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Zoo News Digest May-June 2018

Zoo News Digest
May-June 2018


 17May2018

What’s In the Word “Conservation?”
In this theme, I cover some of the key questions surrounding the ambiguities of the definition of ‘conservation’. Throughout my many years working professionally in the captive koala sector, I have noticed a gradual shift in the meaning and understanding of the word ‘conservation’
The Definition of “Conservation”
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, ‘conservation’ is the “preservation, protection, or restoration of the natural environment and of wildlife”.
What it doesn’t say, however, is how to preserve species and environments, what conservation is meant to look like, an
 
 
 
Holiday giants including TUI and TripAdvisor 'profiting from animal cruelty' 
The world’s biggest tour group has been promoting tourist trips to an elephant “orphanage” in Asia where it’s claimed “many animals were bred – rather than rescued – and are chained for long periods and threatened with bullhooks”, an investigation claims.
TUI, which is also Britain’s leading holiday company, was also allegedly found selling elephant rides to tourists, even though it claimed to have stopped in 2015 on ethical grounds.
The tour giant – and some of the world’s other best known names in travel – are accused of profiting from animal cruelty by promoting attractions worldwide where animals may be caused to suffer behind the scenes to make them compliant for holidaymakers.
 
 
 
19 Exceptional Zoos and Aquariums Achieve AZA Accreditation
Twice a year, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) independent Accreditation Commission (the Commission) evaluates accreditation applications from the world’s best aquariums, nature centers, science centers and zoos. Most recently, the Commission reviewed 21 accreditation applications and 2 applications for certification. As a result of these rigorous assessments, AZA proudly announces that the following facilities are accredited:
Alexandria Zoological Park, La.
Audubon Zoo, La.
Brevard Zoo, Fla.
Dolphin Discovery Cozumel, Mexico
Dolphin Discovery Isla Mujeres, Mexico
El Paso Zoo, Texas
Fort Worth Zoo, Texas
Georgia Aquarium, Ga.
Houston Zoo, Inc., Texas
Jenkinson's Aquarium, N.J.
Louisville Zoological Garden, Ky.
Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, Conn.
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, Fla.
Ocean Park Corporation, Hong Kong
OdySea Aquarium, Ariz.
Rainforest & Aquarium at Moody Gardens, Texas
Sacramento Zoo, Calif.
San Antonio Zoological Society, Texas
Seattle Aquarium, Wash.
“AZA’s accreditation standards are widely acknowledged as the ‘gold-standard’ in the zoological profession, and our independent Commission grants accreditation only to those who have reached this level of achievement,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “AZA-accredited facilities are proven leaders in animal care, welfare, and conservation, contributing $216 m
 
 
 
There's an enormous difference between animal rights and conservation
I stopped buying Lush products a while ago, largely because of this issue (I didn’t want to give money to charities that use fear-mongering, hand-wringing anthropomorphism to actively fight biodiversity), and their treatment of the Little Fireface Project only solidified this. Now Lush has sponsored a conference whose end goal is essentially dead elephants, whether they want to admit that or not. 
 
 
 
Animal Training VS Enrichment Programs; What Is More Important?
Throughout my career I discovered that the phycology of animals interest me most. Questions like why animals do their thing and why they have certain responses etc is an interesting part of why I enjoy what I do. Animal Training in general is a passionate part where I try to get better at and discover how my style of training works and what I’m actually doing. Meeting individuals that need different strategies that give you another perspective about the science of operant conditioning. Its cool to see how different species act different and are completely different on many different aspects when you train them. How you thought an animal would be is not at all what it is working with them up close. We learn so much through those interactions what helps us respect these animals even more.
 
 
 
Team Fiona: A Conversation with Christina Gorsuch, Curator of Mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo
After spending time at three other zoos, Christina Gorsuch became Curator of Mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2015. She oversees the care and husbandry of a wide variety of animals from lions to black rhinoceroses to Asian elephants to Mexican wolves to African wild dogs. However, soon Gorsuch would become most associated with hippos when she became social media famous as Coach of Team Fiona, the animal care team responsible for caring for the zoo's prematurely born hippo. Here is her story. 
 
 
 
Lizards with toxic green blood may have evolved it to fight disease
Coursing through the veins of some New Guinean lizards, is blood so toxic it would kill a human 40 times over.
Besides being deadly, what makes it even more striking is its colour. It is such a bright shade of lime green it makes the reptiles’ muscles, bones and tongues green as well.
This colour comes from high levels of biliverdin – a green bile pigment produced as a waste product that causes jaundice in humans.
Not only are these reptile perfectly healthy, scientists think the prevalence of green blood among New Guinean skinks means counterintuitively this toxic b
 
 
 
Hippos Poop So Much That Sometimes All the Fish Die
At first, Chris Dutton and Amanda Subalusky had no idea why the fish were dying.
At a bridge on the border between Kenya and Tanzania, they noticed that whenever the Mara River rose by a few feet, dead fish would wash up on its banks, sometimes in the thousands. Storks, vultures, crocodiles, and hyenas made short work of the carcasses, so “if you weren’t there to see it, you’d never know it was happening,” says Dutton. Local rangers knew about the die-offs, but they blamed the events on farmers who sprayed pesticides in upstream fields.
It wasn’t the farmers. Through an increasingly bold set of experiments, involving remote-controlled boats, computer simulations, a makeshift dam, and vast tankers of excrement-filled water, Dutton and Subalusky identified the real culprits: hippos.
The duo, who are married, published their results in a paper with the remarkably polite title of “Organic matter loading by hippopotami causes subsidy overload resulting in downstream hypoxia and fish kills.” 
 
 
 
At The Zoo, Harvard Medical Students Get A Different Kind Of Training
Sofina is sedated, sprawled out on an examination table as four medical professionals hover over her. The 8-year-old has had Type 1 diabetes most of her life, but it seems like her normal insulin isn’t helping. Sofina’s doctors worry she might have developed Cushing’s disease and they’re taking blood samples to figure out what’s wrong.
Joseph Rosenthal, a fourth-year Harvard Medical School student, will be the one drawing Sofina’s blood. This is a bit of a unique experience for him. He’s drawn blood before, but up until recently, the process has mostly been with humans. Sofina, who resides at the Franklin Park Zoo, will be his first ring-tailed lemur patient.
Veterinarian Dr. Alex Becket coaches Rosenthal through some of the unexpected hurdles, like spotting a vein and not something that just looks like a vein.
“Now keep in mind, that with fur, it might bunch up on y


 
When Conservation Is Just Another Way To Spell Exploitation
Anyone involved with the conservation of lions in South Africa knows, and shudders, at the mention of Ukutula Lodge & Conservation Center (usually and more aptly referred as Ukutula Lion Farm) Anyone who is not deeply involved with lion conservation is still most likely familiar with Ukutula’s name, and not for any good reason.
One of the largest predator breeding facilities in South Africa, Ukutula’s name has become synonymous with the cub petting industry, as well as with the canned hunting industry. In recent years, Ukutula has begun insisting that it “tracks” all the lions it sells as offal from its massive cub petting farm “in order to assure that they aren’t used for canned hunting”. All of the information which supposedly proves that claim, however, is “confidential” which means that the public can only take the word of a company which breeds and exploits lions for profit, as proof that they don’t actually sell them for yet another tier of profit, to the canned hunting industry.
And frankly, even if Ukutula published the names of the buyers of their lions, it’s not difficult to legally avoid “selling to canned hunting facilities”. An entity like Ukutula can sell their lions to anyone who is “unassociated” with any canned hunting facility, and legally state that they “do not sell to canned hunting facilities” while the person they sold all their lions to, will then turn around and hold a dispersal sale, auctioning or selling all the lions to canned hunting farms. And it’s not illegal. Nor is it illeg
 
 
 
Lions and Tigers and Bears Are Going Extinct
A research paper published April 12, 2018, in the online journal PLOS Biology, identifies the 10 most “charismatic” animals known and loved by humans that may soon become extinct, perhaps, in great part, because, most of us don’t realize how few of them actually exist.  They’re talking about elephants, giraffes, lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, polar bears, gorillas, gray wolves, and, of course, pandas, that are all going the way of the dinosaur. Why don’t we know this? Why aren’t we paying more attention?
Most of us are captivated by and naturally attracted to animals, especially mammals. We often feel an emotional connection. The animals that are most popular with humans are everywhere we look, in the form of stuffed animal toys and cartoon and realistic images used in ma
 
 
 
'A rich conservationist is a rare species'
The Whitley Fund for Nature is celebrating a quarter of a century and looks set to successfully continue providing financial assistance to conservationists across the globe. To date, almost £15 million has been awarded to over 197 wildlife pioneers in 80 countries.
No mean feat in a competitive and challenging field not always financially sufficient or fortunate enough to provide long-standing support.
Seen by many as the 'Green Oscars', the awards target those working in nature conservation regarded as international advocates for bio diversity. Notable emphasis is on local projects in resource poor areas and funding  is provided for proven grass-roots conservation leaders in developing countries. Emphasis is on people and wildlife working in a mutually beneficial way.
Best in the field
The 2018 recipients of the prestigious prize consist of  six 'of the best in the field', from various backgrounds and regions.
Munir Virani's Kenyan project is saving the region's threatened vultures who due to negative cultural perceptions are often poisoned. The project aims to reverse this misguided thinking and it's hoped it will serve as a model for other African countries. 
 
