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Zoo News Digest
November-December 2011


Highland polar bear Walker in BBC Frozen Planet row
One of two polar bear cubs at the centre of a controversy over the BBC's Frozen Planet has been confirmed as Highland Wildlife Park bear Walker.
An episode featured the cubs in a den with their mother, with many people assuming they were born and filmed in the Arctic.
But the cubs were actually in a Dutch zoo, as revealed in behind-the-scenes footage on the show's website.
The BBC has defended the footage and denied misleading viewers.
Walker, who is now three years old, is kept at the Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig, near Aviemore.
Douglas Richardson, animal collection manager, said the BBC was right to film cubs in a zoo rather than risk harming a den in the wild.
He said: "We're all delighted here at the Highland Wildlife Park to discover that Frozen Planet's fantastic high quality footage of the polar bear cubs in their cubbing den actually includes our very own Walker.
"Walker is an extremely happy and well-loved bear."
Mr Richardson added: "To do something like this in a polar bear cubbing den in the wild would be totally impossible, as well as being extremely dangerous, the interruption would likely cause the mother to kill her cubs.
"The captive footage wa

New zoo unit to focus on global conservation
A plan to give the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and the Wilds a more-global reach is shaping up, thanks to a $1 million gift from a local foundation.
The Robert F. and Edgar T. Wolfe Foundation is donating the money so the two facilities can concentrate on three big efforts: improving the planet’s sustainability, increasing animal populations and researching connections between animal and human diseases.
“We all live on one planet, and everything is connected,” zoo Director Dale Schmidt said. “We’re the zoo of the future.”
The zoo’s foundation, made up of donations, will match the Wolfe Foundation gift to create what Schmidt calls the “transformation center” — not a building initially, but a working group that will oversee efforts in all three areas.
“We want to become a regional player with a global impact all around the world,” Schmidt said. “ This is the seed money

THE BBC has been accused of misleading millions of viewers after it emerged one of the scenes in its Frozen Planet series was actually filmed in a wildlife park.
The scene from episode five shows a polar bear in her den giving birth to her cubs and then gently tending to them.
However, the poignant scenes were actually filmed in a wildlife park enclosure followed by scenes from the Arctic.
During the commentary, narrator Sir David Attenborough did not explain where it was actually shot.
John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said it was "hugely disappointing" that viewers were misled.
He said: "My view has always been that all broadcasters should not seek to give viewers a false impression.
"If this was not filmed in the wild it would have bee

Polar bear 'cannibalism' pictured
It is an image that is sure to shock many people.
An adult polar bear is seen dragging the body of a cub that it has just killed across the Arctic sea ice.
Polar bears normally hunt seals but if these are not available, the big predators will seek out other sources of food - even their own kind.
The picture was taken by environmental photojournalist Jenny Ross in Olgastretet, a stretch of water in the Svalbard archipelago.
"This type of intraspecific predation has always occurred to some extent," she told BBC News.
"However, there are increasing numbers of observations of it occurring, particularly on land where polar bears are trapped ashore, completely food-deprived

Sick Shetland pony among zoo animals living without mate
Efforts are under way at the Zoological Gardens Karachi to save the life of a lone Shetland pony suffering from various medical complications, including a severe form of arthritis.
The animal is the only one of its species left in the zoo. There used to be two pairs of the species at the zoo, but over the past 10 to 12 years, all of them died, sources said. The surviving pony was born to one of the pairs at the zoo a few years ago while a newborn pony died soon after its birth, they added.
“This pony was shifted to the Landhi-Korangi zoo some time ago where the staff didn’t look after it well. No veterinary surgeon was posted at the Korangi zoo at that time and the staff reported the case only when the animal’s condition deteriorated to the extent that it wasn’t able to stand on its feet and lost its appetite,” a zoo staff member told Dawn. The poor animal has been under treatment at the zoo’s dispensary for 15 days.
During a visit to the zoo, the animal was found eating

Imprudent: expert responds to Abu Dhabi's theme park plans
Over the couple of months, Abu Dhabi has been a strong topic of conversation among the Kipp team. We can’t help it. The capital has been making news for some of the decisions it’s taken in the last quarter of the year.
Back in October, although it reiterated that every intention is still there to go ahead with the projects, Abu Dhabi announced its decision to delay the construction of its museum. Then in November, we talked about the job cuts experienced across the country, which most notably included the capital’s clean energy champion, Masdar.
Then early this December, we looked at these necessary steps backward that Abu Dhabi has taken, looking at its projects with a more pragmatic perspective and cutting down where it feels it can. This was then followed by the news that there were job cuts at the Ferrari World theme park. The company says the redundancies were due to a schedule change. And it’s not a long stretch to see that the schedule changes to theme park openings is due to a lower than expected visitor footfall.
So considering there’s been a general housekeeping and tightening of belts across Abu Dhabi’s projects, you can imagine

Defacing the world's rarest tortoises

2011 marks 25 years of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust's work in Madagascar to save native species, including the Critically Endangered ploughshare tortoise.


But with the explosive growth in demand for pet tortoises from Asia, the ploughshares' former safe haven of Baly Bay National Park is under increasing threat from poachers.


Richard Lewis is director of Durrell's Madagascar programme. Here he speaks about how the team and the local villagers are working to protect the world's rarest tortoise. This includes the drastic measure of "defacing" the beautiful shells in order to make the animals worthless on the black market.

The Desire for Tigers: Is It Enough?

“We have the means to save the mightiest cat on Earth, but do we have the will?” asks writer Caroline Alexander in an article titled “A Cry for the Tiger” in the December 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine.


The question certainly gives us pause. The United Nations declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity; and because it was also the Chinese Year of the Tiger, the World Wildlife Fund placed the animal at the top of its list of “ten critically important endangered animals that we believe will need special monitoring over the next twelve months.” And in November 2010, the thirteen “tiger countries” attended the St. Petersburg Global Tiger Summit in Russia and pledged to double the number of wild tigers by 2022.


Yet, 2010 came and went with no detectable improvements in wild tiger numbers. In fact, in March 2010, a mother and two cubs were poisoned in the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in western Thailand. In the same month, it appears that villagers who had lost goats to tiger attacks poisoned two young tigers in Ranthambore National Park in India. And today there are still more big cats in captivity than there are in the wild.


So, do we truly have enough “tiger desire

Feline Conservation Federation Applauds Save Vanishing Species Stamp

Proceeds from the Save Vanishing Species stamps will help safeguard habitat and protect endangered species.


The Feline Conservation Federation (FCF) applauds the release of the Multinational Species Semi Postal Stamp, which generates funding to conserve tigers, great apes, rhinoceros, Asian and African elephants, and marine sea turtles.


The proceeds from the sale of these 55 cent “Save Vanishing Species” first class stamps is distributed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to conservation efforts that safeguard habitat, and protect these endangered species.


The Rare Species Fund, (RSF) co-managed by T.I.G.E.R.S., (The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species) and the FCF, worked to build Congressional support of the bill that reauthorized the Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semi Postal Stamp.


RSF founder, Bhagavan “Doc” Antle testified before members of Congress, and the appearances of RSF’s wildlife ambassadors helped raise awareness of endangered species issues. Congressman Henry Brown thanked T.I.G.E.R.S. assistance saying, “This couldn’t have been possible without the help of you and your team at T.I.G.E.R.S. and the Rare Species Fund.”


The stamp design features an Amur tiger cub by artist Nancy Stahl. Amur tigers are a critically endangered tiger subspecies, with less than 400 alive today. The population of all wild tigers is believed to be around 3,000 individuals worldwide, with about half the population living in India.


Since "Project Tiger" was launched in the 1970’s, poaching, habitat degradation, human encroachment, and corruption of government and wildlife agencies has continued to decimate tiger populations. Valmik Thapar, who has worked on big cats for 30 years, and spends 60 to 70 days a year in jungles, calls Project Tiger a complete failure, and the task of the Tiger Task Force impossible.

India's Bengal tiger is an American favorite at exhibits. Managed captive breeding of Bengal tigers can bring forth recessive traits, creating white tigers with black stripes, snow white tigers lacking any stripes, and tabby tigers, which have cinnamon colored stripes.

The Feline Conservation Federation is a non-profit organization, dedicated to responsible captive management of felines, and the conservation

Toronto Zoo light on details of pending elephant transfer

The Toronto Zoo is not foot-dragging on a Council-imposed move of three aged elephants, staff made clear Monday morning, but they still can’t offer specifics on when or how the beloved pachyderms will be California-bound.


Zoo staff provided an update on the elephants’ status Tuesday morning, responding to mounting pressure from city councillors and zoo critics pressing to have the Toka, Thika and Iringa shipped to a California sanctuary before winter sets in.


That timeline now looks unlikely. Zoo CEO John Tracogna told reporters that, contrary to recent reports, the zoo was not impeding the move and had met an application deadline for a federal export permit. But Canadian and U.S. approvals could still take upwards of three months.


Organizations such as Zoochek Canada have argued that the animals could be trained for the 3500-kilometre

Toronto Zoo elephant move blasted by councillors

Stalling tactics by the Toronto Zoo and its keepers over sending three elephants to a California sanctuary threaten their health, according to city councillors closely involved with their fate.


Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker calls it “sabotage” that ultimately could thwart the transfer of Iringa, 42, Toka, 41, and Thika, 31, to the Performing Animal Welfare Sanctuary (PAWS) in San Andreas, Calif.


“It’s a guerrilla campaign against council and the people of Toronto by a rogue staff,” he said. “As a zoo board member, I’ve been immensely frustrated over unwillingness by the Toronto Zoo to put the elephants first before political warfare and personal agendas.”


“We’re in another winter — but we could have had them out right before Christmas,” said Councillor Michelle Berardinetti, who spearheaded council’s Oct. 25 motion approving the sanctuary and instructing zoo staff to work with PAWS.


“I don’t want another death on our hands,” said Berardinetti. “If an elephant dies this winter, it will be on their heads, not on ours.”


Since 1984, seven elephants have died at the zoo, four within the past four years. The oldest was 41.


Zoo chief executive John Tracogna did not return repeated phone calls from the Star over several days last week.


CUPE Local 1600 president Grant Ankenman, whose union represents 192 Toronto Zoo staffers, says the elephant keepers have been “totally professional.”


But after council’s vote on PAWS, elephant keepers and other zoo staffers ramped up their opposition to council’s decision with a Facebook campaign.


One posting on a public page called The Toronto Zoo Elephant Keepers compared Berardinetti to a “brainless puppet.” Another called PAWS co-founder Ed Stewart “an evil, lying man.” One zoo staffer wrote on her own Facebook page that

Toronto zoo chief regrets staff members’ ‘inappropriate’ Facebook remarks

Toronto zoo chief John Tracogna says he regrets “inappropriate remarks” on Facebook by staffers who oppose moving the zoo’s three African elephants to a California sanctuary.


He told a morning press conference at zoo headquarters in Scarborough that he has asked zoo lawyers to draft a policy for using social media to avoid problems in future.


The negative comments, posted on Facebook by zoo staffers and included in a Star report Monday, blasted council and individuals for voting to send Toronto’s elephants to the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in San Andreas, California. Nasty remarks were also directed at PAWS director Ed Stewart.


However, Tracogna said relations with the California sanctuary are good and plans to transfer Iringa, Toka and Thika from Toronto to PAWS are going smoothly.


It’s expected the move will come in March or April.


Tracogna said it’s too soon to say if the elephants will travel by air or land.


However, Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, a zoo board member, told the Star he’d love to see an “Operation Jumbo Drop” in which the Canadian military transferred the elephants by cargo plane and the whole country got involved in the saga.


That’s what happened with Maggie, an elephant flown by the U.S. Air Force from Alaska to California in a C-17 four years ago. An animal welfare group paid for the trip after it was decided Maggie should leave the zoo in Anchorage.


Even the Pentagon got involved, facilitating the use of a Hercules plane and prioritizing the elephant lift.


De Baeremaeker said it’s best to let the people moving the elephants decide what’s best. Toronto Zoo keepers will work with PAWS on the transfer, the cost of which is being covered by PAWS.


Still, a source said very preliminary efforts have begun to try and sell the idea of an elephant flight by the Canadian military to the Conservative

Gay Penguin’s New Girlfriend’s Best Friend Has Some Advice

“Toronto’s zoo has split up a pair of male penguins whose affection for each other drew headlines and speculation about whether they might be gay. The zoo said Buddy and Pedro had been officially separated and Buddy had mated with a female.” —The Guardian


Buddy’s new girlfriend: Hey, oh my God. I need to confess something …


Buddy’s new girlfriend’s best friend: You’re seeing Buddy?


Buddy’s new girlfriend: I’m seeing Buddy!


Buddy’s new

Workers' stir throws zoo management out of gear

The woes of historic Maharajbagh Zoo have no end. On Monday, 66 daily wagers working with the zoo and garden went on an indefinite strike resulting in collapse of services. The zoo is already understaffed and workers' strike has further complicated the matters. The daily wagers, some of whom claim to be working for more than 25-30 years, are demanding regularisation of their services.


There are 15 daily wagers including 10 sweepers in the zoo while remaining are posted in the garden and nursery. These workers clean the garden, guard enclosures, feed the animals and dispose of solid and liquid waste. A visit on Tuesday revealed that Maharajbagh was feeling the pinch due to strike. Animals




Chief Executives Blog
Well they’re here! Our two giant pandas are safely settling into their new enclosures at Edinburgh Zoo and we’re absolutely delighted with them.
The moment of their arrival was so very poignant, and a moment that I and many others will never forget. I was honoured to represent the Society as one of their greatest achievements came to fruition.
On Sunday 4th December at around 1pm, Tian Tian and Yang Guang arrived on Scottish soil at Edinburgh Airport. The pair had touched down safely courtesy of the FedEx Panda Express – a specially chartered Boeing 777F flight

Check mate: How forced celibacy affects captive tigers
With a gestation period of merely three months and a reproductive cycle of two years, tigers breed easily, which is reflected in the increase in numbers in the wild. But, with shrinking habitats and increasing threats from different sources, tigers that are being rescued from the wild may be staring at a life of celibacy in zoos all over India.
Due to many reasons, mating in zoos among wild animals is not actively encouraged. Strangely, no study has been conducted by any Indian expert on the implications of tigers not being allowed to mate. Will their health get affected, are there any psychological issues and will such cats face any other problems? TOI spoke to some experts on the issue. While some say that captive breeding should be allowed, others feel it has no conservation value.
'Chhe Phool, Ek Mali' can be a movie that could be shot in Nagpur's city zoo. There are four female tigresses, all rescued from the wild after their mothers went missing. While Jai is 3.5 years, Lee, Jaan and Cherry, the three cubs from the same litter, will soon turn three. Another two females and a male, again from the same tigress, are being held in captivity in a small enclosure at Bor sanctuary for over two years. All have been almost domesticated and will not be able to lead a life in the wild ever again.

It is euthanasia for the virus-affected jackals
The decision has been taken. Euthanasia to the four jackals of the city zoo infected with the canine distemper virus. Chief Wildlife Warden R Raja Raja Varma has confirmed to Express that euthanasia is the only option before him.
The zoo authorities are yet to receive an official approval for their application regarding the euthanasia of the infected jackals.
The canine distemper virus has already claimed the lives of four jackals in the city zoo. With the mercy killing of the remaining four, the virus would have wiped out all the jackals from the city zoo.
Raja Raja Varma said: “This is the only option left in order to save the lives of other animals. The four jackals would be subjected to euthanasia. It is a very disturbing decision, but there is no other option”.
Since jackals are schedule animals, the approval of CWW is necessary to go ahead with the procedure.
According to the zoo officials, the euthanasia will be carried out by injecting high dose of anaesthetics. The body of the animals will be charred in the presence of zoo authorities. Euthanasia was held in the zoo five years ago when a group of animals were infected with foot-and-mouth disease.
Canine distemper virus infection is very rare in jackals. It is common among stray dogs. Though the condition of the remaining jackals are

Prime Indonesian Jungle to Be Cleared for Palm Oil
The man known as Indonesia's "green governor" chases the roar of illegal chainsaws through plush jungles in his own Jeep. He goes door-to-door to tell families it's in their interest to keep trees standing.
That's why 5,000 villagers living the edge of a rich, biodiverse peat swamp in his tsunami-ravaged Aceh province feel so betrayed.
Their former hero recently gave a palm oil company a permit to develop land in one of the few places on earth where orangutans, tigers and bears still can be found living side-by-side — violating Indonesia's new moratorium on concessions in primary forests and peatlands.
"Why would he agree to this?" said Ibduh, a 50-year village chief, days after filing a criminal complaint against Aceh Gov. Irwandi Yusuf.
"It's not just about the animals," he said, men around him nodding. "Us too. Our lives are ruined if this goes through."
Irwandi — a former rebel whose life story is worthy of a Hollywood film — maintains the palm oil concession is by the book and that he would never do anything to harm his province.
But critics say there is little doubt he broke the law.
The charges against him illustrate the challenges facing countries like Indonesia in their efforts to fight climate change by protecting the world's tropical jungles — which would spit more carbon when burned than planes, automobiles and factories c

Govt seeks to overturn Aceh’s granting of forest clearing permit
The government will overturn a policy made by Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf to grant a permit to an palm oil company to clear peat land forest in the Leuser ecosystem area, a senior official says.
Hadi Daryanto, secretary-general of the Forestry Ministry, said on Friday that the government would seek to impose sanctions on those responsible for the signing of the illegal approval for PT Kallista Alam to convert 1,605 hectares of protected peat swamp forest into palm oil plantations.
The policy breaches Presidential Instruction No.10/2011, issued in May this year, which bans new permits on the clearing of primary forests and peat lands.
The permit, which allows PT Kallista Alam to develop palm oil plantations in the protected peat swamp forest in the Tripa Peat Swamp, which is part of the Leuser ecosystem, was signed by Irwandi on Aug. 25. “It breaches the 2011 moratorium on new forest permits because [Irwandi] issued the permit after the moratorium was signed. Thus, we will impose sanctions by revoking the permit he granted,” Hadi told The Jakarta Post.
He added that the Forestry Ministry had sent a letter to Home

Indonesian police ask Interpol help over orangutan deaths
Indonesians have been horrified at revelations palm oil workers at a Malaysian plantation in Kalimantan were paid around $US90 for each orang-utan they killed as part of a pest control program.
Police in Kalimantan say they've asked for help from Interpol and the Malaysian embassy to track down the plantation's former general manager.
The harming of orang-utans is a problem that has increased as palm oil plantations take over the sprawling jungles of Borneo. This massive island is divided among the Indonesian province of Kalimantan, two Malaysian states, and the sovereign country of Brunei. Arfiana Khairunnisa heads the Kalimantan branch of the Centre for Orangutan Protection.

New Zealand Millionaire to search for missing penguin Happy Feet
A WEALTHY philanthropist wants to find Happy Feet, the lost emperor penguin that gained worldwide stardom after he washed up on a New Zealand beach thousands of miles from his Antarctic home.
After being nursed back to health, Happy Feet caught a ride home on a research ship, where in a very public media event he was released, complete with an electronic tracker that allowed people to follow his progress on the internet.
That signal died only a short time later, prompting many to fear Happy Feet had met with an unfortunate

The Demise of the Komodo Kings
King Kong was a tragic hero. The last of his kind and formerly the ferocious ruler of Skull Island, there was no hope for the gigantic ape trapped in the dirty, noisy confines of New York City. Carl Denham -– the fictional filmmaker who led the expedition to capture Kong –- was wrong when he quipped, “It was beauty that killed the beast” at the finale of the original 1933 RKO Pictures classic. Kong’s affection for Ann Darrow is not what did him in. Civilization killed the ape. There was no way to contain something so wild and primal. Death was the only escape Kong had from a nightmare of skyscrapers and automobiles.
Kong’s unfortunate end underscores the strange nature of zoos. We revere the tiger, crocodile, and elephant for their power and symbolic wildness, yet we constantly seek to contain them within small, unnatural environments where ticket holders can pass by, complain that the animals aren’t doing anything, and then move on to scarf down a bacon cheeseburger at the nearby food court. You only need to wait near a lion or leopard enclosure for a short time to realize just how out of context the predators are. To encounter a leopard in the dark of night with no barriers between you and the cat would be a chilling experience –- a reminder that we, too, can be prey. But at a zoo, with the carnivore safely behind a moat, bars, or some other barrier, people feel comfortable enough to raise their little tykes up to the limits of the cat enclosure and purr to their children, “Aw. Look at the big kitties!”
Don’t get me wrong. Properly run zoos can play important roles in research, conservation, and –- sometimes, but never often enough -– education. But there is still something incongruous about taking an animal that we cherish as being fierce and unfettered by the trappings of urban existence and plunking it down in a small, artificial habitat just a few minutes off the Bronx River Parkway. That is what the dramatic climax of King Kong is all about. Our species had taken something magnificent and attempted to tame it, and such a primordial expression of Nature could not survive in the world we transplanted it into. This underlying point was not an original idea conjured up by the filmmakers behind the movie, but a tribute to the fate of a pair of real creatures that scientists had no idea even existed until the beginning of the 20th century.
“Here be dragons.” That phrase, as scrawled across old maps, indicated a fear of the unknown during a time when Europeans ventured out to other continents and realized that the world was more diverse, wonderful, and frightening than they imagined. Eventually, the strange became familiar and blank spots on maps were filled in, but, in at least one case, there truly were formidable dragons lurking in a little-known spot. These were the Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis) –- the world’s largest living lizards, tucked away along a swath of Indonesian islands.

Conservation society calls for EU ban on dolphinaria
The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society has handed a petition with more than 60,000 signatures to the EU Ambassador to Switzerland Michael Reiterer, calling for a ban on the importation of dolphins and the construction of dolphinaria within the EU.
In a statement sent to The Portugal News, The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) said that a total 60,588 signatures were collected by a consortium of international NGOs, which were handed to Ambassador Reiterer on 17 November in Bern, Switzerland.
"In some parts of the world, dolphins are still captured from the wild for the international dolphinarium industry, including in the brutal drive hunts in Japan - as exposed in the Oscar-winning documentary film 'The Cove'," read the Society's statement.
It adds that these captures threaten the very survival of wild dolphin populations.
"Breeding dolphins in captivity is difficult and so trade in wild caught dolphins has become a lucrative business. The groups are afraid that this situation will lead to further imports of wild caught dolphins into the EU," read the statement.
In its report on dolphinaria in the EU, entitled 'EU Zoo inquiry 2011', written for the European coalition ENDCAP in association with the Born Free Foundation, the WDCS concluded that, despite a directive calling for a range of criteria to be met by zoos and dolphinaria, none that were studied came close to meeting their legal or moral obligations.
The report found that cetaceans (the collective name for whales, dolphins and porpoises) are kept in 34 dolphinaria in 14 EU member states, the majority being bottlenose dolphins.
The dolphinaria studied included both centres in Portugal that house cetaceans; Zoomarine in Guia and Lisbon Zoo. These are home to four and 21 bottlenose dolphins, respectively, a species currently classed as of 'least concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
"It is impossible to keep dolphins in conditions which meet their biological needs, as required by EU legislation. As migratory, social animals capable of travelling a hundred miles a day, their behavioural and psychological needs cannot be met in a small, concrete tank," says the WDCS.
It adds that, compared to their natural habitat, a dolphinarium pool is too small, too shallow, too bare and lacking in environmental stimulation. This can create a very stressful situation for dolphins held in captivity, who live shorter lives than their free-living, wild counterparts.

