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Zoo News Digest Jan-Feb 2014

Zoo News Digest

Jan-Feb 2014



Police Unearth Evidence of Illegal Animal Transfers at ‘Zoo of Death’
Police in Surabaya said on Sunday they had found sufficient evidence to indicate that violations had occurred during the transfer of animals from Surabaya Zoo, hundreds of animals have died in unnatural and often harrowing conditions, amid increasing reports of mistreatment and mismanagement.
"We have found sufficient evidence to raise the status to a full investigation,” Adj. Sr. Comr. Farman, the Surabaya Police’s chief of detectives, told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday.
Farman said it appeared that the zoo, under the then-management of a caretaker team led by Tony Sumampau, the director of Taman Safari Indonesia, had violated the 1990 Natural Resources Conservation Law, which prohibits the trade in certain endangered species.
The law also stipulates that wildlife can only be traded with wildlife and not with other items.

Former Zoo Chief Denies Animal Transfers Were Illegal
An official previously in charge of the management of Surabaya Zoo has acknowledged that non-conservation institutions were among those that received animals as part of a program to ease overcrowding at the facility, but denied that the process violated wildlife trade rules.
Tony Sumampau, the
director of Taman Safari Indonesia and formerly the head of a caretaker team overseeing Surabaya Zoo, said on Tuesday that the institutions included a naval base in Surabaya, the tourism office in the town of Malang, and the East Java Police headquarters.
Tony said the transfer of the animals, mostly deer, was legal because it was approved by the Forestry Ministry, despite the recipient institutions not having any wildlife conservation function.

‘Surabaya Zoo Lion’s Death Not Malicious’
Local police have decided to end their investigation into the Jan. 7 death of a male lion at the Surabaya Zoo after concluding that the animal’s death had not been caused by zoo staff.
"The lion died because it was strangled by the sling used to close the pen. It was able to reach out to the sling himself,” said Sr. Comr. Farman, chief of Surabaya Police’s detective unit.
He added that police had drawn the conclusion after investigating the location of his death and taking into account expert opinions.
Farman said the lion, named Michael, may have learnt to reach the steel cables that secured the cage as his keepers would usually feed him from above.
Rahmat Suharta, a veterinarian at the zoo, meanwhile said the lion was still very aggressive, especially at night — the time of his death — which was why zoo officials had not placed him in a display cage.

Danish Zoo Kills Giraffe To Prevent Inbreeding
Saying it needed to prevent inbreeding, the Copenhagen Zoo killed a 2-year-old giraffe and fed its remains to lions as visitors watched, ignoring a petition signed by thousands and offers from other zoos and a private individual to save the animal.
Marius, a healthy male, was put down Sunday using a bolt pistol, said zoo spokesman Tobias Stenbaek Bro. Visitors, including children, were invited to watch while the giraffe was then skinned and fed to the lions.
Marius' plight triggered a wave of online protests and renewed debate about the conditions of zoo animals. Before the giraffe was killed, an online petition to save it had received more than 20,000 signatures.
But the public feeding of Marius' remains to the lions was popular at Copenhagen Zoo. Stenbaek Bro said it allowed parents to decide whether their children should watch what the zoo regards as an important display of scientific knowledge about animals.

HE owner of South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Dalton has defended a Danish zoo’s decision to kill a giraffe in a bid to prevent inbreeding.
The story of Marius the giraffe shocked the world when, on Sunday, Copenhagan Zoo announced it had killed the animal despite international outcry.
The male giraffe was killed using a bolt pistol and there was further outrage when it was revealed young children and families had witnessed its autopsy and the corpse being fed to the lions.
The zoo defended its decision and said the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria had recommended Marius be put down.
David Gill backed the Danish zoo through a post on his park’s Facebook page.
Mr Gill wrote: "Copenhagen Zoo did not have space for the giraffe as it was maturing and would have suffered from stress when being ejected from the group, its genetics were very well represented in the population making it an animal that would not be allowed to breed in the future.

Zoo that’s not afraid to stick its neck out
THERE was much outrage across the world this week after a Danish zoo shot one of its giraffes dead.
As a crowd-puller for the zoo, even I could appreciate, it probably wasn’t going to be a winner.
They went one better than that at Copenhagen Zoo, however, by then publicly skinning the creature (after it was dead), chopping up the body parts and feeding them to the lions.
I’m not sure who’s running the public relations department at Copenhagen Zoo, but they may want to give themselves a shake. What’s their next big PR idea, a log flume at Auschwitz?
The giraffe had to be put down, the zoo tells us, because it had the wrong genes.
Castration was an option (for the giraffe, not the PR department – though it’s a thought) but was considered ‘cruel’.

Why It Makes Sense to Kill Baby Giraffes (Sorry, Internet)
A second Danish zoo has announced that it might kill a male giraffe. The news comes just days after the internet exploded with outrage when Marius the 18-month old giraffe was dispatched with a bolt gun and dissected in front of an audience that included children, before being fed to the lions at the Copenhagen Zoo. In a dark twist, the next potential euthanasia candidate, at the Jyllands Park zoo, is also named Marius
The media circus began with protestors outside the Copenhagen Zoo on Sunday and a petition signed by 27,000 people to rehouse Marius in one of several zoos that had already indicated that their doors were open.
Then came the death threats to Bengt Holst, the zoo's director of research and conservation. And the emotional opinion pieces.
As this debate rages, it's crucial to remember that Marius was not just an exotic attraction: he was part of a larger conservation program that breeds animals with the specific goal of maintaining the diversity of each species' gene pool.

Giraffe controversy: To kill or not to kill? Former S'pore Zoo chief Fanny Lai weighs in
My husband is a Dane, so every year we will spend our summer near Copenhagen.
One of the highlights of these trips has always been to visit friends in Copenhagen Zoo, both the human and non-human kind. It is one of the oldest and most charming zoos in Europe with 155 years of history, and its S$48 million Elephant House, designed by renowned British architect Norman Foster, is probably the best captive elephant display in the world. It radiates a great balance between research, education, animal welfare and customer service.
Therefore, we were surprised to read the news on Sunday that the zoo had made a public spectacle of euthanising an 18-month old male giraffe named Marius in front of visitors and then feeding the remains to its lions. It provoked an instant global debate on the ethical practice of zoos and put the spotlight on a practice that is well hidden from the public’s view by most of the zoos.

How to solve a problem like Marius?
Zoos have had a pretty bad press last week. Copenhagen Zoo's killing of Marius, a healthy baby giraffe, and feeding him to lions as an educational exercise, was probably not the best way to advertise how well it was doing at breeding endangered giraffes.
And now a second giraffe (also called Marius) may be culled in Denmark next week. If you are a giraffe in Denmark right now, you might be checking to see if you're called Marius.
The first Marius should have been a huge success story for the modern zoo system, where accredited members agree to follow collective guidelines and husbandry techniques to promote the breeding of selected rare species. In Europe, this is co-ordinated by Eaza, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.
It's an enormous operation involving thousands of animals across 347 zoos, mostly in Europe. And because of extremely stringent entry requirements — mere membership of your national zoo governing body, for instance, does not automatically qualify you to join — it is safe to say that these are 347 of the best zoos in Europe.

The Death of Marius: A Step By Step Analysis
A lot of internet outrage has been directed at the Copenhagen Zoo in the past week after they euthanized a young giraffe  because his genes were too common. From what I’ve seen, there are a lot of misconceptions about what happened, and a lot of hyperbolic statements are being thrown around about the event. The different decisions made by the zoo are being mushed together to tell one nightmarish tale, with adjectives like  "barbaric” and "cabalistic” used to describe the so-called "entertainment.”
But did the zoo really just hack a baby giraffe to bits to amuse its (clearly deranged) visitors? Let’s start from the end and work our way back to the beginning of the story.

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Gove urged to strip 'creationist' zoo of educational award
TV academic Alice Roberts and the British Humanist Association have written to Michael Gove raising concerns that a creationist zoo has been handed an award recognising the quality of its educational provision.
The Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in north Somerset was re-awarded a "quality badge” by charity the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC), which accredits venues that hold educational school visits.
But the move has been heavily criticised by Professor Roberts, president of the Association of Science Education, and the BHA, both of which have urged the education secretary to intervene and withdraw the award.

What 'Blackfish' left on the cutting room floor
There is one essential truth emphasized by every former killer whale trainer who appeared in "Blackfish," a film featured on CNN and recently nominated by the British Academy Film Awards for best documentary:
They all speak movingly about how they respect and love the animals with which they shared their days and had a deep, special bond with them -- as do all professionals who work for zoological parks and aquariums.
But "Blackfish" ignores the essence of parks and aquariums -- their dedication to wildlife research, conservation, education and rescue of stranded marine mammals.
And, most importantly, it ignores their commitment to the animals' welfare, providing them with loving, state-of-the art care based on the latest advances in science and insights of experience.
Marine parks help wildlife, inspire, educate
Conservation scientists and wildlife researchers need marine parks and aquariums to learn how to better save animals in the wild. There's not a single mention of this in "Blackfish."
Today's pressing conservation and scientific questions cannot be answered by studying only marine mammals in the wild. Much research depends on detailed case histories or the control of experimental variables.

Zoo licence now needed at Normanby Hall - after 39 years!
NORTH Lincolnshire Council has been forced to seek a zoo licence from itself to continue keeping a deer herd at Normanby Hall Country Park.
The four-year licence, to be issued under a 33-year-old law, will cost taxpayers £1,100.
For the past 39 years the deer park, above, has been exempted from having to seek zoo status. But a review of the size has revealed the exemption should never have been granted by the former Scunthorpe Borough Council.
A North Lincolnshire Council spokeswoman said: "We look at zoos and exempt premises on an annual

Pittsburgh zoo settles federal investigation of mauling death by African painted dogs
The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium has agreed to pay $4,550 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of a settlement, ending the agency's review of the death in 2012 of a toddler who was fatally mauled after he fell into a wild dog exhibit, zoo officials announced Thursday.
The settlement, and waiver of the zoo's right to a hearing, closes the USDA's investigation of the death at the African painted dog exhibit. But, the zoo said in a news release, it is not an admission of liability.
"It is important that we are able to take this step to move forward in order for everyone to heal," zoo president and CEO Barbara Baker said in a statement. "Safety is always a top priority. All of our exhibits meet the highest USDA and [Association of Zoos and Aquariums] standards and we will continue to work with both agencies to ensure those standards are met and exceeded."

