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Zoo News Digest Jul-Aug 2014

Zoo News Digest
July-August 2014



Tigers kill zoo keeper
A patrolman at the Beijing Badaling Wildlife Park was killed by Bengal tigers inside the tiger zone, the Zoo has confirmed.
An investigation is now underway said Zoo officials.
BBC accused of animal cruelty for using wild animals in new six-part series about a revolutionary zookeeper who refused to cage wildlife
The BBC has been accused of cruelty for using wild animals in a new drama.
Our Zoo tells the true story of Chester Zoo, which pioneered a freer approach to animal captivity.
But just days before it screens nationwide, a coalition of animal rights groups have launched a bitter campaign against the show's 'cruel' use of wild animals as actors, calling it 'a shocking use of public money'.
Top ten reptiles and amphibians benefiting from zoos
A frog that does not croak, the largest living lizard, and a tortoise that can live up to 100 years are just some of the species staving off extinction thanks to the help of zoos, according to a new report.
The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA), which promotes the values of good zoos and aquariums, has compiled a list of the top ten reptiles and amphibians benefitting from the aid of zoos in the UK and Ireland.
The golden mantella, the komodo dragon and the Ploughshare tortoise have all made it on to the list, which highlights some of the best examples of how zoos are safeguarding the future of our planet's wildlife and their habitats.
Dr Andrew Marshall, a conservation biologist working in the Environment Department at the University of York and at Flamingo Land near Malton, co-ordinated the list with input from conservation experts based at BIAZA zoos.
Dr Marshall, a member of BIAZA's Field Programmes Committee, said: "Zoos are part of a global conservation community. Last year, BIAZA published a report on the top ten mammals most reliant on zoos, which highlighted the work being done by zoos to help safeguard their future. This year, we have focused on ten prevailing examples of reptiles and amphibians that zoos are working to save from extinction.The list includes some fantastic species, many of which are facing a dramatic decline and are in a desperate situation in the wild."
The nocturnal lemur leaf frog is able to change c
Jungle-style feeding introduced at zoo
The next time you visit Vandalur zoo, do not forget to observe the animals feeding together as a group.
Tigers, chimpanzees, lion-tailed macaques and bears, all seem to be happily sharing the feed.
The zoo has implemented a new system called ‘cooperative feeding’, inspired from the wild. In the jungle, the dominant animal in a group eats its share first, before leaving some for the subordinate ones. Eventually, every animal in the group gets its due share.
In captivity, however, the animals do not belong to a single group, as they are rescued and brought from various places. Therefore, it becomes imperative to introduce the ‘cooperative feeding’ technique, say zoo authorities.
According to K.S.S.V.P. Reddy, zoo director and additional principal chief conservator of forests, this feeding habit has been recorded among primates, reptiles and carnivores in the wild.
In captivity, the same system will be adopted now, and the domi
Dallas Zoo Keeper hospitalizes after the lioness attack
On Saturday, in Dallas Zoo, a keeper got attacked by the lioness during big cats’ routine transfer.
The zoo officials said that keeper was hospitalized but his injuries, including bite on a shoulder, were not threatening for his life. To secure the area, animal was later transferred.
Laurie Holloway, spokeswoman of the Zoo, said that zoo keeper didn’t lock th
Zoo in Bulgaria’s capital closed over animals death
Sofia. Zoo in the Bulgarian capital city Sofia has been temporarily closed due to the death of several ruminant animals during the weekend, the press office of the zoo announced for Sega daily.
A camel, a bison, a gaur and several cows died during the weekend.
Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova ordered the zoo to remain closed on Monday until the laboratory results were ready because “it will not be a nice thing to see an animal dying while walking around the
Breakthrough in clouded leopard project
A female Sunda clouded leopard has been fitted with a satellite collar - for the first time ever - by a conservationist studying the movement of the endangered species in the lower Kinabatangan area.
Rahsia, weighing 9.9kg, was caught in one of the traps set up along the Kinabatangan River in the vicinity of the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) on Aug 15.
Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) team member Andrew Hearn, who is a PhD student with Oxford University, said the leopard was the fourth one collared but was the first female to be tagged.
"After more than a year and a half of setting traps each day, the capture of this healthy female leopard is a breakthrough for our project," Hearn said.
"We are hopeful that the data from her collar will provide essential insight into her movements that will enable the development of appropriate conservation actions for her species."
