warning anyone who had contact with a bat at Vilas Zoo’s Children’s Zoo Tuesday morning to contact their doctor after a bat found there tested positive Wednesday for rabies.
The wild bat, alive but unable to fly, was found at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the zoo’s Tree House and Adventure Play Area, sometimes called the “Big Tree,” the Madison-Dane County Health Department said in a news release. The bat was not a zoo animal.
The play area opened at 9:30 a.m., so the only potential exposure to the bat was from 9:30 to 11 a.m., health officials said.
Rabies is spread by a bite or a scratch, so only people who picked up, touched or handled the bat could have been potentially exposed, health officials said. Parents of children who had contact with the bat should consult their doctors right away about rabies shots. Rabies is fatal if not treated.
“Merely being in that area during that time frame does not

Use of Positive Reinforcement Conditioning to Monitor Pregnancy in an Unanesthetized Snow Leopard (Uncia uncia) via Transabdominal Ultrasound

The Sun Bear: A Good Will Ambassador in Indonesia
As one of the world’s leading experts on the sun bear, Gabriella Fredriksson knows the importance of the sun bear to the forests of South East Asia. In an unprecedented effort to combine conservation, environmental education, and awareness, Gabriella has started an environmental education and recreation facility for the residents of the Balikpapan Municipality in East Kalimantan, Indonesia.
The Balikpapan Municipality, one of the largest towns in East Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) with approximately 520,000 inhabitants, recently decided to make the sun bear its mascot and feature the bear on its’ district logo. Increased publicity of the sun bear has had a positive impact on conservation efforts and is largely due to on-going research projects in the area including projects conducted by Gabriella Fredriksson. The education/recreation center is the first of its kind in the region and will provide local residents with

Native focus for $16m Zoo project
Some of New Zealand's most precious native plants and animals will soon be put on display in Auckland Zoo as part of its new $16 million project.
The Te Wao Nui precinct will attempt to recreate six different New Zealand habitats - the coast, the islands, the wetlands, the night, the forest and the high country - and will be inhabited by over 100 native plants and 60 animal species.
Encompassing nearly 25 per cent of the zoo's 17 hectares, the precinct is the largest project undertaken by the zoo in its 88-year history.
Zoo director Jonathan Wilcken said the precinct would give visitors an opportunity to see some of the country's rarest and most beloved species up close, as well as playing an important conservation role.
"A lot of our native flora and fauna is not immediately obvious and we want people to be able to take a little bit of time to see and appreciate some of the species that you might see flitting past you rather than large, obvious animals."
While the zoo had long been involved in breeding, raising and translocating native species, much of its work had been behind the scenes and the precinct would allow zoo staff to share their work with the public.
Te Wao Nui would also increase the zoo's capacity to help with breeding and rehabilitation programmes, he said.
Some of the animals to be put on display have never been in

Endangered tortoise becomes mum at age 90
A Galapagos tortoise has become a first-time mum at age 90, bringing relief to zoo staff who have been trying to get the endangered creatures to breed for a decade.
The Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo successfully hatched its first tortoise in March this year, after nearly ten years of trying to breed the endangered creatures in captivity
Keeper Alice Walton told ninemsn the zoo was thrilled about the newest addition to the tortoise family.
"We're just so excited," she said.
"It's been a long process and challenging as we've been working for this for such a long time, every year we've got closer and closer and it's finally worked."
The mother tortoise, named T3, mated with a male tortoise aged around 40-years-old — more than half her age.
While the 90-year-old tortoise was slow to pursue parenting, with a life expectancy

Fulton bans elephant bullhooks used by circuses, but Atlanta not included
Buckhead resident Anna Ware told Fulton County commissioners the debate over whether elephant bullhooks are training tools or instruments of terror was settled when she tried to bring one into their building Wednesday morning.
Security guards seized it as a weapon, and a police detective had to carry it into chambers so she could show what one looks like -- an instrument shaped like a fire poker, topped with a steel claw with two sharpened tips.
The point wasn't lost on the commission, which voted 4-1 to ban the use of bullhooks by circus elephant trainers. Fulton became the first Georgia jurisdiction to approve such a measure, following cities and counties in Florida, South Carolina, New York, Kentucky and Indiana.
The rule only covers unincorporated south Fulton, as that's the area the commission has direct governance over. It will not keep bullhooks out of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus' shows at Philips Arena in Atlanta.
Animal advocates said Atlanta will be their next battleground, as well as Gwinnett and DeKalb counties.
"I see this as setting precedent and a stepping stone," said Ware, an Atlanta Humane Society executive board member.
It was the third time Commissioner Robb Pitts brought the issue forward, and he finally got his fourth vote from new Commissioner Joan Garner.
Twenty-two people spoke out Wednesday. A dozen of them opposing the ban were mostly employees or business associates of Feld Entertainment, which owns Ringling Brothers. On the other side were representatives of animal rights groups, carrying placards reading "Be an Elefriend" and a banner that said, "Circus Elephants Never Forget Beatings."
The commission also received a letter from actress Demi Moore, which cited findings by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that circus workers sink bullhooks into elephants' flesh and twist them until they scream in pain.
Thomas Albert, Feld Entertainment's vice president of government relations, characterized bullhooks as "guides" and "elephant husbandry tools" used by some zoos, though not by Zoo Atlanta, where Deputy Director Dwight Lawson said because staff is separated from elephants by a barrier at all times, "they do not employ a guide/ankus/bullhook in the course of their routine care and animal management."
But, Albert said, "without this tool, you cannot have elephants at the circus. Period."
Jackie Davis, executive vice president of Atlanta-based UniverSoul Circus, asked commissioners to postpone the vote so bullhook proponents could have more time to present their case. Several circus supporters complained that they were unaware the matter was being brought up again until the commission agenda went out Friday.
Atlanta City Councilman Michael Bond said he would need to do some research before taking a side. On the one hand, he said, no one wants to hurt defenseless animals, but Atlanta just lost the Thrashers and doesn't


Well-Mannered Gorillas Hand Down Tradition of Dainty Eating
Gorillas daintily snack on stinging nettles in ways that depend on where they were raised — differences in table manners that point to unique customs, just as is true with chimpanzees, orangutans and humans.
In the wild, chimpanzee troops engage in practices specific to each group that altogether seem to form unique cultures, including various forms of tool and weapon use. Orangutans show these variations, too, with research showing how one orangutan group cracked open nuts with stones and branches, while a group

Man behind stuffed tiger police raid comes forward
WHEN he picked up a cuddly toy from a rubbish heap to play a game with his dog, Kevin Blunden had no idea of the chaos it would cause.
Hours later, armed officers and a helicopter swooped on a field – convinced that a live tiger was on the loose in the Hampshire countryside.
The nearby golf course was evacuated, a game at the Rose Bowl cricket ground was temporarily abandoned and emergency services put in place plans to close part of the M27 in case the ‘beast’ spotted near Charles Watts Way, Hedge End, wandered on to the motorway.
Now Mr Blunden, 53, from Exford Drive, Harefield, has admitted it was him that inadvertently sparked the massive police operation after picking up the abandoned toy from a derelict garage to play a game with his five-year-old border collie-cross Saski.
He said: “I was walking past some derelict garages where people dump rubbish and saw that in there, with some loft insulation, was this tiger.
“I thought it would be fun to play with my dog with it, so I drove down to the field in Hedge End.
“I was chucking it around and she was sniffing it and running away again.
“I was out there for some time, but got bored after a while and just left it there. I didn’t think any more about it.”
The father-of-three has since been hailed a hero on an Internet group called “The Legend who put a Stuffed Toy Tiger in Hedge End”, which has attracted more than 9,000 members.
Reports about the cuddly toy have gone round the globe and the story was even featured on BBC comedy panel show Have I Got News For You.
But Mr Blunden says he’s ‘embarrassed’ about what happened and thinks the police response

Cheetah owner has violated three UAE laws
Owner of injured cheetah will face charges under at least three federal laws
The cheetah found on an Abu Dhabi street on Sunday proves that the menace of wildlife smuggling is like drug trafficking — however hard the governments try to stop it, the smugglers find a new way, a senior official has told Gulf News.
The owner of the cheetah has violated at least three federal laws — the law prohibiting import of dangerous animals, the law related to Cites (Convention on the Illegal Trade of Endangered Species) for illegally importing or trading endangered animals and a law on animal welfare for ill-treating the animal, Abdul Rab Al Hameri, manager of the scientific authority office of Cites in Abu Dhabi, said in an interview on Monday.
However, he clarified that his office is working on scientific research and related aspects of Cites so he was not aware of the investigations into the violations and the move to trace the owner of the cheetah.
The laws are implemented by another Cites office, the management authority of Cites, which comes under

White rhino dies in Czech zoo, seven left worldwide
Death of northern white rhino in a North Bohemian zoo brings known population of the highly endangered mammal down to seven
One of the world’s last known northern white rhinoceroses died in the Dv?r Králové Zoo in Northern Bohemia. Nesari, a female, was 39 years old. The death leaves the zoo with only one northern white rhino, a female named Nabire, according to the Czech News Agency (?TK), which cited a regional edition of daily Mladá fronta Dnes (MfD).
The zoo in December 2009 sent four other northern white rhinos to the Ol Pejeta reserve in Kenya in the hope that they would breed better in a natural environment. Nesari was not included in the group because of her age and disease. “At the time of the transport, veterinarians predicted she would live for no longer than six months. It was actually a miracle

Dinosaur keeper wanted for Chester Zoo
AS OCCUPATIONAL hazards go, they don’t get much worse than coming face to face with a Tyrannosaurus Rex – but someone’s got to do it.
Chester Zoo is looking for three lizard lovers to become Dinosaur Keepers.
The successful candidates will have their work cut out supervising 13 robotic dinosaurs from America as part of Chester Zoo’s summer exposition, Dinosaurs at Large!
They will patrol the area of the zoo that is to become the dinosaurs’ new home, taking questions from members of the public and ensuring the prehistoric guests keep any potentially dangerous antics to a minimum.
The new keepers will receive a salary of more than £6 per hour – but must first convince zoo chiefs that they




Study finds zoo visits increase knowledge
A visit to a zoo increases science and environment knowledge in children more than books or classroom teaching alone, a British study found.
In research conducted at the London Zoo, researchers from the University of Warwick tested more than 3,000 school children ages 7 to 14 about to visit the zoo on their knowledge of animals, habitat and conservation, then tested them again after their visit.
The findings showed a 53 percent positive change in educational or conservation-related knowledge areas, personal concern for endangered species or desire to participate in conservation efforts, a university release said Friday.
When zoo visits were augmented by an educational presentation by zoo staff, the increase in learning almost doubled compared with self-guided visits, the study found.
"Globally, more than a tenth of the world's population passes through zoos annually so the potential is there to reach a huge audience," Warwick sociology Professor Eric Jensen said.
"In recent years zoos have come under criticism for failing to demonstrate educational impact with certain lobbying groups arguing that it's cruel to keep animals captive," he said.
"But zoos have been changing for years now to offer more educational and conservation information, 'behind the scenes' access for visitors, learning about habitat conservation work -- all of which culminate in a better engagement experience for the visitor."
Children came away from their zoo visit with an increased understanding of ideas such as conservation, habitat and extinction, the study found.
"The research clearly show

Research shows a visit to a zoo boosts science and environment knowledge
Research from the University of Warwick shows a trip to the zoo can boost your child's science and conservation education more than books or classroom teaching alone.
In research conducted at ZSL London Zoo, more than 3,000 school children aged between seven and 14 were asked about their knowledge of animals, habitat and conservation and then tested again after their trip.
The results show that 53% had a positive change in educational or conservation-related knowledge areas, personal concern for endangered species or new empowerment to participate in conservation efforts. The study proves that their trip around the zoo provided a statistically significant increase in scientific learning about animals and habitats. When zoo visits were supplemented by an educational presentation by zoo staff this increase in learning almost doubled against self-guided visits.
Eric Jensen, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick, who produced the report said: "Globally, more than a tenth of the world's population passes through zoos annually so the potential is there to reach a huge audience.
"In recent years zoos have come under criticism for failing to demonstrate educational impact with certain lobbying groups arguing that it's cruel to keep animals captive. But zoos have been changing for years now to offer more educational and conservation information; 'behind the scenes' access for visitors; learning about habitat conservation

Zoo sets a 'gold standard' with its recycling
PAIGNTON Zoo has become a gold standard recycling champion in recognition of its recycling rates. The zoo recycles three quarters of its rubbish using waste collection firm TQ Recycling, putting it in the top ten per cent of recycling achievers, and saving on the cost of landfill.
Director Stephen Tooke said: "Paignton Zoo has shown that even complicated businesses can recycle a huge amount and save themselves a packet in the process.
"No company wants to waste money, especially in the current economic climate, so it's really worth checking you're recycling everything you can."
Zoo environmental officer Peter Morgan, said: "Under TQ's system almost all the recycling can be kept in the same container so it makes life very simple for visitors and staff. The results can be seen for themselves.
"As an environmental organisation part of our mission

Judges dismisses suit accusing zoo of elephant cruelty
A judge threw out a lawsuit today filed by a group of animal activists accusing the City of Seattle of illegally providing financial support to the Woodland Park Zoo because of its treatment of elephants.
King County Superior Court Judge Michael Heavey ruled that the activist group had no grounds to sue the city and that there was nothing illegal about the city funding the zoo.
"We are very pleased with the ruling," said Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO Dr. Deborah Jensen.
According to a press release from the Woodland Park Zoo, the activists argued that the zoo's care of elephants constituted cruel treatment. The zoo argues that there has never been a finding of inhumane care.
"Our elephants are healthy and thriving," Jensen said. "This was an attempt to get a court to decide issues of elephant care and medicine that have been appropriately delegated to experts - at our zoo and at other

The jumbo question: For or against Auckland's new elephants?
New elephants are coming to Auckland Zoo - but not everyone is happy about it. We look at the arguments for and against the council's $3.5 million new attractions
Why are we talking about this now?
The Auckland Council this week approved the purchase of two "orphan" elephants for Auckland Zoo.
Two femaleAsian elephants, likely to be aged between eight and 12, are being sought to keep lone elephant Burma company. Elephants are intelligent animals that thrive on social interaction, and since Kashin's death in 2009, 28 year-old Burma has only had a horse named Cherry for company.
The zoo has begun looking for young captive elephants, probably from a sanctuary in Pinnewala, Sri Lanka. Its keepers are seeking females because males are poorer company, as they tend to stray from their mother.
Wasn't the Auckland Zoo going to buy a herd of elephants?
The proposal to expand the zoo into Western Springs park to allow for the breeding of 10 elephants has

Marine Life Park
Dive into the aquatic world and get a chance to interact with dolphins, snorkel with rays and come face to face with some of the ocean’s most fascinating creatures.
Set to be the largest oceanarium in the world, the Marine Life Park is where families come for a whale of a time. Venture into a wading pool for some intimate interaction with reef fishes, or learn about the wonderful but depleting coral reefs. You can also join one of the engaging programmes especially tailored to both entertain and educate visitors.
Research, public education and conservation efforts for marine life are the cornerstones of the Marine Life Park. Resorts World aims to educate and enrich the understanding and protection of the oceans, and the Marine Life Park will serve as a showcase for ocean science education, research and stewardship.
Innovative design, engaging programmes and excellence in animal care and husbandry will create magical

Man's pet tigers, leopards, jaguars under fire
Calcutta, a female Bengal Tiger, doesn't look like a man eater.
Owner-exhibitor Steve Salton obtained her almost two years ago from the Asheville Zoo but stresses Calcutta and the other big cats that live behind his Mayfield, New York home aren't pets.
"They'll kill when they're hungry and they'll kill if they're provoked," Salton said. "They're always locked up."
Neighbor Rich Travis has no affection for the wild animals caged next door. He wants them gone and is doing his best to make that happen.
"No one wants to step up and so we keep pushing the issue and pushing the issue," said Travis.
Salton is inspected regularly by state and federal authorities and issued licenses to have the animals. He's obliged to exhibit them, which he does, by appointment. That hardly satisfies Travis.
"My complaint is with the system that allows something like this to go on", Travis said.
Travis lives in a house built by developer|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|t

Rare orangutan bride looks forward its wedding day in E China
Hongbao rests in her cell in Hangzhou Safari Park in Hangzhou, captal of east China's Zhejiang Province, May 27, 2011. Hongbao, a female orangutan from Hangzhou Safari Park, will soon travel to Nanjing Hongshan Forest Zoo in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, to marry Leshen, a 12-year-old male. With typically reddish-brown hair, orangutans are highly endangered

Zoo official’s suspension revoked
The suspension of Alipore zoo's deputy director Piyali Chatterjee was withdrawn on Friday as mysteriously as it had been ordered, by additional chief secretary (forest) K S Rajendra Kumar after the intervention of forest minister Hiten Burman. The minister said a thorough probe would be conducted to all allegations concerning the zoo that had been brought to his notice.
"I was a bit surprised. How could she be suspended when the model code of conduct was still in force? So, I asked the secretary to maintain was the status quo. I think there were many anomalies. But this suspension and the police complaint by the deputy director were uncalled for," Burman said.
The suspension, Burman said, had been made on the ground that she misbehaved with union leaders. Additional chief secretary K S Rajendra Kumar said: "She was suspended for some definite reasons. Now, the suspension has been withdrawn. I do not want to elaborate on the reasons."
Burman confirmed that allegations on food for the zoo animals, financial misappropriation and financial irregularity had been brought to his notice. "They will be probed. No delinquency will be spared," he said.
Not only does the suspension violates the model code of conduct, she was also not served a show-cause or charge sheet. Later, Piyali Chatterjee lodged an FIR against three zoo staff — head clerk Rabin Mukherjee, storekeeper Rathin Dey and peon Dipankar Sarkar — for their alleged misbehaviour and intimidation.
They apparently went to the house of the deputy director to hand her over two letters signed by the zoo director Raju Das. Later, the zoo authority allegedly restricted her entry into the zoo.
Burman said that he would set up an advisory board soon to guide development work. "The advisory board will look into every aspect of the zoo and prepare

Jairam may give zoo to Delhi govt
Environment minister Jairam Ramesh is seriously contemplating to hand over the management of Delhi zoo to the state government. After an inspection on Thursday, Ramesh said that despite several warnings, civic agencies concerned had been unable to maintain the standards of sanitation.
"There is a major sewage problem in the zoo that, despite repeated efforts to check it, keeps reappearing. Sewage enters the zoo premises and contaminates the water. The death of the second giraffe could have been caused by poor quality water but we still have to confirm that. The ministry has given Rs 5 crore to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to sort out the problem but they are yet to start work. Most of the civic work in the zoo is being carried out by MCD, Delhi Jal Board and the Public Works Department, and if they are not able to brush up their act

Christian the lion, our joy and pride
In 1969, John Rendall and Anthony Bourke bought a lion cub in Harrods and raised him in their Chelsea flat. But what happened to the cub when he grew up?
The grainy film first appeared on YouTube four years ago. Since then, it has melted millions of hearts: a fully grown male lion hugs two young men like an over-enthusiastic kitten.
The moving reunion of the men with their pet took place a year after they had left him in the African bush."It was so humbling the way he ran towards us with such love and excitement in his eyes, and we felt exactly the same way," says John Rendall, of the lion he raised and delivered to Africa through a series of extraordinary coincidences. "We had such a beautiful relationship with him. Christian changed the path of our lives."
In 1969, Rendall and his friend Anthony "Ace" Bourke, came across a lion cub in Harrods, London, which then traded in exotic animals. They fell in love with him and took him home to their Chelsea flat. They named the cub Christian, inspired by a biblical sense of irony. He lived with them in a Kings Road furniture shop, SophistoCat, where he had a giant tray of cat litter and rarely ruined the store's furniture. He played with local children in the walled garden of a churchyard. He was fed steak and taken to restaurants and glamorous parties in the back of their Mercedes cabriolet.
The scratchy homemade film, shot in Kenya 40 years ago, has been seen by more than 100 million people, landing Rendall and Burke on Oprah and triggering the reissue of their 1971 book and a new Hollywood film with Zac Efron as Rendall.
Today, sitting in his African-themed Chelsea flat, Rendall, 65, who is still a laid-back dandy, shows me photographs and bits and pieces from his past. "Christian opened my eyes to

Video: Bryan Hawn Introduces New Times To His Hyena
You gotta admit, buying a hyena and keeping it as your pet in a South Beach apartment is pretty ballsy. It's even gutsier to turn yourself in to the Florida Wildlife & Game Commission so that your pet hyena can be placed in a proper home.
That's what Bryan Hawn did. Now he can visit his best pal Jake whenever he wants.
We got to see Hawn and his furry fanged friend play inside a chain-linked yard at the Zoological Wildlife Foundation in the Redland.
"Knowing that I would still be a part of his life made it easier to leave him," Hawn says. "The bond I have with this wild animal is absolutely priceless. The

$15M zoo upgrade unveiled
Have you visited the Emperor Valley Zoo recently? If you have, you would have noticed work being carried out on the facilities there.
This work is part of a restoration programme undertaken to upgrade the Zoo’s infrastructure and enhance visitors’ exploration and learning experience.
Phase one of the upgrade programme at the Zoo has been completed at a cost of $15.6 million. The “new look” facilities were revealed to the public on Wednesday by the Tourism Development Company (TDC).
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister of Tourism, Rupert Griffith, said the upgrades at the Zoo, which were officially completed last month, make a substantial contribution to improving the urban environment of Port-of-Spain. He noted that the Zoo upholds this country’s tradition of encounters and dialogue, while preserving the natural heritage, green spaces and ecosystems.
Griffith noted: “The Emperor Valley Zoo will be unrivaled as a conservation centre promoting awareness and education of indigenous and neo tropical wildlife, scientific research and learning; breeding of endangered species and recreational facility catering to those eager to explore and learning about our wildlife species and flora and fauna.”
The Zoo’s upgrade includes a humming bird garden, giant river otter enclosures, butterfly garden, turtle pool, flamingo pool and fish pond as well as public restroom facilities, landscaping,141250.html

Kirkley Hall zoo ready to open to the public
A NEW North zoo opens its doors to the public tomorrow – but it’s more than just a public attraction.
For Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens is also a hands-on learning curve for students at the adjacent college.
Around 10 of the 30 students on agricultural courses at Northumberland College’s campus near Ponteland will work voluntarily with the 100-plus animals on show to further their education and knowledge of the animal kingdom.
They will also act as hosts as well as keepers when the mini-zoo opens for the first time tomorrow morning.
Full-time animal keeper Rachel Chapman, herself a former Kirkley Hall student, said: “It was built by the students for the public, and it’s for the benefit of both.
“There are four relief keepers and half a dozen hosts from the students and they are happy to work voluntary extra hours doing what they love.
“This will give them background experience as well as build their confidence with animals when they get qualifications.”
As the only zoo between Edinburgh and Yorkshire, it will also be a novel attraction for the North East public.
Enclosure animals include meerkats, wallabies, emus, alpacas, pygmy goats and lemurs.
There are also eagle owls, lizards, snakes, chipmunks, marmosets and aquatics.
Qualified keepers will also be on hand to talk to visitors and answer questions about the animals
For children there is also a small funfair – and for the hungry and thirsty, there’s a cafe/bar plus a souvenir shop.
For Rachel, working with animals is a genuine labour of love and she says: “Every morning

Aquarium worker injured by stingray
A diver at the Melbourne Aquarium has been taken to hospital after being stung by a stingray.
The 37-year-old woman had been working in one of the tanks at the aquarium when the barb struck her right hand.
Paramedic Louise Benson says the woman rated her pain as 10 out of 10 and was very distressed.
"Firstly we reassured her that she'd be OK and calmed her down - she was quite anxious - then we gave her something to breathe on for the pain," Ms Benson said.
"She had her hand in a tub of hot water because that helps relieve the pain, so everything actually looked quite normal apart from the stingray

Al Ain Zoo pulls rescued lions' teeth out
When your lions have toothache, whom do you call?
Al Ain Zoo recently found itself wrestling with this painful question and found the answer in Dr Gerhard Steenkamp, a specialist from South Africa.
A 113kg tawny lion, believed to be less than two years old, and his sister from the same pride were rescued by the Ministry of Water and Environment last month.
The ministry gave the pair to Al Ain Zoo, which quickly realised they were in a bad way. Both had had their claws removed and their upper and lower canines filed down. The pulp of their teeth was exposed, which led to the bone becoming infected.
As no local vet was able to perform the surgery, zoo officials called in Dr Steenkamp from the University of Pretoria.
After an X-ray yesterday morning, Dr Steenkamp went to work on the sedated male, extracting two lower canines and preforming root canal work on the two upper canines.
"It's fortunately not that complicated because the teeth are so young," he said. "If they are well formed, the dental wall is so thick you have to cut it out in pieces."
Dr Steenkamp had hoped to avoid removing any teeth, but the lower ones were beyond repair.
Dr Arshad Toosy, the manager of veterinarian operations at the zoo said the lion was monitored closely during

Herpes virus kills elephants in Berlin Zoo
Two-year old female elephant Ko Raya died on Friday, after suffering from a type of elephant herpes. It is the same disease that killed her sister Shaina Pali just eight weeks ago.
Ko Raya had been under the weather for the past few days and on Friday morning she was fell over during a mud bath and died.
“Her mother wanted to get her to stand up,” eyewitness Sigrid H. (75) told mass-circulation paper Bild. “Ko Raya didn’t have any more strength. Suddenly all the elephants started trumpeting together. I think they wanted to call for help.”
Veterinarian Dr. Andreas Ochs explained that although the zookeepers rushed to the elephant, it was too late. “She was already dead.”
The herpes virus can be fatal to Asian elephants and it has already killed two other animals at the zoo over the past few years. “The virus spreads through the blood,” Ochs explained to Bild. “It attacks the internal organs, damaging the liver, intestines and heart muscles.”
Zoo Director Bernhard Blaskiewitz says

Edinburgh Zoo panda enclosure to have nursery for cubs
It has emerged the new panda enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo is being built with panda cubs in mind.
Two pandas, Tian Tian and Yuang Guang, are due to arrive from China later this year.
About £250,000 is being spent creating a perfect home for the pair. It will have pools, caves, climbing structures and even its own nursery.
Both pandas have successfully bred before and it is hoped they could produce further offspring.
It is expected the pandas will generate huge public interest and the new enclosure has been designed to accommodate 600 spectators per hour.
The zoo's facilities manager, Marty Hall, said: "We have a large expanse of glass to give views into the panda nursery, which is what people want to

Cheetah believed to be lost pet captured amid villas in UAE capital Abu Dhabi, activist says
An animal activist says a cheetah has been captured roaming the streets of the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi.
Raghad Auttabashi of the Al Rahma Welfare and Rescue Society told The Associated Press the big cat appeared to be seven or eight months old and had an injured front left paw. It also had a broken metal chain around its neck, suggesting it was being kept as a pet.
She says it was rounded up Sunday by animal control authorities in a residential neighbourhood and has been handed over to a wildlife conservation centre.
Another cheetah was captured on the prowl

Dead polar bear Knut could still make millions
$140 million
That's the amount of money generated worldwide by Knut the polar bear, an animal born in captivity at the Berlin Zoo who became an international celebrity. His image has adorned books, ATM cards and gummy bears, and he drew millions of visitors to the zoo. Then Knut unexpectedly died in March, putting his power as a marketing machine in doubt. Undaunted, moviemakers, publishing companies and plush-toy manufacturers are plowing ahead. "A dead Knut brand could still make millions," says Birgit Clark, a trademark attorney who has studied the Knut phenomenon.