Observe to Learn: Exploring Animal Behavior
An App that every ZooKeeper Needs

Polar bear brothers in China zoo want mates
A polar-themed park in China has issued a global "marriage-seeking" bid for two polar bears in captivity.
The Harbin Polarland in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, announced the bid at a polar animal show on Valentine's Day on Friday.
Due to the lack of female polar bears in China, both bears remain without mates despite their relatively advanced ages.
The polar bears, though not brothers by blood, are named Tangji and Kede. When combined, their names read as the Chinese translation of "Don Quixote," the gentleman protagonist of the famous Spanish novel.
Their keeper said polar bears reach sexual maturity at the age of 5. However, the older bear is 10 years old, and the younger one is 9, making both "elder bachelors."
The bear brothers were wild bears imported from Russia in 2006.
There are few polar-themed parks in China, a

These Birds Are Dying So Rich, Powerful Men Can Improve Their Sex Lives
According to myth, though not supported by any scientific studies, the meat of houbara bustards has aphrodisiac qualities.
ery year beginning in November, the tawny, mottled birds known as houbara bustards make their annual migration southwest from their breeding grounds in Kazakhstan, China, and Mongolia. Most end up in the deserts of Pakistan.
Another migration, by some of the richest and most powerful men in the world, soon follows them there, armed with almost every kind of hunting weapon imaginable.
Well, no drones, so far. But for Pakistani environmentalists, this uncontrolled slaughter by foreign powers is almost as enraging. The hunters often deploy a trained falcon to swoop in on a houbara and slam it to the ground, the victim reduced to a violent flapping of wings and feathers torn loose from its flesh. (They preserve the memory in videos like this.) They also use shotguns on houbaras and target Siberian cranes and almost any other living thing foolish enough to come in range. A 2011 estimate—a guesstimate, really—put Asia’s houbara population at no more than 55,000 birds and sharply declining.

The plight of neglected animals at Casablanca’s Ain Sbaa Zoo
That humans suffer the worst deplorable situations imaginable on a daily basis is something that we might have grown accustomed to in Morocco. To see voiceless animals caged for life, deprived of food, and resigned to their plight, is heartbreaking and calls for alarm.
The Zoo of Ain Sebaa, located in Casablanca, the fledgling economic hub of Morocco, was an institution that was once the pride jewel of every Moroccan. The sad reality is that the Zoo has fallen on a downward hard times due to neglect and mismanagement for years, and has become more of a moral pitiful slow death of the animals living there under some of the most unsanitary despicable conditions those animals are subjected to everyday.
The zoo was a curious attraction to countless people from different ages and different parts of Morocco for decades. Now it is but a dilapidated long forgotten facility forsaken by time and misery and the misfortune of the resilient animals housed there.

Would a better zoo design have saved Marius the giraffe?
Changing attitudes toward animals have led zoo architects to rethink their designs. How do Israeli designers meet the needs of animals and visitors alike?
Many people were horrified by the news earlier this month that a young giraffe was put to death at a Denmark zoo to avoid undesirable mating. The giraffe’s killing by his handlers, and his flesh being fed to lions, aroused a public debate over the living conditions and treatment of zoo animals. In recent years, zoo planners have taken into account changing attitudes toward animals and the need to create comfortable environments for the animals while still maintaining visibility for human visitors.
"The medium is the message,” says Dr. Amalia Terkel as she drives carefully down the paths of the savannah surrounding the zoo at the Ramat Gan Safari. "Here you have a park and around it a city that’s all concrete. In the savannah the animals are free, and we’re the ones who are stuck inside a cage of metal and glass.”

Noah's Ark Zoo Farm: Buta the elephant arrives at her new home
NOAH'S Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall welcomed a new arrival at its Elephant Eden site on Thursday. Buta, a female African elephant, became the first to move into the largest purpose-built elephant habitat in northern Europe where the zoo hopes to establish a herd.
Buta was transported to the new 20-acre area from Knowsley Safari after four months of special training.
Buta has arrived first, to be followed shortly by Nissim, a 19-year-old bull from the same herd at Knowsley Safari, who will join her again at the visitor attraction.
Zoo supporter Ann Widdecombe, above, is set to officially welcome the new elephant on Friday.
Noah's Ark has been working with Knowsley Safari, which is based in Merseyside, for nine months to arrange the move.

An Open Letter on Cetaceans in Our Care
We would like to take this opportunity to provide facts in the light of the continued circulation of inaccurate messages that have been shared by some who may be misinformed about our animals and our conservation efforts.
Vancouver Aquarium is a non-profit society—proceeds directly support our conservation, research and education programs. Our team of 1,500 staff and volunteers provide exceptional care to our animals and are deeply committed to ocean conservation. One of the most impactful ways we do this is by raising awareness and through public engagement.

China’s panda pair to leave for Belgium
A pair of giant pandas are leaving for Belgium on Saturday, on lease from a breeding center in Southwest China's Sichuan Province.
Xing Hui, the male and Hao Hao, the female, are both 4 years old and are bound for Belgium's Pairi Daiza zoo for the next 15 years, as announced during Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo's September visit to China.
China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas, the world's largest research base for the species, confirmed on Thursday that the pandas were "in a good condition and ready for the trip."
"It's the first time that we have sent animals abroad for so long [15 years], and we hope they adapt to life in Belgium as soon as possible," Zhang Hemin, head of the center, said.
The center receives panda lease applications from around the world. Usually, the lease term is 10 years.
The pair are expected to arrive in Brussels on Sunday. Two

Lemur conservation crisis
NIU anthropologist Mitch Irwin is among experts making a case
in journal Science for ‘world’s most threatened mammal group’
A group of the world’s top lemur conservationists and researchers, including NIU anthropology professor Mitch Irwin, has published a "Policy Forum” article in the Feb. 21 issue of Science, urging emergency action to prevent extinctions of these unique primate species, found naturally only in Madagascar.
The 19 article authors note that the country’s five endemic lemur families make up "the most threatened mammal group on Earth.” The situation has worsened following a 2009 political crisis that saw the ouster of the Malagasy president.
Led by Christoph Schwitzer, head of research at Bristol Zoo Gardens in the U.K., the researchers advocate for adoption of an emergency conservation action plan, detailed in a document published Aug. 1, 2013, on the website of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Schwitzer serves as vice-chair for Madagascar of the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group.
Irwin had a hand in writing both the Policy Forum article and the IUCN document.
"With the Science publication, we want to draw people’s attention to the urgency of the plan and its funding goals,” Irwin says. "Since the 2009 political crisi

Cambodia-Laos dam threatens existence of rare dolphin
The last population of Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong could be driven to extinction by a planned hydropower dam on the Laos-Cambodia border, conservationists said yesterday.
The building work and the Don Sahong dam itself would change the water quality and could kill off the population of just 85 of the aquatic mammals remaining in the Mekong, World Wide Fund for Nature said.
"Plans to construct the Don Sahong dam in a channel immediately upstream from these dolphins will likely hasten their disappearance from the Mekong,” said WWF Cambodia’s country director Chhith Sam Ath. There are an estimated 6,000 Irrawaddy dolphins left in the world, most of them in the river of that name in Bangladesh, but with pockets of fewer than 100 individuals in the Mekong as well as the Philippines, Burma and Indonesia, according to WWF. The group called on Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to request that Laos halt the construction of the 240-megawatt project.
Laos last year announced construction would start in 2014, despite objections from wildlife groups and some of the countries affected, which say the dam will also disrupt fish mig

Five tiger cubs seized in Thai police wildlife haul
Thai police said Thursday they have seized five wild tiger cubs along with hundreds of other animals being smuggled to neighbouring Laos, for apparent onward sale in Vietnam or China as delicacies.
Highway officers on Wednesday stopped a pick-up truck in the northeast which was apparently headed for the Laotian border, a policeman told AFP.
A search revealed the endangered tiger cubs, all of them around a month old.
There were also hundreds of other creatures including monitor lizards and turtles, he said, adding traffickers use Thailand as a transit point to Laos and then to buyers in lucrative Asian markets.
"The final destination is either Vietnam or China where they like to eat these animals," according to Captain Pornchai Sangsila.

Chinese zookeeper dies in elephant enclosure
A zookeeper died in an elephant enclosure on Wednesday afternoon in southwest China's Yunnan province, a source at the zoo said.
The man, 46, was found dead at about 4:30 p.m. He had injuries to his head, according to the zoo of Kunming, the provincial capital.
It is not yet known whether




Surabaya Zoo to Be Finally Handed Over to City
Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan says he considers the movement of animals from Surabaya Zoo to other facilities necessary to keep the animals healthy and to prevent inbreeding.
"The transfer of animals from Surabaya is needed to maintain the animal’s wellbeing,” Zulkifli said on the sidelines of a national conference on the conservation of the Javanese leopard at Taman Safari in Cisarua, Bogor, on Wednesday.
Zulkifli said that transfers were also needed to keep the animals comfortable because of overpopulation.
"It’s no wonder that the animals at Surabaya are thin and ill, because they live in crowded conditions. Nevertheless, the Forestry Ministry must be informed about any transfer of animals,” he said.
He added that wild animals in Indonesia belonged to the state and were protected by the state.
With regard to the handover of the zoo’s management to the Surabaya city administration, Zulkifli said it would be done immediately.

The real story of the desert adapted Black rhino, Diceros Bicornis bicornis, sub species.
Before we continue, for some background information on this animal, please take a look at this for a better understanding of the animal in question
Currently, the public, anti and pro on the hunting debate, seem to have very little information to make educated decisions on in this on-going debate, so I will attempt to clarify a few things here.
What has been very strange is the deafening silence from conservation groups inside Namibia itself to come to the fore regarding this. At the onset of this debate, some people at first attacked Save The Rhino Trust (SRT) Namibia (not to be confused with Save The Rhino international, ) as it was very erroneously thought that they would be the recipients of the money raised in this auction. I quote the key of their response to this:
"Save the Rhino Trust does not have any decision making power on issues such as hunting rhino in or outside of Namibia and we are not at all part of these decisions. In fact we are not even informed of these decisions. We find out by way of the media ourselves. In Namibia, this is purely a decision made by the government of Namibia and we have no authority on the matter.”