The collaborative project is being carried out b
1st African elephant born in Arizona at Tucson zoo
It's a girl!
Born at 10:55 p.m. Aug. 20, at the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, the baby calf is the first African elephant ever born in Arizona and the first one born in the United States this year.
"The calf hit the ground at exactly 10:55 p.m., took a first breath immediately, stood up within minutes, and began to nurse within the hour," according to the Reid Park Zoo website.
At less than a week old, Arizona's biggest baby weighs 245 pounds. Zoo officials are calling her a happy, healthy baby elephant, although she'll continue to have 24-hour monitoring for now.
"I have to give all of the credit to the amazing staff we have here at the zoo," said Jason Jacobs, zoo director at the Reid Park Zoo. "They have been watching this elephant 24 hours a day since early July."
Right now, the calf is sticking close to her mother, Semba, taking walks in the morning and napping in the afternoons. Slowly, the calf is integrating with the herd, which includes her dad, Mabu, and her siblings, Punga
White tiger at Singapore Zoo put down after developing tumour
A rare white tiger at the Singapore Zoo in Mandai was put to sleep earlier this month after it developed a tumour, leaving just one male behind in the popular enclosure.
Winnie, who was one and a half months shy of being 15 years old, was terminally ill after developing a tumour in her jaw bone and was euthanised on 12 August after the zoo’s keepers and vets found that her condition had worsened over time.
“Recent reassessment has seen worsening of (Winnie’s) tumour and the decision was made to euthanise her to prevent deterioration of her quality of life,” spokespersons for the zoo said in a statement to Yahoo Singapore. “Her keepers and the veterinary team (had) been providing supportive care to her for the past few months to ensure her quality of life (was) maintained.”
Wildlife Reserves Singapore,
Dubai: You Can’t Squeeze a Zoo and an Aquarium Into a Mall
The Dubai Mall is heralded as progressive — except in it how it treats animals. The United Arab Emirates is home to one of the largest and most expensive structures of our time. The mall is part of a jaw-dropping $20 million Downtown Dubai complex with more than 1,000 shops and a deluxe cinema.
Yet, the Dubai Mall doesn’t stop there. The mall is trying to squeeze a zoo and an aquarium into a mall when zoos are usually already too small to meet the needs of captive animals.
The Shark Tank
The sharks really set the tone to the 2008 mall grand opening. As reported in The Telegraph, more than ten percent of the Dubai Aquarium’s sharks had been killed by other sharks before the mall even opened.
Mall officials are okay with this. As reported in The Telegraph, the mall’s general manager at the time explained that it’s “inevitable” that animals will die. Some will die of natural causes — even though they are in a totally unnatural environment — and others will die from inflicted injuries. Unsurprisingly, the sharks also displayed aggressive behavior towards the divers. During the aquarium set-up, there were two cases of injury that required immediat
Hippo dies in agony after swallowing TENNIS ball thrown into enclosure he mistook for an apple
A beloved hippopotamus died an agonizing death in a zoo in Germany after a visitor threw a tennis ball into his enclosure that he mistook for an apple.
Maikel, 39, wolfed the ball down... only to die four days later with his bowel blocked up. Zoo staff said he was in acute agony before his death and had no clue as to what he was suffering from.
On Thursday morning he collapsed and died in the water in his enclosure, his lifelong partner Petra swimming repeatedly over his body and trying to nudge him to get up.
He was voted the favourite animal in the zoo by visitors last year and delighted children especially with his gentle nature and
The dark side of animal tourism in Thailand
When Rihanna, the pop star, posted an Instagram picture of herself posing with an endangered animal in Thailand, last year, it caused an uproar. While the furore surrounding her faux pax might have long since died down, the issue she inadvertently highlighted has not gone away.
From snapping a pic with a slow loris – a protected primate – in Phuket, like Rihanna did, to elephant trekking in Chalong, there are numerous opportunities for British visitors to engage in some form of animal tourism during the course of their trip.
Photogenic animals might be the perfect fodder for Facebook posts but many of the animals in question, including elephants, are not indigenous to Phuket.
Before paying money to touts or travel agents, a responsible tourist should think about the indignities the creature in question might have had to endure to become so docile and obedient. Indeed two men were arrested on suspicion of animal exploitation in the Rihanna case, and she took the offending photograph down.