 
 
Symbio Wildlife Park’s Jarrad Prangell has been named Australasian Zookeeper of the Year
Symbio Wildlife Park is celebrating one of its team being named the best zookeeper in the nation.
Jarrad Prangell, 26, won the title of Australasian Zookeeper of the Year at the Australasian Society of Zoo Keeping (ASZK) Conference.
While finalists are not told who nominated them he is pretty sure it was Symbio’s owners Matt and John Radnidge.
Mr Prangell started working at the family zoo when the Radnidge family gave him an opportunity at 21. He has always had a passion for working with animals but growing up in Sydney’s Inner-West meant he would take every opportunity to explore the bush during camping trips and family holidays to the Blue Mountains and South Coast.
He loves all animals but his particular interest has always been reptiles. Now he gets to look after reptiles and amphibeans at Symbio.
“I grew up watching Steve Irwin. I always knew what I wanted to do and the Radnidge family gave me a chan
 
 
 
Zoo workers injured when 800-pound animal escapes
Two employees of a Rhode Island zoo suffered minor injuries when an 800-pound animal described as a "goat-antelope" escaped its enclosure.
The takin, native to the eastern Himalayas, escaped just after 9 a.m. Tuesday and was back in its enclosure by 10 a.m., before the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence opened to the public.
 
 
 
VIDEO: Florida school ‘sorry’ about live tiger at prom
A Florida high school has apologised for exhibiting live wild animals including a caged tiger at a jungle-themed prom in a hotel.
Friday night’s event for final-year students at Christopher Columbus High School, an all-male private school in the suburbs of Miami, featured typical prom entertainment such as a disco and dancers. 
However, the party also included more controversial “entertainment”: a display of live animals, included a lemur, macaws and a tiger.
Video footage shared online by the sister of a student showed the animal pacing a small cage in the middle of the dance floor, surrounded by a crowd of excited prom-goers.
 
 
 
Edinburgh Zoo welcomes endangered rockhopper penguin chicks
RZSS Edinburgh Zoo are celebrating the hatching of three endangered northern rockhopper penguin chicks. The chicks mark the most successful northern rockhopper penguin breeding season at the zoo in over 27 years. Only days old, the chicks will remain on their nests with their parents until they reach around 3 months. READ MORE: Edinburgh Zoo’s penguins have a new bubble machine and they love it Dawn Nicoll, senior penguin keeper, said, “We are very excited to welcome three new chicks to our rockhopper colony. It has been amazing to watch the new parents caring for their young and being very attentive, though we aren’t out of the woods yet as the first 30 days are crucial for a newborn chick’s development. 
 
 
 
Puerto Vallarta Zoo will appeal decision of Profepa inspection
After revealing that personnel of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office and Environmental Protection (Profepa) seized 54 animals from the zoo in Puerto Vallarta, the site’s director, Martín Castañeda, has prepared a criminal appeal against the federal agency for irregularities in documentation.
According to Castañeda, the agency, in the report, said that the animals were in perfect health and in appropriate environments for their stay, a contrast to the bulletin issued to the media, which indicated that there were no conditions for the healthy recreation of the animals seized.
“It is verified that in the development of the activities that the inspected person performs, related to the management of the wild life, no acts of cruelty are carried out, in turn they are observed in general in good apparent physical condition in all the housed specimens as well as it was observed that in the interior of the cages of each animal are troughs and drinking troughs”, dictates the inspecti
 
 
 
Appearance of exotic animal suggests possible existence of 'illegal zoo'
It is thought the animal, barely alive, had fled a cruel master, seeing as its neck and legs were bruised. It was caught by employees of the Mežavairogi animal sanctuary, who located and caught it after being tipped off that an exotic animal was roaming free between the Iecava and Baldone areas near Rīga.
It was delivered to the Rīga Zoo, and specialists are trying to wring it away from death's embrace. The animal was famished to the point that specialists at the Rīga Zoo weren't able, at first look, to tell if it's a male or female mara. 
People with information about its possible master are asked to inform the authorities. Seeing as it's not the first exotic animal to be seen in the vicinity, it's possible there's a sinister scheme at work.
"It can't be excluded there's an illegal mini-zoo somewhere, or maybe someone is keeping exotic animals for fun," said Rīga Zoo director Ingmārs Līdaka.
Authorities were unable to find the owner of the wallaby, which had been taken into the zoo earlier. As it was discovered during freezing temperatures, the wallaby was named Sp
 
 
 
Students, parents outraged by caged tiger at high school prom in Miami
Some parents and students are outraged after organizers of a Miami high school prom featured a caged tiger for its jungle theme. The caged animal's presence angered some who called it animal abuse for the sake of entertainment, CBS Miami reports.
The Christopher Columbus High School prom took place Friday night at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Miami Airport and Convention Center. The sister of one student posted video of the event on Facebook and called the decision "shameful."
She told CBS Miami that she and her family are longtime animal rights activists who consider the act animal abuse. They said the entire act was done in poor taste.
"Tigers are wild animals. They don't need to be displayed as objects for our amusement. They don't like the fire, the cage
 
 
 
Matchmaking for zoo animals
Zoos have always been places where people come to marvel at, and connect with, the wonders of the animal world. But with more and more species endangered in their natural habitats, zoos have had to change their stripes. They've shifted their focus to conservation, and gone is the old practice of bringing in exotic animals from the wild. But without them, zoos today have to re-populate from within. And it's complicated. It turns out that behind every baby animal crowds flock to see and biologists want to protect, there's an elaborate mix of science, software, genetics, and moving vans. It's no longer the old-fashioned birds and the bees at the modern zoo -- it's more like Match.com.
Animals with babies -– always a sure-fire hit at the zoo. It's what all living creatures are biologically programmed to do: mate, rear young and pass their genes onto the next generation. But you might be surprised to learn that long before the babies. And even long before the making of the babies. There is this
 
 
 
Alleged wildlife smuggling kingpin jailed in Thailand
A court in Thailand has sentenced a Thai man believed to be a kingpin in the illicit wildlife trade to 2 ½ years in prison for smuggling rhinoceros horns, an organization that works with police to combat trafficking said Friday.
The group Freeland said the court in Samut Prakarn province convicted Boonchai Bach this week in the shipment of 11 kilograms (24.2 pounds) of rhino horns from Africa worth $700,000. The rhino horns were seized in December when a Chinese smuggler was arrested at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport. A wildlife quarantine officer at the airport accused of assisting the smugglers was also arrested.
The group said a relative of Boonchai's was caught when he sought to pick up the shipment, implicating Boonchai as the financier and leading to
 
 
 
Emirates Park Zoo and Resort Wins ‘Best Zoo Operator Award in the Middle East’
Emirates Park Zoo & Resorts received a well-deserved recognition as it took home the ‘Best Zoo Operator Award in the Middle East’ during the 4th Theme Parks & Entertainment Development Forum, which was held at Meydan Hotel, Dubai on May 8th, 2018.
The 4th Theme Parks & Entertainment Development Forum is a platform that brings key decision-makers from across the MENA region to discuss, establish partnerships among industry experts and learn the ways of profiting from local and global investment opportunities in the leisure and entertainment division.
The award recognized Emirates Park Zoo & Resort’s excellence in service and efforts towards habitat preservation, while promoting safety and cleanliness habits at the highest level. The zoo continues to exceed in customer expectations providing them with an exceptional experience in terms of hospitality, entertainment and recreational activities in the Middle East.
 
