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|Zoo News Digest Mar-Apr 2018|
Zoo News Digest
The UAE's only wild hunting resort says visitor numbers are growing
The roar of wild animals, iced drinks under the stars and rifles jacked up against backpacks – it sounds like a passage from Ernest Hemingway’s classic safari journal Green Hills of Africa, but only a few miles from the capital in the deserts of Al Ain, hunters from across the globe are legally hunting for trophy game such as Arabian oryx and gazelle.
Telal Hunting opened in 2015 and is based at the Telal Resort in Al Ain. The 80 square kilometre complex also offers safari trips where guests can see these indigenous Middle Eastern animals in the wild. It's the only place in the UAE where these animals can be hunted legally in their natural environment.
Hans Enslin is the hunting manager. “In our boundaries it’s legal to hunt,” he said at the Arabian Travel Market on Monday.
The operation is fully licensed by Abu Dhabi and the numbers visiting are growing. The season runs from October to March and from just 25 paying hunters in 2015, at least 95 came this season – seventy of which are from the GCC and Emirati. Guests also come from traditional hunting communities in Europe, Russia, the US, South America and Mexico.
People do not need shooting experience, but most do and many have a military background. Every hunting guest, no matter what their expertise, is still taken to a shooting range under Mr
A Court Has Rejected the 'Monkey Selfie' Lawsuit Seeking Animal Rights to Photographs
A U.S. appeals court on Monday favored humans over animals in a novel copyright lawsuit filed over a series of entertaining selfies taken by a monkey with a toothy grin.
U.S. copyright law does not allow lawsuits that seek to give animals the rights to photographs or other original work, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
Copyright infringement can only be claimed on behalf of humans, the court said.
The unanimous, three-judge panel upheld a lower court ruling that dismissed the lawsuit by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals against a photographer whose camera was used by a crested macaque to take the photos in 2011.
PETA’s 2015 suit against wildlife photographer Da
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC BANS THE SALE OF DOLPHINS FOR ENTERTAINMENT
The Dominican Republic has passed legislation that prohibits the sale of dolphins, Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project reported. The new legislation, published by the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, is said to cover a period of five years. During this time, dolphins cannot be purchased or sold within the Caribbean nation.
While the ruling does not ban the captivity of dolphins at current facilities, Dolphin Project, the longest-running anti-captivity dolphin organization in the world, believes the legislation will still have an impact. The organization commented that the ruling will make it “more difficult, if not impossible” to open new dolphinariums.
Dolphin Project said: “We applaud the Ministry for taking this action, as this is an important advance for local activists who have been working hard to defend the free
Why zoos should be considered social enterprises
What goes through your head when you hear the word ‘zoo’? Is it that they are modern day conservation powerhouses? If not, it should be.
With over 700 million visitors a year, zoos and aquariums are the third biggest contributor to field conservation worldwide. We are in a prime position to influence the relationships between people and nature.
Zoos are true social enterprises, contributing to our understanding of animals and their habitats, their care and threats, and are integral to the values of connecting people with animals - particularly in our increasingly urbanized world.
But zoos have their detractors, and I can understand these sentiments. It would be great if we had a healthy happy planet, where all beings live good lives in healthy untouched habitats with optimal biodiversity. This is not the reality.
There is no environment on earth left untouched by humans. We only need to look at footage of the plastic rubbish patches in oceans around the world to see the effect our everyday lives are having on the habitats of wild animals. Those detractors who state ‘let
Signoff on rhino sperm transfer between Indonesia, Malaysia expected mid-May: Official
Indonesia has taken the first concrete step to advancing a long-anticipated cross-border program that will attempt to fertilize the last female Sumatran rhino in Malaysia with sperm from a proven breeder living at a facility in Indonesia.
The Indonesian government on April 12 sent a memorandum of understanding to its Malaysian counterpart regarding the transfer of genetic material, a senior official confirmed to Mongabay on April 26.
“We’re expecting the Malaysian government to sign off on the MoU sometime mid-May,” Herry Subagiadi, the secretary to the conservation director at the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said on the sidelines of a media briefing in Jakarta.
The news comes amid increasing concern ab
Animal appeal: The zookeeper
There is something with animals that gets Johnny “Kuya Johnny” Culasito enthusiastic and pumped up.
“Despite my love for animals, I admit that it was really a hair-raising job at the beginning. But you know, if you really care for them, everything will be easy,” the 47-year-old Kuya Johnny told the Manila Bulletin.
A zoo caretaker at the Malabon Zoo for two decades, he describes animals as his “first love.”
Hazards of the trade
In 1990, he recalled a somewhat terrifying close encounter with an adult lion.
He narrated an experience that a lion charged at him while he was cleaning the beast’s pen.
“I was scared because the lion was so
Two bears freed from 20 years of cage life in Vietnam
Ninh Binh Bear Rescue Center is 10 hectares large with two bear farms and four semi-natural areas. The center is home to many bears rescued from Vietnam's bear bile industry. Vietnam banned commercial bear bile extraction in 2005, but bile farming remains a problem after more than a decade. Vietnam's government signed an agreement last July to work with animal activists to shut down all bear bile farms and free the remaining 1,000 bears stuck in captivity by 2020.
Orca Morgan, the oblivious martyr?
Morgan is a female killer whale or orca (Orcinus orca) that currently resides at Loro Parque, Tenerife located at the Canary Islands. She was rescued by “Dolfinarium Harderwijk’, a Dutch Marine park on June 23 2010 after being found alone and extremely malnourished in the waters of the Wadden Sea.
About a week before her rescue the first reports came in of “a large cetacean” spotted in the waters around Lauwersoog in the Netherlands. Sightings of orcas in Dutch waters are not unheard of but quite a rare occasion as opposed to the more native species of marine mammal found in that specific area. Not long after that the first footage of Morgan appeared, recorded by a boat of the Dutch state. Finally she was confirmed to be an orca and the Dolfinarium in Harderwijk was contacted to set up a rescue plan for the animal as they had the experience a
Healthy population of Tasmanian devils discovered in state's remote south west
A healthy population of Tasmanian devils has been discovered in the state's remote south-west as part of a program to save the animals from extinction.
In a major breakthrough for the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, the 14 devils were found to be free of the deadly Devil Facial Tumour Disease.
The disease has devastated the iconic species in recent years, with more than 80 per cent of the population wiped out in the last two decades.
Devils immunised with a vaccine against the virus have been released in the north of the state.
But there have been problems with the healthy devils bred in captivity being killed on
Tigers are endangered in Asia, but in Texas they’re backyard pets
By some estimates, a couple of thousand tigers live in Texas, many in backyards and most not registered with the state, which is believed to be the second-largest tiger population in the world behind India.
Texas allows ownership of exotic pets and requires owners to register their animals with the state, but as of February only 50 tigers were recorded, said Chris Van Deusen, spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Animal rights advocates say many tigers go unregistered because county enforcement of the registration rules is often lax.
Most Texas counties have banned tiger ownership, but the state doesn’t track which counties allow tigers and which don’t, making it difficult, if not impossible to track unregistered tigers in the state, said Skip Trimble, advisory director of the Texas Humane Legislation Network.
“The tragedy here is that we do have laws, but the laws are not effective in any reasonable manner,” Trimble said. “It’s really very, very sickening to us, when we worked as hard as we did to get the (tiger registration) law passed, now after 15 years to know … it’s just not happening.”
Trimble said when the state does
World’s first test tube elephant ‘Gabi’ celebrates 13th birthday at Turkey’s Gaziantep Zoo
abi, the world's first elephant conceived through in-vitro fertilization (IVF), celebrated her 13th birthday Monday with 50,000 visitors at the Gaziantep Zoo in southeastern Turkey.
Entrance to the zoo was free on Monday, due to the National Sovereignty and Children's Day celebrated each year on April 23.
Guests fed Gabi special treats, including a heart-shaped "cake" of fruits and vegetables.
The Elephant Man: A Conversation with Mike Keele, Retired Deputy Director and Curator of Elephant Habitats at the Oregon Zoo
Since the birth of Packy in 1962, the Oregon Zoo and Asian elephants have been synonymous. The zoo's herd has long held celebrity status in the community, several elephants have been successfully born and the zoo has significantly contributed to the zoo world's understanding of the magnificent creatures. Over the years, the zoo has become a leader in elephant conservation in Asia. Much of the program's success is due to Mike Keele, who worked at the zoo for 42 years. He served as world studbook keeper and SSP coordinator of Asian elephants for decades. Additionally, Keele served as the zoo's Deputy Director during the tenure of Tony Vecchio and helped the broader zoo grow and evolve to what it is today. Here is his story.
Vast survey finds far more gorillas in Africa than previously believed — and some bad news, too
The largest-ever survey of two primate populations in Africa found vastly more western lowland gorillas, as well as higher numbers of central chimpanzees, than were previously believed to exist. But that hopeful finding is imperiled because of the gorillas’ alarming rate of decline, according to a study.
Western lowland gorillas are the primary and most widespread subspecies of gorilla, and central chimpanzees are the second-most populous chimp, outnumbered only by the eastern chimpanzee. Both species are found mainly in the Congo and Gabon.
The study, published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, estimates that there were 361,900 gorillas and 128,700 chimpanzees as of 2013. That’s about one-third more gorillas and one-tenth more chimpanzees than previous surveys estimated, though those calculations were done differently and were not designed to count the animals across their entire range.
That is the good news. Now the bad: Researchers found that gorilla populations are dropping faster than they believed, at a rate of nearly
Wraxall zoo welcomes African elephant bull
Shaka has arrived at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, in Clevedon Road, from Vienna in a transfer organised by the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP).
Dr Harald Schwammer, vice director at Vienna Zoo, said: “Shaka is a calm and playful elephant who loves his food.
“We are very happy to be working with Noah’s Ark again, which has one of the biggest elephant facilities available in the EEP.”
Shaka, who is 26 years old, is joining two young bulls, nine-year-old M’Changa and Janu, aged 12, in the facility.
Male elephants will naturally group together with other solitary males to form bachelor groups.
Sandra de Rek, head elephant keeper at the zoo, said: “It will be great for the public to witness the natural and playful behaviou
Tigers being bred in Gauteng backyards for petting and bone export
South Africa is one the world’s biggest exporters of endangered tigers, almost all of which end up as floor mats, wall hangings or skeletons submerged in vats of Asian tiger-bone wine. The trade is so lucrative that city householders in Gauteng are breeding them in their backyards.
Because they’re not an indigenous species, trade in tigers is unregulated and flying below the radar of the DEA (Department of Environmental Affairs). When asked about it by Ban Animal Trading and the EMS Foundation, the DEA response was that tigers weren’t the department’s responsibility because they’re “exotics”. In reply to a request for information on tiger breeding facilities, Limpopo DEA wildlife director Sam Makhubele said the department had never been approached and he seemed surprised that they even existed.
However, 2015 a TRAFFIC/Wildcru report, Bones of Contention, estimated there were at the time 280 tigers in 44 facilities in South Africa. Today there are undoubtedly far more, but because tiger breeding doesn’t have to be reported, numbers are hard to establish.
A shock report by Ban Animal Trading and the EMS Foundation – sent to the UN wildlife trade organisation CITES – lists over 60 unlicensed tiger breeders, many of which market Bengal and Siberian tiger cubs, skins and bones worldwide. The report says South Af
Critically endangered Javan Rhino dies in Indonesia
A Javan rhino has died in Indonesia, the environment ministry said Thursday, bringing the critically endangered mammals closer to extinction with just 60 believed to be still living in the wild.
The body of the male rhino was found inside West Java's Ujung Kulon national park, the creature's last remaining habitat.
Its death was believed to be from old age rather than poaching.
The animal has been driven to the brink of extinction as their horns are highly valued in traditional Chinese and Korean medicine, although most countries in the region have banned the trade.
"We found it on (Monday) and are now performing an autopsy," said environment ministry spokesman Djati Witjaksono Hadi.
Memphis Zoo officials admit some things, deny a bunch of things, and are ready for court.
The Memphis Zoo denies that a former female employee "was discriminated or retaliated against" because of her gender.
Kimberly Terrell, a female conservation biologist, sued the zoo in December. She claimed she was fired from her job as the zoo's director of research and conservation based on gender discrimination.
Her attorneys are suing the zoo for damages in excess of $75,000, including back pay, lost benefits, employment reinstatement, punitive damages, and all court fees.
J. Mark Griffee, the attorney for the zoo, responded to Terrell's original lawsuit in mid-March, saying her claims of discrimination were unfounded.
In that original suit, Terrell painted a picture of an ongoing tension that grew between her and zoo president Chuck Brady. She said she'd built a "strong record of success at the zoo," but Brady increasingly attacked her performance and she felt it was because she was female.
Promiscuous Monkeys Create Hybrids By Mating With Other Species, Research Says
In a zoo at Gombe National Park in Tanzania, Africa, new species of monkeys have been discovered. The new species comes from two distinct sets of monkeys and according to the findings, it appears that they have been mating for hundreds or even thousands of years.