'Black disease' likely caused gaur deaths
A bacterium known to cause "black disease" is most likely to have killed dozens of gaurs in Kui Buri National Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, officials say.
Tuangthong Patchimasiri, senior veterinary researcher of the National Institute of Animal Health, said that laboratory tests detected the bacteria Clostridium novyi from samples taken from 15 gaurs, which can lead to black disease and cause immediate death.
A total 24 gaur carcasses, 14 male, eight female and two calves, were found in the national park between late November and early December last year.
According to the test results, 99.5% of the contents of the gaurs' stomachs was grass and only 0.5% comprised double-leafed plants, going against a previous assumption that the animals had died after eating leaves from maiyalarb yak, or giant sensitive plants.

Rethinking zoos
A couple of weekends ago, I stood in line for two hours to see Bao Bao, the panda cub whose aura has transformed the National Zoo in Washington into a can’t-miss destination for tourists, locals and breathless, mitten-clad six-year-olds. People thronged. No piece of panda paraphernalia was too obscure — panda plushies, panda shirts, stationery made from processed panda scat. Yet the main attraction herself evidently prefers subtlety. After finally reaching the front of the queue, other zoo-goers and I learned from a nonchalant employee that Bao Bao "wasn’t seeing anyone." Apparently, she sleeps for 20 hours a day. Celebrities.
There’s no denying the financial benefits that charismatic animals — babies especially — bring to zoos. An elaborate elephant display or orangutan enclosure reels in visitors. In the next year alone, the National Zoo expects to have 300,000 more visitors thanks to Bao Bao.

Tony the chimp bites the hand that fed him
A chimp raised by zoo caretakers since its birth in 1999, after its mother refused to feed it, caused an upset this week when it bit off a finger of its beloved foster-father, Thilak Pushpakumara. Tony the chimp had become greatly attached to Pushpakumara over the years. An entertainer from his young days doing a "chimp show”, Tony stole the hearts of all who visited the zoo in the past decade ago with its cuddly nature.
But with increasing age the animal had developed violent behaviour. Consequently Tony was kept isolated. Restless in solitary confinement – chimpanzees are social creatures – it continued to be violent, sometimes throwing objects at visitors, but it maintained affection for its former caretaker. According to zoo sources, the incident occurred when Pushpakumara went too close to offer Tony a toffee that it loved as a little fellow. The unlucky caretaker has been admitted to the Kalubowila hospital for treatment.

Dolphin Circuses Defy Ban
Despite the necessary laws being in place, a lack of willpower keeps the wildlife trade alive
Dolphins are still being held captive in traveling circuses, forced to perform and treated inhumanely despite Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan vowing last year to close down the popular sideshows.
The dolphins are captured illegally, with traders and circus owners continuing to defy the law, and little is being done to stop them, activists say.
Femke den Haas, founding director of the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN), says that after years of fighting for the end of the travelling dolphin shows, she does not have much hope for Indonesia’s protected species, with the country "heading in the wrong direction” in terms of wildlife protection and those in charge failing to carry out their duties.
"I feel very frustrated and angry because this shows clearly that Indonesian wildlife is doomed to survive under this management,” she said.

Killer whale activists try again to free Lolita after 43 years at Miami Seaquarium
A wetsuit-clad trainer stands on a platform in the middle of a pool and announces to the audience of tourists and schoolchildren: "And now it’s time to meet the biggest star in Miami.”
Seconds later, the 20-foot, 7,000-pound killer whale named Lolita soars into the air and lands with a gigantic splash, spraying cold water over the sides and onto the squealing kids draped in plastic.
Lolita never fails to delight. For nearly 44 years, the wild-born orca has been the main draw for Miami Seaquarium, the marine park on Virginia Key where millions have come from around the world to see the majestic creature perform tricks for fish.
"To us, Lolita is part of our family,” longtime park curator Robert Rose said.
But activists who are headquartered thousands of miles across the country in Washington state say it is long overdue for the killer whale to be returned to her real family in the Pacific Ocean.

'Stress needed on international exchange of animals'
A meeting of Wildlife Health Advisory Committee was held at Kanpur Zoo on Monday. The committee members inspected the zoo and discussed about the cleanliness at the place. Later, certain decisions were taken for Kanpur and Lucknow zoo.
It was decided to open a leopard rescue centre. At present, several rescued animals, including leopards are brought to Kanpur and Lucknow zoos for treatment. The place for opening the rescue centre is yet to be identified.
It was also discussed that the zoos should lay stress on international exchange of animals. Leopards could be given to foreign zoos, keeping the dwindling numbers and man-animal conflict because of which these big cats are either severely injured or killed.
The committee members suggested that the male animals between the zoos in the state should be exchanged as it would help in reducing inbreeding.

Drusillas zookeeper celebrates 30 years mucking out
A zoo manager is celebrating 30 years of working at award-winning Drusillas Park after starting aged 16.
Sue Woodgate started out as a junior keeper and three decades later is running the ten-acre wildlife park and is responsible for both its animals and its keepers.
Sue started at Drusillas after a serious riding accident ended her dream of a career with horses.
Sue said: "We had fewer animals but there were just three of us to look after them - the curator, the head keeper and myself.
"Most of my day consisted of mucking out. By comparison, today we have ten zoo keepers working at any one time.”
She worked her way through the ranks and when the zoo changed hands in 1997 the new owners offered her the role of zoo curator.

Japan's eldest elephant, Hanako, celebrates 67th birthday at Inokashira Park Zoo
Hanako, a female Asian elephant who arrived in Japan shortly after the end of World War II celebrated her 67th birthday on Feb. 2 at Inokashira Park Zoo -- continuing her distinction as Japan's eldest elephant.
The animal celebrated her birthday by consuming a cake made from sliced bread topped with bean jam buns, which she ate all in one bite.
Hanako enjoys great popularity among the children who visit the zoo, which straddles the Tokyo cities of Musashino and Mitaka.
Also attending the occasion was the family of the late Thai businessperson Somwang Sarasas, who presented Hanako as a gift in 1949 with his own funds.

Birds in Zoos in England: An Assessment of Welfare, Conservation and Education in 2013

Tiger at Surabaya Zoo Said to Be Near Death
Surabaya Zoo in East Java, still in the national glare following a string of animal deaths, has once again courted controversy, this time over reports that a rare white tiger is on the brink of death after not receiving adequate care.
The health of the 17-year-old tiger, named Chandrika, has reportedly been declining for the past three months.
"Chandrika was not taken care by a medical team as required,” a source at the zoo told the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity. "She needs emergency care.”
The source said the tiger had never been given a medical check or had blood work or any other kinds of tests done to determine what she was suffering from.
The source said an outside party had offered to treat the animal, but zoo officials had refused. "Any day now she will die,” the source said.

Endangered wildcat killed by partner
An endangered female Tsushima yamaneko (Tsushima leopard cat) at Yokohama Zoorasia died after a male of the same species attacked her when they were placed together in an enclosure for breeding purposes, the zoo has announced.
The female cat, named Kokoro, was estimated to be 9 years old.
The species—indigenous to Tsuhima island in Nagasaki Prefecture—is designated by the state as a national natural treasure.
Kokoro was bitten on the head and throat by the male on Jan. 25 after she was placed in the enclosure earlier that day together with her mating partner, according to the zoo in Asahi Ward, Yokohama. The incident took place during a 35-minute absence of a zookeeper in charge of monitoring the pair. There

Row brewing over Indonesia's 'death zoo'
A MALE giraffe died an agonising death at Indonesia's Surabaya Zoo with 20 kg of plastic found in his stomach, in 2012. Three months later, a 30-year-old female elephant died after living with a broken leg for two years.
So far this year, six animals have died at Indonesia's largest zoo, in East Java province, including a protected 3-year-old Komodo dragon and an African lion called Michael, found with his head caught in a cable in his enclosure.
Following animal deaths that go back to 2010, the most recent incidents have reinforced the park's reputation as a "zoo of death."
The tragic stories have triggered public anger, allegations of corruption, and even drawn a possible presidential candidate into the controversy.

Can Indonesia's 'zoo of death' turns things around?
Last month, a young lion named Michael was found hanged in his cage at Surabaya zoo.
The 18-month-old got his neck tangled in a cable used by keepers to open and close his cage.
An official claimed the lion got himself caught as he jumped around.
However, by the time the police arrived, the lion's carcass had been removed from the cage, complicating any investigation into whether negligence contributed to his death.
Zoo director Ratna Achjuningrum said keepers did not realise they should wait for police.
"They did not think that it was potentially a crime scene that needed to be sealed off," she said.
Surabaya zoo, on the island of Java, is Indonesia's oldest - and home to thousands of animals, birds and other creatures.
In recent months, however, it has been dubbed "the zoo of death" because of the number of animals dying fro

At Surabaya Zoo, Animals Bear Brunt of Management Fiasco
It’s a weekday afternoon, and Surabaya Zoo is as quiet as it’s going to get before the weekend rush of visitors.
It looks run-down; the bars and chicken wire that fence off the animal enclosures are rusty, and several of the enclosures look as though they haven’t been cleaned in a while. The walls need a fresh coat of paint.
For Indonesia’s biggest zoo, it comes off as parochial. But the tensions bubbling beneath its rustic surface are fed by the kind of intrigue found in paperback thrillers — allegations of illicit animal smuggling, protection rackets, poisoning, and a network of zoos run in quasi-Mafia fashion.