Elephants, for example, are routinely subjected to a prolonged period of systematic torture before the
Another rare deer killed under protection in Lorestan, Iran
The Mehr News Agency reports that Keyvan Hooshmand said the deer was male and had been left in the care of the Khoramabad Zoo since last year by the Lorestan Department of the Environment.
The assailant and the motives for the deer's shooting have not been identified so far.
This is the second time in recent months that a deer in a protected area has been killed by unknown assailants.
In December, another yellow deer was
The World’s Oldest, And Possibly Largest, Wombat Turns 29
What is thought to be the world’s oldest wombat turned 29 this week. The animal, which looks a bit like a large gopher or a giant hamster, lives in a wildlife park in southeastern Australia.
The wombat, known at Patrick (or sometimes “Fat Pat from Ballarat”—Ballarat being the name of his home wildlife park) is also quite large, weighing in at about 40 kilograms (188 pounds), the maximum known weight for the animal—though most don’t get this big.
Pat the wombat is so big that Ballarat Wildlife Park curator Julia Leonard pushes the animal around in
Bird keeper wins top award
A WILDLIFE park worker who delivers amusing talks about penguins has been named the 2014 Oxfordshire Cotswolds Tourism Superstar.
Chris Green, 31, a bird keeper at the Cotswold Wildlife Park, near Burford, was chosen in an online poll from a shortlist of five people nominated by their employers, with 857 votes cast.
The competition is organised by West Oxfordshire District Council’s tourism team, and supported by Visit England and our sister paper, the Witney Gazette. It was held for the first time last y
Fota helps to prevent frogs from leaping into extinction
A frog that doesn’t croak; another which changes colour; and a giant tadpole are just some of the species dodging extinction thanks to Fota Wildlife Park.
That’s according to a new report by the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA), which promotes the values of good zoos, parks, and aquariums.
These creatures are among some of the top 10 most endangered species of reptiles and amphibians benefiting from the aid in Britain and Ireland.
BIAZA says places like the Cork wildlife park are some of the best examples of how zoos, parks, and aquariums are safeguarding the future of our planet’s wildlife and their habitats.
The trio includes a frog known as the Mountain Chicken. It is one of the largest frogs in the world and is a critically endangered species. Native to Central America and parts of Mexico, one of the reasons it is so endangered is that it tastes like chicken and has been hunted for its meat for generations.
The other endangered frogs thriving at Fota are Morelet’s leaf frogs. These striking lime-green creatures with a pink or orange underbelly are rapidly disappearing as their forest habitat is destroyed in Central America.
They have incredible jet black eyes with no discernible iris and wide webbing between their toes which allows them to parachute between trees.
The third is the Axolotl. The amphib
Story Claims 'Clever' Panda May Have Deliberately Faked Her Own Pregnancy
A story has recently been making the rounds that Ai Hin, a giant panda at China's Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, may have faked a pregnancy as a cunning way to receive better treatment. But this version of events is highly unlikely.
Xinhua, China's state news agency, reported that what was supposed to be "the world's first live broadcast of the birth of panda cubs" was called off after it turned out Ai Hin actually had a "phantom pregnancy," a regular occurrence among giant pandas. But the article goes on to suggest that this latest panda pregnancy fake out may have been drawn out after Ai Hin noticed the special treatment that came with the perception that she was expecting.
"After showing prenatal signs, the 'mothers-to-be' are moved into single rooms with air conditioning and around-the-clock care," Wu Kongju, of the Chengdu panda center, told Xinhua. "They also receive more buns, fruits an
Big cats ‘a threat to young children’, says Al Ain vet
A leading veterinarian has warned that keeping exotic animals as pets at home runs the risk of serious injury not only to the animal but also to people, especially young children.
Dr Yahya Elnoush, a veterinarian at Animal Welfare Al Ain, said it is dangerous to keep wild animals such as big cats at home, saying the unfamiliar habitat is likely to make the animal lash out.
“How any one can expect a wild animal, who is only familiar with jungle life, to live happily in the city house?” said Dr Elnoush.
“They will either eventually run away or harm any family members.”
Dr Elnoush recalled an incident that happened in Al Ain last year when one big cat ran away from its owner’s house and was found hours later roaming the city.
“It created a chaos in the city. Everyone panicked,” he said.
“Eventually authorities had to rescue the animal and kept him in the zoo. The animal died the next day. It must have been sick.”
Debbie Spalton, from the UAE-based Middle East Animal Foundation, said there were no licences being issued in the country permitting keeping endangered animals for “personal use”.
