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Zoo News Digest
Sept-Oct 2012


Thailand Theme Park Continues to Host Orangutan Kickboxing Matches
Endangered primates still exploited for amusement despite years of protests by animal welfare activists and anti-trafficking crackdowns
I recently found out that  Safari World, an animal theme park on the outskirts of Bangkok, hosts orangutan kickboxing matches. Captive orangutans, dressed in lurid satin shorts and boxing gloves, kick and punch each other until there is a knockout. The performances even feature female orangutans in bikinis holding up the round number. The matches last more than 30 minutes, after which the orangutans are returned to their dark cages. Video footage of the park shows tourists cheering the grotesque display.
Safari World insists that the orangutans are trained to pretend punch and feign knock-outs, however, animal rights activists say that the large animals could easily injure one another.
“The use of endangered species for sport and entertainment is appalling. These critically endangered orangutans do not exist for our entertainment; local indigenous populations should know this, and tourists must be sensitive to this. We as a species and global population did not develop to exploit animals for amusement,” Michael Muehlenbein, professor of anthropology at Indiana University told me via email.  Muehlenbein has spent a lot of time in Borneo studying primate disease ecology and the potential negative effects of interactions between humans and wild animals
Back in 2004, after mounting pressure from animal rights groups, the Thai government cracked down on Safari World, taking custody of the orangutans. As wild orangutans are now only found in the jungles of Malaysia and Indonesia, Safari World claimed that their orangutans were the result of a successful domestic breeding program. DNA tests, however, proved that many were illegally traded from Indonesia. Eventually, nearly 50 smuggled orangutans were returned to their native Indonesia, after one of the world’s largest cases of great ape...

Tiger scales zoo wall, creates scare 
The Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) on Sunday witnessed some tense moments when a tiger jumped out of its enclosure and scaled the wall. 
However, alert guards cornered the tiger in the crawl area before it was tranquilised and taken back to its enclosure. 
An eyewitness told Deccan Chronicle that the tiger tried to escape when it was about to be shifted to a treatment room for which it was being taken in a cage. 
“The cage had no top cover as the tiger was still within the metal barriers in the crawl areas. The moment the tiger was brought in the open, it jumped outside the cage and used the cage to scale the wall. 
Two other guards, who were present in the crawl area, ran for their lives and, at the same time, other guards kept the tiger’s attention engaged. After the tiger was confined to the crawl area, it was tranquilised,” the

Taronga Zoo elephant keeper Lucy Melo speaks for first time since being crushed 
THE Taronga Zoo keeper who was crushed by an elephant on Friday was today able to speak to her family for the first time since the accident. 
Northern beaches resident Lucy Melo, 40, is in a stable condition in Royal North Shore Hospital after the two-year-old Asian elephant calf Pathi Harn pinned her against a bollard on Friday morning.
Her heart stopped beating for five minutes after the incident.
While she has been able to write notes to her family, a zoo spokeswoman said she was "alert'' today and spoke for the first time since Friday.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent a letter to zoo director Cameron Kerr on Monday asking the zoo to use the incident to switch to a ``protected contact system'' of elephant handling, as the system did not use physical punishment and employed barriers ``to always separate elephants and handlers''.
A zoo spokesman said the zoo's success in its conservation programs for elephants had always been based on its keepers' use of  "operant conditioning'', the rewarding of co-operative behaviours.
Taronga already manages its elephants in both free and protected contact depending on individual animal requirements, he said.
The spokesman said that following the incident it notified Work Cover, which is undertaking a detailed investigation.
"Taronga's procedures when interacting with the elephants are currently determined in concert with the Work Cover representatives until that investigation concludes,'' he said.
"The zoo is currently focusing on providing care and support to Lucy Melo and the other keepers, and to undertaking its own investigation

Tibetan mountain finch rediscovered after 80 years
It has been missing for 80 years but Sillem's Mountain Finch has now been rediscovered on the Tibetan plateau by a trekker who was too ill to leave camp.
The mountain finch has been an enigma ever since its discovery in 1929, not least because it wasn't identified until 1992.
Two specimens of the sparrow-sized grey and white bird with a russet head were collected by Dutch ornithologist Jerome Alexander Sillem on an expedition to the Karakoram mountain range in 1929.
Nowadays this is the disputed border region of China, India and Pakistan and a no-go area for birders. 
The specimens were labelled as a race of Brandt's Mountain Finch (Leucosticte brandti) and consigned to a drawer in the Amsterdam Zoological Museum. 
And there they remained until 1992 when a modern-day Dutch ornithologist, Kees Roselaar, opened

Plans to transfer two East Anglian zoos to charitable trust
Banham Zoo, near Attleborough, and Africa Alive, near Lowestoft, are set to undergo one of the biggest changes in their history with plans to move them into the management of a newly formed Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA).
Visitors to the zoos, says managing director Martin Goymour, who founded Banham Zoo almost 45 years ago, will enjoy reduced ticket prices under plans to transfer the attraction to a charitable trust.
And he said the move, which would secure the future of both zoos, would be a “win-win’’ situation for visitors, staff and the animals.
He said no redundancies nor loss of staff were envisaged and that the move would enable the zoos to undertake more educational and conservation work


Nigeria: Benue Zoo Starves Lion, Other Animals to Death
Even as Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam has been importing pigs into the state, animals in the popular Makurdi Zoological Garden are being starved to death. 
A lion was reported to have died of starvation in the zoo last week. Sunday Trust gathered that most of the animals kept in the state government-owned zoo located inside the Benue State University are dying due to starvation. 
Only two weeks ago, the remaining two cheetahs died, one chimpanzee, a tortoise and others also died reducing the number of animals drastically. 
The lioness which finally succumbed to death on Wednesday after battling with severe hunger left alone its male companion in the lair. They were said to be both feeding on 14kg of beef twice or thrice in a week. 
"The meal was quite insufficient for them. Our animals are dying unless something urgent is done, the entire creatures will go extinct in this zoo," a staff who declined to give his name cried out.
Our correspondent, who visited the zoo, observed a case of abandonment as the dirt road leading to the place and the so-called gardens meant to house the animals in their different shades are over grown with weeds. 
The zoo attendants were unwilling to answer questions. Neither the manager nor any

Belfast to host opera of Sheila the elephant 
The two women in the photograph gaze affectionately and casually at the elephant as it siphons water from a bucket in their back yard. 
The expressions on their faces show no more alarm or surprise than they might if they were watching a cat lap milk from a saucer. 
The younger woman is Denise Austin, a zookeeper at Belfast zoo, and this moment, now frozen forever in black and white, was some time in April or May 1941.
The German bombing raids, which were to become known as the Belfast blitz, were bringing terror to the city - and not just to its human citizens. 
At Belfast Zoo, Denise was looking after Sheila, an Asian elephant, and she was becoming increasingly anxious about the stress the terrible night-time raids were having on her charge.
David Ramsey is a Belfast-based

Endangered animals caught in the tourist trap
INDIA is home to the largest remaining wild populations of the tiger. Even so, there are estimated to be just 1500 to 2000 Bengal tigers left. They are the poster species of the country's tourism marketing - the face of its national pride. So no wonder a legal bid to ban visitors from the heart of conservation zones, with its potential impact on income, has reignited the debate over the connections between wildlife tourism and conservation.
The once far-flung realm of our planet's largest cat species has been squeezed to a few poorly connected areas - mainly public, protected zones. All are under pressure. Some subspecies are already extinct in the wild, and others risk going the same way.
All are the unrelenting target of poachers controlled by gangs that supply the trade in tiger parts for traditional "medicine" in China and South-East Asia.
In India, national and state governments and local and international conservation organisations have devoted considerable effort and funds to protect these animals. As a result, the total Bengal tiger population has recovered slowly during recent decades, even allowing for inaccuracies in counts.
Increasing awareness of the animal's plight is one component of conservation efforts, and tiger tourism is part of this. It started slowly, but has grown greatly. Tiger reserves receive tens to hundreds of thousands of visitors a year, which can cause crowds (though this pales in comparison with some wildlife parks in other countries, which get tens of millions of visitors). The animals are adversely affected by direct disturbance, new infrastructure and human in-migration.

Cubs bred for profit, torn from their mothers - and sent to die in the wild: The cruel truth of China's panda factories
It was a scene worthy of a Disney tear-jerker – and had a television audience to match. Leaving his mother behind, Tao Tao, the two-year-old giant panda, walked out of his cage and took his first uncertain steps to freedom in the mountain slopes of south-west China.
Behind him, the keepers who helped raise the cub from his birth in captivity watched as their young charge padded away into the bamboo-rich woodland where his fight to survive would begin.
No detail had been spared in the careful preparation for Tao Tao’s future. His keepers made a model leopard, complete with a roaring sound, to teach him about his potential predators.
When the model was put into his enclosure in June, he dutifully ran for cover. Staff at the breeding centre even dressed in panda outfits to prevent their young charge becoming too familiar with his human captors. 
Images of Tao Tao’s release into the remote Liziping Nature Reserve in Sichuan ten days ago were broadcast around the world, just as the authorities intended, portraying an unusually humane side to the Chinese regime and demonstrating its absolute determination to save the giant panda, the national symbol, from extinction. 
Today, Tao Tao is the only captive-bred giant panda in the wild. Officials boast that, if his release is a success, more young pandas will follow in his paw prints until the mountain forests of western China are once again home to a flourishing population.
If that is the vision served up to a credulous international audience, the reality is shockingly different. The truth is that wild pandas, their numbers already desperately low, are continuing to die out – their habitat disappearing beneath a tide of concrete as China’s economic juggernaut rolls on. It is entirely possible that there may be just a few hundred left.
Meanwhile the Chinese government

For 'de-programmed' elephants, return to wild is a slow, costly process
The Elephant Reintroduction Foundation (ERF) must shoulder not only the increasingly high cost of purchasing elephants, but also of preparing them for their return to the wild. In the meantime, it focuses on taking good care of the domesticated elephants in its custody, which is only a fraction of the number in the Kingdom that could potentially be released back into their natural habitat. 
ERF secretary-general Siwaporn Thantharanont said that without the conservation efforts of the foundation and the National Elephant Institute (NEI), an estimated 2,500 to 2,800 domesticated elephants could die unnecessarily over the next 30 years.
Due to higher demand for elephants in the tourism business, where the pachyderms are put on show for tourists, plus begging on the streets of Bangkok, an elephant now costs up to Bt1.5 million, compared to Bt300,000 in recent years.
Reorienting a domesticated elephant for life in the wild once cost the ERF Bt300,000 to purchase the animal plus Bt200,000 in nurturing expenses, food and mahouts' fees. This later rose to Bt1 million: Bt700,000 to buy the elephant plus Bt300,000 in costs. A well-respected monk recently agreed to release two elephants to the wild, but the ERF could not obtain either elephant, because each would have cost between Bt1 million and Bt1.5 million, Siwaporn said. 
Of the country's approximately 2,800 domesticated elephants, around 1,500 to 1,800 are in the custody of conservation dens in Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, Lampang and Surin. The remainder are privately owned, either by individual mahouts, loggers who use them in their work, or zoos and tourist attractions. A 1998 estimate put the number of remaining wild elephants in Thailand at around 2,000.
The ERF now has 67 elephants undergoing reorientation for a return to the wild at three dens. Wild elephants, and those transformed and returned to the

Zoo cameras capture lead-up to accident
SECURITY cameras monitoring Taronga Zoo's elephant enclosure have captured crucial moments before and after a young male elephant crushed its keeper against a fence post during a morning bath. 
Lucy Melo, 40 is in Royal North Shore Hospital's cardiothoracic intensive care unit after suffering horrific internal injuries when two-year-old elephant Pathi Harn nudged her against a bollard on Friday.
The Zoo today tweeted: "We’ve been advised that Lucy Melo remains stable in Royal North Shore Hospital. Elephants all well and spending time in paddock."
WorkCover investigators have seized surveillance footage of the moments leading up to the incident. Because of the position of the cameras, the whole incident was not captured on tape.
It is understood the elephant did not appear aggressive towards Ms Melo, or any other keeper in the pen at the time.
Ms Melo was giving the younger animals a bath when the accident happened about 11.30am.
She suffered critical crushing injuries to her chest, heart and lungs and went into cardiac arrest moments


Round Island boa returned to native habitat for first time in 150 years
A group of Round Island boas are being reintroduced to one of their original habitats on another Mauritian island for the first time since the 1860s.
This historical step in a long-standing programme by Durrell and its partners to protect the threatened species from extinction will see up to 60 of the snakes released on an island, which is today a closed nature reserve and one on which a huge amount of work has been carried out to restore the natural ecosystem.
It is the first time that snakes have been relocated for conservation purposes within the region and once established, the second population should give the Round Island boa – which for over 150 years has been restricted to the Island it is named after - a much better long-term chance of survival.
The wild boas, which number about 1,000 in total, are currently being collected by hand by a specialist team of conservationists. Once the snakes have undergone a health check, their release onto their new island home is due to take place between 15th October and 1st November 2012.
Explaining why it has taken so long for the relocation to become a reality, Durrell’s Dr Nik Cole, who is leading the relocation through the Mauritius Reptile Recovery Programme, said: “For about 150 years, the boas have been isolated to Round Island. It has been impossible to reintroduce them to their former range because of the damage caused by invasive predators, such as rats, which caused the loss of the boas natural prey and the boas. Furthermore, the damage caused by invasive herbivores on Round Island itself had reduced the boa population to a level where removing individuals for relocation may have been harmful to the survival of the species.
“However, the vision of Durrell and others in the 1970s to remove these problematic invaders from the islands has allowed the reptile populations on Round Island to recover and opened up other islands for the reintroduction of threatened species. For example in 2007 the Telfair’s skink was reintroduced, which like the boa had become restricted to Round Island. The newly established Telfair’s skink population is now robust enough to support boas, which require a healthy skink population to survive.”
The Mauritius Reptile Recovery Programme is part of an on-going collaborative conservation project by Durrell, the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation and the National Parks and Conservation Service, supported by the International Zoo Veterinary Group. Despite the work which has enabled the boa to recover its numbers on Round Island itself, having any species restricted to one small location is never ideal, with the potential risk of predator invasion and adverse weather conditions. Therefore establishing a second population is essential.
The programme’s snake collecting team has 219 hectares of steep terrain to cover across the whole of Round Island to ensure there is a wide genetic mix for release. A minimum of 40 snakes is required for the release to be a success and the team is aiming to collect at least 100 from which to select 60 suitable individuals.
The boa population and resident reptiles on the target island have undergone rigorous screening to determine any potential disease risks involved with the translocation. Once caught, the boas will be individually housed for up to four days in specially-designed holding units on Round Island, where they will be screened for any potential health problems. Dr Cole will then take the snakes to an awaiting team on the target island and each boa will be released at night at one of 60 locations that have been specially prepared.
The snakes will be closely monitored using night vision equipment once they are released. This work will be carried out by the field team, who are all local Mauritian staff, and only Dr Cole will move between two islands, with the assistance of the National Coast Guard, to reduce the risk of transferring any unwanted species between the islands.
Dr Cole said: “The boas’ chance of survival should be high as the cause of their original demise – the rats – has been removed from the island and their prey source – primarily the Telfair’s skink - is once again in abundance. Their reintroduction restores an apex predator in a natural system and having two populations of the species is certainly better than one and as such will greatly enhance the future survival of this unique animal.”

Urgent update, recent breaking media and call to action to save the Tripa Peat Swamp Forests
Your support has made our previous petition a historical success!
But with Tripa still being burned, cleared, destroyed and the Sumatran Orangutan still being pushed closer to extinction, we need to urgently double our efforts and keep up the pressure and action! 
The Governor of Aceh has made history by finally revoked the license of one of the illegally operating companies thanks to the pressure generated by our first petitions. But with 5 more companies still destroying protected area inside Tripa, the fight has only just begun! 
There are still companies with breaking the law in Tripa continuing to dig illegal drainage canals, clear protected forests and driving the local Sumatran Orangutan population closer to extinction. Urgent action is still required to save Tripa. 
The national police needs to investigate and prosecute law-breakers, namely those who are breaking National Spatial Planning law 26/2007 Government Regulation 26/2008 which protects the 2.7 million hectare Leuser Ecosystem, home to critically endangered Orangutans, and also Sumatran Tigers, Elephants, Rhinos and countless other iconic species. 
Community members filed a police report in November, now with the legal precedent of the first permit being revoked, it's the perfect time for the National Police to take action and bring this next case to the courts. 
Together, we can take this next step, demand the police uphold Indonesian National Spatial Planning law 26/2007 & 26/2008, save Tripa, and set a huge precedent for the protection of ALL of Indonesian forests.
Please sign and share this petition!

Can we afford to save species from extinction?
Saving the world's endangered species will cost £50bn a year, estimates a coalition of conservationists and academics. But can we afford it?
Personally, I shudder at the notion that we might try to place endangered species within the confines of a spreadsheet. I don't instinctively like headline figures - as presented in this new study as being £50bn a year - suggesting a grand total price tag for saving all species. The reality is that hundreds of local projects and initiatives will be required to protect all the endangered species around the world. Such large sums could be used by some as a convenient device to argue it's far too much to consider attempting. I do think, though, that the process of auditing such costs on a "per species" basis is valid, if only to help those who might otherwise fail to focus on such issues. 
More importantly, though, I think to view this simply as "saving species" is wrong-headed. I think it far wiser to talk in terms of protecting habitats rather than the species that reside within them. After all, when we talk about protecting species we are actually talking about protecting habitats. Why don't we just say this? 
Can we "afford" it? As has already been said by others, it seems more pertinent to ask can we afford not to? These habitats also support - via that dreadful term "ecosystem services" - the one species that has the power, means and comprehension to decide

Shark finning hitting Gulf sharks hard
Armed with a clip board and wearing bright yellow waders, Rima Jabado looked the part of a government inspector at the Dubai fish market as workers sawed the fins off hundreds of dead sharks from Oman and bagged them for export to Asian restaurants. 
But the 33-year-old Lebanese-Canadian doctoral student was not chatting with fisherman on the market's slippery floors and jotting down notes to monitor the lucrative and largely unregulated trade that has decimated stocks of certain sharks, but rather to document what species are being caught in the waters across the Persian Gulf. "The government will not react unless we give them actual data," said Jabado, as she raced to take genetic samples from the sharks before their carcasses were carted off and fins auctioned to the highest bidder. "The problem is that I'm the only one doing research. There is not enough being done in the UAE and the region," she said. "We know shark populations are depleting around the world so we are kind of racing against time to see what is going on." Fishermen across the globe kill as many as 70 million sharks each year for their fins, which can sell for $700 a pound (450 grams), while the soup prized for Chinese banquets and weddings can cost $100 a bowl. The fin trade has devastated several species including hammerheads, oceanic whitetip, blue, threshers and silky and contributed to 181 shark and ray species being

Zimbabwe weighs cost of too many elephants
With the elephant population ballooning, wildlife authorities have resorted to using 45 generators, each consuming 200 litres (52 gallons) of diesel a week from June to November, to ensure the animals can get water. The strategy appears to be working. So far this year around 17 elephants have died in the area due to the extreme heat and lack of water, compared to 77 last year. "The elephants drink close to 90 percent of all the water (pumped) here," said Edwin Makuwe, an ecologist with the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority, "I think elephants now know that when they hear an engine running, chances are that there is water close by." But the water, while life-preserving, may be running against the flow of nature. The 14,600-square-kilometre (5,600-square-mile) reserve is home to between 35,000 to 40,000 elephants, twice its capacity. The increase in the elephant population has led to higher demand for water at the park, home to over 100 different species of animals including the "Big Five": elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and the endangered rhinoceros.





Safari park elephant keeper dies in attack
An elephant keeper at a Japanese safari park died Tuesday after an elephant that had recently given birth attacked him, police said. 
The caged Asian elephant attacked Inthavong Khamphone, 30 -- a Laotian national employed by Fuji Safari Park, near the foot of Mt. Fuji -- as Inthavong was performing a customary check on the baby elephant around 3:10 A.M. Tuesday, police and park officials said. 
Inthavong was found collapsed and bleeding when he was removed from the enclosure, The Mainichi reported. The Tokyo-based newspaper said Inthavong had been with the park since July after 15 years of involvement in elephant-keeping. 
Staff typically observe mother and baby elephants

“Treated worse than animals” – abuse in Nigeria at Benue Zoo
The Lion – once a proud king of the jungle – can now barely rise to walk to collect the meat thrust through his cage as severe malnourishment means he is close to death.
Animal abuse in Nigeria is rife at the Benue state Zoo - a terrible story that is a microcosm for the present state of our country.
“A society that treats animals as though they don’t matter will treat her citizens in the same way,” says Nat Apir, a concerned citizen who is trying to bring attention to the terrible plight of the animals.
Staff estimate that 80% of the animals once held in Benue state Zoo have died – mostly from starvation – which Nat Apir says has been most acute in the last three months.