The guenon monkeys lineage was discovered by Dr. Kate Detwiler, an anthropology professor at the Florida Atlantic University. Detwiler stated that she discovered this interesting information by studying the feces of the primates.
Detwiler continued that in the feces of the monkeys, she found two strands of DNA from two genetically different sets. The hybrid species comes from the red-tail and blue monkeys who were thought to have been picky about their mating process.
The professor collected the DNA from about 144 monkeys and out of those 144 monkeys, about 15 percent were the offspring of the red-tails
This is why you aren’t allowed inside Vizag Zoo on Mondays
The Indira Gandhi Zoological Park that’s usually bustling with tourists wore a desserted look on Monday morning. As the team of 20 animal attendents and some daily wage labourers strive to clean up the zoo enclosures, the animals are seen relaxing, relishing the rare privacy gained, away from prying eyes of noisy visitors.
Our eyes fall on this handsome hunk of a crocodile, who seemed to be lounging around without a care in the world, while the cleaners drained the water from his enclosure and scrubbed the muck and moss. Krishna — that’s his name, we were told. Surprised at how unperturbed Krishna seemed even with 10 workers surrounding him, we wondered if he’s really tha
Farewell, Inuka: Zoo staff surround polar bear to comfort him during his last moments as the animal passes away in Singapore
Inuka, born at Singapore Zoo, reached the age of 27 - into his 70s in human years
But the polar bear, the first born in the tropics, suffered a rapid decline in health
Pictures show zoo staff comforting the animal moments before he was put down
His keepers had earlier said 'it would not have been fair to prolong his suffering'
Ex-SeaWorld CEO eligible for $6.6 million in cash when he left
SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby, who left the struggling company in February, was eligible to receive $6.6 million in cash as well as stock valued as much as nearly $2 million as part of a separation package, according to a new filing.
SeaWorld disclosed Manby’s exit compensation in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday afternoon that detailed, among other items, compensation for executives.
In 2017, Manby’s annual salary was $1 million although he also received stock awards that added about $7 million in compensation, bringing his total to about $8.2 million, the filing said. Manby’s $1 million salary last year remained the same as in 2016.
A SeaWorld spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Five species Cambridge-based Fauna & Flora International is working to protect
Fauna & Flora International (FFI), based in the David Attenborough Building in Cambridge, is a leading international charity fighting to preserve biodiversity across the world.
A recent public lecture and panel discussion at the building, entitled ‘Setting a new post-2020 biodiversity agenda – the communications challenge’, heard from Sir David Attenborough about the conservation challenges we face. “The problems are enormous and they’re also varied – and there is no single solution,” said Sir David, who is vice-president of FFI. “Every country and every community will have their own problems and their own solutions.”
Here we focus on five of the species that FFI is working to protect.
Amazing members part 2 – orangutans, gorillas and the golden lion tamarin
On the road again
As I am in the midst of my 2018 spring travel to for Species360 Board of Trustees meeting, and to attend conferences for both EAZA and ZAA (Australasia), I realize I still have a few Species360 member visit experiences to share. Days 3 and 4 of my road trip to the ZACC conference were all about primates, big and small – orangutans, gorillas, and more! If you missed my recap of Days 1-2, you can catch up here.
‘Shocking and startling facts’ revealed about the Delhi Zoo in a govt report
Mysterious deaths, no post-mortems, illegal capturing and housing of animals, manipulation of records and criminal conspiracy — these are some of the charges levelled against Delhi zoo officials by an inquiry panel appointed by the environment ministry.
In its report, the committee constituted under the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) in August 2017 has indicted six officers and employees of the National Zoological Park (NZP), the official name of the Delhi zoo, for “misconduct and criminal offences”.
The report submitted on 18 April has also suggested that a special investigation team (SIT) be constituted or the case be handed over to a central investigative agency to probe the alleged criminal actions committed at the zoo, a popular hangout in the capital.
The examination of records available with the co
M. Simmons – Release Is Not the Answer
A couple years ago I had the chance to meet Mark Simmons, a well-respected advocate for the Zoo and Aquarium Community. Talking with him made me realize how important it is for us to make sure that our Zoo’s and Aquariums do not get extinct. In 2016 he did a presentation about Keiko’s Story and our position in today’s Zoological world. Inspiring trainers and keepers around the world M. Simmons is making a change for the community. M. Simmons was one of the trainer’s to be working in the Keiko project. He wrot
How illegal bird hunting in the Arab world could drive species to extinction
Almost a quarter of the world’s migratory birds are at risk and could eventually face extinction, a new report has revealed.
And mankind is to blame, according the State of the World’s Birds survey, which points the finger at illegal hunting, loss of vital feeding and breeding grounds to agriculture, pesticides and poor environmental practices.
Illegal hunting takes the lives of between 12 and 38 million birds every year.
The major culprits were Italy, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, where over 15 million birds are estimated to be killed annually.
“The magic of birds has been astounding humanity over hundreds of years,” said Patricia Zurita, the chief executive of BirdLife International, which commissioned th
Brookfield Zoo vets take first-ever CT scan of live rhino as part of lifesaving treatment
Treating a sinus infection is usually a simple affair in a human, but it's a life-threatening condition for black rhinos like 7-year-old Layla, forcing the Brookfield Zoo's veterinarians to pioneer new methods to save the endangered animal's life.
Rhinos breathe primarily through their nose, so when Layla’s keepers saw her drooling and struggling for air, they knew something was wrong. Medication wasn’t helping enough with the sinus infection, so doctors drilled holes through the thick bone in her skull to clear the infection this past
Chimp sanctuary helps illegal wildlife trade ’refugees’
Poco, a 38-year-old chimpanzee at a conservancy in Laikipia County, is bubbly. He can stand, walk and even strut with a bipedal swagger just like a human being.
And just like 35 other apes being hosted at Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Poco is a refugee. He is a victim of illegal wildlife trade. Poco is learning to live a life in the wild once again.
Even though things are looking up for Poco, his past is sad. He was confined in a small cage in Bujumbura, Burundi, for nine years. His captors used him to attract visitors.
NEW ADVICE ISSUED TO PREVENT PALYTOXIN POISONING
OATA has joined forces with key public health officials to produce guidance to help marine aquarium hobbyists who keep corals protect themselves against palytoxin poisoning.
Health Protection Scotland approached OATA with a request to help produce the advice after a small number of incidents involving palytoxin were reported across the UK.
Palytoxin is produced by species of Palythoa and Zoanthus soft corals with Palythoa species generally considered to be more toxic than Zoanthus species. However, as many hobbyists may not be able to distinguish between them, the collective term of ‘zoantharians’ is used.
The greatest risk of palytoxin poisoning comes from exposing the slime coating produced by zoantharians to air. Wherever possible, marine animals should be handled underwater and fully submerged. They should not be lifted out of the aquarium unnecessarily. If hobbyists do need to transfer them, the advice is to do so using submerged plastic bags, containers or buckets.
“Thankfully instances of palytoxin poisoning are rare occurrences
Captive cheetahs are key to keeping the species alive
IT IS extremely concerning that there is a trend in contributors to social and published media recently to tar all animal facilities that keep cheetahs for breeding and public awareness with the same brush
They use attention-grabbing headlines, sweeping statements and selected scientific peer-reviewed research references (or none), regardless of authenticity.
While as in any other industry there are indeed some less ethical players, there are also a number of passionate organisations in the zoo community dedicated to the long-term well-being and conservation of the cheetah as a species.
“Ambassador cheetahs” have played a pivotal role in curriculum-linked education and awareness programmes, locally and worldwide.
Their welfare is of great concern to the various facilities which are ethical and responsible regarding the husbandry, care and welfare of the cheetahs in their custodianship.
Modern zoos serving as Noah’s ark for endangered species
The perennial question that still revolves around the concept of zoos or zoological garden is whether it is moral and acceptable for humans to confine animals in cages for entertainment or education or awareness or captive breeding. Several respected and dedicated animal right activists around the planet have been demanding complete closure of zoos; and to set the animals back into their natural ecosystem and habitats or advocating for more progressive animal rights. On one end of this spectrum are conservationists, foresters, and ecologists who sincerely believe that zoos have an important role to play in educating the public and making them aware of the spectacular biodiversity of the plant so that the public become more caring and responsible towards conserving natural ecosystems and environment.
While the other extreme ends calls for freedom for animals and advocating for the animals to live and thrive in their own natural ecosystems and habitats; free from any confinement or cage or enclosure. They insist that no matter how progressive and animal friendly modern zoos are in their basic philosophies; and no matter how great the zoo infrastructure is for mimicking natural ecosystems; they can never be equal or anywhere near the quality of wild natural habitats. Hence any confinement in the zoos actually violates the right of a helpless and defenceless animal as an individual species co inhabiting the planet with us; and must be returned to the wild. The debate will continue as is expected in any democratic society; however, honestly speaking we could not possibly undermine the role of modern zoos in education and awareness of the public. Furth
Zoos release eggs to help corroboree frogs leap out of extinction
Until recent decades, there were hundreds of thousands of southern corroboree frogs clambering around snow gum trees and wallowing in the frigid waters of the Australian Alps.
Now, less than 50 of the vividly-coloured, poisonous little frogs are left in the wild.
But those numbers are set to swell this week with the release of about 1000 captive-bred southern corroboree frog eggs into Kosciuszko National Park.
The pygmy hog: to the brink of extinction and back
The smallest member of the pig family, the pygmy hog (porcula salvania), is a critically endangered species. Once found along a narrow strip of tall and wet grassland plains on the Himalayan foothills – from Uttar Pradesh to Assam, through Nepal’s terai areas and Bengal’s duars – it was thought to have become extinct in the 1960s. But in 1971 it was “re-discovered” with a small population in the Barnadi Wildlife Sanctuary.
Even then the numbers have kept declining. They are estimated to be less than 200 pygmy hogs, half of what was estimated in the mid 1990s. The only viable population of the pygmy hog in the wild is in the Manas Tiger Reserve in Assam. A two-decade long effort to conserve this 25-cm tall animal has however turned the tide – the 110th captive-bred Pygmy Hog was recently reintroduce
Zoo general curator Brandi Clark loves her job
“It’s so exciting,” said Clark during an interview this past week, adding, “It’s pretty amazing, that’s for sure.”
Clark, of Minot, has been with the zoo since 1992. “I got lucky enough to be hired on as a zookeeper,” Clark said, reminiscing about her years at North Dakota’s oldest zoo.
Clark worked as a zookeeper for about six years before becoming general curator. When she applied for the zookeeper job she said she didn’t think she would be hired because she didn’t go to school for that type of work. With a degree in veterinary technology, she was working as a veterinary technician at a veterinary clinic. She applied for the zookeeper position, was interviewed and got the job.
She was hired a month after Ron Merritt, now director of Minot Parks. Initially, both were hired as zookeepers. Later Merritt became zoo director and then park director. Now Clark is the longest serving Roosevelt Park Zoo staff member.
As general curator, Clark oversees animal tr
Tamaraw population up in Mindoro national park
The population of tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) at Mt. Iglit-Baco National Park on Mindoro Island has increased to 523, according to the latest count done by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and conservation groups from April 17 to 21.
The tamaraw is one of the Philippines’ most endangered species and is endemic to Mindoro.
Don Geoff Tabaranza, wildlife biologist and project development and resource manager of Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, said the figure meant an increase of 122 tamaraw to last year’s count of 401. In 2016, the tamaraw population was 4
Young giraffe makes brief escape at Fort Wayne zoo
Workers at an Indiana zoo needed a couple of hours to corral a young giraffe that escaped from her enclosure.
The 7-month-old female got loose Monday from the African Journey exhibit at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. Zoo spokeswoman Bonnie Kemp says the giraffe, Thabisa, never left the property.
It wasn't immediately clear how the youngest in the zoo's herd of nine giraffes escaped.
Staffers were able to trap the giraffe in a fenced parking lot in a non-public area of the zoo. Zookeepers calmed her down before returning her to the enclosure.
The zoo just opened to the public for the season on
David Gill talks about his departure from Dalton zoo and the new regime
Zoo's founder reveals he is looking at selling the park to one of two interested parties
IN the final installment of a three-part series of interviews with South Lakes Safari Zoo's founder David Gill the controversial character speaks to AMY FENTON about the end of his reign.
"IN 24 years so much has happened," says David Gill, as he reflects on his almost quarter of a century at the helm of South Lakes Safari Zoo.
"Although I had planned to retire for a few years before I left I never expected it would be like this."
Having faced relentless criticism and calls for him to step down following a series of scandals, the under-fire zoo boss handed over the reigns in January 2017, giving control of the park to a new company headed up by Karen Brewer.
Commentary: Want to Save the Earth? Start With Your Local Zoo.
The death last month of the world’s last remaining male northern white rhinoceros was a red flag for the conservation movement and animal lovers everywhere. It was just the latest reminder of the precarious state of major fauna around the world: There are roughly 1,700 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, or fish that are critically endangered.