“There are laws which can punish people for keeping these animals as pets. But it’s not really clear how often they are enforced,” she said.
The trade in wild animals is regulated by Cites, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which has procedures in place to protect rare species. The UAE is a signatory to the convention, which means rare animals may be traded only with appropriate paperwork.
Ms Spalton said that some websites in the UAE advertised rare and endangered animals for sale. The UAE is at the centre of global trade in cheetahs, in particular, and there is genuine international concern about it.
“We find it very frustrating tha
Dark side of UAE’s exotic animal fascination
Dr Ulrich Wernery has seen the dark side of the fascination with keeping exotic wildlife as pets.
When wealthy people pay thousands of dirhams for rare animals such as big cats, birds and even apes without knowing how to care for them, he sees the consequences.
By the time the animals reach the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory in Dubai, where Dr Wernery is the scientific director, they are beyond help.
At least once a month, he and his colleagues receive dead creatures, mostly big cats, hyenas and birds.
Investigations into the cause of death usually yield the same answer – diseases or problems caused by poor diet or other forms of mistreatment by the owner.
This month a cheetah was taken to Dr Wernery’s lab. A post-mortem examination found pieces of carpet in the animal’s stomach.
It had probably been kept in an enclosure with carpeting and had been ripping it apart when hungry, said the doctor.
“People think it is nice if they keep an animal on carpet,” said Dr Wernery, who has seen similar problems in captive Gordon’s wild cats, a rare local species.
“It is not intentional, they do not want to kill these animals but it is all wrong what they do.”
The trade in wild animals is regulated by Cites, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which has procedures in place to protect rare species.
The UAE is a signatory to the conv
UAE at the centre of global trade in smuggled cheetahs
The global trade in cheetahs is fuelled by demand, and the UAE is at the centre of it.
“Almost overwhelmingly that goes to the UAE,” said Dr Richard Thomas of Traffic, the network that monitors the international trade in rare animals and plants. “The trade is carried out illegally and it creates the potential for organised crime.”
The easiest of the big cats to tame, the cheetah is a long-time human companion, as its other name – the hunting leopard – suggests.
It is the fastest mammal on Earth, and smaller than lions and other big cats – two factors that account for its popularity.
Historically, cheetahs have not been able to breed well in captivity and the demand for wild-caught animals has placed additional stress on populations.
With an estimated 7,500 adults left in the wild, they are named on the Red List of Threatened Species as vulnerable to extinction.
They are also included in Appendix I of Cites, which means commercial trade in the animals is not allowed.
A report submitted to Cites in July this year by Kuwait says the UAE confiscated 32 cheetahs and four cheetah skins from smugglers between 2007 and last year.
In the first half of 2014, 11 cheetahs were confiscated at the Ghweifat border post with Saudi Arabia. Most of the confiscated animals came from Somalia.
An analysis of Cites data by Traffic shows, the UAE declared the import of 151 cheetahs between 1991 and 2011. Of those, 121 were bred in captivity and one was declared as captive-bred but did not meet Cites’ criteria.
Two animals were found to have been
Some private menageries in the UAE strike a meaningful blow for the good cause
Each morning, while everyone else is commuting to work, Alan Stephenson enters a lush, landscaped private oasis.
As manager of the Sheikh Butti bin Juma Al Maktoum Wildlife Centre, he shares his picturesque workplace with dozens of flamingos, meerkats, antelopes and a host of other animals in a compound large enough for them to roam freely.
“This is the way I like to see animals, not in cages,” said Mr Stephenson.
Wealthy collectors have long been criticised by conservationists for being secretive about the animals they keep in private zoos.
But this centre, says Mr Stephenson, is an example of how one person’s interest in rare wildlife can play a part in conservation efforts.
The centre is home to animals from all over the world and is focused on helping important local species, such as the cheetah, which is extinct in the wild in the UAE.
It has 24 animals capable of breeding, with the youngest cubs just two years old. This year 70 flamingo chicks, some the native Greater flamingo but also the rarer Lesser flamingo, hatched at the centre.
“We are now trying to channel the expertise, the management and the finances into something positive, something for conservation – breeding the Arabian oryx, breeding local species which are noteworthy, instead of just having a whole collection of funny animals that are not suited for this climate,” said Mr Stephenson.
The centre also breeds Lesser kudu antelopes and the northern bald ibis, listed as critically endangered by BirdLife International.