 
 
zoo concepts for the 21st century shift focus to animal welfare
architectural competitions platform archstorming presents the three winning teams of its latest competition titled ‘coexist: rethinking zoos’. challenging the traditional concept of zoos, submissions propose interactive and imaginative alternatives such as elevated and non-intrusive paths, autochthonous species adapted to the climate and even 3D virtual animals. the winning proposals focus on improving the well being of animals and enhance the educational and scientific aspects of a zoo by including spaces for art, history and reflection.
 
 
 
Is that selfie really worth it? Why face time with wild animals is a bad idea
The phenomenon of kangaroo selfies hit the headlines earlier this month, when several tourists were injured while feeding wild kangaroos in Lake Macquarie, north of Sydney. They may have wanted a memorable holiday snap, but ended up with rather more than they bargained for.
One news report described how the "cute and cuddly" animals had begun "viciously attacking people".
Is that really fair on the kangaroos? Of all the adjectives you could use to describe an animal that is territorial, fiercely maternal and has large claws, "cuddly" is pretty far down the list.
The problem with that description of the incident is that it suggests that the kangaroos were to blame for the injuries. In reality, it was the fault of the people getting too close and offering them the wrong food. Having become so used to being handed carrots, we can hardly blame the kangaroos for being "hopped up", as the news coverage punningly put it.
In India, another recent case ended in tragedy when a man attempted to take a selfie with a bear. The man reportedly turned his back on the bear and was then mauled to death.
 
 
 
World’s first different-sex Francois' leaf monkey twins debut in China
A pair of Francois' leaf monkeys made their public debut on Sunday at Guangzhou's Chimelong Safari Park in south China’s Guangdong Province.
According to the zoo, the pair is the first set of different-sex Francois' leaf twins ever born in captivity.
Currently, there are a total of 14 Francois' leaf monkeys living in the park. Xiao Xiao, their mother, gave birth to the pair in April. The babies were born with bright orange fur which will turn black within two to three months, reports Chinese news portal China News.
 
 
 
Maritime Aquarium Eliminates Nearly All Single-Use Plastics
As a leader in Long Island Sound and ocean conservation, the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is doing its part for the environment by significantly reducing its employ of single-use plastics.
According to a news release, gone from the aquarium's cafeteria and theater concessions stand are all drinking straws. Guests now have the option of boxed water or beverages in glass and aluminum containers, instead of in plastic bottles.
Additionally, plastic silverware, coffee lids and food containers have been replaced by biodegradable substitutes. In the Aquarium's gift shop, plush animals no longer are stuffed with plastic beads, toys no longer have cellophane wrapping and purchases no longer go into plastic bags.
"Plastics are pervasive in the consumer wo

 

 

13May2018

Zion's big cat pride set for a public revival
A troubled big cat park in Northland has been closed to the public for years, with its population of lions and tigers in decline. Harrison Christian goes inside Kamo Wildlife Sanctuary as it gears up for a re-opening, which the park's founder claims he'll fight to stop.
The bad headlines came lightly at first, then thick and fast. Financial trouble; domestic violence; alleged mistreatment of animals. Craig "the Lion Man" Busch collected dozens of lions and tigers at a facility in Northland before he left the country – and the cats – to start again in South Africa.
Four tigers; two cheetahs; seventeen lions and one black leopard. That's the full inventory remaining at what is now called Kamo Wildlife Sanctuary. Where the park once had almost 40 animals a decade ago, there are now only 24 left.
Nestled in the countryside east of Whangarei and echoing with the roars of the big cats, the park has stood dormant since the government ordered it closed to the public four years ago. There's been talk of a revival ever since, but dates indicated for a re-opening have come and gone. 
Meanwhile, various operators kept things running; the cats might be off-limits to the public, but they still have to eat, getting through an average of four cows per week. A new level of activity is stirring behind the fences under Australian couple Janette and Dale Vallance, who plan to have tourists through the gates this summer. 
 
 
 
Balancing tourism and conservation: Dubai shows how
As Dubai grows into the metropolis we know it as, so does the need for environmental awareness and conservation. While many conservationists continue to insist animals solely belong in the wild, what they often fail to address is the fact that the boundaries of their natural habitats are shrinking by the day. Regrettably, animals are increasingly coming under the threats of poaching, global warming, and conflict. In this context, Dubai Safari Park, which imported older elephants and other animals last year, is playing a critical role in the conservation of endangered species. It is also sensitising tourists and residents about protection and conservation.
Timothy Husband, the park’s technical director, gave his assurance to a local newspaper that the desert elephants, brought in from Namibia, were to enhance breeding and care facilities, and for rides. “Some of them are critically endangered. We aim to increase the n
 
 
 
Dubai Safari park to close on May 15
The Dubai Safari will close its doors to the public on May 15 as the attraction undergoes some "beautification works", it was announced on Saturday.
The park will welcome visitors again on October 1, following the completion of the embellishment programme scheduled to take place during the summer months.
 
 
 
The activists are wrong: Aquariums support conservation
Judging by the dozens of aquariums around the country offering Mother’s Day programming, tens of thousands of American moms appear set to spend their special day getting a front row seat to the majestic and awe-inspiring creatures of the sea. For good reason. A trip to the local aquarium is something the whole family can enjoy, with sea life giving moms a well-deserved break from entertaining the kids.
Unfortunately, an activist movement called Empty the Tanks is trying to spoil the fun. Today, it is hosting coordinated worldwide protests demanding that aquariums return their inhabitants to the sea. Its mission statement is, “End captivity, protect the oceans.”
 
 
 
Great Indian Bustard’s numbers down to eight
A latest report by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has revealed that Maharashtra may have less than eight Great Indian Bustards (GIB) currently. With the number of GIBs pegged so low in a recent survey, the forest department will be focusing on measures to conserve the endangered bird species.
Officials have stated that the count of GIB was around 30, decades ago. The forest department will be focusing on protecting the grasslands and monitor the eleven clusters across the state, which have been identified as the species' habitat. Moreover it will also be focusing on preventing fire in these areas.
The GIB is listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and listed as an endangered species.  A report on potential habitat by the WII, in collaboration with the state forest department, was recently released and it stated that during a survey in September 2017, out of 1,401 respondents, 72 confirmed that they have spotted the bird in their area. “While doing the survey, the GIB was not found. However, we had kept dummy birds throughout an area of 55,000 sq km to know the detection rate of these species. Only 13 per cent of the dummy birds could be identified during the survey, leading to the conclusion that less than eight GIB are there in the state,” said M.K. Rao, additional principal chief conservator of forest (Wildlife West).
“We had carried out radio telemetry survey for two years, where we found that t
 
 
 
Mexico City Officially Bans Dolphinariums
In a victory for captive dolphins, Mexico City announced an official ban on dolphinariums last week, putting an end to captive dolphins within the city limits.
According to La Verdad, the reform not only bans captive dolphins, it also includes sea lions. All captive dolphins and sea lions within the city must be relocated to accredited sanctuaries within the next six months. The animals’ new homes will be thoroughly evaluated prior to the move in order to ensure that they are as close as possible to the natural habitats of dolphins and sea lions in the wild. Those who do not comply with the new law will face fines ranging from 300,000 to 300,960 pesos (about $15k).
The vast majority of politicians were in favor of the ban, with 40 vote
 
 
 
Zookeeper mauled to death at Chinese animal centre which sold 'tiger wine'
A zookeeper was reportedly killed by a tiger at a controversial wildlife centre in southern China accused of selling "tiger wine".
The man, who was aged around 50, went to clean a tiger enclosure with a colleague at the Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain Village in Guilin, a city in the Guangxi autonomous region on Tuesday (May 8) morning, according to China National Radio.
His colleague left the man, who has not been named, alone in the enclosure at around 11am.
His body was found at around 2.30pm and his family were told later that day that he had been mauled by a tiger.
 
 
 
Panda-hosting Ähtäri Zoo losing money
Ähtäri Zoo, which is hosting two pandas from China, is seeking a million euros from the city of Ähtäri, its main financier, to help cover last year’s losses.
The zoo’s consolidated financial statements put it around one million euros in the red. Some 800,000 euros of the losses at the animal park in South Ostrobothnia are directly panda-related. The zoo is, however, upbeat about the future. Visitor numbers have been growing in the past few months, and operations are expected back in the black during 2018, according to Ähtäri Zoo CEO Jonna Pietilä.
 