Wildlife park sentenced over handler's death
Zion Wildlife Gardens has been ordered to pay $60,000 to the widow of a fatally mauled big cat handler.
The Whangarei park was sentenced this morning in the District Court for failing to take steps to prevent a hazard and failing to take steps to prevent harm to Dalu Mncube.
Mr Mncube was mauled to death by a tiger while cleaning its cage in 2009.
His widow, Sharon Arnott, was awarded reparation for the emotional harm she and her young daughter have suffered.
The park has been placed in receivership and is in liquidation with debts of more than $3 million.
It has also been the centre of a family feud between owner Patricia Busch and her son Craig.
The Department of Labour says it was simply unacceptable that a handler was permitted to enter an enclosure when the untrained tigers weren't

Zoo code cracked: Mona Lisa hides 3 animals
A US-based artist claims to have cracked the Leonardo Da Vinci "zoo" code - a 500-year-old mystery - after he discovered hidden animals in the famous Mona Lisa portrait.
Ron Piccirillo, the amateur oil painter and graphic designer based in New York, believes that animals, including lion (top right), an ape (top left) and a buffalo (bottom right) are visible if one turns the Mona Lisa onto its side.
According to him, he followed a series of instructions set out by the artist Leonardo da Vinci to decipher the image and claims his discovery cracks open the meaning of the work, painted in 1519, the 'Daily Mail' reported.
Piccirillo claims to have found similar hidden images in works by other Renaissance painters such as Titian and Rafael. It was when he turned the painting on its side that he first noticed the lion's head. He said: "Then I noticed the buffalo and I thought, 'Oh my God' . Then I realized I was really onto something. I just could not believe what I was looking at. I realized , 'this is what I've been looking for' ." Piccirillo also said he had found either a crocodile or snake by following the instructions of da Vinci's journals.
Looking at the painting from a 45 degree angle from the left, the path that runs in the scenery behind the Mona Lisa appears almost serpentine.
This was supposedly where the angle of the light was best and led t

Indianapolis Zoo to open $20M orangutan exhibit in 2014
The Indianapolis Zoo is making a promise: When it opens in 2014, the new International Orangutan Center will be the most spectacular exhibit the zoo has ever offered.
Looking for something at any other zoo with which to compare it?
Don’t even try, said Robert Shumaker, one of the world’s foremost orangutan experts who joined the staff at the Indianapolis Zoo to help oversee the planned exhibit.
“It will quite simply,” Shumaker said, “be the best zoo habitat for orangutans anywhere in the world.”|topnews|text|

Hyderabad zoo clueless over ostrich's 'sex change'
A year after their procurement, the city's Nehru Zoological Park has realized that it's popular ostrich couple is not a couple after all! The authorities recently realized, much to their bewilderment, that the couple was actually a pair of male birds.
The zoo park had acquired an exotic ostrich pair in June 2010 at a cost of Rs 3 lakh from a local bird dealer, who sourced the large flightless birds from Dubai.
But within a month of the purchase, the seven-month-old female of the pair died during the quarantine period.
It was replaced by another "female" a few months later. The zoo staff wasted no time in showcasing the new 'pair' and have been doing so for a year now. It was only recently the authorities realized the dealer had replaced it with a male bird and are demanding a replacement. Officials said they generally identify the sex of the birds but in this case,the sex test could not be carried out. They figured it out only when the ostriches turned

Trial date set for Anne the circus elephant's ex-owners
There was an outcry over shocking images of Britain’s last circus elephant being beaten with a pitchfork.
Yesterday, nine months after the Daily Mail revealed the plight of Anne the elephant, her former owners appeared at court accused of animal cruelty.
Bobby and Moira Roberts are charged with causing unnecessary suffering by chaining Anne to the floor, failing to prevent her groom from beating her, and failing

Genetic study confirms: First dogs came from East Asia
Researchers at Sweden's KTH Royal Institute of Technology say they have found further proof that the wolf ancestors of today's domesticated dogs can be traced to southern East Asia -- findings that run counter to theories placing the cradle of the canine line in the Middle East.
Dr Peter Savolainen, KTH researcher in evolutionary genetics, says a new study released Nov. 23 confirms that an Asian region south of the Yangtze River was the principal and probably sole region where wolves were domesticated by humans.
Data on genetics, morphology and behaviour show clearly that dogs are descended from wolves, but there's never been scientific consensus on where in the world the domestication process began. "Our analysis of Y-chromosomal DNA now confirms that wolves were first domesticated in Asia south of Yangtze River -- we call it the ASY region -- in southern China or Southeast Asia", Savolainen says.
The Y data supports previous evidence from mitochondrial DNA. "Taken together, the two studies provide very strong evidence that dogs originated in the ASY region", Savolainen says.
Archaeological data and a genetic study recently published in Nature suggest that dogs originate from the Middle East. But Savolainen rejects that view. "Because none of these studies included samples from the ASY region, evidence from ASY has been overlooked," he says.
Peter Savolainen and PhD student Mattias Oskarsson worked with Chinese colleagues to analyse DNA from male dogs around the world. Their study was published in the scientific journal Heredity.
Approximately half of the gene pool was universally shared everywhere in the world, while only the ASY region had the entire range of genetic diversity. "This shows that gene pools in all other regions of the world most probably originate from the ASY region", Savolainen says.
"Our results confirm that Asia south of the Yangtze River was the most important -- and probably the only -- region for wolf domestication, and that a large number of wolves were domesticated", says Savolainen.
In separate research published recently in Ecology and Evolution, Savolainen, PhD student Arman Ardalan and Iranian and Turkish scientists conducted a comprehensive study of mitochondrial DNA , with a particular focus on the Middle East. Because mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from the mother in most species, it is especially useful in studying evolutionary relationships.
"Since other studies have indicated that wolves were domesticated in the Middle East, we wanted to be sure nothing had been missed. We find no signs whatsoever that dogs originated there", says Savolainen.
In their studies, the researchers also found minor

Advocates say ‘pioneering’ NJ tiger registry bill may protect animals from black market trade
Though only a fraction of the world’s tiger population resides in New Jersey, a lawmaker wants to make the state an international model for protecting against illegal sales of tiger bones and other body parts.
State Sen. Ray Lesniak is sponsoring a bill that would require New Jersey’s captive tigers to be counted, registered and tracked to ensure their body parts don’t end up on the black market. The bill faces its first legislative hearing on Thursday.
Tigers claws, teeth and whiskers are all marketed illegally, but tiger bones are the most valuable on the black market because they are believed to have medicinal value.
Tom Lovejoy, the chief biodiversity adviser to the president of the World Bank and president of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment, described New Jersey’s proposal as “a pioneering effort” to help tigers worldwide.
He said even if the legislation is largely symbolic because of New Jersey’s small captive tiger population

Indonesian Ministry of Forestry Partners with Private Sector to Support Orangutan Foundation International
Major public private partnership backed by PT SMART Tbk and Asia Pulp & Paper
The Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, with the support of PT SMART Tbk (SMART) and Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP), announced a landmark partnership with Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) to create a two-year conservation programme geared towards the protection of orangutans, one of the more endangered

First ever recipe book for animals
The first ever recipe book for animals has been put together.
Experts at Chester Zoo spent years studying exactly what their animals should eat - and put all the info into a book.
The book contains 7,000 recipes and each animal has its own specific diet.
It's good news for the animals because new keepers will know exactly what to feed them.
Some of the meals are a bit easier to prepare than others. Giraffes live happily on tree branches but red pandas have to eat four

Should animals be stunned before slaughter?
The slaughter of conscious animals was widely abandoned in the 20th Century and is now practised mainly in the Jewish and Muslim communities. Consumers increasingly expect animals to be stunned before death - but would banning other slaughter methods be an unacceptable violation of religious rights?
The sound of pistons and mechanics fills the air as the last calf of the day steps into a holding box.
A device the size of a hand-held drill is brought to the animal's head, a trigger pulled and a four-inch bolt shot into its brain, causing it instantly to collapse. The unconscious calf is hoisted upside down and slaughtered seconds later with a massive cut to its throat, showering the floor with a torrent of crimson blood.
"Killing animals is never friendly," says Paul Meeuwissen, director of the Vitelco abattoir in the central town of s'-Hertogenbosch, "but what we do is done in the most animal-friendly way possible."
Stunning prohibited in Jewish law, which says animals must be healthy and uninjured at the time of slaughter
Islamic law also says animals must be uninjured, but authorities sometimes allow a form of stunning - in the UK, dhabiha usually involves stunning
Viewpoints: The right way to slaughter?
The plant - the second-biggest veal abattoir in Europe - has used stunning on all its calves - some 300,000 a year - since 2008. Before then it performed some religious slaughter without stunning for the Jewish and Muslim communities, but changing public attitudes towards animal welfare forced a rethink.
The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe took the position in 2002 that "the practice of slaughtering animals without prior stunning is unacceptable under any circumstances", and the issue has gradually become more central for animal welfare campaigners, and for politicians.
"We decided to stop 'ritual' killing because the idea didn't fit us," says Mr Meeuwissen. "My customers are very critical on how we produce our meat, and the large supermarket chains no longer want any meat which is produced ritually."
In the Netherlands and elsewhere, most of the remains of an animal slaughtered by the Jewish method (shechita) end up on supermarket shelves as regular meat products, because parts of the carcass are forbidden

Resort releases eight oryx to breed
The Banyan Tree Al Wadi Resort has eight new Arabian oryx for its nature reserve.
Six females aged between four and six, and two males aged three and five, will join four male oryx that were released there in April last year from Al Ain Wildlife Park.
There is a "100 per cent guarantee" the oryx will breed in the coming winter months, said Ryan Ingram, the recreation manager at the resort.
"Within one year we will have youngsters for sure," Mr Ingram said. "They don't have a problem breeding in this environment.
"We're releasing them into the wild to do their own thing. The whole purpose behind that is to let natural selection take place. We let nature do the planning."
The breeding season begins with the cool weather and increases in intensity in the cooler months.
It is hoped that some of the females

Lohi Bher Wildlife Park in a shambles
Going on a safari is a thrilling experience, but a drive inside Lohi Bher Wildlife Park, spread over 687 acres with its main attraction of Lion’s Safari, could be terrible and boring expedition.
The zigzag road, connecting the Islamabad Highway to the park, is in a sorry state, but thin road running inside the park is in more pathetic condition as at several points it vanishes altogether into rocky driveway. Most of the visitors return without seeing the Lion’s Safari because driving up a steep and dilapidated road with a gorge to its right is impossible.
The park houses about 250 animals of various species with only one veterinary doctor and his assistant to look after them in the captive environment. Dozens of peacocks of various breeds kept in huge cage welcome visitors when they begin their trip after entrancing the park.
Before reaching a large playground having slides, seesaws and swings - most of them broken, visitors pass by deer kept behind fences. Visitors might expect herds of deer, but there are couple of the animals and they remain out of sight most of the time, hiding in the large areas.
Beside the playground, there are fibreglass sculptures of various animals including leopard, elephant and rhinoceros. They too are in a decaying condition, and looking not less than ghostly figures. Teeth of leopard’s statue are missing, there is big hole in the belly of huge sculpture of rhinoceros, and one of tusks

Coming soon: Six new zoos .
Much to the delight of children and animal lovers, at least six new zoological gardens are being proposed in the country. Among the major attractions in them will be the first ever Night Safari in the country at Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh and Panther Safari at Raigad in Maharashtra. The new zoos will be in addition to the already existing 22 in the country.
According to sources in the Central Zoo Authority, out of the six proposed zoological gardens that have been granted approval three are in Uttar Pradesh alone. Out of the other three, two are in Maharashtra and one in Madhya Pradesh.
The most awaited is, however, the Greater Noida Night Safari which will be the fourth of its kind in the world after Singapore, China and Thailand. CZA has granted approval under Section 38H(2) of the Wildlife Protection Act. It has also got the mandatory approval by the Supreme Court.
The Lion Safari proposed in Etawah, though having received clearances from both the CZA and the SC, has remained a non-started due to a power tussle between SP and BSP.
Yet another zoo proposed at Ramgarh Tal Development Area in Gorakhpur is expected to house animals from derecognised zoos of the State.
Two other similar proposals for Agra and Muradabad have, however, been shot down on the ground that the proposed sites were within the flood plains of Yamuna and Ram Ganges rivers and thus not suitable for creation of zoos.
Maharashtra being one of the worst-hit States in man-leopard conflicts, CZA has also granted approval for setting up a leopard rescue centre at Ahmednagar. Further, Madhya Pradesh is also expected to have a zoo and animal rescue centre at Satna.
Among the existing top five zoos, the Alipur Zoological Gardens (West-Bengal) is home to rare captive breeding projects involving the Manipur Brow-antlered Deer.
The Allen Forest Zoo (Uttar Pradesh) is created out of natural forest and its main attractions include white tigers and Asiatic lions. Aringar Anna Zoological Park (Tamil Nadu) is an Avian paradise and roosting ground for migratory birds. It is also home to a wide variety of species of monkeys. While the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park/ Chatbir Zoo (Chandigarh) has Lion Safari and Royal Bengal Tiger as its main draws

Braille Handrails at a Zoo
Akanksha Jain would like to make a zoo in Ahmedabad, India accessible to visually impaired visitors. One cool feature that she’s designed is a handrail with Braille descriptions of animals and their environments, as well as button-activated sound recordings. She’s also devised relief maps and animal models that visitors can use to navigate the zoo and learn about its

Josh Brodesky: Zoo right to split elephants
Maybe the blame is on Disney, which made a fortune humanizing animals.
Forget pink elephants on parade. In the Old Pueblo anthropomorphic outrage marches on over the Reid Park Zoo's decision to split elephants Connie and Shaba after 29 years together.
Connie, a 44-year-old Asian elephant, will move to the San Diego Zoo to receive geriatric care and be with other Asian elephants. In return, an African elephant herd will come live with Shaba, a 31-year-old African elephant, in Reid Park's new seven-acre exhibit.
The plan - from breeding to socializing to disease control - is clearly in the best interests of all precious pachyderms involved.
But among humans, it has stirred a stampede of lament and anger - not to mention a healthy respect for marriage.
"To separate them now is like splitting a human couple that have been married for 60 years," wrote one poster on the zoo's Facebook page, speculating they may die from broken hearts.
Another wrote it was like a couple separating after 30 years.
"Most people can understand and grasp the concept of animal bonds," Tracy Toland, an animal advocate and financial office manager, told the City Council.
But do they really understand elephants? Or do they apply Disney-like layers of human emotions to animals? Certainly, elephants have emotions and bonds, but how deep and complex? No one knows.
"We try to be very careful to not project human emotions on animals for fear of being wrong," said Jeff Andrews, the associate curator of mammals for San Diego Zoo Global.
Take Connie and Shaba. Andrews has been working with them and their trainers for five years. At first, Connie and Shaba struggled when separated during training sessions. A sure sign of their tight bond, right?
"It was mostly due to their lack of training," Andrews said. "It had nothing to do with the dependency of the elephants on one another." After a few weeks of training, they adjusted, he said.

New look for zoos
Guidelines give priority to animal welfare
POOR conditions in zoos will be things of the past with the introduction of new guidelines on their management and animal welfare.
Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) deputy director-general Dr Zaaba Zainol Abidin said the guidelines, which were being reviewed by the Attorney- General’s Chambers, were part of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, passed last year.
He said the guidelines would pave the way for a makeover of zoos as they included the best practices taken from zoos around the world.
“It is an improvement on the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 as it has mandatory requirements that must be followed by the zoo management, and a stiff penalty for non-compliance,” he told the New Straits Times recently.
He said the guidelines covered not only animals’ food and dietary requirements, but also their welfare, living space and conditions.
“The guidelines require the appointment of a full-time zoo veterinarian, who will prepare a diet for the animals and ensure that the zoo implements the menu.
“Zoos must also give animals comfortable living space and proper care. Failure to do so will see veterinarians being fined up to RM100,000 as they are responsible for the welfare of animals.”
He added that the authorities would close down errant zoos.
The guidelines cover animals’ living space, with a 300-square-metre enclosure for animals that come in pairs, and an extra 30 square metres for additional animals.
He said zoos must build night stalls to allow vets to treat and attend to animals comfortably, and a non-exhibit enclosure or a yard for animals to roam about when they were not being exhibited.
Most importantly, zoos must renew their permits annually, he said.
The authorities would audit zoos by examing the latter’s reports to the zoo committee, he added.
As the guidelines were expected to be gazetted next year, he said, zoos would be given a grace period to comply with them.
Dr Zaaba, however, said it would take some time before the changes were carried out in the 42 zoos nationwide.
The guidelines seek to improve the conditions in zoos, many of which fail to meet basic animal welfare standards laid out by the South East Asia Zoos Association.
Perhilitan’s move in setting up a task force to check on the conditions in zoos and animals led to the authorities

The celebrated chimp that ruled the Bronx Zoo

The science and heartbreak of zoo romance
Zoo biologists use genetic analysis, demographic statistics and keen familiarity to plan the sex lives of their charges. Their goal is to avoid inbreeding and produce healthy offspring, but sometimes, even the best scientists and most attentive zoo-keepers cannot prevent a tragedy.
The couple seemed like a good pair.
Already sporting a distinguished coat of grey fur at the age of 22, he was a stout, hale and hearty father of a young son.
She was a bit younger - 16 - but those who knew her thought she was ready for motherhood.
And crucially, the computer analysis showed they did not share any recent ancestors, making them a good genetic match.
So, in a Chicago love story, zoo-keepers brought together Kwan, a male silverback western lowland gorilla, and Bana, a demure female. They hit it off, and on 16 November, Bana

Pa. zoo loses more than 70 animals in fire
A central Pennsylvania wildlife park says it expects to replace most of the more than 70 animals it lost when an electrical fire damaged two buildings last week.
Officials at the Lake Tobias Wildlife Park say they'll make a final decision on which animals to replace in the coming months.
Halifax fire officials say the blaze started early Tuesday morning. Two squirrel monkeys, two armadillo and dozens of birds perished in the blaze.
Fire Chief Bob Stout estimated the cost of the damage

Pakistan arrests Indian monkey for crossing border (Indian monkey?? the photo is not)
A monkey, which had crossed the Indian border, was arrested by wildlife officials in Bahawalpur, Express News reported on Monday.
As soon as the monkey entered the Cholistan area of Bahawalpur, locals tried to capture it but failed as the monkey dodged past them.
The residents of the area then informed the wildlife officials, who after some investigation and struggle, managed

Zoos should accept animals
When private animal owners are no longer able to care for their exotic pets, zoos like St. Louis Zoo will not, as a rule, take these animals. My wife and I own two adult chimpanzees who are more than 20 years old. They are in perfect health, in better shape than the chimpanzees at the St. Louis Zoo. My wife and I are now in our 70s and will soon have to look for another place for our beloved chimps to live.
In order to be accepted by an animal sanctuary, like those operated by Friends of Animals, we would be required to make a donation ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of

Receding floods reveal crocs lurking in Bangkok
Murky floodwaters are receding from Bangkok's inundated outskirts to reveal some scary swamp dwellers who moved in while flooded residents were moving out — including crocodiles and some of the world's most poisonous snakes.
Special teams from the Thai Fishery Department have responded to numerous reports of reptilian menaces, like the 3-foot-long (meter-long) croc that Anchalee Wannawet saw sitting next to the outhouse one morning, its toothy jaw wide open.
"I ran away, and it ran into there," the 23-year-old said, pointing toward the reedy swamp behind the construction site where she works in Bangkok's northern Sai Mai district. "I haven't dared to go the bathroom since. I'm peeing in a can."
Thailand has long been a center for the breeding, exporting and trafficking of exotic animals, especially crocodiles. Farmed both legally and illegally, crocs are popular because of the value they fetch for their meat,

Edinburgh zoo's pandas are a big cuddly waste of money
Tian Tian and Yang Guang will doubtless charm zoo visitors but the cost of their stay would be better spent on conservation
I have been a giant panda fan ever since I worked on a TV documentary on the endangered animal, and have therefore been following the latest panda fiasco with great interest.
Tian Tian ("sweetie") and her male companion Yang Guang ("sunshine") have just arrived at Edinburgh zoo, thousands of miles from the Wolong panda breeding centre in central China. They are reportedly "jet-lagged but very well". They'd better be. Soon visitors will flock to the first-class zoo to catch a glimpse of them. The breeding pair, born in 2003, will stay in the Scottish capital for 10 years for research and educational purposes. They will no doubt charm their audience; unlike their cousins in the wild, they are not shy and play in front of people.
Pandas' cuddly looks and rarity have won them universal love, which has been well exploited by the Chinese government. In 1972, two pandas were presented to the United States after President Nixon's historic visit; in 1974, another two were given to Britain in the wake of Edward Heath's friendly visit. In 2005, as part of the talks with Lien Chan, China

The Zanesville Massacre Could Happen in Tampa …or Just About Anywhere else
At 5:30 a.m. on October 19, 2011, the phones at Big Cat Rescue began ringing with the news that Terry Thompson, a private owner and collector of exotic animals in Ohio, had released 56 of his lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, wolves and bears before committing suicide the night before.
As the watching world soon learned that day, Thompson had purposely cut the doors off his animals’ cages so they could not be returned to them. And because the perimeter fence around his property was a mere four- foot high cattle fence, and it was getting dark, the authorities who arrived on the scene were forced to shoot and kill all but six of the dangerous wild animals.
This senseless tragedy unfolded in Zanesville, Ohio, but it could just as easily have been in Tampa or any other city in Florida.
The reason is because there is a patchwork of laws across our country and a dire lack of funds to enforce them. All too often it takes a tragedy like the Zanesville massacre before the public finds out that crazy people and government agencies are playing Russian roulette

Editorial: Elephants no longer belong under the U.S. big top
The company behind the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $270,000 as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act.
The agreement noted that more than a dozen inspections had resulted in reports of non-compliance with regulations, from improper fencing to temporarily losing control over an animal to allowing a zebra to escape.
The USDA had also launched four investigations into the circus over the last two years, according to a spokesman, that might have led to findings of more serious violations before the settlement ended all inquiry.Although the fee is the highest ever assessed against an animal exhibitor under the welfare statute, it’s peanuts for the circus.
And Feld Entertainment Inc. did not admit wrongdoing but pledged to institute mandatory animal-welfare training for all employees and to designate a compliance officer.
Those are conscientious moves, but Feld should do more. For a decade, animal-welfare groups have filed lawsuits and federal complaints against the circus for its handling of exotic animals, particularly elephants, contending that the circus chains them for hours, subjects them to arduous road travel and uses bull hooks to make them comply with commands. The time is long past for elephants in the circus ring. For their part, Feld officials have vigorously defended their operation’s concern for animal welfare.
The company’s website says the elephants are well housed, transported and cared for, and perform a scant hour or two on show days. In addition, Feld proudly says it is breeding endangered Asian elephants at its conservation centre in Florida.
If Feld officials care as much as they say they do about animals — particularly the planet’s largest land mammals — they should retire them from performance.
Short of that, they should retire from the road any elephants suffering from arthritis — the plague of captive, older elephants.
At a time when zoos are spending millions to find better ways to care for elephants — building them extensive habitats and minimizing or even forbidding unobstructed contact with keepers, thus eliminating the need for bull hooks for protection — this would be a good time for Feld to stop selling the old-school animal circus. Unt

Should Celebrity PETA Supporters Restrain Pet Group from Killing Animals in Its Care?
With a new PETA ad laying a guilt trip on children just in time for Thanksgiving -- "Kids: If you wouldn't eat your dog, why eat a turkey? Go Vegan" -- celebrities like Elisabetta Canalis, who posed nude for the radical group, may want to consider that the controversial organization for which they are exposing their reputations, and bodies may not be as animal friendly as it wants the public to believe.
Critics of the group say Canalis and other celebrities who shill for PETA -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals -- may want to rethink their rabid support of the organization in light of documented reports the so-called animal rights activists kill most of the animals in their care. A PETA-bashing group that calls itself PETA Kills Animals cites figures self-reported by the animal charity

Palm oil companies’ heinous killing of orangutans appalling
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is extremely distressed and appalled to learn that Malaysian palm oil companies are responsible for genocide against Indonesia’s endangered orangutans. All over Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) Malaysian owned companies were reported to be destroying what little is left of Indonesia’s rainforests and orangutans.
Not only do they destroy the last vestiges of land that is home to the endangered primates but paid plantation workers to kill at least 20 orangutans and prosboscis monkeys as a means of pest control since 2008. The manner in which these primates were eradicated were horrific as they were chased by dogs, then shot, stabbed or hacked to death with machetes.
This shows that palm oil companies have failed to honour their commitment to gain the sustainable label which must meet several criteria like refraining from clearance of virgin forests and to adhere to fair land acquisition policies.
There is absolutely no regard for law and the gruesome manner in which the orangutans were killed by unlawful means is a serious issue since it is irresponsible of oil palm companies to seize land inhabited by the orangutans resulting in the unceremonious eviction of the defenseless animals.
Even villagers were not spared from the onslaught as land belonging to them were also taken away for the oil palm industry. Apart from orangutan habitats, the expansion of plantations are also destroying habitats of other endangered species like tigers and elephants.