Penguins bring Sofia Zoo incomes of about BGN 60,000 in 3 months: director
The incomes in Sofia Zoo have increased by approximately BGN 60,000 in three months thanks to its penguins. This is an average of around BGN 20,000-25,000 a month, Sofia Zoo Director Ivan Ivanov told FOCUS News Agency.
This is to say that the municipality received BGN 60,000 in three months. And this is the money from tickets only and most children visit the zoo free of charge. If you divide BGN 60,000 by BGN 2, which is the price of an adult ticket in the zoo, you get 30,000 visitors who came to see the penguins, he said.
On 2 March 2011 a group of 8 Humboldt Penguins, who were hatched in Berlin Zoo, arrived in Sofia. Now the penguins are in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, and will not return to the zoo in the Bulgarian capital.
“Other penguins will arrive next week from Johannesburg

Texas law protects the volunteer who offers assistance
I recently came upon an automobile accident. The car had run into a ditch, and the driver was stuck inside. I was able to help her get out of the car, cover her cuts and move to the side where she lay down. I reported the accident to the police, who quickly arrived with an ambulance and took her away. When I told a friend this story, he told me I was dumb to help out because I could get sued. Is this correct?
In my opinion, your friend's concerns are misplaced. Texas law encourages people to assist others in an emergency situation.
Under the law, a person providing emergency assistance is not liable unless the person acts "willfully or wantonly" negligent. In other words, as long as you are acting in good faith and provide the care or assistance you believe is reasonable, you have no liability if you worsen the situation or cause additional injuries.
My son was bitten by an animal at a petting zoo. The zoo has refused to pay his medical expenses. Can I sue in small claims court?
Assuming your medical bills are less than $10,000 you may bring a claim in small claims court. The real question, however, is whether the zoo has any liability for the bite.
For the zoo to be liable, you must show more than just the injury. Animals are animals, and when we go to a petting zoo, we always assume the risk that one of them might bite. For the zoo to be responsible, you must show some fault on its part that caused the incident.
For example, if the zoo knew that this animal has bitten children in the past and did not post notices or remove the animal, it could be considered "negligent," and responsible for your child's injury. On the other hand, if this was just an accident and the first time this animal had bitten a child, you probably have no basis

Author becomes 'biographer' of traumatized animals rescued from zoos and medical research
Author Andrew Westoll spent a summer with 13 chimpanzees who found refuge at the Fauna Sanctuary in Quebec.Photograph by: Brett Gundlock, National Post, Postmedia News, National Post; Postmedia NewsWhen Andrew Westoll walked in his front door after spending a summer living with a group of chimpanzees at a sanctuary on the outskirts of Montreal, he was greeted by his dog, a wheaten terrier named Max.
"I saw my dog, who I'd lived with for four years, and he was completely new," Westoll recalls. "I'd never noticed the nuance of his existence -of what he was doing, what he was telling me -in the way he was greeting me at the door. I was now suddenly sensitive to a much deeper level of consciousness in animals, because I'd just spent 10 weeks living with the most intelligent, gestural species. Everything they were doing with their bodies was telling me something. And I'd been tuned in to that vibe, that kind of energy."
Fauna Sanctuary was founded by Gloria Grow and her partner, Dr. Richard Allan, as a home for neglected, abused and abandoned animals, and welcomed its first 15 chimpanzees in 1997. Westoll was studying biology at Queen's University at the time, and wrote to the sanctuary, offering his services as a volunteer. "I was probably one of 100,000 people who did that," he says. Shortly thereafter, however, Westoll got a job in Suriname and headed to South America.
After stumbling after Eden in the jungles of Suriname, to borrow the subtitle of his 2008 debut, The Riverbones, which chronicles his time studying monkeys in the largest tract of pristine rainforest in the world, Westoll was in search of another subject when he remembered Fauna. "I've always just been following my nose, and my nose just led me to this sanctuary."
He sold an article about the residents

Crocolandia: Park with mini-zoo
A turtle farm converted into a park with a mini-zoo might not be an idea of a profitable business venture.
But the investment not only gave job opportunities to the park’s 13 staff members but also helped educate visiting students about wild animals in our country.
The park investment called Crocolandia, has also proved that a community social responsibility done through a formal organization and operated to fit its operational needs could actually work in Cebu.
Crocolandia, founded and run by the Crocolandia Foundation Inc., is a one-hectare property in Biasong, Talisay City, south of Cebu.
Crocolandia Foundation Inc. was founded in November 2000 by Go Ching Hai, whose daughter Janet Nelly Chiu now sits as the president of the foundation.
“It’s because of their love for nature and their passion to pursue and practice their calling that brought the founder and their partners together to create the foundation and open Crocolandia in January 6, 2001,” said Crocolandia manager Reah Bacordo.
The park with a mini-zoo property opened after their female seawater crocodile named Magellan started laying eggs.
“At present we have 79 crocodile species and have at least two kinds of each, which we got from donations from organizations and private individuals,” Bacorbo said.
Bacordo said visitors often told them that they not only enjoy watching the 17 reptiles — saltwater crocodiles, the Philippine freshwater crocodiles, spectacled caiman, turtles, tortoise, pythons, boa, lizard and iguana — in the farm but also they found their trips

Zoo’s snake house closed as Red Sand Boa is stolen
A security lapse has led to the theft of a snake from the Veer Jijamata Udyan in Central Mumbai, popularly known as the Byculla Zoo. Officials at the zoo were taken by surprise when they found a Red Sand Boa, a non-poisonous snake measuring about two feet, missing from its cage on Saturday morning.
“This is first theft of any animal in the zoo’s history,” said zoo director Anil Anjankar. “The lock was broken between late Friday night and early Saturday morning. When our cleaner went to clean the snake cage, he found that someone had stolen the snake,” said Anjankar.
Officials are ruling out money as a motive for the theft as the snake is very common in many parts of India. “There is a superstition that this snake helps bring riches to a person and that might be a probable reason for the theft,” added Anjankar.
While officials claim there is enough security to guard the cages, they admit

Tigers can survive with humans, says a new study
Tigers can survive with humans, debunking the popular conception that the big cats like solitary space inside the forests, says a new study published in Journal of Applied Ecology, which can help India in better management of its tiger population. India in this March had declared that there were 1,7 06 tigers in India, as against 1411 in 2006, stirring a debate whether tigers and humans can survive together with the wildlife areas shrinking around the country.
The study conducted in 38,000 square kms of tiger reserves in Karnataka comes at the time when the environment ministry has released new draft guidelines to relocate 10,000 people from 41 tiger reserves in India and says the tigers can survive even in human-dominated landscapes through effective protection of the source populations.
“Our results re-enforce earlier findings that prey depletion and human disturbance are key drivers of local tiger extinctions and tigers can persist even in human dominated landscapes through effective protection of source populations,” said Ullas K Karanth, Director of Bangalore based Centre for Wildlife Studies.
The study was conducted in Malenad-Mysore Tiger Landscape (MMTL) in Western Ghats found that presence of livestock and human presence proved to be a negative influence on local tiger presence but the tigers managed to overcome these influences. “Good tiger numbers showed that they can live with humans,” Karanth said.
The study also demystifies the government claim that the tigers

Firms asked to back panda deal
SCOTTISH financial services firms have been called upon to stump up £2 million to sponsor the giant pandas due to arrive at Edinburgh Zoo.
Sir David Brewer, chairman of the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC), said firms that put up the cash would have "quite a card to play" in their efforts to win business there.
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which runs the zoo, announced that the Chinese government was "gifting" a rare breeding pair of pandas to Scotland in December. The charitable body has since run into trouble, after a number of the board's executives were sacked and the chairman was asked to step down.
Brewer said the zoo had maintained a "wonderful reputation" with China, despite its "issues".
He said the pandas, Tian Tian and Yang Guang, were the "biggest good-will gesture the Chinese could give", adding that it was a boost for relations between Scotland and Chinese vice-premier

New attraction to spread its wings at Rainbow Landings
THE new chief executive of Edinburgh Zoo today pledged to turn the defunct Rainbow Landings site into a major new attraction to boost visitor numbers at the ailing institution.
Hugh Roberts, interim chief executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which owns the zoo, aims to revamp the enclosure.
He said the site could see a return of the hugely popular lorikeets, which have since been given to other zoos, but that it was likely that it would become home to a new star feature.
The £350,000 site, which let visitors feed the parrots pots of nectar, was the zoo's biggest visitor draw, but was shut down in October after operating costs overran.
Its closure featured heavily at the stormy RZSS annual general meeting last week when society members were told income had fallen by £1.1 million and expenditure had increased by £600,000.
Mr Roberts was brought in a fortnight ago to deal with a dramatic slump in visitors.
He told the Evening News the attraction would be brought back in some form, whether it was birds or animals.
He said: "The Rainbow Landings facility will be brought back to life, but how we bring it back to life, seven days into the job, I can't say."
Mr Roberts met RZSS members at Murrayfield for the first time on Wednesday, and heard from some that their children had been left sorely disappointed when they arrived to find the attraction had closed.
Mr Roberts said: "I'm going to be looking at the best way of using the space, as it's in such an important location.
"I'd like to say I can bring

Koalas left up a gumtree in fight to survive
In one corner, a heavyweight tag team of ecologists, environmentalists, researchers and animal rights activists.
In the other, an equally muscled powerhouse of regulators, lawmakers and developers.
In the middle, weighing in at up to 14kg, munching on eucalypt leaves, nodding off for 16 hours a day and blissfully unaware of the rumpus around them, Australia's koala.
The future of the unique arboreal marsupial is again under fierce scrutiny in an inquiry by the Senate environment committee, and through a decision federal Environment Minister Tony Burke will make by November on whether to declare the koala a threatened species.
In this process the koala's greatest problem may be uncertainty: Burke's department has advised against a "threatened

Bred from African wildcats, the two-stone mega-moggies taking over living rooms across Britain
Hundreds of British cat lovers are no longer satisfied stroking the traditional moggy atop their lap.
A growing trend is emerging for 'mega moggies' bred by crossing a domestic feline with a species of African wildcat to create Savannah cats.
Only owners with deep pockets and space can provide homes for the felines which cost up to £10,000 and can grow to three times the size of the traditional household

Cheetah reintroduction programme genetically flawed
An esteemed international journal, Molecular Ecology, has kicked off a debate on the ambitious `300-crore Cheetah reintroduction programme of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to revive these gravely endangered Asiatic grassland predators.
A paper published in the latest issue of the journal states that African Cheetahs are genetically very different from their Asian counterpart. The findings of the report have raised questions about the success of the Cheetah reintroduction programme.
“Is it to increase the population of exotic Cheetahs in Indian grasslands (which already exists in abundance) or is it aimed at rejuvenating their Asiatic counterparts to which India was once a home?” asks an expert.
The article, “Phylogeography, genetic structure and population divergence time of cheetahs in Africa and Asia: evidence for long-term geographic isolates”, based on genetic studies of both the species of the cheetahs has been written by Pauline Charruau. It states, “Asiatic cheetahs are unambiguously separated from African subspecies “divergence time estimates… place the split… at 32,000-67,000 years ago”.
Cheetahs are critically endangered in their Asiatic range, where the last 70-110 individuals survive only in Iran. We demonstrate that these extant Iranian cheetahs are the last representatives of the Asiatic subspecies, the report said.
“The basic objective of the much-hyped project was to revive this last surviving Asiatic subspecies and in the process our grassland ecology,” pointed out Dr Pramod Patil, grassland conservationist. After the publication of the paper and proven genetic dissimilarity between the two sub-species, it is baffling why the MOEF is still pushing for the Cheetah reintroduction programme.
The African sub-species are not threatened; they exist in good numbers, what is the point in “importing” 18 of these exotic animals and raise them on Indian grasslands? he questioned. He further pointed out that the Asiatic sub-species are not known to breed in captivity, and if the same holds good for African species then the programme is not likely to be successful.
To add to it, as per the article Cheetahs are genetically weak species. One cannot rule out the possibilities of inbreeding among the 18 South African Cheetahs, which would lead to further weakening of species.
“The objective is certainly not clear, what purpose would it solve,” shot back conservation biologist Dharmendra Khandal. He further pointed out that as per the claims of Pakistan there are chances of the presence of Cheetah there. It is said that till 1997-98, Asiatic Cheetahs from Iran and Afghanistan must have crossed as far as Pakistan border.
The proposed site at Shahgarh in Jaisalmer (Rajasthan) is not very far away considering that these animals are prone to crossing territories. “This would definitely cause ‘genetic pollution’ of these endangered Asiatic sub species,” he pointed out.
Dr Patil further pointed out that even if Cheetahs are brought to the country “where is the conservation policy for grasslands”. India has the highest livestock population in the world, one can thus imagine the tremendous grazing pressure on the grassland. The Ministry should come up with a National Grazing policy if the grasslands are to be protected, he added.
Further, there is already protest amongst local people in Madhya Pradesh against the decision, hence reintroduction of Cheetahs could open a new chapter on human-wild life conflict. Without local support it is not possible to release cheetah into the wild.
Harping on similar lines, former PCCF MP, PM Lad, said, “The prospects of survival of genetically alien cheetahs here is very bleak, what is the ultimate purpose, I fail to understand.” In fact a senior forest officer declined to accept the

Staff pay delays at Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve
A FRESH claim that staff at the Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve have not been paid for more than five weeks was rejected by owner Jenny Jattke.
Two people, who asked not to be named, made the claim in an email to The Cairns Post.
Mrs Jattke said yesterday there were delays but not of five weeks, and all staff would get what they were owed.
"We’ve had difficulties in the past but our staff always get paid," she said.
"The staff here are well aware that the animals come first … you can’t not feed the animals.
Last year, the Fair Work Ombudsman investigated the zoo’s failure to pay staff in May because of low visitor numbers and the financial crisis.
At the time, Mrs Jattke said staff were willing to work without pay until the park was back on its feet, and were paid when money was available.
"We thank our staff every day for what they do," she said yesterday.
The zoo also has local support, she said, from supermarkets, food suppliers and

Census puts leopards at 1,150, sloth bears at 280
The recently concluded wildlife census has pegged the leopards' population at about 1,150 and that of sloth bears at about 280. A sneak peek into the census data from 17 districts in the state showed a rise by nearly 70 to 80 leopards and 30 sloth bears as compared to the 2006 census.
The highest increase in the number of leopards is 10% to 12% in Gir Sanctuary and the nearby Saurashtra region. Officials said there were 310 leopards

Purebred pups help dingo bloodline
PERTH Zoo's newest arrivals don't just look cute and cuddly they're also leading the fight to preserve the bloodline of Australia's purebred dingoes.
The two 11-week-old dingo pups, in quarantine but due to go on show soon, are the only dingoes at the zoo after a pair of adults died of old age.
The new brother and sister are genetically complete alpine dingoes from one of the last strongholds for their kind in the New South Wales highlands.Perth Zoo Australian fauna keeper Belinda Turner said the animals arrived at the zoo from the Australian Dingo Conservation Association in NSW last month.
"Their personalities are evolving before our eyes," she said. "The male is a bit smaller than his sister, but he's catching up quickly. He's very food-motivated, and he's a very people-focused dingo.
"There's a little bit of sibling rivalry. His sister is calm and a

Singapore theme park urged to free dolphins
A Singapore animal welfare group on Friday launched a campaign to urge a casino and leisure complex to free 25 dolphins destined for a new marine park attraction.
Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) bought the mammals for an "interactive dolphin spa programme" at its Marine Life Park attraction, where visitors can interact with the animals.
"We hope that RWS will make a socially responsible decision and free the dolphins," said Louis Ng, executive director of the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES).
He issued the appeal at the launch of a campaign called "Save the World's Saddest Dolphins" to raise public awareness through songs and videos on the website
RWS, which runs Singapore's first casino as well as the adjacent Universal Studios theme park, had no immediate reaction, saying it was studying the campaign's allegations in detail.
ACRES invited the public to participate in the campaign by filming themselves making "save the dolphins" speeches or holding placards that will be sent to RWS via email, as well as uploaded on Facebook and YouTube.
"Using social media and by approaching this issue

New England seal turning 40 with grace
Turning 40 seems like a breeze for Smoke the seal.
She's not sulking about her glaucoma, or the cataracts that have turned her eyes a cloudy blue-white and forced her to navigate her tank essentially from memory.
She'll pull out a wiggle dance if you want it (still smooth). She waves, practices a newly learned rolling maneuver and even plants a grandmotherly peck on a visitor's cheek.
As long as she gets a special birthday squid for lunch, folks at the New England Aquarium anticipate her milestone birthday Wednesday will pass without any moments of moody reflection.
"She's just got a super-sweet disposition," said Paul Bradley, the aquarium's lead marine mammal trainer.
Smoke just isn't letting age get to her, even though she's believed to be the second oldest seal in captivity in North America, behind one a year older in Wisconsin. Harbor seals normally live to their mid-20s.
This New England seal with the long life came to aquarium just after that life was nearly cut abysmally short. She was abandoned as a pup on a rocky Maine beach in May 1971.
But that misfortune turned out to be good luck. She was rescued and eventually put in the aquarium's care, without which she'd never be nearing her ripe old age.
One of the obvious reasons harbor seals survive longer in captivity is the absence of predators. They also don't have to worry about food scarcity, which can weaken the animal and make it more vulnerable to disease, said Tony LaCasse, the aquarium's spokesman.
Smoke has also benefited from "boutique care," as LaCasse puts. She has monthly blood tests, a managed diet, and trainers and veterinarians to make sure any problems are quickly treated.
Still, as much attention as the aquarium give its seals, Smoke's longevity stands out. In his 22 years working there, Bradley says no other seal has even broken 30.
Just last year, the oldest seal in captivity in the world, a 44-year-old male gray seal, died at the New York Aquarium. LaCasse said the only seal older than Smoke in captivity is a 41-year-old female harbor seal at Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wis.
The aquarium doesn't know the specific day in May that Smoke was born but has traditionally celebrated her birthday on the last Wednesday of the month.
Smoke's disposition hasn't changed much over those decades. She's always had the friendly, even temperament that LaCasse theorizes has contributed

Microchipping of snake charmer’s cobras a sign of the times in Delhi

Pali Nath believes his cobras are 1,000 years old. This may be a slight overstatement, but it speaks to his sense that his trade – snake charmer – is an ancient, integral part of Indian culture. He plies it at weddings and other auspicious occasions, and sometimes on the pavement at busy crossroads in Delhi.
Then he squats on his haunches and begins to plays his flute, then lifts the lid off a wicker basket of coiled snakes, the music and the swaying of the serpents has an other-worldly quality. He draws a crowd that, for a few minutes, falls still in this cacophonous city.
This is also, however, a modernizing city, and ancient though the practice of snake charming may be, it must keep up with the times.
Thus the municipal government of Delhi recently summoned Mr. Nath and a number of his confederates to have their snakes microchipped.
Yes. Microchipped.
Back in 2003, Delhi’s wildlife department ordered all city residents with wild animals to register their beasts. Dancing bears, auspicious-occasion elephants, festive camels, performing monkeys, parrots who tell fortunes and rats that predict the future – this

10 Things Zoos Won't Tell You
It's not just the animals that are wild.
When Patti Clark took over as executive director of the Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary in 2007, she inherited financial records stuffed into plastic bags, $60,000 in credit card debt and mounting maintenance costs. Her staff later found a storage unit filled with more records, as well as un-cashed donation checks. "It was pretty disheartening," says Clark, who has since managed to pay off the zoo's debt, hire an outside bookkeeper and boost revenue by 27%.
Such financial horror stories aren't uncommon among zoos, say experts. And the licensing and accrediting organizations offer little financial oversight. "If you're caring for your animals and upholding the standards, that's as far as we go," says Dave Sacks, a spokesman for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's Animal Care Program, which issues zoo licenses and conducts regular inspections for compliance with the Animal Welfare Act. State Fish and Game departments issuing state licenses don't generally check either, he says.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums says it requires proof of financial stability, including insurance coverage, evidence of financial support than outpaces expenses, and a backup plan in case funding is reduced, says spokesman Steve Feldman, a spokesman for accrediting group Association of Zoos and Aquariums, but reviews are made once every five years and membership in the organization is optional. In mid-May, the organization stripped ZooMontana of its accreditation. In March, the zoo's board president disclosed in a public letter that the facility had $140,000 in debt; and in early May, the zoo told local media outlets it would close for several days because its liability insurance policy had been cancelled and the zoo needed to hunt for a new one. ZooMontana did not respond to requests for comment. Feldman says the zoo had several

Ant venom holds promise as painkiller
A deadly ant that is dominant across the Arabian Peninsula could soon be put to a surprising use as a powerful painkiller.
Scientists in Saudi Arabia believe that venom from the Samsun ant could be harvested and used to make a cheap alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs currently on the market.
The ant species, which is known as Pachycondyla sennaarensis, has been linked with several deaths in the UAE in recent years.
However, zoologists at King Saud University in Riyadh found that the venom could reduce swelling in mice by the same level as diclofenac, a painkiller commonly used to treat chronic conditions such as rheumatism and arthritis.
"This could be a cheaper alternative to other anti-inflammatory drugs," said Abdel-Azeem Abdel-Baki, one of the researchers, whose work was published in the African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology in March last year.
"These ants are very common in the region and the venom can be easily extracted. One day there could be a use for it in medicine."
The researchers injected xylene, an irritant, into the ears of mice. They found that the ant venom could reduce swelling by 33.3 per cent, while diclofenac caused a reduction of only slightly more, 34.8 per cent.
Mr Abdel-Baki said the team were currently

Were zoo elephants abused?
It's not the Rodney King police beating video. But it sure isn't the elephant dance in "Fantasia" either.
A video has surfaced in recent weeks showing what animal rights groups call elephant abuse.
The images hit particularly close to home because the elephants are the same ones offered for rides at the Santa Ana Zoo and will soon be at the OC Fair.
Yes, I defended elephant rides several months ago after riding 7,000-pound Becky during a protest outside the zoo's gates.
After being contacted by Animal Defenders International, I've watched the often shaky, sometimes grainy video repeatedly to dissect their claims. It's disturbing.
Some might find it shocking

Staffordshire's Blackbrook Zoo struggles to stay afloat
Blackbrook Zoological Park - the only zoo in Staffordshire - is struggling to stay afloat and could soon be forced to close.
The attraction in Winkhill, near Leek, celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, but has seen its takings fall during the economic downturn and is now appealing for business backing and public donations.
The 30-acre site is home to the largest bird park in the UK and the largest collection of waterfowl in the world. It also features meerkats




Kids see a lion eat cuddly zoo animal
FAMILIES watched in horror as two lions tore apart a baby animal that escaped from its enclosure.
The cute binturong - also called a bearcat - was one of a pair to climb a tree before dropping into the big cat den at Chessington World of Adventure.
Jason Harcombe, visiting with his two-year-old son Oscar, said: "The poor animal didn't stand a chance. The lions jumped on it straight away and

Beast of a show: A bear who fished in the Thames and a thieving leopard ruled the 13th century menagerie at the Tower of London
Helping a polar bear find fish in the Thames and stopping a leopard from stealing umbrellas are not the conventional skills you'd see on a CV. But these are exactly what menagerie keepers at the Tower of London had to do.
At the 13th century zoo, which housed an array of animals given to the royals, one keeper spent his days preventing a polar bear from escaping while it fished for food in the Thames.
The bear was a gift from the King of Norway to Henry III in 1252 and The Times report records of expenses submitted at the Tower for 'muzzle and an iron chain to hold the bear when out of the water and a long and strong cord

Environment minister: Azerbaijan has not a zoo, it has a menagerie
The Ministry of Environment & Natural Resources of Azerbaijan has embarked on a project to create a zoo in Gobu settlement.
Today, Huseyn Bagirov, minister of environment & natural resources, has said that talks and consultations on the occasion are underway with 70 specialists of international level.
"Azerbaijan is lacking today a zoo – there is a wild beast show in which animals are kept not in the best way. In accord with the relevant presidential order, it was allotted 55 hectares of land and 2.8 million manat for a zoo project conforming to international standards. To date, we’ve outlined a scheme of zoo facilities for keeping animals relating to different climatic zones and creation of natural conditions for them,” Bagirov noted.
He added that the main purpose of zoo creation was not in providing services on demonstration of animals.
"In this zoo we intend to deal with restoration, reproduction of animals in their natural environment and, thus, prevention of the extinction of endangered animal species. To this end, appropriate flora will be planted

Zoo smear campaign got bosses suspended
EDINBURGH Zoo executives Gary Wilson and Iain Valentine were suspended after a malicious employee compiled a "dirty dossier" making the worst allegations Scotland's most senior employment lawyers had ever seen, it emerged last night.
In a stormy annual general meeting of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which runs the zoo, board members revealed details of a malicious smear campaign.
The event, at Murrayfield Stadium, followed the emergency meeting held two weeks ago that saw zoo chairman Donald Emslie forced to resign.
Board trustees bowed to pressure from society members and confirmed that the pair had been suspended over allegations of "serious financial concern".
However, they were cut off mid-speech by Mr Valentine's wife, who broke her silence to berate the society for the way it had carried out the investigation into her husband.
As Dr Tom Mitchell, chair of the audit and risk committee, and a RZSS board trustee, told the AGM that the "allegations in relation to Gary and Iain contained elements of serious financial concern", Mrs Valentine shouted "point of order", before taking the microphone.
Mrs Valentine told hundreds of society members: "I have kept my silence for seven-and a-half weeks in this enforced purdah, but I feel compelled to say I am still waiting to hear why my husband has been suspended.
"And it's completely out of order, at a meeting like this, where the man is not here to defend himself, for you (speaking to Dr Mitchell] to stand there and say that the reason he has been suspended is an actual allegation of . . . I know that that is not the case, otherwise we would have surely been told by now."
Afterwards, speaking through tears, she told the Evening News: "I just wish he (Dr Mitchell] had spoken to me before tonight. We haven't even been told what these allegations are over. You can't understand how difficult this is for us."
Just before the outburst, Jane Green, RZSS trustee and convenor of the Law Society of Scotland's Employment Law Specialisation Panel, who is closely involved in the investigations, said the "malicious" anonymous employee had compiled a "dirty dossier".
She added: "I have been an

Knut, the $140 Million Polar Bear
The perils of the high-stakes celebrity animal business
As the world's first celebrity polar bear, Knut used to spend his days feasting on raw meat, swimming in a black-bottom pool, and gazing at the hundreds—if not thousands—of visitors who flocked to see him every day at the Berlin Zoo. During his prime, candymaker Haribo churned out 1 million raspberry-flavored Knut gummy bears daily, and Berliner Volksbank issued tens of thousands of ATM cards featuring his furry face. There was also the 2007 book, Knut: How One Little Polar Bear Captivated the World, and the 2008 film, Knut & Friends. Along with Leonardo DiCaprio, he graced the cover of Vanity Fair.
Knut (pronounced Kuh-noot in German) achieved international fame hitherto unknown in the animal kingdom on account of his irresistible story. He was born into captivity in 2006, rejected by his mother, and raised by a zookeeper. To environmentalists, Knut was an emblem of the anti-global-warming movement; to business, he was a cuddly money machine. In its 167-year history, the Berlin Zoo—which is subsidized by the city and listed on the Berlin Stock Exchange—has been profitable for only three years, says Heiner Klös, its animal curator. Those were 2007 to 2009, the Years of Knut, when yearly attendance rocketed from 2.5 million to 3.5 million visitors, and the zoo made more than $30 million. In all, Gerald Uhlich, a former chief executive of the zoo and the architect of Brand Knut, estimates that the polar bear generated more than $140 million in global business.
In 2010, however, Knut grew up and became less cute, and attendance waned. Then in March, he unexpectedly died. Zoo-dwelling polar bears usually live well into their thirties—Debby of Winnipeg made it to 42—but an autopsy revealed Knut had suffered from encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain that caused him to lose consciousness, tumble into the water, and drown in front of several hundred horrified fans.
Now the fate of Brand Knut—unprecedented in the history of brands and animals—is up for grabs. Scores of book publishers, moviemakers, marketers, advertisers, and manufacturers of stuffed animals, lunchboxes, and coffee cups hope to profit before the public's memory of the cuddly cub is replaced with that of a large, dead polar bear. There are already plans for a television documentary in Germany. The chinamaker KPM is issuing $315 commemorative Knuts that have Zur Erinnerung ("in memoriam") inscribed on them. Uhlich is writing a book about the untold story behind the rise of "der Icebear." And for good reason. "A dead Knut brand could still make millions," says Birgit Clark, a London-based trademark attorney who has studied the Knut phenomenon. What happens to Brand Knut in the next few months will determine if it stays profitable or, like Knut, dies too.
However, the greatest threat to the brand—and potential Knut profiteers—is actually its owner, the Berlin Zoo, which is reluctant to

Do Some Circus and Zoo Animals Dream of Freedom and Revenge Against Their Masters?
One Author Says Yes
Translating the revolutionary consciousness of voiceless animals is no more silly than doing the same for human beings.