Responsible individuals looking to set up their own collection need to consider several factors, said Mr Stephenson, the first being whether the animal they intended to buy was suitable for captivity.
“There are certain animals that really are not suited to captivity, they are very stressed – things like big cats, like lion
Pesticides in feed blamed in deaths of animals at Sofia Zoo
Pesticides in grain and bran have been found to have been the cause of the deaths of a number of animals at Sofia Zoo in recent days, reports on August 28 said, after the zoo was closed at the weekend because of the series of deaths.
The deaths were not linked to the current outbreak of Bluetongue disease in Bulgaria, an investigation found. In recent weeks, Bluetongue disease has led to the deaths of several thousand animals in various parts of Bulgaria.
The animals that died included a camel, a b
San Francisco Zoo celebrates twin giraffe birth, but mourns as newborn dies
The San Francisco Zoo is both celebrating and mourning because of a rare event, the birth of twin giraffes. But one of the newborns did not survive for long.
The male calves were born Tuesday, with one weighing in at a healthy 100 pounds and standing 5 feet 6 inches tall, while the other calf was weaker at 75 pounds and was not able to nurse.
Thursday, the smaller calf died.
"This is a bittersweet announcement to make, but this very unique twin birth is something for all of the Bay Area to take pride in," said San Francisco Zoo President Tanya Peterson. "We hope everyone will come share their best wishes with Bititi (the mother) and give a warm welcome to our newest resident."
The zoo has yet to name the newborn, which can currently be seen at the African Region section where it lives with its parents and four other giraffes.
Twin births are rare for giraffes. Out of 8,600 normal births worldwide, there are only 32 twin births. The SF Zoo's is one of only 10 successful, live births in captivity.
The pregnancy was 11-year-old mother Bititi's f
The Johannesburg Zoo’s international accreditation has been temporarily suspended.
The Association of Zoos and Aquaria says the decision was prompted by a recent incident involving the importation of eight sitatunga antelope at OR Tambo International Airport earlier this month.
It’s understood the antelope were imported from Prague Zoo in the Czech Republic.
The animals were put down after it was found they did not have necessary papers to be in the country.
The association has launched an investigation to determine whether the process of importing the antelope into the country was ethical.
John Werth says the animals arriv
Even Animals in Gaza’s Zoo Were Slaughtered
Since Americans love their pets and animals, lavishing upon them last year a record $56 billion (1), maybe they will at least make a connection with Gaza’s zoo animals that were recently slaughtered by Israel. Developed in 2008 on what was once the site of a garbage dump, the Al Bisan Zoo remains the pride of Gaza and important aspect of Palestinian self-determination. Serving as a major attraction where children and students can study and learn about a few animals from around the world, it was also a place of escape. Some could forget, even if was only for a few moments, the slow strangulation of occupied lands, expansive settlements, Israeli military incursions, and punitive economic blockade. It is a blockade that forced zoo keepers to smuggle animals through tunnels and paint black stripes on two donkeys so as to resemble zebras. Because of the tight Israeli siege on Gaza and closure of border crossings, they were unable to import zebras from Africa. Still, and
Wildlife second largest illegal trade in the world
It is a hard statistic to measure, but narcotics is said to be the largest community by volume of illegal trade in the world, with illegal trade of arms and ammunition coming in at third place. The illegal trade of wildlife species, in most cases endangered species by volume, takes second place.
The United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) closely monitors and controls imports to Canada. I have a friend who is a butterfly collector and purchases many imported species, but in each case, these species come with a CITES permit. That means the species was raised on a farm in a sustainable manner with the intent of it being sold. This activity causes no negative effects to the ecosystem as it would if the collection species were taken from the wild.
Kangaroos are legally harvested for commercial trade and export in Australia and the commercial harvest of saltwater crocodiles from Australia and New Zealand has been largely successful. There has been a call from some environmentalists to include legalized harvest of the white rhinoceros in South Africa. It is being poached at an alarming rate for its horn, which is sold for high prices on the black market.
Queen Alexandra butterflies sell for $8,195 each, tortoises in Madagascar for $10,000, arowana fish for $20,000 each, ele



Keeper bitten, scratched by lion at Dallas Zoo

A lion bit and scratched a Dallas Zoo keeper on Saturday during a routine transfer of the lions in the off-exhibit lion house.The 35-year-old zookeeper didn’t secure a door allowing the female lion into the same enclosed space as him. The keeper was injured while attempting to escape and used pepper spray as a last resort, said spokeswoman Laurie Holloway.The keeper is being treated at an area hospital for a bite on the back of his shoulder and scratches on his chest. The injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.A second keeper was behind a separate set of locked doors and helped distract the lion while the other keeper got away.