Today is Earth Day, which raises awareness about how human actions such as pollution and overdevelopment threaten biodiversity. It presents an opportunity to reflect on the extinction of majestic creatures with whom we once shared the Earth and consider ideas to prevent further species loss.
Earth Day 2018 is focused on ending plastic pollution, particularly the single-use plastics that often end up in our oceans and waterways. The plastic threat to wildlife has been driven home by a recent viral video, viewed over 21 million times, of a straw being removed from the nose of a sea turtle. (This video is graphic and contains explicit language.) It’s difficult to watch and not re
The UK's largest indoor elephant house opens at Blackpool Zoo
Blackpool Zoo has opened up its new multi-million pound Project Elephant Base Camp.
The new facility combines the UK's largest indoor elephant house with a huge outdoor habitat and an immersive themed visitor experience 'through Asia'.
Visitors will find themselves at eye level with the herd of elephants, which currently consists of Kate, who has lived in Blackpool for 46 years, Tara, who came from Twycross Zoo in January and Minbu, who arrived from the same zoo in March.
Brookfield Zoo vets take first-ever CT scan of live rhino as part of lifesaving treatment
Treating a sinus infection is usually a simple affair in a human, but it's a life-threatening condition for black rhinos like 7-year-old Layla, forcing the Brookfield Zoo's veterinarians to pioneer new methods to save the endangered animal's life.
Rhinos breathe primarily through their nose, so when Layla’s keepers saw her drooling and struggling for air, they knew something was wrong. Medication wasn’t helping enough with the sinus infection, so doctors drilled holes through the thick bone in her skull to clear the infection this past January. Think of it as a temporary blowhole to help Layla breathe and recover.
"Had we not done that surgery, I’m confident Layla would no longer be with us,”said Dr. Mike Adkesson, VP of Clinical Medicine at the Brookfield Zoo.
Experts said her condition is still "not survivable in the wild," so they turned to something that's never been done: Taking a CAT scan on a live rhino. It's a
Sumatran rhinos nearing extinction due to farming, hunting
Sumatran rhinoceroses once inhabited a vast expanse of land in mainland East Asia, according to a new study by University professors. Today, they are located primarily in Sumatra, Indonesia.
Due to hunting, expansion of the human population and increased agriculture, the area occupied by these rhinos has shrunk significantly ever since the start of human development in the first millennium B.C. Now, hunting and agriculture practices still continue to drive down the number of Sumatran rhinos, raising concerns that they will become extinct.
Previous research suggested that “the Sumatran rhino was doomed to die out, and that you could see it in the DNA sequence,” said Brian Lander, assistant professor of history and environment and society.
But DNA does not provide sufficient ability to predict the extinction of living rhinos, Lander said. Current Sumatran rhinos have been separated from the rhinos that existed on mainland China 9,000 years ago, he said. “So their DNA does not tell us anything about the whole population (of those in Indonesia),” he
Unemployment drives young poaching gangs
Efforts to curb rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park are facing the threat of being deemed futile by the high unemployment rates in the communities surrounding one of the country's national treasures.
This is seen as the root cause of the sprouting poaching syndicates.
The park’s chief ranger, Ben Maggs, said unemployment in the surrounding communities needed to be addressed.
“People are driven to desperation,” Maggs warned, saying residents from these communities could start blocking tourists travelling to the park in order to send a message.
“That’s going to have a big impact. Why? Because they are not getting service delivery.
A JOURNEY WITH ELEPHANTS BY GREG VOGT – CONSERVATION GUARDIANS
Thandora – Final Chapter
Readers of this blog will probably ask 100 questions and offer as many possible answers as to why the girls did not accept Thandora.
During my hours with her in the reserve I challenged every scenario possible. All I can say is that Thandora was happy on her own. The day after the famous meeting described in videos and pictures in the previous blog, we meandered to a dam I called our ‘secret dam’. The water was clear and for some reason there were no traces of elephant spoor at this Dam. I assumed the other elephants did not come to this dam very often for whatever reason.
I was mesmerised in t
New gadgets help reveal the collective behavior of wild animals
An international team of scientists led by Swansea University biologists describe how novel technologies are transforming our understanding of why wild animals form different groups.
Combining animal tracking data with environmental data from satellites or drones means that scientists can begin to study whole groups and their interactions in the real, changing environments in which they live and have evolved.
Researchers now have access to gadgets such as bio-loggers, which are electronic tracking devices that attach to animals, recording GPS position and animal motion.
For example, swarms, shoals, flocks, herds and troops are just some of the typ
David Gill on zookeeper's death: 'People thought I was cold but my head wasn't in the right place'
THE day of May 24, 2013, will be etched in the minds and hearts of all those who worked at South Lakes Safari Zoo on that fateful day.
Well-liked and committed-conservationist Sarah McClay was carrying out her routine zookeeper tasks in the corridor of the tiger house when tragedy struck.
Sumatran tiger Padang entered the area of the enclosure where the 24-year-old was working and attacked her in full view of horrified zoo visitors.
Despite the efforts of her colleagues and the emergency services the former Dowdales School pupil died of her injuries and the incident later resulted in South Lakes Safari Zoo being fined almost £450,000 after admitting to health and safety failings.
David Gill will be the first to admit, in hindsight, that his interviews with national media immediately after Miss McClay's death did little to enamour him to Miss McClay's family, friends and fellow zookeepers.
World’s newest great ape threatened by Chinese dam
The discovery of the Tapanuli orangutan has not stopped a Chinese state-run company from clearing forest for a planned dam. Conservationists fear this will be the beginning of the end for a species only known for six months
Last November scientists made a jaw-dropping announcement: they’d discovered a new great ape hiding in plain sight, only the eighth inhabiting our planet.
The Tapanuli orangutan survives in northern Sumatra and it is already the most endangered great ape in the world; researchers estimate less than 800 individuals survive. But the discovery hasn’t stopped a Chinese state-run company, Sinohydro, from moving ahead with clearing forest for a large dam project smack in the middle of the orangutan population. According to several orangutan experts, Sinohyrdo’s dam represents an immediate and existential threat to the Tapanuli orangutan.
“Building the dam means chopping the orangutan population in half,” Erik Meijaard, the director of Borneo Futures and one of the experts to describe Pongo tapanuliensis, said. “You end up with two smaller populations, and these will have much reduced chances of survival, because a small population is more likely to go extinct than a large one.”
One in eight bird species is threatened with extinction, global study finds
One in eight bird species is threatened with global extinction, and once widespread creatures such as the puffin, snowy owl and turtle dove are plummeting towards oblivion, according to the definitive study of global bird populations.
The State of the World’s Birds, a five-year compendium of population data from the best-studied group of animals on the planet, reveals a biodiversity crisis driven by the expansion and intensification of agriculture.
In all, 74% of 1,469 globally threatened birds are affected primarily by farming. Logging, invasive species and hunting are the other main threats.
“Each time we undertake this assessment we see slightly more species at risk of extinction – the situation is deteriorating and the trends are intensifying,” said Tris Allinson, senior global scienc
The terrible things that would happen if all the coral reefs died off
We're currently facing the worst bleaching of coral reefs ever known in history, but what would happen if all the coral reefs died off? We've already lost 50% of the world's coral, and we're at risk of losing even more. If the world lost all its coral reefs, the results would be dire. Following is a transcript of the video.
What would happen if all the coral reefs died off?
Coral reefs are filled with colorful ocean life. But they're in danger of dying off.
The planet has already lost 50% of its coral in the last 30 years. If the rest go, the consequences would be dire.
Sea life has the most to lose. Coral reefs cover less than 1% of the ocean floor. But, they provide an essential ecosystem for a quarter of all marine life.
The Disney Conservation Fund Awards 2018 Conservation Grants
The Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) is providing grants totaling more than $8 million to support the work of 80 nonprofit organizations this year, The Walt Disney Company announced today. The grants are part of Disney’s “Reverse the Decline” initiative, which pairs the company’s philanthropic dollars with professional expertise from Disney’s Animals, Science, and Environment team and other employees to maximize the impact of conservation efforts to protect wildlife and wild places. Including these new grants, DCF has awarded more than $70 million to date to support conservation efforts around the world.
DCF actively supports the world’s leading conservation organizations with funds and professional resources to save wildlife and habitats, inspire action, and protect the planet. This commitment is reflected through the fund’s comprehensive focus on stabilizing and increasing the populations of 10 different at-risk species including apes, butterflies, coral reefs, cranes, elephants, monkeys, rhinos, sea turtles, sharks and rays, and tigers. DCF also provides grants to support conservation programs that engage communities in comprehensive solutions that serve people, wildlife and habitats.
“Each program we support through th
TIMELINE: Key events in the history of Dalton zoo
1983: David Gill reveals his vision to open a wild animal park at his home.
1993: David Gill buys 14 acres of land off Broughton Road in Dalton.
1994: South Lakes Wild Animal Park opens to the public on May 27.
1996: The zoo attracts a record number of 100,000 visitors.
1996: The zoo features on Michaela Strachan's The Really Wild Show.
1997: Zimba the white rhino escapes from its compound and is shot and killed.
2000: David Gill buys land in Australia to open Mareeba Zoo.
2004: After just four years Mareeba Zoo in Australia is closed after regulatory breaches including one in which he was fined for chasing down a cheetah on a motorbike.
2007: Dalton zoo's reports record post-tax profits of £350,000.
2007: David Gill is attacked by love rival Richard Creary after the zoo boss started seeing Creary's estranged wife.
2008: The zoo is criticised by licensing officers over the escape of lemurs.
2013: The zoo is hit by tragedy with the death of zookeeper Sarah McClay.
2016: In June the zoo is fined after admitting safety failings relating to Miss McClay's death.
2016: Cumbria Zoo Company Limited is established to take over running of the zoo.
2017: Government announces it is considering an overhaul of zoo legislation and licensing.
David Gill on proposed changes to zoo legislation
Zoo founder agrees there should be national regulatory body
SINCE South Lakes Safari Zoo was hit by a series of scandals, including the death of a zookeeper and a report detailing the deaths of hundreds of animals, there have been calls for a national regulator to be created to monitor and inspect zoos across the UK.
Under current legislation the licensing of zoos falls to individual local authorities such as Barrow Borough Council which is responsible for inspecting and licensing zoos such as that at Dalton.
Perhaps surprisingly, given his traditional defiant streak and as someone who is known to battle against the establishment, David Gill agrees.
"No disrespect to Barrow Borough Council but I absolutely agree there needs to be a national regulator so that the rules and regulations are interpreted and enforced consistently across the nation," he says.
"The zoos and their staff, along with the councils and inspe
Contact and Discovery: A Conversation with John Chapo, Executive Director of the Lincoln Children's Zoo
John Chapo has directed the Lincoln Children's Zoo for over thirty years. During this time, he has brought the zoo back to its roots of providing guests lots of encounters and contact with animals. At the moment, the Lincoln Children's Zoo is in the process of doubling in size and adding several new animals such as giraffes, tigers and spider monkeys. Here is his story.
The largest zoo in northern central region
Le Thanh Than, chairman of Muong Thanh Group which manages the safari park, said that the idea for the area originated from his 100-hectare land plot in Dien Lam Commune, Dien Chau District. Initially, only a few animals were raised there. After that, he decided to develop it into a tourist attraction.
African leaders gather in London for illegal wildlife talks
African leaders gather in London to discuss ambitious proposals to protect endangered species across Africa.
The Duke of Cambridge, the Foreign Secretary and leaders of African Commonwealth countries met on Friday 20 April for high level talks on tackling the illegal wildlife trade in advance of the next international conference in London later this year.
Ambitious proposals to tackle the crime were discussed and debated, including opportunities to boost cross-border law enforcement so that more elephants and other animals can move more freely and safely in Africa.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:
“Many African countries are already working together and taking robust action to protect and preserve their precious wildlife but this is a serious problem driven by international criminal syndicates.
“It is only through ambitious African-led initiatives that we will stop this deplorable crime for good, and we are ready to help. Here in the UK we are taking forward our own plans for a ban on domestic ivory sales, and in October I will co-host an international
Danish zoo director advises against wolf 'panic measures'
Suggestions by politicians that Denmark’s wild wolf population could be fenced inside special reserves is a “panic measure” with no basis in common sense, according to Copenhagen Zoo’s scientific director.
Bengt Holst, who is also chair of the Danish Animal Ethics Council (Det Dyreetiske Råd), said that wolves were the target of a ‘smear campaign’.
“There has unfortunately been a smear campaign against wolves, which is not a very constructive way in which to deal with the wolves,” Holst said.
“I think we’re going to end up acting out of panic and I think this proposal [to create fenced reserves, ed.] is a sign of that. Politicians should have a bit more ice in their veins and rather make use of a major information campaign,” he continued.
Politicians from the three largest parties in the Danish parliament – the Social Democrats, Danish People’s Party and Liberal – all said on Friday they approved of reserves in which Danish wolves would be contained.
The idea has emerged in the wake of intense debate over control of the animals following the arrest and subsequent charging of a m
Process to restore sturgeon in Lake Erie started
Officials at an Ohio zoo have begun the process of restoring a fish species in Lake Erie that’s nearly extinct.