Hatchlings insure future of tortoises
Perth Zoo has added 44 Western Swamp Tortoise hatchlings to its population as part of a program to boost numbers of the critically endangered species.
Tortoise keeper Bradie Durell said the animals were found only in WA in the Swan Valley but there was also an "insurance population" in the Adelaide Zoo.
"Their total population is between 400 and 500 and of those about half are in the wild," Mr Durell said.
He said the zoo had bred more than 770 Western Swamp Tortoises since 1989 and released 500 into the wild.
"Captive breeding programs are very important because they help to get the populations back up," Mr Durell said.
The tortoises, which grow up to 14cm or 400g, are preyed upon by foxes, feral cats, rats and ravens.
The babies weighed between 5g to 7g.
Mr Durell said a lot of their habitat had

Oldest Indian Lioness is no more
Twenty-year-old Rani, a lion placed at the Van Vihar National Park, died here today due to old age, park officials said. They claimed that it was the oldest lion in the country.
The lion was born on July 12, 1991 at Indore’s Kamla Nehru Zoo and was shifted to Bhopal’s Van Vihar on February 12, 1992. The park was home to the lion for over 19 years. The lone lioness at the civic-run Kamla Nehru Zoo here died today due to Parkinson’s disease, officials said.
Rani, 22, had also suffered a paralytic attack on her hind limbs, they said, adding usually the life span of the lion was 15 to 18 years in Indian zoos.
Veterinarians said Parkinson’s is a disease of the nervous system that gets worse over a period of time and causes the muscles to become weak. The lioness was born in the zoo, managed by the Indore Municipal Corporation, itself, officials said.
A team of five veterinarians conducted the post-mortem on the lioness, after which the body was disposed of, they added.
“Normally, the average age of lion is 14 years, but this animal was an exception and survived for nearly 20 years due to proper care and better wildlife management. Inder was the oldest lion of the country,” they said.
Inder did not have any serious ailment, but int

Red tape lengthened deer’s suffering by 3 hrs
Activists claim zoo staff didn’t attend to the animal’s injuries stating that they need permission from superiors; staff says they don’t have space for protected animals
The world may be zipping past us with the help of constantly evolving technology, but when it comes to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), the proverbial red tape is still making us trip. Take for instance the PMC-run Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park and Wildlife Research Centre. Two youths, who had rescued a wounded deer, were kept waiting by the zoo staff on Wednesday for three hours before the animal was admitted for treatment, stating that there was no space for it on their premises.
Being stonewalled, the youths from Daund — Sagar Bhosale and Navanath Ghodake — sought help of a few animal activists. The activists confronted the staff. The staff then called up their seniors and got permission for taking the deer into custody. The deer was brought in at 7.30 pm and admitted for treatment at 10.30 pm.
Manoj Oswal, animal welfare officer, Animal Welfare Board of India, said, “The animal rescue centre, the only one of its kind across 15 districts, is facing constraints. That said, the matter still could have been handled better if a system for such emergencies was in place. I examined the deer at the rescue centre today (Thursday) and found that the animal was in shock from its injuries. I hope it gets

Snow leopard kills 68 goats in a single night in Gilgit
A lone snow leopard wrecked havoc in a remote valley of Gilgit one night, killing 68 goats in six separate incidents, officials said on Thursday. The attacks also left six goats critically injured.
The animal broke into the corrals at Dhee Village, Gojal near the Pak-China border before killing the goats, Rehman Posh, a conservationist working with the Khunjerab Village Organisation, told The Express Tribune on Thursday.
“Bodies of the animals were scattered all over the place after the incident,” said Posh, adding that the people got enraged over the depredation that inflicted a huge financial loss on them.
Giving the breakdown, Rehman Posh said that 23 of the goats belonged to Mirza Mohammad, 13 to Ali Baig, 12 to Bahadur, nine to Aslam, seven to Ghulam Rasool and four to Qalandar Shah.
Talking about the different organisations that are trying to protect the endangered species, a group of villagers said they were not satisfied with their “mere lip services”.
“We have submitted our complaints. But they just come to tell us the importance of the snow leopards

It's the city that is treading into leopard territory, says Ravi Chellam
Leopard sightings in the city are making headlines almost every other day. DNA spoke to Ravi Chellam, country director, Wildlife Conservation Society – India, to find out why the big cats are seen prowling about in the IT city.
There is news that leopards are being spotted in the city. Is there any reason why leopards are moving towards Bangalore?
It is not a rare to spot leopards in Bangalore, considering the city is bordered by the Bannerghatta National Park, which houses several wildlife species. Also, keeping in mind that the city has seen a widespread property development, we have to understand that it is not the leopards that are moving close to the city, it’s us who are moving close to the leopard habitat. The city’s growth is not planned; it hasn’t taken into consideration the impact the development may have on wildlife.
There is more news on leopard spottings now than earlier. Why?
The population is large in the city suburbs. So more people are now able to spot leopards. For example, if there were only very few people and no electricity, chances of sighting a leopard at night is very low. Because more people have seen leopards, the media has also startedcreating awareness in the city about this animal.
What would be the impact on a roadwhere leopards are known to be spotted?
It depends on the size of the road, how it is constructed, and the density and speed of traffic using this road.In general, roads are killers for wildlife, especially the smaller ones.Large roads with lot of fast-moving traffic can be barriers for animal movement and act as death traps for wildlife animals. The highways are proving to be ‘death traps’ for leopards at night.
Bangalore south has seen cases of road-kill of leopards (on Nice Road) and leopard cubs being ‘abandoned’. How can Bangaloreans co-exist with leopards?
When Nice Road was planned and constructed, the needs of the wildlife were not taken into account. As a result, we are seeing leopards being killed on this road, particularly at nights.Wildlife crossings and measures to control speed of vehicles in sections where wildlife occur, should have been a part of the design. I feel it is not too late now to incorporate wildlife crossings, which will enable the animals to safely cross the road.If there is a will to reduce impact

Wild Asses Pushed Toward Extinction - the Latest Research Says
Fences and railway lines in Mongolia are cutting endangered wild asses off from their habitat, pushing the animals toward extinction, a new study finds.
Wild asses, which are related to donkeys, once ranged across Mongolia, Russia and into the Middle East.
Today, they’re found only in small pockets in these areas, with the largest group living in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia. Despite protected areas set aside for wildlife in Mongolia, the asses are in trouble, researchers reported last February in the journal, Biological Conservation.
Both manmade and natural barriers (mountains) keep the asses separated from one another and cut off from their migratory routes, a fact illustrated by one wild ass observed walking almost 40 miles (62 kilometers) alongside a railroad fence.
Researchers knew the wild asses face challenges in their Gobi desert habitat. Local ranchers see the asses as competition for their livestock, so they chase away or illegally kill the animals. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists Asiatic wild asses as “endangered.”
Using GPS data from 19 asses fitted with radio collars, along with historical range data and a genetic analysis of 80 asses, a team of European, Mongolian and Chinese scientists found that the protected areas set aside for the asses aren’t enough.
DNA analysis showed that two ass subpopulations are separated by the mountain ranges crisscrossing Mongolia. However, the researchers found, even though the two subpopulations can’t interbreed, they still show high levels of genetic diversity, meaning they’ve yet to lose their evolutionary resilience to disease and environmental change.
But while the asses’ genetic diversity is heartening, the other news isn’t as good. Humans have restricted the wild asses’ habitat and food supply, especially in the southeastern Gobi, where protected areas aren’t enough to support the asses with grass and water.
The asses are cut off from China by border fences, and in the east, the Ulaanbaatar-Beijing railway line cuts off more than 10,500 square miles (17,000 square km) of habitat. There are under- and overpasses across the railway fences designed for use by herders and livestock, the researchers wrote, but wild gazelles and asses seem unable to find these crossings.
Saving the wild asses will be a matter of international cooperation, the researchers wrote.
Wildlife crossing points should be built over or under

It's ape time
Children visiting the century-old Mysore zoo never a visit to see Polo, a western lowland gorilla. He is the only gorilla exhibited in any zoo in India. The 46-year-old male gorilla, gifted by the Dublin Zoo, in Ireland on May 12, 1995, is a star attraction. The primate has been without a companion for the last 10 years.
Most visited Polo has been the most-watched exhibit. He has been zoo for 19 years now. The first gorillas of the zoo — Sumati and Sugriva — were brought to Mysore in 1977 and they hogged the limelight until Polo arrived. Sugriva died within a year of its stay. The zoo managed to get a companion for Sumati when Israel gifted Bobo, a male gorilla, in the 80s. Sadly, it (Bobo) too did not live long.
All alone
Sumathi once again became lonely and was without a companion until Polo arrived. Somehow, Sumati did not find him (Polo) a “perfect” companion. Sumati died of a cardiac arrest on October 4, 2000. Thereafter, Polo has been single. Most of the time Polo remains confined to a corner of its enclosure. He beats his chest, claps and, sometimes, makes

Iconic zoo relocating to Loganholme
LOGAN will experience a population boom next year - of about 240 animals.
After more than 30 years at Dakabin, Brisbane's iconic Alma Park Zoo is packing its bags and heading to Loganholme.
In what has been hailed as the most exciting venture in the city's 30-year history, the zoo will relocate to Logan after being squeezed out of its current site due to nearby housing developments.
After more than 12 months of discussions, it was agreed the zoo will be set up on the Pacific Motorway at Loganholme on council owned land.
“Alma Park Zoo is one of Queensland's most loved and well-known tourist attractions and for the owners to select Logan as the place to start another chapter in the zoo's successful history is an enormous coup for the city,” Logan Mayor Pam Parker said.
“It will draw more people to the city and discover the true Logan and residents and I can see.”
While he was sad to see it moving from

Apocalypse Meow: Free-ranging Cats and the Destruction of American Wildlife

London Zoo to open England’s biggest penguin pool this week
The world famous zoo’s new Penguin Beach will house a 1,200 square metre pool – four times the size of the old one and three times deeper.
It will include a new underwater viewing area where visitors can see the birds diving for their food at twice-daily feeds.
Zoological director David Field said: “ZSL London Zoo’s penguin feeds are a wonderful tradition that has been delighting visitors since our first penguin arrived in 1865.
“Penguin Beach takes the zoo’s penguin tradition into a new era, allowing us to breed large colonies of threatened penguins in an amazing new habitat. Hopefully by witnessing how breathtaking these birds are, we can encourage ZSL London Zoo’s visitors to help protect them.”
The zoo, in Regent’s Park, will initially be home to 80 of the flightless birds, but the colony is set to grow to 200 in the future.
Four species of penguins will be bred – known as Humboldt, macaroni, black-footed and rockhopper – and there will be a special penguin nursery, with a chick incubation unit and

Dolphinarium to be built in Zavodskoi District of Minsk.
It will appear on the territory of the Minsk zoo. Its construction will be finished in 2013 and its opening will coincide with the World Hockey Championship. As it was communicated in the district administration to the investors the preparation works are already being realized and the construction will begin very soon.
Oleg Rezanovich reports: The Zavodskoi District among other districts of Minsk places last as for the attractiveness

Supporters rally for Lion Man return
Lion man Craig Busch and his supporters believe there could be a chance for him to return to his park, with rumours circulating that it may be sold.
Busch's supporters are trying to raise $3 million to pay the debt which they say has been building since he was fired as the operator at Zion Wildlife Gardens in Whangarei in 2008.
The park would not return ONE News calls but its website says it is seeking investors.
Busch was dismissed as operator of the park after an ongoing dispute with his mother Patricia, who also owns a share of the park.
The park was closed for a period in 2009 after two separate incidents of staff being attacked by tigers. The second attack was fatal.
A website has been set up which calls on people to make donations.
"In order to ensure that the cats and park will definitely be saved for Craig, he has to come up with the money to pay off the huge debt that has been built up over the time since he was thrown out of his own park," the website states.
Zion spokeswoman Sara

Online support for Lion Man's return
The jungle drums are beating after changes at Zion Wildlife Gardens have meant two staff members have lost their jobs.
But claims are also being drummed up that the big cat park's founding owner Craig Busch could make a triumphant return - but only if a global campaign to raise $3 million is successful.
Zion spokeswoman Sara Reid said the two jobs were disestablished weeks ago as part of rationalising staffing at the lion park on the outskirts of Whangarei. Ms Reid said there is no truth to rumours other jobs will soon follow or that the park could close.
"There are still 10 staff employed there," she said.
Zion Wildlife Gardens is subject to a ramped-up online campaign to see Mr Busch reinstated as owner and manager.
The campaign, which has southern African and United

Zoo staff 'felt unsafe' around Lion Man
Staff at Zion Wildlife Gardens felt so "unsafe" around former big-cat handler Craig "Lion Man" Busch that new management spent almost $100,000 upgrading internal security.
The revelation has been made in a ruling by Employment Relations Authority member Yvonne Oldfield, ordering Mr Busch to pay those running his former wildlife park near Whangarei more than $25,000 to cover the costs of damaged and missing equipment and the proceeds of a photoshoot at the reserve.
Mr Busch is in a long-running battle with his mother, Patricia, for control of Zion Wildlife Gardens Ltd (ZWGL) after being dismissed from the park in November 2008.
In statements from the legal team representing Zion Wildlife Gardens, Ms Oldfield was told that "Mr Busch behaved in ways that intimidated and threatened park staff, including Mrs Busch". Witnesses had said "he was prone to irrational, unpredictable and aggressive behaviour".
Ms Oldfield was told that in May 2008, Mr Busch entered the office area and "despite protests from the administrative worker present", removed files and animal records, which he later refused to return.
A security guard was later hired and stationed outside Mrs Busch's home on Zion land to "protect her when she was sleeping". During the day, the guard "was stationed outside the enclosure where materials were stored to ensure that items there were not removed".
ZWGL told the authority it had spent $96,378.50 on upgrading security; a figure that included security guard hire, new locks and the installation of security cameras.
Ms Oldfield wrote: "I am satisfied that some staff at the park genuinely felt unsafe in Mr Busch's presence.
"However, some witnesses who had worked with him for some time had long held the view that he was volatile and aggressive." But despite ruling that Mr Busch must cover the costs for a range of equipment at the park, Ms Oldfield said he should not be responsible for the security costs because she was "not satisfied" they were related to any breach of an employment agreement.
Neither did she find Mr Busch liable for costs related to the cancelling of interactive tours at the park in May 2008.
His decision to do that followed an approach to Mrs Busch for funds to declaw some young cubs so they could be used for interactive tours.
Three staff members told Mrs Busch that her son had made the decision "with the intention of damaging the business".
But Ms Oldfield said in her ruling: "Mr Busch says that he had ultimate responsibility for the safe running of the park and the decision he took was reasonable in light of concerns he held in relation to health and safety issues at the time.
"Mr Busch said his concerns were vindicated, at about the time he cancelled the tours, when a volunteer was bitten by one of the animals."
The interactive tours were restarted after Mr Busch's dismissal, but

Lion Man to pay $25,000 for park losses

Lion Man Craig Busch has been ordered to pay $25,000 as the bitter battle for control of Northland's Zion Wildlife Gardens continues.
The order has been made by Employment Relations Authority member Yvonne Oldfield, who found that Busch, made famous with his reality TV show, was guilty of "serious breaches of his employment obligations".
The orders, which total $25,109.43, plus 8.4 per cent interest, include $10,657 for damages to a bandsaw, $10,742 for the loss of use of equipment critical for the upkeep of the park and $3712 in damages covering a fee charged to photographers, which he did not pass on to park management.
On the issue of the bandsaw, Oldfield's ruling stated that the machinery was damaged and park management lodged an insurance claim to replace it.
Credit was provided by a retailer near Zion, just north of Whangarei.
Busch used the credit to gain a

Palm oil products and the weekly shop
In researching Dying for a Biscuit, Panorama asked the makers of the top selling products containing palm oil and the major supermarket chains about their palm oil use. We also requested information on how they sourced their palm oil and whether or not they participate in the GreenPalm trading scheme, aimed at encouraging growers to produce more sustainable oil.

Miami Science Museum’s New Hands-on Stingray Sea Lab Exhibit To Give Up Close View Of Sea Life
Miami Science Museum announces the opening of its newest exhibit: Stingray Sea Lab on Saturday, May 28, 2011, as part of the inaugural Miami Underwater Festival. Stingray Sea Lab, open to all ages, will include a 3,000-gallon stingray touch tank, a small invertebrate touch tank, a sea grass tank and an algae refugium. Hands-on exhibits, including a video microscope station and dissection lab, are interspersed throughout the exhibit. Stingray Sea Lab will serve as a prototype for the new Miami Science Museum’s aquarium, scheduled to open in Museum Park in 2014 (Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science).
“This new exhibit is designed to give visitors a very personal experience with local sea life. Visitors will get to touch live stingrays at this new 3,000 gallon touch tank then discover what is found in Miami’s amazing and diverse sea grass beds, from crabs and seahorses, to the many baby fish that start their lives there,” said Frank Steslow, Miami Science Museum COO. “The Stingray Sea Lab will allow us to test different technologies and prototype the exhibit so that we can build an efficient, educational and visually stunning aquarium at the new Museum.”
The Stingray Touch Tank will feature four different species of stingrays native to South Florida, including cow nose, southern, Atlantic and yellow stingrays, housed in a 3,000-gallon saltwater touch tank. The 200 square foot touch tank is 3 feet deep and features approximately 30 feet of viewing window space, allowing guests of all ages to gain access and touch the stingrays while still providing a center area where the animals can rest. Visitors are encouraged to dip their hands into the water and allow the stingrays to touch them. Stingrays are incredible creatures and they make for a fun, hands-on, educational family experience. To ensure the safety of visitors, caretakers who carefully monitor the stingray exhibit also trim the

Auckland Zoo allowed to import Kashin replacements
The Auckland Council has voted in favour of getting two elephants from Asia for Auckland Zoo.
The idea to expand the herd was because of fears about the wellbeing of Burma after her companion, Kashin, died in August 2009. The zoo brought in a horse called Cherry to keep Burma company while plans for elephant companions were made.
However the zoo's website said: ''the bond and the relationship that was hoped for didn't really progress between Burma and Cherry, so we have decided not to continue having Cherry here at the Zoo''.
Today's decision, which has caused controversy with animal experts who say the elephant programme in Auckland should be stopped, was made at the a meeting of the Strategy and Finance Committee.
If the decision meets all other council processes, two juvenile elephants would be brought from an orphanage in Sri Lanka.
The cost of bringing the elephants would be borrowed from the council and repaid over three years.
The two female elephants would provide friendship for sole remaining elephant Burma.
Auckland Council spokeswoman Glyn Jones said the vote came only after reassurances ratepayers would not have to pay for the elephants, and animal welfare and conservation

D.C. Zoo Employee Denies Charge She Tried to Poison Feral Cats
Several residents caring for feral cats in the Washington, D.C., neighborhood of Columbia Heights noticed a strange substance in the cats' food. The caretakers reported the substance to the Washington Humane Society, which tested the substance last month and determined that it was rat poison.
Officials have since arrested Nico Dauphine, a National Zoo employee, for allegedly attempting to poison the feral cats. Dauphine, a postdoctoral fellow with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center at the National Zoo, was charged with attempted cruelty to animals and faces up to 180 days in jail and a fine of $1,000, if convicted.
The Humane Society conducted a month-long investigation monitoring video surveillance and matching card swipes in and out of an apartment complex near the scene of the alleged crime. The agency, which has the authority to enforce the laws of the District, obtained a warrant for Dauphine's arrest. Dauphine turned herself in but has denied the allegations.
"She's a suspect," Scott Giacoppo, a vice president and chief programs officer with the Washington Humane

Paraguay zoo seeks mate for lonely Hyacinth Macaw
The Asuncion zoo is desperately seeking a mate for Coco, the last known male of his species left in Paraguay.
Coco is an endangered Hyacinth Macaw, known in Paraguayan Spanish as a "papagayo azul." Scientists estimated several years ago that only 6,500 were left in the wild, mostly in Brazil.
It took a DNA test to show Coco is male, and zoo veterinarian Cristiane Rainner says they've kept him apart from other kinds of Macaws for now, even though

‘Lucky’ Santa Barbara Zoo Penguin Gets Happy Feet with New Boot
Shoe company Teva creates a custom protective boot to cushion the animal's impaired webbed foot
There are 18 Humboldt penguins at the Santa Barbara Zoo, but only one of them is named Lucky — and for good reason.
He was born in a nest box on April 15, 2010, but after initial checkups with the zoo veterinarian, the seabird appeared hobbled by an impaired foot. Another examination and X-rays revealed no broken bones but did conclude that the gregarious penguin’s webbed foot wasn’t

Welcome the White Tigers
The China Post news staff--Two white tigers from Guangzhou Xiangjiang Safari Park(?????????), named ZhouHai(??) and HuangLo(??), will arrive in Kaohsiung on May 26th. The Kaohsiung City Council will hold a welcoming ceremony at Kaohsiung International Airport before the animals go to their new home at Shoushan Zoo (?????).
“We will make them happy and get them accustomed to new life here,” said zoo administration chief Zhang Bo-yu (???). In 2010, Shoushan Zoo sent two experts to Xiangjiang Safari Park to learn the white tigers' living habits, hoping to make the rare cats comfortable in Taiwan's environment. “We will treat them well, feed them well and make them feel at

No need to panic over zoo deaths: Experts
The expert committee that was constituted to examine the recent deaths of animals in the Thiruvananthapuram zoo has concluded that the deaths can only be considered as isolated incidents in the respective species and hence not of concern.
The expert committee report has been submitted to Minister for Zoos and Museums P K Jayalakshmi as well as Culture Secretary K Venu. Jayalakshmi also visited the zoo on Wednesday soon after receiving the report of the expert committee.
The committee came to the conclusion that there is no immediate cause of worry after a detailed study of the post-mortem reports, revisiting into the previous deaths, examining the feed store and feed ingredients and also after consultations with the zoo director, zoo superintendent and the zoo keepers.
However, the committee has urged the zoo officials to implement the recommendations on the health-related aspects. The most important of the recommendations is the establishment of an in-house laboratory to carry out routine medical procedures and the purchase of rapid antigen and antibody detection kits for detecting infectious diseases without any time delay.
Regular testing of water samples, periodic analysis of feed

The new chick in town can barely stand on legs that one day will carry her far. She's full of spunk, dressed in grey down, capturing hearts and stealing attention from the few who get to peek at her -- she's the first baby Caribbean flamingo chick born in captivity this year at Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Centre in Nassau and one of the few to survive birth in captivity around the world.
"This is an exciting time for us," said Richard Roswell, director of animal care at Ardastra, Nassau's charming home to rare birds, reptiles and animals. "Cases of flamingos being born in captivity and surviving are rare internationally. When one was born in the U.K. in Gloucestershire, it was the first time in the 60 years of the zoo's history that it happened and the live birth made the lead story on the BBC and international headlines. Our first live birth occurred in 2001

Who knew? I am a domestic terrorist for taking pictures of farms
“Have you heard about the Slow Food campaign? The movement is urging supporters to send in pictures of farms to protest against bills in Florida, Iowa and Minnesota that would make it illegal to take a picture or a video of a farm. Slow Food members are calling it the farmarazzi campaign."
Two weeks ago, I was sharing this news with a fellow breakfast diner at a noisy table at Selma Cafe.
“I don’t like to hear the word Nazi — that word upsets me.”
"Nazi?" How did we get to Nazi? I am talking about a photo campaign to protest bills, not gassing trainloads of children and systemic fear mongering by the state.
“Oh no, you misheard, I don’t like that word either.” I slow down and raise my voice: “Fffaaarrrmarazzi. Like paparazzi, but farm-a-razzi.”
Two weeks later, Slow Food USA has collected more than 33,000 signatures for its campaign, and 450 pictures of farms. The legislation has been “indefinitely postponed” in Florida, and Slow Food continues to collect pictures and

Polar bear cub was reviewed for return to Arctic
A rescued polar bear cub is thriving at the Alaska Zoo but federal wildlife officials said Wednesday they briefly considered trying to reunite the wild tyke with its mother after the adult bear was spotted on sea ice of the state's northern coast.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials ultimately concluded it was unclear whether the mother bear would re-accept the small cub after walking more than 30 miles away onto sea ice.
"The odds of being able to get this cub back to the family group were really, really low," said Rosa Meehan, the USFWS marine mammals manager in Alaska.
Meehan spoke Wednesday as zoo officials gave the young female cub the chance to expand her surroundings — a romp in an outdoor pen as reporters and photographers looked on.
The cub, now weighing 30 pounds, moved tentatively when its cage door was opened, but as an hour went by, it started to romp, climbing