DNA confirms Ethiopian lions are genetically distinct group 
A pride of captive lions descended from the private menagerie of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is genetically distinct from all other lions of Africa, a study has found.
The Ethiopian lion has a distinctive dark mane and is slightly smaller and more compact than other African lions. Now an analysis of its DNA has revealed the Ethiopian lion is also a distinct breed.
It is thought that there may be less than a few hundred Ethiopian lions living in the wild and scientists are urging that their unique genetic makeup should be preserved by a captive-breeding programme.
DNA tests on 15 of the 20 Ethiopian lions kept in Addis Ababa Zoo have revealed that they form a separate genetic group from the lions of east Africa and southern Africa, said Michael Hofreiter of the University of York.
The male lions are the last lions in the world to possess the distinctive dark brown mane. They are the direct descendants of a group of seven males and two females taken from the wild in 1948 for Haile Sellassie's own zoo, Dr Hofreiter said.
A comparison with other populations of wild lions living in the Serengeti of Tanzania in east

Cheetahs at Al Areen... 
BAHRAIN'S biggest wildlife sanctuary has welcomed three new residents - two Asian cheetahs and a bear. They have been housed at the Wild Animals Complex, located at Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve in Sakhir, which officials hope would lead to a further increase in the number of visitors. 
They share the BD200,000 complex with leopards, foxes, wolves, caracal and hyenas, which have been shipped to Bahrain from Africa and Asia.
Officials said the cheetahs had yet to be given a name, but the keepers called the four-year-old male bear "Bony", adding the animals arrived just in time for peak season, as schools schedule daily visits to the wildlife sanctuary. 
They also said plans were in the pipeline for the one-year-old male cheetah and three-month-old female to mate when they mature. 
"Now it is peak season, so we daily have two to three school visits with around 100 students in each, and there are a lot of visitors during the weekends, mainly expatriate families," said tour guide Hanan Ahmed.
"We are expecting more in the coming months for the Eid Al Adha holiday and the winter break. 
"But we didn't have many visitors during the summer due to the hot climate and Ramadan. 
"We also had to bring in ventilation systems for some animals

Topeka Zoo Will Unveil World Renown Expert To City Council
The future for the Topeka Zoo's pair of geriatric elephants could be decided by the month's end.
Zoo Director Brendan Wiley says Tuesday October 16th he will introduce world renown elephant expert Alan Roocroft to the city council.
Roocroft was hired by the zoo to evaluate the elephant program, and will update the council with his initial observations.
The Topeka City Council has also added discussion and possible action regarding continuation or termination of the Topeka Zoo elephant program to it's October 23rd agenda.
Zoo officials say multiple factors will contribute to the final decision
Wiley said "First we will look at what is best for the elephants, second, what is best for the community and then third, what does the future of the zoo look like? Our governing body gets alot of feedback not just from Topeka but from the entire world so this was just a great time for a unique opportunity.
Since the elephants are considered

Labour board rules in Zoo employee case
The Alberta Labour Relations Board has made a ruling in a case filed by the union that represents zoo employees.
CUPE Local 37 filed a case with the board arguing that the Zoo Society and City of Calgary constitute a common employer and the board agreed.
"This issue was about cutting wages and working conditions to employees who have worked at the Zoo for years," said CUPE 37 President Don Monroe in a release. "The Society admitted as much at the hearing, and we're grateful the board wouldn't allow it."
The Zoo Society says it does not have a place at the bargaining table and was proposing to replace vacant positions, created through attrition, with other employees.
Monroe says that now that the Labour Board decision is behind them, he hopes the union, the Zoo, and the City can concentrate on building their relationships and continuing to provide a world class Zoo to the people of Calgary.
The City of Calgary did not take a position

Beijing Zoo accused of ‘cat expulsion’
A media officer with the Beijing Zoo confirmed Thursday that shelters for stray cats at the zoo were demolished last Thursday, but said the zoo plans to build a "cat island" in their place.
A Web user who claimed to have witnessed the demolition said in an online forum Tuesday that the vice president of the zoo, Qian Jinchao, arranged the demolition as "the zoo faces the nation and the world, and it should not allow these shelters to destroy the zoo's environment."
According to the online post, all the stray cats' shelters, most set up deep in the zoo's shrubbery, were torn down last Thursday.
It also said that four volunteers who usually feed the cats at the zoo attempted to dissuade Qian on Tuesday.

Story of the littlest bears
Do you know that the Bornean sun bear is the world’s smallest bear and it is now facing the threat of extinction due to poaching, attacks from other wildlife, loss of habitat and more? Little is known about the Bornean sun bear, which is a sub species of the MalaysiaN Sun Bear.

Zoo investigated for fitting mechanical tail to peacock 
Zoo officials are under investigation in China after keepers told how they were forced to fix a mechanical tail onto a peacock to cash in on tourists.
Keepers at the Beijing Wild Animal Park were ordered to attach the fake tail which is fixed to a motor that spreads the feathers into a magnificent display
"Visitors are happy to pay to pose in front of a peacock spreading his tail but they only do it in spring when they're breeding," explained one. "So to keep the money coming in we have to tie the tail to the

Court blocks dolphin exports
A Philippine court has blocked the export of 25 captive dolphins trained in the Philippines to become show animals at a Singapore casino.
A civil suit filed by animal rights groups alleged the traffic in live Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins for sport or entertainment was illegal, cruel and would cause the extinction of the species.
The large marine mammals were shipped to a marine park in the northern Philippines between 2008 and 2011, said Anna Cabrera, head of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society.
"The dolphins, caught in the wild from the Solomon Islands, were forcibly snatched from their families and will live short, miserable lives in captivity as show animals for Resorts World in Singapore," Cabrera said in a statement.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources would formally respond to the court order on Monday, said bureau director Asis Perez.
He disputed the suit's allegation that dolphin trading would be detrimental to the survival of the species and thus not authorised by the Philippines' wildlife conservation law.
"These are regulated species that you can trade, and we are supposed to regulate the trade," he told AFP.
"They were sent here only for the purpose of training them."
The importers had complied with all regulatory requirements, and have asked for government permission to ship them to Singapore after their training, Perez added.
The dolphins were to have been sent to Resorts World Sentosa, the giant casino resort in Singapore, according to a copy of the written order issued by regional trial court judge Bernelito Fernandez.
Fernandez said he was studying the animal rights groups' plea

Animal welfare takes precedence
THE president of the newly- formed Zoo Operators, Breeders, Wildlife Entrepreneurs and Animal Hobbyists Association cautioned in an earlier statement that if zoo guidelines were not rescinded, more zoos would face closure.
According to the president, these closures would have an adverse effect on tourism.
Contrary to this belief, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) points out that zoos are not a tourist draw, considering that more than 80% of visitors are from within their surrounding community.
Of these patrons, approximately half are people who will make return visits. These return visits only occur at new zoos.
Eventually, these return visitors stop coming, which results in the loss of profitability without a sustainable source of new patrons. Consequently, the zoos will proceed down a path of deterioration.
Zoos are all too often viewed as places to amuse and entertain, rather than places that meet animal welfare standards.
These standards are not often met, resulting in public criticism.
The lack of enforcement has caused animals to suffer over the years at the hands of incompetent zoo operators.

Myanmar zoo acquires 4 sea lions from China
Two female and two male sea lions from Shanghai, China have been added to the Zoological Garden in Myanmar's Nay Pyi Taw, signifying the first animals of its kind shown in Myanmar zoo, according to an official report Sunday. 
Under the animal exchange program of the Shanghai Wild Animal Park of China and the Forest Department of Myanmar, the sea lions were conveyed to the Myanmar capital from the port city of Shanghai over the last two days. 
One sea lion is over three years old and the remaining three are about three years old. They are species from South America, the

Chinese scientist suspects that humans used to eat pandas
Cute—and tasty? A Chinese scientist claims he's found evidence that prehistoric humans used to eat pandas 
Pandas: they're cute, cuddly, and have a remarkable ability to generate gobs of cash for the lucky zoo that manages to breed them. But do they taste good? 
According to Chinese scientist Wei Guangbiao, ancient humans would answer "absolutely." 
The Associated Press reports that Wei claims to have found a number of panda fossils "slashed" by prehistoric humans. 
He theorizes that humans wouldn't have killed the animals if they didn't plan on eating them—which makes sense, as a panda is probably unlikely to attempt to eat your kids (unless they are made of bamboo). And they're cute, everyone is fully aware of that, which would likely include cavepeople. 
Thus, the barbeque theory expounded by Wei, who is head of the Institute of Three Gorges Paleoanthropology in Chongqing. 
This panda-devouring was presumably taking place before the advent of both the wok and sweet-and-sour preparations, which would have given an exciting new context to the fare served at Panda Express.
One caveat: these ancient pandas, which lived from 10,000 to a million years ago in mountains near Chongqing, were not as big as the relatively robust specimens we know and love today. Perhaps they were more tender, too.

Why are We Eating Bonobos? Can We Save Africa’s Vast Wildernesses from Destruction?
Bonobo orphans are pouring into primate sanctuaries across central Africa and thousands of adults are being killed, smoked and bundled with monkeys, pangolins, small antelope and bush pigs for sale in distant bushmeat markets. We are about to reach a tipping point in Africa beyond which it is going to be very hard to save the last populations of Africa’s most enigmatic species like mountain gorilla, bonobo, lion, wild dog, giraffe, rhino, elephant, and cheetah. Years of civil war, unrest and corruption have broken this link for many people that now live in the cities and have evolved a new belief system, together with their new consumptive needs. Bonobo populations have declined significantly due to the bushmeat trade in recent years. People are now eating them and we need to look at what this represents in regard to our future in Africa. Ongoing anti-poaching efforts in source countries have yielded many successes and many, many people are trying to keep bonobos and all wildlife safe within protected areas. Forests and river basins are too vast, while  resources and staff are too few for enforcement of new laws to be effective in slowing the erosion of Africa’s natural heritage. We are just years away from that terrible morning when we all open our eyes and realize that we did not do enough when we could have and that now there was nothing left to save or do. As of today, we still have something to save and we had better get out there and do that…

The bird man of Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo opens at 7 a.m..
By then, most of its animals have snorted, stretched, wiggled, flapped and, without benefit of any coffee, otherwise roused themselves for another day of exhibiting their easy wonder.
Kevin Bell, my guest later in the show, does have coffee in the morning: One cup; he needs it. He gets to the zoo at 6 a.m.., something he has done almost every day for nearly four decades, ever since he was 23 and came here from New York to become curator of birds—the youngest curator in the zoo's history.
Birds were the zoo’s first animals. They arrived in 1868, a pair of mute swans that were a gift from New York City's Central Park. They came by train; it took two days.
Many things have changed at the zoo during the last 144 years, but one wonderful thing has not: It's free, one of only three major U.S. zoos (the others are in Washington, D.C., and St. Louis) that charge no admission.
Those two swans soon multiplied to 13, and by 1874 the animal population swelled to 48 birds and 27 mammals. That year a bear was bought for $10 and the Lincoln Park Zoological Gardens was officially formed, making our zoo-though arguments come from Philadelphia—the first in the U.S.
It has grown—more animals, more land-over

Last Wild Siamese Crocodile in Vietnam Found Strangled to Death [Updated]
The body of the last wild Siamese crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) in Vietnam was found floating in Ea Lam Lake on September 29. The 3.2-meter-long, 100-kilogram female had been strangled by two steel wires, possibly by hunters. She was estimated to be nearly 100 years old. 
Once present throughout Southeast Asia, critically endangered Siamese crocodiles have disappeared from many of their former habitats in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and other countries because of overhunting and habitat loss. Only an estimated 100 of the freshwater animals remain in the wild, mostly in Cambodia, although many thousands exist in captivity on crocodile farms, where they are raised for their skin. 
Tran Van Bang, a researcher with the Center for Biodiversity and Development headquartered in Ho Chi Minh City, examined the body, which had been dead for at least three days before it was found. He told Tuoi Tre that she was not carrying any eggs. “If eggs were found inside its abdomen, this would mean that she had been inseminated and that at least one male Siamese crocodile individual

P-P-P-Poor penguins... 15 endangered birds killed by deadly zoo bugs 
Keepers were distraught when 15 birds became seriously ill with malaria and a respiratory bug before dying
A colony of endangered zoo penguins has almost been wiped out after it was hit by two deadly diseases.
Keepers were distraught when 15 birds became seriously ill with malaria and a respiratory bug before dying at Paradise Wildlife Park.
The tragedy comes just days after its famous tiger Indy and snow leopard Aron passed away.
It also follows an announcement by London zoo last week that six of its penguins had died from malaria.
Lynn Whitnall, director of Paradise Wildlife Park, said: “It’s very sad but these things do happen quite frequently with penguins unfortunately.
"They are quite nervous animals and don’t like to live in small groups so when one was struck, it seemed the rest all started to worry and panic.
“Although we do medicate against disease, there was nothing that could be done. We are now keeping our remaining

Solenodon: ‘Extinct’ Venomous Mammal Rediscovered in Cuba after 10-Year Search
A primitive, venomous mammal endemic to Cuba and once listed as extinct has been rediscovered after a decadelong quest. 
The shrewlike Cuban solenodon (Solenodon cubanus)—a “living fossil” that has not changed much in millions of years—was all but wiped out in the 19th century by deforestation and introduced species. The 30-centimeter-long, nocturnal solenodons possess a unique, venomous saliva that they inject through their teeth into their prey. They lack the ability, however, to protect themselves from predators such as cats, dogs and black rats. The animals have a slow, ungainly gait, and when chased tend to stop and hide their heads, making them easy pickings even for animals not much bigger than them. By the 1970s many believed the species had gone extinct, but that changed when a few of the animals

Rehabilitation Center Rescues Three Pet Orangutans in Kalimantan
Three orangutans formerly kept as pets have been handed over by the East Kalimantan Natural Conservancy Office to the Samboja Lestari orangutan rehabilitation center on Thursday. 
“We have handed over three orangutans who have been rescued by residents at three different locations to the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation which are concerned over orangutan protection in Samboja, Kutai Kartanegara,” said the head of the conservancy office, Tandya Tjahjana. 
The orangutans, transferred to the new facility over the weekend, consisted of one male aged between 1 and 2 years, and two females — one aged 3 to 4 years and the other 4 to 5 years. 
The primates, he said, had been kept as pets for at least one year, but the captivity may have lasted up to three years. 
Suwardi, an official from the Samboja Lestari center, said that the three orangutans will first be put into quarantine for some time and will undergo several stages of training before they

Watch the launch of the penguins
You thought "The March of the Penguins" was cool? Check out the launch of the penguins — an aerodynamic phenomenon that helps these flightless birds take flight.
Emperor penguins can't fly just by flapping their wings, but they can propel themselves fast enough through Antarctic waters to turn themselves into winged rockets. They do it by releasing tiny bubbles of air from their feathers: The air acts as a lubricant, reducing drag as they swim up from the depths like tuxedoed torpedoes. In fact, engineers have used air bubbles in similar ways to speed the movement of torpedoes through the water.
Who knew that penguins have been doing the same sort of thing for eons? University College Cork's John Davenport knew: He and his colleagues studied video footage from the BBC's "Blue Planet" TV series to develop a biochemical model for the penguins' torpedo trick. They were amazed to find that the birds' speed was due to the "coat of air bubbles" streaming from their feathers. 
The penguin images are from the November edition of National Geographic magazine. The electronic versions of the report include an exclusive video and interactive graphic that show penguins rocketing onto the ice.
Before the penguins dive into the water, they ruffle their plumage to trap air within the feathers' structure. A deep dive compresses the air into a smaller volume. When the penguins go into their launch, the decompressing air is released through pores in the feathers — creating a layer of tiny, lubricating bubbles.
The trick is described for scientists in the Marine Ecology Progress Series, and for the rest of us in November's issue of National Geographic magazine. The heart of the magazine story is Paul Nicklen's pictures, which have just won him top honors in the Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
"We wanted to change people's perception

Sean Whyte/Nature Alert: Pay for the on-going care of Gundul the orangutan 
After Sean Whyte and Nature Alert launched a campaign attacking a renowned orangutan charity for not doing enough to help orangutans, and potentially causing them enormous losses in donations, and insisting the cost of rescuing and caring for "just one more orangutan" is insignificant, we ask that Sean Whyte and his organisation Nature Alert cover these "insignificant" costs for a lifetime of care for Gundul the orangutan. These costs are estimated to be a mere $90,000 USD.

Pick the 2012 Rubber Dodo Award Winner – Vote by Midnight, October 25
It's time to pick the most outrageous eco-villain of 2012 -- fill out the form at the bottom of the page to cast your vote! The Center for Biological Diversity established the Rubber Dodo award in 2007 as a way to spotlight those who do their very best -- that is, their very worst -- to destroy wild places and drive species to extinction. The award, named after the most famous extinct species on Earth, is given out every year.
Previous recipients of this prestigious

Gay penguin pair becomes parents
Two male penguins at Odense Zoo have successfully managed to hatch an egg discarded by a female 
Apparently, it’s not only human beings that have scoffed at the traditional conception of parenting roles in Denmark. The prevailing liberal views of the country have made a transition to the animal kingdom now as well. 
A pair of homosexual emperor penguins at Odense Zoo are now the proud new adoptive parents of a little penguin fledgling following a successful hatching experiment. 
The two male penguins, who were broody to the point that they sat on dead herrings due to a lack of an egg, assumed the egg-caring duties after the biological mother discarded her egg. 
The female penguin in question had laid two eggs with two different fathers during the breeding period, a rare occurrence in emperor penguins. 
She left the father of the first egg to sit on the egg alone, before abandoning the father of the second egg as well, leaving Odense Zoo with a unique problem. 
“It’s very rare that female emperor penguins lay two eggs over one breeding season,” Nina Christensen, a zoologist at Odense Zoo, told Ekstra Bladet tabloid. “Normally, they lay two eggs over three seasons, so she is extremely productive. But she just doesn’t want to hatch the eggs or raise the chicks.” 
The zookeepers let the gay penguin couple adopt the egg after first giving them a fake egg to practise with during a trial period.

Zoo chimpanzee starved to death by neglectful staff after losing more than 50lbs
The Kansas City Zoo has been fined thousands of dollars after inattentive staff caused one of its chimpanzees to starve to death.
13-year-old Nusu died in  May, having lost 37 per cent of his body weight in 20 months - the last time he was put on the scales. 
He should have weighed about 150 pounds but was just 97 pounds at the time of his death.
The federal government gave the zoo a fine of more than $4,500 over the actions of zookeepers who failed to prevent dominant chimps from stealing his food. 
Their lack of attention caused Nusu's death, U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
'Your employees were not certain as to how much food this chimpanzee was consuming as they were not monitoring this animal specifically,' according to a letter sent to the zoo. 
'They knew that other chimpanzees hoarded biscuits from the other chimpanzees,'

Fresh horror at zoo where animals were 'clubbed to death' as it is revealed they were then 'fed to Polish park workers'
A zoo where keepers killed animals using baseball bats and crowbars - in a bid to save on veterinary fees - has now been accused of feeding parts of the dead creatures to Polish guest workers. 
Former employees at the park revealed the horrific living conditions of the animals at Ölands Animal and Amusement Park in Sweden earlier this week, but now it seems the atrocious treatment extend to the staff as well. 
Employees at the popular tourist attraction were forced to work under ‘slave like’ conditions and were fed goats, hens and even a pig that had been put down at the park.
One worker, identified as Anna, said: ‘Sometimes we would give the animals a small injection afterwards. If there was an inspection no one would notice that they had been put down the wrong way. They often kill goats with a simple knife to the throat.' 
Guest workers from Poland and Bulgaria work in the zoo over the summer and live in cramped conditions close to the park, located

Sweden Journal: Tragedies at the Zoos
Over here in socialist paradise (a.k.a. Sweden), the public reads the news and watches their television in horror. An investigative journalism team at TV4 has just aired a special on Kalla Fakta (Cold Facts) catching the director of the Parken Zoo in Eskilstuna in several lies over treatment of the animals and the fate of several rare and valuable endangered species in the zoo’s custody. It’s a sad, tragic, but important documentary. Although seemingly one-sided there is no disputing the video evidence (trigger warning for those sensitive to images of dead animals) and the contradicting stories from the Director herself (who has now been suspended over her “incompetent statements”). You can watch the program subtitled in English below. It’s 22 minutes but I feel it’s worth your time.
This tragedy brings back to light, though, the role of zoos in environmental education and as centers for conservation. While the situation at Parken seems to be extreme it is by no means an isolated event. Just days before the release of the Parken details, Öland’s Djurpark – also in Sweden – was in the spotlight with reports from former employees that animals that were beaten to death by staff, starved to death or not given the necessary treatments cause they couldn’t afford veterinary care of no longer had room for the animals. Additionally, the park’s guest workers were put in cramped quarters and fed with food donated to the park by local grocers intended for feeding the animals – all the while the zoo was claiming half of their monthly post-tax paychecks of 12,000 kronor ($1800) for food and lodging. When workers expressed they want to live somewhere else they in effect treated as resigning.

The Martini Shot: Zoo chimps torment wayward raccoon 
The Martini Shot is a Hollywood term that describes the final shot of the day before it's a wrap. Watch this (hope you had a better day than this critter) and call it a day.
The chimpanzees at the St. Louis Zoo were caught on tape throwing, and then chasing down, a raccoon that wandered into their enclosure.

Star elephant courts controversy in Philippine zoo
An elderly elephant named Mali is the star at Manila's zoo but also the focus of a campaign alleging animal cruelty that has united the country's powerful bishops, global pop stars and a Nobel laureate. 
Mali, who is 38, spends her days picking peanuts from children's hands and being squirted with water in a concrete-floored enclosure that animal rights groups say is far too small for any elephant to enjoy living in. 
They also say that, after being shipped from Sri Lanka when she was three years old, Mali is suffering profound loneliness after living her entire adult life without another elephant. 
"She is definitely unwell. As much as her physical suffering... there is also psychological suffering," Rochelle Rigodon, campaign manager for Manila-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, told AFP. 
PETA began campaigning for Mali to be removed from the zoo seven years ago, and its efforts to have the elephant spend the rest of her life at a sanctuary in Thailand have brought together a strikingly diverse group of people. 
British pop star Morrissey, 2003 Nobel laureate in literature J.M. Coetzee and famous animal welfare campaigner Jane Goodall have all written letters to the Philippine government asking for Mali to be transferred. 
"Mali is cruelly denied stimulation, room to explore... (and) is in danger of going insane," Morrissey wrote in a letter to President Benigno Aquino when he performed in Manila in May. 
Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, has also written a letter calling for Mali to be shifted to Thailand. 
He has formed an unlikely union with local fashion models and actresses, such as Isabel Roces and Chin-Chin Gutierrez, who have posted messages expressing concern about Mali's plight to their masses of Twitter followers. 
Their campaign has had some success, with Aquino ordering the Bureau of Animal Industry in May to evaluate if Mali should be transferred to Thailand. So far, no decision has been announced. 
Animal rights activists say the problems at the zoo are not limited to Mali. 
>"Old cages made of wire" 
The zoo, owned by the City of Manila and built in 1959, is a far cry from its glory days in the early 1960s, when it boasted a huge menagerie of lions, tigers, bears, leopards, giraffes, chimpanzees and bison. 
Many of these animals have succumbed to old age, and there are not enough funds to replace them. 
Many of the animals that do remain reside in half-century-old cages made of wire and bars, with the zoo operating on a budget of $1.4 million