A zoo with diseased animals, bad smells, terrible upkeep
 Local residents and visitors have criticized the zoo in Taif for neglecting its animals and bad upkeep.
They said the owner of the zoo is not taking good care of the animals and left some of them to starve by cutting their food supply, Makkah daily reported.
It was also claimed that many of the animals seem to be suffering from diseases.
Other complaints included bad services and a lack of variety among the animals.
Visitor Muhammad Al-Otaibi said the lack of cleanliness in the animals’ enclosures has caused foul odors to emanate from them.
He also claimed each visitor is charged SR10 even though Taif Municipality reportedly claimed entry in all zoos and parks is free.
Visitors are usually seen leaving the zoo as fast as they enter to avoid catching any diseases, said Al-Otaibi.
Another visitor, Khalid Al-Shehri, said the lac
Helsinki's Korkeasaari Zoo celebrates 125 years
This weekend marks the birthday of the zoo, which is home to 150 animal species including the endangered Amur tiger, the world's northernmost tiger species.
A variety of special events are on offer this weekend to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Helsinki's Korkeasaari Zoo.
In addition to special events aimed at children, there are also theatrical presentations that re-enact the zoo’s history, guided tours and the possibility to meet those who work with the animals on a daily basis.
Birthday gifts can be given to the animals. According to the zoo’s website, the wish list includes soft toys and blankets, Brazil nuts an
Animal Welfare is not Appeasement
When trying to understand the animal rights mindset, and why they are never satisfied with improvement in animal care and welfare, it is important to remember the above quote.
Because it has never been about humans taking better care of the animals they keep, it is about humans not keeping anim
Clearwater Marine Aquarium unveils dramatically different plans
In a dramatic shift in tone, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium's updated plans for a new aquarium downtown feature less showmanship and more rehab and rescue.
Gone from the plans is a proposed stadium with 2,000 seats for tourists to take in dolphin shows. Instead, the updated plans, unveiled Friday, feature dolphin habitats and behind-the-scenes tours of animal operating rooms.
Overall, the new design has a much heavier focus on the aquarium's longtime mission of rescuing and rehabilitating marine mammals, and ultimately releasing them back into the wild.
CMA also says its new facility will cost $68 million to build, a steep drop from the previous sticker price of $160 million.
This comes at a crucial time for the aquarium, with the Dolphin Tale movie sequel coming out in weeks, an upcoming bid for Pinellas County bed tax dollars and a major fundraising effort that's just now getting off the ground.
Friday's announcement came at the current aquarium, which has outgrown its location in a former sewage treatment plant near Clearwater Beach. Clearwater's m
SeaWorld CEO: We should have done more to fight 'Blackfish'
SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. should have done more to counter the anti-captivity documentary "Blackfish" and in the future will promote its rescue and conservation efforts more aggressively, Chief Executive Officer Jim Atchison said Wednesday.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Atchison also discussed the public pressure his Orlando-based company has been under. Last week, SeaWorld stock plunged 33 percent after a weak earnings report, and the company announced that it wou
A love of zoos may keep SeaWorld afloat
 Despite the outcry over its treatment of killer whales, people may simply love zoos too much to completely boycott SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.
That’s the view of FBR & Co., which upgraded the theme-park operator to outperform from market perform on Friday and raised its price target to $26 from $21. Shares of SeaWorld SEAS, +6.63%  were up 1.5% to $19.30 Friday morning, though they are still down some 33% year-to-date.
The brokerage said its believes negative PR and concerns about animal cruelty are “likely to abate” over time, which will, with improved margins from a cost-cutting initiative and other overhauls, lead to “up
Hormone analysis helps identify horny rhinos
The first comprehensive study of captive black rhino reproduction in Europe highlights how hormone analysis could improve the success of breeding programmes.
Researchers from Chester Zoo, The University of Manchester and the University of Liverpool carried out a six-year study which encompassed 90% of European population of black rhino.
Dr Katie Edwards led the research as part of her PhD at the University of Liverpool. She says: "Although some black rhinoceros breed well in captivity, not all do therefore reducing the vital genetic reserve that these populations represent.