Tracking Whale Sharks With Astronomical Algorithms
With the help of algorithms designed to guide the Hubble telescope’s starscape surveys, conservation-minded coders have designed software that helps biologists identify whale sharks by their spots. The program enlists the help of citizens with cameras, and lets researchers track Earth’s biggest fish across time and oceans.
At the ECOCEAN Whale Shark Photo-Identification Library, people can upload photographs to the database, where they’re analyzed and classified. Photographers can then learn about their individual animal and receive emails each time it’s spotted. In the meantime, researchers will use the records to study population trends and the histories of individual whale sharks.
“If you put a tag in skin, it wears off or falls away. But we can recognize these animals for the rest of their lives,” said whale shark expert Al Dove of the Georgia Aquarium, a participant in the ECOCEAN project. “It lets you recognize and track animals without marking them, and it’s permanent.”
The program began when Jason Holmberg, then an English teacher in Cairo with a passion for scuba diving, saw his first whale shark during a trip

Zoo director’s home to be museum to righteous couple
The house where the Warsaw Zoo’s World War II-era director Jan Zabinski and his wife, Antonina, sheltered Jews from the Nazis is to become a small museum dedicated to their heroism.
The museum dedicated to the couple will open this fall, according to a report Wednesday on Polish Radio.
Yad Vashem recognized the Zabinskis as Righteous Among the Nations in 1965.
Zabinski, who was allowed to enter the Warsaw Ghetto as a municipal official, helped get Jews "over to the Aryan side, provided them with indispensable personal documents, looked for accommodations, and when necessary hid them at his villa or on the zoo’s grounds,” according to the Yad Vashem website.
With the Zabinskis' help, according to the website, many Jews found temporary shelter in the zoo’s abandoned animal cells, "until they were able to relocate to permanent

Zoo helping to cut risk of skin cancer
The Living Desert is taking part in the third annual “Don’t Fry Day” campaign to reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Throughout the day Saturday, the zoo will offer activities, information and tips for protecting your skin while outside.
Each year, there are more new cases of skin cancer in the U.S. than new cases of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined, according to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention.
Overexposure to UV radiation is the primary risk factor for skin cancer, according to the council.
Risk of skin cancer can be reduced|newswell|text|Frontpage|s

Merlin Entertainments to Open Sealife Aquarium in Rome
SEA LIFE will be located in their lakeside Acquario di Roma retail and leisure development. This new attraction will be complementary to a planned 4D theatre and Mediterraneum exposition, both of which will also feature marine based elements. Construction of the complex is well under way and it is planned that SEA LIFE will open during Spring 2012.
“Merlin Entertainments is Europe’s leading visitor attraction operator, and we have been looking to find the right development in Rome for some time. Our experience shows that the combination of quality family attractions such as SEA LIFE, together with retail and restaurant facilities provide a major driver for repeat visits. We believe that SEA LIFE will greatly enhance the shopping and entertainment experience, and are confident that both local and visiting families will revel in the deep sea wonders that the aquarium will bring,’ said Nick Mackenzie, Managing Director of Merlin Entertainments’ Property & Development Group.
‘Over recent months we have also developed an excellent working relationship with the Mare Nostrum Romae S.r.l team, and this was also a key factor in our decision. Our commitment to build a SEA LIFE aquarium underlines our belief that Rome, and particularly the Acquario di Roma, is a perfect location for what we hope will just be our first attraction here, and we are delighted to be able to move our plans forward.”
SEA LIFE is the world’s biggest aquarium brand with more than 10 million visitors a year and over 30 superb attractions in Europe, USA and Asia Pacific. The SEA LIFE focus is also always on quality of experience rather than scale, taking visitors on a seamless journey under the sea which entertains, inspires and teaches both young and old. The attractions offer everything from viewing windows giving a glimpse into the ocean itself; to enlightening talks, feeding demonstrations, as well as involvement in the brand’s global environmental and conservation marine campaigning. As with its other ‘midway’ attractions, Merlin calls the SEA LIFE experience ‘fun learning’.
The Rome attraction will highlight all of the qualities which have gained the brand the support and endorsement of marine experts worldwide

Georgia Aquarium starts new program letting visitors wade into water with beluga whales
The world's largest aquarium is letting guests get an up-close view of its beluga whales.
A new program at the Georgia Aquarium gives visitors a chance to wade in the water with the giant white mammals. Visitors get a behind-the-scene tour of the whales and the harbor seal exhibits and an opportunity to interact with the whales alongside animal training staff at the aquarium.
The program costs $224.95.
Experts estimate there are

New parasites found in frogs
University of Sydney researchers have identified two new parasite species causing disease among endangered Australian frogs. They say they are most likely native, overturning a commonly held view they were introduced with cane toads in 1935.
The parasites have so far been found in 10 frog species, including the iconic Green and Golden Bell Frog, the Southern Bell Frog and even the Yellow Spotted Bell Frog - a species presumed extinct for 30 years until recently.
These singled-celled myxosporean parasites have been identified in bell frog populations since 1997, says Ashlie Hartigan, a PhD student leading the research with Dr Jan Šlapeta from the Faculty of Veterinary Science, David Phalen, Director of the University of Sydney's Wildlife Health and Conservation Centre, and Karrie Rose from the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health.
"Infected frogs lose weight, are lethargic

Clouded leopards spring one on keepers
It was an unplanned pregnancy.
Keepers at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium thought Chai Li and Nah Fun, a pair of 20-month-old clouded leopards, were too young to breed.
But the elusive cats mated without their handlers noticing, and now Chai Li is expecting a litter in mid-June. The zoo is one of only three places in the United States where the endangered species is being bred.
“They certainly are paired for breeding, but we thought it wouldn’t be until next year,” curator Karen Goodrowe Beck said. “It’s an unexpected but very delightful and happy surprise.”
Chai Li and Nah Fun were paired at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand when they were 5 days old. It’s hard to pair adult clouded leopards, so the spotted cats usually are put together at an early age so they grow up and are comfortable with each other.
Because Chai Li and Nah Fun are so close and get along so well, keepers allow them to

Dakota Zoo closed, animals being evacuated
Dakota Zoo closed indefinitely at 4 p.m. Wednesday after consulting with local and state emergency planners, a release from the zoo said.
Most of the animals will be evacuated to other facilities in North Dakota and South Dakota. The release said the zoo anticipates being closed for several weeks.
A few animals will remain on site unless the water goes higher than currently forecast.
Volunteers are needed to sandbag the zoo

CZA lifts six-year ban on breeding in Byculla zoo
The central zoo authority has decided to allow animal breeding in the 150-year-old Veermata Jijabai Udyan and Zoo. There had been a stop on breeding since six years.
The high court in 2005 had ordered the zoo to put a stop on reproduction amongst animals. However, the CZA directed the zoo to maintain such conditions which can ensure planned animal breeding in the zoo premises.
The CZA has issued guidelines to the zoo officials to maintain a sex ratio of 2:5 amongst all species. “The CZA direction will help us uplift the zoo’s condition. Breeding amongst animals will lead to a healthier animal count,” said Anil Anjankar, zoo director. This will help us keep the new species intact, he added.
Due to the six-year ban, a majority of animals have no progeny and are bordering their life expectancy. With a limited number of younger breed of animals and 80% turning old, the zoo had been heading towards extinction.
“The ban on breeding was affecting the zoo. There is also a ban on buying animals in India. We can only exchange animals with other zoos. But with most aging, we could not even exercise this option,” said




'Sustainable' zoo, the elephant in the room
For some time now it's been politically correct to strive for sustainable tourism. And while members of the public sometimes confuse this term with ecotourism, they are very unlikely to mention the word "zoo" in the same breath.
Despite its fancy name, the Chiang Mai Night Safari _ which opened its doors to the public back in 2006 _ is a species of zoological garden.
The Designated Area for Sustainable Tourism Administration _ Dasta _ is a government-funded body and one of the three main projects it has earmarked for the promotion of sustainable tourism (along with ventures in Koh Chang and Pattaya) is northern Thailand's newest zoo.
Even stranger is the fact that Dasta is supporting a plan by the Night Safari to set aside a large area _ to be dubbed "Tiger Kingdom" _to house captive white tigers.
They've got to be kidding, you say.
But no; this is no joke, unfortunately.
Sustainable tourism, according to Dasta director-general Nalikatibhag Sangsnit, is based on the principle that people can share or preserve the resources of the area in which they live, be allowed to participate in tourism schemes developed in their communities as well as earn money from these developments.
A praiseworthy concept indeed but it bears little relation to the way the Night Safari is being operated.
The project was the brainchild of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, himself a native of Chiang Mai. When he broached the idea in 2002, local residents, academics and activists expressed concerns about the ecological, social and economic impacts and asked for a public hearing. Eventually families in the designated area were forced to sell farmland to the zoo which also took control of a portion of the adjoining Doi Suthep National Park.
How on earth could a project which hasn't received the full backing of local residents and which consumes natural resources merely to create an artificial tourist attraction be considered a glowing example of sustainable tourism?

Kolkata zoo to get kangaroos
Two pairs of kangaroos, the Australian national animal, will be housed soon in Alipore Zoological Garden here, a West Bengal forest official said.
The four kangaroos will be brought from a Czech Republic zoo under an inter-zoo exchange programme, he said.
"We were informed that some zoos in Europe have successfully carried out kangaroo breeding programme and have spares for exchange so we approached them. Later we got the clearance from the national zoo authority and also from the state government and we now are in the process of arranging the transportation of the kangaroos," said Raju Das, director of Alipore Zoological Garden.
The kangaroos will be arriving here possibly by May-end, he said.
A separate enclosure has already been made

Leap for joy: 50 years of dolphins recognized at Brookfield Zoo; one dolphin to give birth in fall
The dolphin exhibit of Brookfield Zoo is celebrated for its 50-year history with the zoo this weekend.
Brookfield Zoo highlights its group of seven common bottlenose dolphins with Decades of Dolphins on Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and 22. The weekend event will be filled with lots of memories and fun featuring music that reflects the decades from the 1960s to the present, special Dolphin Shows, retro games and a liquid watercolor craft activity for kids.
Updated News: Brookfield Zoo just announced that one of their dolphins is expecting. Tapeko, a 29-year-old dolphin, is pregnant and due to give birth mid-fall. Veterinary staff confirmed the pregnancy during an ultrasound exam, which they have been performing — and will continue to perform — on a routine basis to monitor the development of the fetus, which has a 12-month gestation period.
Tapeko, who has been at Brookfield Zoo since 1991, is an experienced mother, having successfully raised three calves. Two of her daughters, Noelani, 7, and Allison, 5, reside with her at Brookfield Zoo. Additionally, she was a surrogate for her grandson when one of her daughters, who was at the time a first-time mom, could not provide the proper care for

Cash Cows
Is the Woodland Park Zoo Mistreating Its Elephants?
People will pay fistfuls of cash to see a baby anything. When a female Asian elephant was born at the Woodland Park Zoo in 2000, the zoo's "name the baby elephant" contest generated nearly 16,000 entries. Zoo employees privately proposed naming her Cash Cow—female elephants are called cows—but she was officially named Hansa, meaning "supreme happiness" in Thai. (Asian elephants are native to the hot jungles of Southeast Asia and India.) After Hansa's birth, attendance at the Woodland Park Zoo doubled. Then, at age 6, Hansa was found dead in the elephant barn by zookeepers. Her death was caused by elephant herpes, a disease that kills nearly 90 percent of infected young Asian elephants in captivity and was likely passed on through her mother, Chai, a wild Asian elephant gifted to the zoo in 1980.
The zoo has tried to artificially inseminate Chai at least 57 times since acquiring her, according to a lawsuit that will have its first hearing on May 27. (The lawsuit is the source of the allegation about employees calling the baby Cash Cow.) All those attempts to get Chai knocked up have resulted in only one live birth (Hansa) and many miscarriages. "These miscarriages have caused Chai to suffer both physical and psychological pain," the

Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo defends treatment of elephants
Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo is defending itself against accusations of animal mistreatment and illegal breeding practices.
A scathing article written in The Stranger cites a lawsuit filed against the City of Seattle, which claims the zoo participates in abusive breeding practices and subjects the elephants to conditions that lead to severe foot injuries.
On Friday, Bruce Bohmke, zoo Chief Operations Officer, defended the zoo on News Talk 97.3 KIRO FM's Ross and Burbank Show saying The Stranger's story is, "full of half truths and inaccuracies. They just made some of that stuff up."
At issue was whether the elephants at Woodland Park have enough room. While Bohmke conceded that "confinement of any animal has an effect on the animal," he also said the zoo association they're accredited with requires 1/3 of an acre per elephant.
"We certainly have that." Bohmke explained the article's World Wildlife Fund citation that elephants in captivity need 247 acres to roam and wild elephants need to walk 20 miles per day is inaccurate.
"Elephants do walk 20 miles a day in extreme conditions where they're trying to find food or water and they're desperate. Most studies that have been done on elephants in the wild talk about how they move maybe three miles a day and, in some cases where there's abund

My Husband and Other Animals - Jaws III, the croc in captivity
Jaws was one of four salt-water crocodile hatchlings imported from Singapore by the Central Leather Research Institute, Madras, back in the early 1970s. The organisation planned to slaughter them after five years to assess the feasibility of crocodile farming.
In 1973, when his surveys showed that wild crocs were almost gone, Rom wanted to start breeding crocodiles at the Madras Snake Park, and went to the Institute to have a look at the reptiles.
As he walked around the murky pond with Rajamani, an Irula friend, one of the three-foot salties suddenly erupted out of the water and grabbed Rajamani's leg. This was their first encounter with the species, and they realised it was a very different croc from the easy-going mugger they were used to.
Rom proposed to the Institute's director that he would rear the salties and provide all the measurements annually in return for custody of the animals. The director thought it was a great idea; the expense of rearing the crocs would be Snake Park's and the animals didn't have to be killed. Eventually those four salties came to the Croc Bank.
When they reached adolescence, one began outstripping the others in size. Using his larger size to advantage, he beat up the others every day. In one of these skirmishes, he lost a part of his tail but gained a name: Jaws III, after the infamous shark movie. Rom built five ponds in the same enclosure and visually barricaded each from the other. But no, Jaws was having none of that. He chased the others out of all five ponds. During the heat of the day, he'd have a choice of water bodies while the others had to skulk on land in the shade. By this time, he had reached ten feet and the

ALBERT - Against Lion Breeding and Ecological Reintroduction Tourism
Thinking of supporting a conservation project working with captive lions in Africa? Think again… the ALERT Lion Encounter/Walking with Lions projects based in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, and many other copy-cat operations in South Africa, are conservation scams. There is no conservation benefit in the captive breeding and reintorduction of lions, and your time and money will be spent on developing a private business empire.
We particularly oppose the ALERT project operated by Antelope Park and African Incounter (all these companies are owned by the same man). In the ten years since this project was conceived, well over a hundred lions have been used in this captive breeding and 'reintroduction' project, one in five are dead, and not one has been released back into the wild - nor will they ever be. These hand-reared and habituated lions will only ever achieve Stage Two of their project - semi-captivity in fenced, managed enclosures. Only their offspring are proposed to be released into the wild. We ask what is the need for this convoluted captive breeding project?
ALBERT is against the captive breeding of African lions and their use in lion interaction experiences for tourists. We are also against the elaborate 'rehabilitation' and 'reintroduction' programmes these projects propose as justification for their breeding and tourist programmes - there is no conservation or scientific need for African lion reintroductions.
International conservation organisations do not propose or support captive African lion reintroductions as an answer to the problems and threats facing the lion in Africa - the only people who do are the captive lion breeders themselves, who look to justify their continued financial exploitation of lions and look for an 'acceptable' way of disposing of lions after they have finished exploiting them with tourists - now that the canned hunting industry has been exposed, breeders in the public eye can no longer sell on their lions to canned hunts as they used to do.
These lion breeders use their breeding and reintroduction programmes and claimed conservation merit to market their projects to paying 'volunteers' - who support these projects in ignorance of their true nature. We believe people need to kno....... and

Zoo and aquarium offer $2 rainy-day discount
The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is offering customers a $2 discount on full-price tickets if it's raining at the time of admission.
The promotion, "It's Raining Cats and Dogs," will continue until May 27.
"We can't fight mother nature," said Barbara Baker, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, in a news release. "But we can make the weather more fun. Come see the flamingos open their beaks to catch rain drops, the tiger cubs roll around and play in the mud, and the African painted pups

CERM Endangered Raptors Centre (Webcam)

Three Large Bald Eagle Chicks on the nest (Webcam)

Proboscis Monkeys Regurgitating Their Food, Like Cows
A previously unknown behavior pattern is only observed in a large animal very rarely -- which is why the videos researchers have published for an article in Biology Letters are nothing short of a sensation: They show proboscis monkeys regurgitating, chewing and gulping back down food they've swallowed -- just like ruminating cows.
For Marcus Clauss, co-author of this Japanese study, these observations were sensational. He has been researching herbivores with a foregut-fermenting digestive system at the University of Zurich for many years; proboscis monkeys belong to this group of 'foregut fermenters', along with hippopotamuses, sloths, kangaroos and cows.
Unlike herbivores such as horses, rhinoceroses, rabbits and many other species of monkey, foregut fermenters have trouble digesting plant fiber in the colon: Their digestive system can't cope if too much food is ingested as the digesta passes through the foregut too quickly. In other words, they're condemned to cautious eating. Colon fermenters don't have that problem, however. These include species with a large food intake such

Scientist sacked for supporting tribal rights
A renowned wildlife scientist, Ravi Chellam has been eased out as head of the country's foremost wildlife conservation NGO -- Wildlife Conservation Society-India -- for being part of a government committee that backed tribal rights over forest lands under the Forest Rights Act.
Officially, the NGO has asked Chellam to sign on a separation agreement but sources said that he was given a 'leave or be thrown out' notice by the group which has a close affiliation with the New York-based and internationally operational NGO which goes by the same name -- Wildlife Conservation Society. Chellam was contracted directly to the New York-based NGO.
Chellam had earlier accepted to be one of the non-official members on the committee set up by Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh to review the implementation of the Forest Rights Act – a piece of legislation

Police stalk 'tiger' that turns out to be soft toy
Police needed a helicopter and thermal imaging cameras to work out that a tiger spotted on the loose in Hampshire was just a stuffed toy.
A member of the public reported seeing a tiger lying in a field near Hedge End on Saturday afternoon and a team of officers were sent to investigate.
They also concluded it was a tiger, prompting the clearance of a nearby golf course and a halt being called to play in the cricket game between South Wiltshire and Hampshire Academy at the Rose Bowl.
Police reinforcements were sent to the area and they consulted experts at Marwell Zoo about how best to capture the creature.
Officers with thermal imaging cameras then noticed something strange -

Bondla zoo houses a rare species of antelope
The Bondla zoo has got four Chousinghas or four-horned antelope, a vulnerable species and a rare find in the forests of Goa, according to records. The Wildlife Census conducted in 1997 and 2002 by the Goa forest department records the presence of spotted deer, sambars, barking deer and mouse deer, but not of Chousinghas. Three Chousinghas were spotted at the Sattari forests after that and brought to the zoo. The fourth one was found at Hivre Budruk in February 2011 and was handed over to forest officials by Jayawant Govind Gaonkar, who found the motherless calf in his cashew plantation.
These antelope are the smallest Asian bovids, just over half-a-meter tall at the shoulder and were listed as vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 1996. Chousinghas belong to the

Zoo to be on par with the best
In the late 1920s there was a menagerie set up in Dehiwela by a German named John Hagenbeck, a member of a famous show-business family from Hamburg. Acquired by the Government in 1936 and following many a transformation over the years, today it is fondly known as the Dehiwela Zoo.
The National Zoological Gardens (Dehiwela Zoo) plays a great role in ex-situ conservation of local and international fauna. Located on a beautiful landscaped 22-acre plot, it is just 11 kilometres away from the heart of Colombo city.
In 1936, the Zoo was under the purview of the Government Agent of Colombo. Today it is managed by the Department of National Zoological Gardens of the Economic Development Ministry.
The Zoological Gardens has over 350 species of wild animals, birds, reptiles and various kinds of fish. There are about 100 species of mammals, 110 species of birds, 65 species of ornamental fish, 35 species of dangerous and harmless reptiles and amphibians with over 2,500 varieties of birds such as water birds, pelicans and aquatic birds at the zoo.
Equipped with a five year plan the zoo is transforming into a more beautiful, state-of-the-art conservation centre with many short and long-term measures in the pipeline.
Under the instructions of Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa we are developing the infrastructure of the zoo, specially expanding the space for the animals,” said Director of the National Zoological Gardens and Director General Economic Development Ministry Bashwara Gunarathne.
Underground water tank
Many of the infrastructure development programs initiated last year are almost completed. A mammoth size underground water tank with a capacity of 30,000 gallons is built on the premises providing safe and clean drinking water for visitors as well as the animals.
According to Gunarathne the animals are essentially given clean drinking water

'Holy Turtle' Found on 'Day of Rapture'
While there has not yet been a second coming of Christ (as of this writing) on this day of Rapture, there was at least one holy sign for the faithful to embrace in northwest suburban Streamwood.
A printing company employee out on her break picked up a tiny turtle and was immediately struck by its markings.
"Right away, to her it resembled the Virgin Mary," said Ronnie Chavez in retelling his mom's Saturday morning tale.
The painted turtle -- about the size of a half-dollar -- was wandering across the parking lot. Chavez's mother, Gricelda, intended to move it to the safety of a pond, but the turtle flipped over when she reached down, revealing the pattern on the bottom of its shell.
"It caused a big stir. [Co-workers] came over. They were taking

Kapiti Island's stoat hunt to continue
The hunt for stoats on Kapiti Island will be extended for at least another six months after more stoat faeces were found on the native reserve.
Conservation Department staff spotted a stoat at Rangatira Pt on the island last November and later found stoat faeces nearby, along with a dead kakariki – or native parakeet.
After three months of searching for the elusive predator, a large male stoat was caught in one of 160 traps set there in February.
Department staff were not sure if any more stoats had managed to get on to the island, which is home to many endangered native birds.
Three weeks ago, more faeces were found in the area by ranger Scott Theobold and his search dog. Tests could not confirm whether they came from the

Bali Coral Reefs Reveal Nine New Species
A bubble coral that resembles underwater daisies and a decorated garden eel are among the nine potentially new species discovered in Bali's coral reefs, researchers just announced. The downside: The divers found few reef sharks, possibly signaling an unhealthy reef.
The nine species were found in the reefs outside of Bali, Indonesia, during a two-week survey, as a part of the Rapid Assessment Program (RAP), led by Conservation International. The surveys assessed reef health and will be used by the Indonesian government to decide which reefs should be identified as "Marine Protected Areas."
During the survey, researchers identified eight species of fish and one species of coral that hadn't been observed before. Among these potentially new species documented were two types of cardinalfish, two varieties of dottybacks, a garden

Monty the camel rescued from a life in the circus
MONTY the ­camel is ­following in the footsteps of former ­“colleague” Anne the ­elephant after Bobby Roberts released him from his ­travelling circus.
Monty, seven, is now ­enjoying acres of open ­pasture at ­Yorkshire Wildlife Park and has met other camels for the first time. Spokesman John ­Minion said: “He was a bit shocked by the other ­animals at first, but he’s feeding well.”
Monty had spent his life with the Bobby Roberts ­Super Circus. Matt Forde of Specialist Wildlife ­Services, who

Minister takes stock of zoo food crisis
The new forest minister, Hiten Barman, visited Alipore zoo on Sunday to check if the reports about a food crisis were true. Some food suppliers apparently did not get their bill on time and stopped their supply. For that, the animals in the zoo appears to be without food for the past three days. "Now, I have asked to make a plan for any kind of exigency," said Barman.
Barman went around the zoo at 11 am and talked to the zoo officials and asked them to take emergency steps to avoid any hardship to the animals. Officials said that Piyali Chatterjee, deputy director of the zoo against whom disciplinary action was initiated, had refused to hand over the keys of the zoo`s vault, for which the cheques meant for the food suppliers could not be handed over. As there had been delay in payment, some food suppliers had stopped supplies.
An official said that for three days supply of bread and milk was disrupted. Now, bread is purchased on a daily basis and for this extra money is being paid. Shabir Ali, who supplies beef, said that they are not getting money and for that they have submitted an ultimatum that if the dues are not cleared immediately, they will stop supply. Additional chief secretary, forest, Rajendra Kumar said that action would be taken against the deputy director. "She had not surrendered the keys after her suspension. This amounts to breach of discipline and action will be init

Zoo will Stay Open Despite Loss of Accreditation
Monday the Association of Zoos and Aquariums pulled the accreditation for ZooMontana.
The president of the zoo's board of directors, Ian McDonald, says the zoo didn't meet the AZA’s standard for a long term funding plan. He says despite losing its accreditation the zoo will stay open.
“It was disheartening. We did the best we could. They made the decision based on their standards. We didn't meet their standards. So, they revoked it,” said McDonald.
AZA spokesman Steve Feldman says it wasn't an easy decision, "the accreditation is always tough. Its always very thoughtful and these decisions aren't made lightly.”
Since the zoo is no longer accredited, that means it can no longer house animals that are on loan from other facilities.
“Some loan institutions will let you keep the animals they have loaned to you. Even without AZA accreditation, so that's the

Gazette opinion: Let's support new leadership, new ideas for zoo
ZooMontana’s fortunes were looking up at the end of the week that first brought the park to the nadir of its existence since the first outdoor animal exhibit (river otters) opened in 1993.
A week after the zoo shut down temporarily for lack of liability insurance, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums revoked the Billings zoo’s accreditation. The ZooMontana board accepted the resignation of the executive director that she had announced months ago. Lacking an executive director, marketing director and staff for the admissions desk, volunteer board members started manning the desk themselves during one of the zoo’s busiest (and rainiest) visitor weeks of the year.
?A ray of sunshine appeared Thursday when the ZooMontana board announced a new partnership with Beartooth Nature Center in Red Lodge. The Red Lodge zoo’s executive director, Jeff Ewelt, will serve temporarily as ZooMontana’s executive director, too.
Furthermore, three Beartooth Nature Center board members will join the ZooMontana board for the next 90 days and three ZooMontana directors will join the Red Lodge board for the

Get more animals, Deshmukh tells zoo
Although not so happy with several with Maharajbagh zoo not fulfilling norms, Anil Deshmukh, Maharashtra food and civil supplies and consumer protection minister, on Thursday expressed satisfaction over overall upkeep of animals and the condition of zoo. He asked its functioning be streamlined.
Deshmukh visited the zoo on Thursday to check whether the zoo was being run as per Central Zoo Authority (CZA) norms. He said he was satisfied with animals' health on Thursday. The minister had visited the zoo on May 4, 2010, following series of animal deaths due to negligence of then zoo controller.
"The tiger female cubs - Lee, Jaan and Cherry - have grown