Sanctuaries Vs Zoos - Mali's Case
Please do your best to help me. I am Mali from Sri Lanka currently living in a South East Asian country. When they killed my mother even as I was sucking at her breast, I thought this is surely the worst thing that could ever happen to me. Little did I know my future would hold even darker moments. 
They called me an orphan back then, back in the year I was born, 1974. I didn't mind. I missed my mother at first, but soon my foster aunts and cousins took me into their midst - loved me as one of their own. I was happy in my motherland.. the daily baths in the river with my adopted brothers and sisters, the lush green surroundings, the feel of grass under my feet... is that really me that I see in these pictures in my mind's eye? Thirty five years in this room, on my own, going nowhere, doing nothing is far too long a time to recall the exact details of those happy days. Will I ever know a world like that again?" 
Does this look like a spam mail that lands in your inbox when someone hacks into someone else's email account? Relax. This is not one of them. In fact, this is not even a real email. This is the message Mali would have sent if she had access to email. 
If only she could voice her thoughts. If only she could share with the world the loneliness of her life, the pain of walking on cracked feet, the companionship of the kinsmen she yearns for, the wish to ramble across vast stretches of land, nibbling at leaves, scratching her back on a tree , trumpeting loudly and listening to the answering call from a neighbour, close by. 
Though Mali bears her sorrows silently, there are those who have begun to give a voice to her silent cries and demanding that she be given another chance at life. 
Environmentalist and Wildlife Enthusiast Srilal Miththapala, speaking on behalf of Mali says elephants are highly social animals and thrive on constant interaction with others, "if you watch them in the wild they are always rumbling - talking to each other, touching, smelling and interacting." Even if ill health or ill treatment are not issues for Mali at the foreign zoo, he thinks she must be sympathized with because she is ALONE. 
Irangani de Silva, President of Animal Welfare Trust, joining the petition asking for Mali's release says "We human beings should see ourselves as caretakers of Mother Nature, not be her destroyers. "As in the case of Mali, the world would be a better place for all the children of nature, if mankind learns to empathize with their animal counterparts." 
The good news is, some of us have already begun to do so. PETA Asia-Pacific, an affiliate of PETA US, the world's largest animal rights organization, is doing their best to make us all 'empathize" with Mali. "Try to imagine living your whole life in a room the size of a bedroom, seeing the same four walls every day. You'd have no friends or companionship and nothing whatsoever to pass the time or provide you with comfort. You'd never get to leave. That's exactly what life is like for Mali," writes PETA on their petition campaigning for Mali's right to a sanctuary which has already gathered over 37,844 signatures. 
Reminding the world "Mali is a mere shell of the magnificent being she is meant to be" PETA says if the foreign authorities will release Mali she would be transferred safely to an elephant sanctuary and that PETA is willing to bear all the expenses. 
Not everyone though, is convinced Mali is in bad health, is ill treated at the zoo and will thrive if she is returned to the wilderness (or pseudo wilderness) of a sanctuary. Among them is veteran advertising photographer John Chua, who has been Mali's volunteer caretaker since 2001. "Don't tell me she's sick or that she'll die if she's not moved. I've taken care of her for 10 years. That's no joke," says Chua in an interview with Jaymee T. Gamil in the "Philippine Daily Inquirer". 
The article records how he treats her almost every day to her favorite food like mangoes, bananas, even orange-flavored popsicles, gives her a shower and a soothing spray on her massive feet, and puts her through what he calls an "enrichment program" that includes "coconut football" or a lazy dip in a puddle. Chua himself has donated a water pump for Mali's enclosure, found private sponsors for other improvements at the site, and even trained how to handle such an animal in Singapore and at the Pinnawala elephant orphanage where Mali comes from-all to "make her life better" writes Gamil. Chua is suspicious of PETA's objectives in trying to help Mali, though, and insists "if they (PETA) really care for her, (they should) care for her now." 
Authorities who are in direct contact with Mali continue to guarantee Mali is in good health and is not ill treated at the zoo. Especially so, as the zoo has improved Mali's living quarters after the suggestions made by certain authorities, expanding her "room" and installing a water fountain in it. Manila Zoo's chief veterinarian Donald Manalastas, in a statement issued to the Agence France-Presse says "We have expanded the enclosure of Mali and increased her food with more nutrients. We have proof and papers of what we feed her. We do not torture her." According to Deogracias Manimbo, head of Manila's Public Recreation and Parks Bureau, which oversees the Manila Zoo, Mali "is used to this kind of environment," and explains in a statement issued to the Philippine Daily Inquirer "she might not withstand a different environment from what she has gotten used to." 
Yet, PETA remains unconvinced. 
In an exclusive interview with the Daily News, Ashley Fruno Senior Campaigner, PETA Asia, reiterates the point of every animal lover who abhors to see animals in zoos. "Study after study tells us that housing these complex and intelligent animals alone is severely detrimental to their mental health." says Fruno and adds "female elephants should never be housed alone." 
Countermanding the fear that Mali will not survive in a new environment, or know how to interact with other elephants, having lived for so long alone, Fruno explains "Renowned veterinarian and elephant expert Dr. Mel Richardson has examined Mali and believes that she is fit

Ghost Display At Zoo Was Racist? St. Louis Zoo Takes Down Halloween Decorations After Complaints
The St. Louis Zoo has decided to take down its ghost display after several people complained that the hanging ghouls looked more like lynched slaves.
According to KYUE, the ghost display at the zoo consisted of about 10 characters, all with black faces, hanging from trees around the zoo. Chris Burchett, a zoo patron, said that he was “outraged” when he saw the display on Facebook and immediately contacted officials to have the figures removed.
Burchett said:
“It was like a complete outrage to me, it was very hurtful … The picture appeared to be black people hanging from a rope. It’s impossible that you could not see that that’s racist you know, there’s no way.” 
The zoo said that an outside vendor created the display. The figures light up at night


Barbary Macaque Conservati?on Newsletter 7

English Version:

Mysore to get India’s 1st wild buffalo conservation centre
The Zoo Authority of Karnataka, announced on Thursday that preparations were in full swing to open the country’s first conservation and breeding centre for wild buffaloes near Mysore.
Speaking at the valedictory of a function as part of the 58th Wildlife Week, M Nanjundaswamy, chairperson of the zoo authority said that tenders have been cleared to build a compound around 113 acres of green space at Koorgalli village — where the new buffalo centre is due to come up.
Nanjundaswamy said that an alarming decline in the numbers of the animal had prompted the government to conceive a conservation centre. 
“Like many other animals in the country, wild buffaloes are also endangered. As Karnataka is one of the main habitats for these animals in the country, The park will go a long way to help conserve them,” he said and added that 40 buffaloes from Mysore Zoo and many others in captive forests across the State, will be housed at the upcoming centre.
A K Varma, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) said that increasing urbanisation was leading to increased conflicts between man and animal. He added that there was an urgent need to spread awareness to tackle the problem. 
“During the previous years, our focus was o

Elephant conservation centre suffering after new wildlife Act enforced
The Kuala Gandah Elephants Conservation Centre, which used to allow rides and bathing with the pachyderms in the river, is no longer an attractive tourist draw, said a state executive councillor.
Datuk Mohd Sharkar Shamsuddin said he had received complaints from people in the tourism sector that such activities had to stop after the Wildlife Protection Act 2010 was enforced.
The Lanchang assemblyman said tour bus operators, souvenir shops, taxi drivers, tourist guides and other related tourism sectors were affected by the new ruling of the Wildlife and National Parks Department to stop the activities with elephants.
“The Act has driven operators to cancel bookings made by tourists to visit the centre and to other tourist stops in their tour package, such as the nearby Deerland and Biodiversity Centre in Bukit Rengit. 
“Some clauses in the Act have also affected other tour-related operators throughout the country, including the crocodile farm in Malacca and the butterfly centres in Perak,” added Mohd Sharkar, who chairs the Pahang state information, science, technology and innovation committee. 
He was speaking to reporters after meeting a delegation from the Zoo Operators, Breeders, Wildlife Entrepreneurs

Croc monsieur: Meet the man who loves crocodiles so much he's built a zoo for them 
Charlotte Philby meets Shaun Follett, who made the snap decision to open his own crocodile zoo and might just be a species-saver.
At the edge of a field outside Witney in Oxfordshire, there is an old mill. Since its closure in the 1970s, the buildings here have served as a small, rather pretty, industrial park: there's an old car workshop next to a ceramics shop and the offices of a polythene company.
Nothing remarkable there. Carry on along the track, however, to the very end of the lane – and this is the bit where unsuspecting visitors who use this bit of road as a turning bay quickly apply their brakes – you will find yourself at the door of 'Britain's First and Only Crocodile Zoo'. Crocodiles of the World is home to just that – some 60 scaled creatures who live in a series of enclosures 
kept at just the right temperature (26-27C) with the help of a lot of fancy equipment, and the constant attentions of 33-year-old carpenter-turned-croc-connoisseur Shaun Follett.

Delhi Zoo's first woman keeper: Lonely but fulfilling job
Suneeta was happier with the monkeys. Finally placed on the "bird-beat", the first and only woman to hold a position that requires direct handling of animals at the Delhi zoo permanently, was fond of the simians. She was especially fond of the little monkey that arrived on April 19, 2011, a few days before her transfer. "The doctor gave me Rs. 20 to celebrate," says Suneeta who doesn't use her last name.
Suneeta was a regular at the zoo when her father, Pishori Lal, was still alive and employed in the sanitation department. "I'd come with him. I wanted to work here," she says. Women are employed at the zoo but not for positions that require direct handling of animals. Zoo authorities are quite candid about the issue. "We don't hire women as keepers or assistant keepers," says Riaz Khan, curator, education, "We've had one as ranger but that's a supervisory position." There were also Chhoti, Anaro





British zoos 'failing' on animal welfare standards, says report
British zoos are failing to meet minimum animal welfare standards, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of Bristol examined reports by Government-appointed zoo inspectors and found that only a quarter of zoos met the criteria regarding welfare, conservation and education.
Since 1981, zoos in the UK have been licensed under the Zoo Licensing Act, which requires them to meet certain standards of care. 
The study, which was funded by the Born Free Foundation, is the first to review animal welfare in British zoos since the Act came into force. 
The researchers looked at 192 zoo inspection reports and found that only 47 (24 per cent) met all

The Assessment of Animal Welfare in British Zoos by Government-Appointed Inspectors
By Chris Draper and Stephen Harris
Simple Summary: Since 1984, British zoos have been required to meet the animal welfare standards set out under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981. Zoos are regularly assessed by government-appointed inspectors, who report on animal welfare standards in each zoo. This is the first analysis of those reports from a representative sample of British zoos. We highlight a number of concerns about the inspection process itself, and identify areas where changes would lead to improvements in both the inspection process and our ability to monitor animal welfare standards in zoos.
Abstract: We analysed the reports of government-appointed inspectors from 192 zoos between 2005–2008 to provide the first review of how animal welfare was assessed in British zoos since the enactment of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981. We examined the effects of whether or not a veterinarian was included in the inspection team, type of inspection, licence status of the zoo and membership of a zoo association on the inspectors’ assessments of animal welfare standards in five areas that approximate to the Five Freedoms. At least 11% of full licence inspections did not comply with the legal requirement for two inspectors. The inspectors’ reports were unclear as to how animal welfare was assessed, whether all animals or only a sub-sample had been inspected, and were based predominantly on welfare inputs rather than outcomes. Of 9,024 animal welfare assessments across the 192 zoos, 7,511 (83%) were graded as meeting the standards, 782 (9%) as substandard and the rest were not graded. Of the 192 zoos, 47 (24%) were assessed as meeting all the animal welfare standards. Membership of a zoo association was not associated with a higher overall assessment of animal welfare standards, and specialist collections such as Farm Parks and Other Bird collections performed least well. We recommend a number of changes to the inspection process that should lead to greater clarity in the assessment of animal welfare in British zoos.
Keywords: animal welfare; captive wild animals; government inspections; local authority; risk factors; Zoo Licensing Act

Tiger bites off toddler’s forearm at Bellary zoo 
In a tragic incident here on Monday, a tiger at the Bellary zoo bit off the forearm of a toddler who was attempting to feed the animal chocolate. 
According to an eyewitness, upon hearing the cries of the two-and-a-half-year-old child, Nikhil, visitors to the zoo and guards rushed to the animal’s cage and frightened the tiger into letting go of the child. 
Nikhil was rushed to the Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences, where he is undergoing treatment.
Enquiries revealed that Nikhil, son of Nagababu and Lakshmi, who work in Channapatna near Mysore, had come to his grandparents’ house for a visit. 
His grandmother Balamani took Nikhil to the zoo and, after looking at the tiger, they went to the deer enclosure, which is adjacent. While Balamani was otherwise occupied, Nikhil went up to the tiger cage and put his hand inside to feed the tiger. The tiger, Bhima, grabbed hold of his hand and pulled him towards the cage. 
Nikhil also sustained bruises on his forehead when he banged his head on the iron grill when the tiger pulled him. 
The entire incident took place in a few seconds, catching everybody unawares.
A shocked Ms. Balamani was inconsolable.
The forest guards expressed shock over

Swraj Paul asks UK govt to provide appropriate funding for Zoos
British Government should provide appropriate funding for Zoological gardens, a location for family-building and reinforcement, as part of efforts to preserve life rather than destroy it, NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul has said.
Participating in a debate in the House of Lords on Monday evening on a motion to ask the "Government how they propose to promote the better running of zoos in the UK and the European Union," Lord Paul, 81, observed that "Zoos have become doors through which we can wander into worlds that we are losing."
"For a significant segment of our population, this is probably the only access and connection they will ever have to the other species with whom we share this planet," he said.
Yet zoos in the UK, "unlike museums, receive no direct government funding. Surely, this in itself, tells us something about the way we assign our public priorities. That is why I strongly urge the government to give appropriate consideration to renewing support for zoological gardens."
"We all understand that funding sources are scarce. But we can spare something to support activities that inspire us to treasure and preserve life rather than destroying it."
Lord Paul, who donated one million pounds to the London Zoo to prevent it from closure in 1992, said "well-managed zoos in particular increase our awareness of the natural world and illustrate that man does not, and should not, live by bread alone.
"I say this with a certain passion because of a particular personal experience," he said and recalled "nearly fifty years ago, I came to this country to give my little daughter Ambika some desperately needed medical treatment.
"Sadly, it could not save her. But in those few last months I saw and felt the extraordinary happiness that this small child in a terminal condition derived from frequent visits to the London Zoo.
"Somehow, this environment, where other children and

Zoo’s oldest white tiger about to be mother again
Nine-year-old Anu, a white tigress and the oldest of the big cats with the unusual coloration at Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur, has become pregnant for the fourth year in a row. 
Zoo officials said they are closely monitoring Anu's health to prevent a miscarriage as has happened during the animal's previous pregnancies. "Veterinarians are conducting regular medical checks of her health," a zoo official said. She is given a special diet of meat and we are ensuring that she has adequate rest. 
The zoo had been trying to pair two other female white tigresses, Namrata and Akansha, with a nine-year-old Royal Bengal Tiger Vijay, but to no avail. Both Namrata and Akansha are three years old and they were the first cubs born at Vandalur in April 2009

Old postcards give peek at zoo's history
A former director of Tokyo's Ueno Zoo will publish a book showing 163 postcards of animals that lived at the zoo last century, a collection that offers insights into the creatures and attractions that have enchanted visitors over the years. 
Teruyuki Komiya found the postcards while combing through files kept at the zoo's library. 
The oldest postcard, published in 1902, depicts geese reared in the water bird cage, which was in the center of the zoo. A 1938 postcard published for soldiers on the front lines includes a picture of a tiger--a symbol said to bring luck in battle. 
Komiya, 64, also unearthed a postcard of a monkey "driving" a small train, which was a very popular attraction shortly after World War II. A monkey sat on a small seat at the front of the train, but the rides were eventually halted due to concerns about the animal's safety. 
The last page of Komiya's book depicts postcards of Kan Kan and Ran Ran, pandas presented by China in 1972 to commemorate the normalization of diplomatic ties between Japan and China. 
Most of the postcards were made as souvenirs for visitors or to mark animal displays from the Meiji era (1868-1912) through the Showa era (1926-1989), but had not been systematically researched

Marineland: Ontario government to bring in regulations for marine animals 
The provincial government plans to bring in regulations to protect captive marine mammals in Ontario, the Starhas learned.
The move comes after a Star series on Marineland, in which former trainers and supervisors blamed poor water quality and a lack of sufficient staff for ill health among animals at the Niagara Falls tourist attraction.
Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur will announce Wednesday at Queen’s Park that her ministry will conduct an extensive consultation in order to formulate new regulations, according to sources.
The minister will work with marine mammal experts and other interested parties “to develop strong standards of care” for captive animals, the sources said. The consultation will also examine the best way to license zoos and aquariums across the province.
Licensing would include both marine mammals and land animals in captivity.
Currently, anyone in Ontario can own a tiger or beluga whale in their backyard, with no restrictions or government oversight.
The only rules protecting animals fall under the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, which doesn’t mention marine mammals and has been widely criticized for being weak.
The Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums has regulations for its paid members, but it’s an industry association that regulates itself and conditions are changed by mutual agreement, and not by law.
Former Marineland trainers described dolphins, sea lions and seals swimming with their eyes squeezed shut in sporadically unhealthy water. They said seals and sea lions sometimes had to be kept out of their pools for long periods in dry pens, with only a bucket of water. A baby beluga died last May, after being att

Parks breach animal performance ban
Beijing animal parks flaunted regulations by staging performances involving animals during the eight-day Golden Week national holiday that concluded Sunday, an investigation by a Beijing-based animal welfare NGO has found.
Volunteers from Zoo Watch found three parks in the capital - the Beijing Wildlife Park in Daxing district, Beijing Badaling Safari World in Yanqing county and Beijing World Park in Fengtai district - held such shows involving bears, crocodiles, elephants and monkeys during the holidays to cash in on the influx of tourists.
Zhang Ya'nan, a volunteer at the NGO, told the Global Times Tuesday that she visited the Beijing Wildlife Park and Beijing World Park on October 2.
"Three tuskless elephants and one with its tusks filed down halfway were used to lift children with their trunks," Zhang said of the Beijing World Park. 
"A man at the park responsible for taking group photos of visitors said the elephants' tusks were cut and filed to prevent inflicting any possible injuries."
She also said that during intervals between performances the elephants were kept in cramped cages without room to move.
In a separate performance involving a crocodile, a trainer lured the reptile out of the water by grabbing its tail and then pried opened its mouth to insert his head as part of the show. 
"The crocodile was unable to close its mouth even after the half-hour performance finished," Zhang said.
Both the Beijing Wildlife Park and Beijing World Park confirmed to the Global Times such performances had taken place.
A male staff member from the Beijing World Park said that the venue staged six performances daily during the Golden Week holiday involving elephants and crocodiles.
A female employee from the Beijing Wildlife Park said that they held six half-hour performances daily that included bears walking on stilts and monkeys riding b

Deadly malaria kills six penguins at London Zoo 
Six penguins at London Zoo died after contracting avian-malaria from mosquito bites, a spokeswoman confirmed. 
The outbreak has been blamed on the "unusually high" number of mosquitoes in the Capital over the summer due to the wet and muggy weather. 
“ZSL London Zoo routinely treats its colony of penguins against a strain of avian-malaria which is endemic to the UK wild bird population. 
Due to the exceptionally wet and muggy weather this summer, mosquito numbers were unusually high and ZSL’s keepers and vets decided to increase the penguins’ preventative anti-malarial medicine. 
Sadly, earlier this summer six penguins died of avian-malaria - a different strain to the one that affects humans. Avian-malaria is contracted directly from a mosquito bite and cannot be passed between birds. 
London Zoo said its keepers and vets continue to keep a close eye on the rest of the colony and the penguins all appear to be healthy and well. 
It added that there is no risk to the public and the zoo remains open for business as usual. 
Ongoing preventative measures include a daily anti-malarial medicine administered in the penguins’

Florida Private Zoo Now Offers Tiger Pool Parties Because We’ve Lost All Respect for Nature
Florida, the land of completely fucked up happenings and, just to even things out, Key Lime Pie, is now not only home to the you-only-live-once-so-stop-being-such-a-coward gator pool party, but also, thanks to some enterprising animal handlers at Dade City's private zoo Wild Things, the tiger cub pool, featuring a real Siberian tiger cub named Tony. For the low, low price of $200 and your signature on a release form absolving Tony's handlers from responsibility should Tony high-five your child in the jugular, your kid can spend an awkward 30 minutes in a pool trying to hug an adorably confounded eight pound tiger. For an extra $400 and a vow of silence, I've heard that the trainers will fill up a pool with milk and let Tony swim around in it, and, yes, that may be a baseless rumor, but would it really surprise you if it turned out to be true? 
It wouldn't surprise you, of course, because Florida is a stalactite of weirdness dripping off the continental United States. Asked whether or not swimming with a squeaky mini-predator is dangerous or not, Wild Things' truth-teller Randy Stearns said, in so many words, pretty much, yeah, but it's strictly no big deal in the land where people have bug eating deathmatches

Zoo vet Helen Schofield honoured 
Zookeeper recognised posthumously at awards 
There is no doubt that Helen Schofield dedicated her life to helping animals, and now a posthumous award in her honour has recognised the passion and love she had for them.
Schofield, 42, was killed on April 25 when Mila the elephant, formerly known as Jumbo, crushed her to death at Franklin Zoo and Wildlife Sanctuary, just south of Auckland. 
Schofield was honoured last night, at an awards ceremony in Wellington, with a posthumous Assisi Award from the New Zealand Companion Animal Council, an umbrella organisation which incorporates animal welfare bodies, veterinarians and academic researchers. 
NZCAC spokesman and SPCA executive director Bob Kerridge said the awards honoured people who had made a "very real difference" in the lives of animals. 
"Helen cared passionately about animals from her childhood onwards and was, above all, dedicated to saving exotic animals, including those, like Mila, who had been rescued from circuses," Kerridge said. 
"Having qualified as a veterinarian, Helen invested in Franklin Zoo, which she was transforming into a sanctuary, where such animals could spend their last few years in dignity and safety. Her untimely death is a great loss to all New Zealanders who care about animals and to the creatures she looked after." 
At her funeral in May Schofield was described as a hero. Friends

Jumbo problem at Byculla Zoo 
Laxmi and Anarkali may have to wait a little longer as the civic body’s desperate attempts to find an alternate accommodation for two ageing elephants at the Byculla Zoo are proving futile. For the past two years, the BMC had been approaching several sanctuaries and tiger reserves across the country. However, the efforts to shift the jumbos to bigger enclosures have elicited no response.
This was in keeping with the directive of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) in November 2010, which banned elephants from zoos and asked them to be rehabilitated to national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and tiger reserves maintained by the state forest departments (SFDs).
The order was issued owing to concerns over the animals’ health due to poor housekeeping, inadequate space for free movement, breeding

‘Eden’ plan for Colwyn Bay zoo is on ice
ZOO bosses say a £5m “Eden Project” expansion has been put on ice due to a lack of cash.
But officials at the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Upper Colwyn Bay hope the development will still go ahead if money is available in two years’ time.
The plans include a Space for Life centre, with a “live animal and natural history experience” with “dragon-skin” walls, touch screens and solar panels. It could see a 30% boost in visitors.
Zoo director Nick Jackson said: “We were eligible, had put forward our expression of interest and were about to bid when it was announced the funds available




Tug-of-paw: Tigers take on keepers in rope war at Chinese zoo 
Zoo keepers test their strength against a whole pack of tigers in the fiercest tug of war competition you're ever likely to see.
Staff at Jiufeng Forest Zoo, in Wuhan, Henan province, China, dressed in tiger costumes before cajoling the big cats into action by poking them through a wire fence with a pole.
The ferocious animals, which can weight up to 500lbs, appeared to have understood the rules, grabbing hold of the rope with their teeth and paws before heaving away. 
After the keepers conceded defeat, members of the public were then invited to join in the stunt which was staged to mark the country's Moon Festival -  China's autumn national holiday.
But it infuriated animal rights campaigners who said it was wrong to taunt the tigers.
One wildlife campaigner told local media: 'It is degrading to tease magnificent animals like this. They wouldn't think it was so much