Safari park stops pinpointing rhinos for tourists
Kruger National Park in South Africa has decided to stop pinpointing rhino locations for visitors, amid fears poachers are taking advantage of the information
Wildlife enthusiasts hoping to spot a rhino at Kruger National Park in South Africa are on their own, as park authorities have decided to stop pinpointing locations of the elusive species, amid fears that poachers are taking advantage of the information.
Previously, the park would help tourists locate certain species by identifying the locations they were last seen on maps at rest-stops. Now park authorities have decided to remove all information revealing the whereabouts of rhinos over fears that poachers could be consulting the maps before hunting the animals.
The enormous size of this two million hectare park means that this elusive species has plenty of space to hide, yet over the past week six rhino carcases have been found, all with gunshot wounds and their horns removed.
South Africa National Parks have claimed that this year has been the worst year ever for rhino hunting, with data revealing a record number of 405 poaching related deaths in Africa alone. Kruger Park has lost 229 of its rhinos due to poaching this year, compared to 146 last year.
Both black and white African rhinos have been driven onto the global list of endangered and critically endangered species due to poaching. Conservationists believe this is due to demand for rhino horns in Asia.
Kruger Park is one of Africa's most popular

Zookeeper resigns after death of snake at Calgary Zoo
A keeper at the Calgary Zoo resigned Thursday after failing to follow animal handling instructions, which led to the death of a corn snake.
The reptile requires an accessible heat source to help stimulate its metabolism before feeding, said zoo spokeswoman Laurie Skene.
Normally, a hot water bottle would be placed in the snake's enclosure so it can be near the heat but also have the ability to move away.
"Snakes are cold blooded reptiles. They just need to be stimulated a little bit and have their metabolism perked up just before feeding," Skene said.
But on Oct. 9, when the keeper couldn't find a water bottle, the keeper filled a large basin full of hot water and placed the snake in a smaller container in the water.
The keeper was supposed to check on the snake every few minutes but left it unattended for half an hour

Elk shot after escaping from private NY zoo
Authorities say two of 14 elk that escaped from a private zoo in central New York remain on the loose. Two others were mistaken for deer by hunters and shot, while the zoo's owners reportedly have killed several of the animals.
State environmental conservation police confirm Thursday that two of the Roosevelt elk that escaped from Glenn Donnelly's Cayuga (kay-YOO'-guh) County property have been shot.
Officials say a bull elk was shot Saturday and a cow elk was killed Sunday by different hunters.
The Post-Standard of Syracuse reports that Donnelly's

In China, it's panda census time
The last count was a decade ago. Over the next year, teams will fan out in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces to look for the elusive animal or its droppings.
Reporting from Sanhe, China— If pandas weren't so darn cute, we wouldn't be up in the clouds at the edge of a mountain ravine slick with moss and mud, clinging for life to shoots of bamboo.
And get this: There is almost zero chance that we'll actually see a panda. We keep our eyes on the ground, not just to keep from falling, but because the best we can hope for is to discover panda droppings (and even the chances of that aren't so hot).
"To be honest, I've been working in these mountains for 20 years and I've never seen a panda in the wild," says Dai Bo, 43, a wildlife biologist with China's Forestry Ministry who's wearing a camouflage jacket,0,4762364.story

Jaws drop at Burj Al Arab aquarium's virgin birth
A female zebra shark in Dubai has successfully spawned pups - without the presence of a male.
Zebe, who was introduced to the Burj Al Arab's aquarium as a pup in 2001, has been laying eggs that have successfully hatched every year for the past four years.
It is the first time the species has been documented reproducing without being fertilised by a male, through a process called parthenogenesis.
Also known as virgin birth, parthenogenesis takes place when the female's egg cells double their genome and then split into two.
One of the egg cells takes on the role of the male sperm and effectively fertilises the other egg. They then merge back together to become an embryo with two female chromosomes.
Commonly witnessed in insects and some species of fish and reptiles, parthenogenesis is rarely seen in sharks and has been observed in other shark species only five times in the past decade.
"It was already known that a shark had done this before, but they were of a totally different lineage than zebra sharks; so, this is very exciting," said David Robinson, one of the marine biologists

How penguins 'time' a deep dive
Emperor penguins "time" their dives by the number of flaps they can manage with their wings.
This is according to a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
It aimed to show how the birds reached the "decision" that it was time to stop feeding and return to the surface to breathe.
Tracking the birds revealed that they flapped their wings, on average, 237 times on each dive.
The study was led by Dr Kozue Shiomi, from the University of Tokyo, Japan.
Dr Shiomi and his team think that the penguins' decision to end their foraging dive and return to the surface is constrained by how much power their muscles can produce after every pre-dive breath. This "flying" motion propels the birds forwards, allowing them to swim quickly through the water, gulping fish.
Using data collected from diving penguins on previous field trips, the team analysed the patterns of more than 15,000 penguin dives.
They studied 10 free-ranging birds and three birds that were foraging through a hole in

Mate delay for Highland birthday boy bear Walker
Pairing up the only polar bear in a UK public zoo with a female mate has been delayed because the bear that was selected could already be pregnant.
Walker is kept at the Highland Wildlife Park near Kincraig.
Staff, who have been marking the bear's third birthday, had hoped to have brought in a female from another collection by now.
Douglas Richardson, the park's animal collection manager, said other bears were being considered.
He told BBC Radio Scotland: "There is the likelihood that the female that was selected to come to the Highland Wildlife Park is pregnant so, obviously, we didn't push that move any further.
"We have already submitted a revised document with recommendations for getting a female.
"At the earliest, this could be sorted

Kuantan to get night zoo
A mini zoo at a popular recreational park here will open during the night making it the first night zoo in the East Coast.
Kuantan Municipal Council president Datuk Zulkifli Ya'acob said the zoo would be opened in two weeks and have animal shows featuring crocodiles and snakes.
“The night zoo is actually the current mini zoo located in Teruntum Park, a popular recreational park among

Ohio zoo gets male elephant 'Hank' from Arkansas sanctuary, plans to breed him with 2 females
A male elephant has moved from an Arkansas sanctuary to an Ohio zoo, with caretakers hoping the animal will help create a genetically diverse zoo population of Asian elephants.
The 23-year-old named Hank arrived Thursday at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Plans are to breed him with the zoo's females, Connie and Phoebe.
Zoo Assistant Curator Harry Peachey says Hank has previously sired a calf.
The elephant came from Riddle's Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary in Arkansas. He was born at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and has also lived at the Bronx Zoo and at Have Trunk Will Travel in California.
Asian elephants are endangered

Animal exchange between zoos to be monitored
The Central Zoo Authority of India (CZAI) has instructed all the zoos across the country including the one in Indore to strictly adhere to its guidelines for animal exchange programme. In past, several zoos have violated these guidelines of CZAI when exchanging animals with other zoos. Due to this, the quality of animals in some zoos has declined.
"Since the zoos were not adhering to the guidelines regarding animal exchange, the balance of various zoos has been disturbed.
For example, it is mandatory that an ill animal should not be exchanged for any other animal. But several zoos have violated this norm by exchanging an ill animal for a healthy one," claimed officials.
"It has come to our notice that many zoos are not abiding by the guidelines. We will be very strict about them now," said CZAI scientific officer P K Gupta. CZAI has also introduced some new guidelines. One of them is that the zoos will have to provide sufficient area to the exchanged animal. ""There are many zoos which do not have sufficient

Concern Growing in UAE Over Zoo Animals ‘Kept as Pets’
United Arab Emirates—Lions, cheetahs, tigers, baboons, and snakes are being kept as pets in the homes of wealthy families in the Middle East, prompting concerns from animal rights activists.
In recent years, there has been a steady increase in the trade of exotic and endangered animals to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Not only is the trade in violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), but also the domestic laws in the UAE.
Dr. Reza Khan an adviser on animal welfare to Dubai Municipality and a vocal campaigner against the practice said that despite the laws, it was an all too common occurrence in the oil-rich Gulf monarchy.
“Some people get an endangered animal as a pet to show off that they are in possession of something that others do not or cannot have,” he said.
“Wild animals cannot be kept as pets because they are dangerous. Not only that, but there is also a severe depletion of the population of such animals in the wild.
“They must not be taken away from their environment just to please the unusual greed of some odd people in society.”

No FIR yet in lion cubs tragedy
No FIR has yet been lodged in the mysterious disappearance of a lion cub at the Karachi Zoological Gardens almost four months ago.
A police investigation was suggested in the report of an inquiry, ordered by the Karachi administrator.
The report also recommended action against the zoo staff whose negligence, according to it, led to the death of three lion cubs and ‘disappearance’ of the fourth one.
According to sources, although show-cause notices have been issued to the zoo employees, who were suspended following the episode, and the police have been approached to investigate the case, the KMC officials concerned are reluctant to lodge an FIR.
“It has been more than a week since we asked them to lodge an FIR through a complainant and name the suspects. But there has been no progress so far. Even the police have not been provided with a copy of the inquiry report to get an idea about the case,” a police officer told Dawn.In the meantime, he added, the police recorded the statements of all zoo employees.
Sources in the city government said that officials were waiting for legal opinion before an FIR could be lodged.
It is worth mentioning that two pairs of lions were confiscated by the customs authorities at the Karachi airport last year on the




Toronto Zoo commits to moving elephants to sanctuary
The Toronto Zoo will put its international accreditation on the line after re-confirming plans to move its three elephants to an animal sanctuary in California.
The zoo's board of directors decided on Thursday that it would move ahead and ship Toka, Thika and Iringa to the Paws animal sanctuary instead of another zoo in the U.S, despite threats from North America's zoo oversight groups.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums along with its Canadian counterpart, the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, responded to an October decision to move the animals to the animal sanctuary by threatening to strip the Toronto Zoo of its own accreditation.
The AZA, which does not accredit the Paws sanctuary, called the decision to ship the three elephants to the park "troubling," adding that once ownership of the elephants was relinquished "the Zoo and the people of Toronto will have no say, ever again, in how its elephants are treated."
In a letter to the zoo board, CAZA said the decision "has raised serious questions to the accreditation standards maintained by the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Zoo board conducts 'final tug of war' over fate of elephants
Toronto councillors, zoo board members and other animal lovers were conducting a final tug of war - verbally, at least - over Toronto Zoo's three remaining elephants Thursday, Nov. 24.
Dozens signed up to speak at an afternoon zoo board meeting at city hall about the fate of the animals, and their deputations were continuing into Thursday evening.
Though popular with visitors, the zoo's elephant exhibit has been controversial, especially since Tara, another of the zoo's small herd, died in November 2009, the fourth of the group to die in three years.
Toronto Council voted Oct. 25 to send Iringa, Toka and Thika to the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary in California, overturning the board's decision in May to send the aging animals to an accredited zoo.
Zoo officials had said this move could take up to two years due to the necessity of permits and training to acclimatize the elephants to travel, but last month estimated the earliest elephants could leave was next April.
Animal activists had argued PAWS would be a more spacious and human destination for the elephants than any zoo, but board members said the sanctuary was not an accredited member of AZA, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Since council overturned the board's decision, the zoo has reported receiving letters from AZA and the CAZA, a Canadian equivalent it helped to found, expressing concern and suggesting, a report by CEO John Tracogna says, "the zoo's accreditation could be in jeopardy."
The report notes, however, that PAWS could apply to the AZA for certification as a "related facility" and that three AZA zoos have transferred elephants to PAWS.
Zoo staff have also said the decision to send the trio of pachyderms to PAWS was premature.
A letter signed by seven of the zoo's elephant keepers called it "a possible injustice" to the animals, until a comparison of all facilities interested in the elephants, including PAWS, has been made.
That thorough assessment is something staff "who have cared for these girls for over 35 years have earned the right to do," argues the letter, which asks councillors to change last month's decision.
"We owe it to these elephants to take the time to find the home that is best for them."
Tracogna's report says at the time of council's decision the zoo

Zoo loses face, along with its elephants
Let’s hope the road ahead for Toka, Thika and Iringa won’t be as bumpy as the one their masters at the Toronto Zoo now face.
Not only must zoo officials try to figure out the logistics for getting the three aging female elephants safely to a sanctuary in California by the end of next April. They’ll also have to figure out how to repair damaged relations with the bodies that provide the zoo with its coveted accreditation.
On Thursday, after a raucous five-hour public meeting, the zoo board voted to go along with city council’s October decision to send the elephants to the un-accredited PAWS sanctuary near San Andreas, Calif.
The sanctuary is not accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Maryland-based organization that certifies hundreds of zoos in North America, including Toronto’s.
The AZA has threatened to withdraw Toronto’s accreditation in large part because it believes the “experts’’ — keepers and managers at the zoo — are best positioned to decide the fate of the animals, not city councillors. The Canadian

Why are politicians determining zoo elephants’ fate?
When my kids were small, we lived in southeast Scarborough, conveniently close to the Toronto Zoo, so we were frequent visitors.
Our favourite place was the elephant pen, where you could stand and watch the animals up close as long as you wanted.
And, if you were lucky, have a chat with their keepers who were almost always willing to tell you all about their charges — their quirks, their foibles, the intricacies of their care.
The depth of their knowledge and the strength of the bond they had with the pachyderms never failed to impress. We went back time after time.
So it comes as a shock to me that the elephant keepers are being ignored in the uproar over what is to become of the zoo’s three remaining elephants, now that it has become accepted wisdom they shouldn’t be kept in such an inhospitable climate.
Everyone seems to agree they have to go to a warmer facility down south but no one seems to agree on where.
Once the decision to retire them was made, the zoo board decided to send them to an Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited facility, rather than to the Performing Animal Welfare Society’s sanctuary in California, as retired The Price Is Right host and elephant rescue hobbyist Bob Barker suggested.
But then city council got into the act — for reasons that are not entirely clear — and voted to send the elephants to the PAWS sanctuary after all.
That caused an uproar with the zoo keepers and board which suggested the zoo could lose its AZA accreditation if the elephants go to PAWS instead of another AZA facility, one of which the zoo had been negotiating with.
Next thing you know, a petition was circulating to support the zoo keepers and both sides of the argument were slinging mud at each other.
Wait a minute. How did we ever get to this point? (On Thursday, the Zoo board agreed to send the elephants to the PAWS facility.)
But does anyone other than me find it strange that suddenly everyone’s an elephant expert and the word of a has-been television game show host apparently counts for more than that of the people who actually care for the animals?

Elephant keepers at Toronto Zoo respond to city council’s decision to send beasts to PAWS in California
Q: What is the benefit to the elephants of sending them to a facility accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, as the keepers are demanding?

A: The TO Zoo would be able to retain ownership of Thika, Iringa and Toka and therefore be involved in any decisions relating to them, such as introductions to other elephants and possible relocation, if needed, for the entirety of their lives. It would also allow financial security and the possible opportunity for Thika, Iringa and Toka to be a part of a breeding herd, providing the much-needed social dynamic.

Q: The two councillors who visited PAWS describe it as “paradise” for elephants. What are your main concerns with the elephants going there?

A: The issue was never whether or not PAWS was or was not a “paradise.” The issue remains that all options were not explored and compared. An extensive list of criteria was compiled which included keepers’ input, to ensure that the best suitable home was established that met the elephants’ psychological and physical needs. However, this was not utilized in the decision when determining PAWS. The decision to relocate to PAWS was made without any input from zoo management and without any inspection or evaluation process

Q: What are non-sanctuary options for the elephants? Another zoo, or the AZA-accredited National Elephant Centre to open next year in Florida?

A: The keepers are unable to comment on what options were being discussed and prepared, but can assure you that information was gathered from these facilities to be able to answer and score them fairly using established criteria. In reference to the Florida facility, it certainly could have been a suitable home, but without being allowed to complete the comparison we will never know.

Q: What is your concern with the process of selecting PAWS? Some keepers have been quoted as saying they should have a say in the elephants’ new home. Is that true?

A: Yes, it is true that the keepers feel as though we offer a unique perspective and knowledge of our three elephants and therefore should be allowed the opportunity to voice this knowledge and aid in applying it in the selection process of finding them a new home.

Q: Some people feel that certain animals, including elephants, are not suited to zoos and can be adequately represented by educational multimedia displays. What is your response to that and are you concerned other Toronto

The death of an elephant
The death of Umoya, a 21-year-old mother elephant at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park this month, possibly after an altercation with a male elephant, has revived criticisms from animal rights activists.
Already there has been a call for a federal investigation. Criticisms likely to come will include that males and females should not be housed together, that not enough range is allowed at San Diego’s facilities in Balboa Park and San Pasqual Valley, and that elephants do not belong in captivity at all.
Credit the well-meaning activists with influencing public opinion in recent years. A dozen zoos have left the elephant business entirely. Others have opted to expand the size of elephant enclosures.
But let’s hold the rush to judgment about Umoya. It will be weeks before a necropsy tells the cause of death.
Nor are we comfortable with how some would frame this debate, assuming the institution was somehow at fault. The zoo, Safari Park and programs under the umbrella of San Diego Zoo Global have been a leader in protecting hundreds of endangered species – plants and animals. They have done the same for the elephant.
Elephants in captivity do present distinct challenges, particularly in range, exposure to cold weather and social groupings. But elephant populations worldwide are in severe decline, habitats are under pressure and climatic changes often put large numbers at risk. When pockets of overpopulation do develop, zoos are an alternative to a culling of the herd would mean death to Umoyas many times over.
In San Diego, at least, the parks are about more than putting animals on display. They conduct research into nutrition, elephant vocalization and foster breeding. (Seven elephants obtained in 2003 are now 18.) They provide money to improve Swaziland’s natural parks and lend veterinarians to serve other facilities.
Should a tragic death like that of Umoya mean that a zoo abandons its effort entirely? We don’t think that

Sponsor: zoo fed my piglets to the tiger
A man who adopted piglets at a Swedish zoo has reported it to the Consumer Agency after his charges were fed to the resident tigers without his consent.
Parken Zoo in Eskilstuna, eastern Sweden, has been running a scheme for the past 15 years whereby members of the public can sponsor individual animals.
“We see our sponsors as a very important part of this preservation project, and we’re very clear on our website that their money will go towards those animals,” Helena Olsson from the zoo told The Local. She stressed, however, that as the centre is a haven for endangered species, other more common animals are often sent to the slaughter.
“Our predators are carnivores, and we think it’s great if we can return the pigs, who’ve lived a heavenly life in the park, to the circle of life,” Ms Olsson explained to Expressen.
The unlucky swines were part of

Orang utan island disappoints
A FEW weeks ago, I went to Bukit Merah Laketown Resort with my family to visit Orang Utan Island.
I was very excited at first but left the island feeling disgusted and appalled by what I saw and heard.
I was stunned when I heard that all the orang utans were not born on the island but were actually on loan from other sanctuaries.
These sanctuaries are already involved in helping these apes return to the wild, why would the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (Perhilitan) allow the resort to bring in orang utans from the sanctuaries and give them a licence to call themselves “orang utan conservationists”?
As we were taken around the island by a staff member, we were shown babies behind a glass-partitioned clinic. I was told these babies were kept there, separated from their mothers for various health reasons.
This is not true. OUI removes babies to put on a show for the public, a terrible thing to do to their mothers.
And then there is the “Stage 2: The Enrichment Development Unit”.
One of these orang utan mothers is undergoing training in an island called ‘BJ Island’, next to OUI. What training?
Do they have to separate mother and child? Surely OUI know that separating baby orang utans is highly stressful for their mothers.
At night these babies in “Stage 2” are kept in a cage, which means they are locked up in this barren cage for up to 16 hours every day.
According to the newly enacted Wildlife Act 2010, OUI are guilty of causing suffering to the mother and baby orang utan and should be persecuted and the situation corrected.
In addition, an orang utan named Baboon, who had given birth to five orang utans here according to a staff, was separated from four of her young ones.
I wonder if the babies separated from their mother here have ever been reunited.
The OUI Foundation website claims “(OUI)...designed to resemble the orang utan’s natural rainforest habitat as much as possible”.
But orang utans don’t live in a glass clinic in their “natural rainforest habitat” and their mothers don’t put their babies in tanks for “training”.
OUI claims they are involved in orang utan research. Can Perhilitan tell me how has OUI’s research helped the ever dwindling orang utan population in Malaysian Borneo? And has OUI released any orang utans back into the wild?
I am completely dumbstruck as to how

Zoo boosts security after 'sickening' killing of wallabies
A children's petting zoo has called in private security guards after the slaughter of three wallabies.
Last month Bruce, one of the park's two Parma wallabies, was found beheaded in his pen at Brent Lodge Animal Centre in Hanwell. The perimeter fence had apparently been cut.
The small zoo brought in three replacements as company for Bruce's traumatised companion Rolph.
Less than 48 hours later, two of those were also found dead. One had its throat cut, apparently with a knife, while all that remained of the other was limbs scattered across the park.
Police "strongly believe" foxes are to blame but the park is taking no chances until the culprit - human or animal - has been caught.
Two private security guards patrol the park's riverside grounds at night and CCTV is being installed. Meanwhile Rolph, his sole remaining companion Rocky and many of the park's other animals are being kept in brick-built sheds overnight.
Bassam Mahfouz, Ealing council's cabinet member for environment, said: "When the first incident happened two weeks ago we were sickened. How could anyone do something like that to a harmless animal?
"We brought in the vets to check if it was an animal attack and they said it was more likely to be a human attack.
"I used to go there as a child, and I take my little boy there. It's absolutely sickening. The park is a real jewel and we want to keep it that way."
Park manager Jim Gregory said: "When I first came here over two years ago, the animals were spe

Sanctuary boss not allowed to see elephants
The co-founder of the California sanctuary that will be the new home for Toronto Zoo’s three elderly elephants made a quiet trip to Toronto with his veterinarian last week to meet Iringa, Toka and Thika.
But ongoing hard feelings among Toronto Zoo elephant keepers, furious that city council voted to send the pachyderms to a non-accredited facility, prevented them from seeing the animals, Ed Stewart said.
“I think (zoo chief executive John Tracogna) thought it wasn’t a good time for me or my vet to go visit the elephants because of the turmoil with the elephant keepers, so no, I did not see them,” Stewart said from the PAWS sanctuary in San Andreas, Calif.
Councillor Raymond Cho, who voted to send the elephants there rather than let the zoo board keep looking for a facility accredited with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, called the episode an embarrassment.
“Mr. Stewart flies all the way here on Thursday, is told he can’t go to the zoo until 4 p.m. Friday and then he gets there and Mr. Tracogna says he can’t see the elephants because it would upset the trainers to see him there,” said

Court to decide who owns Zion's big cats
The owner of the big cats at Whangarei's beleaguered Zion Wildlife Gardens will be decided by the High Court
Lion Man Craig Busch and his mother Patricia each argue the 37 big cats belong to them, but since the park went into receivership in August, the High Court has allowed her to look after the animals.
Mrs Busch's lawyer, Evgeny Orlov, said her argument was the animals could not be owned or sold by the park's receivers, PricewaterhouseCoopers, under the Wildlife Convention.
He said a High Court hearing in February would arguably be the first such case in the country where courts have been asked to decide on the ownership of wild animals.
"They [the receivers] have held the animals as security over the park but they can't sell them [under the convention], because they are wildlife animals,'' Mr Orlov said.
The case was called for a telephone case conference in the High Court at Whangarei on Monday, when

Piece of Great Barrier Reef put on ice in frozen zoo
A LITTLE bit of the Great Barrier Reef has come to Dubbo.
Frozen sperm and IVF embryonic cells from two species of coral that spawned in Queensland this month have been brought to NSW in an ambitious project to protect corals - that are threatened by pollution, warm water, and ocean acidification - from extinction.
They are the first coral species to be added to the ''frozen zoo'' at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, which is a bank of genetic material from endangered animals.
The zoo's manager of research and conservation programs, Rebecca Spindler, said vials containing trillions of coral sperm and enough embryonic cells to produce more than a million new corals will be stored for prosperity in liquid nitrogen. ''They can sit there for hundreds of years,'' Dr Spindler

Interview: Darren McGarry, head of animals at Edinburgh Zoo

EASTER Drylaw, sometime in the 1970s. “Dear Jim,” wrote the boy. “Can you fix it for me to bath a hippo?” The letter was duly sealed up and sent off to the late eccentric DJ Jimmy Savile, whose hit TV show of the time, Jim’ll Fix It, made the wishes of such youngsters come true. But not on this occasion.


“He never replied to me,” laughs Darren McGarry. “But it was years later and I was showering a hippo down, here at the zoo, and I suddenly thought, ‘Today I’m doing it’. It was really weird.”


perhaps serendipitous would be a better word. Because, while fond of animals, as a 16-year-old keen oboe player, he was about to embark on his Highers with an eye to working in music when his careers office sent him along to Edinburgh Zoo for an interview for a Youth Training Scheme.


“I didn’t really know if I wanted it or not but by the time I got home from the interview, they’d offered it to me. Even then I decided I was just going to go for the first week because it was the school holidays and then I’d go back to study for my Highers.”


Twenty five years on and Darren is now head of animals at the zoo, responsible for managing all the head zoo keepers – now called animal team leaders – and all aspects of its creatures’ care, as well as having a say in the future direction of the zoo. And, of course, gearing up for the arrival of two giant pandas from China.


The zoo he cares for today is a very different place to the one he entered as a green teenager a quarter of a century ago. Floors and walls are no longer tiled

African Penguin Colony at the Edge of Extinction

A colony of African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) living and breeding on a small island off the southern tip of Africa is fighting an increasingly desperate battle for survival. Their numbers are declining drastically despite the care of conservation organizations which have banded together to give them help, even by providing them with nesting homes to shelter them from the sun and to hide their eggs and chicks from sea gulls.


Their plight is typical of the increasingly precarious situation of the species as a whole which last year shifted from Vulnerable to Endangered on the IUCN (World Conservation Union) Red List of Threatened Species.


Responding to the change of status, BirdLife International at the time noted that when the first full census of the species was conducted in 1956, 150,000 pairs were counted. These, it said, were what remained after “more than a century of sustained persecution, principally from egg collecting and guano scraping”.


In 2009, BirdLife said, only 26,000 pairs were counted, representing a loss of more than 80 percent, coming to around 90 birds dying

Endangered Species Act Protection Sought for Emperor Penguins

Melting Sea Ice Threatens Penguins; Reality Echoes Happy Feet Two Plot


SAN FRANCISCO— The Center for Biological Diversity filed a legal petition today seeking Endangered Species Act protection for emperor penguins threatened by global warming. Emperors are the most ice-dependent of all penguin species, threatened by the loss of their sea-ice habitat as well as declining food availability wrought by the warming ocean off Antarctica. Their populations are declining because of global warming; some colonies have entirely disappeared.


“The sea-ice habitat that emperor penguins need to survive is melting beneath their feet,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center. “It’s great to see movies like Happy Feet Two bringing the plight of emperor penguins to people around the world. But in reality, there’s no happy Hollywood ending for these penguins unless we take real action to address the global climate crisis.”


Emperor penguins need sea ice for breeding and foraging. Today’s petition highlights the serious problems of melting sea ice and other warming-driven changes in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Areas of Antarctica are experiencing dramatic warming, leading to loss of sea ice as well as the collapse of ice sheets.