The Blade reports the Toledo Zoo will raise about 1,500 young lake sturgeon this summer. The zoo recently received tanks to for the fish.
Zoo conservation director Kent Bekker says eggs to raise the hatchlings will arrive in June and fish will be released into the Maumee River in August or September. The Maum
Bees aren’t the only pollinators with problems
Think of a pollinator and you’ll almost certainly think of a bee. Maybe a butterfly, but probably not: bees are bona-fide pollination celebrities, their importance recognized and predicaments lamented. It’s quite unlikely that you’ll think of a bird, much less a bat or a lizard — yet they too transport pollen and help landscapes bloom, and are experiencing declines both troubling and overlooked.
“While much scholarly and media attention has been focused on insect pollinators,” write researchers led by ecologist Fabrizia Ratto
Who Cares If They're Cute? This Zoologist Accepts Animals On Their Own Terms
Zoologist Lucy Cooke says humans have got it all wrong about sloths. "People think that because the animal is slow that it's somehow useless and redundant," she says. But in fact, "they are incredibly successful creatures."
Cooke is the founder of the Sloth Appreciation Society and the author of a new book called The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife. The book aims to set the record straight on some long-held misconceptions about the animal world.
"The sloth is not the only animal that's being misunderstood in this way," she says. "I thought it was time that we rebranded the animal kingdom according to fact and not sentimentality – because we have a habit of viewing the animal kingdom through the prism of our own rather narrow existence and judging animals on our terms."
The book discusses creatures big and small, furry and slippery: eels, bats, hippos, frogs, storks, and more. "I wanted to showcase a range of stories," Cooke says. "I wanted to show misunderstandings that date all the way from Aristotle to Disney."
She sat down to talk with us about h
Chinese government fly ‘high quality panda semen’ 5000 miles to Scotland in cub bid
Semen from male panda Yang Guang has been replaced after “high quality panda semen” was flown 5,000 to the Scots zoo.
Plans to use the deposit this summer were scrapped after animal rights protesters put pressure on bosses.
The unused semen is being stored at the zoo after it was announced last month the breeding programme had been cancelled.
Zoo chiefs released a statement stating they would use the year to assess the breeding process and the panda enclosure.
Chair of trustees of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland said: “The female panda will shortly come into season.
Coming to the Rescue of the Endangered Philippine Eagle
“At least one Philippine eagle is killed every year because of shooting,” laments Jayson Ibañez, research and conservation director of the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), a non-government organization based in Davao City in southern Phillippine. Ibañez says that deforestation due to timber poaching and slash-and-burn farming also significantly endanger this rarest of eagles.
Only an estimated 400 pairs of Philippine eagles remain in the wild, landing the raptor on the “critically endangered” list of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Preventing the Philippine eagle population from dwindling further remains a tough battle, with pessimists decades ago disparaging its conservation as a “lost cause.”
This formidable challenge gave birth to the Philippine Eagle Center, a volunteer and donor-dependent organization formed by the foundation 30 years ago. The center is dedicated solely to the conservation of the majestic bird with a seven-foot wingspan — and the only blue-eyed raptor on Earth.
The eight-hectare center, on the outskirts of Davao City, made history in 1992 when it successfully hatched Pag-asa, the first captive-bred Philippine eagle.
True to her name, Pag-asa — which means “hope” in Filipino — gave the center's personnel the courage and inspiration to continue pur
Crocodiles Alter Skin Color in Response to Environmental Color Conditions
Many species alter skin color to varying degrees and by different mechanisms. Here, we show that some crocodylians modify skin coloration in response to changing light and environmental conditions. Within the Family, Crocodylidae, all members of the genus Crocodylus lightened substantially when transitioned from dark enclosure to white enclosures, whereas Mecistops and Osteolaemus showed little/no change. The two members of the Family Gavialidae showed an opposite response, lightening under darker conditions, while all member of the Family Alligatoridae showed no changes. Observed color changes were rapid and reversible, occurring wi
Emperor penguin behaviour is not black and white, say New Zealand scientists
Little is known about adult birds’ behaviour when they leave breeding colonies, but new research has shed some light on their foraging habits
Found only in Antarctica, they’re also the tallest and heaviest penguin species on Earth, growing up to 122cm high, and weighing between 22 and 45kg.
Five years ago, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research scientist Dr Kim Goetz’s research tagged of them and remotely observed them travelling between 273 kilometres and nearly 9000 kilometres, while completing dives that ranged up to a record-breaking 32.2 minutes.
But it was finding the penguins in the first place that was most intriguing.
“Our original goal was to tag breeding penguins at Cape Colbeck after their annual moult at the end of January. But because the voyage was delayed we didn’t get there until early March,” Goetz said.
“We didn’t expect penguins to still be there and thought we would have to locate them on the pack ice which was going to be more difficult.”
To their surprise, some adult emperor penguins had stayed at Cape Colbeck, and were quickly tagged.
When they did eventually l
Zoo, aquarium research shows high output
Zoos and aquariums have contributed at least 5,175 peer-reviewed articles to conservation, zoology and veterinary journals over past 20 years.
Most people think of zoos and aquariums as tourist destinations: educational but fun diversions for animal lovers. However, according to a new study from the University of Illinois, modern zoos and aquariums are increasingly contributing to the knowledge base on biodiversity conservation and other scientific topics.
Through an analysis of scientific literature, the study's authors determined that researchers at zoos and aquariums have contributed at least 5,175 peer-reviewed articles to conservation, zoology and veterina
Association of Zoos and Aquariums Statement on Michigan’s Large Carnivore Act
On Tuesday, April 10, Michigan House Bill 5778 was introduced to make changes to Michigan’s Large Carnivore Act. Due to a drafting error in the original law, since its enactment in 2000, it has been a violation of the law to breed large carnivores in the state of Michigan. In response to H.B. 5778, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) issued the following statement:
AZA applauds the time and thought that has gone into drafting changes to Michigan’s Large Carnivore Act. It has taken far too long to get a simple error corrected, so that AZA-accredited zoos can do what they are recognized globally for doing: scientifically and ethically managing their animals while leading efforts to save animals from extinction.
We urge the Michigan legislature to enact the simplest fix that will correct the original drafting errors and allow AZA-accredited facilities to legally breed large carnivores in Michigan. AZA's accreditation standards are nationally and internationally recognized as the zoological profession’s “Gold Standard," and assure the health, safety and welfare of
Mammals on the EDGE: Conservation Priorities Based on Threat and Phylogeny
Conservation priority setting based on phylogenetic diversity has frequently been proposed but rarely implemented. Here, we define a simple index that measures the contribution made by different species to phylogenetic diversity and show how the index might contribute towards species-based conservation priorities. We describe procedures to control for missing species, incomplete phylogenetic resolution and uncertainty in node ages that make it possible to apply the method in poorly known clades. We also show that the index is independent of clade size in phylogenies of more than 100 species, indicating that scores from unrelated taxonomic groups are likely to be comparable. Similar scores are returned under two different species concepts, suggesting that the index is robust to taxonomic changes. The approach is applied to a near-complete species-level phylogeny of the Mammalia to generate a global priority list incorporating both phylogenetic diversity and extinction risk. The 100 highest-ranking species represent a high proportion of total mammalian diversity and include many species not usually recognised as conservation priorities. Many species that are both evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered (EDGE species) do not benefit from existing conservation projects or protected areas. The results suggest that global conservation priorities may have to be reassessed in order to prevent a disproportionately large amount of mammalian evolutionary history becoming extinct in the near future.
Zookeeper Achievement Trophies That Should Exist In Real Life
Here at Zookeeper Gear we know our profession can often be a thankless one. Sure, you may get the occasional (sincere) “nice job” from your supervisor or sometimes even an appreciative zoo visitor that is wowed by your Keeper Chat. But unfortunately, some of the most important aspects of what we do go unnoticed more often than not.
But today we say “No More!” to this injustice. It’s time someone finally acknowledged that which we zookeepers do best.
Anyone who’s ever played any sort of video game, whether it be Playstation 4 or Candy Crush on iPhone, knows just how damn satisfying it is when you get that little surprise “ba-ling” sound with the on-screen pop-up each time you earn a special achievement trophy. Therefore we propose the concept of zookeeper achievement trophies, each issued for only the most defining skills in our collective repertoire.
Presenting, in no particular order:
Immersive Choreography: A Conversation with John Gwynne, Retired Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Exhibits, Graphics, and Arts Department (EGAD)
It could be argued there has never been a more talented and influential zoo designer than John Gwynne. During his tenure as Head of Design at the Exhibits, Graphics and Arts Department at the Wildlife Conservation Society, he designed many of the most immersive, detailed and compelling habitats ever built, particularly at the Bronx Zoo. Along with his team, including Walter Deichmann and his mentees Lee Ehmke and Sue Chin, and in close collaboration with Director Bill Conway and General Curator Jim Doherty, Gwynne propelled a movement for zoo design that told stories, recreated specific ecosystems and gave guests a strong conservation message. Here is his story.
AZA-Accredited Zoos and Aquariums Assist with Radiated Tortoise Rescue in Madagascar
Turtle Survival Alliance Launches Rescue Mission to Nearly 11,000 Critically Endangered Radiated Tortoises Discovered in Massive Poaching Bust
Animal Experts from AZA-Accredited Zoos and Aquariums Dispatched to Madagascar to Conduct the Rescue
On Tuesday, April 10, more than 10,000 critically endangered radiated tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) were discovered by local police in a non-descript private residence in Toliara, Madagascar. The floors of virtually every room in the house were covered with tortoises that had no access to food or water. As of Friday, April 13, hundreds had died from dehydration and illness. Experts from several zoos and aquariums have been dispatched with medical supplies, and will administer medical care for the sick or injured tortoises and general animal care.
It is not known how long the tortoises have been in the home and some arrests have been made. The local police in partnership with
Swimming with SeaWorld’s Captive Dolphins
Some years ago, I took a boyfriend to SeaWorld in San Diego. He had few wants in life and swimming with dolphins was on his bucket list, so I booked us an extravagant SeaWorld experience and we drove down from Los Angeles.
Keep in mind, this was before the release of Blackfish. It was back when everyone felt the way about SeaWorld that they do about zoos; you hate that the animals are trapped in these small spaces but you justify pushing aside that sick feeling because it’s a “learning and conservation center” or because you just really want to see those spectacular creatures up close regardless of their cages.
I had swam with wild dolphins a number of times and spent most of my life in the ocean so I was excited to watch my boyfriend experience the magic these animals had consistently shared with me. He was nervous.
When we first entered the dolphin swim center, we went through a brief class. The instructor told us not to make any sudden movements, not to touch the dolphins until prompted, and not to keep our heads underwater. Then, we changed into some spiffy used
Best of Both Worlds: A Conversation with Joe Smith, Director of Animal Programs at Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
Since it opened in 1965, the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo has blossomed into one of the best medium-sized zoos in the nation. Few understand the zoo's power to connect its community with wildlife than Dr. Joe Smith, Director of Animal Programs. Smith was promoted to the position after serving as Veterinarian at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo for several years. Outside of his responsibilities at the zoo, Smith has a passion for orangutan conservation and serves as an Advisor on Veterinary Issues for the Orangutan Species Survival Plan. Here is his story.
14 griffons successful released in Sardinia to restock the threatened local population
More than 150 volunteers, vulture enthusiasts, members of the public, local officials, journalists and staff from project partners have gathered this weekend in the Parco Naturale di Porto di Conte to listen to a day of talks and presentations on the latest progress on the conservation of the griffon vulture in Sardinia, and to release 14 griffons vultures – 12 brought from rehabilitation centres in Spain by the VCF, and two captive bred in Artis Amsterdam Zoo – into the wild, to help restock the small Sardinian population.
Eight of these birds were equipped with GPS tags by VCF staff and colleagues from the university of Sassari, that will allow us to track the individuals, determine their foraging areas, check their survival and eventually identify mortality causes. All griffons were also colour ringed and some of their feathers decoloured to allow for identification in the field – a technique which is not harmful to the birds and far less intrusive that the wing tags sometimes used in this species.
Sardinia once had healthy populations of three vulture species – bearded, cinereous and griffon vultures, but
Etihad Cargo and conservation fund transport endangered birds
Etihad Cargo and the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), one of the world’s leading conservation programmes, have recently transported a shipment of more than 100 vulnerable Houbara bustards for release into their natural habitats.
In the past three years, the partnership between the two organisations has led to the successful relocation and integration into the wild of more than 3,000 Houbara across the world, said a press release issued by Etihad and IFHC on Wednesday.
The venture, which is part of the Shaikh Khalifa Houbara Reintroduction Programme, began in 2014, when the two organisations signed a partnership agreement. In 2017 alone, more than 2,000 birds were transported safely to countries in Asia and North Africa, which have more hospitable environments, thereby increasing the birds’ long-term survival.
The Houbara birds are bred in centres in Abu Dhabi, managed by IFHC, and then released into their natural habitats in countries across the world.