Bogor zoo to swap komodos for pandas
Taman Safari Indonesia Zoo in Bogor, West Java, says it has arranged to swap a pair of Komodo dragons for a pair of Chinese pandas.
“The exchange is part of the Chinese and Indonesian governments cooperation in conservation,” zoo director Frans Manansang told reporters on Saturday at the zoo.
Frans said that Indonesia was “lucky” as the Chinese have been reluctant to exchange pandas despite numerous requests.
“We are sure about the exchange because we have solid experience in conserving several species of white and polar bears, whose handling is quite similar to that of pandas,” he said.
The zoo plans to send several animal keepers to China to study how to care for the pandas, who will arrive in October 2013.
Frans said that the swap came with a special request, however. 
“The Chinese government wants the pandas

Red squirrel populations wiped out in northern Italy
Scientists say there are no red squirrels in a 1,150 sq km area of Piedmont after invasive greys took hold in the region
Red squirrels have been wiped out from a large swath of northern Italy, threatening a further biodiversity crisis for the species on a par with its near extinction in the British Isles.
There are now no red squirrels left in an area of more than 1,150 square kilometres (sq km) in Piedmont, according to research from the universities of Turin, Genoa and Varese. On the edge of this large region, the species is also under threat from the incursions of grey squirrels.
If the spread of the grey squirrel continues unchecked, the species could spread as far as France, the scientists fear. They are calling for more research and control and conservation measures aimed at preserving the remaining red squirrel populations and containing the spread of the greys.
Grey squirrels were introduced into Italy relatively recently, in 1948. They were a gift from the US ambassador

SL to send two elephants to Prague zoo 
Sri Lanka has donated two young female Indian elephants to the Prague zoo, where they will arrive on Saturday, flown to the Czech Republic by a Sri Lankan military plane, Prague zoo director Miroslav Bobek has told the media.
The elephants, eight-year-old Janita and seven-year-old Tamara, come from the elephant zoo in Pinnawale. 
"The Hercules C-130 with them is to take off on Saturday at 01:00 the local time," Bobek, who is staying in Colombo, said. 
In return, the Prague zoo will send two comodo dragons, two Przewalski horses and two young hippopotamuses to the Colombo zoo. 
Nevertheless, the elephant acquisition is Sri Lanka's gift to the Czech Republic rather than routine exchange of animals between zoos, Bobek said.  
Prague zoo deputy director Jaroslav Simek said it is a unique project that will largely help extend the genetic base of the European breeding of Indian elephants.
"The elephant acquisition is the result of long-lasting efforts of [Czech] ambassador Miloslav Stasek and other officials from the Czech diplomatic mission to New Delhi, of the Czech Foreign Ministry and also of the fans of the Prague zoo," Bobek said.
Owing to Sri Lanka's offer to use its own plane to transfer the animals the Prague zoo will save money for the costly transfer.
The whole project that has been prepared for two years will cost the zoo 4.5 million crowns.
The newcomer elephants will be accommodated in a new pavilion

Sad hubby jumps into lion's enclosure
Saddened after a quarrel with his wife, a man tried to commit suicide by entering a lion's enclosure at Nandankanan Zoo here on Friday. He was mauled by two lions, but rescued alive. Doctors said he may survive. 
Surya Narayan Das (35), a resident of Chhatrapur in Ganjam district, reached the zoo early on Friday morning and purchased an entry ticket. Around 1.10 pm, he went near an enclosure for lions (no 29-B) and started removing his shirt and trousers. Visitors at the spot, however, could not fathom his intention. The man then prostrated in front of a woman tourist and started climbing the iron mesh. "I was standing near the lion's enclosure when the man came near me and touched my feet. I was taken aback. I thought he was

We bought a zoo - Aussies intervene to save animals from a cruel fate
IT was the zoo from hell, a contender for the world's worst. The tigers were fed rice and an elephant became so emaciated it could squeeze between the bars of its cage. 
But now, because a Sydney expatriate couple living in Cambodia and their supporters decided to do something about it, the 134 animals of the Teuk Chhou Zoo are beginning to thrive.
Rory and Melita Hunter, who operate Cambodia's first island resort, learned about the zoo's horrific conditions in a local Phnom Penh newspaper last year.
The list of horrors was long. Street dogs would enter holes in the cages and kill animals or steal their food. Animals were kept in pairs, so they were forced to compete for the meagre food offerings. The weaker animal starved.
Eagles were in cages so small they could not stretch their wings. Many cages were open to the elements, exposing animals to harsh tropical sun or torrential rain. The staff was a handful of locals overwhelmed by the

Grisly fight to death revealed
A big-cat handler killed by a tiger at Whangarei's world famous Zion Wildlife Park did not see a need to lock the animal away while cleaning its enclosure, an inquest into the man's death has heard. 
Martin Ferreira was with headkeeper Dalu MnCube at Zion when the latter was killed while they were cleaning out a tiger enclosure at the park in May 2009. 
The inquest into the death of Clifford (Dalu) Mncube is being heard before Northland Coroner Brandt Shortland at Whangarei District Court this week. 
Mr MnCube, a 26-year-old born in Zimbabwean, was employed at the park - home of TV's The Lionman series - when he was killed by a white male Bengal tiger Abu on May 27, 2009. 
Today Mr Ferreira said in hindsight, a taser or something lighter should have been made available in the big cat enclosure. 
He was aware that Zion had a safety manual in place in terms of securing big cats but said the practice ceased between February and May 2009, even after a man was injured and attacked by the tiger named Abu that killed Mr MnCube. 
After the attack prior to Mr MnCube's death, Mr Ferreira said it was a norm to lock Abu away but it was not done on that fateful day. He asked Mr MnCube prior to entering the enclosure whether Abu had been locked away.
"He (Mr MnCube) answered me like I know what I am doing,'' ,Mr Ferreira said. 
He said he took Mr MnCube's word for it. 
Then park operator Patricia Busch, mother of Lionman Craig Busch, who made the park famous around the world through the TV series The Lionman, also gave evidence today.

Inquest hears of unsafe environment at Zion wildlife park
An inquest into the death of a wildlife handler three years ago has heard of a cover-up and disregard for safety at a Northland zoo. 
Zimbabwe born animal handler Dalu Mncube, also known as Clifford, was killed by a tiger while cleaning its enclosure at the Zion Wildlife Gardens in Whangarei in May 2009. 
Staff member Martin Ferreira, who was in the cage at the time of the incident, gave evidence today saying there was no written guidelines or procedures in place for emergencies
"Our safety procedures that we normally would follow would have been a fire extinguisher, that we would use first, and after that, maybe a stick." 
Ferreira also recalled how Mncube had pleaded for help after the tiger grabbed him by his leg. 
"Clifford responded to me by saying, 'mate help me'." 
"I could see his skull was crushed and he had puncture marks on his neck." 
Ferreira eventually fought the tiger with his bare hands and then with a piece of wood to try and save Mncube. 
The court also heard how the previous owner of the park, Patricia Busch, told staff not to enter enclosures when inspectors were there, and to lie about any injuries they may have received from the animals.
It is believed Mncube had a variety of different aliases and entered the country on a false passport. 
The court claims Craig was threatening the Zimbabwean over his immigration status. 
In December the park escaped a fine but was ordered to pay $60,000 in reparation to Mncube's partner for

Three-year-old boy also mauled at Lion Man's Zion Wildlife Park
This week's inquest into a big cat handler mauled to death by a tiger has brought back painful memories for an Auckland family. 
The Hughes family visited the Zion Wildlife Park six years ago. Their trip was organised after their dad was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and was supposed to be a special time for the family. 
Instead they ended up at hospital after their three-year-old was mauled by a lion. 
Ethan Hughes is an adventurous boy. He's into everything and not afraid of much, except lions and tigers. 
“I don't like them,” he says, “because one attacked me.” 
In 2006 his dad was diagnosed with a brain tumour and told he had less than a year to live, so he treated the family to a special day at the Zion Wildlife Park. 
Ethan's mum and older brother signed up to pat the lions, filling out a safety waiver. 
But then the zoo handler, Dalu Mncube, asked if Ethan wanted to pat a cub. Ethan tried but was scared, and asked his dad to pick him up. 
“The cub swung around and grabbed Ethan with his front paws and pulled him to the ground,” says mother Nicola Hughes. 
His dad didn't want to pull back too hard, fearing Ethan would lose his leg, so instead he crouched over his son while Mr Mncube and two co-workers – one armed with a spade – dragged the one-year-old lion away.
“I turned around, dropped everything, dove in and punched this thing in the mouth,” says Ms Hughes. “I got a tooth in my hand. But I just kept punching it.” 
Ethan, oozing blood and flesh from his legs, was admitted to hospital and underwent surgery.

Zion Wildlife Gardens safety ‘inadequate' 
A man mauled by a tiger repeatedly told park management about his safety concerns in the weeks before his death, a court heard yesterday. 
Clifford (Dalu) Mncube was killed by Bengal white tiger Abu on May 27, 2009, while cleaning out an enclosure at Zion Wildlife Gardens in Whangarei. 
Giving evidence at the coroner's inquest in Whangarei District Court yesterday, Mr Mncube's fiancee, Sharon Arnott, said she met him in March 2007 and shortly afterwards asked to see the wildlife park to allay her fears. However, her visit only amplified them. 
Mr Mncube asked her to be his lookout while he cleaned out an enclosure containing four lions. 
When Ms Arnott asked him what to do in an emergency he told her she should use a fire extinguisher to scare the lion.
When she pointed out the nearest one was inside a nearby pen, he suggested instead that she run her hand along the fence to make a noise to distract any potential attacks. 
“It's really amazing nothing happened sooner,” she told the court.
Away from work Mr Mncube told Ms Arnott the staff were not quite up to the task and he needed a capable “backup man”. But when he took his request to park director Patricia Busch, she told him there were no available funds. 
Mr Mncube had a valid work permit but was in the country on a false passport, a fact known to both Ms Busch and the former operator of the park, her son Craig “Lion Man” Busch. 
“His position was he did as he was told and if he didn't he would be deported,” Ms Arnott's lawyer, Juliet Golightly, said. 
Immigration had been in touch with Mr Mncube in the weeks leading up to his death and it is understood he thought he would be deported. 
Ms Golightly took aim at those Ms Arnott believed were respon

Fear of backlash kept wildlife park open, court told
Fears of an international backlash deterred the then Ministry of Agriculture from considering closing down Whangarei's Zion Wildlife Gardens, despite six attacks by the big cats in the park, a court has heard. 
Dr Barry Wards, a specialist advisor to the ministry, yesterday told an inquest into the death of Clifford (Dalu) MnCube that the political backlash from supporters of Lion Man Craig Busch after he was sacked from the park reached the very top of Government, including Prime Minister John Key. 
The ministry determined that based on the level of support Mr Busch had, revoking the park's operating license would seriously harm New Zealand's international reputation, he said. 
A massive online campaign was launched, particularly by Mr Busch's UK-based supporters, to help him reunite with the big cats after he was sacked by his mother, Patricia, in 2008. 
He returned to the park after new owners, Tracey McVerry and Ian Stevenson, took charge and re-named it Zion Wildlife Kingdom in February. 
At the inquest, Dr Wards was questioned extensively by Anthony Jackson, lawyer for Mr MnCube's partner Sharon Arnott, on the ministry's concerns about safety and actions it took to remedy the situation. 
He said closing the park would have put the welfare of 40 big cats at risk. 
Mr Jackson said it was not the ministry's overriding duty to protect the animals but to ensure procedures around their containment were followed. 
Dr Wards said politically, it would have been an extremely difficult decision for the Crown to make to either export, euthanise or transfer the animals elsewhere in New Zealand. 
A contingency plan was drawn up and the then Minister for Agriculture, David Carter, who took an interest in matters pertaining to the park because of the constant stream of letters from Mr Busch's supporters, was briefed on its contents. 
The view of his supporters, he said, was that Mr Busch was being removed from the animals he reared. 
"If that decision (to close the park) was made, there would have been an outcry, particularly from his supporters and directed at the ministry," Dr Wards said. 
Asked why the ministry did not issue an operator's license to Mrs Busch after Mr MnCube died, he said she was not fully aware of the requirements in relation to the operation and containment of animals. 
Earlier, another specialist advisor to the ministry, Howard Hamilton, said there had been five animal attacks since January 2007 on either park staff or the public prior to Mr MnCube's death in May 2009. 
In January 2007, a staff member was bitten by a lion but the ministry was not informed about it until June 2009, he said. 
Closing the inquest, Northland Coroner Brandt Shortland indicated he

Arizona Tiger Handler Defies Critics to Swim With 450-Pound Felines
It looks like a scene out of a box-office smash movie. 
But for Jeff Harwell, 30, an animal handler at Arizona’s Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde, Ariz., running at full speed, being chased by a full-grown tiger or waiting for the 450-pound animal to pounce is part of a normal day. 
Every afternoon for 30 minutes, Harwell performs in the “Tiger Splash” arena where he plays, roughhouses and seemingly taunts the park’s tigers in a 50-foot swimming pool, all in front of a live audience. 
“We’re just playing, having a good time, you know? All I see is her eyes and how intense they are, and trying to figure out what move I’m going to make that will make her spring,” Harwell told ABC News. 
The show has been taking place since 1991 with no major injuries. But Harwell realizes how dangerous the job can be. 
“If she wanted to me harm, there’s pretty much nothing I could do about it,” Harwell said. 
Such a profession begs the question of whether Harwell gets scared on the job.   “Yes, I get scared all the time.” he said. 
Zoo experts say there is nothing wrong with how Out of Africa interacts with its animals, but reiterate that the handlers are trained professionals. 
But critics say that no matter how well-trained Harwell is, performing alongside wild predators doesn’t always lead to a happy ending. 
“Eventually, somebody is going to get killed because they do this on a daily basis,” Adam Roberts, executive vice president of animal rights group Born Free USA, said. “It only takes one time for this to be a tragedy.” 
It’s a harsh reality that visitors to exhibits promising up-close animal encounters have seen time and again. 
A lion at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas lashed out at his trainers in front of stunned guests in 2010. And roadside animal attractions across America have experienced numerous attacks. One

Safari Park crime roadshow 
Central Scotland Police and Blair Drummond Safari Park have teamed up in a bid to clamp-down on wildlife crime.
A roadshow will take place at the rural tourist attraction over three days later this month, aimed at educating park-goers on various issues to do with illicit activity involving creatures great and small.
The event will take place between 10am and 5pm on Monday, October 15, as well as

Greater Vancouver Zoo renews its accreditation with watchdog group
The Greater Vancouver Zoo received another stamp of approval from Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums, zoo staff announced this week.
The Aldergrove facility successfully renewed its accreditation with CAZA, after a process that involved a 60-page report and more than three days of inspections this past summer.
“Basically, it means we can continue to operate as a zoo in the province of B.C.,” said general manager Jody Henderson. “It just sets a higher standard.”
The process evaluates animal care and husbandry, zoo safety and educational programs. For more than two years now, the province has required all zoo-like facilities to be approved by CAZA.
“We’re the only province in Canada that requires it. We have the strictest and highest standards,” Henderson said.
The Greater Vancouver Zoo has held CAZA accreditation for about a decade, she said. Benefits of accreditation include easier exchange of animals for breeding between facilities.
CAZA is a charitable organization dedicated to animal welfare and conservation, and there are more than 100

Can elephants suffer in sanctuaries, as an effect of volonteers opinions?
A sanctuary by definition is any place of safety. The mission of sanctuaries is generally to be safe havens, where the animals receive the best care that the sanctuaries can provide. Animals are not bought, sold, or traded, nor are they used for animal testing. What distinguishes a sanctuary from other institutions is the philosophy that the residents come first. In a sanctuary, every action is scrutinized for any trace of human benefit at the expense of non-human residents. Sanctuaries act on behalf of the animals, and the caregivers work under the notion that all animals in the sanctuary, human and non-human, are of equal importance. The resident animals are given the opportunity to behave as naturally as possible in a protective environment. (wikipedia)
The world is not black and white, and sometimes its difficault to say who is the good guy, and who is the bad guy. So, in order to make this clear people use labels.
When we speak about religions, its not enough to speak about protestants and catholics, catholics believers are divided into Orthodox Catholic Church etc. Soon our various opinions makes us enemies in topic like religion and politics.

Wild bison bound into Germany's forest
The European bison was on the brink of extinction, but the shaggy creatures are making a comeback. Now, a small herd are to be released into Germany's forests - the first bison to roam here in nearly a century. 
At first there were concerns about reintroducing the European bison into North Rhine-Westphalia. Hikers worried that the wild animals would attack them. Forester said the bison would damage the trees and soil. Farmers were terrified wild bison would wander into their pastures, mate with the cattle and create hybrids calves. 
But bison wrangler Jochen Born waves off their concern. "Everybody's got a question or two when something new crops up," he told DW. 
Born trains bison near the German town of Bad Berleburg. Right,,16254131,00.html

Zoo Cultivates Bamboo Plantation
A new bamboo plantation that explains the story of Tian Tian and Yang Guang’s favourite food has opened at Edinburgh Zoo.
Next to the famous giant panda enclosure, after visitors have met the black and white pair they can wander into the Zoo’s new bamboo nursery.  The small working nursery is packed with 250 bamboo plants and contains five different species of tried and tested bamboo species that are tried and tested to be Sunshine and Sweetie’s favourites. 
Eventually the working nursery will feed the two giant pandas, although its main goal is as an extra panda visitor attraction for the thousands of visitors that flock to see them each week.  Incredibly it represents only 1% of the pandas total bamboo supply each year!  A larger off show bamboo nursery will be developed onsite next year that makes a much greater contribution to panda’s daily diets. 
A beautiful feature, the garden explains the story of bamboo – from its many uses, to how it grows –as visitors tour around it.  A shrine to bamboo, and also recycling, the garden even includes left over bamboo chips underfoot and a perimeter fence of bamboo poles that pandas Sweetie and Sunshine have discarded. 
Simon Jones, gardens manager for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said:
“This is a lovely wee nursery that converts an area of the Zoo into a place where people can get an idea of how much bamboo Giant Pandas consume, whilst being immersed with a feeling of seclusion from the rest of the Zoo. 
“It represents the conclusion of the Panda experience as the visitor has been led through an area of Chinese plants, seeing our beautiful Giant Pandas up close, then culminating by walking through an area that shows their foodstuff, how it grows and a demonstration of the versatility of bamboo. It is a testament to the hard work of many individuals within the Zoo” 

Toronto Zoo off the market
Mayor wants to look at sale, council says no
Toronto city councillors capped off a wild three-day meeting by cancelling the request for expressions of interest (REOI) in the sale, lease or operation of the Toronto Zoo. The vote kills the council approved REOI process that the city started on Monday.
Despite Mayor Rob Ford’s last-minute plea not to cancel the process, council voted 30-2 to do just that.
“I think we should keep all our doors open, look at what we can get,” Ford told council just before the vote. “I think it is a good idea if we can get the money for it, let’s try to sell the zoo and if we can’t that’s fine but I think we should keep all our avenues open.”
Ford and deputy mayor Doug Holyday were the only two votes for not cancelling the REOI.
Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti said he was “unequivocally” opposed to the sale of the zoo and warned councillors any move towards that would lead to China cancelling the deal to send two pandas here next year.
“If this council wants to get an immediate notice from the Chinese government that the pandas will not be coming to Canada or to Toronto then go ahead and proceed

Reston Zoo director to appeal animal cruelty conviction
‘The truth will come out,’ her attorney says
The director of the Reston Zoo is appealing her animal cruelty conviction after being sentenced Sept. 28 in Fairfax County General District Court.
An appeal date of Nov. 15 tentatively has been set for Meghan Mogensen, 26, in Fairfax County Circuit Court, according to her attorney, Caleb Kershner.
“We disagree in the outcome and are disappointed with the ruling,” Kershner said about last week’s sentencing.
On Jan. 26, after receiving a tip from then-zoo employee Ashley Rood, Fairfax County police opened an investigation relating to allegations of improper treatment of injured animals and improper use of euthanasia drugs. Rood has since resigned from her position at the zoo.
“This was a complex, five-month-long investigation that included both state and federal agencies,” Fairfax County police spokesperson Lucy Caldwell said at the time Mogensen was charged.
Mogensen was charged with animal cruelty by county police, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
According to court testimony and a Feb. 16 warrant filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court, Rood told police a sick wallaby was found dead in a trash receptacle

Simworx completes a unique 3D cinema experience for Woburn Safari Park, UK
UK based 4D effects theatre specialist Simworx has completed a unique project at the well-known Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire, England.  
The park re-opened its sea lion house, Sea Lion Cove, at the end of July following a major refurbishment, with the attraction now incorporating a brand new 320-seat 3D Safari Cinema Experience. It is the first time a safari park in the UK has combined a live action animal demonstration with state-of-the-art 3D cinema technology and the installation brings a new dimension to visitor entertainment at the venue. 
The new Sea Lion Cove cinema showcases three live sea lion shows each day in addition to screenings of Safari Park Adventure 3D. This is a series filmed on location for the Discovery Channel in 2011 which goes behind the scenes at Woburn with the park’s animals and keepers. The show was a huge success on Sky 3D and the short feature length episodes take viewers into the lives of Kai the rhino as he meets his new mates and right inside the lion house with the pride of African lions. 
Simworx has played a key role in helping to put guests right at the heart of the action in the cinema with the supply of a high definition, 3D projection system and surround sound technology. Additionally, the company has supplied a unique, electronically retracting screen on which the films are shown which comes out over the sea lion pool during

Canadian Zoo Association Releases Report on Marineland
We now know what the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums has to say after inspections of the Marineland park over the summer. 
The group's report says there's no evidence of abuse or neglect. 
But there are some lingering concerns about the water quality. 
The group plans on a series of unannounced inspections over the next few weeks to make sure the water concerns are being taken care of. 
Protests over conditions at Marineland took place outside the park last summer. 
Here is the press release sent from the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums:
The Accreditation Commission of Canada's Accredited Zoos and Aquariums ( CAZA) has conducted a special investigation into allegations that the welfare of animals at Marineland Canada has been negatively affected by water quality problems and inadequate staffing levels and that these problems were not appropriately addressed over a period of time. A three person inspection team including two veterinary experts conducted a site inspection on August 23rd, and subsequently interviewed relevant witnesses and examined internal water logs and medical records. 
The Commission has concluded that at the time of the site inspection the animals in question in the Marineland collection, including the marine mammals were in overall good health and there was no evidence of animal abuse, that water quality in all the pools was very good, and it appeared that staffing levels were adequate.