 

 

Bear from Romanian zoo tastes freedom for the first time in 28 years
Pamela, a female bear from the Zoo in the Romanian city of Oradea, got the chance to roam free after 28 years in a cage, local Stirileprotv.ro reported.
Representatives of the Oradea Zoo asked the Millions of Friends Association to take the bear, as she was being attacked all the time by her grown up cubs. The situation had forced the zoo employees to move Pamela to an even smaller cage, which led to an unhappy life for the animal.
Thus, the female bear was taken to the Libearty Bear S
 
 
 
 
The Beginnings of Waikiki's Wildlife Treasure: A Conversation with Paul Breese, the Founding Director of the Honolulu Zoo
In 1947, Paul Breese was named the first director of the Honolulu Zoo and was tasked with turning a small bird park into a world-class zoological park. With the help of Belle Benchley of the San Diego Zoo, he built the zoo from the ground up and put together an impressive collection of exotic animals. The zoo soon had significant breeding success with a number of species including Galapagos tortoises (the first successful births in America), cassowaries (the first successful birth and rearing in captivity), Asian hornbills and giraffes. Most noteworthy, Breese became Chairman of the Nene Advisory Committee and the Honolulu Zoo successfully saved the Hawaiian geese from extinction through the Nene Restoration Project. Here is his story. 
 
 
 
Like the fossil fuel industry, trophy hunting is unsustainable
Trophy hunting is like the fossil fuel industry. They’re both messy, unsustainable, in need of an alternative approach and, ultimately, fail to deliver on their promises. 
Trophy hunting is a colonial construct with an anachronistic view on the environment. While it has served certain interests, its failures to effectively deliver on wider conservation promises and its negative impacts outweigh any benefits it accrues. It’s time to search for more effective and sustainable alternatives. 
Despite being entrenched in conservation programmes, doubts around trophy hunting started a long time back. Some argue that distaste for sport killing began when Theodore Roosevelt returned from East Africa in 1909 with his hunting bag of over 500 trophies, including 17 lions, 11 elephants and 20 rhino.
Back then, indiscriminate hunting had already placed many of the continent’s charismatic species under threat. Today, and with many of these same species still 
 
 
 
UAE releases 1,000 Houbara bustards
Officials of the UAE Embassy in Islamabad have released 1,000 Houbara bustards in Rahim Yar Khan region of Punjab province as part of the country’s commitment and efforts for preservation of the bird.
Representatives of the Fund for Houbara Conservation Abu Dhabi, officials of Forest, Wildlife and Fisheries Department of Punjab and media were also present.
Speaking on the occasion, UAE Ambassador in Islamabad Hamad Obaid Al Zaabi said that his country has achieved a distinguished position on the global level for its efforts to conserve the Houbara bustard. Several projec
 
 
 
Nearly Two Years Later, ‘World’s Saddest Polar Bear’ No Longer Sad?
As animal welfare increasingly becomes a part of the public conversation, it’s becoming more common to see stories about animals living in situations that are harmful to their mental and physical health. Take SeaWorld’s dolphins, or Yemen’s starving zoo animals—or the tragic case of Pizza the polar bear.
Too often we never find out what ultimately happens to these animals. Do they ever leave their decrepit enclosures in that zoo? Do they ever get a reprieve from performing for people? Do they survive their near-death experiences in captivity?
In a new series, “Where are they now?” Wildlife Watch will report on animals whose plights have elicited widespread concern and sympathy, to see how they’re faring now. We begin the series today with an update on a bear called Pizza, who’s been called “the world’s saddest polar bear.” Please send us an email at ngwildli
 
 
 
Carnivores in captivity give birth at the same time of year as those in the wild
Many species have a specific mating season when living in their natural habitat. The young animals are usually born in spring when environmental conditions are optimal for their survival, while births at less favorable times such as the start of winter are thus avoided. Depending on whether seasonal reproduction is a strong characteristic of a species or not, the time period for births will be a longer or a shorter window.
Researchers at the Clinic for Zoo Animals, Exotic Pets and Wildlife at the University of Zurich investigated the seasonality of more than 100 species of carnivores. As it is rather difficult to ob-serve births of animals in their natural habitat, they evaluated data from 150,000 births that took place in zoos. Zoos consistently document births and forward the i
 
 
 
Patience pays off for elephants' keepers in North Sumatra
A certain bond, albeit with caveats, seems to define the relationship between tame elephants and their mahout ( keepers) in Mount Leuser National Park’s Tangkahan Elephant Ecotourism Camp in Langkat, North Sumatra.
Tangkahan Elephant Ecotourism Camp’s elephant and mahout coordinator Sudiono recalled the time when his wife was feverish, he told her to see a doctor.
“When an elephant is ill, I look after it day and night until it is fully recovered. I am afraid it will die. If it refuses to eat, I’ll go the extra mile to find the food it likes such as ripe bananas,” the 44-year-old said.
Under the current arrangement, all sick elephants have to be referred to the Veterinary Society for Sumatran Wildlife Conservation.
“I don’t really know why I have such a deep affection for elephants, which is just there by itself and is perhaps forged by the many years we have spent together,” Sudiono said.
He and the 11 other mahout under him accompanied Environment and Forestry Ministry officials during a recent visit to Tangkahan, which was formerly an illegal loggers’ transit point.
 
 
 
What will it take to stop the animal selfie phenomenon?
LAST WEEK, IT was reported that kangaroos at a popular tourist area in New South Wales had begun attacking tourists for their food and causing significant injuries. Why? In a bid to get the perfect selfie, tourists were coaxing the kangaroos with carrots and if the animals didn’t get the carrots, or any other food high in sugar, they would become aggressive. 
The area around the Morisset hospital, which boasts a notoriously large population of kangaroos making it a popular tourist destination, had signs telling tourists not to feed the kangaroos, not only because the animals were known to become aggressive but because it was to the detriment of the animal’s health. Despite this, people persisted. 
 
 
 
For lemurs, size of forest fragments may be more important than degree of isolation
Occurrence of these endangered primates rises with patch size, but is mixed for patch connectivity
Occurrence probability of three lemur species in tropical dry forest increases with fragment size but can increase or decrease with fragment isolation depending on the species, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Travis Steffens and Shawn Lehman from University of Toronto, Canada.
Lemurs live only in Madagascar, and nearly all species are at risk of extinction primarily due to habitat loss and fragmentation. The independent effects of forest loss and of forest fragmentation are not well understood, however. To assess the relative impact of these threats, Steffens and Lehman surveyed lemurs in fragmented dry deciduous forest in Ankarafantsika National Park, Madagascar between June and November 2011, observing six lemur species in 42 forest fragments. The researchers then used incidence function models to examine whether the lemurs formed metapopulations, spatially-separated populations within a species, in a fragmented landscape and under different forest fragmentation conditions.
In their simulations, the researche
 
 
 
The Last Days of the Blue-Blood Harvest
Every year, more than 400,000 crabs are bled for the miraculous medical substance that flows through their bodies—now pharmaceutical companies are finally committing to an alternative that doesn't harm animals.
Horseshoe crabs are sometimes called “living fossils” because they have been around in some form for more than 450 million years. In this time, the Earth has gone through multiple major ice ages, a Great Dying, the formation and subsequent breaking up of Pangaea, and an asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs and most of life on Earth yet again. In other words, horseshoe crabs have truly seen some shit.
Yet, I would conjecture, some of their strangest experiences must have come in just the past few decades, as one of the soft-bodied mammals that came after dinosaurs began using their hands to scoop horseshoe crabs out of the ocean en masse. Contemporary humans do not deliberately kill the horseshoe crabs—as did previous centuries of farmers catching them for fertilizer or fishermen using them as bait. Instead, they scrub th
 
 
 
Standard for zoo containment facilities
We approved a new standard for zoo containment facilities.
The new standard comes into force on 1 July 2018, and replaces the MAF Biosecurity New Zealand Standard 154.03.04 Containment Facilities for Zoo Animals.
However, there will be a transitional period of 12 months, ending on 30 June 2019, during which zoo containment facilities may choose to comply with the previous standard.
Read the new Standard for zoo containment facilities (pdf 700KB)
Read the decision document for the approval of the new standard (pdf 200KB)
We received three submissions during the consultation.
View the submissions received (pdf 1MB)
View the report on the submissions (pdf 400KB)
Guidance available soon
MPI is developing guidance material to help people who have to comply with the standard. It will include information about how the requirements can be met, what measures will be considered acceptable, and what information needs to be provided to MPI to a
 