What Do Talking Apes Really Tell Us?
Last week, people around the world mourned the death of beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams. According to the Gorilla Foundation in Woodside, California, we were not the only primates mourning. A press release from the foundation announced that Koko the gorilla—the main subject of its research on ape language ability, capable in sign language and a celebrity in her own right—“was quiet and looked very thoughtful” when she heard about Williams’ death, and later became “somber” as the news sank in. Williams, described in the press release as one of Koko’s “closest friends,” spent an afternoon with the gorilla in 2001. The foundation released a video showing the two laughing and tickling one another. At one point, Koko lifts up Williams’ shirt to touch his bare chest. In another scene, Koko steals Williams’ glasses and wears them around her trailer.
These clips resonated with people. In the d
National Aquarium in Baltimore: Who's Pulling The Flippers?
The National Aquarium in Baltimore has displayed dolphins for many years but are now considering retiring them to a "sanctuary".  CEO John Racanelli states in a recent article in the Baltimore Magazine that films such as "Free Willy", "The Cove" and "Blackfish" have driven such an agenda. 
If this is the case, then this really is an absurd idea and the reason given for promoting it by the aquarium's CEO are weak to say the least.  If he is honestly justifying removing the dolphins from the aquarium on the basis of the above mentioned films then the lunatics really have taken over the asylum. 
First, it is important to understand that the 1999 feature film "Free Willy" is a work of fiction:  a young boy befriends a lone killer whale in a theme park whose owner plans to kill the whale to gain a $1,000,000 insurance policy; after a series of adventures, the boy manages to free the whale back to the wild.
Ironically, Kieko (the whale used in the film) was being held alone in a Mexican theme park.  The film generated concern over his care and a project was mounted to release him back to the wild.  The first stage of this plan was his removal to a purpose built pool at the Oregon Coast Aquarium and then to a sea pen in Iceland were he would be rehabilitated back to the wild.  Unfortunately, the project was beset with problems and political wrangling within the animal-rights lobby groups  promoting the project. 
Keiko was freed in August 2002 but rather than integrating with wild whales he was discovered 3 weeks later seeking human interaction and begging for food from people in a Norwegian fjord.  This is where he ended his days being car

Is training zoo animals enriching?

Husbandry training of zoo animals (training) has been associated with many benefits, and indisputably is a valuable tool; training facilitates movement of animals within their environment, and participation in husbandry and medical procedures. Training has also been considered to be enriching. With few exceptions systematic empirical data have not been collected which have evaluated the impact of training zoo animals outside of the training session. Most publications in this area are methodological, outlining what behaviours can be trained and how, or consider the value of training whether it is believed to be beneficial or detrimental. Determining whether training is enriching, is in part hindered by semantics; what is meant by the suggestion that training is enriching? To move this situation forward five hypotheses have been suggested in this paper whereby animals would be considered to be enriched, if training: 1) affords learning opportunities, as learning is considered to be enriching; 2) can achieve the same results as conventional environmental enrichment (CEE); 3) increases human–animal interactions; 4) provides a dynamic change in the animals’ day; and 5) facilitates the provision of CEE. These suggested hypotheses are by no means exhaustive, but represent commonly held assumptions used to explain how training might be considered enriching. These hypotheses provide a starting point to systematically consider available data which support or refute whether training is enriching; an evidence based approach.Data collated revealed that training could be considered enriching according to: hypothesis 1, whilst the animal is still learning; hypothesis 2, if the ultimate consequence of training was considered itself enriching. More data are required to test hypothesis 3. And data did not support that training was enriching in and of itself according to hypotheses 4 and 5. In conclusion, training was not considered to be an appropriate alternative to the provision of CEE. Both, training and CEE are recommended to ensure an integrated holistic captive animal management strategy which will meet an animal's needs.
Russian pilot scoops water from zoo pond to douse fire, birds perished
A helicopter that scooped water from the pond of a zoo in central Anatolia to douse a nearby wildfire has caused the death of several birds.
The firefighting helicopter came from the southern province of Adana on Aug. 22 to help locals extinguish a fire spreading in the forests of Mount Ali in Kayseri province.
A Russian pilot, under the guidance of a Turkish technician, confused the pool of a Kayseri zoo with a nearby dam reservoir. Around 10 waterfowls and ducks were killed when the sack that helicopter lowered to refill it wit

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