Just a 'love bite', zoo says of tiger attack
TIGER handlers at Dreamworld accept the risk that they're likely to suffer flesh wounds from the big cats from time to time, the theme park says.
Kato, the Bengal tiger which bit handler Daniel Jans on the leg at Dreamworld yesterday, was back on Tiger Island in front of Gold Coast tourists yesterday, playing with other handlers and oblivious to the fuss he'd caused.
Al Mucci, general manager of life sciences, said danger was part of the job for anyone working with big animals.
"These things happen. We are working with nearly 200 kilo animals," Mr Mucci told reporters.
"As a cattle farmer would understand, when you're working with large animals you do cop your knocks and bumps and that's what happened yesterday."
Dreamworld CEO Noel Dempsey said Mr Jans is recovering well and

Evidence of hidden shark found in aquarium
Signs that there is a hidden shark living in one aquarium have been found.
There could be a secretive shark living in one of the fish tanks at the Blackpool Sea Life Centre.
Staff at the aquarium have found eggs belonging to a carpet shark in the tank, although no one has seen the animal itself.
Experts at the centre believe former curators may have introduced the animal without recording the fact and it has been living there undetected ever since.
It could have been in the tank for a number of years.
Senior aquarist Martin Sutcliffe said: "When we found the first egg during a routine dive in the ocean tank just before Easter, we initially thought it

Bear bile virtually unavailable
Traditional Chinese medicine shop owners here have dismissed an international wildlife organisation’s claim that bear bile products are being openly sold.
The Sabah Chinese Medical Association said the banned bear bile was “virtually non-existent” and that any available in the shops were from other animals, like the wild boar and goat.
“There is no supplier for the product,” its spokesman told The Star here yesterday.
“The last time I saw real bear bile was about 30 years ago,” he said.
“If you want that stuff you may want to try some of the older Chinese medicine shops in Singapore.
“And if you can ever find it, 150 grammes

Thai Police Arrest Suspected Tiger Trafficker
Police have arrested a man suspected of being a key player in one of Thailand's largest tiger trafficking rings, police and a wildlife conservation group said Sunday.
Authorities had been searching for the 49-year-old Thai man since last year, when they issued a warrant for his arrest after seizing a Bengal tiger cub during a separate operation, police said in a statement.
Police believe the network is buying tigers and selling them to purchasers mainly in China via land routes in neighboring Laos and Vietnam, said Chanadda Thanikulap of the FREELAND Foundation, an anti-trafficking group based in Thailand.
The suspect was arrested Saturday in northeastern Thailand and

Baby tiger among wild animals for sale in Sharjah market
Despite countless warnings from experts about the dangers of keeping wild animals as pets, they are still easily available if you know where to look.
Posing as tourists, within just 20 minutes of walking into the Sharjah Animal and Bird Souq, reporters from The National were offered a five-month-old white tiger cub for Dh35,000.
"I can get you the baby tiger by Friday," the Pakistani shopkeeper said after being asked for something a little more unusual as a pet.
Kneeling on the ground to feed dozens of green parrot chicks in a cardboard box, he added: "It's from a breeder, a white tiger, very beautiful, very cute."
It was not, he claimed, dangerous or aggressive. "It has all the injections from the vet but will cost you Dh35,000. It comes with all the documents and paperwork you need, like a passport, but that will cost you Dh300 extra.
"Don't worry about the police. It's not illegal."
All commercial trade in tigers or their parts has been banned since 1987 under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).
Tigers are listed as an Appendix I species, which is an animal threatened with extinction. The World Wildlife Fund estimates

Biologists make case for killer whales in captivity
Killer whales in captivity help to steer young people into the conservation field, according to a marine biologist.
But Jerry McCormick-Ray, a visiting scientist at the University of Virginia's environmental sciences department, and her husband, G. Carleton Ray, a University of Virginia marine ecologist, were lone voices supporting orca captivity at the "Too Killer to be Captive?" debate held during the International Marine Conservation Congress in Victoria..
The word debate initially seemed dubious as the two official speakers, Paul Spong of OrcaLab, a Hanson Island whale research station, and Naomi Rose of the Humane Society of the United States, both believe firmly that killer whales should not be held captive.
Invitations were sent to industry representatives, said organizer Leslie Cornick, marine biology associate professor at Alaska Pacific University.
"But there was no response. Just a deafening silence," she said.
"It's quite disappointing. We were really hoping to get both sides."
McCormick-Ray, a former whale trainer turned scientist, was left to provide the pro-captivity side.
"The number of children that go through

Conserving Siamese Crocodiles (Interesting...nice artwork)

Tibetans, supporters stage zoo protest

EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE:Demonstrators anticipated the Sichuan governor’s moves at Taipei Zoo’s Panda Hall to protest the arrest of 300 monks from Kirti Monastery


Dozens of Tibetans and Taiwanese supporters of the Tibetan cause yesterday staged a demonstration at Taipei Zoo as Sichuan Province Governor Jiang Jufeng (???) visited the zoo in the afternoon.


Holding up Tibetan flags and signs reading “No freedom, no tourism in Sichuan” and “Release the 300 monks from Kirti Monastery,” while shouting “Free Tibet” and other slogans, the protestors demonstrated inside




CIB fears political meddling in animal smuggling case
The Central Investigation Bureau has taken over a wildlife smuggling case involving a United Arab Emirates citizen from Samut Prakan police following reports that a politician had been trying to intervene.
Kittipong Khawsamang, deputy chief of the CIB's natural resources and environmental crime suppression division, said his agency resolved to take over the case after Racha Thewa police told him "that a politician has pressured them to return the passport to the suspect". An initial investigation had found the suspect was an alleged member of a huge wildlife trafficking ring with links to an international crime network.
Undercover anti-trafficking officers on Friday arrested the 36-year-old man after suitcases filled with drugged baby leopards, panthers, a bear and monkeys were found at Suvarnabhumi airport.
The suspect, identified as Noor Mahmoodr, had been waiting to check in for a first-class flight to Dubai when he was apprehended by agents who had been monitoring him since he had purchased the rare and endangered animals on the black market.
Mr Mahmoodr has been released on bail and was not allowed to leave the country, Col Kittipong said.
He would not identify the politician who had reportedly been meddling in the case.
The CIB's investigation team will meet today to review the case, particularly the number and species of the seized animals. The team will also ask the airline to identify other first-class

UAE must tighten curbs on illegal wildlife trade
The UAE must do more to clamp down on the illegal smuggling of endangered and exotic animals into the country, animal welfare charities said.
The prevalence of illegal wildlife trading in the Gulf state became apparent this week when a 36-year-old Emirati man was arrested at a Thailand airport for trying to smuggle baby leopards, panthers, monkeys and a bear in his luggage.
The case comes weeks after media reports cited a tiger was spotted leaning out of the passenger car window of a blacked-out Dubai vehicle as it drove past the Mall of the Emirates.
“Not enough is being done to prevent this trade,” said Steve Galster, the director of Thailand-based anti-trafficking group

The Auckland Council is downsizing a plan to import a herd of elephants to the city's zoo.
The idea was approved year but now the number of elephants has been reduced to two.
A $13 million proposal to expand the elephant enclosure to accommodate up to 10 animals was endorsed by the former Auckland City Council last year.
The Auckland Council - which merged eight former councils - says councillors will now consider a revised plan under which two juvenile elephants would join the zoo.
Auckland Zoo has been home to just

Ancient turtle wants to return to Hoan Kiem Lake

Dr. Bui Quang Te, leader of the turtle treatment team, said that in the recent hot days, the turtle did not eat for three consecutive days.

“I’ve warned that it would be a matter if the temperature is over 30 degree Celsius. The turtle must be brought back to the lake as soon as possible,” Dr. Te emphasized.
Dr. Dang Gia Tung, deputy director of the Hanoi Zoo, also said that the turtle must be released back into the lake early. However, experts should fence a zone in the lake as the home for the turtle. He also worried that the turtle may be tamed after a long time living in an artificial tank, especially the way it is fed.
“I was surprised that they strike fish dead and give dead fish to the turtle,” he said.
Other experts agreed to release the turtle

New Edinburgh Zoo chiefs face grilling from members
NEW Edinburgh Zoo chiefs Hugh Roberts and Manus Fullerton are to be grilled by Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) members next week.
The interim chief executive and new chairman will face a membership still unhappy about the handling of the worst scandal in the prestigious charity’s 102- year history.
The zoo has descended into months of turmoil after anonymous allegations over the conduct of a number of managers in March sparked events that led to the sacking of one executive, the suspension and then clearing of another, and the ongoing suspension of a third.
The Herald also revealed earlier this week that the £6 million, 10-year giant panda business plan has been widely citicised by experts and is being investigated by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator after it received a complaint about the funding package with China in January.
One RZSS member said last night: “The membership needs to know where the zoo is going, and we still don’t have that information. The board sat on their hands the whole time. And why do we have an interim chief executive?
"That makes you think that the zoo is still going to be hived off.”
The zoo admitted considering privatising

Does new Edinburgh Zoo man have enough animal magic?
THERE are few people at Edinburgh Zoo, it's probably fair to say, who would know how to organise drinks in a brewery. However, that is all about to change.
After six months without a chief executive, in which time the zoo has been battered by internal strife and external allegations about its management, a former brewery boss has been appointed to take charge of the second most popular tourist attraction in the Capital.
Hugh Roberts, who spent 12 years working for Adnams, an independent brewers and distillers in Southwold, Suffolk, before trying his hand at running football clubs and going on to become a somewhat nomadic board member of a variety of organisations, took up the reins of the troubled zoo yesterday.
Despite his appointment bringing an end to months of concern about a lack of leadership at a time when a major deal to bring pandas from China is in the offing, Edinburgh Zoo has put Mr Roberts under wraps until June, when it's been decided he might be able to field questions about the zoo's future.
So just who is the "interim" chief Hugh Roberts? And is he the right man to ring the changes at an institution which has recently seen the suspension of two directors, the sacking of another, the resignation of the honorary treasurer, the leaking of plans to lease the zoo to a Spanish company and a vote of no confidence in chair Donald Emslie?
Certainly, the 61-year-old appears to have no connection to Edinburgh and has spent most of his life in Suffolk.
In fact, so rooted to the area is he, that even an 18-month sojourn to Sunderland was hard going for his family whom he said in the past "never settled". That at least was his reason in 2003 for quitting as chief executive of Sunderland football club - nothing to do with relegation from the Premiership, debts of £23 million and a share price crash of around 85 per cent.
His business life though started in the "quaint" Suffolk brewery of Adnams, where in a 12-year-period he rose to become joint managing director with responsibility for the company's strategic direction.
In February 2001 he was headhunted by Sunderland FC and became its chief executive at a time when the club was riding high in the Premiership and was on a solid financial footing.
The results for the year to Ju

Zoo's bid to get more people cycling
AN OLYMPIC Gold medalist is backing Chester Zoo’s bid to get more people cycling this summer.
The zoo is rewarding all those who arrive by bicycle with 15 per cent off the price of admission in its attempt to get its visitors to go green.
Cyclist Chris Boardman, who famously took Britain’s opening gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona games, said: “The zoo is making a real effort to encourage people to get healthy, go green and cycle in to see the animals over the summer. So I hope as many people as possible start pedalling and take advantage of the offers.”
Highlighting the financial, physical and environmental benefits of cycling, the winner of three stages of the Tour de France added: “Cycling

Edinburgh Zoo's EGM from a member's point of view
It's been a turbulent year for Edinburgh Zoo, with scandals, investigations and now the executive chair's resignation. Will pandas solve the problems? Guest blogger and Leith resident Yonmei reports back from the zoo's emergency general meeting
I went to the Edinburgh Zoo EGM on Thursday 14 May not sure what to expect. I've been going to the Zoo since before I was ten - one of my tenth birthday presents was a child's membership in the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which founded Edinburgh Zoo in 1913. (My grandmother, also Edinburgh-born, remembered being taken as a small child to see the very first penguin hatched in captivity, which I was able to tell her must have been when she was seven years old.) People all ages still love visiting Edinburgh Zoo.
I haven't visited the Zoo in several months - the severe weather in December and January, work overflowing into weekends - but no one interested in the Zoo could have helped noticing that they were having problems. I'd heard that the heavy snow and ice had made some of the steep paths so treacherous that the Zoo had had to close for a few days, last year and the year before, cutting down gate revenue. I'd heard that there were going to be staff redundancies, that two senior managers - including Gary Wilson, acting CEO - had been suspended for unspecified "allegations", that a third senior manager had been fired, and that OSCR was investigating (the RZSS is a registered charity).
I'd heard that the Zoo planned to sell off some of its land, I'd noticed that we were seeing an increasing number of empty enclosures, and I'd heard that the RZSS were planning to sell the Zoo to Parques Reunidos, a company that runs entertainment parks. And the pandas had been the cover pic for the latest Lifelinks. I wanted, like most of the other 500 or so members there that night, to find out

Brantford closer to banning shark fin
The Ontario city that gave the world the telephone and Wayne Gretzky is now one step closer to being the first municipality in North America to ban the sale of shark fin, a controversial ingredient still used in some Asian cooking even though its hunting practice is banned.
In a presentation Monday night, Phil Gillies, a former Brantford MPP and member of the advocacy group WildAid Canada, lauded council for its bold leadership.
"There is a growing acceptance that this is a wasteful and cruel practice and must be stopped," he said.
"And yet, the hunt for shark fin continues. You have to eliminate demand for the product."
Shark finning is a practice in which fishermen slice the fins sliced off caught sharks and then throw the fish back into the water.
Without fins, the creatures bleed to death, drown or are eaten by other species.
Wildlidfe claims that in recent decades some shark populations have declined by as much as 99%.
The fins are the principal ingredient in shark soup, a popular Asian delicacy.
Even though there are no restaurants that offer shark fin soup on their menus in Brantford, city council appears ready to vote in favour of the ban on May 24.
"I don't see how any right-thinking person

Biofuels can be dirtier than fossil fuels
Biofuels may pollute the environment much more heavily if the process used to make them isn't done in the right way, researchers say.
Conventional fossil fuels may sometimes be much "greener" than their biofuel counterparts, according to a new study.
University Research funded by a pair of U.S. federal government agencies found that taking into account a biofuel's origin is important.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers say, for example that conventional fossil fuels may sometimes be the "greener" choice compared with fuel made from palm oil grown in a clear-cut rainforest.
"What we found was that technologies that look very promising could also result in high emissions, if done improperly," said James Hileman, a an engineer at MIT who published results of a study with graduate students Russell Stratton and Hsin Ming Wong.
"You can't simply say a biofuel is good or bad - it depends on how it's produced and processed, and that's part of the debate that

How KFC and the Tea Party Kill Tigers
Over at Yale E360, you can watch a great World Wildlife Fund video showing the areas of the Sumatran rainforest slated to be logged in the near future. Sumatra is home to a pretty astounding array of wildlife, including rhinos, orangutans and tigers. Last week, WWF released rare footage of 12 critically endangered tigers in the area, including a mom and two cubs. Only about 400 Sumatran tigers are left in the world.
The video mentions one particular company responsible for much of the Indonesian rainforest destruction: Asia Pulp & Paper, a major subsidiary of the Sinar Mas Group, an Indonesian mega-conglommerate known for its cozy relationship with the Suharto family. APP's realm of influence is truly vast: The 5 million tons of paper it produces annually are sold in 65 countries on six continents.
APP has long been on environmentalists' radar; it has been accused of illegal logging in Cambodia and Indonesia, and a 2008 investigation by the rainforest advocacy group Eyes on the Forest suggested that companies connected to APP had illegally built a road through a part of Sumatra that was one of the world's biggest carbon stores.
And yet APP still has a firm hold on the US paper market. According to Greenpeace, KFC and several other fast-food chains owned by

Is Going Private the Only Way to Save the L.A. Zoo?
The Los Angeles Zoo is struggling to meet its payroll, and with the current state of the city's budget, there isn't likely to be an influx of cash streaming in from the coffers any time soon. One solution on the table is to turn the Zoo over to a private operator who can afford to run the attraction, according to the Press-Telegram.
The idea was pitched by Los Angeles' Chief Administrative Officer Miguel Santana who "recommended the city choose a nonprofit partner by January to take over management in July 2012. A request for proposals may go out this summer, with a private partner to be selected by fall." Back in December 2009, with a budget crisis looming, city officials hinted that public-private partnerships for the Zoo might be worth pursuing.
Santana believes that by removing the local government from the management of the Zoo, the fundraising opportunities would multiply, since, in its current configuration, donors may be reluctant to write a large check to the City of Los Angeles. He also cites rising costs of

Reptile custody battle leaves tangled snake pit
Crocodiles, pit vipers, boa constrictors land in a legal battle
When reptile zoo curator Karel Fortyn died, he left a mess as tangled as a snake pit.
The 52-year-old Czech-born man never wrote up a will. He died from a stroke May 2, leaving behind more than 200 snakes and crocodiles in his Welland, Ont., house that also operates as a reptile zoo — and an unusual custody battle.
Now his lawyer Margaret Hoy must sift through legal claims on Fortyn's property: a brother she says is the rightful owner, a former common-law wife who also has laid claim and government officials involved because of the endangered animals.
"It's a typical estate without a will," said Hoy.
But the occupants are anything but typical.
Among the reptilian inhabitants of the southern Ontario home are a pair of highly endangered Orinoco crocodiles, several other crocodiles and a number of non-venomous and venomous snakes, including pit vipers (Fortyn's favourite), boa constrictors and many more.
The large snakes are kept in individual cages, crammed side-by-side on shelves in a garage renovated with floor-to-ceiling tiles to create the Seaway Serpentarium Reptile Zoo, a small facility that opened its creaky door to visitors three days a week.
An addition in the back houses the two Orinoco crocodiles — each creature is over 300 kilograms and

New director hopes to help Bangalore Park turn a new leaf
The Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) which has been making news for sometime now for the death of its animals — some for natural reasons and others due to ailments like bacterial infection — is gearing up to meet the challenge head on with the new executive director, R Raju, announcing a slew of measures to streamline animal care at the facility.
Raju took charge a week ago from Milo Tago who had served at BBP for three years.
Raju said he had already scrutinised all animals in the zoo and was chalking out a plan for the park. The first challenge facing the park is the identification of ailing animals and monitoring their health and hygiene, he said.
This will be followed by preventive care for larger mammals. Strict feeding times will be followed — herbivores will be fed between 11 am and 11.30 am and carnivores in the afternoon. This




Ming Ming, world’s oldest giant panda, dies in Chinese zoo at age of 34
Chinese state media say the world’s oldest panda has died at the age of 34.
The Global Times reported Ming Ming died from old age and had kidney failure. She had been living at a zoo or preserve in Guangdong province.
The China Panda Protection Center in Sichuan province said in a statement she died May 7, but it was reported only Tuesday in local media. More details on her were not available.
The newspaper said wild pandas live 15 years on average and captive ones 22 years.
Giant pandas are among the world’s most endangered species, with about 1,600 in the wild. More than 300 are in captivity in China, most in a breeding program aimed at boosting the population.
The country also loans panda

Is it time to ban tiger farms?
Any conservation gains made to protect wild tigers are overshadowed by the large breeding centres that supply the illegal trade in body parts
Isn't it time to ban tiger farms? This question was on my mind as I returned from a reporting trip to Thailand to look at efforts to save the world's favourite endangered species.
Conservationists and law enforcement officers had good news to share in the south-east Asian nation. The Thaplan national park has more tigers than previously believed and police and customs officers have notched up an impressive series of arrests of poachers and smugglers.
But they warned that these small gains were overshadowed by the continued presence of large breeding centres, which supply and maintain the illegal market for tiger bones, penises and other products.
As is the case with their even bigger counterparts in China, these commercial farms often label themselves conservation zoos even as they lobby for a resumption of the tiger trade.
They argue that a legal supply from registered farms could ease the pressure on the wild population. At international conservation meetings, this view is often supported by the same lobby groups that push for a resumption of whaling, the loosening of the ivory trade and the conversion of forests to palm oil production.
Higher-minded scientific advocates of captive tiger breeding are driven by a desire to supplement the dwindling


Chairman of Edinburgh Zoo quits after no-confidence vote
The chairman of Edinburgh Zoo has bowed to calls for his resignation after initially resisting a vote of no confidence following months of turbulence and infighting.
Donald Emslie will leave the post just months after he signed the high-profile multi-million pound deal to bring pandas to Scotland.
His departure follows an increasingly bitter spell at the zoo, with a vote of no confidence passed against him last week and a defeated motion of no confidence against the board.
Mr Emslie originally said he would not stand down following the vote but released another statement last night.
He said: “At the EGM on Thursday evening and to the media afterwards, I said that I had listened to the members’ views but acknowledged also that I had obligations

New zoo chief vows to bring 'real stability' after turmoil
A FORMER football club boss has been put in charge of Edinburgh Zoo just months before two giant pandas are expected to arrive at the attraction.
Hugh Roberts, who had spells in charge of both Sunderland, and Rushden and Diamonds, will take over as chief executive of the troubled attraction tomorrow following months of behind-the-scenes turmoil.
He will be charged with helping the zoo recover from a dramatic slump in visitors, the cost of carrying out major infrastructure improvements and ensuring the arrival of two giant pandas from China goes through successfully.
Last night Mr Roberts, who made his name as managing director of brewing giants Adnams, said he was well aware of the "recent upheavals and the financial pressures facing the zoo", but insisted he had widespread experience of similar situations.
Mr Roberts has pledged to bring "real stability" to the zoo, which is at the centre of a probe by Scotland's charity watchdog amid allegations of financial impropriety.
The new chief has held senior roles at a host of organisations in recent years, including the Chartered

Zoo’s panda deal probed amid £4m shortfall claim
EDINBURGH Zoo’s business plan behind its deal to bring giant pandas to Scotland is being investigated by the charity regulator.
The Herald revealed earlier this month that the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) had launched a probe into the zoo after anonymous allegations over the conduct of a number of managers in March led to the sacking of one executive, the suspension and then clearing of another, and the ongoing suspension of a third.
It is now understood the regulator opened an investigation into the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which runs the zoo, two months before that, after receiving a complaint that relates directly to the panda exchange business funding plan.
The complaint was lodged just days after the historic deal was signed between Edinburgh Zoo and China and raised questions over the viability of the 10-year loan and the conservational benefits if the plan cannot be sustained.
The news comes as Donald Emslie, the then zoo chairman who signed the panda deal, resigned after a no-confidence vote. The new interim chief executive Hugh Roberts, who takes up his post today, has vowed to bring “real stability” to the attraction.
Mr Roberts said: “I’m aware of the recent upheavals and the financial pressures facing the zoo, as an experienced interim I deal with such situations quite regularly.
“So my first aim is to bring real stability to the zoo. I want to ensure financial and commercial success while staying true to the hopes and aspirations of the members.”
The zoo insists the pandas will cost it around £6 million over six years, and it is hoped they will boost the attraction’s flagging fortunes – it lost £1.3m last year and 100,000 visitors – by raising its income by 20%.
However, Animal Concern, which lodged the complaint, said its studies have shown the cost of “renting” the pandas will be at least £10m and questioned the pledging of

Adelaide Zoo boast's 'world's best' panda forest
The Giant Panda forest and Entrance Precinct at Adelaide Zoo has just been named South Australian Development of the Year.
Developed by Zoos South Australia and designed by HASSELL, the Giant Panda Forest at was also recently described by a Chinese Government delegation as the "world's leading exhibit" for these iconic and endangered animals.
Property Council of Australia (SA Division) Executive Director Nathan Paine said that since completion The Zoo has experienced a 70 per cent increase in visitor numbers as well as a 25 per cent increase in Zoo membership. More than 30 per cent of visitors have come from interstate or overseas.
"This is another example of how excellence in the built environment can have huge flow-on benefits for the community," Mr Paine said.
Along with the new Entrance Precinct




Pollutants taking toll on polar bears: researchers
Persistent organic pollutants used in industry are changing the genitals and bones of polar bears in East Greenland, says a Danish wildlife veterinarian and toxicologist.
"Shrinking balls and degraded bones," linked to the presence of pesticides and flame retardants in the Arctic, are likely to affect the animals' fertility and reproductive success, said Christian Sonne at last week's conference on Arctic climate change and pollution in Copenhagen.
These impacts are "not just" affecting polar bears, said Sonne who works at the National Environmental Research Institute of Denmark.
People, as well as other animals, in Canada's Arctic may also be at risk of similar effects from these pollutants, although the toxic "cocktail" becomes somewhat lower as you head west from Greenland across the Arctic region, he said.
Polar bears from East Greenland are among the most polluted species in the Arctic because their diet depends on contaminant-loaded blubber from ringed and bearded seals.
Add a warming climate to this mix, and the combined effect may be disastrous for the survival of the species.
Sonne's latest research shows East Greenland

Calling your Fido your 'pet' may be politically incorrect
If you own a dog or a cat, or even iguana or a goldfish, you call them your pet, right? Well it turns out, you might be politically incorrect! We may want to start calling our furry, or scaley, friends, "animal companions."
Our pets, how we pamper them. But the Journal of Animal Ethics finds the word "pet" derogatory. They'd prefer animal companion.
Certainly for most dog owners they see their Fido's as something more than a pet. But it's not just domestic animal companions they'd like us to

Solar Panels Installed at Cincinnati Zoo
The Cincinnati Zoo has more than 6,000 new additions. They're not furry, but they are green. The zoo unveiled a canopy of solar panels this morning, and as Local 12 news reporter Angenette Levy tells us, it's setting the zoo apart from all of the others.
The Cincinnati Zoo is now the greenest zoo in the nation, thanks in large part to these 6,400 solar panels in the zoo's Vine Street parking lot. On a sunny day like today, when the A/C and the heat aren't running for the zoo's critters, the solar panels are producing all of the energy the zoo needs and then some. That extra energy is then returned to the grid.
Annually, the panels will produce about 20 percent of the zoo's energy. It's clean and reduces the zoo's carbon emissions. "In very green towns, like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, they are green with envy of what we're pulling off in Cincinnati, by God, Ohio."
Solar panels aren't cheap. This is a $12 million project, but the zoo didn't pay for it. Melink, a company based in Milford, Oh., owns and built the canopy, and PNC Bank provided reasonable financing. Energy and tax credits also helped with the cost. The zoo buys the energy the panels produce. The cost doesn't fluctuate like other energy sources. Zoo Executive Director Thane Maynard says the zoo hopes to influence others to go green. "The problem