 
 
A judge just raised deep questions about chimpanzees’ legal rights
For several years, an animal rights organization has sought to convince New York courts that chimpanzees kept by private owners are “legal persons” with a right to be free. For several years, the courts have rejected that argument.
New York’s highest court did the same on Tuesday, denying an appeal of a lower court’s refusal to grant writs of habeas corpus to two caged chimps named Tommy and Kiko. But in a striking concurring opinion that was cheered by the chimps’ advocates, one judge wrote that the legal question at the heart of the case — whether all animals are mere property or things — is far from settled.
“Does an intelligent nonhuman animal who thinks and plans and appreciates life as human beings do have the right to the protection of the law against arbitrary cruelties and enforced detentions visited on him or her?” wrote Eugene Fahey, one of five Court of Appeals judges who ruled on the matter. “This is not merely a definit
 
 
 
Zoo Plantman: A Conversation with Rob Halpern, Owner of Zoo Horticulture Consulting and Design
Rob Halpern has carved a role in the zoo industry as the authority on zoo landscapes. While he will always be remembered for his work on the renowned Congo Gorilla Forest at the Bronx Zoo, he has worked on dozens of projects with his company Zoo Horticulture Consulting and Design. Halpern believes design of planting is essential to the quality of an exhibit. “When I design the planting, I think of how it will be like grown in,” he articulated. “Landscape should change over time and the people in charge of running them should make them better than I made them. The whole role of horticulture in zoos is interesting. It’s an ongoing battle.” Here is his story.
 
 
 
Procapra Przewalskii: "ballet dancer" on China's plateau
Procapra Przewalskiis are seen in Haibei Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, northwest China's Qinghai Province, April 26, 2018. The number of Procapra Przewalskii, an antelope species being listed as endangered, has increased to a record high of 2,057 in the latest survey. Przewalski's gazelle was named after Nikolai Mikhaylovich Przhevalsky, a Russian explorer who found a specimen and brought it back to St. Petersburg in 1875. A typical Procapra Przewalskii is 110 to 120 centimeters long and weighing about 15 kilograms. The long-horn animal with a short tail was described as a "ballet dancer" on plateau by Przhevalsky because it jumps in a beautiful curve.
 
 
 
Venture Bound: Zoos work to save species
Carla and I, as fans of zoos, are particularly interested in how successful zoos will be in trying to save endangered species.
For years we enjoyed taking our daughters and later our grandchildren to see the exciting variety of animals at exhibitions. When zoos first opened, animals were mostly confined in cages. This is an uncomfortable situation for the animals with little stimulation, little room to move around and few natural surroundings. The problems with these cages were recognized and remedied over time with zoo environments that more resembled animals’ natural habitats.
For example, at the San Diego Safari Park and Busch Gardens in Florida we were the ones in cages (buses) traveling the wide open areas in which the animals also had housing.
The space problem has not been completely solved. At the St Louis Zoo although the elephant area was bigger than that of other zoos, they still seemed unhappy. They stood swinging their trunks and slowly shifting their weight from side to side, looking sad.
When I attempted to take a picture, two of them 
 
 
 
Would You Capture a Behaviour or Shape the Behaviour?
In 2008 I started with my travel addiction. Seeing other places is just wonderful. I’m fortunate that I know quite some friends who share the same passion I have in the field and that actually allowed me to visit many different Zoos and Aquariums over the years. Throughout that time, I was able to shadow most of the trainers at these facilities what helped me to become the person I am today. I always brought questions with me what I wanted to know or wanted to see. One of the discussions that popped up at one of the facilities I was had to do with capturing behaviours.
 
 
 
The precarious lives of rare albino animals
Alba is one of the rarest creatures on Earth: She's the only known albino member of a dwindling population of Bornean orangutans. Her snowy fur and inquisitive pale eyes make her an otherworldly anomaly - and such a target that people are taking unprecedented measures to keep her safe.
To protect her from poachers, the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation has spent $80,000 on an island off Indonesia where Alba will reside for the rest of her life. The sanctuary, where Alba will live with three other orangutans starting in June, will be patrolled around the clock by security guards.
Many zoos have attracted crowds by keeping rare white animals, including Snowflake the gorilla at the Barcelona Zoo and Onya-Birri, an albino koala, at the San Diego Zoo. But these creatures
 
 
 
Traumatised bears, wolves find solace at Greek sanctuary
Orphaned as an infant, three-year-old Patrick takes a wary view of visitors. He crouches low, licks his claws and starts humming - a bear's equivalent of thumb-sucking.
"It soothes him when he's stressed," says Melina Avgerinou, a caretaker at the Arcturos bear sanctuary in northern Greece.
Patrick's tale is typical of many bears that have found refuge in the Arcturos sanctuary at Nymfaio on the slopes of Mount Vitsi, some 600km northwest of Athens.
 
 
 
Everything You (and John Oliver) Need to Know About Koala Chlamydia
 
 
 
Tiger chemistry: Delhi zoo explores mix and match idea
Call it a mix-and-mate proposal, the first in Delhi Zoo in the last 27 years. White tigress Nirbhaya and Royal Bengal tiger Karan have been moved into the same enclosure—No. 10—by alert zoo officials, who claim they have noticed a certain “chemistry” building up between them over the last several months.
The obvious purpose is to get the big cats to make cubs, May-June being the prime mating season for tigers. The last time such a thing was done was in 1991, when Sundar—a yellow tiger—and Shanti—a white tigress—were moved in together. That union had produced twin cubs: Swaraj, who was white, and Aman, who was yellow.
This time round, all eyes are on Nirbhaya, born in Delhi Zoo in 2015, and Karan, born in Mysore Zoo in 2013 and brought to Delhi a year later. For both, this will be the first mating experience, zoo officials said.
“In the two days that they have been in the same enclosure, they have mated 15 times. So, our move has 
 
 
 
Concern over fate of tiger at defunct Melios zoo
Mystery surrounds the fate of one of the Siberian tigers at a controversial Nicosia private zoo following reports by animal activists that one of the two tigers is believed to be dead as it has not been seen in its enclosure.
A lawyer from Luxemburg, advisor to a number of animal protection associations, said in an email on Monday night that one of the two Siberian tigers in Melios Pet Centre in the Nicosia district is feared to be dead. She said that following a report by a visitor that the animal was missing from its enclosure, and after enquiries, the zoo owner, Menelaos Menelaou, confirmed the animal was dead but that he did not inform authorities.
 
 
 
Tricolour Burial For Peacock In Delhi, Activists Say "Protocol Not Followed"
However, wildlife activists criticised the handling of the case, saying animals should be preferably be cremated in the presence of forest officials.
"Post-mortem has to be done in a supervised environment in the presence of a forest official. The post-mortem has to be photographed and videographed," Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and chairman of Wildlife SOS, said.
"And, the animal should be preferably cremated in the presence of a forest official, to avoid harvesting of any body parts with an intent to smuggle," he said.
There is an incinerator in the Delhi Zoo as well, the official of the NGO said.
Wildlife activist Gauri Maulekhi said that the forest department needs to be pro-active in assisting the police in such cases.
"I am not aware of any such protocols. There is no such thing t
 
 
 
Zookeeper is mauled to death by a tiger while cleaning the cage of the beast at a Chinese zoo
A zookeeper has been mauled to death by a tiger at a zoo in south China.
The 50-year-old man was cleaning the cage alone as the beast charged in and launched an attack.
The zoo, which claims to keep about 1,300 tigers of different species, has confirmed and reported the incident to local police.
 
 
 
Pressure mounts on ‘zoo’ as minister confirms tiger death
Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis confirmed on Wednesday that one of the two Siberian tigers in a Nicosia private zoo has died, and that he will preside over a meeting with all state services to discuss how to best handle the case of Melios Pet Centre.
The zoo, in Ayioi Trimithias in the Nicosia district, has been operating illegally since last September, the minister said, and that both the town planning service and the state vet services have reported the owner, Menelaos Menelaou, to the police.
 