In 2006, the Center filed a petition to list 12 penguin species as threatened or endangered. The Interior Department conducted status reviews for 10 of those species. After delays and ultimately a court order, the agency protected seven species but denied protection for the remaining ones, including the emperor. Today’s petition presents new scientific information demonstrating that emperor penguins are imperiled.


“Emperor penguins are icons of wild Antarctica,” said Sakashita. “And protecting them under the Endangered Species Act is essential to their survival.”


Listing under the Endangered Species Act would provide broad protection to these penguins, including a requirement that federal agencies ensure that any action carried out, authorized or funded by the U.S. government will not “jeopardize the continued existence” of the penguin species. For example, if penguins are listed, future approval of fishing permits for U.S.-flagged vessels operating on the high seas would require analysis and minimization of impacts on the listed penguins. The Act also has an important role to play in reducing greenhouse gas pollution by compelling federal agencies to look at the impact of the emissions generated by their activities on listed species.


Emperor penguins are the world’s largest penguin species, capable of growing nearly four feet tall. They range throughout coastal Antarctica and travel each spring to inland breeding sites. Near the beginning of summer, adult penguins and their chicks return to the sea and spend the rest of the summer feeding there.


For more information on penguins and a link to the federal petition, please see:

Human Zoos: Exhibition recounts stories of 'savages' put on show at circuses and theatres

THE story of men, women and children plucked from their homes and exhibited like zoo animals is the focus of a major show that opened this week at Paris' tribal arts museum.


The invention of the savage, at the Quai Branly museum, shows how up until the mid-20th century, labelling indigenous peoples of Africa, Asia, Oceania and America "savages" helped to justify the brutality of colonial rule.


Former football star Lilian Thuram, who was born on the French Caribbean island Guadeloupe, is chief curator of the show. He told AFP he was stunned by a visit to Hamburg zoo in Germany.


"At the entrance there are animal sculptures, but also ones of Indians and Africans - letting visitors know they are going to see not just animals but human beings as well," he said.


"They are still there today."


In 1931, the grandparents of another French footballer, Christian Karembeu, were put on display at the Jardin d'Acclimation in Paris, then in Germany, along with about 100 other New Caledonian Kanaks, cast as "cannibals".


From the Indians brought back to Spain by Christopher Columbus after 1492, until the end of the 18th century, the first wave of shows involved indigenous people seen as exotic

Zoo website crashes as panda fever grips Scots

THOUSANDS of people are expected to pass through the gates of Edinburgh Zoo when pandas from China first go on view to the public next month.


Scotland’s first pair of breeding giant pandas will arrive on Sunday. They will then acclimatise before meeting their public on December 16.


It is thought as many as a million visitors will view the pandas in their first year,

To save a mockingbird

Conservationists are attempting to reintroduce the mockingbird that inspired Darwin to the island of Floreana in the Galápagos


"We have to change into a new set of clean clothes before we can go ashore," says my companion. Within five minutes of dropping anchor, we are both down to our boxer shorts. The shirts and trousers we put on have already been thoroughly checked for seeds, spiders and insect eggs.


An email I received earlier in the week had also warned: "Please refrain from eating any seedy vegetables such as tomatoes, passionfruit and guava two days prior to arriving as the seeds can be dispersed through our digestive system."


There can be no doubt the small island we are about to step onto is a fragile ecosystem that needs careful protection. No people, no paths, nowhere to moor a boat. Accidentally introducing any foreign organisms here would interfere with what is thought to be

Zebras escape petting zoo, roam neighborhood

It's one thing to see dogs, cats and squirrels around neighborhoods.


But imagine the surprise when Loudoun County, Va., homeowners spotted zebras roaming their streets.


That's exactly what happened Monday in Leesburg near Route 15.


One woman snapped pictures of the exotic animals in front of her yard. Investigators say the animals escaped from the Leesburg Animal Park Petting Zoo nearby.

New ferret-badger species found in central Vietnam

A species of ferret-badger hitherto not known to western science has been found in a national park in the central Vietnamese province of Ninh Binh.


Tuoi Tre newspaper Wednesday quoted the non-profit organization PanNature as saying that the animal, Melogale cucphuongensis sp.nov, belongs to the genus Melogale, which has four species - together known as weasels -- and is mainly found in Indochina , Java, Bali, and parts of Borneo.


It has different characteristics from the other four -- a dark brown head and body with a black and white stripe running from neck to shoulders.


Newswire Dan Tri said the new species, locally known as chon bac ma (silver-cheeked fox) had first been discovered by the Cuc Phuong National Park’s Endangered Primate Rescue Center in January 2006 when it attempted to rescue an injured ferret-badger.


However, its study was interrupted because

Chimps gone wild

A sanctuary in SA gives abused chimpanzees a second chance to live happy lives. Claire Keeton reports


Cozy couldn't climb - he seemed to have a fear of heights - nor communicate with fellow chimps. He was emaciated and pale because he had not seen the sun for three of the six years he had been locked in a trailer. His lower body was squeezed into a pair of tiny shorts and deformed, like that of a three-year-old.


His upper body resembled that of an eight-year-old juvenile after confinement in a cage, even though he was about 10 years old. He had scars on his head and brain damage.


Then Cozy was rescued from captivity in Ancona, Italy, by Eugene Cussons and taken to the chimpanzee sanctuary near Nelspruit that he had opened in collaboration with the Jane Goodall Institute in 2006.


Back then, the sanctuary, JGI Chimpanzee Eden SA, had three chimps. Now they have 33 and all, like Cozy, have been abused, neglected or orphaned.


When we meet 15-year-old Cozy at Chimp Eden he is strong and feisty, greeting Cussons by rolling spitballs and charging up to the photographer in a display of dominance

Circus company fined $270,000

The company that owns the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus just got slapped with an elephant-sized fine.


The United States Department of Agriculture just fined the company $270,000.


As you may know, Ringling owns an elephant conservation center in Polk County. The USDA says the elephants' food there was not being properly stored. It also found housing problems.


Ringling was also faulted for other things that happened while the circus was on the road.


The USDA says a sick elephant was forced to perform, and a tiger was injured while it

Group accuses Aceh leader of peatland destruction

An Acehnese civil society group says it has reported Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf to the National Police for issuing a business licence to a company to convert 1,605 hectares in Tripa Swamp, Aceh, into a palm oil plantation.


Koalisi Masyarakat Peduli Tripa (Community Coalition for Tripa Swamp) said it had also reported six other officials allegedly involved in the business license issuance, including the Nagan Raya regent and the heads of Aceh’s forestry and plantation agency, land agency (BPN) and integrated permit service agency (BP2T).


Tripa Swamp is part of the Leuser Ecosystem Area (KEL), located along the west coast of Aceh, which comprises vast swaths of peatlands rich in biodiversity, including the world’s largest orangutan population.


Irawandi imposed a moratorium on forest conversion in the area in 2007.


“The governor announced the forest moratorium in 2007, but he broke his promise by issuing the permit licence for the company,” Kamaruddin, the

Chinese panda loan kept top secret

As world leaders held frenzied talks to try to save the crisis-hit eurozone in the south of France earlier this month, the fate of two giant pandas destined for a French zoo hung in the balance.


Negotiations had been conducted at the highest level of government in Beijing and Paris, and the deal was to have been announced at the G20 summit in the French resort of Cannes, before it was delayed by more pressing matters.


Details of the deal -- including the identity and age of the two pandas -- will remain a secret until Chinese President Hu Jintao gives his approval, an indication of how seriously China takes its famous panda diplomacy.


For now, the two fluffy bears at the heart of the high-level political drama are happily crunching on bamboo at a breeding centre in the southwestern city of Chengdu, where they will be kept in isolation for three months.


There, they will spend their days munching through 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of bamboo -- collected from nearby mountains every

Killer whale Morgan arrives at new home in Spanish zoo after being flown from Netherlands

A young killer whale at the center of a legal battle waged by Dutch conservationists has arrived at its new home on the Canary Islands, a spokeswoman for a Spanish zoo said Wednesday.


The 1,400-kilogram (3,085-pound) female orca named Morgan arrived at Loro Parque on the island of Tenerife late Tuesday after being flown from the Netherlands, Patricia del Ponte

First gorilla born and raised in Prague zoo relocated to Spain

Just two weeks after a newborn gorilla was transported from Prague to Stuttgart following repeated failed attempts to reunite it with its mother, Prague zoo has bid farewell to another gorilla, Moja, the first low-land gorilla born and raised in captivity in the Czech Republic. The animal has reached sexual maturity and her minders decided to move her away to prevent in-breeding in the pack. Her new home is the Cabárceno National Park in northern Spain where Moja

Zoo to tighten board rules

ZOOS SA will embark on a major overhaul of governance arrangements in the wake of its financial collapse.


It aims to ensure senior managers can be assessed on their performance, members have been told.


At its annual general meeting on Tuesday night, Zoos SA president Kevin McGuinness told members that the Society would heed the lessons of the past 12 to 18 months, which resulted in the zoo seeking a financial bail-out from the Government and Westpac.


The zoo had its debt cut from $25 million to about $7.5 million, and has also taken on a $2.6 million loan from Government, with the interest payments on both loans being covered by Government grants.


Mr McGuinness told members that the zoo was looking to tighten the rules for board management and staff to improve its financial management

New row erupts over Dalton zoo’s expansion plans

THE ROW over a planned zoo expansion has been reignited.


South Lakes Wild Animal Park manager Karen Brewer registered a complaint with Barrow Borough Council last month over the behaviour of two councillors who were dealing with plans for the zoo to be extended.


Miss Brewer was unhappy about the conduct of Councillors Ann Thomson and Gordon Murray at the planning meeting where councillors issued a minded to refuse decision in response to the proposals. She registered a complaint with the council following the meeting.


Both councillors were cleared by the council’s standards committee on November 15. But now Miss Brewer has now called for an independent investigation.


She told the Evening Mail she didn’t feel her complaints had been answered by the council.


She said: “I had confidence that as part of council procedures it would be dealt with properly. However, now I feel the investigation falls far short of answering the complaint, in fact I would go as far as to say it more or less ignores the actual issues and was a whitewash.


“I felt the actions were in breach of the standards and urged they should be visited in a proper manner.


“I have now responded (to the council) in that I would like to further my complaint as I have as of yet had no satisfactory response to either the initial complaint or following letters. I would like the matter to be heard by a full standards committee from outside the area.


“At no time during these decisions have my complaints been addressed and the whole matter now as both an applicant and an electorate causes me even greater concern.


"I was confident initially the borough would have protocols to follow and the matter would be resolved in a proper manner, but do feel the whole matter has been whitewashed.”


Chief executive of Barrow Borough Council Tom Campbell said the complaint had been handled by an independent inspector, and the council had carried out its normal procedure for dealing with a complaint.


He said: “Miss Brewer’s complaint was referred to an independent inspector who reported to the committee and they acted on his recommendation.


“I’m afraid as far as we are concerned that is the end of the process.”


Miss Brewer would have to apply to the Local Government Ombudsmen to take the matter further.


l The decision on the zoo’s planning application is to be made by the Planning Inspectorate as Mr Gill appealed due to the delay in a decision over the proposed extension.


At the July meeting, the planning committee members refused the plans due

St. Louis Zoo breeds endangered salamander in captivity - a first

The St. Louis Zoo announced today it has bred 63 critically endangered Ozark hellbenders in captivity -- a scientific first.


The hellbender is an ancient and ugly salamander whose numbers have plummeted by 80 percent in the past three decades. Scientists blame pollution for its decline.


"We have a 15- to 20-year window to reverse this decline," added Missouri Department of Conservation Herpetologist Jeff Briggler. "We don't want the animal disappearing on our watch."


The zoo created a 32-foot simulated stream to promote breeding in the basement of its Herpetarium as well as two 40-foot outdoor streams. The first hellbender hatched on Nov. 15, another 120 eggs are expected to hatch within the next week. The zoo ultimately hopes to release hellbenders back into the wild. Male hellbenders

Believed extinct frog discovered in Israel

It's not surprising to hear about an animal being taken off the endangered species list, but an Israeli frog is now getting removed from the extinct list.


The hula painted frog, native to Hula Valley, Israel, was thought to have died out more than half a century ago, but a Hula Valley Natural Resort ranger managed to find and capture the rare frog after recognizing its unique jumping technique.


The frog sports a dark belly with small white spots, along with hues of ochre and rust. Only five of these rare species have ever been collected.


Parts of the area's wetlands had been turned into a nature reserve years ago

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Black Eye


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals provides aid and comfort for the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). The two groups are responsible for more than 600 crimes since 1996, causing (by a very conservative FBI estimate) more than $43 million in damage. ALF’s “press office” brags that in 2002, the two groups committed “100 illegal direct actions” -- like blowing up SUVs, destroying the brakes on seafood delivery trucks, and planting firebombs in restaurants.


The FBI calls ALF and ELF the nation’s “most serious domestic terrorism threat.” Bruce Friedrich, PETA’s “vegan campaign director” and third-in-command, didn’t seem to care when he addressed the Animal Rights 2001 convention in Virginia, telling a crowd of over 1,000 activists that “blowing stuff up and smashing windows” is “a great way to bring about animal liberation.”


“It would be great,” he added, “if all the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories and the banks who fund them exploded tomorrow.”


PETA’s connections to ALF and ELF are indisputable. “We did it, we did it. We gave $1,500 to the ELF for a specific program,” PETA’s Lisa Lange admitted on the Fox News Channel. PETA has offered no fewer than eight different explanations of what the “specific program” was, but law enforcement leaders have noted that since the Earth Liberation Front is a criminal enterprise, it has absolutely no legal “programs” of any kind.


For instance, in 2003, ELF set fire to an unfinished, 200 unit condominium complex near San Diego. The arson caused $50 million in damage, and according to a San Diego Fire Captain: “It could have killed someone.” ELF left its calling card in the form of a twelve foot sign that read: “If you build it -- we will burn it -- the ELF’s are mad.”


PETA also has given $2,000 to David Wilson, then a national ALF “spokesperson.” The group paid $27,000 for the legal defense of Roger Troen, who was arrested for taking part in an October 1986 burglary and arson at the University of Oregon. It gave $7,500 to Fran Stephanie Trutt, who tried to murder the president of a medical laboratory. It gave $5,000 to Josh Harper, who attacked Native Americans on a whale hunt by throwing smoke bombs, shooting flares, and spraying their faces with chemical fire extinguishers. All of these monies were paid out of tax-exempt funds, the same pot of money constantly enlarged by donations from an unsuspecting general public.

Corals can sense what's coming

Australian scientists have thrown new light on the mechanism behind the mass death of corals worldwide as the Earth's climate warms.


Coral bleaching, one of the most devastating events affecting coral reefs around the planet, is triggered by rising water temperatures. It occurs when the corals and their symbiotic algae become heat-stressed, and the algae which feed the corals either die or are expelled by the coral.


There have been seven major bleaching events globally in the past 30 years, the most recent being in 2010 across the Indian Ocean and Coral Triangle. Australia's Great Barrier Reef has suffered eight events since 1980, the worst being in 2002 when 55% of the total reef area was affected. The frequency of these events appears to be increasing.


Now a team of scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University has shown that a complex cascade of molecular signals leading up to the self-inflicted death of corals and their symbiotic algae is triggered as sea water begins to warm.


Working with Acropora corals from the reef at Heron Island, the researchers found the cascade begins at ocean temperatures as much as 3 degrees lower than those normally associated with coral bleaching.


And the process culminates in 'apoptosis' or programmed cell-death – a situation in which living organisms (including corals and humans

India: Last of the tigers



Conservationists are in a desperate and uphill battle to save India's tigers from extinction.


A century ago, 45,000 tigers lived wild in India’s forests. When hunting was banned in 1972, their numbers had fallen to 2,000. Today, the Indian government claims that there are 1,706, but few experts believe it, saying perhaps only 1,000 remain.


Poaching is largely to blame, with a lucrative demand for tiger skin and parts from neighbouring China.


There is also the continued destruction of tiger habitats as human communities expand, leading to growing conflict between man and tiger.


On this edition of 101 East, we look at the battle to save India’s tigers from extinction.

Moves to control human-elephant conflict

Practical measures have been introduced to control the human-elephant conflict which intensified during the recent past in Mahiyangana and Sorabora Wewa areas, said Wildlife and Agrarian Services Minister S M Chandrasena.


It has been decided to construct an elephant conservation centre near the Mahiyangana Pradeshiya Sabha to take care of wild elephants which destroy village property.


The Minister said that electrified fences will be constructed to prevent elephants encroaching villages. He observed that a seven kilometre electrified fence has already been completed in this area.


The minister made these comments during an inspection tour of the Mahiyanganaya Sorabora wewa area to look into the problems faced by people due to the human-elephant conflict.


He noted that compensation has been paid for the house and property damages incurred due to the human-elephant conflict. Chandrasena said that regional wildlife officers have been informed

UAE brings together international conservation experts to discuss veterinary management of Arabian oryx

The General Secretariat for the Conservation of the Arabian Oryx, in cooperation with the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi and the Zoo and Aquarium Public Institution in Al Ain, recently organised a two-day workshop to establish regional disease control and management guidelines for the Arabian oryx.


Representatives from the countries where Arabian oryx used to historically roam (otherwise known as range states) discussed conducting studies to determine the relationship between genetics and various diseases, and how they can work together to effectively respond to disease outbreaks.


The 'Regional Workshop on Veterinary Management of the Arabian oryx in the Range States' was held in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and was attended by 38 veterinarians and biologists from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan and Iraq.


Currently, an inter-governmental body The Coordinating Committee for the Conservation of the Arabian Oryx (CCCAO) oversees the coordination of conservation efforts for this species within the Arabian Peninsula.


The CCCAO is chaired by H.E Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), and comprises of a number of member Arab governments, including: Bahrain, Jordan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.


The committee members have committed to unifying and intensifying efforts to conserve this species, which once roamed freely across an area stretching from the south of Syria to the Omani and Yemeni borders with Saudi Arabia.


The General Secretariat for the Conservation of the Arabian oryx held the workshop in Al Ain to identify the different aspects of veterinary care that need to be considered when transferring or reintroducing the Arabian oryx in the range states, and to begin work on an annual statistics bulletin to monitor the diseases that afflict herds in the range states.


It was agreed to prepare a booklet defining the various diseases affecting the Arabian oryx, which will focus on preventive veterinary

Dutch court rules orca 'Morgan' can be sent to zoo

A Dutch court has ruled that a dolphin park that captured a young female orca named "Morgan" in 2010 can send the whale to a Spanish amusement park.


The ruling dashes the hopes of conservationists who wanted to reintroduce the animal into the wild in its native Norway.


In a written ruling Monday, judge M. de Rooij said chances of Morgan surviving in the wild were "too unsure."


A panel of experts assembled by the commercial dolphinarium in Harderwijk, Netherlands, where Morgan is currently living, had argued that releasing Morgan would be tantamount to a "death sentence" and she would be better off at Loro Parque on Tenerife.


Orca experts for the "Free Morgan Group" said they were dis

Rare female elephant with tusks reported from Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Wildlife authorities claim that they have observed a rare female elephant with tusks for the first time in recent history.


The animal is believed to be roaming in the southern regions of Wilpattu National Wildlife Park in the northwest part of the country.


The wildlife officials believe the spotted female tusker is around six years old.


The finding of a female elephant with tusks is believed to be the first such finding in Asia, according to wildlife officials.


Typically, only the male Asian elephants have large external tusks while females usually lacks visible tusks. They may have barely visible small tusks which can be seen only when they open the mouth.


A recent survey conducted in August

Zoo trip fuelled Yvonne Taylor’s bare determination to highlight animal cruelty

The day out to Edinburgh Zoo was supposed to be a special treat for little Yvonne Taylor. Through the gates she skipped, excited at the prospect of wandering around the vast park, thrilled to see the exotic creatures, the big cats – giant, more ferocious versions of her pets at home – and the cheeky monkeys up close.


Instead, what she saw left the little girl wondering what kind of hellish place she’d been brought to.


“I was little, probably only five-years old. I adored animals but I remember thinking the zoo was really quite a sad place,” she recalls.


“I remember seeing the polar bear, Mercedes, and feeling quite sorry for her. Then I went back years later – after her partner had died after choking on a plastic toy – and Mercedes was still there like she was when I was a kid, in the same

Pandas under pressure

Two giant panda bears are preparing to make the long journey from China to a new home in Scotland. It will be the first time in nearly 20 years that any zoo in the UK has had pandas, and is part of the programme to preserve this critically endangered species. I was given special access to Panda Conservation Centre near Ya'an in Sichuan, where experts are working to save the bears from extinction. Here's what I found:


High up in the mountains of Sichuan, Tian Tian the panda is lying on her side, her chin resting on one paw, lazily staring into the middle distance. With one foot she is idly scratching her leg, looking incredibly relaxed.


Tian Tian's keepers pass her long fronds of green bamboo. You can hear her crunching them in her teeth as she munches her way through the branches.


Her name is perhaps best translated as "Sweetie". Life, it has to be said, is pretty easy for Tian Tian.


Born in 2003 in captivity, her home is the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda on top of a mist-clad mountain at Bifengxia near Ya'an.


Tian Tian is one of the two pandas about to be shipped to Edinburgh Zoo. The hope is she will prove a big draw for the zoo when she gets there along with her

Pandas ‘won’t be seen this year’

THEIR state-of-the-art enclosure is ready and a generous supply of fresh bamboo has been procured, but the two giant pandas bound for Edinburgh Zoo are understood to have postponed their public debut.


It had been hoped that Tian Tian and Yang Guang – Sweet and Sunshine – would go on show before the end of the year, but The Scotsman has learned that unexplained delays in their travel plans mean the Chinese guests are unlikely to be seen by visitors until the new year.


The delay is a blow for the zoo, which had anticipated a boom in festive ticket sales.


The deal to bring the male and female bears to Scotland was sealed in January. The pandas had been expected to take up residence in their £300,000 enclosure next month and, after a settling-in period, make their first public appearance at Christmas.


The pandas, currently in quarantine in China, have already featured in UK-wide campaigns to promote Edinburgh’s festive attractions.


However, plans to use them in the city’s first television advertising campaign are now on hold until it becomes

Three tiger cubs die of starvation in Odisha zoo

Three of the five tiger cubs that died in Nandankan Zoological Park here fell victim to starvation while two others had intestinal infection. The cause of their death on Friday was mentioned in the interim post-mortem report submitted by the zoo authority, special secretary of Forest Department B P Singh said. Eleven-year-old Priyanka, which gave birth to five cubs including a white one on Wednesday, reportedly rejected them, the report said. "There was no food in the stomach of three cubs while intestinal pipes of two others had ruptured," the post-mortem report said. The Forest and Environment Department, however, asked the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (wildlife) to undertake a detailed probe into the incident and report on whether captive breeding had taken place according to the guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority. Deputy director of Nandankanan Zoo S N Mohapatra said cubs die mostly due to less secretion of milk from a first-time mother. It was almost after 11 years that a normal Royal Bengal Tiger couple had given birth to a white

Zoo houses maneater female leopard

The Kanpur Zoological Garden has become home to a female maneater leopard. The leopard has been brought to zoo from Katarniaghat wildlife sanctuary in Bahraich on Saturday and kept in the quarantine ward.


The animal would also be carefully observed. The bruises and cuts that the wildcat has received while being shifted in the cage would also be treated. The number of leopards had gone up to 13 in the zoo, which is a high.


The zoo authorities are finding it tough to accommodate due to space crunch. After sometime, this maneater leopard would be shifted to the enclosure. The zoo staff may face problem in accommodating it. Keeping it in mind, the zoo administration has decided

Debate about rhinos in Vietnam continues

While foreign and Vietnamese organizations still argue about whether one-horn rhino is extinct in Vietnam, scientists have called on to conduct further investigation to find out the truth.


On October 25, the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the International Rhino Foundation IRF released a statement, affirming that one-horn rhino is extinct in Vietnam. However, just several days after the statement was made, Vietnamese scientists said they believe other rhino individuals are still existing, emphasizing that the WWF’s report was made just based on the result of a survey and that it is necessary to conduct other investigations to find out if any other rhinos exist.


Saigon Tiep Thi’s reporters met the representatives

As SeaWorld safety hearing resumes, feds focus on killer-whale shows

In mid-September, just as lawyers for the federal government began making their case that animal trainers at SeaWorld Orlando should not be allowed to have unprotected contact with the park's killer whales, the presiding judge asked a seemingly innocuous question.


"Are you talking about only during shows?" Judge Ken Welsch asked John Black, a lawyer with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Yes, Black responded.


As soon as Black answered, the lead lawyer for SeaWorld turned to her team and smiled.


The exchange illustrates the tightrope OSHA is walking as it defends a potentially industry-altering citation leveled against SeaWorld last year following an investigation into the death of SeaWorld Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was killed Feb. 24, 2010, by a 6-ton killer whale named Tilikum.