‘Sex and the City Zoo’ to reveal wild courtship rituals
It was a balmy January morning at the Los Angeles Zoo, and former general curator Michael Dee couldn’t help get excited — and inevitably a bit graphic — when talking about the mating habits of several exotic and endangered animals here.
The Chatsworth resident was offering a preview of a presentation he’s giving Saturday evening as part of the fifth "Sex and the City Zoo” Valentine’s event celebrating romance in the animal kingdom. Proceeds from the adults-only, dinner-optional affair, which includes wine, sweets and entertainment by recording artist Whitney Hall, will benefit the nonprofit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA).
"I’ll be talking about the sex lives of animals and how it relates to humans and some of the unusual mating behaviors of wild animals,” said Dee, now a docent at the zoo. "Hopefully, they’ll get a few chuckles out of it. I try to make it entertaining but also educational.”

ASU, Phoenix Zoo team to study troubled species
A spotted jaguar crawls on a tree trunk, tail swinging as it looks through the fence at the Phoenix Zoo, waiting to be fed.
"He sees something that he wants,” Jan Schipper said.
Schipper has studied these jungle cats in Costa Rica in an effort to possibly save the endangered species. Now, he’s taking his years of conservation research and applying it at the Phoenix Zoo.
His job as a conservation research fellow is funded by a new partnership between the zoo and Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences. For three years, he will continue his research while bringing in ASU students to help study conservation biology.

Jakarta’s ‘Topeng Monyet’ Could Be Released Into the Wild: Joko
 Dozens of masked monkeys seized in the Indonesian capital may be released into the wild after the city’s zoo declined to take the animals into its care, Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo said on Thursday.
The Jakarta administration staged a city-wide crackdown on topeng monyet — a cruel practice where long-tailed macaques are forced to wear costumes and perform for spare change — last October, purchasing the monkeys from handlers for Rp 1 million ($82) each. More than 60 monkeys were seized in the sweeps, putting an end to what was once a common sight on the streets of Jakarta. But the question of what to do with the animals, many of which suffered years of abuse, still hangs in the air.

Five ways to prevent sage grouse extinction emerge from Calgary Zoo conference
Conservation experts from around the world are making five main recommendations to protect one of Canada’s most highly endangered birds from extinction.
One of the suggestions is to protect the bird by potentially reducing predator numbers, while another is to establish a captive breeding centre.
The ideas come from a workshop by the Calgary Zoo that brought together biologists, ranchers, government and energy industry representatives.
The sage grouse population has dropped by 98 per cent over the last 25 to 45 years; there are fewer than 138 birds remaining in Canada.
The federal government issued an emergency order to protect the grouse across 1,700 square kilometres of Crown land in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The Calgary Zoo says models suggest current reproduction and survival rates are too low to sustain the wild population and extinction is likely within two to five years if action isn’t taken immediately.
"The greater sage grouse is almost extinct in Canada,” Axel Moehrenschlager, head of the zoo’s C

New Two-Headed Turtle on display at Lafayette Zoo
The newest resident of Zoosiana is a two-headed turtle! Michael and Angelo came from RainForest Adventures Zoo in Tennessee.
While bicephalic animals are quite uncommon, it is not unheard of in both the wild and zoo populations. When it does occur, it is most often with snakes and turtles. The zoo says Michael and Angelo are actually twins that did not fully separate and ended up having two heads on one body.
Both heads are eating well and have very different personalities, as they rarely agree on the same direction to walk! Michael and Angelo require a more specialized care than that of a, more typical, turtle with one head, as they could easily drown if they flip upside down while underwater. Their favorite foods include fish, blood worms, and crickets.
Michael and Angelo will be on exhibit starting this weekend (Febr

Rain-lashed penguins at Scarborough sanctuary given antidepressants
Penguins native to South America prescribed pick-me-ups to try to raise spirits after weeks of relentless wind and rain
Penguins in a British sanctuary are so fed up with the miserable winter weather they are being given antidepressants.
Wild Humboldt penguins are used to withstanding inhospitable weather in the coastal areas of South America, but those living in captivity in Scarborough are struggling with the constant wind and rain lashing the country.
Staff at the Sea Life Centre there have become so concerned they have started to administer the medication as a pick-me-up.
The centre's display curator Lyndsey Crawford told the Guzelian news agency: "Humboldts in the wild on the coast of Peru and Chile can be subjected to some pretty wild extremes of weather. What they don't get though is weeks of almost daily downpours and high winds.

Elephant calf struggles for its life
Experts in the Ostrava zoo are struggling to keep alive the elephant young that was born Tuesday but has refused to drink from its mother, the zoo's spokeswoman Šárka Kalousková told the Czech News Agency, adding that the attendants attempted tube-feeding the calf today.
The attendants have repeatedly failed to feed the calf with a milk replacer, owing to its underdeveloped sucking reflex.
At first, they tried to feed the calf without separating it from its mother Vishesh, who was given tranquilizers.
"Unfortunately, it turned out that the young's sucking reflex is not developed enough," Kalousková said.
The attendants succeeded in separating the young and placing a tube providing enteral feeding to it, she said. Immediately afterward, the young was reunited with its mother, who fortunately accepted it.



Article: The Wild Horse, Yesterday and Today
Modern horses are part of the family Equidae. The fossil history of Equidae is well documented, but new evidence about its evolutionary history—and new interpretations of it—continue to accumulate.
The earliest known genus of the Equidae family is Hyracotherium, which included several terrier-sized species that lived 55 to 45 million years ago, during the Eocene epoch. Since then, multiple lineages of horses have evolved, with much diversification occurring during the Miocene, about 25 to 8 million years ago.
Over time, the number of digits on the limbs tended to decrease in number: While Hyracotherium had four toes on the forefoot and three on the hindfoot, in the lineage that led to modern horses these were reduced to a single digit on each limb. By about one million years ago, members of the one-toed genus Equus (Latin for "horse”) were found across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, in enormous migrating herds.
All surviving species of the family Equidae are members of this single genus, Equus. These species are:
Equus caballus, the common horse. All horse breeds, from Shetland ponies to Shire horses, belong to this species.

City Cancelled Disbursing Fund to Ragunan Zoo
Jakarta Provincial Government’s plan to disburse fund to Ragunan Zoo (TMR) this year is cancelled. This is because the master plan of the zoo’s development is not yet finished. Thus, the fund is not budgeted in the 2014 City Budget (APBD). It is planned that the fund will be disbursed next year.
Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said that the fund to be disbursed is around Rp 400-500 billion. But now, he is still waiting for the Ragunan Zoo revitalization master plan finished. "It seems that the fund to be disbursed next year in 2015. Not this year, because we’re still waiting for the pictures, the master plan finished,” he stated, Friday (1/31).
At this time, Jokowi admitted that he is still watching the direction and concept of upcoming Ragunan Zoo revitalization. Thus, he will not rush, so the concept would be more mature. "The direction and concept of Ragunan Zoo revitalization must be clear. If the master plan or blueprint was not ready, so be it. If it is ready, then go ahead use it,” he told.
According to Jokowi, the fund is disbursed to make Ragunan Zoo better, so the place can be looked up by international world. This is because aside that

Act like a king, hunt a houbara
The government has issued 33 special permits for houbara hunting to Arab sheikhs, allowing them to hunt the internationally protected bird. To escape the harsh winters of Central Asia, Russia and China, the houbara migrates to the temperate regions of our country, only to be relentlessly hunted by Arab royals. Included in the list of endangered species, its hunting by any means, including falconry, is prohibited. But why do the royals go after the houbara with so much relish? They contend that falconry is their traditional sport and houbara is an ideal prey for it. By one estimate, 6,000 to 7,000 live houbaras are shipped to the UAE every year. These birds are trapped through illegal netting and poaching. A typical hunting camp consists of about 300 men and incurs an expense of about $1 million.
Mary Anne Weaver covering houbara hunting for The New Yorker wrote: "As we waited on the tarmac, the arriving planes lit up the night sky. Flying in formation, observing protocol-apparently-an executive Learjet was followed by two customised Boeings and a fleet of reconfigured C-130s, which flew two abreast. They had all been designated ‘special VVIP flights’ by the Pakistani government. The lead planes touched down and a red carpet was hastily unrolled. As we approached the entourage, an Arab diplomat said with exhaustion in his voice ‘this is the sixth flight in one week’.” Weaver went on: "A local chieftain later told me, ‘You know, madam, these Arabs consider h

Angel's sad story from the killing waters of Taiji, Japan
For this baby albino dolphin, still nursing yet ripped from her mother in the killing coves of Taiji, Japan, there can be no happy ending.
It may be Angel’s sad story that ultimately moves the mountain.
For this baby albino dolphin, still nursing yet ripped from her mother in the killing coves of Taiji, Japan, there can be no happy ending.
She’s like scores of other calves sacrificed in an annual Japanese dolphin hunt off the east coast of a nation that slaughters an estimated 20,000 of these marine mammals every year and spares a few, like Angel, to live in captivity in aquariums and amusement parks around the world. If she manages to beat the odds and survives at all.

Oakland Zoo's push to save Puerto Rican crested toad
The East Bay's newest celebrities are mottled, wart-covered bug eaters with bulging yellow eyes.
At the Oakland Zoo, it was love at first sight.
The zoo is among the few in North America selected to breed the critically endangered Puerto Rican crested toad. Nineteen of the rare amphibians arrived a few weeks ago for unlimited crickets, rest and mating - a process biologists hope will result in thousands of tadpoles being shipped to Puerto Rico by this fall.
"These toads aren't just ambassadors. Their offspring are going back to the wild to repopulate the species," said the zoo's zoological manager, Margaret Rousser. "It's a huge weight on our shoulders. It keeps me up at night. ... But wh

Cheetahs' Iranian revival cheers conservationists
Wildlife experts hail success of UN-backed initiative to protect Asiatic cheetahs from extinction despite sanctions
Asiatic cheetahs, a subspecies of the fastest animal on earth, are extinct everywhere except in Iran, where they are considered to be critically endangered. But marking a rare success, conservationists at the Persian wildlife heritage foundation (PWHF) have spotted a group of five Asiatic cheetahs (also known as Iranian cheetahs) – a mother with four cubs.
Four wildlife experts from the PWHF saw the family group at the weekend as they were returning from a field trip in Iran's Turan national park, home to some of the largest populations of Asiatic cheetahs in the world.
"They could not believe what they were seeing ," Delaram Ashayeri, project manager at PWHF, told the Guardian. "They took out their camera and filmed it." The picture showing the five cheetahs, with four of them are looking directly into the camera, has since been shared repeatedly by Iran's huge online community.
The discovery comes after a decade-long campaign in Iran to protect the cheetahs from extinction and raise awarness, especially among indigenous people living close to their natural habitat.