Zoo fights to save 'extinct' lion
It has been almost a century since a French colonial hunter is believed to have put a bullet in the last surviving Atlas lion living in the wild. Now, a Moroccan zoo is fighting to bring the fabled subspecies back from the brink of extinction.
This majestic mammal, also known as a Barbary lion, was once a very common sight across North Africa, but was eventually declared extinct after the hunt in 1922 that saw it vanish from its natural habitat.
Remarkably, a few dozen individuals were discovered to have survived in captivity. The newly opened Rabat zoo is now fighting to save the bloodline and raise numbers to a viable population.
Abderrahim Salhi, the zoo's head of operations, stated, “For a long time, it was thought that the species had disappeared. But it turned out that Sultan Mohammed V (the current king's grandfather) had some Atlas lions in his private park."
According to locals, the exotic park of the sultan, who became king at independence, was supplied by tribesmen who hunted and captured these mountain predators

24 Wildlife Park employees reinstated
Government of Punjab has decided to reinstate 24 contract employees of the Wildlife Park Loi Bher, who were also deprived of their salaries for the last seven months.
Deputy Director of the park, Raja Muhammad Javed said that the Punjab government had also started process to give the employees their seven months salaries, which they would get soon.
Sources in the Wildlife Park Loi Bher told that 24 contract

What does it take to train dangerous animals at Edinburgh Zoo? 
It is a two-man job that takes skill, patience and nerves of steel. Face-to-face with a two-tonne beast, two keepers are about to attempt what you might consider something of a reckless escapade – giving a rhino a check-up armed with nothing more than his favourite food and a pair of calm voices.
During the session, the huge animal is “encouraged” to lie down so its sensitive feet can be checked for any painful sores. It is a remarkable sight.
“They do love the company,” says Karen Stiven, senior hoofstock keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, matter of factly.
“But you do have to watch because they are very large animals and they can move very fast.
“It’s a two-person job and you have to really trust the person who comes in with you.”
Indian rhinos Bertus and Samir are just two of the animals which need to be trained to be, well, less wild.
In September, one of the attraction’s most popular exhibits, Sofus the sea lion, hit the headlines after completing “crate training” to ensure his journey to a Polish zoo was more comfortable.
“Up until that point, Sofus had always come across as very nervous,” says carnivore keeper Andrew Laing. “In the end, he was an absolute star.”
While it might be expected that sea lions, often seen as the clowns of the animal world, are easily trainable, it may be more surprising that heavyweight jaguars and razor-toothed wolverines are also willing to take part.

Reg Bloom 1922-2012

He was born in Walton-on-the-Naze in 1922 into a famous Lifeboat Family. 
He was the sixth of seven children and is the last of them to pass away.
He hated school and would much rather be out fishing with his father or taking wealthy London charter parties up the Stour and Orwell rivers. 
When he was very young he took his father’s shotgun without permission and went out on the saltings and shot a goose but realising the goose would give the game away he left it. His Dad was waiting when he came back and beat him for taking the gun and then beat him again for not bringing back the goose!!  
He was a fine amateur cricketer and sailor and came back to sailing in later life getting tremendous enjoyment from just being on the water.
He fibbed about his age and joined the Navy serving in Minesweepers throughout the Second World War.
After the War he was a professional yacht skipper but then travelled to East Africa with his wartime captain for a lark as he didn’t fancy an English winter on the yacht.
They started a business collecting and transporting animals and birds back to Britain, Europe and the USA when Zoos were restocking after the war. They were pioneers of their day with their animals being caught from open moving trucks with rope lassoes on bamboo poles. But what fun they had and what stories he told! 
Reg met Margaret in the Reptile House at London Zoo and after they married in 1953 she went out to Africa and spent the next three years alongside him. On their first night under canvas they collected the largest Puff Adder ever recorded which had sloughed its skin on their tent pole. It went back with a returning Colonial Officer the same day so arrived just 48 hours after Margaret had left the Zoo! Among their achievements they bought back the first White Rhinos, Jumping Hares and Naked Mole Rats and quite possibly saved the Mackinders Eagle Owl from extinction. 
Reg had an instinctive empathy for the needs of wild animals and birds brought into human care. Couple this with a far sighted and practical approach to the design of their enclosures, based on his African experiences and observations, and you have the ingredients of his future working life.
Wanting to start a family they returned to England where he began life in the Zoo World by becoming Curator of Chester Zoo. Three children later they moved on to build and open Twycross Zoo in a partnership with Mollie Badham and then on to Flamingo Park Zoo in Yorkshire. 
Reg relished starting new projects. He was a not an easy man to work for as he drove his staff as hard as he drove himself but if you did get through the first few months then you had, quite literally, a friend and mentor for life. None of this would have been possible without Margaret who was a perfect match for him. She calmed him down, ran the office, hand reared all the zoo’s orphaned and rejected babies, soothed the owners of the Zoo, and persuaded indignant staff to stay on even though Reg had repeatedly called them a lazy, useless so and so! 
When Reg did try get away and take the whole family with him, those times were memorable… Like spending one whole summer camping on a beach in the Isle of Man while he laid out and built the Curraghs Wildlife Park. Not content with just sitting on the beach after work he had the whole family making long lines with about 50 fishhooks on each that were then set along the beach at low water. So successful was this fishing effort that all the locals were doing it within a week and you couldn’t walk safely on the beach anywhere below the high water mark! 
Then there was the time he had the Zoo carpenters help him convert an old Fish and Chip van into a Camper. He then took the family on a gentle European Road trip covering 12 major Zoos in Holland, Belgium Germany and Switzerland in 12 days! 
Wanting to work more with the family he went into partnership with the owner of Clacton Pier to convert their Olympic pool into a dolphinarium. This operated successfully for many years until a severe easterly gale cracked the pool and emptied the water into the sea. In a blizzard the Clacton Lifeboat crew helped evacuate a Killer Whale and the dolphins out of the empty pool, onto trucks, and away to safety.
With Peter and Anthony totally involved from the mid-1980’s Reg was able to step back but, of course, continue to benignly interfere. He kept his hand in by training Parrots and Macaws for Parrot Displays and bought a boat and start sailing regularly although his much abused body was starting to rebel and he suffered more and more from arthritis in his legs. Each decline in mobility was fought against but once the inevitable was grudgingly accepted then the new mode of transport was exploited and once again he would be seen around town. So legs gave way grudgingly to a bike then a trike then assorted motorised buggies and finally wheelchairs.
Reg and Margaret had a long and happy marriage and Margaret has been a rock in the last few years as Reg became increasingly lame and frustrated with his lack of mobility. Without her he could not have died at home which was very important to them both.

New wildlife park planned for north Vietnam 
Authorities in the northern province of Ninh Binh have approved plans for a new 1,500 square-hectare wildlife park in the north-central province, the government website reported Thursday. 
The park, to be located in Nho Quan District, will be divided into six main areas, including a theme park, and a center for wildlife study and care. 
Further details about the project, however, have yet to be released. 
Ninh Binh already boasts Cuc Phuong National Park, which is home to 2,000 species of plants, 110 species

Rare native spiders fostered by Bristol Zoo Gardens released into the wild

After ten weeks of careful husbandry at Bristol Zoo, 172 tiny fen raft spiderlings (Dolomedes plantarius) are set to be released into the wild. 
The young spiders have been raised by keepers at Bristol Zoo as part of a conservation rearing project to help save this native species, which is one of Europe's largest but least common spiders.
The spiders are so rare that they are protected by law in the UK and have been classified as ‘Vulnerable’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. They are only found in three sites in Britain – Norfolk, East Sussex and South Wales.
The 12 week old spiderlings, which were just two millimetres in size when they arrived, received intensive care by experts in Bristol Zoo’s Bug World - a process that took several hours every day and included being hand-fed flies.
Carmen Solan, invertebrate keeper at Bristol Zoo said: “They have grown from tiny dots to 4-5mm long. It’s been an amazing project to have been involved in, we’re rather sad to see them go! ”
Mark Bushell, Assistant Curator of Invertebrates at the Zoo, added: “The aim was to give these little spiders the best possible start in life, which is something we’re very proud to have achieved. The spiders leaving us are healthy and strong, well equipped for a life in the wild.” 
The young spiders will be released into wild fenland habitats in Norfolk to begin their adult lives. These semi-aquatic spiders can grow to approximately 7cm in leg span and live for around three years. 
The Fen Raft Spider Species Recovery programme is a partnership led by Natural England to safeguard the future of this species, which is under threat from habitat destruction and drying out of their marshland homes.
Natural England’s head of profession for biodiversity, Dr Peter Brotherton said: “The spiders from the first release in 2010 are just starting to breed this year – this is an important milestone for the recovery programme and a clear indication we’re going in the right direction. If this species is to recover it still needs more help and the dedicated support from organisations such as Bristol Zoo is vital to the future of our biggest spider.”
Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work in the Zoo, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents. 





Reston Zoo director guilty of drowning wallaby
The curator testified that animals had been euthanized in shocking ways at the Reston Zoo: Some were shot, rabbits were slammed into walls and chickens were fed to pythons.
But in a Fairfax County courtroom Friday, Ashley Rood said she reached her breaking point after uncovering evidence that the zoo’s director, Meghan Mogensen, had drowned an injured wallaby named Parmesan in a plastic bucket.
Rood confronted Mogensen, resigned in protest and later called police.
“I think you and your father are sick and sadistic people, and I don’t want to be part of this anymore,” Rood recalled telling Mogensen, whose father owns the zoo. “It’s one thing to euthanize an animal, but it’s another thing to drown it.”
Mogensen, 26, of Silver Spring, was convicted of animal cruelty and sentenced to 30 days in jail after Rood’s whistleblower complaint. A judge also found her guilty of possessing animal anesthesia without a license.
The unusual trial featured testimony about a wallaby autopsy known as a necropsy, veterinary forensics experts and fingerprint analysis as prosecutors sought to show that Mogensen cruelly killed the wallaby and then mounted an elaborate coverup.
The testimony also raised questions about the zoo’s care of its animals. Other zoos owned by Eric Mogensen have also come under scrutiny in recent years, according to media reports.
Meghan Mogensen’s attorney, Caleb Kershner, contended that his client, who didn’t testify during the trial, had humanely euthanized the wallaby using a lethal injection and was acting out of compassion for


Henry Ford once said; “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is a process; and working together is success!”
As a conservation facility, we constantly promote the voice of preservation with the goal of educating the public on the plight of our many endangered animal residents. Considering the effort it takes to commit to this initiative, it remained an easy decision. It is not just our duty to protect the species… it is a global duty, and one that we are proud to be a part of.
International Vulture Awareness Day, on 1 September, was something that we were eager to support! It was enlightening to see like-minded facilities around the world join hands in promoting much needed awareness for the vulture species. At Cango Wildlife Ranch we have four Cape Griffon Vultures (Gyps coprotheres) – our very own Adams family consisting of Gomez, Morticia, Lurch and Pugsley. We proudly provide a safe-haven for these birds, of which two have been rehabilitated.
In the weeks building up to Vulture Awareness Day, our staff cut and painted a life-size vulture wing-span board and built a vulture donation box, while our curators and volunteers collected vulture feathers on the ranch! We sold the feathers to members of the public, as well as photo’s of our grumpy Adam’s family, while visitors of all ages measured their wing-span against our mighty vulture board! Our informative guides included extra information into their tours, explaining the plight of the vultures and the importance of International Vulture Awareness Day! In doing so, our donations box gained a lot of attention, as did our posters promoting the Endangered Wildlife Trust! 
We are proud to announce that during the ‘Vulture-Weekend’ we raised a total of R1204.05! All the proceeds were donated to the Birds of Prey Programme, which is a conservation branch of the Endangered Wildlife Trust.
As a proud PAAZAB member, our confidence lies in knowing that we can all make a difference in the fight for conservation… and through working together - success is inevitable!


Four Leopards a week enter India’s illegal wildlife trade
New Delhi, India, 28 September 2012—At least four Leopards have been poached and their body parts entered into illegal wildlife trade every week for at least 10 years in India, according to TRAFFIC’s latest study “Illuminating the Blind Spot: A study on illegal trade in Leopard parts in India” launched today by Dr Divyabhanusinh Chavda, President, WWF-India. 
The study documents a total of 420 seizures of Leopard skins, bones and other body parts reported from 209 localities in 21 out of 35 territories in India during 2001–2010. 
Statistical analysis is used to estimate the additional levels of “undetected trade” and concludes that around 2294 Leopards were trafficked in India during the period—an average of four animals per week over the 10 year period. 
Leopards (Panthera pardus) are fully protected under India’s domestic legislation, and commercial international trade is banned under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). 
“TRAFFIC’s objective analysis has cast new light onto the sheer scale of the illicit trade in Leopard parts in India, which has hitherto been overshadowed by the trade in another of the country’s national icons, the Tiger,” said Dr Chavda at the launch of the report.
“Without an effective strategy to assess and tackle the threats posed by illegal trade, the danger is that Leopard numbers may decline rapidly as happened previously to the Tiger” he further added. 
Uttarakhand emerged as a major source of Leopard parts in trade, while Delhi was found to be a major epicenter of the illegal trade, along with adjacent areas of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana. 
Dr Rashid Raza, Coordinator with TRAFFIC in India and the lead author of the study said: “Even though reports of illegal trade in Leopard body parts are disturbingly frequent, the level of threat to Leopards in the country has previously been unrecognized, and has fallen into our collective ‘blind spot’.”
Close to 90% of reported Leopard part seizures in India comprised solely of skins, making them the dominant body part found in illegal trade during the 10 year period. Other body parts, particularly bones, are known to be prescribed as substitutes for Tiger parts in traditional Asian medicine. 
It is believed most Leopard parts are smuggled out of India to other countries in Asia, often via the porous border with neighbouring Nepal. Earlier investigations indicated many of the Leopard parts found for sale in northern Myanmar, northern Laos and the ethnic Tibetan regions of China originated from India. 
The report recommends the establishment of a Task Force to tackle illegal trade in the areas identified as having the highest levels of Leopard-related crime, as well as better regional co-operation between source, transit and market countries through initiatives such as the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN). 
An official database along the lines of “Tigernet” (

Two Oceans Aquarium hosts the 2012 International Aquarium Congress   
Held every 4 years, The International Aquarium Congress is the world’s leading event for professionals working in public aquariums.  2012’s IAC took place 9th to 14th September in Cape Town and was hosted by the city’s Two Oceans Aquarium.
The popularity  and number of public aquariums is growing and with so many challenges facing the marine environment, the conference was a great opportunity for many of the aquarium industry’s conservationists, executives, developers, and curators to meet and exchange information, network and hear from their peers about latest trends and developments in the aquarium world. 
Related:  Two Oceans Aquarium's Dr. Pat Garratt on the International Aquarium Congress (IAC) 2012 /  David Kimmel, COO Georgia Aquarium on Exceeding Expectations /  Managing Guest Experience at The Monterey Bay Aquarium - David Rosenberg / Aquariums are good for you! Dr Dave Gibson, MD, National Marine Aquarium / Interview with Ted A. Beattie, CEO, Shedd Aquarium
There was a theme of sustainability running through the conference with a keynote presentation from Dr Camille Parmesan on climate change and its impact on the world’s oceans.  As one of the world’s most biodiverse habitats – Table Mountain alone has more indigenous species than the British Isles –Cape Town was a fitting location for the 8th IAC, and the city provided a vibrant and stunning backdrop to the much anticipated event.
The opportunity to host the IAC is a highly competitive affair and Two Oceans Aquarium, after winning the bid, had clearly worked hard to make the event successful.  The first evening saw a drinks reception at the aquarium itself, with a welcoming address by Dr. Pat Garratt in front of the aquariums “predator tank”.  Amarula (think South African Bailey’s) and biltong were served and delegates were given a behind the scenes tour of the aquarium. Education and conservation are key components of the aquarium’s mission and the classrooms and outreach programmes of the aquarium were particularly impr


Water park to open in Shanghai
A 600-million-yuan ($95.45 million) water park, Playa Maya, is scheduled to open to tourists in western Shanghai on May 1 next year.
The water park will be near and affiliated with the Shanghai Happy Valley amusement park, and will become one of the city's major entertainment facilities, said Wang Dansheng, deputy general manager of Shanghai Happy Valley, owned by Shanghai OCT Co Ltd.
Playa Maya, which will occupy 120,000 square meters, will have 12 sets of aquatic amusement facilities from the US and Canada, Wang said at the opening ceremony of Happy Valley Magic Festival, which will run from Sept 30 through Oct 7.
More than 20 magicians from dozens of countries, including Malaysia, Singapore, Canada, India, Indonesia and South Korea, will perform for visitors, he said.
"Facilities are being equipped at the water park, and things are on schedule," Wang said.
Shanghai Happy Valley, which opened in 2009, has more than 2 million visitors annually and earns about 60 million yuan ($9.5 million) a year.
"We need a new park to expand our business," Wang said.
The 900,000-square-meter amusement park has used 650,000 square meters for the first phase of its construction and set aside 120,000 square

Abidjan zoo survives crisis and financial hardship
After 10 years of political crisis in Ivory Coast, including 10 days of heavy fighting in the capital Abidjan in April last year, the city's zoo almost disappeared altogether. Although it remains in a precarious financial situation, staff are trying their best to keep the attraction open
The WEIRD Psychology of Elephants
In 1976, psychologists John and Sandra Condry of Cornell University had 204 human adults view videotaped footage of an infant boy named David and infant girl named Dana, and asked them to describe the infants’ facial expressions and dispositions. They described their findings in an article in the journal Child Development. In the video, infants were shown responding to various stimuli, which were not visible to the viewer. For example, they’d be shown a teddy bear, so that their reaction could be recorded. They were also videotaped responding to a loud buzzer and to a jack-in-the-box. Participants described David’s response to the jack-in-the-box, for example, as “anger,” while they described Dana’s response to the same toy as “fear.” Participants rated David’s emotional responses to all three stimuli as more “intense” than Dana’s. 
Here’s the catch: David and Dana were the same infant. Each of the experiment participants were shown the same video of the same infant. Half of them were told the infant was a nine-month-old boy named David, and half were told the infant was a nine-month-old girl named Dana. That they described the “two” infants in such different ways was evidence that the participants’ perceptions were at least based in part upon pre-existing biases and preconceptions about the different ways in which boys and girls experience the world. 
Now, a group of researchers from Tokyo and Berlin have published a new finding about the relationship between personality and genetics in captive elephants. They collected genetic information from the blood, feces, tissues, cheek swabs, or hair of 196 Asian (Elephas maximus) and African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Japanese, American, and Canadian zoos, and sanctuaries in Thailand. Personality information was collected for a seventy-five of those elephants by distributing to questionnaires to their keepers. Each elephant was assessed by more than one keeper.

Three Animals in Infamous Surabaya Zoo in Critical Condition
Three animals in the notorious Surabaya Zoo are in critical condition and currently undergoing intensive medical treatments, an officer with the zoo has said.
Anthan Warsito, the spokesman of the zoo, said the three animals were a 14-year-old American grizzly bear called Beno, a 24-year-old babirusa and a Sumatran tiger. 
“The grizzly bear has been suffering from skin tumor since 2010,” Anthan said in Surabaya on Saturday.
The aging babirusa’s health has been deteriorating and is often ill, while the Sumatran tiger is suffering from a digestive problem, Anthan explained.
He admitted many animals in the zoo were in poor health condition, suffering from diseases, as 20 percent of the zoo’s inhabitants were over 20 years old.
Anthan said the aging and ailing animals were no longer fit for display, but the zoo would not opt euthanasia for them, hoping they would somehow survive.
“The aging animals, including some camels, elephants and deer, surely need more attention,” Anthan said, as quoted by the Indonesian news portal
The zoo, reportedly Indonesia’s largest, has become notorious since Antara news agency reported that it had turned into a “place of horror” and “death camp” for animals. A zoo officer said in March some 500 animals died there between 2010 and

L.A. Zoo privatization negotiations fall apart
A money-saving plan to privatize the Los Angeles Zoo has stalled after city negotiators failed to reach an agreement with the nonprofit seeking to run the facility.
The announcement that the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Assn. was pulling out of talks Thursday because of a disagreement over whom the zoo director should report to puts the fate of the facility in jeopardy, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana warned.
With the city government looking at a deficit of half a billion dollars over the next two fiscal years, the zoo will be "forced to fight with public safety and other city priorities for its own survival," Santana said. "Inevitable cuts" to the zoo budget could lead to hikes in ticket prices and other changes, he said.
Santana, who has pushed for privatization despite protests from city employee unions, says public-private partnerships are a way to maintain service levels in an era of declining revenue. He has called for similar arrangements at the Los,0,3467406.story

'Tiger man' Varty issues rhino horn challenge
"Tiger Man" John Varty has suggested that breeders should defy the government's trade ban and stage a high-profile global auction of horns.
In an open letter to the world's largest rhino breeder, Mpumalanga-based John Hume, published on his own JV and the Big Cats website, Varty said Hume should ask the environment minister for permission for a one-off auction of all privately owned horns. 
"Point out that the precedent was set in the 1980s when South Africa's National Parks had ivory auctions in which Japanese, Taiwanese and Chinese buyers participated in the purchase of ivory from culled elephants in Kruger National Park," he said. "The money from those auctions went back into the protection and conservation of elephants in South Africa." 
If the minister did not grant permission for the auction, he wrote, Hume should "create a global event", similar to the way Kenyan conservationist Richard Leakey focused attention on elephant poaching when he persuaded then-president Daniel arap Moi to burn 12 tonnes of ivory in 1989. 
"In your case, you go ahead with the auction, informing the South African government of your intentions. If you would like me to stand beside you, I will do so," Varty said. 
"You invite 100 private individuals who have rhino horn from dead or dehorned rhino to join you in the auction. 
"If you were on your own, the government could arrest you. I doubt if the government could arrest 100 high-profile private individuals trading openly in rhino horn and advertising the auction globa

CALLS were made last night for an investigation into the way Britain’s leading zoos are hired out for drug-linked music festivals and boozy office parties.
Undercover filming by animal welfare campaigners shows ­clubbers taunting gorillas and hurling objects into enclosures during a three-day rave at Prince William’s favourite zoo .
The partygoers mingled with shocked young families at the zoo when their rave tickets gave them free access to the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, in Kent, a ­fortnight ago.
The owners, the Aspinall Foundation, whose trustees include millionaire Tory MP Zac Goldsmith and casino tycoon Damian Aspinall, had hired out a large area 500 yards from their main entrance for the Ibiza-style Zoo Project dance festival weekend.
It also let the Hevy Festival, a weekend of punk, heavy metal and rock bands, use it with similar access rights in August, just two months after Prince William toured the zoo to back its black rhino breeding project.
Many zoos are now using their animals as exotic backdrops for events. London Zoo offers “Black Tie with a Hint of Animal” functions for office parties. Animal