Justin Carr, vice-president of Etihad
A new sea sanctuary for dolphins
Thrilled to see Virgin Holidays teaming up with the National Aquarium in Baltimore to support North America’s first dolphin sea sanctuary. Once it is up and running in a few years’ time, this pioneering project will offer a natural and much larger home for the National Aquarium’s captive population of seven bottlenose dolphins – and hopefully set a wonderful example for both marine entertainment and tourism operators who have faced increasing pressure over the welfare of whales and dolphins, collectively known as cetaceans.
Rodent Thermoregulation: Getting into the 'Comfort Zone'
Research studies have documented variable data outcomes based primarily upon the environmental temperatures at which rodents are maintained during study. Indeed, by increasing rodent housing temperatures from those typically used in conventional laboratory animal facilities, rodent models of obesity, atherosclerosis, tumor development, and microbiome manipulation show increased cohesion with comparable human disorders.
To better understand why human-similar physiological outcomes are blunted, if not lost, under standard rodent housing temperatures, researchers and laboratory animal personnel should be aware that rodent body temperature is a critical determinant of translational medicine.
Keepers at Dallas Zoo concentrate on feeding, nutrition
When it comes to feeding and caring for a newborn, if a new mother can't — or won't — do it on her own, keepers at the Dallas Zoo are more than ready to step in and lend a hand.
In fact, as soon as zoo staff confirm that an animal is pregnant, they start planning to do so. Of course, the animal experts prefer to leave it all up to the parents, but occasionally it's a necessity, they say.
The Dallas Morning News reports sometimes hand-rearing means preparing bottles and formula, and other times it means chopping up mice to feed to baby birds.
SCBI Scientists Find Elephant Poaching Crisis in Myanmar
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute scientists and Clemson University scientists are tracking elephants via satellite collars in Myanmar, where their efforts to understand how Asian elephants use their habitat has revealed a troubling rise in poaching. These elephants are being poached for their skin, not ivory. That means males, females and calves are all victims of poaching. Their work on the ground to detect and prevent poaching and reaching out to the local community is helping save this critically endangered species.
Zoo kangaroo killed by rock-throwing tourists in China
One kangaroo was killed and another injured at a Southeast China zoo last month because tourists won't stop throwing rocks at the marsupials to make them hop.
Employees at Fujian Province's Fuzhou Zoo said the 12-year-old female died in March after she was struck multiple times by stupid tourists throwing sharp rocks, media reported Thursday.
One of them shattered her left toe, said a zoo employee surnamed Chen, while another ruptured her kidney. This proved to be fatal.
Days later, zookeepers spotted visitors throwing rocks at a 5-year-old male. Thankfully, he only suffered a few scratches.
It was not reported if charges were pressed against the tourists.
Employees said they have for years been trying to stop tourists from throwing rocks in order to get kangaroos to hop around.
Despite efforts to remove stones in the area and surveillance cameras at the park, the problem still persists.
"These adults see a kangaroo sleeping and go pick up rocks to hit it with," said a zookeeper surnamed Zhang. "We've cleared out all the rocks from the habitat area, and the
HOW PLAYING WITH SLOTHS TAUGHT ME ABOUT SEXUAL CONSENT
My partner, fellow writer Cinnamon Maxxine, had agreed to travel up from the Bay Area through Oregon, to Olympia, Washington, and back in a week's time for these book signings. After long days of rainy driving, I searched online for something to brighten up our trip and came across the Zoological Wildlife Conservation Center and Sloth Center, a small wildlife conservation enterprise in Rainier, Oregon, that holds occasional educational tours and sloth sleepover parties.
Sex of polar bear cub at Highland zoo is revealed
The sex of the first polar bear to be born in the UK for 25 years has finally been revealed. Staff at the Highland Wildlife Park discovered the cub is male during his first routine health check this morning. Members of the public will be asked to help choose a name for the cub. Una Richardson, head keeper responsible for carnivores, at Kincraig near Kingussie, said, “It was very exciting to find out we have a little boy.
Panda health fears over housing plan near Edinburgh Zoo
A planning application for homes near Edinburgh Zoo could be called in by ministers amid concern it could disturb the zoo's pandas.
Concerns have been raised that it could affect the animals during construction.
Scottish ministers have asked the council to notify the government if permission is granted for the 78-home redevelopment of Corstorphine Hospital.
Ministers could decide to take the decision from the council by calling in the application.
Horrifying moment giraffe accidentally kills itself in a zoo after getting its neck stuck in a branch while trying to scratch an itch
Visitors to the attraction, in Yunnan Province, were horrified to see the large animal's neck lodged between thick branches.
Worried zoo staff used a ladder to reach Hairong's head but turned to sawing one of the branches off when they could not push the animal's neck out of the gap.
Video provided by a bystander showed the giant collapsing to the ground in its enclosure after one of the branches was removed and its neck was finally freed.
The animal then accidentally smashes a zoo employee on the head while on the way down.
Ocean World Adventure Park Achieves Humane Certification for Animal Welfare
First Facility in The Caribbean to Earn Certification through Worldwide American Humane Conservation Program
Ocean World Adventure Park in Puerto Plata, the Dominican Republic, has achieved certification through the global American Humane Conservation program for the welfare and humane treatment of the animals under its care. Ocean World passed a rigorous third-party audit to become the first institution in the Caribbean to earn the prestigious Humane Certified™ seal of approval.
COLLABORATION ON ANIMAL WELFARE WITH TAMAN SAFARI INDONESIA
In early March 2018, Wild Welfare teamed up with our old friend and partner, the Akademie für Zoo-und Wildtierschutz e.V. and in collaboration with the Welfare and Ethics committee of South-East Asian Zoo Association (SEAZA), responded to an invitation from Taman Safari Indonesia to visit their Safari Parks in Bogor and Prigen in Java respectively, and a third on the island of Bali.
Presentations were made to the entire staff bodies of all three facilities – totalling nearly 600 people altogether – starting with a guide to the Five Domains of Animal Welfare Compromise by Mr. Willem Manansang, Chairman of the Welfare and Ethics Committee of SEAZA, followed by an introduction to the principles of the welfare of wild animals in zoos by our own Field Director, Dave Morgan.
Baboons used 55-gallon barrel to escape from San Antonio research facility, officials say
Texas Biomedical Research Institute officials are making changes to their enclosure after four baboons briefly escaped from the facility on Saturday.
The animal care team determined the baboons rolled a 55-gallon barrel upright near a wall of their open-air enclosure, then climbed it, which allowed them to escape.
The enclosure was built nearly 40 years ago, according to a news release from the facility.
Human and animal conflict of the nation's menagerie
Giving birth standing up, a mother giraffe collapsed with its legs stretched out straight in opposite directions. Somehow, with great difficulty, it managed to stand up again only to collapse again in the same fashion.
About 40 veterinarians, biologists and staff members could only watch in helpless horror as the poor giraffe, in unspeakable agony, struggled to hold on to life and died a few hours later.
“We were all at a loss as to what to do. Fortunately, the baby survived,” recalled Indonesia Safari Park director Jansen Manangsang of his heartbreaking, harrowing hours of waiting. He blamed himself for being unprepared to face such an unexpectedly difficult delivery.
As the director of the country’s top zoo that also doubles as a conservation institution, Jansen is concerned not only for the animals inside the park, but also for the endemic species found elsewhere across the archipelago.
In the Peleonan Forest on Siberut, the largest of the Mentawai islands, Jansen pointed out, there were four endemic primate species: the Mentawai gibbon, also known as bilou; the Siberut macaque; Mentawai langur, also known as joja; and pig-tailed langur, also kno
The Real Ivory Game
China’s new domestic ban on the ivory trade presents all the makings of an excellent global public-relations exercise. But it is a meaningless move in a country where enforcement against wildlife crimes is often just another exercise in window-dressing and lip service.
One morning in December, I woke up to a news item on television featuring another Donald Trump Twitter statement — this time saying that China had been caught red-handed sidestepping the United Nations embargo on North Korea with ship-to-ship transfers of oil products on the high seas. It felt like déjà vu — certainly in the context of the rules and regulations associated with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), also a UN body meant to control illegal international trade.
FIRST EVER AFRICAN WILD DOG INTRODUCTION TO GORONGOSA NATIONAL PARK, MOZAMBIQUE
Partnerships continue to drive endangered species conservation success as endangered African Wild Dogs are reintroduced to Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique after decades of absence
In a monumental initiative driven by the South African Wild Dog Advisory Group (SAWAG), a founding pack of 15 African Wild Dogs has been translocated from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, to Mozambique for reintroduction into Gorongosa National Park, marking the return of this species to the Park after an absence of more than 25 years, and signifying the first ever wild dog introduction into Mozambique.
Using cute animals in pop culture makes public think they're not endangered – study
Animals such as elephants, tigers, lions and panda bears are everywhere in movies, books and toy stores. But their wide pop culture presence skews public perception of how endangered these animals really are, researchers say.
Online surveys, zoo websites, animated films and school questionnaires were scoured by US and French researchers for the study, published in journal PLOS Biology.
Horses – Same Techniques But Different
As human beings we like to discriminate animals due to their states in our lives. We like to say because the dog is in my house he should understand who is the boss. We like to show everybody how much we love our animals without knowing if they actually like or love us if we can make this statement. We consider a horse a noble animal, ok pretty fair because a horse has done a lot for us in the history of mankind. I would say in 90% of historical stories horses play a vital role. There are plenty of cultures we have where we play a dominant role in the animals life and well-being. There are believes out there that we should be the Alpha in the group. There are believes out there that the animal should know the line. I can keep going like this but it’s not what we do I want to talk about. The reason I mention all those points is because I want to talk about outcomes through consequences of behavior and the potential feelings “what we are guessing at all times”.
Zoo Denies Claim of Gender Discrimination
The Memphis Zoo denies that a former female employee “was discriminated or retaliated against” because of her gender.
Kimberly Terrell, a female conservation biologist, sued the zoo in December. She claimed she was fired from her job as the zoo’s director of research and conservation based on gender discrimination.
Her attorneys are suing the zoo for damages in excess of $75,000, including back pay, lost benefits, employment reinstatement, punitive damages, and all court fees.
J. Mark Griffee, the attorney for the zoo, responded to Terrell’s original lawsuit in mid-March, saying her claims of discrimination were unfounded.
“Memphis Zoo denies Dr. Terrell was discriminated against or retaliated against on account of her gender,” Griffee wrote in
Endangered wild cattle face multiple threats
A study has found that the endangered Bornean banteng (wild cattle) is highly threatened by habitat loss, fragmentation and heavy poaching.
Dr Penny Gardner, lead author and programme manager of banteng research at Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC), said logging and high temperatures affect the banteng by limiting their activity and influencing how they use the habitat.
“We monitored locations created by timber harvesting, such as abandoned roads and dense forest in reserves that were logged six, 17 and 23 years ago,” she explained.
Dr Gardner said the study showed that recently-logged forests were hotter for longer than forests that had regenerated for more years.
Zoo trains professionals on great ape cardiac monitoring
KeraJaan, lovingly referred to as KJ, raised his long arms and pressed his chest against the cage while a Cameron Park Zoo primate keeper used a small machine to check his heart.
When Laura Klutts turned to explain the process of monitoring and improving cardio health in great apes, the orangutan let Klutts know he was not amused her attention had strayed from him. KJ adjusted his position and offered a few growl-like noises, causing the room full of zoo professionals to laugh.
Klutts said, “chest,” prompting KJ to once again raise his arms and press his chest against the cage, allowing the primate keeper to continue the echocardiogram.
Then, to his delight, KJ received a spoonful of his favorit
Bio-Functional Habitats and Quality of Life: A Conversation with Douglas Richardson, Head of Living Collections at the Highland Wildlife Park
Douglas Richardson has long been an established authority on animal welfare in European zoos. Over the course of his career, he has worked at the Edinburgh Zoo, Bronx Zoo, Howlett's Wild Animal Park, London Zoo, Bioparco di Roma and Singapore Zoo. Richardson currently serves as Head of Living Collections at the Highland Wildlife Park, part of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. Under his watch, the park has welcomed the first polar bear cub born in the U.K. for 25 years and hopes to reintroduce Amur leopards into the wild. Here is his story. @ Highland Wildlife Park Douglas Richardson …
That Python in the Pet Store? It May Have Been Snatched From the Wild
In the market for a new pet? Maybe something a bit exotic? For many consumers, reptiles and amphibians are just the thing: geckos, monitors, pythons, tree frogs, boas, turtles and many more species are available in seemingly endless varieties, many brilliantly colored, some exceedingly rare.
Podcast: A Conversation with Peter Giljam
Peter Giljam is the animal training coordinator at Kolmarden Zoo in Sweden. He is a specialist in marine mammals and has previously won the People’s Choice Award at the 2013 IMATA conference. He became the vice president of IMATA in 2016. Peter blogs regularly on the topic of animal training at Zoospensefull.com.