The federal workplace-safety agency has chosen to focus exclusively on the risks SeaWorld killer-whale trainers face during public performances. By doing so, OSHA limits the scope of its citation, making it harder for SeaWorld to defeat. But it could also put the agency in the awkward position of suggesting that the dangers trainers face are somehow greater simply becaus,0,311714.story




Hudson woman uncovers musical ability of goldfish (TRAINING IS ENRICHMENT)
A town of Hudson woman’s ability to train goldfish to play musical instruments is bringing her worldwide recognition.
BBC Radio was the first media outlet to interview her about Jor Jor, the fancy Japanese goldfish she had trained to ring hand bells as part of a shadow puppetry act.
The interview was broadcast live across the United Kingdom. Then The Sun, a British tabloid, picked up the story. Soon it was running in newspapers around the world.
Rains was amazed to sit at her computer and read about her goldfish on websites in Russia, Indonesia and China. Now, Ripley’s Believe It or Not is featuring Rains’ Jor Jor Music Academy for Goldfish in its new book, “Strikingly True.”
She chronicles the tale colorfully on her website,, under “The Bubble Blog.”
“Diane Rains owns a goldfish that can play musical instruments, including the glockenspiel and hand bells, in perfect time to music playing outside its tank,” a Ripley’s spokesperson wrote in pitching a story about Rains and the book to the Star-Observer.
Sadly, Jor Jor died about a year ago. But Rains has two new goldfish that she is teaching to play the hand bells and glockenspiel

Fears for zookeepers after TB spreads to chimp
HEALTH authorities have issued no public warnings about the spread of tuberculosis from an elephant to a chimpanzee at Taronga Zoo, despite fears the disease could spread to zookeepers.
Other animals could also be at risk because a group of NSW Ministry of Health and zoo experts has been unable to establish how TB might have spread between two species in different enclosures.
Both the elephant and the chimpanzee were infected with the same TB sub type, a spokesman for the zoo has confirmed.
In February the Herald reported one of Taronga Zoo's elephants, Pak Boon, had been diagnosed with the disease.
In September, Taronga ran a statement on its website which said a male chimp with TB had been euthanised. In early October it said it was investigating whether the chimpanzee and the elephant had the same strain. There have since been no public statements from Taronga Zoo or the Ministry of Health, which argue there is no risk to zoo visitors.
The Greens MP John Kaye said the ministry and Taronga Zoo should have issued a warning. "There is TB spreading between animals at the zoo and it is the same type that can be caught by humans," he said.
An infectious diseases physician and microbiologist at the Australian National University, Professor Peter Collignon, said people could get tuberculosis from elephants. "There is at least a risk to the staff working with the elephants, which is identified

Going Ape?! Monkeying Around?! Orangutan Escapes Enclosure At LA Zoo
The Los Angeles Zoo says a juvenile female orangutan briefly escaped through the mesh that surrounds her habitat, but never left the exhibit area and did not pose a danger to the public.
Volunteers saw 6-year-old Berani climb through a cantaloupe-sized hole in the mesh canopy to the public side around noon

5 newborn tiger cubs die in Odisha zoo
The euphoria over the birth of five cubs, including a white one, in the Nandankanan Zoological Park (NZP) here did not last long as all the newborns died on Friday.
On Wednesday, Priyanka, the 11-year-old tigress, gave birth for the first time. Soon after giving birth the mother abandoned the cubs and refused to feed them.
“We don't see anything unusual in the incident. Priyanka had become mother for the first time. Even in the wild, such rejection leading to deaths happens,” said Siba Narayan Mohapatra, deputy director of NZP. There was no way one could make the tigress feed her cubs, Mr

Saviour of marine lives
Inspired by its rich maritime history that dates back to 6,000 years, Sharjah takes its environment seriously. This is reflected in Sharjah Aquarium, home to approximately 120 species of fish, including a number of sharks, crustaceans and mollusks.
Curator Mahmoud Deemas said that some species in the Sharjah Aquarium are rare from an environmental point of view as their numbers are decreasing due to overfishing or other negative human impact such as overdevelopment and littering in the oceans. “Species like Hamour (grouper) or Black-tip-reef shark are threatened. We make it our key goal to educate people about this, and develop people’s appreciation of these beautiful creatures that must be protected to keep the balance of our fragile ecosystems.”
Back in 2008, His Highness Shaikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, put his vision into action through§ion=theuae&col=

The Zoo Community helps to save affected wildlife
After the heavy flooding which has affected nearly the whole of Thailand since beginning of November, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) has coordinated flood relief measures within the region.
To date, help is provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums and additional help is being prepared by Zoos Victoria in Melbourne, Oceans Park, Hong Kong and Malaysian zoos. Today two vets from Singapore are arriving in Bangkok, bringing urgently needed drugs and other equipment.
Beginning in late July and continuing for over three months, the floods have caused 506 reported deaths by early November, affected over 2.3 million people, and caused

Zoo’s accreditation in question
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums is threatening to pull the Toronto Zoo’s accreditation over city council’s decision to send three elephants to a sanctuary in California.
The association, also known as the AZA, recently sent a letter to the zoo, city councillors and Mayor Rob Ford saying that council’s decision in October raises “serious concerns’’ about its compliance with AZA accreditation standards.
Council’s decision “may place the zoo’s accreditation in jeopardy,’’ the letter states, adding it wants written clarification by Nov. 18 regarding the elephant move.
Many of the Toronto Zoo’s animals are here on loan, and loss of AZA certification could affect loan agreements the zoo has with other accredited centres, an AZA official said Friday.
The PAWS sanctuary to which council opted to send the three pachyderms is not accredited with AZA, a U.S. body. The Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, with which Toronto Zoo is also accredited, has sent a similar letter seeking information about the elephant move.
Both accreditations are “valuable to the Toronto zoo’’ and core to its mandate “as a modern zoo and a member of a global network of professional zoos,’’ says a Toronto Zoo staff report released Friday.
“Without accreditation, the Toronto Zoo would not be able to maintain its current collection of animals and participate at the same level in species survival programs and other joint conservation programs,” the report goes on to say.
“We have the letters under review and will be responding as per the reports, reviewing our governance models,’’ Toronto Zoo board chair Joe Torzsok said in an email Friday.
Zoo board member and councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby called the zoo’s possible loss of accreditation a situation with “sweeping implications.’’ She said the sanctuary decision deserves some “sober second thought,’’ although she’s taking a wait-and-see approach on pushing for another vote on the move.
Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, another zoo board member, called the AZA and CAZA letters “nonsense,’’ noting that other AZA zoos have sent their elephants to PAWS and not lost their certification, a point echoed Friday by Julie Woodyear, a spokesperson for animal rights group Zoocheck.
“I don’t like bullies threatening me,’’ he said, adding all the AZA is concerned about is their “egos and political turf.’’
“This is not about caring about elephants; it’s about them being in control,’’ he said.
The zoo staff report points out that staff were in discussions with a yet to built facility in south Florida called the National Elephant Centre as a possible new home for Toronto’s trio. That facility hopes to open its doors next September.
“The best alternative is an elephant centre that doesn’t exist yet? You can’t go there today… They (zoo staff) have totally and utterly failed to find a better home for our elephants,’’ De Baeremaeker said.
Although only 225 zoos and aquariums are accredited by the AZA — most of them in North America — spokesperson Steve Feldman said the organization’s certification is the “gold standard’’ for zoos.
It means you’re among the best of the best. Our

Losing elephants could cost zoo its accreditation
By getting rid of its endangered elephants, the Toronto Zoo could be endangering itself.
North America’s two zoo accreditation bodies have issued stern letters to the Toronto Zoo, warning staff and board members that shipping three African elephants to California could imperil the Scarborough attraction’s accreditation status.
In a three-page missive, Donald Moore, chair of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Accreditation Commission, chastised city council for its decision to send the elephants to an 80-acre facility run by the Performing Animals Welfare Society and threatened to yank Toronto’s certification.
“The Accreditation Commission believes that the action taken by the Council may place the zoo’s accreditation in jeopardy,” he wrote in a letter addressed to the chair and vice-chair of the Toronto Zoo Board.
Without proper certification, the Toronto Zoo would be unable to maintain its animal collection, according to a staff report.
There is little argument that the elephants have to go somewhere; a staff report last spring stated that the pachyderms are too expensive for the zoo to care for properly. But views diverge on where their next destination should be, setting

Tiger Genes
Is the tourism lobby of Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, which sees profits slipping if tigers are moved out, really behind the controversy surrounding tiger inbreeding? Or does declining genetic diversity seriously endanger India's national animal?
Akash Bisht Sariska/Jaipur
The Rajasthan forest department was in a celebratory mood recently when they shifted a new tiger from Ranthambore Tiger Reserve (RTR) to Sariska Tiger Reserve (STR) in the state. The endeavour - part of the relocation drive to repopulate the reserve that went tiger-bare after poachers wiped out the entire population in 2005 - is, however, now in jeopardy.
Wildlife experts have raised doubts on the selection of the newly relocated tiger that has taken the count of tigers in STR to four. Experts believe it is difficult to ascertain whether the tiger sent to STR is actually the one that had been selected after DNA tests. The tests were conducted on eight tigers to ascertain their genetic compatibility with the Sariska tigresses; only two were considered fit for relocation.
Dharmendra Kandhal, a biologist working in Ranthambore, informed Hardnews that the tiger might not be the one that had been selected after DNA tests. He revealed, "Scat (excreta) samples of tigers were sent to Bangalore for DNA tests to avoid genetic incompatibility. The area from where this tiger was selected was regularly frequented by more than eight tigers - so how did the forest department determine which scat sample belonged to whom?"
SP Yadav, DIG, National Tiger Conservation Authority? (NTCA), didn't rule out the possibility and mentioned that "if it has happened, it is just another case of human error". "You can't expect a person to follow the tiger with a bucket in his hand to ensure that the scat samples are genuine," he said.
To avoid this confusion, Kandhal suggests that a DNA dart could be used - the dart extracts the tissue sample and falls

Tourism's impact on wildlife harassment in Kenya
A result of effective marketing: too many lodges, too many tourists in too many vans - all can contribute to wildlife harassment and crowding.
The Kenya Tourist Board recorded that as of December 31, 2010, the number of tourist arrivals were at an all time high, over 1.1 million. Revenue earnings experienced an 18 percent gain, which translates into approximately 740 million USD (74 billion Kenya Shillings), over 2009 making 2010 the most lucrative year ever for tourism.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, 2011 is on track to receive two million tourist arrivals by the end of the year.
So the industry continues to boost Kenya's economy, but it's steadily gnawing away at the integrity of Mara's

Animal rights organization calls for investigation into elephant death at Safari Park
The animal rights organization In Defense of Animals is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate the circumstances surrounding Thursday's death of a 21-year-old African elephant at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park.
Zookeepers found Umoya, a mother of two brought to San Diego from Swaziland in 2003, lying down in the elephant exhibit shortly before the park opened on Thursday, according to the zoo's Christina Simmons.
No official cause of death has been released. Veterinary staff was conducting a post-mortem examination to discover a cause of death, but results might not be known for weeks, Simmons said.
"There were few injuries that indicated there may have been some sort of aggressive interaction with another elephant," zoo spokesperson Yadira Galindo told the Union-Tribune.
IDA's complaint to the USDA states that an adult male elephant, Mabhulane, who is known to throw his weight around was confined with the females and their offspring.
Zoos typically keep males and females separated because the powerful males can injure the females. In the wild, adult males do not live with the matriarchal family groups, the complaint said.
"This elephant's shocking death is another tragic example of how elephants suffer in inadequate and artificial zoo exhibits," IDA Elephant Campaign Director Catherine Doyle said. "There is nothing natural about the San Diego Zoo Safari Park's elephant exhibit or keeping 18 elephants crammed into a space of less than

Youth injured in lion attack at Sayaji Zoo
A student from M S University here was mauled by a Asiatic lion in the Sayaji zoo here, injuring the youth seriously in his hand, officials said. The incident took place last evening when victim Dhruv Askok Gohil, a student of biochemistry was clicking pictures of the wild beast from near its enclosure and the lion suddenly attacked him and pulled in his hand from the iron grill. When he raised an alarm, onlookers and security men rushed

Stem cells helping beloved Houston Zoo pig battle arthritis
Houston medical researchers are doing a lot of work with adult stem cells to treat heart disease and other problems.
But stem cell treatments aren't just for people; a shot of stem cells may end up extending the life of a beloved Houston Zoo animal.
Remley, the Houston Zoo's popular portly Asian pig, has been feeling her age. Severe arthritis has caused the female babirusa's joints to become stiff and painful.
"There's really nothing else we can do to help her at this point," Houston Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Lauren Howard said.
So Remley had a high-tech treatment with stem cells!
"We're looking at improving her quality of life and her mobility and hopefully extending her life as well," Dr. Howard said.
Dr. Howard, who worked alongside the stem cell company InGeneron for the procedure, took a little of Remley's fat, which she won't miss, to get stem cells.
"We just extract them, concentrate them, wash

Spoon-billed Sands hit Slimbridge
The first batch of Spoon-billed Sandpiper chicks for the captive breeding project at Slimbridge have arrived in Britain.
Conservationists escorted 13 Spoon-billed Sandpipers, one of the most endangered bird species on the planet, into Heathrow and onto their new home at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire. This is the final stage of an epic journey for the birds, which have been brought from their Russian Far-Eastern breeding grounds, via quarantine in Moscow Zoo, and now to Britain.
The arrival of these birds marks the start of a conservation-breeding programme intended to help prevent its extinction. The shorebird's unique appearance and extreme rarity have given it near-mythical status among birdwatchers all over the world.
Throughout 2011 conservationists from Birds Russia have been working with WWT and the RSPB on an emergency rescue mission for the species. This culminated in an expedition to the remote Russian Far East to take eggs from some of the nests and hatch them in captivity. The birds have now been brought to Britain where the climate is suitable for their year-round care and expertise and facilities exist to start a breeding programme.
WWT’s Head of Conservation Breeding

SeaWorld Veterinarian Testifies In Killer Whale Court Battle
Veterinarian Says Killer Whales Rarely Showed Aggression
A SeaWorld veterinarian testified Friday that limiting contact trainers have with killer whales could have potentially deadly consequences.
Jeffrey Andrews defended his assessment during a hearing over SeaWorld Orlando's appeal of a $75,000 fine for three citations it received following the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau by a killer whale last year.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration said that SeaWorld killer whale trainers be kept out of the reach of the creatures they train.
Andrews is the associate curator of animals at the San Diego Zoo and a former whale trainer at Sea World San Diego.
OSHA attorney John Black said Andrews may have exaggerated his report when he wrote that Tilicum, the whale who killed Brancheau, rarely showed aggression to trainers. Andrews said despite the fact that Tilicum was involved in the death of a trainer in Canada and a trespasser at Seaworld Orlando.
Black said Andrews had been inconsistent in what he claimed to be the number of safety rules SeaWorld had regarding Tilicum. On the stand, Andrews said it was 100 pages, but on his written report he said it was 47. OSHA said the real number is only about 25.
Friday marked the ninth day of the hearing which may ultimately determine whether SeaWorld ever returns its trainers to the water with the whales.
In court, OSHA said SeaWorld showed disregard for the safety of its trainers.
SeaWorld countered that their trainers interact with the whales in the safest way possible. They said not doing water work with the whales would compromise their health and the educational impact of the killer whale shows.
Just before Judge Ken Welsch adjourned the hearing tonight, he made a point of saying that in his 15 years of conducting OSHA hearings, this was one of the most unusual and complex.
For that reason, he said he would take his time making a decision. That decision could alter the future of SeaWorld's whale shows forever.
The judge has six months to decide wh

Malta to have national aquarium by end of 2012
A national aquarium with 26 display tanks – including one for sharks – additional recreational facilities and an improved promenade should be set up at Qawra point by the end of next year.
Excavation works have already started on the site, which is near the Qawra tower commonly known as Ta’ Fra Ben.
The aquarium will be housed in an underground building whose entrance facilities will be in a starfish-shaped shell structure, as will other facilities including restaurants, a merchandise outlet and facilities for local diving schools.
The main attraction – especially during feeding time – is set to be the main tank, which will be approximately 12 metres in diameter and which will house Indian Ocean species, including sharks. An underwater tunnel will allow visitors to watch the fish up close.
The project will cost around €15.6 million, of which €8.85 million will be provided by the European Regional Development Fund. The rest will be coming from Marine Aquatic Ltd, which will receive a 50-year concession and whose main partners are Ebcon, Elbros and New

Belizean conservationist and Director of the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center Sharon Matola is on a list of nominees for the biennial Indianapolis Prize. According to a statement announcing the nomination, the work of all the Indianapolis Price nominees spans the globe, representing a range of species and locales. Matola told Love FM’s Patrick Jones that she was stunned by the news that she had been nominated for the prestigious international honor.

Tokay Gecko trade boom in South-East Asia
Unfounded claims of a potential cure for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is one factor behind a boom in the trade of Tokay Geckos, according to a new report launched today by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.
The Tokay Gecko Gekko gecko is a nocturnal Asian lizard growing up to 40 cm in length and easily identified by its orange-spotted, blue-grey skin and unmistakable vocalizations.
The animals are popular in the global pet trade and have long been traded—both legally and illegally—for use in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in the belief they can cure various maladies including diabetes, asthma, skin disease and cancer. In parts of Asia, Tokay wine or whisky is consumed to increase strength and energy.
Between 1998 and 2002, more than eight and a half tonnes of dried Tokay Geckos were legally imported into the USA for use in traditional medicine. Huge numbers are traded within Asia, from countries such as Indonesia and Thailand, to meet demand, especially in China.
Recently, however, the medicinal demand for Tokay Geckos has skyrocketed, with dozens of new websites in Malaysia, a major hub of the trade, dedicated to buying and selling Tokay Geckos.
Messages have been circulating in online blogs, forums, newspaper articles, classified advertisements and amongst wildlife dealers in the region, extolling the consumption of Tokay Gecko tongue and internal organs as a cure for HIV and e

Acclaimed wildlife park needs £25k or animals may have to be put down
THE owners of a renowned wildlife park fear their animals will have to be put down as they desperately battle to raise £25,000 to survive the winter.
John Denerley and wife Kathryn, who are both deaf, have turned the Galloway Wildlife Conservation Park into a popular tourist attraction with more than 30,000 visitors a year.
It has a highly regarded conservation and breeding programme but the credit crunch and poor weather have seen visitor numbers drop and John fears the 27-acre park may not make it through another harsh winter.
If it closes, up to half of the animals – including endangered species such as maned wolf, lemurs, red pandas and lynx – may have to be put down.
Feeding and keeping more than150 creatures warm and paying vet bills costs over £1500 a week and the zoo urgently needs £25,000 to get them through the winter closure period.
John said: “If we can’t get funding then we won’t be able to feed the animals and we’ll need to look into sending them elsewhere.
“If we can’t find homes, we’ll

Killer whale removed from Marineland
Ikaika was subject of legal battle with SeaWorld
It looks like Ikaika is headed home.
A killer whale, believed to be the one at the heart of a custody battle between Marineland and Florida's SeaWorld, was removed from the Niagara Falls amusement park Saturday night by a fleet of transport trucks, a crane and more than a dozen Niagara Regional Police escorts cars.
As the slow-moving convoy crept along the QEW around 9 p.m., it puzzled an OPP officer in the area.
"They're taking this whale to the airport from Marineland," an OPP radio dispatcher broadcast to an officer who was wondering about the "14 cruisers all with their lights on" driving slowly and backing up traffic near Grimsby.
"I have no idea what is going on," the OPP officer radioed in. "I had my window down. One guy yelled at me, 'We're going to the airport.'"
NRP spokesman Nilan Dave described the unusual police activity as "transportation detail regarding an animal."
"I'd contact Marineland for further (information). Must be related to the transport of the killer whale," Dave wrote in an email in response to a Review

Town Hall probe clears councillors
A TOWN hall probe has cleared two councillors of behaving inappropriately.
Councillors Ann Thomson and Gordon Murray were investigated by Barrow Borough Council’s standards committee after a complaint was lodged by South Lakes Wild Animal Park’s marketing and development manager, Karen Brewer.
She wrote to Barrow Borough Council’s standards committee after a planning committee meeting on July 26.
She said she was unhappy with comments made by Cllr Thomson and claimed Cllr Murray had a pre-determination to vote against the proposed expansion of Dalton zoo.
But the pair have now been exonerated by the council’s standards committee.
Cllr Thomson said she was pleased to have been cleared.
She said: “We are both pleased to be cleared of this slur on our professionalism and probity as councillors. Both Gordon and I are long-serving members

Inside Toronto’s hidden zoo
The white brick building feels medieval, the doorways too small for 21st-century girths and the hallway too narrow for two people to pass without an awkward side shuffle. Open rooms offer brief glimpses of bizarre scenes: a technician examining blood smears of Red River hogs, a PhD stirring a rattlesnake with a stick, a baby moose on a hospital gurney.
A few hundred feet away on the public side, bored kids are staring at an empty polar-bear exhibit and a dad is muttering about the $10 price of parking. A few people strain their necks for a look at Buddy and Pedro, the purportedly gay penguins. But back here beyond a fence next to the snow leopard exhibit, this is where a true magical menagerie tour awaits.
“We call it the hidden zoo,” says Bill Rapley, the executive director for conservation, education and wildlife, as he clops down the narrow hallway of the Toronto Zoo’s Animal Health Centre. “It’s where the real work of this zoo takes place and no one really gets to see it.”
The zoo has hidden it so well, in fact, that when city councillors were debating the fate of the municipally owned Toronto Zoo last month, there was barely a mention of the ongoing activities on this side of the fence. They referred to it in terms more suited to Canada’s Wonderland or Disneyworld – a tourist trap, plain and simple. Mayor Ford led the charge, asking rhetorically what taxpayers

40 big cat sightings reported in Cumbria
Police have received 40 reports of big cats roaming the Cumbrian countryside since 2003.
But no evidence has ever been found to back up any of the claims.
The majority refer to big black panther-type creatures or lynxes.
One sighting of a “large black cat” dead beside the M6 was found to be an otter.
And after investigating a report of “big black cat” at Troutbeck Bridge, near Windermere, officers concluded it was probably a badger.
Cumbria Police has thrown open its files on big cat sightings after a request by the News & Star under Freedom of Information rules.
They include:
A “black panther” on the fells at Garrigill, near Alston in 2003.

African elephant dies at San Diego Zoo, possibly in attack by another
A female African elephant at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park has died, possibly from injuries suffered in an attack by another elephant, zoo officials said Thursday.
The 21-year-old elephant named Umoya was found lying on the ground Thursday morning with severe injuries and died before keepers could arrive to offer help. A post-mortem examination is expected to determine the cause of death.
Umoya was one of seven elephants brought in 2003 from the African nation of Swaziland to the Safari Park, which was then called the Wild Animal Park. The park has 18 elephants.
Elephants are social animals, with adult females often sharing the duties

2nd coelacanth population found off Tanzania coast
A team of Japanese researchers has discovered a hitherto unknown population of coelacanths, a fish species known as a "living fossil," off southeast Africa.
The researchers from Tokyo Institute of Technology and other entities said the newly found breeding group of coelacanths linked to the site has existed for more than 200,000 years without genetic contact with other groups.
Researchers had believed there was only one breeding group of the species off Africa.
The team published the results in an online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.
Coelacanths have been found only in the sea off Africa and Indonesia. In Africa, an area in the sea around the Comoros Islands near Madagascar is home to the only previously known population of the fish.
Tokyo Institute of Technology Prof. Norihiro Okada and his colleagues analyzed genes of more than 20 coelacanths caught off Tanga, northern Tanzania, and nearby sites. The areas are nearly 1,000 kilometers north-northwest of the Comoros Islands.
The results showed the fish belong to a population genetically distinct from that off Comoros Islands.
The two groups seem to have separated 200,000 to 2 million


Drunk zoo visitor ends up in hospital after climbing into monkey enclosure 'to play'
An amateur cameraman has captured the insane moment a drunk zoo visitor jumped into a monkey enclosure to 'play with them', and ended up with severe bite marks after the animals attacked.
Joao Leite Dos Santos, a mechanic in Sao Paulo, Brazil, admitted that he had been drinking alcohol when he went to the Sorocaba Zoo on Sunday.
Thinking that it would be fun to join the zoo's colony of spider monkeys, he climbed over a fence and swam across a dividing pool to get closer to the animals, as amused tourists

Viewpoints: Should we give up trying to save the panda?
A survey of about 600 scientists published this week found that a majority think it's time to consider conservation triage - focusing resources on animals that can realistically be saved, and giving up on the rest.
Those that fall into the too-expensive-to-save category, it has been suggested, might include the panda and the tiger.
So, should we give up on one endangered species to save another? Here, two experts argue for and against triage.