Rare Species Breeding Success At Sparsholt College
The mammal team at Sparsholt College’s Animal Management Centre have successfully bred highland streaked tenrecs (Hemcentetes nigriceps), a hedgehog type creature from the central mountains of Madgascar. According to the ISIS* global database (which represents more than 800 member zoos, aquariums and related organisations in almost 80 countries, containing information on 2.6 million animals – 10,000 species), there are only 13 captive highland streaked tenrec, four in a zoo in the Czech Republic and the remainder at Sparsholt College.
Chris Mitchell, Sparsholt’s Animal Management Centre Manager said: "The tenrecs came to the College from a private collection of animals from Madagascar based in Bath that was being rehomed due to the owner emigrating overseas. We had been warned that the animals had exacting husbandry requirements and a specialised diet that made them very tricky indeed to maintain in captivity. We were further warned that many institutions had tried to keep these animals in the past without success."

The flight to Guwahati on 17th December, 2007, was late. As usual. I woke up late the next morning. As usual. Breakfast consisted of cheese sandwich and coffee. As usual. My friends came late to meet me. As usual.
 And then we set off to Umananda, an island situated in the Brahmaputra river just off the coast of Guwahati. The ferry ride took only five minutes and we embarked on the island that has a renowned Shiva Temple. However, we went there to see the free living Golden Langurs that call Umananda their home.
Many years ago, an animal trader namedto a priest on the island. The animals grew up as tame individuals and, after a period, reproduced. They were not caged but were free to roam the island. The Golden Langur being one of the rarest primates in the world (the animal was only discovered in the 1950s when it was christened with a scientific name) found principally in Manas National Park situated in Assam and Bhutan, the population on Umananda evoked significant interest amongst nature lovers. Possibly a unique case where wildlife trade has been benign, even beneficial, since the animals are so endangered and the translocated individuals on Umananda are a breeding group. And thus I was keen on observing and

Adelaide Zoo Celebrates Life of Iconic Flamingo
Adelaide Zoo is celebrating the life of its most iconic and oldest resident, the Greater Flamingo, after the difficult decision was made to humanely put the flamingo to sleep this morning as its quality of life had significantly deteriorated due to complications associated with old age.
The 83-year old flamingo affectionately known as 'Greater' was a favourite amongst zoo goers for generations arriving at Adelaide Zoo in the 1930s. Greater is best known for being the world's oldest flamingo and the last Greater Flamingo to have resided in

Pagasa: Philippine Eagle bred in captivity turns 22
TWENTY-TWO years ago on January 15, the wildlife conservation community worldwide was astir, for in a quiet conservation center in faraway Davao City, the first ever captive-bred raptor was successfully hatched.
Twenty-two years hence, the Philippine Eagle center in Malagos, Calinan, scheduled a whole day of interaction with students to drive in the importance of nature conservation.
Twenty-two years hence, Philippine eagle Pagasa, the first Philippine eagle hatched in captivity remains in captivity.
"Perhaps only that 22 years after Pagasa’s birth, we continue to struggle with the key threats to our national bird’s survival,” Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) executive director Dennis Joseph I. Salvador said when asked what his reflections are with regards Pagasa’s birthday.
As it is, the conservation efforts of the PEF have come a long way as it was already ale to hatch 25 captive bred eagles.
It’s in the wilderness, now dominated by man, where the main challenge is being fought.
"Shooting and habitat loss persist despite broad public awareness,” Salvador said. "Adding to these are the Damocles sword of chance events such as calamities and diseases like H5N1 now H7N9.”
Pagasa, having been in captivity since he hatched, can live up to 40 years old. Those in the wild have very little chance of living an adult life free from hazards.

Changing climate is killing penguin chicks in Argentina
Extreme weather along the Argentine coast is killing chicks of Magellanic penguins that roost there. A 28-year study of the birds has found very hot years and very wet ones claiming as many as 50 percent of new chicks in the worst of times.
"Penguin [chicks] don’t do well when they get wet,” said Dee Boersma, a researcher at University of Washington who’s been tracking the birds at the Punta Tombo peninsula, the largest colony of Magellanic penguins, since 1983.
New chicks that encounter a rainstorm before they grow out a waterproof coat get drenched and die of hypothermia, she reports in a study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE. "If you've ever had a down sleeping bag, and got it wet, all the insulating properties are lost," Boersma explained.

Patiala zoo in state of neglect
Time and again the mini zoo authorities here have been making tall claims of upgrading and renovating it. However, with no sign of concrete plan in line the upgradation of the zoo seems like a distant dream.
According to the information available, the mini zoo, is officially a deer park. The conversion of this deer park to mini zoo was put on hold, because as per the norms of the Zoo Authority of India, a deer park can be converted into a mini zoo only after the inclusion of three carnivorous animals.

Turkey's Antalya home to longest tunnel aquarium
Not content with being one of Turkey’s top tourism spots, the country's coastal Antalya province has now gone one better - it hosts the world's longest tunnel aquarium.
The tank containing the 131-meter long, 3-meter wide tunnel hosts more than 10,000 species of fish and sea creatures from all around the globe.
Visitors watch as fish swim around life-sized replicas of an Italian warplane that crashed into the Mediterranean during World War II, a ship and submarine wrecks.
The complex housing the main tank contains over 40 theme tanks, with titles such as "World Oceans,” "Turkish Seas” and "Three Islands,” and was built on a 30,000 square-meter area.
It also includes "Snow World,” a special snow-covered 200-meter square section featuring igloos, a "Santa Clause” house and cafes.
Kemal Kumkumoglu, the aquarium's chief-executi

Pakistan’s Controversial Dolphin Show
An outcry over an upcoming event draws attention to animal rights in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s first-ever "Dolphin Show” opens to the public on the January 15. To be held at the Maritime Museum in Karachi, the organizers were due to host the event last year, but the plan had to be called off due to security concerns.
Featuring Stephen the beluga whale, Boris the dolphin and Memo the sea lion, the show is slated to run over two months, as reported by The Express Tribune. However, the event’s duration may be extended, depending on public response and ticket sales.
With foreign trainers flown in from Russia and Egypt to train the mammals to jump, sing, paint and perform a host of tricks to a local audience, the show is fast attracting media attention, public hype, and some outcry.
"Shows like this are very cruel,” Maheen Zia, the Co-Founder of PAWS (Pakistan Animal Welfare Society) (an NGO based in Karachi), told The Diplomat. "It gives the wrong message; to use such sensitive, intelligent animals, by pulling them out of their natural habitat and exploiting them like this for entertainment purposes.”

Crested ibises destroying own eggs
Crested ibises at the Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center in Sado, Niigata Prefecture, and other facilities are destroying their own eggs, apparently as a result of stress from being kept in cages.
The Sado facility’s Reintroduction Center is hurrying to address this problem with the birds, which are designated special natural treasures.
Since July 2011, the Environment Ministry has in principle allowed crested ibis eggs to hatch naturally in the parent birds’ nests, to promote captive birds’ eventual return to the wild. However, a conspicuous number of birds have been attacking their eggs in recent years.
In spring last year, 26 out of 89 fertilized eggs were destroyed at breeding facilities including the Sado center, the Izumo Japanese Crested Ibis Breeding Center in Shimane Prefecture and Ishikawa Zoo in Ishikawa Prefecture.

Over 1,000 Madagascar reptiles stranded in S.African transit
Over 1,000 tree frogs, chameleons and lizards from Madagascar are stranded in South Africa after storms in the United States forced their connecting flight there to be cancelled, Johannesburg zoo said on Friday.
About 400 of the 1,685 reptiles flown in from the Indian Ocean island nation on Wednesday have already died from the stress of air travel and shock of being removed from their natural habitat, a zoo official said.
The surviving reptiles have found a temporary home in the Johannesburg zoo, where they will be quarantined for 30 days.
"They are not fit for travel, they cannot leave, there is nowhere to go at the moment," the zoo's chief veterinarian Katja Koeppel said as another staff member took a dozen buckets of live crickets from her office to feed the newcomers to the zoo.
"So they gave them to us," she said. "My problem is trying to keep them alive."
The zoo has yet to identify all the species received but Koeppel said it had already established th

Africa’s only polar bear mourns death of partner
Wang, the only polar bear in Africa, has taken the death of his life-long partner very hard, tearing up toys and grass in the enclosure they shared. Two weeks after his loss, he is still grieving.
Geebee, 30, was found dead in the pool of her Johannesburg Zoo enclosure after a heart attack. The two had been partners since they arrived at the South African zoo in 1985.
"When we found her dead he wouldn’t let us to her,” the zoo’s chief vet Katja Koeppel said. "He refused to go back into the night room. He stayed out in the sun.”
If not pacing about, Wang stood by Geebee’s body and barely ate his rations, she said. After 24 hours, Ms Koeppel had to sedate Wang to retrieve Geebee’s remains.
For days afterwards, he was inconsolable, cutting up his toys and even bending the steel door of his pen, she said.
Geebee arrived nearly three decades ago from Canada, while Wang came from a zoo in Japan. Despite

Florida's Rat-Saving Labors Aren't Paying Off
Apparently rats raised at Disney aren't prepared for the real world.
A new study warns that Florida's efforts to breed endangered Key Largo woodrats in captivity are doomed. Critters brought up at a Tampa zoo and at Orlando's Disney World don't have as many babies as they do in the wild, and when released back into their natural habitat, the rats are more vulnerable to predators like hawks and feral cats.
"When we kept looking at the data, what we found was that you really couldn't breed enough woodrats to make it a viable strategy for population recovery," Robert McCleery, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Florida, said in a statement.