 
 
Canadian zoo faces charges after taking bear out for ice cream at Dairy Queen
A private zoo in the Canadian province of Alberta is facing charges after a bear from the facility was taken through a drive-thru Dairy Queen in a pickup truck and hand-fed ice cream through the vehicle’s window.
News of the outing emerged earlier this year after Discovery Wildlife Park, located about 70 miles north of Calgary in the town of Innisfail, posted a video on social media showing a captive Kodiak bear sitting in the passenger seat of a truck.
The video later showed the one-year-old bear, known as Berkley, leaning out of the truck’s window, enthusiastically licking an ice cream cone held by the owner of a local Dairy Queen.
Amid widespread criticism, the video – along with a second one showing Berkley licking frosting off an ice cream
 
 
 
Taronga Zoo settles dispute with rival over 'Sydney Zoo' name
A Federal Court cage fight between Taronga Zoo and a rival over the name Sydney Zoo has been settled out of court, with the western Sydney newcomer set to keep the name.
In a joint statement released on Thursday, the parties said they were "pleased to confirm that they have resolved the legal proceedings over the use of the name ‘Sydney Zoo’".

 

 

 

7May2018

Ark, lifeboat or something wilder? Future of zoos under debate
Earth, in case you hadn’t heard, or noticed, is going through a sixth mass extinction. Animals and other life are disappearing the world over and it began well ahead of global warming, although the human-caused rapid climate change going on isn’t helping.
Scattered across the globe, attempting to deal with this, at least a little bit, are the world’s zoos and aquariums. You can debate about animals in captivity. You can argue about the environmental cost-to-benefit ratio of keeping an orca in a relative bathtub, a leopard in a studio apartment.
But to familiarize yourself with the efforts of the best of these animal havens is to understand that they work with sincerity and some urgency to try to understand and save endangered species, while also navigating public expectations and budgetary pressures.
In other words, they operate in “powerful ethical rapids,” in the words of the editor of “The Ark and Beyond: The Evolution of Zoo and Aquarium Conservation,” an eye-opening new book from the University of Chicago Press. But before we get to that book and its consideration of zoos, have a quick look around Chicago.
Lincoln Park Zoo, which you may think of as
 
 
 
Zookeepers Have A Problem With Diversity
Ask any zookeeper about the importance of diversity, and they’re likely to launch into a well-rehearsed speech about biological niches and the importance of the global diversity of species. Zookeepers are trained and passionate conservationists, and they know their stuff when it comes to this topic. But there’s another form of diversity that we don’t talk about nearly enough – zookeeper diversity. That is, the diversity of zookeepers themselves. It’s alarmingly low, and it’s something that we should really be thinking a lot more about.
I’ve visited many zoos across the United States. And I’ve attended many conferences, workshops, meetings, and professional development courses over the years. And without fail, the vast, vast, majority of the zookeepers, aquarists, curators, and other animal care professionals that I’ve met and observed have not been people o
 
 
 
Sarah Chin: A zookeeper’s tale of turning passion into action
To say that Sarah Chin loves animals is an understatement.
As a young girl, she preferred to spend recess playing with the class rabbits at kindergarten than with her schoolmates at the playground.
Instead of a cute puppy or a kitten, she once asked her mother if she could keep a pet snake at home because for her, reptiles are friends, not foes.
While other kids would aspire to become doctors, lawyers, and astronauts, she had wanted to become a veterinarian, a marine biologist, and even a pet shop owner.
And at a young age, she had made it a personal mission to rescue the different bugs and insects that had somehow found their way into their home.
Sarah, simply, has always been passionate about caring for animals.
This passion, which she has cultivated for many, many years, led her to pursue Zoology in college and become a zookeeper right in her motherland, Singapore.
 
 
 
Pink Tiger Bone Jewellery…A new tale in the context of the commodification of the tiger
She then mentioned that she could also supply some of the more upmarket pink tiger bone jewellery and that the pink colour was the result of the tigers being deboned while only sedated. She showed us images on her phone, one a tiger hanging on a meat hook being butchered and images of pinkish necklaces and bracelets. 
 
 
 
 
Sentenced to life
July 21, a warm summer day in 2007, Yamuna gave birth to Vijay. Yamuna is from Delhi — her union arranged like many others — and the father, Laxman, from Bhubaneswar.
In the same year, on February 6, Kalpana was born to two Delhi inhabitants, Kaveri and Swaraj. Years later, as fate would have it, or as the world demanded, Kalpana met Vijay. She was introduced to him for the sole purpose of mating and reproducing at the Delhi zoo, continuing the line of tigers — more importantly, white Bengal tigers — in captivity.
There’s no romantic story here with tragedy lurking behind the surface. The Wildcat Sanctuary says that normal tiger behaviour in the wild would prevent the kind of inbreeding that would be necessary to produce white cubs. Furthermore, it alleges that captive inbreeding of white tigers results in high neonatal mortality rates, typically exceeding 80 per cent.
That’s not to say that white tigers have not been seen in the wild — sightings are just rare. The white colour of the Bengal tiger comes due to the lack of pigment pheomelanin. But somehow, in a country obsessed with fair and lovely skin tones, one reason so many visitors come to Delhi zoo 
 
 
 
Four lions suffer paralysis at Lahore Safari Park
The administration of Lahore Safari Park is concerned because four lions of the African race are suffering from paralysis.
“The paralysis has affected their backside and they cannot move about like other lions,” said  Lahore Safari Park Deputy Director  Shafqat Chaudhry. “Their cubs are also likely to inherit the disease.”
Two male lions aged between 2.5 and three years and two female African lion are suffered from paralysis due to calcium deficiency, he said. He added that the lions suffer from this problem when they reach the age of six months and one year. “Due to consumption of beef continuously, the amount of phosphorus increases in their body and the quantity of calcium decreases. This leads to their bones weakening which then causes paralysis.”
 
 
 
A Unique Business: A Conversation with Bill Gersonde, Director of the Abilene Zoo
Bill Gersonde first made a name for himself when he turned around the Idaho Falls Zoo, bringing it from an antiquated institution on the verge of closure to a respectable facility accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Since 2010, he has served as Director of the Abilene Zoo. Gersonde has implemented a variety of creative ideas to push the zoo forward. He also currently serves on AZA's Wildlife Conservation Management Committee. Here is his story. 
 
 
 
BSc (Top-Up) Animal Management and Applied Zoology Hons
The BSc (Hons) in Animal Management and Zoology Top Up course aims to create or develop animal management professionals with a broad understanding on managing farms, zoological collections or working within the field of conservation. Undergraduates will acquire advanced practical hands-on animal management skills whilst furthering business and enterprise skills needed to manage animal and zoological collections, including enriching the customer experience, education, environmental interpretation and animal encounters that reach beyond the boundaries of the collection.
Vocational relevance, professional standards and transferable skills for employability are central to this Bachelor’s degree. This will be through the inclusion of a high proportion of applied and work based learning elements which will ensure a high calibre graduate entering the industry. The programme will empower individuals to further develop their practical skills, academic research skills and core knowledge required to work in zoos, animal rehabilitation reserves, aquaria and animal collections or related animal industries both nationally and internationally.
 
 
 
Monogamy Anchored in Our Genes?
Biological anthropologists and evolutionary psychologists commonly take it for granted that human monogamy has a biological basis. Desmond Morris was an influential early advocate. His 1967 swashbuckling best-seller The Naked Ape proposed long-term monogamous human mating as an extreme expression of natural pair-bonding. Morris dismissed alternative mating arrangements in other cultures as relics of “obscure, backward tribal units”.
 
 
 
Bristol Zoo Crocodile habitat
Here are a few random photos from a project at Bristol Zoo, UK where we improved the Dwarf African Crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis) and Malayan river turtle (Orlitia borneensis) exhibits along with Aquarium Technology Ltd who were the main contractors. Pictures taken on the day the planting was being introduced and the pools being filled.
Koda Creative were contracted by ATL to spray concrete the pools, making a smooth surface to which ATL applied GRP waterproof liner. After this, we made washed out earth river bank, rockwork, two trees, fallen tree bridge, fallen tree enclosure divider and tree stump waterfall catcher.
Also during this project we fit in some extra work, a Chinese crocodile lizard (Shinisaurus) vivarium habitat.
 