Worthington: Tennessee refuge right place for zoo's elephants (READ THE ARTICLE COMMENTS)
A weekend column by the inimitable Joe Warmington, scolded that “phony American activists” were seeking to “hijack” the elephants at Toronto Zoo and send them to an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee.
Joe’s heart is in the right place — but I think he is wrong.
One doesn’t have to be a “politically-correct wacko” (Joe’s term) to realize that the elephant exhibit at the zoo is haywire. There are three elephants, Thika, Toka and Iringa, confined to a 40-square metre pen in winter, and a paddock outside in summer.
A disquieting reality is that four elephants have died in the last five years, and seven since 1984. Most were under 40 years old.
Even zoo people acknowledge that Toronto’s climate is not conducive to elephants, especially as they grow older and become arthritic. Detroit’s zoo decided in 2004 to no longer exhibit elephants because of Michigan’s cold winters and the lack of “the appropriate physical and social environment” for captive elephants.
Three Toronto Zoo elephants died within 14 months — Tara, Tessa and Tequila. Each death was a traumatic shock for zoo staff who were attached to the animals, recognized their individual personalities, and regarded them as friends.
Everyone connected with the zoo knows something has to be done as the three remaining elephants are growing older. Estimates range from $15 to $30 million to build suitable facilities, and that sort of money simply isn’t available.
An alternative is to donate the elephants to an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee, where a couple of dozen “retired” circus and zoo elephants roam freely on 2,700

ZooMontana closes for week after insurance company drops zoo's liability policy
?ZooMontana’s liability insurance policy was canceled on Monday, and the zoo will be closed for the rest of the week.
Zoo Board President Ian McDonald said the insurance agent, Taylor-Leavitt Insurance, called McDonald on Monday about the policy.
The policy is carried by Philadelphia Insurance, which dropped the zoo.
Taylor-Leavitt is working with the zoo to find a new insurance carrier.
“They said the payment was late, but it was made,” McDonald said. “Now they are sending the money back and canceling the policy.”
McDonald said he tried obtaining a blanket insurance policy for the week, but no such policy exists.
“It’s my goal to get a policy in place by the end of the week here,” McDonald said.
Accounts of what happened differed among the zoo board and staff.
Zoo Director Jackie Worstell, who submitted her resignation in February, but has since said she may stay, said the zoo did not have enough money to make payments this winter. Word of the zoo’s financial struggles became public in February.
“We are all paid up now, but the problem is the insurance company just right now doesn’t have faith in knowing we would be a good client,” Worstell said. “They’ve be

Dubai to clone Oryx and Arabian leopard
Project follows success of world’s first cloned camel
Dubai is on the verge of launching another landmark project to clone the endangered Oyrx and Arabian Leopard after succeeding in producing the world’s first cloned camel, a newspaper said on Saturday.
The camel breeding centre said the plan is part of a major project to restore ecological balance and increase the number of endangered animals in the region, including the Oryx, Arabian Leopard and Arabian Tiger, the Dubai-based Arabic language daily 'Emarat Al Youm' said.
“The centre is now preparing to receive 10 more cloned camels by the end of this year or early next year,” said Dr Nassar Ahmed Wani, project director at the centre, the world’s first breeding institution to clone a camel.
“After our success in cloning the world’s first camel, we are now planning to clone endangered animals including Oryx, Arabian Leopard and Arabian Tiger..,” he was quoted by the

Scientists in Dubai plan 'frozen zoo' for cloning
Scientists in Dubai are keeping a repository of frozen cells they hope can one day be used to create cloned animals that can repopulate species facing the threat of extinction.
Experts at the Camel Reproduction Centre, in al Aweer, are in the initial stages of putting together a "frozen zoo" of cells taken from endangered species.
It is hoped that those cells will bolster dwindling stocks of native species such as the Arabian leopard, the oryx and the tahr, or mountain goat.
"Cloning can help preserve species which are threatened with extinction," said Dr Nisar Wani, the head of the reproductive biology lab at the centre. "We can store millions and millions of cells here. So if tomorrow anything happens to those endangered animals and they become extinct, we can produce millions of embryos from those cells."
The team will next month celebrate the second birthday of the world's first cloned camel, named Injaz, meaning "success" in Arabic. Since then, there have been multiple births of cloned camels

Cloning key to saving UAE’s most endangered animals: scientist
DUBAI — The UAE’s most endangered species could be saved from extinction by a revolutionary new cloning technique being developed at a fertility lab in Dubai.
Dr Nisar Wani, the scientist behind the creation of the world’s first cloned camel, believes the technology exists to ensure the survival of threatened species such as the Arabian Oryx or the Arabian Leopard.
The technique, known as interspecies nuclear transfer, would for example, involve the cells of an Oryx being inserted into the womb of a goat for incubation.
“We have many endangered animals in the UAE,” Dr Wani told the Khaleej Times during an interview at the Camel Reproduction Centre in Dubai.
“We can use the cells of these animals and use another species, from the same family, as a surrogate mother.”
In April last year, the centre attracted international attention for being the first lab in the world to have cloned a camel. It was named ‘Injaz’, or ‘achievement’§ion=theuae

New England Aquarium closed after crack is found in tank
The New England Aquarium has been closed so repairs can be made to a crack in its largest tank, officials said.
Officials said the crack was near the top of the giant ocean tank, which is located at the core of the aquarium, and the water level was being lowered so repairs could be made.
There is no danger to either animals or humans, said Jane Wolfson, vice president of marketing and communications at the aquarium.
The tank is made of triple-layered glass and the crack was found in only one of the layers, she said.
The tank contains 200,000 gallons of water. It is 23 feet deep, 40 feet wide, and is home to more than 600 denizens of the deep, including

Extinction Likely for World's Rarest Bear Subspecies
The May 3 death of a Marsican brown bear (Ursus arctos marsicanus) has put the world's rarest bear subspecies one step closer to extinction. Just 50 or so of the animals remain in two of Italy's national parks, a population so small that the bears are "below the threshold of survival," Giuseppe Rossi, head of the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio, and Molise, told The Christian Science Monitor.
The bear killed this week was likely struck by a car, an example of the increased bear-human conflict that has halved the population from 100 animals since the 1980s. In addition to traffic fatalities, poachers used poison to kill three bears in 2007, including a cub and his famous father named Bernardo, who was known for casually strolling around the streets of local villages. A female

Life after pandas leave
Ma Xujue has never been so unsure about the future before, even when most of his properties were destroyed when an 8.0-magnitude earthquake jolted his hometown of Wolong in southwest China three years ago.
The region, rich in vegetation and covering some 200,000 hectares in west Sichuan Province, is better known as the "hometown" of the endangered giant pandas, with 10 percent of the world's wild pandas, and more than 60 percent of the captive-bred panda population, living here.
But now, the 48-year-old farmer and his fellow villagers in Wolong Town will no longer enjoy the benefits and pride of being "panda neighbors", as the quake-hit China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas, based in the town, plans to move to a safer location with all of its caged pandas.
The new center, set in a flat mountainside area called Shenshuping, is about 22 kilometers northeast of its original location. In theory, it's still in the Wolong Natural Reserve, the first and largest of its kind in China for the protection of pandas. However, it is outside of the domain of Wolong Town in the neighboring township of Gengda.
Sponored by the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative

Edinburgh Zoo chief: I've been open and honest
EDINBURGH Zoo's suspended chief executive today broke his silence and vowed to return to work, but not as the top man.
In an exclusive interview with the Evening News, acting chief executive Gary Wilson said he had been "devastated" by a damning dossier of allegations that led him to be suspended in March. But he said he would not let the "malicious" allegations grind him down and pledged total commitment to the zoo.
He also said he wanted to "fix the problems at the zoo" and said the possible leasing of the attraction to Spanish company Parques Reunidos, as revealed in the Evening News last week, had "its pros and cons".
Asked if he would attend an emergency meeting at Murrayfield Stadium he said he would, if asked.
The chairman of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland's (RZSS) executive board, Donald Emslie, has confirmed that robust internal and external investigations into ten years' worth of documents had proved every one of the allegations against Mr Wilson to be unfounded.
Mr Wilson said: "I remain fully committed to the organisation and understand what they had to do in relation to these allegations. The board is a voluntary board and the time taken to conduct this investigation has been extensive. I would have liked it to have been quicker as it has caused a lot of frustration and tension, but I understand.
"I'd like to sit down with Donald Emslie and have a discussion about where we go from here."
Mr Wilson said he believed he knew who had made the anonymous allegations, which included accusations he siphoned money from accounts relating to the £4.5 million Budongo Trail to pay for a £50,000 balcony at his home in Dunblane.
It was also claimed he had stolen building materials and a promotional Fiat Panda car the zoo had planned to auction off for charity.
He added: "When I found out the dossier had been handed in against me, I was devastated. I've had nothing to hide and I was very open with the board, shared with them everything they wanted and more. They didn't ask for my bank statements or documents relating to how I paid my mortgage, but I handed them over.
"There is nothing sinister going on with my house and the only reason my balcony looks like the Budongo Trail is because I designed both of them. I have strong suspicions, but only suspicious, about who did this to me. I can't prove it."
Two weeks after Mr Wilson was suspended, another director, Iain Valentine, who was in charge of animals, research and conservation, was also suspended following allegations of financial impropriety.
On the same day, Anthony McReavy, director of development, was sacked for "bringing the society into disrep

Zoo leads effort to map genes of 10,000 animals
After 13 years in the San Diego Zoo, the echidna (pronounced ih-KID-na) succumbed to an unknown illness at the age of 27, far short of his expected 50-year life span.
Now, researchers are making sure the animal’s death wasn’t in vain.
At the world’s largest genetic testing facility in Beijing, Eddie’s preserved cells are being used to create the first map of an echidna’s biological source code, which could help save the endangered species from extinction.
DNA from a San Diego Zoo echidna, like this one named Victor, is being mapped by a Chinese genetic sequencing center as part of the 10K Genome Projects. The Australian natives are one of only two mammals that lay eggs. At 57, Victor is the oldest living mammal at the zoo.
The work is part of the 10K Genome Project, an ambitious global effort to sequence the genes of 10,000 different kinds of vertebrae — mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fishes — by 2015.
10K Genome Project participants with San Diego County ties Swazi, the matriarch of the elephant herd at the zoo’s Safari Park, was chosen for the 10K Genome project partly because she was specially trained to offer her ear to trainers to give blood samples. She arrived at the park in 2003 from a national park in the southern Africa country of Swaziland.
San Diego-based Illumina, the leading maker of genetic sequencing devices, is part of a group that will sequence this endangered miniature version of its much larger and better known cousin. About 3,000 animals remain in the wild, mostly in the West Africa nation of Liberia, according to the World Conservation Union.
Researchers in Beijing are mapping the DNA of this strange Australian creature with cells from an echidna that died at the San Diego Zoo in 1995. The marsupial’s tissue was preserved in a “frozen” zoo. Shown in the photo is Victor, a 57-year-old echidna that holds the distinction of being the oldest mammal at the zoo.
Working separately last year, two teams involving researchers from Illumina and the J. Craig Venter Institute in Torrey Pines sequenced several Tasmanian devils as part of an effort to save the marsupials from a contagious cancer that has already wiped out three-quarters of the animal’s wild population.
The Venter Institute is working on the sequence of these common Asian monkeys that have been used for decades in medical and biological testing.
In addition to the zoo, San Diego sequencing device maker Illumina and the J. Craig Venter Institute in Torrey Pines are contributing to the genomic mapping effort.
All of the data gathered by participants will be made available on the Internet, so researchers

Bird missing from zoo's rain forest
Topeka Zoo director Brendan Wiley, in a news release issued Sunday, said a gray-necked Wood Rail bird appears to be missing from the rain forest of the zoo.
The bird, whose name is Ty, hatched in the rain forest this past summer. Ty was soon pulled from the exhibit and hand-raised by zoo staff members, so it is comfortable around people, Wiley said.
Wiley said a search of the rain forest, zoo grounds and surrounding areas have revealed no sign of the bird. Zoo staff members would

Russ Smith, zoo co-founder, dies at 69
Even after 30-plus years of nonstop giving, Russell Smith never got tired of volunteering at Binder Park Zoo.
"Any busy weekend, you could find Russ out in Africa talking to guests, or he loved standing at the Red Panda exhibit," said Jenny Barnett, zoo director of wildlife conservation.
Smith, 69, died at home Friday, according to information released by Shaw Funeral Home. Services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday.
Battle Creek police said they were called to the home at638 E. Minges Road at 1:18 p.m. Friday. Police said Smith had been cutting a tree in the front yard when a portion of the trunk fell and struck him.
Paramedics from Lifecare Ambulance attempted for 30 minutes to revive him, police said, but were unsuccessful.
"We're going to miss him a lot," Barnett said. "It's still a shock to me. It's going to be weird going to the zoo next week and not seeing Russ."
Smith, whom long-time friend and Binder Park Zoo President Greg Geise characterized as one of the zoo's founders, was heavily involved in the zoo's creation, operation, fundraising and promotion for decades.
Smith was a member of the Jaycees, a group which, in 1971, hatched the idea for a children's zoo in Battle

Region's first wild whale shark tagged off Qatari oil rig
Female whale shark is first to be tagged in the Arabian Gulf, marine biologist says
Scientists tagged the region's first wild whale shark off a Qatari oil rig last month in the hope of tracking the movements of whale sharks in the Arabian Gulf.
David Robinson, a Dubai-based marine biologist tagged the 8m long, female whale shark, named Amna on April 23. She is the first wild whale shark to be tagged in the Arabian Gulf.
Her movements will not be known for six months though, when the tag will dislodge automatically and once it pops to the surface will emit the information back to Robinson.
"This was the first whale shark we had attempted to tag for the study and luckily we were successful -and, with an 8m long female so we are delighted," Robinson told Gulf News.
Amna was tagged 90km offshore from mainland Qatar. As the founder of SharkWatch Arabia, Robinson is collecting

Knoxville Zoo's herpetology director, bog turtle advocate dies
Bern Tryon, the Knoxville Zoo director of herpetology and a champion for East Tennessee's endangered bog turtles, died Friday after a battle with cancer.
Tryon, 64, was Tennessee's best authority on bog turtles, which he studied and helped to save for 25 years. His dedication to the animals included developing a zoo program that hatches and later releases the turtles in native East Tennessee habitats. The conservation awards he earned for his work included one from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"Bog turtle conservation in Tennessee is without a doubt his legacy. I don't know if it would be at all without him," said zoo Curator of Herpetology Phil Colclough.
A biology graduate of Gardner-Webb University, Tryon began his zoo career in 1971. He worked in herpetology departments at zoos in Atlanta, Fort Worth, Texas, and Houston before coming to Knoxville in 1984.
Some of Tryon's ashes will be scattered at a bog turtle

Zoo pros learn about crocs at Alligator Farm
Molly Ebersold announced to Historic City News this morning that, for the eleventh year in a row, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park is hosting a renowned professional development course for herpetologists and zoo professionals around the country.
Commonly referred to as “Croc School”, the Crocodilian Biology and Captive Management Course is offered annually by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm is the logical choice for the course because it is the only place in the world in which students can study every existing species of crocodilian.
Courses will be presented by fourteen instructors. There will be twenty

Zoo cruelty: Embas must quit, says senator
A senator has asked Natural Resources and Environment Minister Douglas Uggah Embas to resign over the alleged mistreatment of animals in some zoos in the country.
Referring to recent news reports that zoo animals were kept in distressing conditions, DAP’s S Ramakrishnan said the minister had failed to act on the matter.
“He should resign if he really cares about animal welfare to make way for others who can do the job,” he said in a press statement.
He also suggested that the government change the management of Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) to allow animal conservationists to run it.
Last week, a private zookeeper in Senai invited NGOs and animal rights activists to spend time at his facility, saying he wanted to show that their accusations were baseless. However, he drew more flak when the Star published an interview with him on May 5.
Activists jumped on his admission that he held public exhibitions featuring his tigers. Perhilitan

Pueblo Zoo quietly settles lawsuit
The Pueblo Zoo is unwilling to disclose the terms on which it resolved a lawsuit in which two former employees alleged they were sexually harassed by a male groundskeeper.
A filing last week in the U.S. District Court case shows that the zoo and the ex-employees, Sandra Davis and Stephanie Pyles, recently resolved last year's lawsuit.
Pueblo Zoological Society Executive Director Jonnie McFarland said the nonprofit zoo has no comment.
Davis and Pyles alleged the male employee, who was not a defendant, improperly touched or kissed them and four other women on several

Pet monkey attacks owner in bed
Officers say man startled sleeping animal
Sammy, a 7-year-old, 30 pound male java macaque monkey paces in his cage. Occasionally he stops to pull on the bars or rattle the floorboards. Sammy is now in the care of Debbie Jeter, director of Bear Path Acres in Southampton County after attacking his owner two weeks ago.
"He should have had fangs removed, that's what makes him so dangerous is those fangs," said Jeter.
Surry County Animal Control officers said Sammy's owner was sleeping in a bed with the monkey when he accidentally rolled over onto it. Startled, Sammy bit the owner on his nose and arm. Now too afraid to keep him, Sammy spent 10 days in quarantine before coming to Bear Path Acres. The owners also relinquished a female macaque named Tara.
"They were loved, they were given

Will boy George become a 'man'?
The plan of the guardians at the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park was more than sound: in order to increase the size of the wolf family at the park, get an adult wolf and put the zoo’s females in close proximity. After that, let their instincts take over.
The park’s management then got George, the wolf to impregnate the two she-wolves, Lucy and Rani, straight from the jungle — more specifically a centre run by social activist Prakash Amte in Hemalkasa. They had procured him two months back.
However, there is just one problem: George has never seen a she-wolf ever and the authorities are not sure how this ‘virgin boy’ would react. Actually, this great hope of captive breeding at the zoo is ten years old, a mature wolf who is probably set in his ways and is likely to resist new ideas, which may even include mating.
However, Navnath Nighot, the veterinary officer at the zoo is keeping his fingers crossed as in the case of animals instincts always seem to win the day, though George grew up eating vegetarian food like chappatis besides meat while in Amte’s care.
In any case, the story till now has been in George’s favour. For one, the two-month mandatory quarantine to ensure that he was healthy and would not pass on any ailment to Lucy and Rani and also get acquainted with the new environment, passed without any untoward incident.
The authorities at the park are happy that George made it through the quarantine period with flying colours and that he is the one. They have cleared him officially and have signed him on




Zoo names its shoot-to-kill animals
Wellington Zoo has identified five animals it would shoot-to-kill should they escape if a natural disaster struck the city.
The revelation was prompted by the zoo's neighbours in the suburb of Newtown, following the Christchurch earthquake.
The zoo's 12 endangered chimpanzees top the list of animals deemed so dangerous they would need to be shot and killed should they escape.
"They're intelligent enough to know what they can do and it's just a bit of fun [for them to maim people]," the zoo's chief executive Karen Fifield told Radio New Zealand.
"It's a bit like having the strength of the adults but the intelligence of a five-year-old."
African lions, Asian tigers, African wild dogs and Malayan sun bears round off the list.
A ranger who is trained to use firearms is on call 24/7 in case of an emergency.
The shoot-to-kill policy is common at zoos around the world, Ms Fifield said, as shooting to maim is deemed

Your View: Listen to an expert on zoo's potential
Recently the master plan for the Buttonwood Park Zoo was brought to the attention of David Hancock.
Hancock is a world-renowned author who has been directing, planning, observing, pondering, designing, debating and writing about zoos for the past 40 years. He was director of Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo, director of Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and director of the Worrigee Open Range Zoo in Australia.
His letter was five pages long, but here are some excerpts from that letter and some of his ideas and advice about planning zoos, and their future are reviewed below.
The Buttonwood Zoo Master Plan embraces tired zoo designs that quickly become uninteresting, outdated, and lack originality. Developing plans that are modest, achievable, dazzlingly creative and intelligently focused, rather than doing more of the same that exists in other zoos, is far more likely to achieve success and be of greater value to the community.
The plan, as is, betrays no original thinking, no intelligent analysis, and is supported by no research or valid argument. It seems that the goal is more of an ambitious dream of a zoo director, than an honest attempt to improve upon what a local community needs.
The best and least-expensive method for successfully creating exhibits that simulate natural habitats is to present the same habitats that exist within the zoo's own region. The world of nature is never out of fashion.
If New Bedford would model itself on revealing the richness of the natural world as the goal and focus on New England ecology and regional wildlife, that would have the greatest impact on their visitors.
Studies have shown that the context in which people see animals has the greatest influence on attitudes towards wildlife. Even the smallest life forms can be beguiling and fascinating.
Properly, carefully and intelligently presented, small animals can elicit wonder and demonstrate more about the world of nature than big, bored animals standing in empty zoo paddocks.
"If the Buttonwood Park Zoo set out to be the very best at what it can do, with a genuine desire to reveal and explain the intricacy and complexity and inter-relatedness of all living things in the New England ecological biome, with a mix of living, mostly small animals

Anoushka Shankar urges people to boycott zoos
Sitar player Anoushka Shankar yesterday appealed to the people to boycott zoos as the animals locked up there are tortured and made to suffer. Shankar made the appeal on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India. She has also done a promotional video “Exotic Animals Belong in the Wild, Not in Zoos” for the animal rights group. “I choose to entertain people for a living but animals in zoos are locked in barren enclosures and put on display against their will. They can’t choose, but we can...please, boycott zoos,” she said. According

Zoo board to decide fate of elephants
Will the Toronto Zoo’s elephants be coming on down to a U.S. animal sanctuary?
Members of the zoo board of management will meet next week to consider two consultants’ reports on the fate of the three remaining pachyderms but it still isn’t known if those reports will recommend the elephants pack their trunks.
The elephant issue was thrown into the spotlight last month when retired Price is Right host Bob Barker came to Toronto to publicly urge the zoo to free its elephants.
Zoo board member Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker — who backs the idea of sending the elephants to a U.S. sanctuary — told the Sun earlier this week he thinks the board, when given all the information, will decide to move the elephants.
“It certainly makes sense from the elephants’ perspective, there are alternatives proposals that will actually teach people to enjoy elephants ... the third thing in our favour is the cost factor,” he said.
According to budget documents, a new holding area for the elephants would cost $34 million.
Sending the elephants south would save building a new holding area and outdoor area expansion, he argues. Even factoring in the cost of building an elephant display without live animals but with interactive experiences, De Baeremaeker said the zoo could save $24 million.
De Baeremaeker said it’s an elephantine-size step that the board is even being presented with options for Toka, Iringa and Thika.
“When I first got on the zoo board seven years ago, there was no conceivable way that we would ever have a Toronto Zoo without elephants,” De Baeremaeker said.
“Now we have a staff report about to be released that will give us options that include retiring the elephants

Close the elephant pen, find them a new home, zoo report recommends
Toronto Zoo staff are recommending that the zoo phase out its current elephant program and relocate the last three pachyderms.
“Due to the significant capital costs to provide appropriate elephant facilities for the future, estimated $16.5 million, the substantial future operating costs of $930,000 annually ….” and other factors, keeping it open is not the best option, said the report to the zoo’s board of management. The board will decide the next steps at its May 12 meeting.
The staff report went on to say that the existing herd of three female elephants is aging and in a short time the zoo could be below the minimum standard of three elephants accepted by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Three is considered the minimum number needed for a healthy, happy herd.
While the three elephants are in good health the report says the elephants should be transferred to one or more AZA accredited facilities.
The cost to transfer the three elephants would be in the range of $30,000 to $50,000.
The consultants’ reports and Toronto Zoo staff investigation explored the pros and cons of three options: phasing out the elephant enclosure as the remaining animals die off, moving the beasts now to a sanctuary in a warmer climate, or

Elephants should leave Toronto Zoo, report advises
In the flesh, the Toronto Zoo’s elephants are grey, but a new report paints them white.
The paper, written by zoo staff for a board meeting next week, backs the controversial idea of shipping the zoo’s three elderly elephants – Iringa, Toka and Thika – to another zoo over concerns about their cost and welfare.
But in a largely symbolic victory for those lobbying to keep the elephants, the report stops short of siding with animal-rights group Zoocheck and its famous spokesman, former Price Is Right host Bob Barker, who have advocated transferring the elephants to a California sanctuary run by the Performing Animal Welfare Society, or PAWS.
“I’m satisfied that they would go to an accredited zoo rather than this sanctuary,” said Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby, a member of the zoo board who has fought to keep the animals in Toronto. “Bob Barker should stick to something else.”
The report recommends the elephants go to a zoo with an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accreditation, for which the California sanctuary does not qualify. Board members who support the bid to send the elephants to the sanctuary said they could overrule that stipulation when they consider the recommendations on May 12.
Ms. Lindsay Luby has sounded out her fellow members and suspects they will vote in favour of relocating. “I’m disappointed,” she said. “What is a zoo without an elephant?”
It would cost the Scarborough attraction $16.5-million to build the new elephant barn and paddocks that are required to keep its current pachyderm program in line with the evolving standards of the AZA. The three female elephants cost more than $600,000 a year to keep, a figure expected to rise to upwards of $900,000 in the near future. Bringing in new elephants would cost a further $3-million.
Four of the zoo’s elephants have died in the past five years. Zoocheck and Mr. Barker have attributed that to the climate, which they say is too cold for older elephants like Iringa, Toka and Thika – aged 42, 41 and 30, respectively.
“When you have four elephants that die in the last five years, all before reaching old age, you know something isn’t working for this particular animal,” said Linda Bronfman, one of the founders of Everybody Loves Elephants, a group supporting relocation

Britain's Got Talent's snake girl visits Durrell
A seven-year-old conservation enthusiast who won hearts with her poem on last week's Britain's Got Talent, has visited Durrell Wildlife Trust.
With a snake draped around her shoulders, Olivia Binfield told the judges and the audience of her passion for endangered animals by reciting her rhyme.
It began: "Come on, don't you have a heart, you don't want these animals to depart, forget the X-factor and the top-ten singing chart, look at the most endangered animal

Chimpanzees' 66 gestures revealed
Wild chimpanzees use at least 66 distinct gestures to communicate with each other, according to scientists.
A team of researchers from the University of St Andrews in Scotland filmed a group of the animals in order to decipher this "gestural repertoire".
The team then studied 120 hours of footage of the chimps interacting, looking for signs that the animals were intentionally signalling to each other.
The findings are published in the journal Animal Cognition.
Previous studies on captive chimps have suggested the animals have about 30 different gestures.
"So this [result] shows quite a large repertoire," lead researcher Dr Catherine Hobaiter told BBC News.
"We think people previously were only seeing fractions of this, because when you study the animals in captivity you don't see all their behaviour.
"You wouldn't see them hunting for monkeys, taking females away on 'courtships', or encountering neighbouring groups of chimpanzees."
Dr Hobaiter spent 266 days observing and filming a group of chimpanzees in Budongo Con

Watchdog to investigate crisis-hit zoo
SCOTLAND’S charity regulator has launched an investigation into crisis-hit Edinburgh Zoo as it emerged that two giant pandas due to arrive at the attraction are expected to be brought from China this summer.
The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR ) confirmed last night it is holding an inquiry into the Royal Zoological Society, the charity that runs the zoo, where one director has been sacked and two suspended.
The move came as Manus Fullerton, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) executive board member, admitted the zoo’s reputation had been damaged by a series of anonymous allegations and appealed to those “maliciously” leaking information to come forward. The leaks were said to be hindering the internal investigation under way at the zoo.
It has been revealed that the zoo held talks over leasing part of its operation to a Spanish leisure firm and the leaks appeared to be coming from someone who had an agenda, Mr Fullerton said.
He added: “The idea [for the lease plan] came from a member of staff and maybe one