Armed police deployed to Dalton zoo and man arrested
ARMED police officers were deployed to Dalton zoo and a man arrested on suspicion of blackmail following a report of vandalism at the park.
Cumbria Police said armed police were called in to attend South Lakes Safari Zoo as a precaution on Friday night.
The force confirmed that a 56-year-old man, from the Seascale area, was arrested on suspicion of blackmail and that he had been released on police bail.
Cumbria Police and Cumbria Zoo Company
Hangzhou to build giant panda research and breeding center
The park Saturday signed an agreement with the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda on the breeding project.
Construction of the center, which covers an area of 6 hectares, is scheduled to start this year and be finished by 2022.
Currently, there are four giant pandas in Hangzhou, two at Hangzhou Zoo and two at Hangzhou Safari Park. The project is scheduled to bring in another 20 giant pandas by 2022.
Li Desheng, an expert from the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, said there were many zoos with giant pandas across the country, but there were only a very few research and breeding centers.
The center will also conduct giant p
Tiger farms and illegal wildlife trade flourishing in Laos despite promise of a crackdown
Laos, a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, has long held a key role in the global wildlife trade. Corruption and a flow of easy money across its porous borders have allowed the illegal trafficking of pangolins, helmeted hornbills and other wildlife products, as well as the country’s notorious tiger farms, to thrive.
In 2016, the Laos government told the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) in 2016 that it intended to shut down the tiger farms. However, a Post Magazine investigation has found the farms are flourishing, with another major operation having opened since the pledge was made. One expert described the trade in tiger parts used for medicines and potency treatments as “out of control”.
ONLY 12 VAQUITA PORPOISES ARE LEFT IN THE ENTIRE WORLD
Last year the count was 30. When this year’s count came back at 12, optimism for the survival of the vaquita porpoise drained out of researchers’ hearts. Little hope remains for the species whose lives have been snared by illegal gillnet fishing in the Gulf of California.
Spanish for “little cow,” the vaquita were only discovered in the 1950s. Half a century later, they are the most endangered cetacean, on the brink of vanishing forever. The world’s smallest porpoise species, the vaquita average around 5 feet in length and 95 pounds. Tucked between the Baja Peninsula and mainland Mexico, the only habitat for the species is the northern part of the Gulf of California. Though the area has been set aside for protection for the vaquita, their numbers have continued to plummet. The major cause of death is drowning, caused by entanglement in illegal gillnets.
Griffon vultures from ARTIS released into the wild
Last weekend, two young griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) from ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo were released into the wild on Sardinia. After some hesitation, one by one the birds left their temporary aviary, spread their wings and soared into the sky.
They joined a group of twelve other vultures that had been released and went on to explore their new environment. The released birds hatched in ARTIS in April and May of last year. One of these chicks was raised by a pair of male griffon vultures. The other is the offspring of two griffon vultures from Spain that were wounded in the wild and subsequently housed in ARTIS. While their injuries meant those birds could not be returned to the wild, their offspring is now living freely in nature. ‘A very special moment for ARTIS,’ says ARTIS Director Rembrandt Sutorius.
Bonobos also share their game with 'strangers'
Meat-making and the distribution of the hunt by dominant males is a celebration with chimpanzees that does not happen every day or every week. It is also a way to strengthen ties between males in the group and to seduce females into sex. That is important for the ties within the group.
Bonobos are closely related to chimpanzees, but it has only recently become known that they too ate meat, from a trapped monkey or forest antelope. Women are dominant in bonobos. In accordance with that social structure, they are also females who distribute the meat to friends and allies. Now it is also seen that bonobos share their game with members of a neighboring group, something that would be unthinkable in chimpanzees, as two primatologists write in Human Nature (online April 5).
The closely related bonobos and chimpanzees share a common ancestor with humans (who must have lived somewhere 8 to 5 million years ago). It is often argued in science that the aggressive behavior of bonobos could be more like the behavior of distant prehistoric people than the much m
Dubai Safari to operate under new management
Under the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Meraas has signed an agreement with Dubai Municipality to manage Dubai Safari.
Meraas has also appointed Parques Reunidos, a world-renowned operator of animal parks, to oversee the day-to-day running of the destination in line with international best practices.
Phuket Zoo under fire over animal conditions
The news follows Brit photographer Aaron Gekoski reporting “horror” conditions at Safari World and Pata Zoo in Bangkok, as well as Phuket Zoo, through a report posted by UK newspaper The Sun online.
The report noted despairing conditions for animals and blasted Safari World in Bangkok for forcing orangutans to perform shows to entertain tourists, including having the apes perform a fake boxing match with female orangutans wearing skimpy bikinis and posing as “ring girls”. (See story here.)
Piyawat Sukon, Chief of the Khao Phra Thaew Non-Hunting Area Thaew Conservation Centre in Thalang, today (April 10) confirmed to The Phuket News that Phuket Zoo is already under orders to improve conditions for apes and monkeys kept there – if it wants to keep its license as a public zoo.
The Khao Phra Thaew Non-Hunting Area Office is the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) office responsible for the welfare of wildlife animals in Phuket and neighbouring provinces.
Mr Piyawat pointed out that Phuket Zoo was instructed to improve conditions fro animals during an inspection about three months ago by a committee of the Zoological Park Organization (ZPO), which is the ulti
The Champion of the Ghost of the Forest: A Conversation with John Lukas, Former Director of White Oak Conservation and Conservation Manager at the Jacksonville Zoo
During his thirty years as Director of White Oak Conservation, a conservation center and breeding facility for endangered species in Yulee, FL, John Lukas left a significant mark on reproductive science and sustainability of a variety of endangered species, notably white rhinoceros, cheetahs, Grevy's zebras and okapi. He made sure one dollar for every two dollars spent on animal care at the facility went to saving species in the wild. Lukas founded the International Rhino Foundation and the Okapi Conservation Project (he is considered the world authority on okapi.) He currently serves as Conservation Manager at the Jacksonville Zoo. Here is his story.
Success Starts With Observation; Antecedent Arrangement
How many of us look around the exhibit, to all the animals and the people etc before starting a training session? Throughout my experience I have seen many start of sessions that already went into incorrect animals from the start. Antecedent arrangement is more important than you think. Sometimes its better to skip a session then to force it.
More than just menageries: First look at zoo and aquarium research shows high output
Most of us think of zoos and aquariums as family destinations: educational but fun diversions for our animal-loving kids. But modern zoos and aquariums are much more than menageries. According to a new study, the institutions are increasingly contributing to our knowledge base on biodiversity conservation and other scientific topics.
Through an analysis of scientific literature, the study's authors determined that researchers at zoos and aquariums have contributed at least 5,175 peer-reviewed articles to conservation, zoology, and veterinary journals over the past 20 years.
"This paper is the first quantification of research productivity of zoos and aquariums. It shows a trend of substantial and increasing publishing through time," says Eric Larson, a freshwater ecologist in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois. "Zoos and aquariums are definitely players in scientific research."
The 5,175 papers came from 228 zoos and aquariums, all of which are members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. As part of its accreditation standards, the AZA requires conservation and research activities. Larson and his co-authors wanted to see if these standards were having an effect in terms of research output. Clearly, they were.
Other factors mattered, too. The authors looked at the age, size, financial status, type, and mission statements of the 228 institution
Hamilton Zoo curator Samantha Kudeweh's death result of cost-cutting - WorkSafe
Cost-cutting ultimately claimed zookeeper Samantha Kudeweh's life when she was mauled by a Sumatran tiger, according to a WorkSafe report into her death.
Hamilton Zoo was critically understaffed and changes made to a gate system on the tiger enclosure where Kudeweh was killed in 2015 contributed to the tragedy, the report said.
The crucial change, installing a two-gate airlock system and repositioning the keeper gate following a near-miss encounter between another keeper and tiger in 2013, meant Kudeweh, 43, could not easily see the tigers' exit gates were open.
And simple changes including painting sliding-gate counterweights a bright colour could have saved Kudeweh's life, but the paint was deemed too expensive to buy, according to the report - released to the Herald under the Official Information Act.
Popularity of tigers, lions, bears could be their downfall: study
Iconic animals like elephants, tigers, lions and panda bears are everywhere in movies, books and toystores. But their wide pop culture presence skews public perception of how endangered these animals really are, researchers said Thursday.
Online surveys, zoo websites, animated films and school questionnaires were scoured by US and French researchers for the study, published in journal PLOS Biology.
Using these sources, scientists made a list of the top 10 most charismatic animals: tigers, lions, elephants, giraffes, leopards, pandas, cheetahs, polar bears, gray wolves and gorillas.
Researchers also found that almost 49 percent of all the non-teddy bear stuffed animals sold in the United States on Amazon were one of these 10 charismatic animals.
In France, 800,000 "Sophie the giraffe" baby toys were sold in 2010, more than eight times the numbers of giraffes living in Africa.
Lead author Franck Courchamp of the University of Paris said that these animals are so common in pop culture and marketing materials that they create a "virtual population" in people's minds, one that is doing far better in perception than reality.
"Unknowingly, companies using giraffes, cheetahs or polar bears for marketing purposes may be actively contributing to the false perception that these animals are not at risk of extinction, and therefore not in need of conservation," Courchamp said.
The average French citizen "will see more virtual lions
PETA opposes Pittsburgh Zoo application to import elephant semen from Canada
Continuing its battle to end the practice of keeping elephants in captivity, the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is opposing a recent federal application from the Pittsburgh Zoo to import elephant semen from Canada to help improve the genetic diversity of its elephant herd.
“PETA will call on [U.S.] Fish and Wildlife Service to reject the application because elephants do not do well in captivity,” said Rachel Matthews, associate director of captive animal law enforcement with the PETA Foundation, citing research on elephants in captivity.
But Barbara Baker, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, downplayed the research PETA cites — calling much of it outdated — and argued that importing the semen from Canada “will add brand new genetics to the U.S. elephant population.”
The zoo — which has never successfully artificially inseminated an elephant — will attempt to use the se
Zoo refrains from putting out giraffes, prefers castration
The Usti zoo has had castrated the first of its two redundant male Rothschild giraffes that would have had to be put out otherwise, its spokeswoman Vera Vrabcova has told CTK, adding that the surgery was demanding and also risky for the animal.
After growing up, giraffe males cannot remain with their mother herd. However, other zoos from the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), of which the Usti zoo is a member, have no capacities to accept a foreign male.
The lack of space for swelling giraffe herds is a problem of all European zoos.
The Usti zoo discussed the fate of its two adolescent males for many months.
"As a member of the EAZA, our zoo is bound to observe the recommendation of experts, which is either euthanasia or other means to prevent further reproduction of the given animal. We sought a more positive solution, also because the [breeding] coordinator promised us to have a castrated male placed in a facility outside the EAZA," zoo director Roman Koncel said.
The other male can remain in Usti, posing no danger of fu
Biodiversity 101: Are Earth’s wild megafauna doomed?
Pop quiz: How many species of big, land-dwelling animals are there in the world?
Count all the different kinds of big cats, bears, wolves, wild dogs and other carnivores weighing at least 15 kilos. Add large herbivores — 100 kilos or more — such as bison, zebra and deer, along with rhinos, elephants, large apes, giraffes, hippos, wild pigs, tapirs...
What’s the final tally?
The answer, based on this widely used definition of terrestrial megafauna, is 101.
That modest number is sure to shrink to double digits, and could continue to diminish at an alarming rate, biologists warn.
Three fifths of these iconic creatures are already listed as threatened with extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which tracks the survival status of Earth’s animals and plants on its Red List.
DOLPHIN ABUSEMENT PARK CLOSES IN BALI
Wake Bali Dolphin’s tanks are empty as facility has been closed down.
First opened in August 2014, the park featured a 10 x 20 meter chlorinated pool containing four wild-caught bottlenose dolphins. While Wake Bali claimed the mammals were “previously stranded and rescued by fishermen”* in reality, they were illegally-caught from the wild waters in the area of Java for the purposes of interacting with paying tourists. Dolphin Project held a protest in front of the facility on opening day, where our activists were attacked and injured.
Swedish zoo kills 500 rescued lizards with liquid nitrogen
More than 500 reptiles rescued by Swedish police from animal smugglers have come to a grisly end, being killed instantly by being dropped into liquid nitrogen.
Police last month made headlines across Sweden when they discovered 760 lizards, 67 turtles, 18 snakes, two crocodiles, one water monitor and eleven frogs in a disused shop in the small town of Löberöd.
The animals were placed at the Tropicarium Rescue Centre at Kolmården Zoo near Norrköping, which spent 100,000 kronor on extra terrariums to house them, and had to pay staff overtime to look after them.
Unfortunately, the lack of any information about the animals’ origins meant that they could only be passed to institutions, and as only 50 of
Artificial insemination, an option for captive breeding of Asiatic cheetahs
A French team of vets will soon travel to Iran to help Iranian experts implement artificial insemination in a hope to rebuild stagnant cheetah populations, YJC qouted Me’marian as saying.