 
 
World's oldest recorded spider spends entire life sitting in her hole, lives to age 43
Researchers in Australia monitored what is most likely the world's oldest spider on record, who died at age 43, outstripping the previous record-holder, a 28-year-old tarantula.
The lead researcher, Leanda Mason, said of the spider in question, "to our knowledge this is the oldest spider ever recorded, and her significant life has allowed us to further investigate the trapdoor spider’s behaviour and population dynamics,” according to a press release.
A sedentary creature, the female Gaius villosus trapdoor sp
 
 
 
Akron Zoo sets global sustainability standard for zoos with 'Big Hanna' compost system (photos)
The Akron Zoo has unveiled a composting machine named "Big Hanna," designed to help the zoo achieve its zero waste goal.
The zoo is the first zoo in the world to implement such a system, which will divert 47 tons of material away from landfills, said Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler at a public unveiling on Monday.
The Ohio EPA awarded the zoo a $160,000 recycling and development grant for the machine, which the zoo will match at $81,000.
Summit ReWorks provided $20,000 toward the sustainably designed building the machine occupies. Keep Akron Beautifully and Let's Grow Akron will purchase compost from the zoo.
The zoo has had an organic wa
 
 
 
Contrived extinction
Recently, the death of Sudan, the “last” northern male white rhino housed at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, was met with the expected paroxysms of grief around the world at the “loss of another species”. This is a classic case of an “extinction” that has been carefully contrived. I have no doubt many white rhinos still remain in South Sudan, and in a year or two, a “saviour” (most likely a Caucasian) will “discover” them to much fanfare and acclamation.
This is not a new phenomenon. In 2016, a population of over 100 lions was “discovered” by Hans Bauer of Oxford University in Alatash, Ethiopia. The same year, Iain Douglas-Hamilton of Save the Elephants “discovered” an adult elephant that had ventured across the border from Kenya into Somalia. Neither of these phenomena could have existed or occurred without human observation, but it only made news when they were observed by Caucasians.
This is typical of the conservation discourse in Africa, where not one of the so-called “authorities” on any wildlife species is black, nearly a century after the establishment of formal conservation structures. This can only be caused by two circumstances—either black Africans have n
 
 
 
Does The Animal Take Responsibility of a Time Out?
In the last 2 years I have changed my thoughts on many different topics. Reading books about psychology made me reflect a lot of different characteristics we humans have into animals. Anthropomorphism might come to mind with you reading this story but that’s not really what this is all about.
The other day doing my usual things I started to think about responsibility. You know how each and every one of us is responsible for their own thoughts, sayings and actions. We have the power to change our thinking and what we say. Nobody else has your responsibility. What comes to mind for me thinking about this is; do animals take responsibility from their own actions? In a good and a bad way?
 
 
 
 'There's a lot of fakery': insiders spill on the dirty tricks behind wildlife photos
The Brazilian photographer Marcio Cabral was stripped of a prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year award last week after judges noticed that the anteater at the foot of a glowing termite mound in his picture looked an awful lot like the taxidermy anteater found at the entrance to the national park where he captured the shot.
If Cabral did use a stuffed creature in his photograph – a charge he strongly denies – it would be a new low for those claiming to document “wild” animals, and emblematic of a murky underbelly in the field. Among the tricks regularly used without disclosure to get magazine-worthy natural history images are the hiring of trained animals, the gluing or freezing of insects into position and the use of bait to lure subjects closer to the camera.
“There’s a lot of fakery,” says the US photographer Clay Bolt, one of the judges in this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards. Although the British Natural History Museum’s awards offer the “gold standard” f
 
 
 
Huge lion savages British wildlife park owner and drags him into enclosure as horrified tourists scream in fear
This is the distressing moment a British safari park owner was dragged away by a blood-thirsty lion after entering its enclosure at a wildlife park.
Horrified onlookers screamed in terror as the man, believed to be Brit expat Mike Hodge, was dragged along the ground of the big cat pen like a rag doll towards some bushes.
The shocking clip is believed to have been filmed at the Makarele Predator Centre, in Thabazimbi, South Africa.
According to reports Mr Hodge was the owner and had relocated from the UK with his wife Chrissy in 2003.
 
 
 
ANIMAL WELFARE STANDARDS AND EVALUATION IN VIETNAM
This month we returned to Vietnam to continue our collaboration with the Vietnam Zoo Association (VZA) and the work we are doing to set national standards in Vietnam.  Following a workshop in December 2014, co-hosted by Wild Welfare, Animals Asia and Change for Animals Foundation, both the VZA and a Vietnam government national working group were set up to discuss animal welfare concepts for captive wild animals.  Since then, we have been working with the VZA and its members, providing individual institutional support as well as association workshops and training in partnership with Animals Asia Foundation.  This month we met up with our colleague Mr Tung, Vice Chairman of the VZA to visit some of the members, taking the opportunity to understand the main animal management practices, problems and opportunities for future membership criteria. 
We considered all aspects of zoo management practices, including enclosure design and infrastructure, public feeding opportunities, animal shows, off show exhibits, holding quarters, feeding and nutritional care, hand-raising provisions, veterinary support and keeper knowledge regarding husbandry and management. Government owned zoos and private facilities can have very different approaches and demands placed upon them, and we worked with both, to help identify a constructive approach to raising standards within the Vietnam zoo community that works for any facility regardless of ownership.
We also took the opportunity to join with Animals Asia, and meet with the Ministry of Agriculture to continue discussions in regard to developing zoo natio
 
 
 
What Ecologists Can Learn From Memes
On the other side of the country, Mason Fidino, a quantitative ecologist at the Urban Wildlife Institute at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, was wondering something similar: How should ecologists and wildlife management teams be thinking about the internet, both as a source of information and as a tool to harness in order to get their message out?
Fidino’s training is in statistics, computer programming, and ecology, but he also runs his group’s Twitter account—a side project that no one quite taught him how to do. When the UWI played around the idea of a social media presence, he says, they decided, “Hey, let’s make this thing, and Mason will be in c
 
 
 
Animal rights activist takes a dive into sea lion pool to avoid angry audience member after protesters disrupt performance at zoo
Three animal rights activists have been arrested after disrupting a sea lion show at Antwerp zoo in Belgium.
One of the protesters was forced to jump into the pool after an angry audience member approached her as they held up placards saying 'stop shows with animals.'
The footage, which was caught on an audience member's phone, shows a trainer interacting with the animals during the sea lion performance at the zoo.
 
 
 
Anthropology professor helps create conservation program in Vietnam
A cohesive conservation plan protecting the Vietnamese environment—and primates—is now signed legislation, in part due to efforts of a University of Colorado Boulder anthropologist.
The plan, which was approved by the country’s prime minister last May, aims to expand protected forests, increasing habitat for primates.
Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys in Vietnam. Photo by Le Khac Quyet. At top of the page is an image of a red-shanked douc. Photo by Herbert Covert.
Worldwide, 75 percent of the world’s primate populations are in decline, while 60 percent are threatened with extinction, according to a study published in Science Advances last year. In Vietnam, 88 percent of primates are threatened with extinction.
A journal article titled “Primates of Vietnam: Conservation in a Rapidly Developing Country,” published in Anthropology Now in September, details the causes of environmental degradation in Vietnam, and future challenges and practices used to combat the rapidl
 
 
 
Environmental Health: A Conversation with Sharon Deem, DVM, PhD, Dipl ACZM, Director for the Saint Louis Zoo Institute of Conservation Medicine
The Saint Louis Zoo's WildCare Institute is one of the most well-regarded conservation programs at any zoo in the world. It features 13 centers around the globe that focus on biodiversity hotspots connected to conservation programs led by a staff member on the zoo. While not one of the centers, the zoo's Institute for Conservation Medicine works closely with the WildCare Institute. The Institute for Conservation Medicine is focused on solving issues related to environmental health around the world and is run by Dr. Sharon Deem. Here is her story. 
 
 
 
Authorities seize 132 animals from zoo weeks after lion mauled keeper to death in cage
Animals at 'one of the worst zoos' have been seized by authorities just a month after one of its keepers was mauled to death by a lion.
The 132 animals were taken from the Nicolas Bravo Zoo in Mexico after its owners failed to provide suitable living conditions or legal documentation.
Following an inspection of the animal park, the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection took away 132 animals, including primates, reptiles, bears and big cats.
Animal experts decided that the zoo failed to meet expected standards and is therefore unfit to house certain species at the park.
 