Will orcas be put on display at Sochi?
How do you hide something that weighs as much as six tons, is 20 feet long and requires hundreds of pounds of food every day?
That's the mystery researchers and conservationists are trying to solve, the location of eight orca whales they believe have been captured in Russian waters.
Rumors surfaced that two of the whales were going to be put on display at the 2014 Winter Olympics. And that ignited a firestorm.
An online petition, widely circulating on Twitter, demaned that the Russian company White Sphere not put the orcas in a dolphinarium in Sochi. At last count, the online petition had 400,000 signatures.
There were numerous reports that the Russian company had captured the orcas in the Sea of Okhotsk and that at least some of the whales were in holding pens near Vladivostok. The Russian Fisheries Agency wouldn't respond to questions regarding quotas for orca captured in Russian waters.

Saving the last white tiger cub: Delhi Zoo goes all-out to protect newborn cub after all five of his siblings die
It was through a tiny room reeking of raw meat - bloody water pooled outside its door - that we were taken to meet Kalpana in her enclosure at the National Zoological Park (NZP), or Delhi Zoo as it is colloquially known.
Lying in a corner of the cage, the seven-year-old tigress was alarmed by the arrival of strangers in an area otherwise restricted to them, and began pacing her boundaries.
As she looked up, Kalpana's glacial blue eyes were unflinching in their stare. One of NZP's five white tigers - one male and four female - she has been the subject of headlines globally as the mother whose neglect killed five of her cubs, even as the sixth fights for his life at a vet facility in the zoo.


Birds Can Smell, and One Scientist is Leading the Charge to Prove It
For more than a century nearly everyone believed birds sense of smell was poorly developed or nonexistent. They were wrong.
Gabrielle Nevitt's supply list for her first Antarctic research cruise in 1991 contained some decidedly odd items. The huge kites and vats of fishy smelling liquid wouldn't be a problem, the macho National Science Foundation contractor told her. Then she asked for hundreds of boxes of super-absorbent tampons. "He just kind of stammered," recalls Nevitt a petite brunette who was then a 31-year-old zoology post-doc at Cornell University. "Then he said, 'Uh, I don't think I can get those for you, ma'am.' " So Nevitt lugged them onboard herself and set to work. She was hoping to lure albatrosses and petrels from the open sea with the scent of dinner, like a street-food vendor might entice passersby with a hot pretzel. She dipped the tampons in pungent compounds found in marine fish and small crustaceans called krill, and painstakingly attached the briny bait to parachute-like kites that she let fly off the rear deck. Then she waited.

'Be Different or Die' Does Not Drive Evolution, Bird Study Finds
A new study has found that species living together are not forced to evolve differently to avoid competing with each other, challenging a theory that has held since Darwin's Origin of Species.
By focusing on ovenbirds, one of the most diverse bird families in the world, the Oxford University-led team conducted the most in-depth analysis yet of the processes causing species differences to evolve.
They found that although bird species occurring together were consistently more different than species living apart, this was simply an artefact of species being old by the time they meet. In fact, once variation in the age of species was accounted for, coexisting species were actually more similar than species evolving separately, opposite to Darwin's view which remains widely-held today.
"It's not so much a case of Darwin being wrong, as there is no shortage of evidence for competition driving divergent evolution in some very young lineages," said Dr Joe Tobias of Oxford University's Department of Zoology, who led the study. "But we found no evidence that this process explains differences across a much larger sample of species.

Thousands protest State Government shark policy
Thousands of Western Australians gathered at Cottesloe Beach on Saturday morning to protest the State Government's controversial shark mitigation program.
The crowd, estimated to be over 4000 strong, braved the windy conditions to condemn the program, which will see baited drum lines placed one kilometre off-shore at Ocean Reef and Mullaloo, Trigg and Scarborough, Floreat and City Beach, Cottesloe and North Cottesloe and Port and Leighton beaches.
It goes against all available science
Shark fishermen will patrol WA waters and kill any shark bigger than three metres spotted in the designated zones, while any sharks hooked on the drum lines will be killed and disposed of off-shore.

Reconstructing the New World monkey family tree
When monkeys landed in South America 37 or more million years ago, the long-isolated continent already teemed with a menagerie of 30-foot snakes, giant armadillos and strange, hoofed mammals. Over time, the monkeys forged their own niches across the New World, evolved new forms and spread as far north as the Caribbean and as far south as Patagonia.
Duke University evolutionary anthropologist Richard Kay applied decades' worth of data on geology, ancient climates and evolutionary relationships to uncover several patterns in primate migration and evolution in the Americas. The analysis appears online this week in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.
Today, more than 150 species of monkeys inhabit the New World, ranging in size from the pygmy marmoset, which weighs little more than a bar of soap, to the muriqui, a long-limbed monkey that tips the scales at 25 pounds.

Cause of Polar Bear Knut's Death Found
The culprit of the sudden death of famed polar bear tot Knut has been found, says an international team of scientists. An exhaustive analysis shows a viral form of encephalitis, or brain swelling, led to the seizures and untimely death.
"After a detailed necropsy and histology that took several intense days to perform, the results clearly suggested that the underlying cause of Knut's seizures was a result of encephalitis, most likely of viral origin," Claudia Szentiks, of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research Berlin (IZW), said in a statement.
Born in captivity at the Berlin Zoo on Dec. 5, 2006,

Dog virus killing tigers, red pandas and lions
Endangered tigers, red pandas and lions in the country are succumbing to infection caused by canine distemper virus (CDV), a disease common in domestic dogs.
The scientists at Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in Bareilly found the presence of CDV in the blood samples of dead animals.
"Since last one year we have found many blood samples of dead tigers, red pandas and lions, who were positive for CDV. The disease has been found in Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, Patna Zoo and many areas of West Bengal and Darjeeling," said AK Sharma, principal scientist and in charge of Centre for Wildlife, IVRI.
CDV affects different systems of the body including nervous and respiratory system in these animals. It breaks down the immunity system and causes various secondary bacterial infections which leads to their death.
"As this disease damage the brain, it badly affect their decision making power. Due to this, the animals go beyond their natural habitat and enter human settlements. It leaves them an easy prey for poachers," Sharma said.

Shocking Truth About Piranhas Revealed!
In the languid news week after Christmas, hungry media outlets swarmed over a report of piranhas attacking swimmers on a river in Argentina. "Massive Piranha Attack” cried The New York Post. "70 Christmas Day Bathers Are Savaged” added The Daily Mail, promising "the truth about the fish with a bite more powerful than a T. rex.” ABC News called it a "Christmas Day feeding frenzy.” In fact, the injuries ranged from minor cuts to at least one missing finger part — not exactly as newsworthy as, say, the 800,000 Americans who require medical treatment for dog bites each year.
Piranhas have always been among our favorite subjects for sheer, sputtering nonsense. Theodore Roosevelt, on a 1913 expedition in South America, called piranhas "the most ferocious fish in the world.” More recently, multiple "Piranha” movies have ridden this hysteria to the bank.

Work on Safari Park completed
Sri Lanka’s first safari park at Ridiyagama in Hambantota will be declared open in April this year.
The construction work at the first Safari Park started in 2008 under the direction of The National Zoological Department. The park covers a land extent of about 500 acres and it contains a public entertainment zone extending to about 69 acres.
Four of the park's six zones will be reserved for carnivorous animals while the remaining two zones will be set apart for the herbivores. Two zones of the carnivore section will be exclusively reserved for the dangerous animals such as lions, tigers, and leopards.
The officials of the National Zoological Department the road network within the safari park is currently being constructed and will be completed before the opening in April. The Safari Park has been constructed at a cost of Rs. 1.6 billion.
Secretary of the Ministry of Botanical Gardens and Public Enterta

Noah's Ark Zoo Farm wins 'green' award
NOAH'S Ark Zoo Farm at Wraxall near Bristol has won an award for being "green".
The 100-acre family park has been given a gold award in recognition of its green innovation and environmentally sustainable efforts, the only zoo in the south west of England to achieve the award.
Noah's Ark has invested significantly in renewable energy and waste management systems to further advance the zoo's sustainable operation.
It has received the award under the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS).
It now joins only three other zoos in Britain to achieve the top accolade.
Anthony Bush, owner of Noah's Ark, said: "As a team we've been working hard to develop in an environmentally and socially sustainable way, considering local wildlife and the communities in our area.
"I have a commitment to cr

Zoo goes to Hyd lab to DNA-test tortoises
38 star tortoises await rehabilitation, as the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park initiates special tests to ensure they are sent back into their original habitat after rescue
The Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park and Research Centre’s administration has come out of its ‘shell’ with a unique decision. In an effort to rehabilitate a highly-endangered species — the beautiful Indian Star Tortoises housed in the Katraj Rescue Centre within the park — the zoo will now subject the specimens to DNA testing at the Hyderabad-based Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES), to determine the exact location of their origin.
The decision has been taken by authorities to ensure that the frequently-smuggled species is rehabilitated into their original habitat after being rescued.

‘Zoo of Death’ Claims New Victim
A wildebeest was found dead in its cage over the weekend at the Surabaya Zoo, which has been a subject of much criticism from the local and international public for its poor treatment of the animals in its care, an official at the zoo confirmed on Monday.
"The wildebeest is thought to have died on Sunday evening,” Surabaya Zoo spokesman Agus Supangkat said.
He said signs of the wildebeest’s deteriorating health had been noticed for a few days prior to its death and that its keeper had reported its illness to the zoo’s medical team, which then moved the animal to conduct tests and a medical evaluation.
Despite the evaluation and medications, the wildebeest’s health worsened.
According to Agus, an autopsy showed the animal died of an intestinal condition.
"The autopsy showed that the animal had been suffering from gas that had accumulated inside its intestines, which caused bloating,” Agus said.

African Lion Strangled in Surabaya Zoo
Only two days after a wildebeest was found dead in its cage, an African lion was also found dead at the Surabaya Zoo, which has been globally slammed on for its poor treatment for the animals in its care.
The 18-month-old male African Lion named Michael was found dead after its head got stuck between steel cables in his cage.
"Michael was found dead on Tuesday morning when the zoo keeper was checking his cage,” Surabaya Zoo spokesman Agus Supangkat said.
Each of the zoo’s lions spends its days in two different cages. Every morning the lions would be taken to a display cage where zoo visitors could watch them, then in the afternoon they would be moved to another cage where they slept, Agus explained.