Wolves were aggressive prior to fatal attack
The pack of wolves that killed a zookeeper at the Kolmården animal park earlier this year had displayed aggressive behaviour toward zookeepers in the past, according to a newly discovered report which contradicts the zoo’s initial assessment of the attack.
When the zookeeper was killed by the wolves at Kolmården in June 2012, management at the park said the incident happened without warning or provocation.
However, a 2011 incident report reveals that the wolves had previously threatened a zookeeper who entered the wolf enclosure alone, the Aftonbladet newspaper reported.
In the report, the zookeeper tells of being encircled by the wolves, who were behaving ever more threateningly.
“I screamed and made a lot of sudden movement. But it felt like that just triggered them even more,” the report reads.
The zookeeper became frightened and hit one wolves with a shovel – but the blow had no effect.
In the end, the zookeeper managed to escape from the enclosure.
Mats Höggren, zoological head at Kolmården, said that “thorough assessments and analyses” were carried out following the incident.
“The measures we implemented were to be more careful and make note of behavioural deviations among those particular individuals,” he told Aftonbladet.
Kolmården said the incident didn’t result in any major changes to procedures.
”All incidents have been documented and investigated according to existing regulations,” the animal park said in a statement.
On Monday, Kolmården will provide answers about the fatal June attack to the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket), the agency responsible for investigating work place fatalities.
In the report detailing the circumstances surrounding the accident, Kolmården is expected to present the measures it has taken to prevent similar incidents from

Tigers for Tomorrow on Untamed Mountain Approved for Feline Conservation Federation Facility Accreditation
Tigers for Tomorrow on Untamed Mountain meets the high standards of feline care and facility management that are hallmarks of the Feline Conservation Federation facility accreditation. Doc Antle, chairman of the accreditation board, visited the preserve and was so impressed he donated to it a trio of his very rare tiger cubs. Visitors can now view a golden tabby, a royal white and a standard orange Bengal tiger playing together in their roomy new habitat on the mountain preserve. The accreditation committee reviewed the extensive written application and approved Tigers for Tomorrow for FCF accreditation. 
Tigers for Tomorrow on Untamed Mountain is a 140-acre piece of property in Attalla, Alabama, nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. In the six years since the facility moved from Florida to Untamed Mountain, the animal population has grown to 87 predators

MBARI researchers discover diet of vampire squid
Vampire squid aren't blood suckers. They're "snot" suckers to put it not so politely. Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute have discovered that these unearthly creatures don't eat live prey, as their closest relatives, octopus and squid do. Instead, they drift in the ocean, relying on long filaments to capture floating debris that they coat with mucous before pulling it into their mouths. "They live life in the slow lane," said ?Henk-Jan Hoving, the researcher who conducted the new study, along with Senior Scientist Bruce Robison?.
Vampire squid live in the deep ocean depths where there is little oxygen. Most of their diet consists of "marine snow," which is made up of organic matter that ?drifts down from upper ocean layers where there are a lot more animals.
With their deep red skin and webbed arms lined with spiky-looking "cirri" (which are actually harmless), it's no wonder they were dubbed with the scientific name, Vampyroteuthis infernalis -- latin for "vampire squid from hell."
Vampire squid, about the size of a football, belong in the same class of animals as octopus and squid, collectively known as cephalopods. In fact, vampire squid were originally mistaken for an octopus





Tiger Killed and Butchered in Itanagar Zoo in India

Four Itanagar Zoo officials sacked for negligence of duty over tigress death
Two days after miscreants killed a tigress in Itanagar Zoo, the forest department on Wednesday terminated the services of three contingency staff and suspended one forest guard of the zoo for negligence in duty.
Miscreants sneaked into the zoo in the cover of darkness and broke open the enclosure of Oni, a third generation tigress on Monday night. They killed the tigress and left with her flesh. However, they did not take with them valuable parts like teeth, skin and claws, leaving the zoo officials in a dilemma about the motive behind the gruesome act.
"We performed the last rites of the six-year-old tigress within the zoo campus on Wednesday in the presence of the magistrate and police," deputy conservator of forest (wildlife) P Ringu said.
He said police have launched a search operation, but no arrests have been made so far. The zoo authority also informed the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB

With panda deaths, zoos need to reprioritize
A week-old baby panda no bigger than a stick of butter died at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C. on Sunday.
The official cause of death is still unclear, but the initial necropsy said there was fluid in the abdomen and some liver damage.
Only four zoos in the United States actually have panda enclosures, according to The Washington Post. The newspaper reported that borrowing a panda for a year from China costs about $1 million. That doesn’t include habitat upkeep, research requirements made by federal import permits and the basic care of animals.
Dennis Kelly, director of the National Zoo, said that over three years, the Washington, Atlanta, Memphis and San Diego Zoos spent $33 million more than they received in revenue for their pandas. Zoos, like colleges, are just businesses. Their main focus is to keep their animals safe and content, but they also need money to function.
It has reached the point that some zoos take shortcuts to support themselves. The vice president of Animal Care at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio said the zoo uses mirrors in the flamingo exhibit, according to the Columbia Monthly. These mirrors not only made the enclosure less costly but also make the flamingos believe they were kept in a bigger space than they were.
Similarly, in Rob Laidlaw’s book “Wild Things in Captivity,” he talks about research of elephant enclosures in zoos. The habitats were found to be 1,000 times smaller than animals’ natural one. Animals also act unusually when kept in these types of enclosures, according to a report in The New Scientist.
The principle behind a zoo is admirable. We should know what kind of animals are out there, what they eat and how they live, especially endangered ones. But zoos get lost in the money. While we still don’t know the exact cause of the panda’s death on Sunday, the facts don’t lie: Financial

Dubai plans Middle East's first crocodile park
Dubai is planning to establish a crocodile park in the emirate as its latest tourism attraction, officials said on Tuesday.
The Dubai Municipality said the crocodile park would be set up "in the near future", adding that it was studying similar parks in France, Tunisia and Belgium.
Abdulla Rafia, assistant director general of Dubai Municipality said the civic body has assigned a team from the investment section of Asset Management Department to study best practices around the world.
In comments published by news agency WAM, he added: "The Municipality seeks to build a new world tourist attraction in the emirate of Dubai through the partnership with the foreign investors to establish the crocodile park project in the

Dubai is planning the Middle East's first Crocodile Park

Plight of 2 baby Grauer’s gorillas raises fears others killed in Congo, only 4,000 remain
The plight of two infant gorillas, rescued after being kidnapped from their wild families, highlights the dangers confronting the endangered Grauer’s gorillas that have become victims of ongoing violence and a new rebellion in eastern Congo.
A decision to allow oil exploration in a national park there may put the gorillas at greater risk.
Virunga National Park said Monday that wildlife authorities rescued two baby gorillas in the space of a week this month.
“Baby gorilla trafficking is terribly damaging for endangered gorilla populations because many members of the gorilla’s family will probably have been killed to obtain the infant,” said the park’s director, Emmanuel de Merode.
Fighting between rival militia groups is making it impossible for wildlife authorities to find out how many of the Grauer’s gorillas have been killed. Grauer’s, also known as eastern lowland gorillas, exist only in eastern Congo. Experts estimate that fewer than 4,000 remain, down from about 17,000 in 1995, de Merode said in a statement.
The poaching comes as the park itself faces oil exploration. Congo’s Hydrocarbons Minister Crispin Atama Tabe announced Monday that the government is authorizing the British firm SOCO to explore

Volunteer for Nature Conservation

Zoo-tiger fans go to maul
Bachuta, the tiger who mauled an intruder in his Bronx Zoo lair, kept a low profile in his enclosure yesterday as dozens of fans lined up for a chance to see him.
“We wanted to see the tiger,” said Jeff Jones, 52, who waited 20 minutes for the monorail ride through the zoo’s Wild Asia exhibit, where Bachuta has remained out of sight since Saturday, the day after the mauling.
Billy Muntner, 49, who had also hoped to catch a glimpse of the 400-pound beast, said no one should blame the animal.
“The tiger did what the tiger is supposed to do. I’m very glad he’s not in trouble,’’ Muntner said.
A zoo volunteer said Bachuta has “been on exhibit since the incident.’’ Yesterday, he “just didn’t want to come out,” the worker said.
David Villalobos, 25, was mauled after jumping from the monorail and scaling a protective fence, claiming he “wanted

World's largest oceanarium set to open soon in S'pore (Watch the Videos)
There's no exact date given but the world’s largest oceanarium, Marine Life Park at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), will open its doors to the public by 7 December, officials said at a press conference this mormning.
On 7 December, the integrated resort will hold its grand opening.
The Park will feature some 100,000 marine animals in more than 60 million litres of water. Some of the highlights include the Adventure Cove Waterpark which will be the region’s only water park with marine life elements and the Southeast Asia Aquarium which will house a diverse range of marine life including manta rays and hammerhead sharks.
There’ll be water coasters for those seeking wet-and-wild thrills and opportunities to snorkel amongst thousands of colourful fish at the Rainbow Reef.
Finishing touches are being carried out at the Park, which will have 90 per cent of its marine life ready for showcase by the time it opens.
Details of ticket prices have yet to be confirmed.
Those waiting to catch a glimpse of the controversial 25 bottlenose dolphins will have to wait till sometime in 2013.
Animal rights groups and activists have criticised Resorts World Sentosa over its decision to house the dolphins in the Park.
Initially 27 dolphins, which were caught in the wild, were meant be housed at the Park but two died from a water-borne bacterial infection in 2010.
The remaining 25 dolphins are currently at a facility at Subic Bay in The Philippines.
Director of the Education and Conservation team at the Marine Life Park Biswajit Guha said: “We recognise that there will always be divergent viewpoints and from a Marine Life Park perspective, conservation, research and education are the pillars of the Marine Life Park and what we do".
"Essentially, the dolphins will be ambassadors for marine life, their counterparts in nature and more importantly, it’s their ability to actually inspire

UAE to host shark conservation forum
30 species of sharks in Gulf ecosystems under pressure from over-fishing
Top marine scientists from around the world will converge in Dubai next week for the inaugural Shark Conservation in Arabia Workshop.
Organised by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the four-day forum is to be held at City Seasons Suites from October 9-11 in coordination with the Ministry of Environment and Water to find solutions to thinning shark stocks in the Gulf.
Roughly 30 species of shark in the Gulf are facing fishing pressures that could have long-term impacts given that sharks take a long time to reproduce, experts say.
Dr Al Syed Mohammad, Middle East regional director of IFAW, said the UAE’s strict laws allowing fishermen to catch sharks only in the off season when sharks are not producing pups is a good example of protection measures needed to stave

Spray-on repellent could outwit incorrigible kea
Kea are renowned for their curiosity but can clash with humans, as anyone who has had rubber stripped from their cars at southern skifields can attest.
But the Kea Conservation Trust is developing repellents to stop the endangered parrots in their tracks.
Its efforts attracted praise last week at the West Coast Conservation Awards.
Trust chairwoman Tamsin Orr-Walker said the move was prompted by an urgent need to protect kea from aerial drops of 1080, which caused high death rates, particularly on the West Coast.
Initial trials of a non-toxic bird repellent in bait have proved successful on captive kea.
It worked by making them feel sick when they ate repellent-laced bait so they learnt to avoid trying it again, she said.
Studies are under way to ensure the repellent does not deter rats and possums from eating 1080 bait.
The trust is also investigating surface repellents to stop other problem kea habits, such as attacking sheep to peck the fat around their kidneys, and destroying equipment, such as kill traps or bait stations, foiling efforts to kill introduced predators.
The first trial of surface repellent, which is released when a kea lands on it, was done on a Queenstown farmer's merino sheep in June.
It makes kea feel sick if it lands on the animal then later preens,

Google adds coral reef panoramas to Street View maps
Panoramic images of several coral reefs have been added to Google's Street View service in its maps, allowing users to navigate their way around the sites.
The material was gathered by the Catlin Seaview Survey - a project studying the health of the reefs, including the impact of global warming.
The programme's director said the effort would help scientists analyse ecosystems and raise general awareness.
It is also a publicity coup for Google at a time of growing competition.
Google has previously offered computer-generated views of the sea floor terrain, but this is the first time it has incorporated underwater photographs into its mapping product.
"We want to be a comprehensive source for imagery that lets anyone explore anywhere," Jennifer Foulkes, Google's ocean programme manager, told the BBC.
"This is just the next step to take users underwater and give them the experience of an area that most people have been been to - seeing sea turtles, seeing manta rays, crazy pencil urchins and beautiful fish."
Locations added to the service

UN recognizes wildlife crime as threat to rule of law
Poaching and the illicit trafficking of wildlife products were raised on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly for the first time this Monday, during discussions on strengthening national and international governance.
World leaders gathering in New York for the global body’s 67th annual meeting highlighted wildlife trafficking along with other severe threats to the rule of law such as corruption and drug running.
In a written statement, permanent Security Council member United States highlighted “the harm caused by wildlife poaching and trafficking to conservation efforts, rule of law, governance and economic development.” The rapidly-growing illicit international trade in endangered species products, such as rhino horn, elephant ivory and tiger parts, is now estimated to be worth $5 billion per year globally.
“Such organized crime is increasingly affecting the environment and biodiversity through poaching and illegal fishing,” Gabon’s President Ali Bongo said during the High-level Meeting on the Rule of Law. “Gabon intends to strengthen its criminal justice

Zoo Director Speaks Out On Elephant Complaint
Topeka Zoo Director Brendan Wiley spoke out Tuesday night (9/25) out on the latest complaint against the zoo. It's from animal activists to the USDA, and it calls into question video you'll only see on 13 News and
In the video, you can see Asian elephant Sunda run toward the zoo's African elephant Tembo. In Defense of Animals members call it an attack from Sunda. The complaint states that the Topeka Zoo violates the requirement that animals in the same enclosure must be compatible. IDA member Catherine Doyle calls the behavior aggressive, adding that according to the Animal Welfare Act, animals must have sufficient space to make normal social adjustments.
Zookeepers say the move shows Sunda telling Tembo not to take her food. Wiley says "attack" is a strong word.
"Elephants live in a social structure that has a dominance to it, not unlike dogs or pets at home, if you have more than one," Wiley said. "When you see behavior like this, it's really important to evaluate not only what is going on right then, but what occurs before and after."
Wiley says the animals showed healthy behavior and began eating together after the incident. He says the complaint is part of a plan from In Defense of Animals.
"They are very open that they operate a campaign against the Topeka Zoo and its elephants. And so this is one of those tactics that typically you see in those types of campaigns. So is it surprising to us? No. It's really not. Does it give us an opportunity to look at the situation and explain it to the community? Yes it does," Wiley said.
The USDA did cite the

TB Concerns put transfer of Toronto Zoo elephants back in limbo
The tug-of-war over retirement plans for Toronto’s three aging elephants is far from over, with councillors being asked to rethink their controversial decision to order the animals sent to a California sanctuary.
The Toronto Zoo board is asking Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee and council to consider a new report from zoo staff that outlines several roadblocks preventing the move. These hurdles include the zoo’s top veterinarian saying he cannot back the plan because of active tuberculosis at the 80-acre facility run by the Performing Animals Welfare Society.
The latest move by the zoo board opens the door for a possible reversal of council’s decision last year.
Graham Crawshaw, the zoo’s senior veterinarian, outlined his concerns to zoo board members Tuesday, including evidence discovered earlier this year that the PAWS sanctuary has one elephant with active TB. That elephant is a female Asian elephant and would not be housed with Toronto’s African elephants. Dr. Crawshaw said he is not satisfied PAWS has sufficient quarantine measures in place to protect the Toronto animals. “Based on what I know, I cannot recommend it,” he said about the planned move.
Zoo CEO John Tracogna said the animal transfer also is being held up because of problems with shipping containers, aircraft

Croc bank to chip in for online zoo database
The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust (MCBT) has joined an international initiative to preserve endangered wildlife by contributing data to the largest online zoological knowledgebase.
The crocodile bank will use the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) application to establish an online database where they can record and preserve data. "ZIMS is a database that allows zoos to enter data pertaining to most of their management operations. Selected information can then be shared with other zoos," says MCBT director Colin James Stevenson.
The application has been created by the International Species Information System (ISIS), a global collaboration of more than 800 zoological institutions from round the world. The organisation works to strengthen knowledge about animals in human care and uses the information to save vulnerable populations. The croc bank has been a member of ISIS since 2011.
"ZIMS allows us to record not only data about the animals but also information about their care and maintenance," says Stevenson. This will help zoos improve the way they maintain their facilities. "We can enter details of the animals' diet and care, enclosures, records of weights, measurements and any medical treatment given," he says. So zoos can track and modify the way they are treating the animals under their care more accurately. "Since it is a global, real-time system, we can select a species and obtain up-to-date informatio

What's In Store For Russia's Little Lion-Tiger Hybrid?
Zookeepers and biologists at Novosibirsk Zoo in Siberia believe they have produced a taxonomic first. They have shared images of a "liliger," called Kiara, whose birth earlier this month raises a number of questions.
Like what's a "liliger"?
Lions and tigers share a common ancestor, and are extremely close on an evolutionary scale. Thus their shared genus (Panthera).
But big-cat cross-breeding is not unheard-of in captivity. As they're different species, the resulting offspring are hybrids.
Outside of the public imagination and a cottage industry, the lion-tiger hybrid is perhaps best-known as the favorite animal of the unlikely hero in the cult indie film "Napoleon Dynamite," "bred for its skills

Steve Irwin's Son Robert Fearlessly Feeds Crocodiles At The Australia Zoo
Following in his father’s footsteps, Robert Irwin, son of the legendary “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, has made his first public appearance feeding a crocodile at the Australia Zoo.
Robert, 8, appeared in front of crowds at the Zoo’s “Crocoseum” in Beerwah, Queensland. The young boy seemed entirely comfortable around the crocodiles, which were babies and not the full-size monsters that his father routinely appeared alongside.
However, despite the danger of the creatures, Robert appeared entirely fearless, feeding them, dancing around them, and even picking one up. A zoo staff member was right next to Robert on the off-chance that anything went wrong.
"It's awesome because every single croc we feed is different," Robert told Australian news outlet Sunshine Coast Daily. "It's really fun and exciting."
His mother Terri seems just as excited as her son about his love for wildlife.
"Robert's finally worn me down, so he gets to feed something in the show for the first time as well," she told Sunshine Coast Daily.
Robert seems to have spent his entire life around crocodiles. A famous photo of Steve Irwin shows the TV personality and naturalist feeding a crocodile with

Elephant, Ranger Protections Endorsed—But Do They Have Teeth?
Motions passed amid spike in African elephant poaching.
Amid an unprecedented spike in African elephant poaching, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) last week passed two motions it hopes will bolster protection for elephants and the park rangers who look after them.
The motions were approved without debate at the World Conservation Congress in Jeju, South Korea. (Related: "In War to Save Elephants, Rangers Appeal for Aid.")
The highest recorded rate of elephant poaching in a decade occurred in 2011, with tens of thousands of the animals slaughtered, their ivory smuggled out of East African seaports en route to East Asia. A 1989 CITES treaty banned international trade in elephant ivory.
One motion calls on all countries with African elephants to "prioritize the protection and conservation of elephant populations" and to ensure adequate legislation, penalties, and incentive programs for local people living among elephants.
Mary Rice, head of the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency, said by email that she has concerns about the elephant-protection motion, which "does not call for curbing the ongoing international illegal trade in ivory through coordination with key authorities such as INTERPOL."
"This is crucial for tackling illegal wildlife trade, which is serious transnational organized crime."
In the second motion, Africa's rangers asked the IUCN leadership "to encourage member states, governments, civil society, and local and international NGOs and foundations to provide support for the initiative of improved wildlife-resource protection."
The IUCN also made the unusual move of calling for a "high-level" meeting of conservationists as soon as possible to "recommend urgent measures" to stop the killing of elephants. (See pictures of ivory poaching in National Geographic magazine.)




Empire of the Penguin

Elephants Killed For Christ

Noah's Ark Zoo Farm elephant 'sanctuary' work begins
Building work is under way on a 20-acre 'elephant sanctuary' which is to be one of the largest exhibits in Europe.
Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, in North Somerset, is spending £1m on the enclosure which it plans to open next year.
A number of animal welfare groups have expressed concern over elephants being kept in captivity since planning permission was granted in 2010.
Up to ten elephants could one day live in the enclosure, which the zoo claims will offer them "welfare improvements".
Zoo owner Anthony Bush said it was a "significant step forward" in the care of elephants in captivity.
He said: "Elephants are the largest land mammals, and we want to create a destination of paradise for these important creatures."
The RSPCA said it was "extremely concerned" about the plans and had urged the zoo to drop them.
'Highly irresponsible'
Andrew Kelly, head of wildlife, said: "It is clear elephants do not fare well in zoos and we believe it would be highly irresponsible to introduce yet more of the animals to such a damaging environment."
"Studies have even shown that the levels of lameness suffered by elephants in captivity are on a par to those seen in intensively farmed dairy cattle or broiler chickens."
The Born Free Foundation, the Captive Animal Protection Society and Animal Defenders International have also previously expressed their concern.
The zoo has said the enclosure is designed "to offer welfare-improvements to elephants already living in captivity".
It could possibly attract elephants with behavioural issues and rescue animals.
Plans include a 1,120 square metre heated elephant house as well as woodland, mud wallows, crops for strip-grazing and a deep bathing pool.
North Somerset Council, which licenses

KC Zoo completes fundraising, breaks ground for penguin exhibit
The fundraising has gone well, director says, and now construction work begins.
The Kansas City Zoo has met its fundraising goal for a penguin exhibit, and construction crews will begin demolishing buildings this week to make room for it.
“This is something we’ve dreamt about for a long, long time,” said zoo director Randy Wisthoff at a groundbreaking Wednesday. He had mentioned penguins when he arrived here in 2003 from the Omaha, Neb., zoo.
The Friends of the Zoo here announced Wednesday that the group had raised $4.1 million for the project, exceeding the goal of funding 25 percent of the construction costs for major projects with private donations. The rest will come from revenues from a sales tax approved last year by voters in Jackson and Clay counties.
The contract with the J.E. Dunn Construction Co. for the 17,600-square-foot exhibit is $12 million, and the total project cost is about $15 million.
The Kansas City Zoo has never had penguins. But by the end of next year it will boast one of the best exhibits of its kind in the country. It will have a 100,000-gallon pool of chilled water for cold-climate penguin species. Their indoor space will include a snow-making machine.
A separate, 25,000-gallon pool will have both indoor and outdoor

Oregon Zoo makes a medical breakthrough with polar bears
It took years of training and some creative caging design and construction, but Oregon Zoo staffers who work with polar bears believe they may be the first in the world to successfully draw blood from the dangerous beasts without first anesthetizing them.
The blood draws, first performed late last year with Tasul, a female, were extended this month to her brother, Conrad.
The work, said curator Amy Cutting, could lead to improved veterinary care for captive polar bears, and could advance research done in the field with wild polar bears.
Cutting will share news about techniques developed in Portland when she travels next week to a meeting of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria; her colleague, Kelli Harvison, a veterinary technician, will offer a similar poster presentation at next week's national meeting of the Association of Zoo Veterinary Technicians.
So how do they get the 1,000-plus-pound polar bears to sit

Man jumps off Bronx Zoo monorail, mauled by tiger
A man was mauled by a 400-pound tiger at the Bronx Zoo on Friday after he leaped from a moving monorail train and plummeted over a protective fence.
The man was alone with the tiger for about 10 minutes before he was rescued by zoo officials, who used a fire extinguisher to chase it away. He suffered bites and punctures on his arms, legs, shoulders and back and broke an arm and a leg.
Zoo director Jim Breheny said the man was lucky to escape the tiger's clutches.
"If not for the quick response by our staff and their ability to perform well in emergency situations, the outcome would have been very different," Breheny said.
The tiger mauling happened at around 3 p.m. in the Wild Asia exhibit, where a train with open sides takes visitors over the Bronx River and through a forest, where they glide along the top edge of a fence past elephants, deer and a tiger enclosure.
Passengers aren't strapped in on the ride, and the man apparently jumped out of his train car with a leap powerful enough to clear the 16-foot-high perimeter fence.
The man was mauled by an 11-year-old male Siberian tiger named Bashuta, which has

Protests Continue Over Zoo World Giraffe
Protestors say the Panama City Beach attraction wasn't big enough to house the giraffe it had, much less two more giraffes.
The group gathered at the intersection of Highway 77 and East 23rd Street near Panama City Mall to call attention to their cause.
ZooWorld officials are trying to replace Sydney the giraffe who died this summer. They're trying to raise $50,000 to buy two baby giraffes.
They also say their current giraffe enclosure

Solon supports transfer of Manila Zoo elephant to Thailand
A congressman on Friday said that he supports moves by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal (PETA) to transfer a captive elephant from Manila Zoo to Thailand.
"Elephants are intelligent animals with complex social lives which, if denied everything that is natural and important, suffer socially and psychologically and often lead to abnormal, neurotic and even self-destructive behavior," Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla said.
Padilla, author of House Resolution 2632, was referring to Mali, a female Asian elephant which has been living alone in captivity at the Manila Zoo for almost 35 years.
PETA, an animal rights organization, is offering to pay for the transfer of Mali to a sanctuary in Thailand where she can have adequate care from elephant handlers and experts.
Padilla said Mali's current environment deprives the animal of socialization and endures internal confinement, loneliness, boredom and isolation in an area a fraction of her natural habitat.
Citing a finding of Dr. Henry Richardson, a world-renowned elephant veterinarian, Padilla said the chronic pressure sores on Mali's feet, cracked nails and overgrown cuticles can result in severe infection, which could cause her death.
Padilla said several countries have already closed their




Temple tiger numbers face cut

Population surge sparks dept welfare concerns

The National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department has asked Wat Pa Luangta Maha Bua to bring under control the population of tigers in its care to curb a dramatic increase in their numbers.