The two Asiatic cheetahs, well known as Delbar and Kushki, are physically ready to undergo the procedure of assisted reproduced, he highlighted, and however, he didn’t provide any further details on the exact time of the project.
Previously the Iranian team were only exploring other options for breeding the cheetahs in captivity wishing for the animals to conceive naturally, but now after some years they are thinking of actually implementing artificial insemination
In 2007, a hunter named Kushki bought a male cheetah cub from hunters who intended to kill him and gave the cub to the Department of Environment (DOE). The cub was named after his savior. The male cub was moved to Pardisan Zoo when he was seven months old. Four years later, a female cheetah cub found by a shepherd in Shahroud, Semnan Province, was saved by DOE and named Delbar. She was held in captivity until the autumn of 2014 when she too was moved to Pardisan Zoo to meet her potential mate.
The Asiatic cheetah, also known as Iranian cheetah, is a critically endangered cheetah subspecies surviving today only in Iran numbering at about 50.
Currently the cheetahs are inhabiting in protect
New specimen of one of world's rarest turtle species found in Vietnam
Turtle experts said they have identified a fourth specimen of the Yangtze giant softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei), one of the world's largest known freshwater turtle species, also one of the world's rarest, in Vietnam's Hanoi capital, local media reported. The Hanoi-based Asian Turtle Program of Indo-Myanmar Conservation (ATP/IMC), a Britain-based conservation charity, said they have identified the fourth specimen of the Yangtze giant softshell turtle in Xuan Khanh Lake in Hanoi's outskirts, daily newspaper Vietnam News reported. ATP/IMC researchers and an ecologist at Washington State University matched environmental DNA collected from water samples from the lake to known samples from the species, and then confirmed the presence of at least one giant turtle living in the lake. The finding helps to raise the number of these turtles living around the world to four and opens up the opportunity for breeding one of the world's rarest animals. This finding brings new hope, with the possibility of bringing wild animals together in a controlled environment for captive breeding, daily newspaper Nhan Dan (People) reported. However, the conservation and future of this, the world's rarest turtle species, is far from guaranteed, a great deal of effort is now ne
Wildlife Traffickers Are Illegally Selling Animal Parts on Facebook, Advocates Say
Facebook is displaying advertisements for well-known American corporations on group pages operated by overseas wildlife traffickers illegally selling the body parts of threatened animals, including elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger teeth.
In a secret complaint filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, wildlife preservation advocates allege that Facebook’s failure to stop illicit traders using its service for illegal activity violates the social network’s responsibilities as a publicly traded company.
Facebook didn’t respond to requests for comment. Its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, was expected to testify on Capitol Hill on Tuesday about other issues.
The complaint, a copy of which was provided to The Associated Press, was initially filed in August on behalf of an undercover informant represented by the National Whistleblower Center, a non-profit legal advocacy gro
Fit for porpoise: Gene changes made 'river pig' unique
China's critically endangered Yangtze River porpoise is a distinct species, meaning it cannot interbreed with other porpoise types to pass on its DNA, a major analysis of the creature's genome revealed on Tuesday.
The finless, dolphin-like creature, which sports a permanent, almost human grin on its snub-nosed face, is the world's only freshwater porpoise.
But there are only about 1,000 individuals left in the wild—a number shrinking by 14 percent per year—and conservationists warn the critter is poised to follow the long-snouted Yangtze River dolphin, or baiji, into extinction.
For the latest study, intended to spur conservation efforts, an international research team analysed the genome of the Yangtze River porpoise and compared it to 48 other finless porpoises from different regions.
The exercise revealed that the animal known as "river pig" in China was a "distinct" species and "genetically isolated from other porpoise populations", the experts wrote in the journal Nature Communications.
Previously, finless porpoises were classified as a single species with three sub-species, of which the freshwater Yantze River group was one.
From a South Norfolk Farm to one of the UK’s most well known zoos and one of the region’s top visitor attractions in East Anglia.
When Harold Goymour retired in 1952 after selling a thriving bakery business and bought a farm in Banham as a country retreat, with a view of enjoying country life with his wife Ethel, who would have thought that what started as a mixed livestock, arable and fruit farm would evolve into one of the UK’s most well-known zoos and major tourist attractions in East Anglia.
The farm sold produce, such as apples and strawberries, directly to the public and was also home to a small collection of ornamental pheasants which attracted a good number of customers to the area, despite the fact that Banham was not one of the easiest places to find, and to this day can prove elusive to the first-time visitor!
At this time it was easy to go into a local pet shop and buy anything from a crocodile to a chimpanzee, a bear cub to a lion cub! There were no import restrictions, no conservation and no rabies quarantine regulations, animals were being brought into the country by enthusiastic people wanting exotic pets.
However, as some of these exotic pets grew larger and their natural instincts started to emerge, they became dangerous to the household. The farm began to receive offers of exotic animals; people were begging the farm to take on their increasingly unmanageable pets. The first to arrive were two Canadian timber wolves, three Australian dingoes and a Himalayan bear.
Banham Zoo evolved, and in February 1968 the first visitor admission rate was charged; two shillings and sixpence for adults and one shilli
'UK's last lion tamer' Thomas Chipperfield refused licence
The UK's last lion tamer has been refused a licence to use three big cats in a travelling circus.
Thomas Chipperfield's appeal against the decision, made by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in July, was also dismissed in court.
A Defra spokesman said it remained "absolute" in its commitment to ban wild animals in circuses.
Mr Chipperfield, of Winchester, Hampshire, said no welfare concerns were raised and he plans a new appeal.
Singapore Zoo's 27-year-old polar bear Inuka found to be in declining health after April 3 check-up
Inuka, the first polar bear to be born in the tropics, is in declining health, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) revealed on Thursday (April 12).
The 27-year-old resident of the Singapore Zoo, which is run by WRS, went through a health examination on April 3 and results showed that it has a stiffer gait that is particularly noticeable in its hind limbs.
The abnormal shuffling gait has resulted in abrasions on its paw pads, while age-related muscle atrophy is clearly evident, WRS, said in a statem
The Center for Species Survival: A Conversation with David Wildt, Head of the Center for Species Survival at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia was founded by Ted Reed, the late longtime director of the National Zoo, in 1975. Its purpose was to be a place where the zoo’s scientists could work with animals living in more naturalistic spaces without concessions to guests. It is home to the Center for Species Survival, whose goal is to research, propagate and manage endangered animals. “The idea [of the Center for Species Survival] is to secure populations of endangered species through scientific investigations,” articulated David Wildt, leader of the center. Here is his story.
Video of Bolingo the gorilla doing handstands in a zoo branded 'irresponsible'
Animal-welfare experts have condemned an entertainment park for teaching a gorilla to do handstands.
Video of Bolingo copying his keeper as she stands on her hands at a US attraction has been shared hundreds of times on social media.
The 12-year-old animal, kept behind glass, experiments and learns to put his feet to the spot where her feet are up.
Chris Draper, head of animal welfare and captivity at the Born Free Foundation in Britain, said the video highlighted the shortcomings of keeping wild animals behind bars.
Charity Freedom for Animals (formerly the Captive Animals Protection Society) condemned the footage.
“Releasing a video like this to the public is damaging and completely irresponsible,” said spokeswoman Nicola O’Brien. “This just teaches people that animals can be trained to perform tricks and are here for our entertainment.
Only four species of mammals that fall under the Hyaenidae family, Hyaena brunnea, Crocuta crocuta, Hyaena hyaena, and Proteles cristata, exist today. Of the four, striped and brown hyenas, Hyaena hyaena and Hyaena brunnea respectively, are listed as near threatened in the ICUN red list (Wiesel 2015). These carnivores are very misunderstood due to lack of research and education about them. Many misconceptions regarding the Hyaenidae family are mysteries worth revealing. These dog-like animals have an interesting history and a purpose in our world today.
Roughly twenty-three million years ago, during the Miocene epoch, the evolutionary story of the hyenas began to tell its tale. Hyenas, though similar in characteristics to dogs, share their ancestry with felines. Hyenas fall in to the suborder Feliformia, and their common ancestor dates back to about twenty-five
Perhilitan urges zoos to attain world-class status
The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) is urging zoos in the country to change the concept or exhibit designs in efforts to attain world-class status.
Perhilitan director-general Datuk Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim said that the time has come for the country’s zoos not to be solely tourist destinations and profit-oriented.
He cited a number of well-known world-class zoos such as in Thailand (Zoo Khao Kheow) and in Singapore which were a hit among visitors.
“We hope the concept of the zoo is changed because besides improving the economy it will provide job opportunities to the people.
“The zoo also functions as a centre of conservation, research, education and wildlife handling,” he told reporters after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Perhilitan and Bukit Merah Resort Sdn Bhd in Ecopark Bukit Merah Laketown, h
Renew the Zoo: A Conversation with Chris Pfefferkorn, Senior Vice President of the Birmingham Zoo
After spending 18 years in leadership roles at the Oregon Zoo, Chris Pfefferkorn became Senior Vice President of the Birmingham Zoo in 2015. He was impressed by the zoo's willingness to take on a number of unique projects- such as establishing the first bachelor herd of African elephants in the nation, breeding a number of rare birds and being one of a handful of zoos to take part in the eastern indigo snake recovery program. Pfefferkorn is currently helping lead the zoo through the Renew the Zoo capital campaign, which will give the zoo a new entry plaza and Asian Passage, a modern Asian exhibit featuring species like tigers and orangutans. Here is his story.
Cash Before Conservation
The King of the jungle has been losing its habitat over the past decades and you are more likely to see lions, especially cubs, in cages or fenced enclosures than ever before. But what is the fate of the thousands of lions being bred in captivity around South Africa?
Lessons From Lemurs: To Make Friends, Show Off Your Smarts
Do smart kids make more friends? If others see their cleverness paying off, then yes — at least, that seems to be true for our primate cousins, ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta), report a team of Princeton University researchers.
“We were able to show clever lemurs — some of our earliest primate relatives — increasing their social centrality as the result of their problem-solving,” said Daniel Rubenstein, Princeton’s Class of 1877 Professor of Zoology and a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and the senior author on the April 5 paper in the journal Current Biology.
“Our findings are highly significant because no other study has previously shown that the relationship between learning and social network position are feedback-based, such that learning influences network connections and position in addition to being influenced by it,” said Ipek Kulahci, the first author on the pape
Assam: State zoo ill maintained, alleges CSM
In a press meet held in Guwahati on Sunday, Chiriakhana Suraksha Mancha (CSM) general secretary Rajkumar Baishya has alleged that the authorities of Assam State Zoo & Botanical Garden are neglecting the upkeep of the zoo while duping the general people that with every passing year it has been making improvement in the zoo infrastructure and its upkeep.
On the other hand, the CSM has pointed out that the number of deer in the zoo is rapidly declining. Stating that earlier the number was 1200 and now the number it has declined to 400, the Mancha expressed its suspicion that zoo officials and staff could be consuming deer meat.
Further, the CSM alleged that the cages and dens are very ill maintained, throwing to the wind important aspects like hygiene and proper health of the animals.
The Mancha has further alleged that invaluable items like ivory was earlier lost from the zoo earlier. While a probe committee was formed, its report has not been made public. The Mancha alleged that same is the case with other probe reports pertaining to the zoo.
WildGenes - The Science of Conservation
Endangered species are the real threats
I am glad we finally have an acting secretary for fish, wildlife and parks who understands the threat posed by so-called endangered species. Susan Combs, formerly comptroller of Texas, described additions to the endangered species list as “incoming Scud missiles” and has long waged an active campaign against the insidious golden-cheeked warbler. I could not be more delighted that she is Ryan Zinke’s selection.
She sees what far too many environmental advocates do not: that these are all creatures who would devour us if they had their way. Why should we do them the courtesy of preserving their habitats, even going so far as to reteach the panda how to reproduce? Pandas would not do so for us. Combs’s personal white whale (not the blue whale, although that is also an endangered specie), the aforementioned warbler, cannot physically harm us, as it is too small and too busy piping a lovely
King cobras in Thailand: why some villagers worship the snake and others drink its blood
A king cobra lay under grandpa’s bed, peeking from behind the elderly man’s leather sandals. The large snake was discovered by Jak, a 10-year-old boy who raced into the room after a wayward chicken ventured in from the courtyard.
The fraught politics of the polar bear: how an Arctic icon has been exploited
he first polar bear cub to be born in the UK for 25 years recently emerged from its mother’s den at the Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland. It has already been spotted slipping about in its ice-covered enclosure and a list of potential names will be released by next month.
Yet it’s the story of a different cub that best reveals the species’ plight. In 2013, an orphaned polar bear arrived at Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Canada, from the Arctic town of Churchill on the edge of Hudson Bay. When sea ice is in short supply, bears have been forced to scavenge for food in towns. This was most likely what the cub was doing the day
Choosing Animals Over People?
Hearts melt seeing the wildlife in the Dzanga Sangha rain forest. But is it wrong to focus on animal welfare when humans are suffering?
The cutest primates on earth may be Inguka and Inganda, gorilla toddler twins who playfully tumble over each other here in the vast Dzanga Sangha rain forest, one of the best places to see gorillas, antelopes and elephants play.