Everything you need to know about ivory poaching
A ban was imposed in 1989 banning the international trade in ivory to reverse a rapid decline in the population of African elephants. But to no avail. Illegal hunting and killing of elephants remains a sad reality in Africa despite the ban. Here we examine how the beasts continue to be slaughtered to satisfy global demand for ivory.

Rare crocodiles 'discovered' in Copenhagen Zoo
Two crocodiles have lived with false identities for over 30 years
New crocodiles have been 'found' at the Copenhagen Zoo. Well, actually they have been there for over three decades. 
Thanks to DNA samples, zookeepers have discovered that two crocodiles that have lived at the zoo in Frederiksberg for 32 years are actually West African crocodiles and not Nile crocodiles as previously believed.
The zoo had long wondered why the two crocs were smaller and more docile than the average Nile crocodile.
Clues from Zurich
So when Flemming Nielsen, the zoo curator, heard that DNA testing of a croc in Zurich Zoo had revealed that it was in fact a rare West African croc, also sometimes known as a desert crocodile, he immediately became suspicious.

Stimson Center Report Calls for Global Effort to Cut Poaching and Other Wildlife Crimes That Fund Terrorists
Governments around the world should work with each other, local residents and the private sector to reduce poaching and wildlife crimes that are funneling an estimated $19 billion annually to terrorists and other criminals, a Stimson Center report issued today recommends.
The report – based on projects Stimson is running in East Africa – says that "wildlife crime is no longer only a challenge to conservation, biodiversity and development. Poaching is – just as the illegal trade in arms, drugs and counterfeit goods – a serious threat to national and international security and economic developm

Audubon and San Diego Zoo begin animal breeding center in Algiers
The Audubon Nature Institute and San Diego Zoo Global are moving forward on a partnership that could help rebuild threatened species for generations to come, breaking ground Wednesday (Jan. 8) on an Algiers facility to house larger groups of roaming animals in an environment that the entities hope will help create more sustainable populations.
The so-called Alliance for Sustainable Wildlife, which will house more than two dozen endangered and threatened species, is expected to be completed in 2017, said Joel Hamilton, Audubon’s vice president and general curator.
The partnership's 1,000-acre breeding site, which will be one of the largest of its kind in the nation, is based on the model that certain animals will more easily breed, and will breed with more genetic diversity, when they can roam in large herds or flocks.
While zoos and aquariums around the nation often work together to help repopulate just one species, the partnership between Audubon and San Diego marks the first time two organizations are tackl

South Lakes Wild Animal Park boss David Gill has set out his vision as the Dalton attraction prepares for major expansion in 2014.
Mr Gill said on the park's facebook site last night: "2014 is going to be the most exciting year since 1994 when I first built the zoo from an empty field of grass.
"Three times larger, new branding and name, new very unique enclosures and experiences... if you want to feed a Snow Leopard, Jaguar , Lion or Tiger

Texas rhino-hunting auction prompts death threats
The FBI is investigating death threats made against members of the Dallas hunting club that intends to auction off a rare permit to kill an endangered black rhino, an FBI spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Katherine Chaumont said the agency is reviewing multiple threats against the Dallas Safari Club. The club on Saturday plans to auction a permit the African country of Namibia granted for the hunt. The group has said all proceeds will go toward rhino conservation efforts.

Blackfish Exposed
We recently sat down with former SeaWorld Trainer Bridgette M. Pirtle to talk about her involvement with the production of the film BlackFish. We were amazed by what we learned, and we think you will be too.
Bridgette Pirtle first visited SeaWorld when she was 3 years old, and immediately became obsessed with whales.  In 2000, Bridgette was accepted into the killer whale apprentice program at SeaWorld San Antonio and began working with sea lions, otters and bottlenose dolphins, which lead to 10 years of experience with killer whales and eventually becoming a Sr. Trainer.
On February 24, 2010, Bridgette and the other trainers were all called in by management and informed that there had been an incident in Orlando, and that it had resulted in the death of Sr. Trainer Dawn Brancheau.  Bridgette was devastated by this news. Dawn was her hero, a person whom she looked up to.   In the days and weeks after this incident, Bridgette’s parents and grandparents would tearfully plead with her to stop working with whales out of fear that what happened to Dawn could happen to her.  In the end, Bridgette decided to leave SeaWorld in March 2011.

Why the passenger pigeon became extinct
Imagine that tomorrow morning you woke up and discovered that the familiar rock pigeon—scientifically known as Columba livia, popularly known as the rat with wings—had disappeared. It was gone not simply from your window ledge but from Piazza San Marco, Trafalgar Square, the Gateway of India arch, and every park, sidewalk, telephone wire, and rooftop in between. Would you grieve for the loss of a familiar creature, or rip out the spikes on your air-conditioner and celebrate? Perhaps your reaction would depend on the cause of the extinction. If the birds had been carried off in a mass avian rapture, or a pigeon-specific flu, you might let them pass without guilt, but if they had been hunted to death by humans you might feel honor-bound to genetically engineer them back to life.

Elephant Mali to get friends, stay at Manila Zoo
 Elephant Mali will stay at the Manila Zoo, which will be turned into a world-class facility for animals, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said Friday.
Estrada said major changes and renovations will be done at the zoo starting this year.
He plans the Manila Zoo to be renovated similar to that of Singapore, where there are rides going around the facility.
He said the zoo will retain Mali and add more maintenance for the animals.
Estrada said foreign donors have agreed to finance the zoo's renovation and upkeep.
He earlier rejected appeals by international celebrities singer-songwriter Paul McCartney, Hollywood actress Pamela Anderson, British rock singer Morrissey, American rock band The Smashing Pumpkins, and Kapamilya stars Kim Chiu, Xian Lim, Gerald Anderson and Maja Salvador to transfer the Philippines's lone elephant from Manila's rundown zoo to a Thai sanctuary.

SeaWorld's "Blackfish" Controversy Performed Another Trick
Aquatic amusement park company SeaWorld  was back in hot water last week after a business journal caught the company inflating the results of an online poll. The poll question dealt with whether the recent documentary Blackfish had changed reader opinions about SeaWorld.
In the failed attempt to alter poll results, SeaWorld pushed itself back into a difficult public-relations battle that's taken the wind out of share prices. Can SeaWorld improve its performance? Or should investors instead turn to the amusement park companies Walt Disney or Cedar Fair ?

Forbes Blogger Resigns Over SeaWorld Dispute
Last week, journalist James McWilliams posted a brief, stinging, eloquent blog at about how the low-budget film "Blackfish" is taking on a multi-billion dollar company, and may be winning. The piece won him few friends among editors at the website, who told him to alter it to include favorable information on SeaWorld. He refused, quitting his freelance gig and earning high marks from whale and dolphin lovers everywhere. Sadly today, too many reporters just do as they're told, like stenographers. Not this one. As McWilliams told me in a recent interview: " went right, and I went left."
Q) What inspired you to write this piece?
I write almost daily about animal-related issues, either on my own blog or for various publications, so I'm constantly seeking relevant topics to cover. In this case, my son, who is eleven, kept pushing me to watch the documentary "Blackfish." We viewed it together and, indeed, that kid was onto something. It was a powerful film. So I decided to post a brief piece at

21 officials suspended over poaching claims
THE Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism has suspended 21 Wildlife Department staff for allegedly colluding with poachers to kill elephants.
Deputy Minister Lazaro Nyalandu told reporters that the suspended employees join their colleague in Singida Region, Augustino Lori, who was recently suspended over poaching and corruption allegations.
He said investigations have shown that there are certain members of the ministry’s staff who were directly involved in wildlife sabotage acts in collaboration with criminals, warning that they would be exposed and charged in court.
The suspended staff include 11 from the Anti-Poaching Unit in Arusha, four from the Rukwa- Lwari Forest Reserve , one from the Anti-Poaching Unit in Bunda, three from Maswa Forest Reserve, one from Selous Forest Reserve and one from the Lukwika-Lumesule- Msanjesi Forest Reserve.

We will have Isabelline Pandas
I have little doubt in my mind that we will soon have Isabelline Pandas. The Dysfunctional Zoos of our planet appear hung up on producing unnatural colours, hybrids and freaks. So the Isabelline Panda will fairly soon be on its way.
Many of you will have forgotten QiZai (Little Seven) so let me remind you. QiZai is presently the only Isabelline Panda in captivity. QiZai is a Qinling panda and presently lives in the Shaanxi Wild Animal Research Centre in Northwest China (Louguantai Wild Animal Breeding And Protection Center).
The Quinling Pandas are a rare subspecies of the Giant Panda and are said to number only around three hundred in the wild. Although known for several decades the Quinling Panda Ailuropoda melanoleuca qinlingensis was only recognised as a subspecies in 2005.
The Quinling Pandas tend to be smaller than the common Giant Panda and are brownish and white rather than black and white. The brown colour is not usually as pronounced as it is in QiZai and is more often in patches rather than all over the body. QiZai is, as far as anyone is awar

Arabian tahr making comeback at Al Ain centre
Management of Nature Conservation centre on track to reintroduce endangered species into the wild
Ten years ago, the fate of the endangered Arabian tahr — found only in Oman and the UAE — was bleak.
But hope for the species was renewed when a dedicated centre in Al Ain stepped in to protect the goat-like species, with the ultimate goal of reintroducing them back into the wild.
The Management of Nature Conservation (MNC) at the foothills of Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain now houses 345 Arabian tahrs, believed to be the world’s biggest Arabian tahr population in captivity. The centre operates under the Department of the President’s Affairs. It is a research and breeding facility that is not open to the public.
The centre’s current Arabian tahr population is a far cry from its starting point of only 10 Arabian tahrs in 2005. The population sample came from the private collection of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
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Currently, the Arabian tahr is considered endangered in Oman and "possibly extinct” in the UAE based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.
MNC’s recent findings after scouting for Arabian tahrs outside Abu Dhabi rendered negative results. It is believed the remaining UAE Arabian