Damrong Pidech, the department chief, yesterday visited the temple's tiger zoo, well-known among tourists in Kanchanaburi, after a complaint that the temple was profiting from the animals by allowing tourist visits.

"I have come here to take a look at the living conditions of these tigers," he said.

"Frankly speaking, their living conditions are better than those in state-owned zoos.

"If I move them out of here, I am afraid their living conditions might not be as good," Mr Damrong said.

He said the department needed to closely cooperate with the temple to curb the tiger population.

He was concerned a rapid increase in tiger numbers will pose an added burden for the temple.

"As far as I know, the temple has a veterinary team to control the tiger population. The abbot told me he will separate male and female tigers during mating season," he said.

In 2001, the department found the temple was keeping seven tigers illegally. The department allowed the temple to continue taking care of them, while declaring them illegal possessions. Since then, the number of tigers at the temple has soared to 99.

The temple's abbot initially refused to allow officials to enter the zoo yesterday, fearing the animals might be taken away. He eventually allowed them in after 20 minutes of negotiations.

Phra Vissuthisaradhera, the abbot, said that he disagreed with the department's plan to reduce the tiger population by transferring some of them to state-owned zoos or wildlife breeding centres.

"I am not sure the new places will have good conditions like this place. We are very close to the tigers. The animals may suffer from stress if they are taken away," he said.

The department could control their numbers through birth control but then it would have to carry out the job by itself.

The temple spends 400,000 baht a day buying chicken carcasses to feed the tigers.

About 150 tourists, mostly foreigners, visit the temple weekly. The temple charges a 300 baht entrance fee for Thais and 600 baht for foreign tourists.

This brings in about 84 million baht a year for the temple.

The temple's tiger zoo is located on 30 rai of land. The temple has spent about 100 million baht building cement cages and installing closed-circuit cameras to monitor

Brief Report:
International Congress on Zookeeping 2012

Rhino Horn Poaching Fuelled by 'Respectable' Speculators Betting on Species Extinction

A rhino crisis fuelled by exploding demand from Asia for horn threatens to wipe out the species, fear conservationists.

The pro-rhino horn trade lobby argues that a controlled, legal business would undermine the black market and poaching. Nobody has disputed that the scale of slaughter of the animal for their horn is reaching crisis point.

South Africa, which has the continent's most sophisticated anti-poaching structure, lost only 15 rhinos to poaching from 1990-2005. This year alone, that figure has rocketed to 339.

Scientists estimate that there are around 21,000 white rhino and at least 4,800 black rhino left in Africa.

On the black market, rhino horn is currently worth more than its weight in gold.

What is fuelling demand in China and Vietnam are powerful beliefs in the healing properties of rhino horn with no basis in medical fact, according to the Environmental Intelligence Agency (EIA).

Consumers believe powdered rhino horn boosts sexual performance, can cure cancer and can be used as a versatile cure-all for sick children where more conventional treatments have failed.

Its soaring value is turning it into a trade commodity in its own right. A report by Traffic, the wildlife trade monitoring network, even found rhino horn being used as a deposit for a luxury car.

A criminal issue

But EIA executive director Mary Rice dismissed the idea that a controlled market could dampen the black market and kill poaching.

She told IBTimes UK: "Traditionally, this has been a wildlife issue but it's a criminal issue, just like diamond smuggling or people trafficking, The organised criminal networks are sophisticated.

"It is a syndicate involving people from all sections of society. The burgeoning trade encourages crime because there are a lot of firearms and these guys are poor.

"Rhino poaching is a low-risk, high-reward activity, but the poachers do not see much of the money.

"We want to see no trade at all and a complete ban on trade," she added.

"Governments need to adopt a more intelligence-led approach to the problem. For every poacher they stop there are another 10."

In a recent letter to the National Geographic magazine, Rice warned: "Rhinos teetered on the brink of extinction once in the past 30 years, but the current crisis has an added dimension ... syndicates speculating on the demise of the rhino by stockpiling horn."

Such groups accused of betting on the rhino extinction include the Groenewald Gang who are awating trial in South Africa.

Made up of 11 professionals including vets, safari operators and a helicopter pilot, they face 1,872 charges relating to rhino horn trading.

The syndicate is only the second alleged rhino horn gang to stand trial.

The pro-trade lobby

On the pro-trade side of the argument is respected conservationist Clive Walker, who pointed out that banning the trade in rhino horn has failed to kill demand.

He also rejected the prospect of extinction unless controls were tightened.

"The species almost went extinct and we were able to bring it back. If rhinos continue to decline at the rate they are now it would be difficult to say at what point extinction could take place," Walker said.

"The concern is not so much the imminent extinction of the species but that the level of crime involved in rhino horn and the trade in it has reached such dramatic proportions in terms of the costs, and whether South Africa, which is home to most of the world's rhino, is going to be able to get on top of it.

"It's huge and you are dealing with a country with social problems of immense concern and the government is trying to deal with those as well as trying to deal with a crime revolving around a substance that is wanted in a country far, far away," he said.

"We are dealing with the affects but not dealing with the cause. We don't know enough about the market. A lot more attention needs to be paid to the end consumer countries - Vietnam, China. There needs to be a great deal more done with those countries."

Critics of pro-trade point to what happened in 2008, when a stockpile of ivory from Africa was sold on the open market.

China won approved buyer status from CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) but the sale failed to dampen prices.

Instead, in 2011 prices hit $7,000 per kilo and 90 percent of the ivory was illegal, reported EIA.

CITES will meet in Bangkok in

Zoo must go back to future

Toronto Zoo board members seek to end city funding, Sept. 5

The model that the current zoo board proposes is very similar to the one upon which the zoo was founded in the early 1970s. I was the first membership secretary for the Metropolitan Toronto Zoological Society, a non-profit organization that operated the Metro Toronto Zoo (as it was then called).

The society’s board of directors was a who’s who of Toronto’s most influential names on Bay St., in academia and culture. The zoo director, metro chairman and the mayor of Scarborough were ex-officio members and the first chair was a public relations guru named Cecilia Long who championed the zoo whenever she could.

A separate fundraising arm called the Zoo Fund was a foundation that raised millions for the animal collection. The Zoo Fund also had a board consisting of some of Toronto’s most influential philanthropists.

Perhaps it can work once again, but zoo officials and politicians

Obese elephants given slimming help

Authorities in India are being presented with an massive task: managing the weight of obese elephants kept in temples.

In parts of India, elephants are kept in temples for religious reasons - taking part in ceremonies and festivals.

Efforts are on in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu to get these over-pampered tusked animals to slim down, officials have told the BBC.

Almost all the elephants kept in temples in the state have been found to be obese.

Accordingly, officials are temple officials are reconfiguring the diets of their temple elephants on the advice of veterinary surgeons.

"The female temple elephant - 15 year-old Parvathi - is overweight by 500kg and efforts are on to reduce it," said Pon Jayaraman, executive officer of the Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple told the BBC Tamil service.

Another elephant in the Kallazagar Temple weighs 700kg more than the optimum for its age, according

Liliger born in Siberia

What do you get when you keep lions and tigers in the same enclosure?

The Novosibirsk Zoo in Siberia says a 'liliger' was born at the zoo in August.

Reuters reports lions and tigers are kept in the same enclosure at the zoo and as a result a female liger, called Zita, was born.

Now Zita has produced a cub from a lion that is kept in the same enclosure - the offspring known as a 'liliger'.

Zoo keepers believe it is the only animal hybrid of its kind in the world.

The female cub has been named Kiara and will be available for viewing by the public as early as October.

'This cub has just started growing and develop, her character

What do you get when you keep lions and tigers in the same enclosure?

The Novosibirsk Zoo in Siberia says a 'liliger' was born at the zoo in August.

Moroccan zoo is home to last of Atlas lions

USDA zoo findings could remain secret

City appealing latest inspection

The public might never know what the U.S. Department of Agriculture found in its latest inspection of the Topeka Zoo, an inspection that triggered the city’s appeal of the findings.

In accordance with the USDA appeals process, any version of the Aug. 28 inspection won’t be published until after that process is complete, USDA spokesman Dave Sacks said.

If the city’s appeal is successful, the USDA will publish only the amended findings — not the original inspection, he said.

The original inspection will be posted to the USDA’s website if the appeal is denied and the USDA sides with its inspector, Sacks said.

In that event, however, the city of Topeka has another 30 days to file a second appeal before automatic publication to the website. The city would have a third opportunity to appeal if that one is denied as well, he said.

The city announced Wednesday it would appeal USDA findings from its Aug. 28 inspection. The city wouldn’t release what the USDA inspector found — only that the inspection focused on the zoo’s two elephants, and that the zoo was cited for violating the Animal Welfare Act.

“We do not want to fight with the USDA but to continue to have a cooperative relationship with them that will lead to an even better facility for the animals and visitors,” zoo director Brendan Wiley said in a news release. “We will continue our effort to address our differences with the USDA.”

Wiley said later Wednesday that the zoo hopes the appeal will lead to “a more uniform understanding of the inspection that occurred that day,” and that the appeal in no way reflected the zoo’s positive relationship with its USDA inspector.

The supervisor of the zoo’s inspector will make a decision on the appeal, Sacks said. But the supervisor won’t be visiting the zoo to make the determination. Instead, the supervisor will review the inspection itself and the appeal filed by the city, he said.

“The inspector was just there, and it was an official USDA finding,” Sacks said. “The appeal is the official statement by facility, so I don’t know that we would have to go back.”

Should Topeka disagree with the result of the appeal, it has two more opportunities to challenge the findings, he said.

Appealing the supervisor’s decision would send the determination to the USDA western regional director. Appealing that, he said, would take the matter to its final stage — the USDA headquarters in Riverdale, Md.

Sacks said the USDA doesn’t keep track of the number of appeals it receives in a year, and it also doesn’t have a good estimate on how long the appeals process will take.

“It’s in everyone’s best interest to make it sooner rather than


He brought up tigers in a reserve forest infested with poachers and tiger-haters

In 2009, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests received a jolt when it came to know that the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh too had no tigers left in it. Just four years earlier, the Sariska Tiger Reserve was in a similar situation and it had caused a massive public furore.

Poachers seemed to be having a field day. The animal was being hunted down for its body parts, which fetched a high price in China.

Stung by the public outrage, the MP government woke up from its slumber and shunted out all top forest officials from Panna. After wide consultations, it decided to identify officials who would be able to revive Panna’s lost glory.

The result: RS Murthy, an official who would so gloriously live up to expectations of the government, was appointed the Field Director in Panna. A decision was also taken to relocate a few tigers to Panna from the nearby reserves.

Shortly, two tigresses from Bandavgarh and Kanha Tiger Reserve were brought to the park after a male tiger was seen roaming in the periphery of the reserve. The male tiger though disappeared soon and it was believed he too had fallen victim to the poaching mafia active in and around the reserve.

A male tiger from Pench Tiger Reserve was brought in next, followed by two more tigresses from Kanha. The total count went up from zero to five.

What followed later was no less than a miracle, as the count further went up to 17 in less than two years.

While Sariska is struggling to make such a turnaround, Panna’s story has become a global benchmark for animal relocation.

However, while discussing the Panna success story, not many are talking about the man who made it all possible. The one who chased a male tiger for hundreds of kilometres, and brought it back to safety; the one who spent sleepless nights

Taiping zoo to get facelift

TAIPING Zoo and Night Safari will embark on upgrading work worth RM4 million in the coming months.

The upgrade will include the main entrance, tram station, a new enclosure for the seven elephants and the creation of an African savanna.

Zoo director Dr Kevin Lazarus said the upgrade, funded by the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority, will start at year-end and completed next year.

"We will try to recreate and mimic the actual scene of elephants and other African animal species living in the wild.

"The enclosure for the elephants will be based on the 'Elephants of Perak River' theme, complete with a waterfall and river bank."

There will be separate rooms and an exercise yard for both the lone bull elephant (male) and the six cow elephants (female) in the zoo, with added security features.

Dr Lazarus said it was necessary to have separate sections as the bull elephant could turn sexually aggressive during "musth" -- a periodic condition.

Testosterone levels in an elephant during this period can be as much as 60 times greater than at other times.

"Besides, this is also to keep our elephant handlers and the general public out of harm's way.

Dr Lazarus also said it was high time the zoo shared the elephant's rich history with the public.

"The elephant used to be a much-revered animal in the late 1800s, especially in Perak, where we used to have skilled elephant catchers.

"Those days, the rulers and the rich used to own elephants," he said, adding that six of the elephants in the zoo were from Perak while one was from Pahang.

Of the seven elephants, three, including the bull elephant, were brought from outside. The other four were born in the zoo.

The zoo is the only one in Peninsular Malaysia to successfully breed elephants.

On the African savanna,

Zoo Licensing Act 1981: Guide to the Act’s provisions

Check out the world’s first man-made bat cave

While it may lack most of Bruce Wayne’s gadgets, the very first artificial bat cave in the world is sure to provide resonable accomodations for non-superhero dwellers. The cave was introduced after a group of environmentalists raised money, in an effort to help save thousands of bats from a disease which has claimed the lives of millions of bats so far in North America.

The cave, located in Tennessee where the most documented bat caves in the US can be found, has yet to receive a name and was built as a sanitary hibernaculum, in an attempt to dwindle the numbers of fallen bats which succumb to white nose syndrome, a condition named for the distinctive fungal growth around the wings and muzzles of hibernating bats that was first discovered in a New York cave six years ago. Since then around 6.7 million bats have perished to the disease.

Back to the bat cave. It’s located near the Tennessee town of Clarksville, and is 78 feet long and 16 feet wide or about the size of a single-wide mobile home. That might sound small, but officials from The Nature Conservancy which built and raised $300,000 for the cave, claim that it can house a minimum of 160,000 of the estimated 265,000 that reside in the nearby Bellamy Cave network, where the syndrome was first discovered back in March.

Cory Holliday, director of the Cave & Karst Program for The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee, says the cave is completely bat friendly. All sorts of improvised metal works hanging from the cave ceiling ensure that bats can cling onto them for slumber, a rainwater pipe ensures humidity levels are close to their natural habitat as well as provide drinking water. Also, currently two 1.5-ton air conditioning units will run for the next few weeks to drop the cave’s temperature to the required range, between 41 and 50°F. For the sake of science, cameras have been installed to monitor the bat population which is expected to migrate there for winter.

Why go to all this trouble and build an artificial cave when you could simply cleanse the existing infected caves? Well, things is, according to Sally Palmer, director of science

Elephants and accreditation

Niabi Zoo leaders and fans have known for at least two years about the problem with elephants.

So when the American Zoological Association this week dropped the accreditation it granted the zoo in 2006, it was a predictable outcome of inaction by the zoo since former director Tom Stalf left in 2010.

This week, Forest Preserve Committee chairman Tom Rockwell initially blamed Stalf for the loss of accreditation. Rockwell’s knee-jerk condemnation flew in the face of facts. The real culprit is Rockwell and the committee for dawdling until the AZA did what Stalf said it would do two years ago.

The Forest Preserve Committee took five months to fill Stalf’s position after he resigned in 2010. Then Stalf’s successor left unexpectedly this January without the Forest Preserve Committee ever disclosing why. Yet, the ousted director was paid through June and allowed to live in the zoo director’s home through May 31.

The committee has authorized lots of work at the zoo, but none of it addressed the AZA’s concern about elephants. The AZA says elephants are social animals that suffer in enclosures the size of Niabi’s. Our zoo’s choice? Upgrade the pen or get rid of the elephants.

It’s the same choice Stalf outlined two years ago.

Privatize the zoo?

Niabi Zoological Society member and former president Dan Palmer told Times reporter Barb Ickes the society, “has approached the county numerous times, saying, ‘Let the society run the zoo.’ We have the support and flexibility, and we’re not-for-profit. We think we could save the county money and get a first-class zoo out of it.”

Not so fast.

Most of the zoo’s operational funding comes from

Jambo stamps go on sale

Four stamps to commemmorate the 20th anniversary of the death of Durrell's famous silverback gorilla, Jambo, go on sale on Saturday.

The images have been designed by Jersey Post together with Jambo's keeper of 15 years, Richard Johnstone-Scott.

Jambo became world famous after he was seen protecting a five-year-old boy who fell into the park's gorilla enclosure in 1986.

Gerald Durrell's widow, Lee Durrell said: "I am truly delighted with the new stamps, the eighth issue highlighting the work of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust for more than forty years. This one is particularly special to me, as

Celebrating Plants and the Planet:

When it comes to plants, it is clear that all depend on each other.

September's links at  (NEWS/Botanical News) look at some interesting civic arrangements:

. Many animals use marks or scents on trees to communicate with their own kind. Now it seems insects change the chemistry of plants. and even the soil where new plants will grow. to communicate with other insects.

. The Cape region of South Africa is a renowned biodiversity hotspot. Maybe the reason for the floral diversity all comes down to specialization in ant seed dispersal.

. What is a plant to do when insects lay eggs on its leaves? Call for parasitic wasps, of course! New research looks at how that is done.

. Doctors recognize that medicines are more effective if taken at certain times of day. But it is different for each patient. How to refine the body clock? Look to plants.

. Giant Rafflesias or corpse flowers are well known (especially in zoo exhibits) as parasites. Now it is discovered they take genes from their hosts as well as nutrients.

And, for additional credit, a thoughtful musing on the forbidden topic:

conservation and human population growth:

Yangtze finless porpoise: China's national treasure disappearing fast

At their current rate of decline, these ancient creatures are set to follow the baiji dolphin into extinction in 10-15 years

It's been an hour and the group of volunteers aboard the rickety fishing boat are still yet to spot a Yangtze finless porpoise, known as jiangzhu or "river pig". Thirty years ago, when they numbered 2,000, the mammals could be seen from the shore here dancing on Dongting Lake in the sludge-coloured waves. Now there are about 85 jiangzhu here. As Xu Yaping, the patrol's chief, peers through the haze, and coal barges and dredgers churn the lake, the chance of encountering this ancient creature seems remote.

The jiangzhu's survival is not guaranteed. Since the official extinction of the baiji, a river dolphin, in 2007, the porpoise is the only cetacean inhabiting the Yangtze River and two connecting freshwater lakes, Dongting and Poyang, China's largest. It's estimated there are around 1,200 jiangzhu living in the wild – two-thirds less than a decade earlier. The species is decreasing at a rate of 6.4% a year, making it rarer than China's national treasure, the giant panda.

A spike in deaths this year is causing experts renewed anxiety. In April WWF China expressed "deep concern" over the deaths of 32 porpoise in 2012. At the current rate of decline, the jiangzhu is

RZSS Wins Education Award

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) – the charity that owns and operates Edinburgh Zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park – is the proud winner of a prestigious Sandford Award for Heritage Education for 2012.

The Sandford Award for Heritage Education recognises excellence and quality in heritage education through work with schools, with the RZSS award citing:

“An education service of exceptional quality, RZSS well deserves its Sandford Award in 2012. This award reflects a commitment to quality and constant improvement and a flair for innovative new programmes. The high standard of content of the RZSS schools’ programmes, combined with sensitive use of real specimens and handling materials allows students of all ages to discuss the very real issues facing natural environments both locally and globally. Helpful staff provide all the information needed for teachers and pupils to plan their visit and new high profile attractions at the Zoo are incorporated into programmes which enrich children’s learning”.

Stephen Woollard, education and interpretation manager at RZSS, said:

“This is a great validation and endorsement of our education programmes by the award of such a recognised UK quality badge. We are thoroughly looking forward to being presented with the award certificate at Blenheim Palace in November and it will take pride of place in the Education Centre at Edinburgh Zoo.

“The assessment involved the Heritage Education Trust judges reviewing our education programmes by visiting the Zoo, as well as examining our education strategy, learning resources and work with schools and visitors. We have adopted Curriculum for Excellence in our innovative programmes to engage children and young people in conservation, science and the environment. We are truly delighted to have received the Sandford Award – a real testament and a fantastic accolade to the education work we carry out.”

RZSS education team provide a whole host of different education programmes and aim to make each lesson as interactive as possible for participants. Amongst the different programmes offered is the extremely popular Summer Schools programme which welcomed just under 400 students this summer alone! The team provide exciting, fun-packed interactive lessons, be it through the successful Global Classroom lessons or Zoo Environmental Skills Training (ZEST).

The Heritage Education Trust, who has awarded this particular accolade for over 30 years, provides independent quality assurance to historic properties and collections with delivered educational services.