Toronto Zoo Puts the Kibosh on ‘Gay Penguin’ Agenda
A spokesperson for the Toronto Zoo said the two male African penguins, Buddy and Pedro, which have been portrayed in some media reports as “gay” are actually part of a breeding program for endangered species and that their bond is “social,” not “sexual.”
Buddy, in fact, had a female mate for 10 years and they produced baby penguins until she died.
Shanna Young, executive director of marketing and communications for the zoo, told that

Kanpur zoo captivates Sir Allen's descendants
Allen Forest played host to special guests on Thursday. They were the descendants of George Berney Allen, the man who had established Allen Forest (Kanpur Zoological Park) and had come all the way from England.
The present Kanpur zoo is the changed face of the forest that was established by Sir Allen between 1913 and 1918. His great grandnephew, great grandniece, great grandnephew and other relatives became nostalgic to see the lush green zoo and the wild animals kept in it.
A group of 10 family members of Sir Allen, including Donald Lehmann, Anne Perry, Andrew Perry, Michel Lehmann, Bruce, Elisabeth Jacob, John were lost in the memories of the place. The family members, most of whom in their 60s and 70s, were overjoyed to be in Kanpur zoo where the trees were planted

Rumours and animals still abound at Tripoli’s zoo
Fled or dead, the Gadhafis of Libya now are scattered to the four winds. But the imprint of their hold over Tripoli is still vividly alive in a thriving animal menagerie in the very heart of the capital.
Technically, the shuttered Tripoli Zoo belongs to the people. Yet it is off-limits for now, its 900 exotic inhabitants guarded zealously by a dedicated core staff that was itself traumatized by the excesses of the ruling family that spent the last 42 years right next door, in Moammar Gadhafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound.
The forbidden preserve, coupled with continued infighting among still heavily armed rival militias, have yielded some eyebrow-raising rumours of late. And none matches this doozy — that the rebel gangs of Zintan actually broke into the zoo, “liberated” an elephant and mounted an anti-aircraft gun to its back. A heat-packing pachyderm as the ultimate African war prize, according to cellphone texts flying around Tripoli.
It is patently untrue, Tripoli Zoo Director Anas Ali al-Aghab confirmed Sunday when the Toronto Star went knocking for answers. Tripoli’s last elephant, in fact, died two years ago of old age.
“It is really just a joke, I think. Tripoli is so full of rumours,” said Aghab. “But there’s nothing we can do about it. All we care about right now is caring

Gibson: A guitar manufactur?er strikes the wrong chord
Dear friends of the rainforest,
the American guitar manufacturer Gibson targets tropical ebony and rosewood in order to decorate its expensive instruments. Due to ruthless overexploitation, the coveted woods are in danger of extinction and are therefore declared a strictly protected species. For this reason, Gibson allegedly purchases wood from an international timber mafia that illegally logs the trees in the Malagasy rainforest. On August 24th, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, a federal government agency, raided Gibson guitar’s offices and factories in Nashville and Memphis – for the second time in a two-year period. Tropical timber has also been imported from India – in violation of Indian laws.
Please support our campaign and make the company replace imported exotic wood with local timber species:

Zookeepers petition city to rethink elephants’ fate
Elephant keepers at the Toronto Zoo are urging city council to reconsider its decision to send the three remaining elephants there to a sanctuary in California.
This week, the keepers presented a petition to councillors with 1,100 names on it, asking that zoo staff be allowed to continue searching for the “best home that meets all the needs of the elephants.’’
The zoo’s board of management meets next week to consider how to move forward with relocating its three aging female pachyderms, Toka, Thika and Iringa. A report with recommendations is expected to be released Friday.
Many of the keepers are angry that city council stepped in late last month and voted to send the animals to the sprawling PAWS sanctuary in California, which is not accredited by the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The vote came despite the fact the zoo board voted in May to have staff look first for an AZA-accredited zoo as a new home for the trio.
In a letter accompanying the petition, the keepers

Government gives debt-laden Adelaide Zoo $2.6m
Debt-ridden Adelaide Zoo is being given a multi-million-dollar loan to help wipe off some of its debts.
The South Australian Government will give the zoo $2.6 million to meet its loan debt to the Westpac Bank.
Westpac has agreed to reduce the debt from $25 million to $7.5 million.
The zoo has struggled to meet rising costs, partly due to its annual grant from the Government having been frozen for several years.
Treasurer Jack Snelling has decided to increase the annual grant to the zoo from $3.1

Rwanda to import SA rhinos and lions
Rwanda will start importing rhinos and lions from South Africa next year, after its own wildlife was decimated by poaching and conflict. Rwanda has only one rhino, while lions disappeared when refugees returning home after the 1994 genocide occupied parts of a national park.
Tourism officials say they have begun fencing the park and work will be finished in February next year. Highly endangered mountain gorillas are Rwanda's main tourist attraction.
Rwanda’s tourism director Rica Rwigamba says, "We have began fencing the park. The work will be finished in February

Lawmakers push to allow zoos to keep rescuing polar bears
Battling life-threatening climate change in the Arctic, polar bears are being frozen out of rescues by American zoos such as Louisville’s because of a federal regulation originally written to help the animals.
But a group of lawmakers — including U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-3rd District — wants Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to find a way to change those rules to ensure that qualified U.S. zoos can continue to help save the Arctic’s most famous inhabitants.
Zoos and polar bear conservationists support the congressional appeal.
“We want to be in a position that we can help,” said Steve Olson, vice president of federal|head

S Africa plans to take rhino DNA samples in China
The South African Department of Environmental Affairs Wednesday congratulated China on the seizure of rhino horn and ivory items in Hong Kong and said it plans to send a delegation to Hong Kong to take DNA samples of the rhino horns.
It said this will enable government to compare it to the current data in the DNA database. The Department is in the process of obtaining permission for sampling from the Chinese authorities.
"Officials from the Department have already informed their counterparts in China that they would like to cooperate with them on the seizure," the department said in a statement.
Albi Modise, Spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Affairs, said that, "The latest seizure is an example of the increased cooperation between

A Busy Love Life, Built With a Mother’s Help
The muriqui monkeys of the Atlantic Forest in Brazil, a highly endangered species numbering only about 1,000, live in an egalitarian society.
Females are as muscular as males, so there is no threat of physical subjugation. Males, eschewing any kind of pecking order, do not compete to be alpha monkey. Even when it comes to mating, males tend to simply wait their turn instead of fighting.
Karen Strier, an anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin who has been observing muriquis for 29 years, says she has always thought that in the absence of a social hierarchy, no individual male should be much more successful at reproducing than any other. To test this idea, she and a team recently used DNA analysis to determine who fathered each of 22 muriqui babies.
Their research, which appeared in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that while there were no superdads, some males did have a slight edge.
But it had nothing to do with physical attributes. A male enjoys greater reproductive success if he shares an unusual physical closeness with his mother, or if he happens to be lucky enough to live with a sister or two.
Dr. Strier’s team thinks these females may help their male kin learn how to behave appropriately around potential mates, or perhaps give them special access to prime mating opportunities. “Like you’re out with your mom,” she said, “and you run into her friend who has a really gorgeous daughter.” (To a muriqui male, “gorgeous” means ovulating.)
In addition, Dr. Strier says muriqui ma

Killed for keratin? The unnecessary extinction of the rhinoceros
In recent weeks, the newswires have been abuzz with reports of the extinction of two sub-species of rhinoceros. In late October, the reported death of the last Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus) in Vietnam confirmed much of what many in the conservation world had suspected for some time: that this sub-species is now extinct. Sadly, in the past week or so, Africa’s Western Black rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes) has also been declared extinct.
In Vietnam, it was an ignominious end to the Javan rhino. The last remaining individual, a female, had been shot in the leg at some point and had died from a subsequent infection that no doubt resulted in a long and painful death. No matter, the end result was the same; the body was found with the horn crudely hacked off.
Prior to the confirmation of its extinction, the past few years has seen continued speculation about the fate of the last Javan rhinoceros in Vietnam. The sub-species was rediscovered in 1988 after a poached individual was found in the Cat Tien National Park. The presence of such an iconic, yet enigmatic, large mammal that had stayed hidden from the world for so long, precipitated considerable conservation activity in Cat Tien. The Government of Vietnam, supported by international conservation NGOs mobilized significant resources to protect the last remaining population, estimated at between 7-1


Rhino horn trade triggers extinction threat
Tourism and wildlife officials want the slaughter to stop. Private security armies and the South African military have cracked down. Still, rhinos are being killed in South Africa alone at a rate exceeding one a day, a rate that has already made one species of rhino extinct and threatens the two others.
Tourism chiefs and wildlife protection groups say both black and white rhinos face extinction because of poaching to meet demand from Asia where powdered rhino horn is used as a medicine, and the Middle East, where the horn is valued for decoration.
Exact prices are hard to gauge but some say a kilogram of rhino horn is more valuable than gold, though that is disputed by others looking into the murky black market.
In 2011, more than 340 rhinos have been killed so far in South Africa -- more than for the whole of 2010 which was itself a record year, according to the World Wildlife

Chimps’ Days in Labs May Be Dwindling
In a dome-shaped outdoor cage, a dozen chimpanzees are hooting. The hair on their shoulders sticks straight up. “That’s piloerection,” a sign of emotional arousal, says Dr. Dana Hasselschwert, head of veterinary sciences at the New Iberia Research Center. She tells a visitor to keep his distance. The chimps tend to throw pebbles — or worse — when they get excited.
Chimps’ similarity to humans makes them valuable for research, and at the same time inspires intense sympathy. To research scientists, they may look like the best chance to cure terrible diseases. But to many other people, they look like relatives behind bars.
Biomedical research on chimps helped produce a vaccine for hepatitis B, and is aimed at one for hepatitis C, which infects 170 million people worldwide, but there has long been an outcry against the research as cruel and unnecessary. Now, because of a major push by advocacy organizations, a decision to stop such research in the United States could come within a year. As it is, the United States is one of only two countries that

"The King of the Komodo Dragons" is gone.
That's how Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard described Johnny Arnett, a zookeeper who spent much of his 40-year career at the zoo until he retired two years ago.
Mr. Arnett gained worldwide acclaim for the study, care and breeding of the rare Komodo dragons, natives of Indonesia.
He survived the ferocious animals' repeated attempts to disembowel him and lived a life full of extraordinary travels and adventures.
Then, following an extended illness, Mr. Arnett, of Roselawn, died Nov. 6at Good Samaritan Hospital. He was 66.
Mr. Arnett played a pivotal role in the zoo's evolution, Maynard said. "He was here in that great growth period, when the zoo grew from a little corner city zoo into a major institution."
His wife, Tami Arnett, said her husband's legacy would be "his passion for animals remaining in their natural habitat - and if they couldn't remain in their natural habitat, then how to best take care of them in zoos so they would be sustainable for everyone to enjoy."
Before earning accolades as a zookeeper, Mr. Arnett's life was off to a rough start, his wife said.
Born June 6, 1945, in Jellico|head




Rare animals shot to save the herd at Northern Territory's mary River safari park
SOME of the world's rarest animals are to be shot by trophy hunters to pay for the rest of the herd to be fed, the owner of a Territory safari park has said.
The scimitar-horned oryx is extinct in the wild.
There are 150 of them at the Mary River safari park on the outskirts of Kakadu.
Owner Kevin Gleeson said a few of the oryx would have to be shot by trophy hunters to pay to feed the rest of the herd and dozens of other exotic animals.
The antelope is prized by hunters because of the magnificent swept-back antlers.
"We have to shoot a few to get in the dollars," Mr Gleeson said. "But we're not going to wipe them out - no way in the world.
"You've got to put a price on an

Elephant cruelty case: Bobby Roberts' Circus owners charged
Two circus owners have been charged with causing unnecessary suffering to an elephant.
Action was originally brought by Animal Defenders International (ADI) which investigated the elephant's welfare at Bobby Roberts' circus in Peterborough.
The Crown Prosecution Service said it had now taken over the prosecution of husband and wife Bobby and Moira Roberts, who run the circus.
The elephant, Anne, was later moved to Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire.
Mr and Mrs Roberts will appear before Corby Magistrates' Court, in Northamptonshire, on 16 November.
Shock and dismay
They are accused of keeping the 58-year-old elephant chained to the ground at all times.
They are also accused of failing to prevent an employee from repeatedly beating Anne.
The elephant was brought from Sri Lanka to The Bobby Roberts Super Circus in Peterborough in the 1950s.
A CPS spokesman said: "Given the public concern over the case, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, has now agreed that the CPS take over and continue the legal proceedings against the Roberts."
Moira Roberts told the BBC News website: "We are shocked and dismayed, we honestly felt this would get thrown out.
"We've done nothing wrong. It's been the worst year of our lives.
"We've been in business a long time and financially and mentally we've had the worst year of our lives."
The ADI, a worldwide animal welfare organisation, carried out an undercover investigation between 21 January and 15 February this year and filmed the elephant in a barn in Polebrook, Northamptonshire.
Jan Creamer, ADI chie

Animal Rights Activist: ‘If you spill blood, your blood should be spilled’
In the early hours of March 7, 2009, David Jentsch was startled out of his slumber by the sound of an explosion in his driveway. Running outside, the UCLA professor found that his car had been firebombed. His car was destroyed, and the fire spread to a nearby tree before firefighters were able to control it.
Self-described members of the “Animal Liberation Brigade” claimed responsibility for the firebombing, warning Jentsch in a message posted March 8 on the website of the North American Animal Liberation Press Office (which publishes communiqués from underground animal rights activists) that “we will come for you when you least expect it and do a lot more damanage [sic] than to your property.
Prior to the firebombing of his car, Jentsch, a professor of psychology and psychiatry whose research involves rodents and primates, had had no personal contact with animal liberation activists. He responded to the attack by forming Pro-Test for Science, a community of researchers that works to counter the radical animal liberation movement.
Soon, Jentsch found himself subject to daily harassment, including menacing emails and packages containing razors. It emerged that an obscure Florida-based group called Negotiation is Over (NIO) had targeted the UCLA professor as public enemy No. 1, posting his picture and contact information on its website and urging the animal liberation community to take action against him.
NIO is the brainchild of Camille Marino, a 47-year-old former investment banking professional who for the past three years has devoted her life to radical animal rights activism. According its website, NIO “strives to be an instrument of defiance, disruption, disobedience, subversion, creative & aggressive grassroots action, and a catalyst for revolutionary change. Total liberation – human animals, nonhuman animals, and the earth – will not happen by politely asking

Chinese lanterns pose danger to elephants and farm livestock, Bonfire Night revellers warned
Bonfire night revellers have been urged not to release Chinese lanterns to avoid injuring livestock and zoo animals including elephants at risk of becoming ensnared by the fireworks.
The paper lanterns, which float into the air by lighting a candle inside them, have become increasingly popular in Britain with thousands released on November 5 and other celebrations.
However, farmers and wildlife experts have warned that the devices, which can drift for several miles in the breeze, pose a serious danger to animals when they land in fields.
Wire and bamboo contained in many brands of Chinese lanterns has been blamed for numerous deaths and injuries to farmers’ livestock, while staff at a safari park said they risk harming their elephants.
Rachel Saunders, a research and conservation expert at Knowsley Safari Park in Lancashire, said six wire-framed lanterns were discovered in its elephant enclosure

Edinburgh pandas: Zoo keeper tells of 'trepidation'
The keeper charged with looking after the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo has spoken of her "trepidation" ahead of caring for the "iconic species".
Alison Maclean told the BBC Scotland news website that she was "excited" at the thought of being in charge of their "health and welfare".
However, she said it was a "pretty big weight" on her shoulders. She added it was also a huge privilege.
It is hoped the pandas will arrive at the zoo before the end of the year.
Ms Maclean, who has looked after captive bears for 25 years, will be in charge of looking after Tian Tian and Yang Guang when they move to Edinburgh from their home

Panda bamboo to be grown at Edinburgh Zoo
Edinburgh Zoo is to grow its own bamboo to feed its eagerly-awaited giant pandas.
It will initially cultivate 15% of the 18,000kg of bamboo required to feed the animals annually.
The plant will be grown on the grounds of the zoo, with the rest being provided by specialist German firm Reiner Winkendick.
It is hoped Tian Tian and Yang Guang will arrive in Edinburgh before the end of the year.
The breeding pair will consume 20 three-metre bamboo stems each day and be given about 25 different species of the plant over the year to replicate their diet in the wild.
While bamboo forms almost all of their diet, they also have an appetite for rats, mice, pikas (rabbit-like creatures), insects and other vegetation.
The zoo hopes to increase the amount

Yupangco zoo business mulls listing on PSE

THEME PARK operator Zoomanity Group is looking to list on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) within the next three years to raise funds for plans to expand its animal farm portfolio in the coming years, an official said.


“Hopefully, we will have our IPO (initial public offering) in the next three years,” Zoomanity Group President Roberto L. Yupangco said in a telephone interview yesterday. “This will give us sustainable funding and growth.” The IPO plan comes alongside the company’s targets of adding at least six more branches on top of the existing sites.


The company currently operates theme parks Zoobic Safari in Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Zoo-in-Zip Residences Inn in Tagaytay, Paradizoo in Cavite, Zoocobia and Zoocology in Clark Fields Pampanga, Animal Wonderland inside Star City in Manila, and Zoori’s Adventure and Bird Thrill inside Enchanted Kingdom in Laguna.


“We are banking on around 20 million local tourists annually based on government data. Our dream is to have 10 million customers in few years’ time,” he said.


“And that will be achieved by putting up more branches.”


Mr. Yupangco said the additional parks would be located in the Bicol Region, Palawan, Negros, and Baguio and other tourist destinations in the Philippines.


He noted that putting up the outlets would cost around P300 million.


“These are funded through partnerships,” he said, adding that the group is debt-free.


At present, the Zoomanity customers

Bad state of Byculla zoo out in the open
Environmental activists from a city NGO released a report on the poor conditions of the animals at the Veermata Jijabai Udyan and Zoo in Byculla on Sunday.
Four environmentalists documented the maltreatment of the animals by thezoo administration. Plant and Animals Welfare Society (PAWS) Mumbai has prepared a report, after four of its members visited the zoo disguised as tourists, on October 29. The report has been sent to the various authorities including, the secretary of the Animal Welfare Board of India.
“We found that there was no water served in many enclosures.The animals looked weak. We found wounds on the elephant. One of the workers was poking a crocodile with a stick,” complained Sunish Subramaniam of PAWS Mumbai.
The report has demanded that the zoo should be closed down immediately as the enclosures provided are unable to give the natural space needed for an animal.“Till then, the Central Zoo Authority

Tapirs losing out
Tapirs are another casualty of our dwindling forest cover and expanding development.
BENDUL, the Malayan tapir, is a sorry sight. Unlike the other tapirs at the Sungai Dusun Wildlife Conservation Centre which have hefty, robust bodies, Bendul is almost all skin and bones. Her coat is dull and grey, not a healthy shine like that on the others. Her ribcage shows under her skin and her body is badly scarred.
She was named after the place where she was found loitering in late September, a village in Ulu Bendul some 16km from Seremban in Negri Sembilan, and arrived at the centre wounded and starving.
“After trapping her, we had planned to return her to the forest but when we saw that she had a bullet wound which was infested with maggots, we decided to bring her here,” says Mahathir Mohamad

Vehicles threatening rare flightless Okinawa bird
A critically endangered flightless bird found only in northern Okinawa Island is under increasing threat from vehicles, which killed a record number this year, according to officials at the Environment Ministry's Yambaru Wildlife Conservation Center.
With many paved roads running through the core of the forested habitat of the Okinawa rail, whose existence was confirmed just three decades ago, 34 of the birds were fatally struck by vehicles this year, up from 33 for all of last year and 20 in 2009.
By contrast, the number of bird kills between 1995 and 2004 totaled 26.
"The reason for this sharp increase remains unclear, but we believe the birds may be more frequently c

Reconsider dolphinarium plan: animal rights org to Maha Govt
In a bid to restrict capturing of dolphins from the wild, animal rights organisation ''Humane Society International'' has requested Maharashtra government to reconsider the proposal to build dolphin parks along the coastline in Sindhudurg district.
Such projects are being increasingly discarded in developed countries, it says.
"In a letter to Tourism Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, we have strongly urged him to reconsider his support to the proposal to build new dolphinariums," the NGO''s Campaign Manager, N G Jayasimha told PTI.
"Building dolphin parks, especially in regions where such facilities do not exist, may mean that animals must be imported or captured from the wild," HSI''s letter says.
"The construction of dolphinariums is a backward step...
true ecotourism has minimal costs to the environment and maximum benefits for the local community. Dolphinariums in new areas do not comply with these requirements," Jayasimha said.
The letter was sent after media reports that in a bid to give a boost to tourism in Konkan area, the government was planning to set up a Rs 510 crore Sea World theme park in Sindhudurg.
"India has the opportunity to be a leader in Asia

Ohio Exotic Animals Theft: 5 Accused Of Stealing Dead Lion
Five people were charged Monday with trying to steal the carcass of a lion that was among dozens of exotic animals released from a private compound by their suicidal owner and shot dead by sheriff's deputies in a big-game hunt.
Deputies said they stopped four men and a teenage boy who had loaded the lion into a Jeep several hours after the animals ran from their cages at the compound near Zanesville, in eastern Ohio.
Deputies were forced to kill 48 wild animals including bears, lions and endangered Bengal tigers after their owner, Terry Thompson, threw open their cages late in the afternoon on Oct. 18

French zoo steps up rhino surveillance against poachers
The owner of the Thoiry zoo and wildlife park west of Paris took the measure following a spate of rhino horn thefts from zoos and museums around Europe, broadening security measures already in place for small primates.
"We have extended the surveillance that we initiated for our small monkeys, which were regularly stolen and sold illegally, to the white rhinos that weigh 2.5 tonnes," zoo owner Paul de la Panouse told AFP.
"Their enclosures are under surveillance by cameras and staff who make regular rounds."
Rhinos are often poached for their horns, made of keratin and sold on the black market for ornamental or medicinal purposes, particularly in Asia.
Horns can fetch between 25,000 and 200,000 euros depending on their size.
Panouse said that thieves had already stolen rhino horns that had been on display for educational purposes from the Sigean wildlife park in the south west of the country.
"Today I'm worried for the living rhinos," Panouse said.
"It's absurd to kill these animals for their horns that some people think might treat illnesses like cancer or impotence," he said.
"The horn is only made of a mass of hair and eating it is the same as eating your nails."
Europol, the European Union's criminal intelligence agency, suspects an Irish organised crime group is behind the spate of robberies that has hit European zoos, auction houses, antique dealers and private collectors.
Trade in rhino horns is banned under the CITES

Rare heron returned to wildlife park after weeks in the wild
The black-crowned night heron was found by the SSPCA after surviving an attack by buzzards.
The black-crowned night heron escaped from Galloway Wildlife and Conservation Park in Kirkcudbright in September.
The 12in tall female has lived in the wild ever since, surviving on small fish, worms and frogs.
It was finally recaptured after it was attacked by buzzards in the village of Dunragit, in Dumfries and Galloway near Stranraer.
The stricken bird was picked up by the Scottish SPCA on Monday and examined by vets before being transported to the South of Scotland Wildlife Hospital in Dumfries to recover. It has now been returned to its owners.
Scottish SPCA Inspector Arianne

Zoo supporter leaves record-setting bequest of more than $800k
Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has received the single largest bequest in its 37-year history.
The Charitable Remainder Trust of Melinda Poole Grizzell recently bestowed an unrestricted gift of $863,000 to Riverbanks Society – the private, non-profit organization supporting the needs of the Zoo and Garden.
Melinda Poole Grizzell moved to South Carolina from San Diego with her family a little more than 20 years ago. Not only did she enjoy visiting the Zoo and Garden, she also loved the art of quilting and frequent boat rides on Lake Murray. Grizzell, who conveyed a passion for animals and the Zoo through more than 20 years of membership and financial support to Riverbanks Society, passed away on January 30, 2011. “Our grandfather, HM Poole, donated to and served as a board member for the San Diego Zoological Society. We believe his love for giving contributed to the compassion she had for others,” says Andrew Grizzell, Grizzell’s son.
Throughout her life, Grizzell not only supported Riverbanks Zoo but also many other organizations throughout the community. She insisted that she remain anonymous any time she made a contribution. She never wanted to be acknowledged publicly for her donations because she wanted the organization to have the attention. “We are so proud of her generosity

Breakthrough made in breeding of seahorses
The Penghu Marine Biology Research Center has succeeded in breeding thousands of seahorses in its first effort at mass reproduction, director Tsai Wann-sheng (???) said.
The center, which is part of the Council of Agriculture’s Fisheries Research Institute, began looking into the mass reproduction of seahorses after identifying a potential market for them in the aquarium industry, Tsai said on Saturday in a report on the latest technological developments in seahorse breeding.
It hopes there will be less reliance on supplies of wild seahorses, he said in the report, which is part of an exhibition in Penghu organized by the National Science Council, the National Taiwan Science Education Center and National Penghu University of Science and Technology.
The sale of wild seahorses is prohibited in Taiwan, but those bred in captivity can fetch up to NT$300 each in the ornamental fish market.
Previously, there had been no complete information how on long it takes for seahorse eggs to spawn and produce a marketable product, Tsai said.
However, the research center can now provide aquarium companies with the technology to breeding seahorses that would be ready to sell in about three months, he said.
Seahorses are very different from

Lion tranquilized after escape from Woodland Park Zoo den
A female African lion escaped from its sleeping den at the Woodland Park Zoo this afternoon before employees managed to tranquilze the animal.
The zoo said no one was injured in the incident.
Just before 4 p.m., the 12-year-old lion named Kalisa, pictured at right, was able to leave its den and get into a service hallway that zoo officials say is “behind the scenes” of the felines’ building. The lion was contained inside the building.
The zoo’s emergency response team composed of the zoo’s firearms units and veterinary staff equipped with tranquilizer darts responded. The lion was tranquilized and secured at 4:53 p.m. inside the service area, according

Hey, Toronto Zoo: Leave those birds alone!
Today we heard that the Toronto Zoo is planning on separating Pedro and Buddy, two male African penguins that paired up and are showing no interest in any of the six females they share the exhibit with. Curators at the zoo are opting to forcefully end the relationship so the birds can have a chance to eventually produce offspring.
Here are just a couple of reasons why we simply don’t agree with