Zoo denies charity status at risk as watchdog probes 'impropriety'
SCOTLAND'S charity watchdog is investigating allegations surrounding the suspended chief of Edinburgh Zoo.
The Royal Zoological Society Scotland (RZSS), which runs the attraction, yesterday said the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator (OSCR) was examining the turmoil among the organisation's senior management.
The society said it had called in the regulator after an anonymous allegation
of impropriety was made against the zoo's acting chief executive, Gary Wilson, at the end of March.
The troubled institution, which is expecting giant pandas from China later this year, denied it could lose its charitable status.
Donald Emslie, executive chair of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: "After receiving the anonymous allegations (about Gary Wilson] RZSS immediately advised OSCR and we have been in regular and close contact since, keeping them informed throughout our investigations.
"We welcome any further inquiries from OSCR."
He went on: "Problems with individuals are not reflective of the amazing work of the charity as a whole.
"Speculation that RZSS could lose charity status is totally unfounded, unsubstantiated and highly unlikely."
Mr Wilson was suspended at the end of March. The nature of the allegations concerning him has not been made public.
His suspension was followed by the departure of a director, Anthony McReavy and the suspension of Iain Valentine, the head of animals and education.
A spokesman for OSCR, said: "I can confirm that OSCR currently has an open inquiry into the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.
"It is therefore not appropriate

Jack Hanna Brings Jungle to OUE
A Wheeling resident knew Jack Hanna long before he became the famous "Ambassador for Animals."
Bob Wagner met Hanna at a mutual friend's house in Knoxville, Tenn; when Hanna was thinking about applying for a job as the director of the Columbus Zoo, which at that time, according to Wagner, "had not the best of reputations."
"In fact, it wasn't a really good zoo," Wagner recalled.
However, the more Wagner talked to Hanna and saw how sincere he was about the position, the more he realized there "wasn't anything that he (Hanna) could do at the zoo except make it better."
Hanna accepted the challenge and has been there ever since - a tenure that stretches into three decades, as he started in 1978. He was recently named director emeritus.
"We've been friends ever since," Wagner said Wednesday night following Hanna's hour-long show inside the Health and Physical Education Center on the campus of Ohio University Eastern in St. Clairsville, which was sponsored by the Belmont

Dedicated zookeeper Walter Levendosky has worked at the Staten Island Zoo in West Brighton since 1971
"It's been happening at the (Staten Island) Zoo" for decades for Walter Levendosky. Four decades to be exact. He became a part time zookeeper in 1971, four years after Paul Simon's singable song hit the charts.
The West Brighton resident's attachment to the animals in the zoo started even earlier, when as a New Brighton youth he was attending IS 27 and spending as much time at the Staten Island Zoo as in class. After he graduated from Curtis High School, he got a job with the Telephone Company, but he knew he couldn't hack it – "Too boring."
Not unlike today, the economy was not a good one to be giving up a job with a good salary and benefits. But it was also "the Age of Aquarius," and being free and following your dream was the currency of the day.
"I guess I could be retired by now with a good pension, but I wouldn't have the life I have," said Levendosky.
That includes meeting his wife of 29 years, Maryanne, and having their three children, twins Keith and Jenna, 21, and Matthew, 19.
"You're not going to get rich at this job, but if you like it, you stay," said Levendosky who started in the Children's Zoo with the farm animals and has worked in every de

Maasin set to sign agreement with DENR and zoo operator
Just a day after Maasin city signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with a local investor to develop the old market area into a high-end marketing center, another MOA signing is in the offing.
This involved the development of a sizeable portion of Danao Forest in barangay Malapoc Norte to be converted into a family theme park that features a zoo which will be called “ZooLeyte.”
On the sidelines of the signing ceremony for the Brodeth business, City Mayor Maloney Samaco revealed that the signatories of this upcoming MOA will be the investor of the area, said to be from Zubic, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Asked how soon or when would this Zubic zoo operator and DENR signing be, Samaco simply said it’s “ASAP”, without giving further details.
In earlier pronouncements, Samaco disclosed the participation of the DENR was needed in as much as an area of twenty-five hectares out of Danao Forest’s more than 400 hectares will be set aside for the operational territory of ZooLeyte.
For starters, the Mayor had informed that a pair of horses were already trained at Danao Park for the pleasure experience of horseback riding, and in his Facebook account Samaco looked at ease riding a horse around the park with his wife Chona.
The transformation of Danao into a wholesome site for family recreation and fun has been an integral part of the provincial tourism framework developed by the Southern Leyte Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SLCCI) headed by Engr. Robert Castanares.
The framework, adopted by the provincial government, envisioned to position the province as the “playground of Eastern Visayas” by constructing man-made attractions that formed the core of the four tourism hubs.
One of these four hubs was the Agas-Agas Adventure Park in Sogod, where a zipline facility -- the Zip Southern Leyte -- has been attracting extreme sports lovers ever since the day it opened last month.
Another hub will be the “ZooLeyte” at Danao Forest Park, where wild animals can be seen from a secured fence, the

Zoo: Keeping animals in small cages a temporary measure
The management of the Danga Bay Petting Zoo in Johor Baru agreed with the Starprobe findings that some of its animals were being kept in extremely small wire mesh cages, but explained that it was only a temporary measure before scheduled animal shows.
What the Starprobe team observed, however, was that most of the animals were not involved in animal shows and these small cages looked like their permanent housing.
As for the elephant in chains, they claimed in their email response that it was placed in temporary housing before shows and its permanent home was a big circus tent that was fully covered

Leopard mauls child on field trip to Kansas zoo
A first-grader on a school field trip to a zoo was mauled by a leopard Friday after the boy scaled a railing and approached the animal's cage, a zoo spokesman said.
The Wichita Eagle reported on its website that the boy received lacerations to his head and neck after the cat stuck a paw through its cage and grabbed the boy by the side of the head. He was taken to a hospital, where he was listed in fair condition.
Jim Marlett, spokesman for the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, said the boy climbed the 4- to 5-foot railing surrounding the leopard exhibit, crossed an 8-foot gap and stood next to the metal mesh fence of the animal's cage.
Naomi Robinson, who was at the zoo with her two children when she saw the attack around 1:20 p.m., said it looked like the leopard

NYC’s JFK ends falconry program to control gulls, looks to hire marksmen instead
The decision to end on an ongoing contract with Falcon Environmental Services Inc. supplying falconry to control gull traffic at JFK International Airport and replace it with shooters was reported in the April 29 edition of The Wall Street Journal. The Port Authority of NY and NJ, which operates the airport, is now in talks with the USDA to manage the gulls by shooting them. No bids were taken.
NYC’s largest international airport abuts one of NYC’s wilderness treasures: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, managed by the National Park Service. Once heavily polluted, the restoration of Jamaica Bay over the last 40 years has led to an increase in the viability and variety of the species of wildlife that lives there. The Fish and Wildlife Service calls the area a “significant habitat” and lists 48 species of fish and 120 species of birds, and notes among its features: “The extensive salt marsh and upland islands in the bay provide nesting habitat for gulls, terns, waterfowl, and herons; foraging and roosting habitat for shorebirds

100% renewable energy – at what cost to the marine environment?
Transforming the world’s energy systems is essential to achieving a sustainable global economy. The marine environment offers a bounty of renewable energy options but what do the scenarios look like in reality?
As two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions come from energy production, increasing attention is being given to the energy sector. Both energy conservation and efficiency measures are being pushed, as well as the development of “clean” (i.e. lower emissions) energy technologies as more immediate ways to reduce emissions in the short to medium term.
Numerous reports are being released from different organizations that show how societies can achieve 80-100% renewable energy supply in the next 20-40 years. A reduction in energy use through both conservation and efficiency measures is critical, together with a massive shift to renewable sources such as solar, wind and waves for electricity and sustainable biomass for liquid fuels and other high energy users such as industry.
Growing investment
This transition is already happening, with huge investments being directed to ‘clean’ energy sources. A record US$ 243 billion was invested in cleaner energy sources globally in 2010, of which China invested US$ 51 billion, more than 20% of the total. Yet, the International Energy Agency has identified social acceptance as one of the main barriers to swift implementation of renewable energy projects, primarily driven by perceived and real environmental concerns associated with large infrastructure on land, such as wind turbines, large solar towers and power lines.
The marine environment is increasingly being targeted as decisions in seascapes are seen as less controversial than on land. However, marine environments

On the horn of a dilemma
Counting the cost of success
IT IS a conservation success story. The latest census of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros (rhinoceros unicornis) shows there are 534 of the beasts in Nepal, a rise of almost a quarter since 2008. In 1975 only 600 were left in the world.
The success is the product of hard, occasionally dangerous, work and of politics. The end of Nepal’s Maoist insurgency in 2006 allowed army guard posts back into Chitwan National Park, where most of the rhinos live. A new Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is being set up. Up to half of the park’s revenues are spent on development projects in the “buffer zone”, where farmers live alongside rhinos and other animals.
But there is a dark side to the tale, too. To protect the endangered creatures, the chief warden at Chitwan has quasi-judicial powers, including the authority to convict and jail alleged poachers for up to 15 years. According to Krishna Bhakta Pokharel, a lawyer in the nearby town of Bharatpur, suspects are held for up to 25 days at undisclosed locations and can be remanded for up to two years before their final hearing. Until recently, the dates of such hearings were not announced in advance, nor were defence lawyers necessarily present. In Bharatpur jail 105 people are in custody for poaching, many serving long sentences for minor offences such as providing food to poachers. Even the chief jailer admits that many of his prisoners are associated with poaching only in marginal ways.




Zoo facing takeover by Spanish firm after secret negotiations
BOSSES at troubled Edinburgh Zoo have been in secret takeover talks with a Spanish leisure giant, The Scotsman can reveal.
Senior officials are considering handing over control of the attraction after almost 100 years of independent ownership in an effort to resolve mounting financial problems.
Parques Reunidos - which runs more than 70 amusement parks and animal and nature parks around the world - would be expected to plough millions of pounds into overhauling the ageing attraction in Corstorphine, if it won control of the site.
Senior officials are understood to have travelled to the global operator's headquarters in Madrid to discuss the firm taking over the attraction.
However, the plans have been withheld from the zoo's 23,000 members, who pay up to £56 a year to support the attraction.
They had already been successful in securing a crisis meeting with management next week in the wake of the suspension of two senior executives and the sacking of a third in recent weeks.
Plans to develop the zoo have been thwarted in recent years by widespread opposition to proposals to sell off green-belt land to housing developers.

Zoo's Ostrich Egg Breakfast hits milestone
The 25th annual Ostrich Egg Breakfast at the Oklahoma City Zoo will have ostrich eggs.
This year, that's a big deal.
The zoo is home to just one ostrich right now, and Sadie just hasn't been in the egg-laying mood, zoo spokeswoman Tara Henson said.
“On average, she lays one egg every other day from late February to early September,” Henson said, “but this year she's just not been laying eggs. Her appetite and behavior is fine other than a bit of a cough, which our keeper and vet teams have been treating and monitoring.”
Oklahoma City Zoo officials have been talking with folks from other zoos around the country, asking if they can borrow a couple eggs for breakfast. Logistics are still in the works, but Henson said the zoo expects to serve up at least a few ostrich eggs.
Not everyone who comes to the Oklahoma City Zoo's breakfast wants to eat an ostrich egg in the first place.
“Some people are more interested in seeing how big an ostrich

Safari Park employee bitten by snake
An employee at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park was bitten by a rattlesnake Wednesday morning and taken to the hospital for treatment, according to a park spokeswoman.
The incident occurred at about 11 a.m. in an area were guests are not allowed, said Christina Simmons, a spokeswoman for the park. The snake was native to the area

New digs for behemoths as zoo embarks on its largest expansion
Elephants might never forget, but the three behemoths at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo may be ready to cast off the memory of their current home when they get a look at their new stomping grounds.
This summer, the zoo will unveil the first phase of its Encounter Africa exhibit, which includes a massive expansion of facilities for the three – soon to be four – African elephants.
Wednesday, zoo officials invited donors and the media for a first look at the progress.
“We’ve embarked on the largest capital campaign in Cheyenne Mountain Zoo history, large because we’re talking about elephants, rhinos

Nature reserve for central tortoises set up in central Vietnam
Tim Mc CorMack, ATP director, said that Binh Khuong commune has the best living conditions for the Trung Bo (Central Vietnam) turtle.
The establishment of this reserve is scheduled in early May of 2011. The reserve will cover 8 hectares. Some organizations such as, the Alliance for the Living of Turtles (USA), the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CPEF) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) provided over $20,000 to this project. The funding will gradually rise on an annual basis, based on the development and effectiveness of this project.
The animal (Mauremys anammensis) only lives around flooded areas in Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh and Phu Yen provinces along the coast. Their habitat has been endangered by recent development and human encroachment.
Urban development and turning forest land into farmland have been blamed for diminishing the tortoise’s home.
According to experts, there are no Trung Bo turtles left in Vietnamese nature reserves. Hence it’s urgent to locate their remaining habitat to preserve

A Dogfight Over Wolf Center
A legal battle over using eight acres of land for a new Wolf Conservation Center in this suburb has some Westchester County heavyweights howling at each other.
Three wolves—the main attraction of the nonprofit that teaches children and families about endangered wolves—would live on an eight-acre sliver of nearly 400 acres of protected woodlands about 50 miles north of Manhattan.
The Westchester Land Trust, a nonprofit formed to protect swaths of the county from development, says fencing off those


Ex-Kiev Zoo chief probed for embezzlement
Ukrainian prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation against the former head of the Kiev Zoo, where hundreds of animals have died or gone mysteriously missing in recent years.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that Svitlana Berzina is suspected of embezzling some $47,000 (euro32,000) from the zoo by commissioning projects that weren't fully carried out, if at all.
Berzina was fired last year after nearly one-half of the zoo's animals either died or disappeared. Rights groups claimed the deaths were caused by mistreatment, with rare animals illegally sold off to private collectors.
Berzina, who has been put in charge of another animal welfare agency, declined to comment on the probe.
International animal welfare groups have

Fresh endangered species push for koalas
Conservationists from around the country have launched a fresh effort to have the koala declared an endangered species.
Experts from tourist parks have joined researchers from universities and community groups in making submissions to a Senate inquiry into koala management.
But while even developers agree numbers are falling, there is no agreement on how best to deal with the issue.
Submissions to the Senate inquiry came from all levels of government and a who's who of koala experts.
Australia Zoo research scientist Jo Loader wrote in her Senate submission that levels of disease in some koalas are unprecedented compared to other species and higher than previously thought.
Dr Bill Ellis, from the University of Queensland, says koala numbers have fallen dramatically.
"At study sites where we would expect to find between 30 and 50 koalas in a day we might be able to find three or four," he said.
Dr Ellis says this seems to be the case everywhere.
"What we're doing

Royal beasts brought to life at Tower of London
IT’S hard to imagine now, but for more than 600 years the Tower of London was home to a wild and wonderful array of animals from almost every corner of the globe.
Known as the Royal Menagerie, the tower housed everything from elephants to tigers, ostriches to kangaroos.
Now the fascinating history of this medieval ‘zoo’ will be bought back to life as part of new exhibition, Royal Beasts.
From Saturday May 28 to Sunday July 24 you’ll be able to step back in time as the Tower of London is overtaken with animal sculptures and interactive displays.
The newly restored north wall walk and the never before opened Brick Tower will host the displays and offer visitors a special insight into the sights, sounds and even smells of the royal menagerie.
Youngsters will also be able to discover the history of the menagerie with special activities over the May half-term.
From Saturday May 28 to Sun June 5, children can take part in animal badge, mask and puppet-making sessions, enjoy puppet shows and test their skills on a treasure hunt through the tower.
The first ever record of wild animals at the Tower of London was in 1210, under the reign of King John.
Under King James I, the bloody sport of baiting became popular and a platform was built over the dens so that royalty and their couriers could watch lions, bears and dogs fight each other to the death.
The Menagerie finally closed after the animals

Monsanto Insectarium At The St. Louis Zoo
The Insectarium has an amazing array of insects, from the commonplace cockroach to the exotic Peruvian fire sticks! Plus, stroll through the domed Mary Ann Lee Butterfly Wing, where you will marvel at all manner of winged invertebrates including moths, dragonflies, ladybugs and, of course,,0,246205.story

Plan approved for prehistoric wildlife on Bodmin moor lake park
FEARSOME predators including wolves and bears will roam Bodmin Moor once again after plans were approved for a prehistoric wildlife park.
The Colliford Lake Park, near St Neot, will reopen in April 2012 as a major tourist attraction complete with predators, raptors and a wild forest exhibit spread across a 30-acre site.
Owner Eve Sebastian, 48, who runs the Corbenic LLP partnership with her husband Nigel Giddings, 47, and their son Daniel, 25, said: "We purchased Colliford Lake Park last year with the intention of closing it down and totally redeveloping it.
"We've been planning it for a couple of years and intend to open it as a themed travel back in time exhibition full of the animals that would have lived on the moor following the last Ice Age."
The family-run park is due to open its first stage with research camps and four initial areas housing eleven species native to the moor.
The Tundra Plains exhibit will boast European bison, Exmoor ponies and red deer, while Raptor Outlook will consist of three aviaries with golden eagles, peregrine falcons and Eurasian eagle owls.
Predators on the Edge will see wolverines back on the moor, as well as Eurasian lynx and otters.
The Wild Forest will complete the first tranche, housing red squirrels and wild boar.
Ms Sebastian continued: "Professor Arcturus will help children learn about the animals and we hope to expand and develop over the next five years to cover all the species which were alive then and still available, including wolves and brown bears."
Around 12,000 years ago, open tundra and forests formed the




Zoo staff are banned from suspension crisis meeting
STAFF at Edinburgh Zoo have been told they are not allowed to attend a crisis meeting to discuss the suspension of two senior directors and the dismissal of another.
Employees, who claim they have been left "more or less in the dark" since the scandal broke, were told they cannot attend the meeting because they are "non-paying members" of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.
Angry staff pointed out that they have been told little of the problems occurring within senior management since the suspension of director of animals Iain Valentine, who was instrumental in signing a deal to secure the arrival of giant pandas, and the dismissal of director of development Anthony McReavy.
There was fresh speculation today that Mr Valentine is not returning after his employment details were removed from the RZSS website.
Details for acting chief executive Gary Wilson, who is also currently suspended but is expected to return in the forthcoming weeks, have not been removed from the website during the investigation.
Crunch talks are expected to be held on May 12, but only a maximum of 250 members out of a total 23,000 are permitted to attend due to limited space at the attraction.
One zoo insider told the Evening News that staff morale had hit an "all-time low".
The source said: "Frankly, people don't have much of a clue what's going on and staff were discouraged from applying to go to the crisis meeting. But we have more of a right than most people to know what's going to happen.
"You have to wonder if bosses will cherry-pick who can attend this meeting. They'll certainly have their pick of keen members and they aren't going to want any difficult questions.
"I've not been told of any similar meeting so that we (staff] can air our views and ask the questions all the sta

Do we still need zoos?
WHEN The Star first highlighted the exploits of wildlife trader Anson Wong in August 2009, the Wildlife Protection and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) accused us of rehashing an old story. Now, we risk being accused of that again with the Starprobe story on the deplorable conditions in Malaysian zoos.
Yes, we agree it is an old story. But it is a story that bears repeating, for despite numerous reports on inhumane treatment of wildlife in zoos in The Star, little has changed. Conditions in many zoos, instead of getting better, have worsened.
That, in itself, says something about our wildlife protection agency, Perhilitan. The very body that is supposed to protect our animals is not doing its job. Perhilitan cannot claim to be ignorant of all that is happening in the zoos.
Groups like Acres, Nature Alert and Sahabat Alam Malaysia, among others, have all sent letters to Perhilitan and the ministry alerting them of the problems.
Perhilitan is supposed to check each zoo at least once a year, usually during applications to renew wildlife licences and permits. Notorious zoos are said to get more visits. Perhilitan staff are also supposed to vet the stock books (which record births, deaths and purchases of animals) of the zoos.
So how did the zoos get away with housing animals in constricted, deplorable conditions, and make them perform silly shows despite a ban?
When criticisms about poor husbandry in zoos surfaced in the past, Perhilitan fell behind the excuse that it had no jurisdiction over them as the Protection of Wildlife Act 1972 was silent about these facilities.
This loophole has since been fixed under the new Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, yet Perhilitan now says that we have to wait until June for the enactment of new regulations on zoos. Judging from past experience, the June date might stretch to September, then December, then even years from now.
Will the animals then continue to languish in their cages? How long does it take to draft new rules when the department already has a set of guidelines on zoos (which it never enforced because of the “no jurisdiction” claim under the old Act)?

Six months for zoos to comply with guidelines
Zoos have six months from June to comply with guidelines issued by the Natural Resources and Environment Minis­try in order to be issued with operating licences.
The operating licence requirement is compulsory under the new Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.
“A set of guidelines is currently being drafted by the ministry for zoo operators to comply with and it is expected

Private menageries deny claims of animal mistreatment
Private zoo operators are denying claims that they are mistreating animals under their care.
The director of a large zoo in Perak said he could not understand why visitors would want to jump into animal enclosures.
He added that the open concept of the zoo was to maintain the naturalistic environment and to ensure

Special Report: Controversy over Chiang Mai Zoo’s Polar Bear Exhibit
Chiang Mai Zoo is forging ahead with the construction of its newest attraction exhibiting live polar bears. However, animal activists have denounced the project, saying polar bears are vulnerable in captivity and the new facility is also substandard.
President of the Lanna Bird and Nature Conservation Club MD Rungsrit Kanjanavanit, accompanied by over 20 members of the Thai Wildlife Protection Network, the Hug Chiang Mai Club and the Seub Nakhasathien Foundation, traveled to Chiang Mai Zoo in the northern province of Chiang Mai to submit a letter to Mr Thanapat Pongpamorn, Director of the zoo. The letter protested the zoo’s new addition, called the Polar World, which is being built to showcase a couple of polar bears as well as King Penguins.
Despite the zoo’s vision to use Polar World to stimulate local tourism and contribute to the research and conservation effort, MD Rungsrit expressed strong disagreement with the project, particularly the polar bear display. He explained that statistics worldwide had indicated that polar bears had difficulties thriving in captivity and adapting to their confines.
Another reason is that polar bears live in the sub-zero temperatures of the Arctic all year long and, therefore, life in the tropical climate of Thailand would be brutal. Even though the air-conditioning system could come in handy, building a space to imitate the bears’ natural habitat is still a challenging task as they also need a vast expanse of land and water to roam and hunt for food. Many countries with hefty budgets have failed to keep polar bears in healthy conditions, physically or mentally, within their fences.
MD Rungsrit cited research by the University of Oxford as suggesting that nearly all polar bears on display across the globe had mental illnesses. The animals’ unfamiliarity with their new environs and limited space can cause depression as well as unusual and repetitive

Pune to have India’s first walk-through aquarium
A hundred bright fishes, swimming around you, while you have an insight to what the underwater world must look like. Such a privilege was given only to visitors of aquarium tunnels like Ocean Park in Hong Kong and SeaWorld in San Diego. But now the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is proposing to build India’s first walk-through aquarium in the city.
“The aquarium will be around 35,000 sq ft. The corporation will bear 10 per cent of the project cost, while the government will bear the rest 90 per cent,” said Naresh Zurmure, Additional Municipal Comissioner.
“We are narrowing down on locations. Our first choice was to build it in Sambhaji Park, since it is centrally located and accessible from all parts of the city. Unfortunately, there is very little free area left in Sambhaji Park. We have not completely ruled it out but we are still

‘X-tink-shun’ illuminated at the Philadelphia Zoo
At the Philadelphia Zoo, action is being taken. In an effort to educate the public about endangered species, the park has teamed up with the Jim Henson Company. Together they have developed a new park-wide theme called “X-tink-shun.” Described as “an imaginative, multidimensional, Zoo-wide exhibition,” it encourages people to start considering and protecting our wildlife.
Since the endangered animals cannot speak up for themselves, through the use of puppet characters, the animals are given a voice. The entire cast includes Didi the Dodo, Leo the Golden Lion Tamarin, Alfreda Cheetah, Iggle the Eaglet, Phibi Frog, “The Douc” Langur and Amur the Tiger. Most of the cast of characters are endangered species, except for Didi the Dodo. Since the dodo has been extinct for more than 300 years, Didi has taken upon herself to become the main advocate for the endangered animals of today.
In the Big Cat Theater, a movie that is eight minutes long introduces everyone from the cast, explains what their purpose is while at the zoo, and they sing their theme song “Hail the Creatures,” written and recorded by Grammy Award-winning artist Dan Zanes. The movie is done with the help of the 6ABC news crew. As Matt O’Donnell, a reporter for 6ABC, explains in the movie, this exhibit is to “join forces for a common cause.” Didi agrees, saying that it is “advocating for their own protection.”
Other fun and engaging activities that “X-tink-sun” offers are the chalkboards set up against a wall. With a sign over the chalkboards that says “X-press yourself,” visitors are invited to write what is on their minds about protecting the endangered species. As the children run to the chalkboards to write down their feelings about the extinction problem, many adults do the same.
An additional feature of “X-tink-shun” is the “Save our Species Parade.” Which is presented by SEPTA. Guests and staff parade around the Bird Lake at different times during the day among high-flying animal puppets. They come together to help support the message of conservation of endangered animals. Many onlookers enjoy the experience of watching the show and there is a sense of empowerment from everyone uniting to help these animals.
People will also encounter live theatrical puppet presentations and street performances in Bank of America Eco-stages placed throughout the zoo. Each stage features a character that educates and engages the audience in understanding endangered animals and habitats. The message is a powerful one that persuades the spectators to take action in making a difference in the world of nature, especially

Plastic bags out at San Diego SeaWorld gift shops
SeaWorld says it will stop using plastic bags at its San Diego theme park's gift shops on June 18 to cut plastic pollution in the ocean.
Company officials told the San Diego Union Tribune they hope to save a million plastic bags from being used. Customers will be offered paper and reusable sacks instead.
The ban on plastic bags coincides with the opening of the park's Turtle Reef attraction, which focuses on ecology. Officials say plastic bags can be a major problem for some types of sea turtles

Cold feet over Chiang Mai's polar bears
The proposal to bring a couple of polar bears to Chiang Mai Zoo has prompted some heated debate. There's the obvious contradiction of bringing creatures whose natural habitat is the frozen wastes of the Arctic to battle with the steamy tropical heat.
However, unlike their relations in Safari World, these bears would be in air-conditioned enclosures of 18-22C, although that is admittedly hardly Arctic weather. But the reality is that the bears have been born and raised in European zoos and might not fancy real Arctic conditions any more than humans, although they do have some lovely ready-made fur coats. If they did bring the temperatures down to real Arctic weather, it would be unlikely that anyone would go and see them considering Thais feel anything below 20C means an immediate case of frostbite.
It's all about money, of course. In zoos around the world, polar bears have always attracted a lot of interest and boosted the coffers, and that's what the Chiang Mai Zoo has its eyes on. One local enterprise is already selling miniature porcelain polar bears. They don't waste any time do they?
A taste of nature
You may recall there was controversy, again in Chiang Mai, about five years ago when a new safari park announced plans to promote exotic wildlife dishes on the menu at the park's restaurant. Fortunately it was hastily abandoned after sparking considerable public outrage.
The whole episode was apparently an "unfortunate misunderstanding". But it was still bit of a worry that the wildlife menu was originally proposed by someone whose job was supposedly to promote the welfare of wild animals.
You don't really have to be St Francis of Assisi to realise that, after being entertained by zebras, giraffes and other creatures running around the park, to indulge in eating close relations of those creatures could prove to be something of a moral dilemma.
There was seemingly no moral dilemma for two Thai labourers from the Northeast who some years ago were deported from Israel after it was discovered they had feasted on a considerable number of creatures from the nearby children's zoo. They were originally caught sneaking out with a goat, but later admitted they had devoured 40 parrots, four goats, three geese, two love birds and a partridge in a pear tree. Fortunately they gave the giraffe a miss.
It sounded like they had quite a party although they must have

Discovery Cove - The Grand Reef
Discovery Cove takes immersion to new depths when it opens an all-new addition -- The Grand Reef -- in June 2011. The new reef features multiple levels of exploration, from shallow waters to deeper swimming adventures, from white sandy beaches and hammocks swaying in the breeze, to snorkeling among canyons inspired by reefs from around the world.