Each award entry is assessed independently by a judging panel who take different criteria into account, such as development of the educational programme and the provision of relevant educational resources which will enhance the quality of the student’s visit.

I didn’t wash my hands after working at the zoo, I liked the elephant smell



Terry Nutkins 1946 - 2012


MUCH-loved TV wildlife expert Terry Nutkins has lost his nine-month battle with acute leukaemia.

The naturalist, who hosted Animal Magic and The Really Wild Show, died at home in his beloved Scottish Highlands on Thursday. He was 66.

Those tweeting tributes included Ricky Gervais, who wrote: “RIP Terry Nutkins. Animal lover and thoroughly nice chap.”

Radio 1 DJ Greg James said: “What an absolute icon. Him on TV was my childhood.”

BBC presenter Ben Fogle said: “He was one of my childhood inspirations” and Phillip Schofield added: “A delightful man & passionate naturalist.”

With his trademark unruly hair and denim shirts, Terry spent seven years as Johnny Morris’s co-presenter on BBC children’s teatime favourite Animal Magic, which ran from 1962 to 1983.

The dad of eight — and grandad of eight — then devised and presented The Really Wild Show, along with Springwatch presenter Chris Packham, staying with the programme from 1986 until 1993.

Born in London in 1946, as a child Terry had a Saturday job at the elephant enclosure at London Zoo.

He recalled: “The keepers liked my enthusiasm and cheek and so I learned all I could from them about some of the most dangerous animals in the world.

“I used to go home at night and when I went to bed, I didn’t wash my hands because I liked to smell the elephants on them.”

At 11, Terry went to stay with naturalist Gavin Maxwell, author of Ring Of Bright Water, in the Scottish Highlands, helping to care for wild otters.

The post was temporary but Maxwell ended up adopting Terry and home-tutoring him so that he could stay on.

When he was 14, an otter bit off the top joints of two of Terry’s fingers. In 2006 he recalled: “I had gangrene quite badly. I can remember the smell now.”

He told a medic: “Chop ’em off, doctor. That ruddy lot’s no good to anyone.”

Terry, who lived with his wife Jackie at remote Glenelg on the west coast of Scotland, near the Isle of Skye, later tried running a hotel and helped to restore historic Fort Augustus

Harp Seal Pups Slated for Death at Aquarium

Two six-month-old harp seal pups are slated to be killed on September 15, when the Aquarium des Iles in Quebec closes for the season.

The two pups, Zak and Mika, were taken from the wild this spring by Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO-MPO) and accepted by the aquarium for display for the summer. Aquarium officials took the seals, even though they knew the seals would not be released again at the end of the season and would be destroyed in the name of ‘research.’

“We are almost speechless by this aquarium’s loathsome and self-serving attitude towards wildlife. While we do not condone wild animals held in captivity, a responsible aquarium will, at the very least, provide year-round habitats,” stated the Island Wildlife Natural Care Centre (IWNCC), which is campaigning to save the lives of these two young seals.

The supposed reason they won’t be released is a potential for contamination, but the IWNCC points out that captive seal pups at other facilities in Eastern Canada will be set free.

It’s heartbreaking that the DFO is not only capturing

Former Marineland workers fight for regulations

Ontario needs regulations to protect animals at zoos and aquariums, former workers at Marineland in Niagara Falls said Monday as they delivered a petition with 77,000 signatures urging the government to take immediate action.

"Our best interests at Marineland was to care for these animals, but sadly over the years things got systematically worse and worse, at least in my personal experience," said Phil Demers, a former animal trainer at the popular tourist attraction.

In addition to dolphins, sea lions, walruses and whales, Marineland is also home to bears, elk and deer, which the former employees say are housed in pens that in no way represent a natural habitat for the animals.

Watching dolphins swimming with their eyes squeezed shut because their water filtration system had broken down and was not repaired was heart breaking, added Demers.

"My job went from trying to stimulate the minds and keep these animals healthy to administering appetite stimulants just so they’ll eat to get the medications that they needed in response to the problem," he said.

"Sadly my heart is a big one, and it continues to break."

Jim Hammond said he quit after 11 years at Marineland because he could no longer stand to see animals not being properly cared for and housed in inappropriate settings.

"One morning I walked in and filled out my slip, walked up to the administration building and handed it in, knowing that I had failed, at that point, to do what’s right for the animals," Hammond said as he choked back tears.

"We need laws that are provincially governed. We can’t stand for laws that are local."

Marineland declined to comment Monday, saying it wanted to wait until the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums completed a joint investigation and released the results of their inspections.

Dr. June Mergl, the head of Marineland's veterinary services, has previously denied the allegations, saying the animals receive quality care.

Premier Dalton McGuinty said Monday he too wants to wait to hear from the experts, but he expects the government will eventually move to regulate zoos and aquariums.

"We think the responsible thing to do, in addition to acknowledging the concerns expressed through those petitions, is to wait for the investigation to be completed and see what recommendations come to the fore as a result of that," said McGuinty.

"My sense is we’re going to have to do something, but I think we should wait for the expert body to weigh in on this."

PC Leader Tim Hudak said the legislature has more important issues to deal with than zoos and aquariums, such as jobs and the economy.

However, the New Democrats said regulations to protect the animals were needed immediately.

"How can we as a society put regulations on individual pet owners, but not on companies which use animals for entertainment," asked New Democrat Cheri DiNovo.

Zoocheck Canada said anyone can open a zoo or aquarium in Ontario without facing regulations or standards to protect the animals or the staff, and can import exotic animals like tigers without permits.

"You don’t require any expertise, any training, any experience with regard to the handling and care of wild animals or the safety of wild animals," said Zoocheck director Ron Laidlaw.

"There are no regular inspections, and there’s no way to close a matter how bad it is."

Hammond said he was disheartened when he worked at Marineland to see management get advance warnings of inspections.

"When I was at Marineland it was always very disappointing to hear that we were getting a call from the Humane Society, maybe a day or two days in advance, before


Saving the tiger: innovation, tradition or both?

Almost all large predators are now endangered and the tiger is particularly at risk due to rapid growth of both economic development and human population across Asia. With threats including habitat loss and killing of tigers both for their parts and in retaliation where tigers have killed livestock or people, the challenges are immense. This meeting will examine innovative approaches to long-term tiger conservation, including the use of technology to increase protection of tiger habitat, undercover operations to tackle tiger trade, a social-marketing approach to help change people’s behaviour, and a discussion of how zoos can contribute technical expertise to help deal with conflict tigers.


Sarah Christie - Head of Regional Programmes, ZSL

Linda Kerley - Project Manager, Russia, ZSL

Debbie Banks - Environmental Investigation Agency, Lead Campaigner

Adam Barlow - Asia Programme Manager, ZSL

This meeting will be chaired by Jonathan Baillie, Head of Conservation Programmes, ZSL

Admission is free and seating is available on a first come, first served basis.,626,EV.html?dm_i=9GD,YGHF,110QE2,2VODD,1

Reintroduction of the Cape Griffon Vulture into Namibia

Through better understanding, awareness, community education and support the bad or ugly image of the Cape Griffon vulture has definitely improved. This amazing bird being the largest of the diurnal birds of prey in the southern regions of Africa is mainly confined to a small area of south and southwest Africa. It reaches higher altitudes than any other vulture, as its huge wing span takes it to elevations or levels of about 26,300 feet (8,000 metres) above sea level.

This bird sadly is one of the most endangered being listed as “vulnerable” to extinction by the World Conservation Union. This means that the Griffon Vulture is threatened to total extermination and irrefutable disappearance from the world as we know it. Over the past few decades the Cape Griffon vulture has suffered a substantial and major population decline. The greater part of the Cape Griffon vulture population 5,000 to 7,000 birds is mainly found in South Africa.

Electrocution caused by power lines, changes in the migration patterns of large game herds and an increase in domesticated animals, where the domesticated animal is either buried or incinerated when dead, thereby lessening and shrinking the amount of food available to these birds, this in turn leads to dietary and nutritional deficiencies. Today poisons play a detrimental role in the threat of the Cape Griffon vulture’s extinction and endangerment, where in all probability most of the poisonings are mass and caused accidentally or inadvertently.

To destroy, eliminate or kill most key or apex predators preying on livestock such as Lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena and jackal, farmers poison the dead carcass of an animal, thus baiting or goading the predator. The Cape Griffon vulture being a bird of carrion, a scavenger, feeds on the dead animal that has been poisoned causing its death, thus assisting in the demise or unintended extinction of the Cape Griffon vulture.

The unsophisticated, inexpensive, effectual accessibility of poison supplies is a mammoth problem, as the farmer receives incorrect or unqualified information from the supplier, causing erroneous application thereby exterminating non-target species as well as prime predators.

The social eating characteristics of the vulture is unique in as far as that, very seldom will a single bird eat on a carcass. Instinctive and inherent protection knitted with individual security will prevail against other scavenger carnivorous. Intuitively the vulture will wait, until many other birds begin to eat. There have been many sightings of hundreds of vultures eating on a single carcass. This scenario plays out to the reality that if a carcass has been poisoned or even tainted with pesticide toxins and as many birds eating on that particular carcass at one time. This will ultimately dictate how many vultures will be poisoned on mass. As many as eight hundred vultures can be poisoned at one carcass sitting.

This exact picture tells a horrifying story and sadly has been the prime decline of the Asian vulture. Over ten million birds destroyed in ten years. This is a defined and distinct animal genocides depiction.

The decline or waning of the Cape Griffon vulture has dramatic inference on the ecosystem. The Griffon vulture being a bigger bird consumes so much more than other vultures; being immune to many carcass carrying diseases, a small cast or committee of Cape Griffon vulture will devour the bacteria tainted carcass in less than one hour thereby thwarting or preventing most of these diseases from spreading to our ecological unit and environment.

A focus on the reintroduction of the Cape Griffon vulture was initiated with the main objective of reintroducing the Griffon vulture back to Namibia. If we look back to the 1950’s about 2,000 individual Cape Griffon vultures existed in Namibia; today due to a myriad of raison d'être less than 12 vultures exist.

Rare and Endangered Species Trust (REST) of Otjiwarongo, Namibia together with the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust of North West Province, South Africa established a program with its prime focus and motivation being the

Guidelines may force many private zoos to close shop

Many private zoos and animal parks in the country are likely to close shop soon as they are finding it difficult to comply with the guidelines provided under the Wildlife Conservation Act.

Abdullah Ahmad Mahmood, president of the newly-formed Zoo Operators, Breeders, Wildlife Entrepreneurs and Animal Hobbyists Association said: "If the guidelines are not rescinded, it could result in the closure of many private zoos and it will affect the tourism industry."

Citing the stipulation for enclosures under the Act, which came into effect on Feb 1 this year, he said all zoos were given six months to comply with the guidelines.

"Ironically, enforcement by officials from the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) has been carried out since January last year even before the actual guidelines were made available to zoo operators," he said.

Abdullah said the specified sizes of the cages did not take into consideration the type of businesses involved. "Instead, it was a blanket ruling for all zoo operators, breeders, entrepreneurs and owners."

He said a zoological park with a "safari" concept would have different sizes and space requirements, as compared to one with an exhibit placed in cages.

"The guidelines also does not differentiate between an adult and sub-adult species, newly-hatched or newly-born animals all of which have different requirements," Abdullah

National Zoo welcomes baby panda

Keeper Becky Malinsky was getting ready for bed Sunday, sitting on the couch with her dog when she decided to check the National Zoo’s panda cam, which was monitoring Mei Xiang, the female giant panda.

Malinsky knew that Mei was nearing the end of her annual reproductive cycle, and that most experts figured, after five failed attempts to impregnate the panda, the odds

Will the National Zoo's Giant Panda Cub Die?

A panda cub's first days are filled with potentially perilous obstacles

Animal keepers at the National Zoo got a pleasant surprise Sunday night: Mei Xiang, one of the zoo's two giant pandas and its star attraction, gave birth to her second cub in seven years. Now, its handlers have to make sure the cub lives to adulthood.

Pandas are notoriously bad breeders—Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated and has had five false pregnancies over the past several years—but they may be even worse at keeping their young alive. Many giant pandas born in captivity die before reaching adulthood. Only four pandas born in the United States have survived, and of the six (now seven) pandas born at the National Zoo, just one, Tai Shan, has survived. Earlier this year, the first giant panda born in captivity in Japan in more than 24 years died of pneumonia just a week after it was born.

But the Washington, D.C.-based zoo's newest cub (keepers still don't know if it's a male or female) has some key things going for it. According to Nicole MacCorkle, one of the panda's keepers, Mei Xiang has been a successful mother before (to Tai Shan), and has been generally healthier than Ling Ling, the panda whose five cubs all died shortly

Don’t send orangutans to Kemaman Zoo

Friends of the Orangutans (FOTO) were told that six orangutans would be sent from Melaka Zoo to the equally terrible, if not worse, Kemaman Zoo in Terengganu.

Perhilitan must be out of their minds. We have seen pictures of a gibbon clad in a t-shirt and chained for visitors’ amusement, macaque chained to a pole, an emaciated tapir and owls in tiny cages, we wonder what other horrors are going on in that zoo, not that Perhilitan care.

Sending orangutans from one irresponsible zoo to another makes no difference to the well being of the six orangutans. Infact, we wonder if the six will be worse off at Kemaman Zoo. Because if the cruel Melaka Zoo, who were last week exposed again on orangutan abuse, are training Kemaman Zoo keepers to handle and manage orangutans, there is no hope the orangutans

Penguin paints pottery in Pawcatuck

Penguins at Mystic Aquarium may be a lot more talented than you think. One penguin in particular was able to go to a Pawcatuck pottery studio to strut his stuff.

Blue Blue is putting more than just blue paint on some tiles. The five-year-old African penguin is a trained artist. Well at least he's trained to extend his feet so trainers can put paint on them for creations.

"It can take many years for some of the penguins to get to the point where we can do something like we did today," said Sarah Dunn, Mystic Aquarium.

The training is tough because penguins don't eat much so they are not motivated by food rewards. They just need to get used to people.

The ceramic tiles and vases the penguins paint will be given out as prizes during Mystic Aquarium's annual penguin walk/run in October, which

S. Korean aquarium apologises for whale shark's death

A South Korean aquarium publicly apologised Wednesday for the death of a captive whale shark, and said it would release a second such shark following protests from conservationists.

"We admit a lack of proper preparations (for sustaining whale sharks in captivity) and we regret causing concern among the people," Aqua Planet, which opened last month in the southern island of Jeju, said in a statement.

Whale sharks, the world's largest fish, are protected under the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species.

The aquarium said they were caught by chance in a fisherman's nets off the southern island last month, about a week before the facility opened.

One of them stopped feeding around the end of last month and died last week.

The Korea Federation for Environmental Movement of Jeju said the whale shark had died of extreme distress in captivity.

It criticised the aquarium for holding the pair in a tank 25 metres (82 feet) long, 23 metres wide and 8.5 metres high, along with some 8,000 other fish.

Awareness of conservation is growing in South Korea. Jeju will host a major international congress on the issue next month.

In April, a court on the island ordered the release into the ocean of five

Perhilitan shuts six zoos
Six zoos around the country have been shut down by the Wildlife and National Parks Depart-ment Perhilitan for being unsanitary and unsafe.
They have also failed to comply with the Wildlife Conservation (Operation of Zoo) Regulations 2012, which came into effect last Feb 1.
The six are Lye Huat Garden in Kedah, Kuala Krai bird park in Kelantan, Countryview Recreation in Pahang, PD Mini Zoo in Negri Sembilan, Taman Kuang in Ajil, Terengganu, and Animal Wonderland at Mines Wonderland in Selangor.
Perhilitan said the six were closed following checks at 45 zoos and animal parks nationwide.
“All the affected animals will either be released to their natural habitats after a rehabilitation process (for local species) or handed over to other zoos in the country,” the department said in a statement yesterday.
Under the regulations, zoos and animal parks are required to ensure that the welfare, health and safety of the animals are taken care of.
They are required, among other things, to:
> Adhere to minimum cage sizes, which are specified according to various animal groups;
> Have a quarantine area and provide veterinary services;
> Provide nutritious and sufficient food for the animals, as prescribed by a veterinarian; and
> Vaccinate the animals.
Calling for zoo operators to comply with the regulations, Perhilitan said the vetting process at other premises was ongoing.
“Although this involves substantial cost, the welfare of animals in captivity has to be a priority,” it said.
As a follow-up measure, Perhilitan together with the Malaysian Associa-tion of Zoological Parks and Aquaria will conduct zoo management training to help members increase knowledge in welfare management and husbandry of wild animals in captivity.
The department stressed

Malaysia animal groups concerned over animals future after zoo closures
Following the closure of 6 zoos in Malaysia, animal rights activists and groups are worried over the future of the animals.
“Now that the government is cracking down on zoos and their horrific conditions, we are all wondering where the animals will end up at this point,” animal rights advocate Mohammed told from Putrajaya on Thursday.
The Wildlife and National Parks Department said that the zoos are being closed after they failed to comply with the new measures and are unsanitary and unsafe for the animals.
They have also not complied with the Wildlife Conservation Regulations 2012, the new regulations regarding the country’s zoos, which came into effect February 1.
The 6 zoos to be closed are Lye Huat Garden in Kedah, Kuala Krai bird park in Kelantan, Countryview Recreation in Pahang, PD Mini Zoo in Negri Sembilan, Taman Kuang in Ajil, Terengganu, and Animal Wonderland at Mines Wonderland in Selangor.
In a statement, Malaysian Nature Society communications chief Andrew Sebastian said he hoped that the animals would be returned to the wild and not transferred to another facility.
“We hope more animals will be rehabilitated and released to the wild,” he said in comments published by The Star newspaper.
“I hope the process will be transparent and the public, together with other NGOs, will be kept informed,” he said.
He added that the move was a positive beginning and showed that the government was getting stricter against errant zoo operators.
The closures also come as another set of regulations are to be established this month, but animal rights activists are tentatively optimistic they will make an impact.
Malaysian Animal Welfare Society president Shenaaz Khan told The Sun newspaper that she believes that without a strong enforcement operation, the laws are meaningless and zoos can continue to treat animals poorly.
“Under these new regulations, even forcing animals to ride a bicycle and juggle balls is an act of cruelty to animals because it is not their natural behavior,” she said.
But she fears that without proper government enforcement and ending permits for new zoos in order to focus on the existing zoos and their conditions, these acts will persist.
The new regulations for zoos in Malaysia are in line with international standards, and have garnered the support from animal rights groups and activists, despite the worry over enforcement.
They include minimum cage sizes as well as having quarantine areas and a veterinary clinic or animal hospital with a full-time veterinary on site.
Shockingly, some “animal sanctuaries” in the country do not currently have an on-site veterinary to treat animal injuries.
Also, zoos and other facilities must deliver vaccinations to all animals, “supply nutritious and adequate food, maintain cleanliness and keep a proper medical record of the animals, perform euthanasia when necessary, conduct wildlife shows involving the animals’ natural behavior

AK-47s, Quack Medicine, and Heaps of Cash: The Gruesome Rhino Horn Trade, Explained
Organized criminals, some operating in the US, are smuggling the valuable body part of the majestic creature.
The scene of a rhino crime
On a grassy expanse somewhere in South Africa's Kariega Game Reserve in March, a male rhinoceros struggled to its feet, hobbled several paces, and then thudded back down under its own weight. The beast's iconic horn had been macheted off by poachers, and all that remained was a mound of raw, mutilated flesh. Not too far off, the carnage was even worse. Sprawled beside a bush, a female rhino heaved for air on a patch of grass damp with her own blood. "I just thought surely we can't save this one," says wildlife veterinarian Dr. William Fowlds in the footage below, as he examines the bull's injuries and tends to the aftermath.
After making surprising steps toward recovery, the male rhino, Themba, drowned in a watering hole. Miraculously, the female, Thandi, fought against the odds and successfully survived her brutal skull hacking:
Wait, this is just an isolated incident, right?
 Since the 1970s, rhino populations have declined by more than 90 percent. Due to increased law enforcement and conservation efforts, poaching in South Africa began to slow during the early 90s and through most of the next decade, with killings consistently in the single or low double digits. In 2008, however, a resurgence occurred. The number of poachings skyrocketed from 13 in 2007 to 83 in 2008. In 2010, the number shot up to 333. And then, last year, it hit a high of 448. The latest numbers (281) suggest that 2012 will edge out 2011. "Poaching levels are unsustainable," says John Scanlon, the secretary-general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in a recent documentary that premiered at the United Nations' Rio+20 conference. "This species will be driven to extinction in the wild if these trends continue." South Africa, which is home to 90 percent of the world's rhino population, hosts two species, the black rhino and the white rhino. The black rhino is

Rhino horn sale angers B.C. animal defence group
The sale of a rhinoceros horn at an auction in Victoria has raised the ire of one animal rights' group.
It is illegal to sell rhino horns taken after 1975, but the horn sold last night for $14,000 at Lunds auction house is believed to be legal, according to manager Peter Boyle.
“If we felt if there would be a problem with this thing, we wouldn't get involved. But we don't see a problem at all,” Boyle said.
But Marley Daviduk, a campaigner with the Vancouver Animal Defence League, said the age of the horn should not make a difference.
“I think it's glorifying an industry that's causing the extinction of species overseas,” Daviduk said. “It's time to make this connection to what's happening in Africa and have a no-tolerance policy for the trade in any kind of animal

Farming rhinos and legalising sale of their horns worth more than gold 'will save them from extinction', claims farmer
Rhinos could be saved from extinction by breeding them like cows in order to harvest their valuable horns, according to a controversial millionaire farmer.
Rhino breeder John Hume keeps nearly 800 beasts on his cattle-style ranches - while the creatures are almost extinct in the wild - and has a multimillion pound stockpile of their horns.
Last week South African government figures revealed a record 281 wild rhinos had been killed this year alone to supply an insatiable Far East market for illegal horn.
The animals are butchered in the bush for their precious horns which are formed from keratin, the same substance that occurs in human

Former Marineland staff ‘sickened’ by park’s explanations
Brendan Kelly left after his shift last week as MC of the stadium show at Marineland, and hasn’t gone back. The grinning guy in the bright red shirt who invited children to feed the dolphins couldn’t take it anymore.
“I can’t go back now. I just can’t face being that happy person, knowing what happens to the animals,” said Kelly.
Kelly’s last shift was last Tuesday. In a Star report on Wednesday, eight former Marineland employees told of recurring water problems at the park that left animals sick and suffering fur loss, skin conditions and eye problems, including blindness. The trainers blamed short-staffing for the death of Skoot, a baby beluga who died after an attack by adult male belugas over two hours on May 28, 2012.
In an interview, Kelly recounted incidents over six years (some of his time seasonal) as a marine mammal trainer, including a bad time with dolphins in October 2011. He was powerless, he said, to help five dolphins swimming in green water in the barn. After watching them breeching, chuffing (loudly exhaling) and “struggling to breathe,” he went to his supervisor, only to be told nothing


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