Western black rhino declared extinct
No wild black rhinos remain in West Africa, according to the latest global assessment of threatened species.
The Red List, drawn up by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has declared the subspecies extinct.
A subspecies of white rhino in central Africa is also listed as possibly extinct, the organisation says.
The annual update of the Red List now records more threatened species than ever before.
The IUCN reports that despite conservation efforts, 25% of the world's mammals are at risk of extinction. As part of its latest work it has reassessed several rhinoceros groups.
Poaching vulnerability
As well as declaring the western black rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes) extinct, it records the northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), a subspecies

Two rhino species bite the dust: Red List
Several species of rhino have been poached into extinction or to the point of no return, according to an update of the Red List of Threatened Species, the gold standard for animal and plant conservation.
All told, a quarter of all mammal species assessed are at risk of extinction, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which compiles the list, said on Thursday.
About a third of the 61,900 species now catalogued by the IUCN are classified as "vulnerable," "endangered," "critically endangered," or extinct, with some groups, such as amphibians and reptiles, in particularly rapid decline.
Rhinoceros have been hit especially hard in recent years. Their fearsome horns -- prized for dagger handles in the Middle East and traditional medicine in east Asia -- can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars on the black market.
The new assessment shows that a subspecies of the western black rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes) native to western Africa is now extinct, joining a long list of creatures -- from the Tasmanian tiger to the Arabian gazelle

The Medicine Man Of Trivandrum Zoo
The medical problems of the animals of our city zoo will be taken care of by new hands, which is a welcome turning point indeed, for the place
His name is Jacob Alexander, and he is a specialist in Veterinary Pathology. And he is the new veterinary doctor at the Trivandrum Zoo. Anyone who is aware of the present scenario of our city zoo would welcome this new development. From the little time spent with Jacob Alexander in between his busy routine, one gets the clear indication that this vet means business.
“Our new zoo vet has all the needed medicines ready as he comes for his rounds. He is well equipped. So no one needs to run around later between the cages and the hospital,” says a keeper, all smiling.
“Yes, you can never say if an animal is allergic to any particular medicine. So you have to be prepared,” says the vet as he walks towards the enclosures.
“The Sambar and the spotted deer have to be sterilized soon as their numbers have far exceeded their enclosure space. But Etorphine which is used for sedation can be procured only with a license. Ketamine and Xylaxine take time to sedate and by that time a sambar deer can panic and go out of control and might even lead to capture-myopathy that can be fatal. And in cases where healing can happen naturally, one should avoid causing unnecessary trauma to the animal in the name of treatment,” explains the vet.
“One must do away with the idea that a total change can be brought about overnight,” which for him means nothing less than starting his work from day one. But one can see that Jacob Alexander has been studying the overall situation in great detail so that he would know from where to start and how. And he is well aware that he is not a one-man army. "One must make an early morning round within the zoo to study the condition of the animals and their cages even before the keepers clean the space. This is to make a thorough note of the leftover food as well as the excreta of the animals as it determines the health of the inmates. For example, endoparasites can cause diarrhea which a vet will know only if he monitors the cages before it is washed clean." He reiterates that prevention of illness has to be the priority.
So a zoo vet's eyes must always have that extra zoom so that he never misses out on anything regarding the animals. Then doubts will be clarified by discussing with the keepers and directing them towards the actions to be taken. With

Palming for Profit: The Oily Truth
Come mid November, palm oil pundits the world over will grandly gather in Kuala Lumpur to propel palm oil polities and “discuss the many facets of the palm oil industry”. One facet of no exclusive concern at the Malaysian Palm Oil Board International Palm Oil Conference (PIPOC 2011) would be the Orangutan de-habitation facet! This feast of greed aims to “fortify and energise the world” through what they claim to be sustainable means of palm oil propagation. Nonetheless, these conferences merely serve to garner further protection and institutional approval of environmental crimes. It is purely profane profit over profundity!
Palm oil protectors will no doubt be in full force, slaying critics and cuddling groupies. One such faction certain to be jumping up and down like a restless banshee is Palmhugger. Palmhugger dispels the myth that platypuses are the only venomous mammals in existence. The Palmhuggist have exhibited a tendency to deem me unhuggable and have expressed this endearment in an exquisite editorial/epistle titled “A Spiteful and Malevolent rant by Shenaaz Khan”.
Hence, having roused and provoked head hugger, Ms Linda Everett, my spiteful and malevolent

Shark fin soup disappearing from the menu at Chinese weddings
Couples marrying in Hong Kong and mainland China swayed by conservation groups' campaign to ban shark trade
Chinese couples who have chosen Friday – 11/11/11 – one of the most auspicious days of the year to exchange their wedding vows, could be among the last to mark the occasion by feasting on shark fin soup, if environmental groups get their way.
As the wedding parties scoop pieces of the slippery, glutinous flesh from bowls of broth, they will not just be respecting tradition; they will also be defying a growing campaign to ban the trade in shark fin that has now spread to its most lucrative market, Hong Kong.
It is easy to see during a short walk through Sheung

Nature Studies by Michael McCarthy: Why extinctions should worry us as a species
You probably missed it on the news, three weeks ago, the item about the Vietnamese rhinoceros going extinct; it didn't make a lot of noise. The fact that an animal which had roamed the jungles of Vietnam for millions of years had now disappeared from the Earth for ever didn't hit the front pages, or the television headlines: there were far more pressing concerns for the world. A rhino in Vietnam? So what? Who's bothered?
But I've been thinking about it ever since. I find the story gripping. Nobody knew there were any rhinos at all in Vietnam, or in mainland Indo-China, for that matter, until just over 20 years ago, when hunters shot one in the dense forests of the Cat Tien National Park about a hundred miles north of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon as was). Imagine. You suddenly realise your country's got rhinos. You had no idea. It's like finding wolves surviving in the Scottish Highlands.
It turned out to be a subspecies of the Javan rhinoceros, itself one of the world's rarest animals, and its discovery was one of the first elements

Rare white kiwi to be kept in captivity
A rare white kiwi hatched in captivity six months ago will not be released into the wild, out of fears that it would be too vulnerable, a New Zealand conservation centre said Friday.
The nocturnal, flightless kiwi is normally brown, but the female bird was born lacking a colour gene, making it a mottled white.
Its colouring could make it an easier target for predators, said Jason Kerehi, spokesman for the Pukaha Mount Bruce centre on the North Island.
The unusual kiwi has become a symbol for the plight of the rare species after making headlines due to health scares.
The bird underwent surgery this week to remove an excessively large stone it had swallowed along with some gravel to aid its digestion.
Dubbed Manukura, meaning chiefly status in Maori, the kiwi is to be housed in an enclosure that simulates a reversed day-night rhythm, to allow visitors to observe it during the d

Eye of Newt and Wool of Bat Will Be Plentiful After London Olympics
Wildlife Habitat Planned for Creepy Critters; Powerful Lobby Insists on Adequate Housing.
The organizers of the 2012 Olympics here are hoping to attract millions of visitors from across the world for next year's Summer Games.
Some of them, planners hope, will be bats.
The Olympic Delivery Authority, which is creating the Olympic Park, wants to lure the flying mammals and build habitats for various creatures at the London site. The result is hundreds of "wildlife installations" across the 618-acre Olympic Park, housing everything from moths to otters. The goal is biodiversity, and creating a worthy post-Games legacy.
To make bats feel at home, the developers are installing at least 156 special "bat boxes," cozy residences attached to bridges and buildings for the flying animals. Their plan also calls for an environment full of insects—one bat can eat 3,000 bugs a night—and landscaping features that provide a "bat corridor."
The bat boxes won't officially be open for roosting until after the Games because of fears that terrorists will put bombs in them. But already there's some

Zoo debt predicament solution close
ADELAIDE Zoo's financial predicament is expected to be resolved early next week as the Government strikes a deal with Westpac.
The Advertiser understands to return the Zoo to a financially sustainable position, the Government has negotiated with Westpac to resolve the Zoo's financial predicament which has seen it unable to service a $24 million debt with Westpac since June.
It is expected that as part of the deal, the Government will make a substantial lump sum payment to the bank, but in exchange the Government wants Westpac to write off a large portion of the loan as a bad debt. It has been speculated the loan could be as much as halved.
Land next to the Monarto conservation park, estimated to be worth about $3 million, is understood to form part of the agreement, with the

White Lies
The Lahore Safari Park, off Raiwind Road in Lahore, was created on the pattern of Britain’s Windsor Safari Park.
The imported lions and tigers were to be given a near-natural habitat where they could roam about freely within a large well-guarded compound. Of course, they were to be well-fed by keepers and not expected to hunt and scavenge for themselves. For this, they were provided the required 40 kilos of meat each to keep them kicking. The Windsor Safari Park has a burgeoning lion population and actually exports big cats to African countries where their numbers have been depleted by unscrupulous poachers and hunters.
Not so at the Lahore Safari Park. We hear that the meat allocation for the cat population is bought on paper only. Some of the meat that actually makes it to the park, often lands up on the keepers’ dinner tables. The lions and tigers, far from proliferating, are starving slowly; some have already died of malnutrition. As for the Safari Park staff; besides being well-fed, they are busy demanding tips, even to open a gate for ticket holding visitors. Now what was this project all about?

Salisbury Zoo Says Goodbye to 'Poopsie' the Bear
Salisbury Zoo officials are mourning the death of "Poopsie," a female Andean bear that had lived at the zoo for more than 37 years.
Officials said that Poopsie's overall condition had declined in recent months. They said the bear's appetite became depressed and, some days, she would refuse to eat her daily diet. Officials said that despite medication to help with the arthritic conditions in her hips and joints, her mobility and strength had become compromised, making it difficult for her to move around her exhibit. Some days, she would not leave the holding building. After examining her current medical condition, the Zoo staff decided she had to be euthanized.
Poopsie was the oldest known Andean bear ever on record, according to officials. On Dec. 27, she would have celebrated her 38th birthday. The average life span of a captive Andean bear is around 25 years.
Poopsie was born in 1973 at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. She came to the Salisbury Zoo seven months later, on July 18, 1974. This matriarch who bore two litters of cubs, two females

800 rare and endangered giant snails frozen to death because of a faulty temperature gauge

A faulty temperature gauge was today blamed for 800 rare giant snails being accidentally frozen to death.
Staff at New Zealand's conservation centre in Hokitika were said to be 'very upset' over the incident.
The endangered Powelliphanta land snails, which measure 9cm across, had been rescued from an area earmarked for coal mining.
They were kept in a temperature-controlled room run by the Department of Conservation, but the technical glitch sent temperatures plunging below freezing.
The snails were among 6,000 taken from the Stockton Plateau on South Island several years ago when the area was earmarked for coal mining, the BBC reported.
About 4,000 of them have already

Zoo debt predicament solution close
ADELAIDE Zoo's financial predicament is expected to be resolved early next week as the Government strikes a deal with Westpac.
The Advertiser understands to return the Zoo to a financially sustainable position, the Government has negotiated with Westpac to resolve the Zoo's financial predicament which has seen it unable to service a $24 million debt with Westpac since June.
It is expected that as part of the deal, the Government will make a substantial lump sum payment to the bank, but in exchange the Government wants Westpac to write off a large portion of the loan as a bad debt. It has been speculated the loan could be as much as halved.
Land next to the Monarto conservation park, estimated to be worth about $3 million, is understood to form part of the agreement, with the

Patna zoo set to welcome eight new inmates
The Patna zoo is all set to welcome as many as eight more animals, including a pair of leopards, two male and a female leopard cats, two female jungle cats and a chimpanzee soon.
Zoo director Abhay Kumar told TOI, "We have finalized the deal with Assam State Zoo, Guwahati. Under this deal, we are getting

Loggerhead turtles take 45 years to grow up
Loggerhead turtles take almost half a century to reach maturity, say scientists.
A female turtle, the researchers report in the journal Functional Ecology, will not start to lay eggs until she is 45.
This estimate, based on examination of several decades of data on the turtles' growth, has implications for conservation efforts.
It reveals how long it takes for turtles hatched at a protected nesting site to return to that site to breed.
Prof Graeme Hays from the University of Swansea, one of the authors of the study, explained how reaching maturity so slowly meant that the turtle population was "less resilient" than previously thought.
"The longer an animal takes to reach




CONDEMNED TO A LIFE INSIDE A SHABBY CAGE As a child growing up in Calcutta, one of the highlights of my existence was a visit to the Alipore Zoo. This venerable institution, dating back to Victorian times, housed a motley collection of animals and birds in tatty, smelly cages. However, in a world that did not have television channels such as National Geographic, Animal Planet or Discovery to show me exotic wildlife in Technicolor, the zoo was the grandest thing that existed. In hindsight, it was a poor experience: there was little attempt at interpretation, the cages could have been cells for dangerous criminals, and hordes of the public coursed past, throwing handfuls of peanuts, or worse, at the hapless, stressed-out displays. You generally came away with no knowledge, nor any particular penchant for wildlife and its conservation.
Zoos have existed since ancient times, when exotic animals were sometimes displayed in cages, or frequently set upon each other for the amusement of the populace, as in the Roman Circus. Ancient Egyptians kept menageries of animals on display, and the remains of hippopotami, giraffes, lions and baboons are frequently excavated from the ruins of their cities. In the modern times, it was the European colonials, with their vast empires and access to bizarre and exotic fauna, who had the richest collections. These were displayed in ornate but otherwise featureless cages for the amusement of the public.
It was only in 1907 that Carl Hagenbeck, a German businessman and menagerie owner, evinced the idea of

Rafetus Breeding Attempt 2011
With the glass barriers around both ponds at Suzhou Zoo having been completed in the summer of 2010, the male and the female Yangtze giant softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) have roamed together in both the small and the large pond since 24 August 2010. For the first time, the male and the female were together throughout fall, winter and spring. Following hibernation, the male and the female became active on 25 March 2011 when they both were seen basking. Abrasions on the neck and front limbs of the female when she emerged from hibernation indicated mating attempts during fall/winter (the male grabs the neck of the female with his jaws prior to mounting). The turtles' diet in 2011 consisted of pieces of fresh fish with skin and bones, whole

Carter: Lions, tigers and bears -- and laws
On Oct. 18 in Zanesville, Ohio, the owner of a privately owned wild animal park opened the cages of dozens of lions, tigers, bears and other exotic animals allowing them to escape before he committed suicide.
The horrific episode was finally brought under control but not before most of the animals had been destroyed by police officers who were faced with no other choice but to shoot to kill in order to maintain the public’s safety.
Incidents such as this, involving wild and exotic animals, while not necessarily intentional, have also occurred in Georgia.
In February of 2010, a zebra escaped from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus and ran through downtown Atlanta ending up on the downtown connector during rush hour.
In April of 2008, two llamas fell out of a trailer on I-285 in Atlanta when the latch came undone. In December of 2002, four bovines escaped a stalled tractor-trailer on I-20 near Covington. Interestingly, the escaped bovines were retrieved by a group of horseback riders from a rodeo taking place nearby.
On a more somber note, the Georgia Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in February 2012 in a case of a housesitter who was killed by an alligator who lived in one of the many lagoons around The Landings near Savannah. Citing the doctrine of “animals ferae naturae,” a homeowner’s association is claiming they should be immune from the suit.
The outcome of this case could expand the human liability for wild animal actions. But Georgia and Ohio are very different when it comes to laws on wild animals.
Georgia defines “wild animal” as any animal that is not wildlife and is not normally a domesticated species in Georgia.
In Georgia it is illegal to import, transport, transfer, sell, purchase or possess any wild animal without a wild animal license or permit from the Department of Natural Resources.
Licenses are only issued to those engaged in the wholesale

Zanesville police describe charging animals at Ohio zoo
Lions and bears charged at Ohio policemen arriving at a private game park where their owner had set them free, a police report says.
The report reveals just how close some animals came to the policemen and defends their decision to kill them.
Police say they were defending the public from aggressive animals - including tigers, wolves and monkeys.
They killed 48 wild animals after their owner, Terry Thompson, 62, opened their cages before shooting himself dead.
Police say their top priority was to stop the animals getting out of the fenced-off area and threatening neighbouring houses and Interstate highway 70.
But they faced grave personal danger as they attempted to contain the animals.
"As I backed the team up, the tiger came out the door and charged right at us," forcing police to shoot the tiger, Deputy Jay Lawhorne told the Associated Press news agency.
Another officer said

Orangutans killed for meat in Kalimantan
A report says 691 Borneo orangutans were slaughtered in Kalimantan – most of whom were eaten by residents.
The great apes were killed for several reasons, Suci Utami Atmoko, a field coordinator for report co-author The Nature Conservancy (TNC), said on Tuesday.
“Some [residents] were desperate and had no other choice after spending three days hunting for food,”
she said.
Local residents also killed the orangutans for safety reasons, Suci said, harvesting orangutan meat to make traditional medicine and selling any surviving orangutan babies.
The Nature Conservancy led the survey, which was conducted between April 2008 and September 2009 and involved 6,972 respondents in 698 villages across Kalimantan.
Nineteen NGOs joined the survey, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the People’s Resource and Conservation Foundation Indonesia (PRCFI) and the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF).
TNC program manager Neil Makinuddin said 70 percent of the respondents knew that orangutans were a protected and endangered species when they hunted the animals.
Decisions to open land in Kalimantan to development

Nilgiri langurs continue to be hunted
In spite of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, the Nilgiri langurs (Trachypithecus johnii) continue to be hunted for the preparation of crude medicines. Prior to the Act coming into force, these primates were ruthlessly hunted to the brim of extinction.
According to a National Studbook on Nilgiri langurs published in May this year by the Wildlife Institute of India and the Central Zoo Authority, poaching continues to be one of the main threats to the wild population of Nilgiri langurs. The studbook says the primates were being hunted mainly for their pelt, blood, flesh and organs to produce crude medicines and even so-called aphrodisiacs.
Before the Act came into force, such medicines were freely available with traditional medicine practitioners in Kerala and the products were even advertised. ‘Karingkorangu Rasayanam' was one of the leading products at the time. After the advent of the Act, the Kerala Forest Department launched a campaign to save the Nilgiri langurs and

Zoo hails hatching of rare iguanas
A critically endangered species of iguana has bred at a zoo for the first time.
Reptile keepers at Bristol Zoo Gardens successfully hatched 17 baby Utila spiny-tailed iguanas - a species which is listed as critically endangered and was once considered to be one of the rarest iguanas in existence.
The eggs were laid after two young adult iguanas arrived at the zoo last year as a new breeding pair aiming to boost numbers of this species in captivity.
They were transferred to a temperature-controlled incubator for three months until hatching and then moved into a vivarium on display in the zoo's reptile house. Tim Skelton, curator of reptiles and amphibians at the zoo, said: "I'm thrilled that we have successfully hatched so many iguanas from the first clutch of eggs laid by our new female.
"This is an interesting and very valuable species because they are only found on one island, Utila, off the coast of Honduras in Central America."
He added: "The babies are

Zoo staff: ‘Every loss is a tough one’
Brookfield Zoo officials said preliminary necropsy reports indicate nothing unusual about the death of a newborn dolphin calf.
But that is little comfort for the grief-stricken zoo staff.
The bottlenose dolphin calf died within moments of his birth at Brookfield Zoo Sunday morning, despite what zoo staff described as a normal pregnancy and three hours of labor by his experienced mother, 29-year-old Tapeko.
Associate veterinarian Michael Adkesson said Tapeko, who has raised three calves previously, was carefully monitored throughout her pregnancy. A necropsy (animal autopsy) performed Sunday showed nothing to indicate the cause of death.
“By all indications, this is just a calf that was weak from the beginning and was not able to get to the surface and take those critical first breaths,” Adkesson said. “A strong, healthy calf should really need little assistance to get to the surface. Topeko did a terrific job nudging it from underneath

South Africa hyenas recaptured after chewing to freedom

Two hyenas escaped from a South African wildlife park Wednesday by chewing through an electric fence during a power outage, but were recaptured within half an hour, the park said.


"The power went off... and the hyenas -- who will chew through wire and even iron bars -- managed to escape," said Earl Smith, general manager of the Lion Park, located just outside Johannesburg.


"The hyenas always try to escape if there is a long power failure. The lions don't try to escape," he told the Sapa news agency.


He said park employees tracked the hyenas and recaptured them near one of the main roads leading into Johannesburg.


He described the animals as "shy and timid" and

Ex-Philly elephant being moved again

AN AFRICAN elephant that used to call the Philadelphia Zoo home will soon show whether there's any truth to the saying that elephants never forget.


The Philadelphia Zoo announced yesterday that Kallie, an elephant that was moved to the Pittsburgh Zoo's International Conservation Center in 2009 - along with Bette, another African elephant - was moved again yesterday, this time to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.


There, Kallie will be reunited with three elephants she knew previously, zoo officials said.


"It wouldn't be unusual for them to remember," Kim Lengel, the Philadelphia Zoo's director of conservation and its general curator, said yesterday. "There are plenty of documented cases where elephants have been separated for very long periods of time and still remember each other."


The decision to move Kallie from Pittsburgh and split her from Bette was made by Philadelphia Zoo officials - who still closely follow their former elephants - after the Pittsburgh Zoo rescued three young elephants from Botswana.


Officials described Bette as a "sweetheart" and predicted that she'd be easy to integrate with the new elephants in Pittsburgh.


Marianne Bessey, founder of the advocacy group Friends of Philly Zoo Elephants, which has been pushing for six years for the animals to be given permanent homes in sanctuaries, said she's disappointed by the decision.


Bessey said the Cleveland zoo is "in a cold climate with just a fraction of the space that she would have at a true sanctuary." She compared Cleveland's five-acre exhibit to the more than 2,000 acres at a sanctuary in Tennessee where Dulary, an Indian elephant formerly living at the Philadelphia Zoo, was moved.


Bessey said that if Kallie was moved to that sanctuary or to another one in California that offered to take her, she still would have a chance to reunite with familiar elephants.


"That shipment [with which Kallie arrived in the U.S.] had over 100 baby elephants," Bessey said, adding that some of those elephants live in the sanctuaries. "She has just as much of a chance of being reunited there as she does with someone

Giraffes, birds killed in zoo fire in Burlington

A large fire at a zoo in Burlington County Sunday night claimed the life of a mother giraffe and its calf and a number of exotic birds and other animals.


The three-alarm blaze that tore through the pet shop at Animal Kingdom Pet Store and Zoo in Springfield also killed three dogs, four cats and a number of parrots.


Sunday’s fire at the sprawling complex of pastures and outbuildings at the Jacksonville-


Jobstown Road property came just months after another three-alarm fire in April killed Bridget Sipp, who owned

Wounded elephant walks again, thanks to jumbo-sized false foot

"I really thought he would never make it," said Nick Marx, stroking Chhouk's trunk with a sense of pride and affection.


"He was seriously injured. He was extremely young, emaciated and very, very sick."


Chhouk, a bull elephant now 5 years old, was found in the Cambodian jungle in 2007, alone and close to death, his left front foot mangled by a poacher's trap.


Marx, the Director of Wildlife Rescue and Care at the Wildlife Alliance, a conservation group, was one of the first to the scene, nursing Chhouk in the jungle for a week.


"I stayed with him, slept beside him, hand-fed him everything he ate.”


Chhouk was taken to the Cambodian government's Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, outside Phnom Penh, and nursed back to health.


"The damage was severe," Marx says. "He's lost six to eight inches of his leg."


Marx turned to experts at the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics, who'd learned their skills during the terrible conflicts (and landmine legacy) that once afflicted this part of Asia. They'd never tried anything on this scale before.


"It's a kind of plastic resin. The inside is quite soft, and the outside is very hard," Marx told me, as Chhouk's keepers removed the artificial foot for its daily cleaning, a procedure that the young elephant has now gotten used to, lifting his leg into a small


compartment for the keepers to work on.


Though now his keepers have to exercise more care. Chhouk's entering the equivalent of jumbo adolescence. He's getting a bit of attitude. "We've certainly got to be more cautious," said Marx, who can read the elephant's mood better than anybody.


Then he was into the forest with Lucky, an older elephant that seems to have adopted the youngster. On the narrow path, then playing in a small lake, he seemed comfortable and confident.


"It's changed his life," says Marx. "From being a tired little chap who slept a lot when he went on his walks, he's now lively and energetic. He never stops.”


He's now on his fourth prosthetic leg, because of heavy wear, but also because Chhouk is growing up fast.


He's become the best known resident – and a symbol of resilience – at Phnom Tamao, which is maintained by the Wildlife Alliance and supported by the Sea World and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. The rescue center now houses more than 1,000 animals, ranging from elephants to tigers, gibbons, bears and birds, many of which, like Chhouk

Deep Intellect
Inside the mind of the octopus

ON AN UNSEASONABLY WARM day in the middle of March, I traveled from New Hampshire to the moist, dim sanctuary of the New England Aquarium, hoping to touch an alternate reality. I came to meet Athena, the aquarium’s forty-pound, five-foot-long, two-and-a-half-year-old giant Pacific octopus.


For me, it was a momentous occasion. I have always loved octopuses. No sci-fi alien is so startlingly strange. Here is someone who, even if she grows to one hundred pounds and stretches more than eight feet long, could still squeeze her boneless body through an opening the size of an orange; an animal whose eight arms are covered with thousands of suckers that taste as well as feel; a mollusk with a beak like a parrot and venom like a snake and a tongue covered with teeth; a creature who can shape-shift, change color, and squirt ink. But most intriguing of all, recent research indicates that octopuses are remarkably intelligent.