Exhibit Supports Legislation to End 'Shark-Finning'
A new exhibit at the Aquarium of the Bay brings attention to the practice of 'shark-finning' and how some Californians are trying to stop it.
The Aquarium of the Bay is currently hosting the No Fins, No Future exhibit in support of a California State Assembly bill–AB 376--to ban the possession, sale, trade, and distribution of shark fins in California.
More than 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fins, which are used to make shark fin soup, according to the Aquarium. As a result, the shark population surrounding California has declined by more than 90 percent.
The aim of the exhibit is to expose California voters to what Christina J. Slager, Director of Husbandry for the Aquarium, calls the horrific practice of shark-finning, and to help visitors show their support for the bill.
The exhibit includes a video and an informational graphic, and guests are encouraged to sign postcards showing their support for the legislation. Staff for the Aquarium will mail

World's oldest captive orangutan dies
THE world's oldest captive orangutan has died at a zoo in Tokyo.
Molly's age was estimated at 59 years and four months, according to Tama Zoological Park where she died overnight, Kyodo news agency said.
The animal arrived at Ueno Zoological Gardens, also in Tokyo, from Indonesia in 1955 aged three and became popular as an artist in recent years after starting to draw with crayons.
Her condition began to deteriorate in March, Tama Zoo said. Kyodo did not specify Molly's illness.
Another female orangutan at the zoo, named Gypsy, has become

Rush up, zoo pushes for more security
The rush of people to the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park and Research Centre, Katraj, has increased manifold and the 34 security personnel are proving inadequate to handle the proportionate increase in pressure, feel zoo authorities. To step up security, they say they have moved a proposal to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) seeking an increase in security personnel.
They are also taking measures to ban use of polythene, gutkha and cigarettes inside the zoo to maintain the premises better and the hike in number of security personnel of the zoo will enable better enforcement.
PMC chief security officer, Ramesh Shelar, said, “We will soon issue tenders to enlist a security agency, which will provide us with additional personnel to guard the zoo.”
Director of the Zoo, Rajkumar Jadhav, said they have sought an increase in

Electrified Reefs Are Bringing Coral Back to the Future
Bora Bora, Society Islands, French Polynesia—I dove yesterday in the beautiful lagoon that surrounds the tall island of Bora Bora to have a firsthand look at how the coral reef is doing around this South Pacific resort island. The report is not good. Descending to 90 feet, it comes clear that the reef has been hammered in the past few years. I’ve dived here every year for the past decade and have seen incredible decay.
I spent most of the morning observing the still-growing reef system just 10 to 30 feet below the surface. Although the waters are warm and magnificently clear, invasive predators and natural disaster have taken big tolls. Populations of acanthaster—more popularly known as the Crown of Thorns starfish—mysteriously arrived in Polynesia in 2006. Here in the shallows surrounding Bora Bora—as they have done to reefs on nearby Moorea

CZA to seal zoo revamp's fate in 10 days
The fate of the much-awaited Rs 433-crore Byculla zoo master plan will be decided in 10 days by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) in Delhi as it will grant its final approval.
The CZA is in the process of formulating a fresh set of guidelines for the zoo. The civic body is expected to adhere to these guidelines in toto. The guidelines will be prepared by a group of experts and submitted by B S Bonal, member-secretary, CZA in 10 days. In a marathon meeting held on Thursday in Delhi, a lengthy presentation was made by zoo officials to the CZA.
CZA members categorically said that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) would have to modify the zoo within the existing situation, taking into consideration

Hyenas laugh as tigers prosper at Rajaji
The spirits of the Rajaji National Park authorities have been buoyed by the first photographic evidence of the presence of striped hyena in its western parts after a nine-year hiatus.
The movement of the striped hyena in this part of the park is being seen as a sign of improvement in ecological balance as well as increased movement of the big cats, especially tigers, here, the hyenas scavenging and surviving on the kills made by the felines, Rajaji field director SS Rasaily said on Friday.
Considered a near threatened species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which maintains a “red list” of at-risk and extinct species around the world, the rise in their numbers is in itself a cause for significant relief. According to the Rajaji field director, there are at least 15 striped hyenas in the national park.
The camera traps used in the latest tiger census have recorded an increase in the movement and presence of hyenas in the national park. So far, the hyena population had been restricted to small pockets in the Gohri and Chilla ranges.
Different signs of the presence of hyenas like pugmarks, scat and dens among others were last sighted in the western part of the national park in 2002.
Hyena pugmarks were first spotted in this area in January 2011 after which

Wolves endangered by political predators
WHEN Congress delisted the gray wolves in their recent budget cuts deal, I remembered the great conservationist — and one-time wolf hunter, Aldo Leopold —writing in 1949: "I was young then, full of trigger-itch. I thought that because few wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise."
But when Leopold watched the "fierce green fire dying" in the eyes of a female wolf he had just killed, he had a revelation: "There was something new to me in those eyes," he wrote. "After seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view."
In one moment of cross-species connection, Aldo Leopold's assumptions about wolf management changed. He realized he had too narrowly focused his sights on hunting — not habitat. His worldview had been limited to the needs of one human species dominating the whole ecosystem. The dying wolf taught Leopold what we teach our children: To share. Home. Habitat.
Leopold never killed another wolf. Instead, he devoted his life to conserving this much-maligned and scapegoated species. Leopold would have celebrated the successful wolf-reintroduction programs in this country that are a model for the whole world. Farsighted and wildly popular, the wolf-reintroduction programs in Yellowstone and the northern Rockies provide more than tourism income. These top predators also restore balance to elk and deer populations, which have long overgrazed grasslands.
Wolf biologist Cristina Eisenberg at Oregon State University and author of "The Wolf's Tooth" studies the wolves in Glacier National Park. She says that since wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone, scientists have documented "rapid recovery of over-browsed aspen, willows and cottonwoods, stream bank stabilization in eroded streams, and a dramatic increase in biodiversity of songbirds."
"Wolves are keystone predators who nurture the entire ecosystem," Eisenberg explains. "If we eradicate wolves or lower their numbers, the whole system will grow impoverished and collapse."
On April 15, President Obama signed a budget bill that included a rider that removes wolves from the federal endangered species list in Eastern Washington, Eastern Oregon, Idaho, Montana and north Utah.
This move turns wolf management over to the states. Because Wyoming has no federally approved wolf-management plan, wolves are still protected there.
"But wolves provide the

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Sighted and Recorded
Michael Collins, Naval Research Laboratory scientist and bird watcher, has published an article titled "Putative audio recordings of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis)" which appears in the March issue of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. The audio recordings were captured in two videos of birds with characteristics consistent with the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. This footage was obtained near the Pearl River in Louisiana, where there is a history of unconfirmed reports of this species. During five years of fieldwork, Collins had ten sightings and also heard the characteristic "kent" calls of this species on two occasions.

Endangered penguins in rehab
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSBP), an IUCN Member, other conservationists and volunteers, are working hard to save a colony of threatened Northern Rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes moseleyi) after a devastating oil spill in the Tristan da Cunha archipelago.
On the 16 March 2011, a cargo vessel the MS Oliva, crashed into Nightingale Island, which includes nearly half of the world population of the Northern Rockhopper penguin (Eudyptes moseleyi), one of the world’s most threatened species of penguin.
At least 1,500 oil-soaked Northern Rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes moseleyi) have now been put into ‘rehab’ but those assessing the disaster believe more than 10,000 birds could have been affected.
Katrine Herian, who works for the RSPB on the island, says: “The priority is to get food into the birds as they are very hungry. We are trying locally caught fish and some are starting to take small half inch squares of the food.
“We will do all we can to clean up as many penguins as possible after this

Alien Giant Tortoise Helps Restore Ecosystem
Rather than wreaking havoc on a tiny island in the Indian Ocean -- as alien species can sometimes do -- a giant tortoise appears to be helping to restore the native ecosystem.
Wildlife scientists introduced Aldabra giant tortoises -- which can reach up to 661 pounds (300 kilograms) -- to an island, called Ile aux Aigrettes, off the coast of the island nation of Mauritius. By 2009, 19 adult giant tortoises called the island home. The tortoises were to replace the role of their extinct kin. [Extinct Giant Tortoises Could Be Revived]
Before humans first arrived on Ile aux Aigrettes, various giant tortoises lived there, as did giant skinks -- a type of lizard -- and, most likely, flightless dodo birds. The disappearance of these animals affected other things living on the island, in particular the native ebony trees, which have been devastated by people hunting for firewood.
The giant tortoises and the skinks ate the fruit of these trees, spreading the seeds. Without these fruit-eaters around, the trees could no longer disperse; young trees only grew directly below the adults.
Worldwide, invasive species are considered one of the greatest threats to biodiversity, so, the idea of replacing an extinct creature with a foreign one is controversial. It has been done elsewhere with the new species often closely related to the one being replaced.
For example, the North American peregrine falcon was re-established from seven subspecies from four continents, and yellow crowned night herons have been introduced to Bermuda to replace extinct herons and

Cheetah gives birth to 7 adorable cubs (Photo Cheetah Cubs Fei Long)
SEVEN cheetah cubs were born at Shanghai Wildlife Park in what officials described yesterday as a rather rare event.
Usually a cheetah gives birth to between one and five cubs, officials said.
The cheetah mother, however, couldn't provide milk for all seven cubs, so feeders had to "recruit" two dogs to help, officials added.
The father Da Hu and the mother Lao Da are both five years old and grew up together. From a young age they interacted well and keepers decided to mate the two. Several months after staying together, Lao Da was p

Phuket Opinion: Captive dolphins pitied, even in the Land of Smiles
The recent announcement that a Canadian investor has sought provincial support for his plan to develop a 900-million-baht aquarium, resort and retail facility in Rawai has generated much debate over the ethics of keeping dolphins in captivity.
Soon after the announcement that dolphin performances were slated to be among the attractions at the aquarium, forum comments and letters arguing passionately against the practice arrived on the Gazette Online and at the Phuket Gazette offices in large numbers.
Holding dolphins in captivity unfairly sentences these intelligent creatures to a highly artificial and unhealthy existence, in surroundings enormously different from their natural environment, the authors said.
Shortly after the release of our news article on the proposed project, the investor, Daniel McDaniel, contacted the Gazette to explain that the project would include a science center and marine petting zoo, all part of a commitment to raise public awareness and increase education about marine life and the environment that sustains it.
While not arguing the accuracy of the description, he commented that the term “performing animals” as used in the Phuket Gazette article tended to convey a negative impression, as evidenced by the more than 50 negative comments in our online readers' forum.
The Gazette empathizes with Mr McDaniel as a Phuket-supportive

Bonobos break out and end up with the gorillas
The Surprised the Wuppertal Gorilla Horde bad: Suddenly, excited eight bonobos were sitting in their outdoor enclosure and brought the cozy Zooalltag disoriented. What had happened, the Wuppertal Zoo? Probably was a sliding door in the monkey house not closed properly, speculates zoo veterinarian Arne Lawrenz. For through that door escaped the eight-member bonobo troops on Friday (29.04.11) without permission. The bonobos were not very far. They landed straight on a large outdoor enclosure of lowland gorillas. Fortunately this was noticed a Zoomitarbeiterin that had to do in the next exhibit.
As a precaution we had then in Wuppertal first

Snake venom: Groovy, baby!
A team of six scientists from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the Technische Universität München (the Technical University of Munich, Germany) used biophysics to explain how snakes use grooved fangs to deposit venom in victims.
Some snakes have tubing inside their fangs that distributes globules of venom in prey like a syringe. Most venomous snakes, however, along with many other reptiles, deposit venom in prey via a groove that runs down the middle of each fang.
Bruce Young, from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and his German colleagues, Florian Herzog, Paul Friedel, Sebastian Rammensee, Andreas Bausch and J. Leo van Hemmen, all of the Technical University of Munich, studied how the viscosity of the venom and the fang-prey interaction affected the venom delivery during a snake bite.
Snake venom is a non-Newtonian fluid, meaning it behaves sometimes more like a solid and sometimes more like a liquid. Examples of other non-Newtonian fluids include ketchup, oobleck - the two parts corn starch, one part water gooey concoction - and Silly Putty.
The flow of liquids is affected by liquids' interactions with surfaces. How quickly they slide against a surface is called viscosity. Water has a low viscosity - it flows quickly over substances. Honey, on the other hand, has a high viscosity. It's stickier and flows more slowly, behaving almost like a solid. Snake venom also has a high viscosity, flowing about 500 times more slowly than water. Even so, it's fast enough to flow down a fang and into a victim at a pace of

Abhaya the little jumbo was lucky but what about others?

Last week, the Dehiwala Zoo welcomed a new baby elephant “Abhaya” who had lost his family to a tragic train/elephant collision.


It was just another peaceful night in October last year for two elephant families roaming the jungles of Habarana. There were two baby elephants aged only a few months in their midst and grazing peacefully, they approached the railroad. It was only when the sound of the oncoming train disturbed the silence of the night that the mothers recognizing the danger tried to protect them but the collision was deadly.


The mother jumbos were instantly killed and the two calves injured. Wildlife officers reached the accident site at Kithulothuwa along the Kantale Trincomalee railroad at dawn and the baby jumbos were sent to the Girithale wildlife facility for treatment. The one that had all its legs broken didn’t survive long but, the other, believed to be only eight months fought hard for his life. His

SIW 27 April - Animal matchmaking techniques

Listen to this week's lesson about matchmaking endangered animals then take the online quiz.

Eggs head for the hills in project to save endangered frog species

DEEP in the Snowy Mountains a helicopter lands on boggy ground, bearing three scientists and their precious cargo of 100 frog eggs.


The tiny, delicate balls are the offspring of the southern corroboree frog, one of the most endangered animals in the world.


In an attempt to save the species, which is being wiped out by the chytrid fungus, scientists from the Department of Environment and Heritage have developed

Ape close and personal: Stunning images which capture primates at their most unguarded


Is China killing Africa's elephants?

The number of poachings has increased dramatically, as has the Chinese demand for ivory.


Many blame China for the rise in elephant killings in Africa.


The growing appetite for ivory in Asia, coupled with the increasing influence of China in countries across central and southern parts of Africa, has led to more elephants being killed for their ivory tusks.


In the latest incident to point to this trend, Thai customs officials seized two tons of ivory hidden in the hold of a ship arriving from the Kenyan port of Mombasa.


The 247 tusks discovered on March 30 are thought to are estimated to be worth about $3.3 million, illustrating the lucrative nature of a global illegal trade that threatens to decimate Africa’s wildlife.


The head of Kenya’s wildlife authority blamed the Chinese for the slaughter of more than 100 elephants and 20 rhinos in this East African country alone last year.


“Ninety percent of all the people who pass through our airports and are apprehended with illegal wildlife trophies are Chinese,” said Julius Kipng’etich, director of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).


China is investing billions in Africa every year in deals that swap roads and railways for the minerals and natural resources that fuel its growing economy. But wildlife experts say there is a dark side to the Chinese presence.


“China is the major driver for trade in ivory and that is linked to China’s phenomenal economic growth, the level of disposable income there, a re-embracing of traditional culture and status symbols in which ivory plays a role and the phenomenal increase of Chinese nationals on the African continent,” said Tom Milliken, regional director for east and southern Africa at TRAFFIC, a group which monitors the global wildlife trade.


An embassy cable written by the United States ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger, in February last year and published by the website WikiLeaks said: “KWS noticed a marked increase in poaching wherever Chinese labor camps were located and in fact set up specific interdiction efforts aimed to reduce poaching.”


.Ranneberger added, “The [government of China] has not demonstrated

CK: Xayaburi still on course

Firm confident in soundness of EIA


Thailand's second-largest contractor, insists that banks and the government of Laos remain committed to the Xayaburi dam the company plans to build on the Mekong River.


Laos has given no indication that it plans to review the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the US$3.8-billion project, said Anukool Tuntimas, a company director and executive vice-president for human resources and general administration.


"We've been assured our EIA report has followed all the correct procedures," he said. "If we had not compiled the report properly, the Lao government would not have okayed our doing this project."


Even if Laos did review the EIA, it was doubtful any major changes would be made, said Dr Anukool.


"The [four] banks we've asked for loans to finance the Xayaburi dam also remain committed to us. Nothing has changed," he said.


Germany's Deutsche Presse-Agentur recently quoted Viraphonh Viravong, director-general of the Electricity Department of the Lao Energy and Mines Ministry, as saying his country would review the EIA of the hydroelectric dam that is opposed by downstream nations.


"We will hire an international consulting firm to review the comments made by our neighbours," said Mr Viraphonh.


"And then we will see how serious it is and what the mitigation


Nature's Living Tape Recorders May Be Telling Us Secrets

Back in the 1930s there was a bird, an Australian bird, who had this thing for a human lady. The lady's name was Mrs. Wilkinson (I couldn't find her first name) and she lived in Australia. So did the bird. It visited her daily for food. She named it "James."


When James the bird decided to woo Mrs. Wilkinson, he built a mound in her backyard, stood on top of it, and sang. Mrs. Wilkinson, naturally flattered, invited some human friends to listen.


According to those who were there, on one occasion James sang for 43 minutes. Because James was a superb lyrebird (that's what they're actually called), his songs included sounds he had heard in the woods and suburbs where he lived. Lyrebirds are probably the world's most gifted mimics and according to Wikipedia, James' love song to Mrs. Wilkinson included a kookaburra's laughing song, the calls of cockatoos, wattle-birds, starlings, parrots, an automobile horn, a rock-crushing machine and a jackhammer.


These birds are amazing. If you've never heard a lyrebird do a perfect imitation of a chainsaw, let me introduce you to Chook, a superb lyrebird now resident at the Adelaide Zoo.


Chook lived in a cage next to a panda exhibit while it was under construction so presumably that's how he learned to do perfect renditions of hammers, power drills, and car alarms. Many birds can mimic sounds but lyrebirds are the masters. They are nature's living tape recorders, and sometimes their songs can be troubling.


For example, when the BBC's David Attenborough ran into a lyrebird deep in the Australian woods, the bird not only sang the songs of 20 other forest birds, it also did a perfect imitation of foresters and their chainsaws, who apparently were getting closer. That same bird made the sound of a car alarm.


These birds were, in effect, recording the sounds of their own habitat destruction. And they were doing this, ironically, inside their mating songs.


Are Lyrebirds Accidental Historians?


The birds, of course, don't "remember" where they picked up these sounds. For them it is just a noise. But scientists do wonder how old are these sounds? Lyrebirds can live 40 to 50 years.


In 1969, Neville Fenton, an Australian park ranger, recorded a lyrebird singing a song that sounded very much like a flute, a flute being played by a human. After much sleuthing, Mr. Fenton discovered that 30 years earlier, a farmer/flute player had lived near the park and played tunes to his pet lyrebird. That lyrebird downloaded the songs, then was allowed to live wild in the park.


Phrases from those flute songs apparently became part of the local lyrebird songbook. A scholar named Norman

Hanoi speeds up cleaning of Hoan Kiem Lake to save legendary turtle

The dredging and cleaning of the lake must be finished quickly to serve the treatment of the legendary turtle.


According to experts, the turtle is now healthy and it doesn’t need to live in its “sanatorium” anymore. However, Dr. Bui Quang Te, chief of the turtle treatment group, said that the turtle cannot return to its natural environment right now because the lake is not cleaned yet. However, if the turtle lives in cage for a long time, its skills to live naturally may be affected.


Te said the latest tests of Hoan Kiem Lake’s water showed that the water contained a lot of bacteria, fungi, toxic algae, etc.


“Putting the turtle back into the lake when the water is still polluted, means that the treatment for the Hoan Kiem turtle will become useless. We have asked the Hanoi authorities to urgently clean the lake,” Te said.


The turtle can return to its natural environment in two weeks. However, just a small area of Hoan Kiem Lake has been cleaned.


Dr. Nguyen Viet Vinh, a member of the turtle treatment group, said that if the legendary turtle lives in the cage for a long time, it would be familiar to the cage and to the food supplied by man. The turtle is highly possible tamed.


“The most important task right now is cleaning the Hoan Kiem Lake,” Dr. Vinh emphasized.


“Though the turtle lives in the clean tank, it still lacks natural

Say goodbye to Indera the Sun Bear

ONE-YEAR-OLD Indera has never ventured further beyond the Malayan sun bear enclosure at the Singapore Zoo.


But, come the end of May, the cub will leave sunny Singapore and take a 13-hour flight to Britain. His new home will be the Rare Species Conservation Centre (RSCC) in Kent in south-east England.


He is leaving behind his sister, mother and father but his relocation - under an animal-exchange programme - is for the greater good of his species.


'The parting is bittersweet,' said Mr Subash Chandran, 59, curator of zoology at the zoo.


'We are definitely sad to see him go as we've seen him grow over the year from just a tiny cub to what he is now,' he added, referring to Indera's current weight of 28kg.


However, he pointed out that Indera will have an important role to play in his new setting. It will help sustain the Malayan sun bear's population and

Tassie tigers cat-like hunters

Researchers in the United States believe the hunting style of the tasmanian tiger was more cat-like than wolf.


Early settlers dubbed the tasmanian tiger a 'marsupial wolf'.


But scientists at the Rhode Island's Brown University have released research showing its hunting style was more like a cat.


The last known tiger died in captivity in Hobart in 1936.


The research shows that even though the animal resembled a dog, it was not a pursuit hunter but a pounce predator.


The tiger's forearm bones show it was not built for speed but rather could twist its paws to grapple with prey like a cat.


But unlike other ambush predators, the tiger did not have retractable claws.


Researchers say it is possible the tiger evolved this way so the young marsupials could crawl into the mother's pouch.


The report says:


"Craniodental studies confirm the thylacine's carnivorous diet, but little attention has been paid to its postcranial skeleton which would confirm, or refute, rare eyewitness reports of a more ambushing predatory mode than the pack-hunting pursuit mode of wolves and other large canids."


"Here we show that thylacines had the elbow morphology typical of an ambush predator and propose that the 'tasmanian tiger' vernacular name might be more apt than the 'marsupial wolf '.


In light of their findings, researchers say the theory that dingoes caused the tigers' extinction on mainland Australia 3,000 years ago should be reconsidered.


The animals would have competed for the same prey but the research suggests dingoes may have been dominant because of their hunting

Giant Squid Killed by Sound?

"We now have proof" sonar blasts can harm squid, expert says..


When giant squid were found dead off Spain about a decade ago, scientists suspected that powerful sound pulses from ships had harmed the animals. Now the evidence may be in.


A new study says low-frequency sounds from human activities can affect squid and other cephalopods, not just whales and other marine mammals, which have long been thought to be vulnerable to such pulses. (See "U.S. Navy Sonar May Harm Killer Whales, Expert Says.")


The finding suggests noise pollution in the ocean is having a much broader effect on marine life than previously thought, said study leader Michel André, a marine bioacoustician at Barcelona's Technical University of Catalonia.


"We know that noise pollution in the oceans has a significant impact on dolphins and whales [which use natural sonar to navigate and hunt]. ... but this is the first study indicating a severe impact on invertebrates, an extended group of marine species that are not known to rely on sound for living," André said in a statement.


Giant Squid Mystery Solved?


In the early 2000s the remains of giant squid were found off Spain's Asturias province (map). In each case, the creatures' bodies appeared soon after ships had used air guns to conduct low-frequency sound-pulse exercises

Chimps are self-aware, study finds

CHIMPANZEES are self-aware and can anticipate the impact of their actions on the environment around them, an ability once thought to be uniquely human, according to a study released today.


The findings, reported in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, challenge assumptions about the boundary between human and non-human, and shed light on the evolutionary origins of consciousness, the researchers said.


Earlier research had demonstrated the capacity of several species of primates, as well as dolphins, to recognise themselves in a mirror, suggesting a fairly sophisticated sense of self.


The most common experiment consisted of marking an animal with paint in a place - such as the face - that it could only perceive while looking at its reflection.


If the ape sought to touch or wipe off the mark while facing a mirror, it showed

Southeast Asian palm oil firms are turning to Africa

Southeast Asian palm oil firms are turning to Africa as land runs out back home and world demand for cheap cooking oil soars, but the continent’s harsh weather, high costs and land disputes could derail their plans.


Malaysia’s Sime Darby and Singapore’s Golden Agri Resources have joined a slew of global firms entering Africa by snapping up hundreds of thousands of hectares of land in Liberia, but it could still take years to turn the region into a net exporter and help ease high palm oil prices.


With an increasing number of firms rushing to Africa as part of a global grab for land in the face of soaring food prices, African governments such as Nigeria and Tanzania have also thrown open their doors to planters by offering tax breaks and big land concessions.


But a lack of clear land titles, poor margins and weak yields could turn out to be massive stumbling blocks. “Africa is not a dream continent for palm oil,” said Gert Vandersmissen, director of operations in Gabon for Belgium’s Siat Group.


“We have been here for 30 years and we get on by with small profits. The costs can be high.”


But with Malaysia and Indonesia, which together account for 85% of the world’s palm oil output, likely to run out of land soon, the two Southeast Asian countries do not have many alternatives.


Nomura said in a recent note that strict environmental rules would see both Southeast Asian countries run out of land by 2020-22, a century after colonial


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