Dolphins getting high on fish toxin? Or just a load of puff?
A bite of puffer fish can paralyze and kill a human, but dolphins have been seen using the spiky lethal creatures as a chew toy, leading humans to wonder if the sea mammals were getting a buzz off the neurotoxin found in the fish.
Rob Pilley, a zoologist and producer on the crew of "Dolphin: Spy in the Pod" documentary, airing in the U.K. on BBC1, told the British Sunday Times, "This was a case of young dolphins purposely experimenting with something we know to be intoxicating ... After chewing the puffer gently and passing it round, they began acting most peculiarly, hanging around with their noses at the surface as if fascinated by their own reflection."
Dolphin researchers say they’ve yet to observe intoxicated dolphins in the wild. But, "it is very possible that dolphins are doing this,” Jason Bruck, a research fellow at the University of Chicago, who studies dolphin memories, wrote to NBC News in an email. After all, "there are examples of elephants getting drunk on fermented fr

Zoos, museum mark a horsey new year
Special events whose theme is this year’s zodiac animal, the horse, are being held at zoos and other places around the country.
Ueno Zoo in Taito Ward, Tokyo, is holding an event titled "Eto Ten: Uma Zukushi” (Horse-o-rama: A zodiac exhibition) through Jan. 26. Visitors can see five indigenous breeds of horses, including Kisouma, Yonaguniuma and Tokarauma, raised at the zoo.
The exhibition also features information on the history of horses native to Japan as well as a photo timeline illustrating the growth of a Kisouma horse born last spring.
Sapporo Maruyama Zoo in Sapporo is planning a hands-on event at which visitors will get a chance to brush a miniature pony measuring about one meter long. The event starts at 3 p.m. from Sunday through Jan. 31. Participation is offered on a first-come, first-served basis with 20 spots for children younger than middle school age.
The Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium in Nagoya is featuring an exhibit titled "Uma ni Chinanda Ikimono Tachi” (Marine creatures with a horse connection) through Jan. 19. Sea creatures such as the black scraper, which has a long face and is in the same family as the threadsail filefish, are among the critters on show.
An art exhibition titled "Hakubutsu- kan ni Hatsumode,

Medical Legacy Of Knut The Polar Bear
Keeping wild animals is an important component of the mission of zoos to educate the public and preserve endangered species. When animals die, tracking the potential cause becomes an investigation of pathogens from around the world. This is because zoo animals are not only potentially exposed to pathogens occurring where the zoo is located, but also to those pathogens harbored by other zoo animals. In other words: the diagnostic challenge is enormous.
In the case of Knut, researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research Berlin (IZW), the Freie Universität Berlin, the Friedrich Loeffler Institute – Insel Riems, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, the University of California at San Francisco and many others combined their efforts to investigate Knut’s death. Classical pathological, bacteriological, serological, molecular, histological and electron microscopical methods were combined with high throughput microarray and next generation sequencing methods to undertake the most extensive and exhaustive evaluation of the cause of death of any zoo animal to date. The necropsy was headed at the IZW by Dr Claudia Szentiks of the Department of Wildlife Diseases.
"After a detailed necropsy and histology that took several intense days to perform, the results clearly suggested that the underlying cause of Knut’s seizures was a result of encephalitis, most likely of viral origin,” says Dr Szentiks.

Op-Ed: Best achievements in cetacean advocacy for 2013
The documentary Blackfish certainly made it the year of the orca, but there were several other notable achievements for cetaceans in 2013. These are the accomplishments voted on by advocates themselves.
As 2013 draws to a close, the year will end as it began, with killer whales headlining the news.
Last January, in an event reminiscent of the 1988 grey whale rescue in Point Barrow, Alaska, northern Quebec boasted a miracle of its own, after a number of orcas became trapped in ice near Inukjuak.
At risk of death from ice closure and unable to reach freedom, news of the orcas' plight grabbed the world's attention. Residents of Inukjuaq swiftly rallied around the marine mammals as they joined others in seeking out viable solutions to keep the orcas alive.
Nations came together, and Kasco Marine, Inc., the Minnesota company featured in the movie Big Miracle, offered to step in and provide de-icers for the orcas if necessary. But much to the relief of advocates, on January 10, Mayor Petah Inukpuk announced that the whales had left the area under their own steam.
After a subsequent flyover by the townsfolk revealed no sign of the pod, people rejoiced in their freedom. And in their wake, the orcas gifted locals and ou

2-Headed, 6-Legged Baby Gecko Found In Thailand (VIDEO)
GEICO may soon have a new mascot.
This week, a two-headed, six-legged baby gecko was found in Phuket, Thailand. Apparently, three men living in an apartment discovered the reptile so soon after its birth that it still had egg shell on one of its heads. The gecko, according to the men, was about the size of a baby's finger.
Dr. Sansareeya Wangkulangkul, a biology professor at Prince of Songkhla University, said this particular find is quite special.
"This is very unusual," she said. "House geckos usually live about one year, but I’m not sure about this one because it’s deformed

Bloemfontein Zoo to breed the rare white lions
The Bloemfontein Zoo is now part of a programme to breed the rare white lion.
Three white lions have arrived at the zoo. The two females and one male will form part of the zoo's special breeding programme to ensure the survival of the rare colour strain.
Zoo spokesperson, Qondile Khedama says the city has brought in the str

21 most expensive U.S. zoos
U-T San Diego surveyed more than 40 public and nonprofit zoos to identify the most expensive in the U.S. Family admission prices, and membership costs, were based on tickets for two adults and two children, 8 and 13.

Animal safety
Kind treatment towards animals is a concept seemingly lost on zoo caretakers. The recent death of Bubli, a chimpanzee at Safari Park in Karachi, adds to the lengthy record of zoo animals lost allegedly due to neglect by zookeepers. According to sources, Bubli was living in a small cage, separated from her male partner, for 17 days. The zookeepers probably had little idea of the vast psychological and health factors associated with keeping social animals in isolation, which is supported by extensive research. However, due to a lack of government concern and laws regarding animal treatment — not even leveraging so much as a small fine to animal abusers — zookeepers may not even care.
The cases of animal neglect in 2013 are many. In June, an Uryal fawn was injured by zookeepers during transfer to another cage. The only consequence was that the innocent fawn died from the broken leg injury without any ramifications for the zookeepers. In another incident, a Nilgai died after falling into a pond in

The Irish Clan Behind Europe's Rhino-Horn Theft Epidemic
When the phone rang at about 3 a.m. on April 18, Nigel Monaghan was asleep on the floor in his office in Dublin, tangled in a sleeping bag. In his job as Keeper of the National Museum of Ireland’s natural history section, he was overseeing filming of the latest episode of a children’s TV special, Sleepover Safari. Ten children, their parents, and a film crew were spending the night in the museum, known locally as the Dead Zoo, surrounded by Ireland’s foremost collection of taxidermy.
The call was from the museum’s central security office. Four stuffed rhino heads—ones Monaghan had sent away for safekeeping a year earlier—had been stolen from the museum’s storage facility near the airport. At 10:40 p.m., three masked men forced their way in, tied up the single guard on duty, and found the shelves where the heads were kept. The trophies were heavy and awkward. Expertly stuffed and mounted by big game taxidermists at the turn of the 20th century, they were monstrous confections of skin and bone, plaster and timber, horsehair and straw. When Monaghan and his team had come to move the largest—that of a white rhino shot in Sudan in 1914, with a horn m

Top dogs: Highest zoo CEO pay (from May)
With the Australian Outback exhibit opening this week at the San Diego Zoo, the U-T decided to review zoo CEO salaries. Although San Diego's zoo attracts the most visitors in the U.S., its CEO is not the top paid among more than 40 public or nonprofit institutions in our survey.

Arrests Made After Break-In At Tuttle Tiger Safari Park
A couple ended up in jail after a bizarre crime at an exotic animal park. The two were arrested by Grady County Sheriff Deputies on New Year's Day for breaking into the Tiger Safari on the night of Dec. 27.
Tammy Whygle was spotted in a restricted area of the park by an employee on Wednesday. According to owner Bill Meadows, Whygle had previously asked to volunteer at the park, which is why the employee recognized the woman.
Meadows found her picture and posted it on a Facebook page and within minutes had tips about the woman.
"That was probably the only reason we actually caught her," explained Meadows.
He said he passed those tips along to deputies who showed up within minutes. They arrested Whygle, who tried hiding in the park. Her boyfriend, Jason Matt

Let Them Eat Carcass
We Americans have a funny relationship with food. We may not be apex predators, scientifically speaking, since we augment our meat with grains and plants, but we are predators all the same. But most of us haven't the slightest idea about the magical transformation by which cow becomes beef. The modern supermarket provides us with something called "psychological distance" between ourselves and our food, allowing us to abstract away the cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, fish, and all the other critters at the other end of the meat industry. Few of us know how to butcher a chicken, feathers and feet and all, let alone how to ethically, safely slaughter it.

New rules for animals in captivity
People keeping wild animals captive in KwaZulu-Natal will, from this month, have to follow a rigid new set of terms and conditions relating to their licensing. Also regulated is the size of the animals’ enclosures, their treatment, and their use for commercial gain.
The Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s Board has announced that it had approved and adopted these new terms and conditions after a six-year-long public consultation process.
Ezemvelo spokesperson Musa Mntambo said non-conformity would be illegal.
One of the major changes to the rules is the

Zoo Is Not a Dirty Word
A small, vocal group of animal activists in Los Angeles is mounting a campaign to halt construction on the new elephant exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo, and to send the Zoo's Asian bull elephant, Billy, to a sanctuary.
As a writer, I know the power of words, and "sanctuary" is one of those wonderful words that packs a lot of emotion. Serene, safe, peaceful, idyllic -- all come to mind. Murmuring the word sanctuary through half-slitted eyes while conjuring the images the word evokes is enough to make me want to sign up to live in one.
Depending on your experience, "zoo" is also an emotionally loaded word. My own mental associations with the word have evolved dramatically over my lifetime. Childhood visits to the Bronx Zoo and others sparked a lifelong love of animals and fascination with their behavior. My family still laughs over an incident 30 years ago, when my little sister dropped her spending money into the monkey moat and then watched as one showy simian plucked the dollar bills from the water, held them up for all to see, and then promptly ate them.
In my twenties, I began to question the motives of zoos: Were they jailing animals for our entertainment who could otherwise be allowed to roam free? 



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