Many times I have stood mesmerized by an aquarium tank, wondering, as I stared into the horizontal pupils of an octopus’s large, prominent eyes, if she was staring back at me—and if so, what was she thinking?

San Diego Zoo scientists establish cell cultures of endangered frog

San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy scientists have taken a tremendous leap forward in banking viable amphibian cells. This was achieved through the first successful establishment of cell cultures from frozen biopsy specimens of the critically endangered Mississippi gopher frog. A method called "tissue piecing" and immediate freezing in liquid nitrogen allows field biologists to collect samples that can later be processed in a laboratory.


"With amphibians we have found that we can routinely obtain viable cells from a fresh biopsy, but they fail to thrive and divide, leaving us often unable to establish and freeze cell cultures," said Oliver Ryder, Ph.D., San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research director of genetics. "The question then is, how are we to know if there are viable cells in a tissue-pieced amphibian biopsy when we cannot grow the cells from a fresh biopsy?"


Thanks to a breakthrough achieved at the Institute for Conservation Research, the Mississippi gopher frog case provides proof that endangered amphibian cells can be grown and cells frozen from fresh or tissue-pieced and frozen biopsies.


The tissue-piecing technique has been used for some time with numerous species. In mammals, for example, scientists can mince a skin biopsy, treat it with cryoprotectant and freeze it. Later the tissue pieces can be thawed in a lab to establish a cell culture. But this method had not been previously successful with endangered amphibians until now.


"We are very pleased to have demonstrated for a critically endangered species that we have the techniques necessary for establishing cell cultures under field conditions, when quick access to a lab is not feasible," said Ryder. "For species for which we have not been able to successfully establish cell cultures, but have banked tissue-pieced samples, we know now that we have saved viable cells. In the future we now have the opportunity to go back when we hope to have worked out methods for growing cells from species whose cells have been recalcitrant to our cell culture efforts and use tissue-pieced specimens to obtain, grow

Law enforcement, the Wilds, Columbus Zoo deserve praise

The escape of over 50 exotic animals from a private facility in Zanesville brought extensive national media attention to Southeastern Ohio and resulted in criticism of the local law enforcement response to the situation.


In addition, various comments on social networking and traditional media websites characterized the incident as typifying rural Appalachian ignorance and incompetence. Certainly the death of 48 charismatic animals, with the accompanying grisly pictures, elicited a visceral reaction from many, and was rightfully decried as a tragedy.


However, blaming local law enforcement is unwarranted, and praise is due to officers who successfully prevented a dangerous situation from ending in human death or injury. Much of the blame stems from inaccurate public knowledge about “tranquilizing” large animals and the nature of captive exotic animals.


Following the decision to put down the escaped animals, many questioned why they were not tranquilized and secured. Several factors made chemical anesthesia (the restraint of an animal by the use of drugs) an unrealistic and very dangerous option.


Deputies did not arrive on the scene until approximately 5:30 p.m., and were confronted by an unknown number of uncontained, dangerous animals. When the first deputies arrived, they found several animals outside of the perimeter fence, which was constructed of standard livestock fence and was inadequate to contain large carnivores.


Assembling a trained anesthesia team with the necessary equipment, would have required at least one to two hours, allowing the animals to disperse into full darkness. Darting animals at night is very difficult, and the situation would have been exacerbated by the high number of escaped animals, unfamiliar terrain and structures, and the diverse response personnel involved.


Successful darting often requires the shooter to come into close proximity of the animal, especially in poor visibility and closed terrain. Once in position, the animal must be darted in certain areas of the body and with the correct amount of dart force. Movies and TV shows often falsely portray that darting results in immediate immobilization of the animal, but in reality, the drugs

Rogue zoo keepers fight move of Toronto’s elephants to California sanctuary

War has erupted between Toronto Zoo elephant keepers and the animal rights group helping to co-ordinate a move of three aging elephants to a California sanctuary.


Zoocheck Canada’s Julie Woodyer told the Star she has rescinded an offer to pay for one of the dozen keepers to fly to the PAWS sanctuary this weekend with her and two councillors, Michelle Berardinetti and Raymond Cho.


She is also considering shutting the keepers out of training the pachyderms for the risky trip — a move the keepers say would be foolish and potentially dangerous for the animals they know better than anyone.


Woodyer said last week a trainer would be welcome on the trip, which follows council’s vote to override a zoo board decision to first look for an accredited zoo as a new home for Iringa, 42; Toka, 41; and Thika, 31.


That changed, she said, last Friday when one of the keepers started calling councillors directly, urging them to hold another vote and reverse the decision to send the animals to the 80-acre PAWS sanctuary in San Andreas.


“That’s insubordination — city staff can’t go above their managers’ head and do those kinds of things,” Woodyer said. “They were trying to sabotage the process. We’re happy to work with them but need them to be straight up and upfront with us.”


Zoo chief executive John Tracogna has said keepers have already started early training for the elephants, which have lived in their enclosure for decades, to prepare them to move by truck or plane.


But Woodyer suggested PAWS, and the company it uses to manage elephant transport, should take over if zoo staff continue to fight the move.


“If it becomes clear they’re not coming to this in good faith, then we’ll have to bring in trainers and it will be difficult to include (zoo staff) in the process.”


Zoo management has ordered trainers not to talk to reporters since one told the Star that councillors, after they voted for the sanctuary option, are “not qualified to make a decision on what’s best for these elephants.”


Their union representative, CUPE Local 1600’s Grant Ankenman, said the keepers are emotional and upset the zoo wasn’t allowed to continue talks

Czechs to fly more rare wild horses to Mongolia to reintroduce them to native habitat

The Prague Zoo says it will transport more rare wild horses to Mongolia next year as part of its efforts to reintroduce the endangered species to its native habitat.


The zoo moved four of its Przewalski horses to the western Mongolian reserve of Khomiin Tal in June.


Zoo spokeswoman Jana Ptacinska Jiratova says the transport has been successful and the horses are doing well in their new environment. She said Thursday the zoo will continue with the effort and at least four more will be flown to Mongolia in June.


The Przewalski horse is native to the steppes of Central Asia and became extinct in the

End of an era at Wildlife Park after general manager retires

THE general manager of Curraghs Wildlife Park has retired after almost a quarter of a century in the job.


Nick Pinder, 60, started in May 1987 and became the park's second manager following the death of Tom Kind who had run the park since it was created in 1965.


During his time as general manager Nick has served under three government departments, 13 politicians and nine ministers.


He also saw the 40 acre wetland park receive international recognition and become involved in international breeding programmes.


The park is a member of both the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA) and the European equivalent EAZA. It has also been recognised as part

Dusit Zoo puts evacuation plan in place

Dusit Zoo has prepared to evacuate animals to Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Chon Buri in the event that the floodwaters spread to the area, zoo director Dr Karnchai Saenwongse said on Friday.


The zoo, which is on Rama V Road, is currently home to 250 species with 1,200 animals spread over 118 rai of land. The authority has prepared sandbags to block the water at the doors of the animals' cages as well as food for about two weeks.


Water in ponds in the zoo compound had already been drained to a level where they could receive the floodwater.


Karnchai said the animals are divided into groups according to their living quarters. The first group to be evacuated to Chon Buri are those that would face difficulty if the water level reached 50 centimetres.


These included animals such as deer and barking deer, he said.


If the water level reached one metre, tigers would be relocated to Chon Buri, he said, adding birds, monkeys and crocodiles would be safe and fine in the flood.


He reiterated that the crocodile ponds have

Another Bangkok Zoo Gets Hit By Flooding

Another zoo in the Bangkok area has been hit as floodwaters continue to swamp the city.


Proprietors at Safari World – among the more popular destinations for families here – said they shut down the facility on Thursday after authorities opened a flood gate at a nearby canal following demonstrations by local residents, causing the zoo’s flooding defenses to be overwhelmed.


The animals inside the facility are not at risk of harm — for now. But the situation has forced officials at the 500-acre complex to scramble to find dry ground for the lions, tigers, zebras, giraffes and other animals that roam there. Television footage show giraffes wading in water hoove-deep, and a rhinoceros looking confused at meter-high waters surrounding it.


The complex is the second Bangkok animal park to come under threat in recent weeks, after the city’s popular Dusit Zoo was forced to relocate some of its animals when floodwaters got too close. Safari World is in a particularly vulnerable place, east of Bangkok’s shuttered Don Muang airport in an area of the city that has faced serious, ongoing flooding.


The safari area is also one of a growing

Shark dies after release from Monterey exhibit

A great white shark that had been on exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium died late last week, soon after being released back into the wild, the aquarium said Wednesday.


The young male shark - probably less than a year old and weighing about 50 pounds - had been brought to the aquarium Aug. 31 to live temporarily in the exhibit. It was the sixth great white to join the aquarium since 2004, and the first to have died shortly after release.


Shark experts at the aquarium may never know how the animal died, but they will be studying their great white program over the following months to make sure the time in captivity didn't cause any harm.


"We can go back and look at the way we cared for and

Gibbon Conservation Center founder hospitalized

Alan Mootnick, the Canyon Country man who founded the Gibbon Conservation Center, was in critical condition at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after experiencing "a serious heart event," his family said Wednesday.


"We are, of course, very concerned about Alan," said an emailed statement from the family sent via the center's volunteer coordinator.


Mootnick, caregiver to the center's more than 30 apes for 31 years, dedicated his life to the purpose of caring for the small, rare apes after watching the television show "Tarzan" when he was 9 and hearing the gibbons' singing in the background.


A native of the San Fernando Valley, Mootnick chose 10 acres off Bouquet

Exotic animals in state raise some concerns

A black bear has been kept on a chain in the backyard in Colleton County, until recently at least. A bison went rogue from a farm outside Summerville several years ago and was reported charging cars on the road. A decade ago, a cougar slipped between his owners' legs and out of a cage near Lincolnville and spent two weeks away.


Large, exotic wild animals can be and are kept privately in the Lowcountry as well as across South Carolina. The state has virtually no regulations

Rabbits raised at Oregon Zoo step into the wild

Gizmo was gently pulled from his straw-lined pet carrier and deposited in the dirt under a scrubby sagebrush


Gizmo was gently pulled from his straw-lined pet carrier and deposited in the dirt under a scrubby sagebrush.


After more than three years of coddling and hand-care in captivity at Washington State University and then the Oregon Zoo, the small Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit moved Thursday into natural habitat in the sage lands of Douglas County.


No more protective home. No more daily cleanings of his burrow or deliveries of lettuce greens and rabbit pellets from loving caretakers. And no more cute name.


"It's tough love out here," said Penny Becker, a research scientist who is overseeing the rabbit project for

Same-sex penguin pair fascinates zookeepers

Are Buddy and Pedro, two African penguins at the Toronto Zoo, gay?


Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but their keepers have noticed the two are inseparable, and perhaps most telling, they’re showing signs of mating behaviours.


There are other cases of gay penguins — zoos in New York, Japan, Germany and Sea World Orlando have seen examples.


As part of an experiment a few years ago, Roy and Silo, two male chinstrap penguins at New York’s Central Park zoo, incubated an egg together and raised the chick, named Tango, after she hatched. A children’s book about them called And Tango Makes Three was a smash best seller.


But in Toronto, Buddy and Pedro’s relationship, however you describe it, is destined to come to an end soon because they have a duty. They have top-notch genes, so the zoo intends to separate them from each other and pair them with females for breeding.


Given that African penguins are endangered, the move

Bindi Irwin ready to take on the world

FIVE years after the death of her famous father Steve, Bindi Irwin, 13, is firmly installed as the face of the Australia Zoo empire. But is she for real? Wendy Tuohy is pleasantly surprised.


YOU may not suspect Bindi Irwin of having a cheeky sense of humour.


A vast general knowledge, poise and confidence beyond her years, even earnestness: these are things you might expect to find in a girl who's grown up in the media spotlight.


So what surprises me, on meeting this pint-sized powerhouse, is that despite everything she's been through and all she strives to project, Bindi is up for a laugh.


When I ask her where she gets her maturity and the ability to shoulder the legacy of her late father Steve without letting it seem a burden (immediately realising what a hard question this is for a 13-year-old), she giggles and chirps: "Hmmm, yes, I've asked

Animals in poor shape at Byculla zoo, says PAWS

Plant and Animals Welfare Society (PAWS-Mumbai), a non-government organisation, has demanded that the civic body-run Byculla zoo should be shut down as the wild animals kept in captivity are in pathetic condition. Following complaints received from citizens, a team from PAWS-Mumbai, visited the Veermata Jijabai Bhonsle Udyan, also known as Byculla zoo or Rani Baug on October 29. The team found animals living in pathetic condition.


Not a single enclosure had water, they said, and the trees, too, had not been watered. Most of the zoo staff was not qualified. Most of the enclosures were empty and animals were put in small enclosures without any natural habitat. Though the zoo authority does not allow plastic bottles inside the zoo premises, plastic waste, gutka pouches and cold drink bottle caps were seen lying everywhere, even inside the enclosures.


PAWS demanded that the zoo be shut down until the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) provides proper basic amenities like water, health care and a natural habitat for animals.


“What is surprising is that injured and sick animals have been

Council rejects zoo vet's settlement

A lawsuit and three monetary claims against the city of Topeka, including discrimination cases filed by the Topeka Zoo veterinarian and a former deputy fire chief, remain unresolved after council members Tuesday evening voted against them.


Council members rejected a proposed $132,500 settlement with Topeka Zoo staff veterinarian Shirley Yeo Llizo in a 4-3 vote during their regular meeting at City Hall. The rejection means the lawsuit will continue. A jury trial has been set for July 6.


The settlement required at least five votes for approval. Interim city attorney Catherine Walter had recommended the council approve the settlement.


Council members Karen Hiller, Sylvia Ortiz, Larry Wolgast and Richard Harmon voted to approve the settlement. Council members Denise Everhart, Chad Manspeaker and Andrew Gray

Will a Spanish Zoo Conquer the Will of the Dutch People in the Battle Over the Rescued Orca Whale, Morgan?

“A juvenile killer whale called Morgan was found alone in Dutch waters on June 23, 2010 and has been cared for since then by the Harderwijk Dolphinarium. Now that Morgan appears to be in good health, the Free Morgan Support Group , together with a global team of experts, has presented a solid plan to return her to her native habitat. The plan was designed and endorsed by scientists and experts in orca physiology, behaviour and acoustics.” Loro Parque is trying to obtain this whale, and a decision may be made on November 7th, 2011. Please contact the Free Morgan Foundation for more information.


Spanish Loro Parque looks to be a modern zoo, and seems to go to great length to provide most species with enriched environments – that is, except for the marine mammals. Although the orca exhibit was opened in 2006, zoo designers gave these bright animals yet another featureless bathtub to call home. The zoo boasts the capacity to keep their relatively new orca tank clean and cool – but they also seems to have walked right into a time warp and built a marine mammal facility that is part 60′s circus and part SeaWorld theatrics. They keep five orcas there, on loan from SeaWorld, and are trying to get custody of the rescued orca Morgan.


In general, visitors give the zoo high marks, and most complaints are related to the prices (you can check the Trip Advisor rating here). According to Wikipedia, the other creatures on display in the park are ‘the most diverse collection of parrots in the world’, chimpanzees, gorillas, marmosets, sea lions, otters, jaguars, tigers, iguanas, alligators, giant tortoises, flamingos, pelicans, exotic fish, piranhas

Rats take up residence in Schönbrunn

Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna, Austria, will open a new rat house on Sunday. A variety of the creatures will be on display at the zoo, hoping to improve their image as merely pests and unhygienic rodents.


Visitors will be able to meet Rolf Rüdiger, the most famous rat in Austria and organiser and ambassador of the new rat house, Robert Steiner, who has high hopes of changing attitudes.


Throughout the world there are over 60 species of rats. Three of these have recently found a new home in Schönbrunn Zoo. The Giant Hamster Rat, a creature native to the Savannah in Africa, can detect landmines due to their strong sense of smell and can even identify tuberculosis by scent.


Another rat who has taken up residence in the zoo is the Northern Luzon Giant Cloud Rat. The distinctive black and whiteönbrunn

Zookeepers diligently prepare animal meals at National Zoo

In a four-star kitchen, people are whipping up restaurant grade meals. Only instead of a pinch of this, and a dash of that, these chefs are meticulously weighing every morsel of insects, rodents and dead animal carcasses as they prep food for the animals at the National Zoo.


"We deal with crickets and meal worms and mice and rats and rabbits,” said Mike Maslanka, the head nutritionist.


The team of twelve at the Zoo's commissary starts before sunrise to turn out 400 different specially tailored diets.


These aren't meals for the faint of heart: They order beef blood by the gallons, frozen

USDA investigation clears Pa. zoo in deaths of bison during flooding from Tropical Storm Lee

Federal agriculture officials have cleared a Pennsylvania zoo of wrongdoing in the deaths of two bison during September’s massive flooding.


The Patriot-News of Harrisburg reports Wednesday the USDA found ZooAmerica took appropriate steps in response to the rising water caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee.


One bison drowned and the other was shot by staff after a creek crested its banks and flooded their pens. Zoo officials said workers tried to reach the animals but the water rose too quickly.


The deaths of the bison, named Esther and Ryan, prompted an outcry from animal-rights activists.


A statement released

Male Siberian tiger donated by China dies

A male Siberian tiger that had been raised at the Forest Zoo of the Korean National Arboretum in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province, died Friday at the age of 21.


Named “Baekdu,” the feline was donated by former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and was the oldest Siberian tiger bred in Korea. As the life expectancy of a tiger is 15 to 20 years, Baekdu died at an age equivalent to 80 human years.


The tiger from February showed symptoms of aging such as loss of appetite and difficulty walking.


The arboretum judged that the tiger died from age-induced major organ malfunction and sent it to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Seoul National University for an autopsy.


As a sign of friendship between Beijing and Seoul, Jiang gave Baekdu and a female tiger “Cheonji” to then Korean President Kim Young-sam, who visited Beijing in 1994. Cheonji

Are Tigers Endangered?

National Geographic Is Sponsoring a Program To Stop the Question ‘Are Tigers Endangered?’


The question ‘Are Tigers Endangered?’, is one that has been asked many times over the last few years – or decades as a matter of fact. Lions, tigers and various other big cats are leaping straight for the endangered species list.


Conservation scientists believe these animals could be near extinction in two decades. Research has shown numbers are falling rapidly. During the past half-century, lion numbers in the African wild are down from 450,000 to 25,000, leopard numbers are down from 750,000 to 50,000, cheetah numbers are down from 45,000 to 12,000 and tiger numbers are very low, down from 50,000 to 3,000. That means there are only about 1,200 wild female tigers left that have the capability of furthering the species.


Reasons for the decrease in numbers are due to human interaction with these cats. First of all, poaching kills many animals each year, as does poisoning. Humans are also developing the land which is forcing these animals away from their homes. Hunters also sell tiger skins and body parts for certain Chinese medicines.


There are positive things that these animals do that help the world. They keep populations in check and without them, prey species will grow. They will require more food

Animal Deaths Do Little to Ease Surabaya Zoo Squeeze

Surabaya. If a zoo loses several endangered animals, all dying of unknown causes, you would probably expect its managers to happily welcome new additions to their collection.


The Surabaya Zoo, however, is not your typical zoo.


"If there is an animal that gives birth, it troubles us because we don’t know what to do with [the baby],” said Tony Sumampau, acting chairman of the zoo.


On Monday, the zoo welcomed a new baby siamang, a tailless ape native to Sumatra and the Malayan peninsula, just one day after one of its orangutans gave birth to a female ape. But Tony said the zoo is already overpopulated, a problem he blames on previous policies that he says turned the zoo into a breeding facility.


“In the 1950s, a zoo’s success depended on how many animals it could breed,” he said. “Now the paradigm is how to breed animals that are genetically superior and possess clear hereditary lines.


“The old management at Surabaya Zoo did not understand this, and they didn’t control the breeding of their animals,” he added.


The Surabaya Zoo has 4,020 animals occupying a space of 85,000 square meters.


Tony said it has too many Bali starlings, currently numbering 123. It also has too many pelicans (150) and babirusas (37), a wild boar indigenous to Sulawesi.


The overpopulation means each animal must fight for food and space. Tony said it also leads to incestuous breeding that corrupts the animals’ genetic makeup. The zoo stopped its breeding programs for Sumatran tigers in order to prevent inbreeding.


Indonesian zoos, he said, should communicate with each other and with foreign conservation facilities in designing their breeding programs.


The Surabaya Zoo has recently been beleaguered with one controversy after another.


Last August, the Forestry Ministry revoked its license following a series of animal deaths. The zoo lost a Sumatran tiger, an African lion, a wallaby, a Komodo dragon, a babirusa cub, a Bawea

Penguin quest leads to Manila

It is like going to Antarctica—except that the penguins are eating galunggong.


The Manila Ocean Park can now boast of housing the first-ever and only penguin habitat in the Philippines—and to be there is to be near the coldest, driest place on the planet.


At Friday’s launch of the “Trails to Antarctica: The Penguin Quest,” visitors were treated to four educational walkthrough zones, the main attraction of which being the first and only live penguin exhibit in the Philippines.


On show were nine South American penguins captive-bred in Germany.


The “tropical” Humboldt penguins were presented in a habitat closest to their own, complete with nesting burrows, a rocky shore, and an indoor pool to allow them to frolic undisturbed in the water, while giving the public a view of their natural antics.


Among 18 known species of penguins worldwide, Humboldt penguins actually live in warm and dry climate off the Pacific coastlines

Terrible terrapin centre

Visitors to the Bota Kanan river terrapin conservation centre in central Perak are appalled by the poor conditions there.


Albert Low, who visited the facility last week with his wife Michelle Boey, said the ponds, where bree-ding terrapins were kept, were murky and smelly.


“The water was almost black with a layer of scum on top. I don’t think that is the proper way to keep an endangered species. We couldn’t even see the terrapins because the water was so dirty. Occasionally, one head will bob up to take a breath,” said the computer analyst from

Money for nothing, tigers for free

Have tiger numbers actually increased? Yes, but the future of the species depends on how we deal with their habitat and official corruption.


The most recent additions to the masses gathered in the shadow of Anna Hazare seem to be the tiger and his buddies. Recently, Hazare called out to the State Government of Maharashtra to cease illegal encroachment into forest lands. This may as well have been directed towards the rest of the Indian states as well as the Centre: increasing limelight on forest clearances has exposed the eagerness of the department entrusted with protecting the forest to facilitate projects that at best displace forests, and at worst cause serious threats to existence of already endangered species. Recent exposures on the working of the Forest Advisory Committee and the National Board of Wildlife by non-official members not only supports this fact, but also details the farce that has become the protection that we, as a country, are willing to extend to our natural heritage.


When corruption affects the food supply of our nation, our access to clean water, uncluttered roads, pure air, does it really matter that we are also losing our forests and wildlife to this disease? As a people we are strongly dependent on natural resources; more than half of our population is directly dependent on forest products; the rest of us, indirectly. As a nation, we remain proud of the animals and trees we share our country with; the tiger, elephant, the tulsi plant and neem tree all hold esteemed positions in our culture. As humans, we do not wish to see a land stripped of its greenery and life; we do not voluntarily want to drive species to extinction. Is it not then relevant to discuss, in the ambit of matters that is included within the current anti-corruption movement, the corruption amongst our forest officials?

from saw horses to seahorses: new aquarium taking shape in old building

As MOCA's new museum rises in University Circle, and the med mart, convention center and casino promise to breathe new life downtown, the Flats, too, is set to undergo a rebirth of its own. Construction of new retail, office and green space is in full swing on the East Bank, while across the river on the West Bank plans are taking shape for the brand new Greater Cleveland Aquarium.


Jacobs Entertainment, Inc. is pumping $70 million into the world-class aquatic facility, which is set to open early next year and draw upwards of 480,000 annual visitors. The watery attraction will employ 40 people while generating an economic impact of roughly $27 million per year. But since this is Cleveland, where everything unfolds with a twist, the new aquarium will be housed in a very old building: The Powerhouse.


In 1892, Marcus Hanna commissioned local architect John N. Richardson (Perry-Payne, Bradley and Worthington buildings) to design a structure to house the coal-fueled steam engines that would power his fleet of streetcars, and the Powerhouse was born. Over the next century, the iconic red-brick building with towering smokestacks would serve as a barrel reconditioning plant, a warehouse, and an entertainment mecca with restaurants and comedy club.


Turning the stalwart Powerhouse into a giant fish tank is no easy feat. Tasked with converting the 70,000-square-foot space is Marinescape, a New Zealand-based company that

Panda-monium – when zoo animals try toilet humour

YOU have to feel sorry for zoo animals. They spend their whole lives in captivity, their every move watched and recorded by humans who see them as a nice diversion for an afternoon.


Even when a panda answered the call of nature on top of one of his sleeping friends in a zoo somewhere in the Orient, visitors went mad for it.


Apart from the zoo cruelty aspect, the human-like expressions on the pandas' faces make this a hilarious insight into animal behaviour. The sleeping panda has a clear look of disgust and incredulity at being woken up by a golden


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