 
 
Tons of pangolin scales from Congo seized by Vietnamese customs
Customs officials in a port in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday seized nearly 3.8 metric tons of pangolin scales from Congo, in the biggest haul of the animal parts ever smuggled to the southern metropolis.
The pangolin scales were stored in two containers, declared as logs imported from Congo, that arrived in Cat Lai Port on Sunday.
Vietnamese authorities had received a heads-up from Congolese customs about the suspicious shipment and had been keeping a close watch on the two containers since their arrival from a transit port in Singapore, according to Dinh Ngoc Thang, deputy chief of Ho Chi Minh City customs.
Cargo scanning at Cat Lai Port following the containers’ arrival at 4:00 am on Sunday revealed suspicious empty spaces at the center of each container, surrounded by logs.
As no recipient has since come to cl
 
 
 
What to Expect From North America’s First Dolphin Sanctuary
According to the Associated Press, the National Aquarium has begun a three-year program designed to get its seven dolphins ready for release into this sanctuary. Fortunately, they just received a major boost from tour company Virgin Holidays, which pledged $300,000 to make this sanctuary a reality. 
The AP reported that the years-in-the-making project is in the early stages of shopping potential locations in Florida and, in the meantime, is painstakingly readying the dolphins for the habitat transition.
For example, the aquarium is raising the temperatures of the dolphins' tanks so that algae will grow and start to emulate the real waters to which they'll be relocated.
This donation by Virgin Holidays fits right in line with the company's stance.
 
 
 
Tiger farms and illegal wildlife trade flourishing in Laos despite promise of a crackdown
Laos, a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, has long held a key role in the global wildlife trade. Corruption and a flow of easy money across its porous borders have allowed the illegal trafficking of pangolins, helmeted hornbills and other wildlife products, as well as the country’s notorious tiger farms, to thrive.
In 2016, the Laos government told the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) in 2016 that it intended to shut down the tiger farms. However, a Post Magazine investigation has found the farms are flourishing, with another major operation having opened since the pledge was made. One expert described the trade in tiger parts used for medicines and potency treatments as “out of control”.
 
 
 
Zoo has three months to sort ‘qualified’ management
AN animal park in north Ceredigion has three months to bring in “experienced and qualified” management or a hearing to stop them keeping dangerous animals will be rescheduled.
An appeal to the restriction on Borth Wild Animal Kingdom’s licence was due to hold a case management hearing on Thursday, 26 April, but it has been adjourned for at least one month to “allow all parties to come to an agreement”.
Councillors at the healthier communities overview and s
 
 
 
OPINION | How our lions are cruelly slaughtered - with government consent
It's been a bloody time for the South African canned lion industry.
Last week‚ a lion 'abattoir' was exposed on a farm in the Free State‚ where close to 100 lions were reportedly to be killed and their skeletons prepared for export to Asia. Shortly after news of the slaughter broke‚ a game reserve owner from Limpopo was mauled by one of his captive lions‚ Shamba. The lion was immediately shot‚ causing a social media outcry.
In a separate incident‚ six more captive lions were poisoned and their limbs cut off on another Free State Lion breeding farm‚ allegedly for use in tradition medicine.
Experts warn that the bloodshed - facilitated by the flourishing captive-bred lion industry and SA's Department of Environmental Affairs' recently implemented export quota of 800 lion skeletons per year – may just be the first sight of a new demon waking from the captive-bred lion industry.
The mass-killing of captive-bred lions in the Free State was exposed after captive-bred lions were transported in crates to a farm‚ to be killed and their flesh removed for the bone export trade. According to Beeld‚ a to
 
 
 
Animals are dying in Pakistan’s zoos & no one cares
Pakistan had become an unsafe place for humans after the launch of Global War on Terrorism; however, it is also becoming dangerous place for animals due to carelessness and sheer negligence. 
A report unveiled on Thursday has exposed the mismanagement of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government as it claims that over 30 animals died in the Peshawar Zoo after inauguration by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak in February 2018.
The report is not compiled by outsiders as Kabir Afridi, Additional Secretary Higher Education was heading the investigative committee probing recent deaths. The report says that more than 30 species of bird and a Nilgai have died in the 
 
 
 
Caribbean Journey: A Conversation with Tom Schmid, President and CEO of the Texas State Aquarium
Tom Schmid has been President and CEO of the Texas State Aquarium since 1999. Over the course of that time, the aquarium has grown in size, attendance, financial stability and optimal animal welfare. Schmid also served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for several years, including a year as its Chair. This year, the Texas State Aquarium rehabilitated and released over 1,000 sea turtles in the largest cold stunning event in history. Here is his story. 
 
 
 
Saint Louis Zoo named best zoo in the country, again
The Saint Louis Zoo has been named the best zoo in the country for the second year in a row. Not that there was ever any doubt in our minds.
Saint Louis was voted No. 1 in the USA Today best zoo category in the 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards contest. The Saint Louis Zoo was one of 20 nominated U.S. zoos, which were hand-picked by a panel of zoo and family travel experts.
“We’re humbled to be chosen again as the best zoo by our dedicated fans in the St. Louis region, across Missouri and friends around the country,” Jeffrey Bonner, president and CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo, said in a statement. “Our visitors, volunteers, members, generous donors, employees, and especially the taxpayers of St. Louis City and St. Louis County are the real champions. It’s through their strong support that we can provide superior care for the animals, save wildlife in wild places, connect people with
 
 
 
First training workshop in a series kicked off in Indonesia as CITES strives to better regulate trade in captive-raised animals
A training workshop on the application of new CITES guidance on trade in captive-raised animals was held in Bogor, Indonesia from 1 to 4 May 2018, bringing together 50 participants from 11 Asian countries representing national CITES authorities, as well as international experts.
“Today, international trade in ‘wild’ animals and plants is in fact mainly in specimens from captive-raised or artificially propagated sources. The significant increase in this type of trade has given rise to concerns related to the control of the production and trade, and the consequences for the conservation of species in the wild, if management attention moves from in situ to ex situ,” says Tom De Meulenaer, Chief of Scientific Services of the CITES Secretariat. “We are actively working with Parties to help ensure that they can better meet their obligations under the Convention by developing guidance and providing necessary training.”
The guidance was used to assess legality, sustainability, and controls of facilities to ensure compliance with CITES – related provisions concerning captive breedin
 
 
 
A drug lord and the world's largest invasive animal
At his infamous zenith in the 1990s, Pablo Escobar's drug-fueled empire—a vast underworld syndicate built upon the United States' insatiable appetite for cocaine—made him one of the wealthiest criminals in history.
With income peaking at more than $30 billion, the drug-smuggling kingpin spent lavishly on a sprawling estate for his family and members of his Colombian cartel. The excesses of Hacienda Nápoles, featured on Netflix's wildly popular "Narcos" series, included a zoo stocked with exotic animals transported from around the world.
But when Escobar's empire came crashing down, the animals were relocated to new homes. Lions and giraffes, sure. But relocation isn't nearly as simple for the largest occupants of Escobar's zoo: hippopotamuses, the herbivores that are placid in appearance but several thousand pounds, territorial and dangerous.
In the years since, four original hippo inhabitants of Escobar's zoo have gone rogue and multiplied to more than 40 animals—but the count could be 50 … or even 60. No one knows for sure since the animals are difficult to track. The bizarre situation c
 
 
 
Landowner Aims To Bring Wolves Back To Scotland, Centuries After They Were Wiped Out
When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in 1995, they had dramatic impacts on parts of Northwestern United States. Decades later, a wealthy landowner wants to try a limited version of that experiment — in the Scottish Highlands.
Englishman Paul Lister is hoping to see the ancient Caledonian Forest of Scotch pine, alder and mountain ash regenerated, and wildlife long absent from the Highlands return. But as happened with the Yellowstone project, he's running into strong opposition.
The Highlands' rocky hills and windswept valleys, known to the Scottish as glens, are an austere, beautiful landscape. But some visitors are surprised to learn they were once heavily forested — before huma
 
 
 
Escaped gibbon forces zoo into emergency lock down
A zoo was forced to go into emergency lock down after a gibbon escaped from its enclosure.
Families were ushered into a restaurant for safety until handlers managed to recapture the gangly-armed siamang.
Twycross zoo near Leicester later confirmed that the gibbon was only on the run for less than 20 minutes and stressed that no public or staff were ever in danger.
 
 
 
Myrtle Beach zoo animals in 'psychological distress' according to federal report
The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports the U.S. Agriculture Department reviewed the Waccatee Zoo in Myrtle Beach. The report describes two baboons, a macaque monkey and two black bears pacing, rocking back and forth and showing repetitive behavior.
Jeff Futrell's family owns the zoo. He says zoos get inspected, just like restaurants do, and are given time to fix any problems. When asked how owners would tackle issues listed in the report, Futrell said the zoo would "take care of them."
The federal inspection says more needs to be
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