The only risk: They are so heedless and unafraid of people that they may tumble almost into your lap — and then their 375-pound silverback dad may get upset. His name is Makumba and he expresses displeasure with a full-speed charge, hurtling toward you until he’s only inches away.
Training Medical Procedures; Urine Sampling
All of us who have animals in their life are connected to veterinarian technicians. Animals do get medical challenges running through their lives. As animal caretakers we have to try and be pro-active to these situations and scenarios. To be able to check our animals in a voluntary manner we need some basic behaviours to be trained. The animals have to have a good relationship with the trainer and understand control, targets, call overs, follow, tactile etc. for further sampling but this doesn’t have to be the case.
Marine mammals for example, we need those basic behaviours because they are more of their time in the water. When we have those steps ready we can go on with body checks. Those further checks are important to go into training for fluid samples. With marine mammals we do daily body checks where we ask the animals in all type of body positions to be able to have a proper look. When these behaviours such as line ups, mouth open etc have a well-established positive history we can move on to the next step
Taking on the Zoo on the Bay: A Conversation with David Anderson, Retired Director of the San Francisco Zoo
David Anderson's career in zoos paralleled their growing involvement in saving species, first with the development of Species Survival Plans to build sustainable populations of endangered species in human care and later with growing contributions to field projects. After serving as General Curator at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, Anderson spent fourteen years at the helm of the San Francisco Zoo. Among his accomplishments there were privatizing the zoo, getting a $40 million bond for capital improvements and significantly growing the zoo's conservation footprint. This is his story.
The increasingly realistic prospect of ‘extinct animal’ zoos
A traveller marvelling at snow leopards in a conservation park. A foodie who wants to taste pangolins without breaking the law. A game hunter tracking a black rhino which will be replenished after the kill.
To some people, these scenarios seem like dystopian nightmares. To others, they’re exciting prospects. And as the science advances, they may be more feasible than they might first appear. Some researchers are even exploring how animal cloning could change the tourism industry by 2070.
Puffin beaks are fluorescent and we had no idea
A scientist in England has made an enlightening discovery about Atlantic puffins — under a UV light, their bills glow like a freshly cracked glow stick.
"It was sort of discovered by accident," said Jamie Dunning, the ornithologist who first saw the beaks light up.
Dunning normally works with twites, another type of bird, but he had been wondering if puffins had Day-Glo beaks for a while, since crested auklets — seabirds in the same family — also have light-up bills.
Thanh Hoa authorities at loss at how to deal with illegal tiger farm
Last year, Hanoi police arrested Nguyen Mau Chien and accomplices who are members of a trans-boundary wildlife trafficking ring with 36 kilos of rhino horn, two frozen tiger cubs, and other wildlife products.
The authorities also found out about Chien's unlicensed tiger farm. Chien set up a farm with 12 tigers in 2006 but one had died and no new tiger has been added to the farm since.
In 2007, Thanh Hoa Province People's Committee fined Chien for his illegal tiger farm but allowed him to continue running it. Five years later, the provincial forest ranger unit issued the licence for Chien's farm to breed and preserve the tigers. The license expired last year and this remains the only tiger farm in Thanh Hoa.
On March 20 this year, Chien was given 13 months of imprisonment and his wife was imposed a suspended sentence of six months. He also admitted that two frozen tiger cubs were taken from the farm.
The Education for Nature-Vietnam asked the provincial authorities to seize the tigers as the farm was illegally set up in the first place and it didn't do anything to help protect tigers.
Thieu Van Luc, vice head of the provincial forest ranger unit, said they had contacted many conservation centres but none wanted to take the tigers because they can't give them suitable living conditions.
After a meeting with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam CITES Management Authority, the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and the Education for Nature-Vietnam, it is concluded that the authorities can't seize the tigers yet as there is no official con
Would-be monkey thieves bitten as animals at Wellington Zoo fought back
Would-be thieves armed with bolt cutters would have suffered bite marks after a troupe of squirrel monkeys at the Wellington Zoo fought back during an overnight break-in.
Wellington Zoo today reported a monkey had been stolen - but later confirmed the animal had been hiding.
The female squirrel monkey had been presumed stolen after zookeepers this morning discovered the enclosure had been broken into and could not find the female monkey.
Karen Fifield, chief executive of the Wellington Zoo Trust, told media staff were concerned by the would-be thieves' sophistication.
Giraffe dies after falling into trench at zoo
A male giraffe at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur died on Thursday night. “Rahman, a 20-year-old giraffe, fell into an eight-foot deep trench inside its enclosure and suffered serious injuries. The zoo’s animal keepers used a crane to hoist the animal out. It was then shifted to the zoo hospital, where the doctors declared the animal dead at 11.50 p.m.,” zoo officials
The saola’s biggest supporter explains why he looks for an animal no one can find
Bill Robichaud encountered his first saola in the late 1990s. The mammal, which is considered one of "the most surprising zoological finds of the 20th century," lives deep in the Annamite Mountains and is the only genus of its kind. When Robichaud learned that a saola was being held in captivity in Laos, he went to observe her. He was taken aback by what he found: a calm, endearing creature that did not fear humans. It was these characteristics that led him to stay with her for 18 days — up until the day she died.
The Kulan is back in the Central Steppes of Kazakhstan
For the first time in more than a century kulan – or Asiatic wild ass – are now roaming the central steppes of Kazakhstan. On 24th October 2017, a first group of nine animals was released into an acclimatisation enclosure on the edge of the Altyn Dala protected area in central Kazakhstan. The animals had been transported 1200 km by helicopter from Altyn Emel National Park in the southeast of the country. They will be released in early spring.
When Whales and Humans Talk
Harry Brower Sr. was lying in a hospital bed in Anchorage, Alaska, close to death, when he was visited by a baby whale.
Although Brower’s body remained in Anchorage, the young bowhead took him more than 1,000 kilometers north to Barrow (now Utqiaġvik), where Brower’s family lived. They traveled together through the town and past the indistinct edge where the tundra gives way to the Arctic Ocean. There, in the ice-blue underwater world, Brower saw Iñupiat hunters in a sealskin boat closing in on the calf’s mother.
Brower felt the shuddering harpoon enter the whale’s body. He looked at the faces of the men in the umiak, including those of his own sons. When he awoke in his hospital bed as if from a trance, he knew precisely which man had made the kill, how the whale had died, and whose ice cellar the meat was stored in. He turned out to be right on al
Freezing breakthrough offers hope for African wild dogs
Dr Damien Paris and PhD student Dr Femke Van den Berghe from the Gamete and Embryology (GAME) Lab at James Cook University, have successfully developed a sperm freezing technique for the species (Lycaon pictus).
The highly efficient pack hunters have disappeared from most of their original range across sub-Saharan Africa due to habitat destruction, human persecution and canine disease, leaving less than 6,600 animals remaining in the wild.
Dr Paris said population management and captive breeding programs have begun, but there is a problem.
"One goal of the breeding programs is to ensure the exchange of genetic diversity between packs, which is traditionally achieved by animal translocations. But, due to their complex pack hierarchy, new animals introduced to an existing pack are often attacked, sometimes to the point of being killed," he said.
Dr Paris said the new sperm freezing technique could now
Walking with lions: why there is no role for captive-origin lions Panthera leo in species restoration
Despite formidable challenges and few successes in reintroducing large cats from captivity to the wild, the release of captives has widespread support from the general public and local governments, and continues to occur ad hoc. Commercial so-called lion Panthera leo encounter operations in Africa exemplify the issue, in which the captive breeding of the lion is linked to claims of reintroduction and broader conservation outcomes. In this article we assess the capacity of such programmes to contribute to in situ lion conservation. By highlighting the availability of wild founders, the unsuitability of captive lions for release and the evidence-based success of wild–wild lion translocations, we show that captive-origin lions have no role in species restoration. We also argue that approaches to reintroduction exemplified by the lion encounter industry do not address the reasons for the decline of lions in situ, nor do they represent a model that can be widely applied to restoration of threatened felids elsewhere.
I say, I say, I say: What's the difference between a king penguin and liquid?
King penguin colonies move and organise themselves in a way that is "astoundingly" similar to how liquids behave, according to research published today.
The penguin probe, led by Richard Gerum of the University of Erlangen-Nuernberg in Germany, looked at how king penguin colonies organise themselves at the start of breeding season.
When the time comes to procreate, the normally laid-back birds turn into territorial, pecking beasts who will – like the towel-brandishing holidayer – maintain their position for weeks, even in the face of predators.
The research is the first to investigate the structural order – the behaviour that allows for communication and navigation, as well as protecting against predators – of king penguins.
The hunt for London's thylacines shows a greater truth about Australian extinction
On a cold, dark night in the winter of June 2017, hundreds of people gathered on the lawns of Hobart's Parliament House to join a procession that carried an effigy of a giant Tasmanian tiger (thylacine) to be ritually burnt at Macquarie Point.
In an act called "the Purging", part of MONA's Dark Mofo festival, participants were asked to write their "deepest darkest fears" on slips of paper and place them inside the soon-to-be incinerated thylacine's body. This fiery ritual, a powerful cultural moment, reflects the complex emotions that gather around this extinct creature.
More than a spectacle, the Dark Mofo event can be read as a strange memorialisation of loss and a public act of Vandemonian absolution in respons
Let's bring animal trainers and scientists together
In 1903 the brothers Wright showed the world their first airplane, called the Flyer. It was airborne for only 12 seconds!
In 1974 the F16 Fighting Falcon ruled the skies. In only 71 years airplanes developed from a simple structures into deadly fighter machines.
Animal training has been on going for at least 6000 years, and still we don't understand it entirely. Animal motivation stems from more than stimulus control, reinforcers and or punishers, and many other aspects are important such as choice, control, social opportunities, play, trust, and security. The sciences of behavioural learning principles, together with the latest research in the animal welfare domain should lead us to not only science-based but also ethical based decisio
Conservationists use astronomy software to save species
Researchers are using astronomical techniques used to study distant stars to survey endangered species.
The team of scientists is developing a system to automatically identify animals using a camera that has been mounted on a drone.
It is able to identify them from the heat they give off, even when vegetation is in the way.
Details of the system were presented at the annual meeting of the European Astronomical Society in Liverpool, UK.
The idea was developed by Serge Wich, a conservationist at Liverpool John Moores University, and Dr Steve Longmore, an astrophysicist at the same university. He says that the system has the potential to greatly improve the accuracy of monitoring endangered species
Phew, it wasn’t the zoo
A breed-and-release programme to save tuatara has been cleared of infecting wild animals with a feared fungus.
A disease from a nasty fungal family that kills snakes and bearded dragons has been found in New Zealand’s threatened tuatara, but tuatara seem unbothered.
It appears the ancient reptiles might have harboured Paranannizziopsis australasiensis for aeons without anyone realising.
Conservationists feared the worst when lab tests revealed a previously-unknown fungus infesting the sores of at least five tuatara and a bearded dragon at Auckland Zoo.
Vancouver zoo quarantines rabbits to protect them from deadly virus
A disease that’s killed hundreds of feral rabbits in British Columbia has prompted a Metro Vancouver zoo to take precautions to protect its bunnies and those of the public.
Menita Prasad, animal care manager of the Greater Vancouver Zoo, said four of the animals have been placed under prolonged quarantine to guard against the spread of rabbit hemorrhagic disease
The virus that affects European rabbits has been detected in the Vancouver Island communities of Nanaimo and Comox as well as in Delta, B.C.
It includes fever and convulsions and kills a rabbit within 36 hours.
Prasad said the rabbits were quarantined on March 14 and three of them were available for viewing only during the Easter weeken
HOW ZOOS HELPING LFP LOST US LUSH’S SUPPORT
This week we were very sad to receive the news that our application to Lush to hold a Charity Pot party at our local Lush Oxford store was denied because we accept funds from zoos. We first learned about the Charity Pot fund from our lovely associates at EAST, who are linked to a zoo (that is also a rescue centre), Monkey World. We subsequently have attended many conferences run by zoo conservation groups that have had Lush-funded attendees. It never occurred to us that Lush was anti-zoo, and indeed, we have always been funded by zoos and during that time, have done 3 Charity Pot parties, ran an event in the opening week of Lush’s flagship shop in Oxford street, our team members have worked for Lush and wrote articles about Little Fireface Project for the internal staff newsletter, and our team has passionately supported the
10 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Zoos
Zoos are a constantly evolving workplace. Over the past 50 years, exhibits have gotten increasingly naturalistic, diets for certain species have become more standardized, and captive breeding programs have turned into nationwide campaigns. Yet if one thing’s remained constant, it’s the fact that keeping the animals in our zoos both happy and healthy requires a great deal of time, coordination, expense, and old-fashioned willpower. It’s not an easy job, but most zookeepers say they wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Zoo Uses Honey From Bees to Treat Injured Sea Turtles
A zoo in Melbourne, Florida, is using honey from bees to help other animals at the zoo. In a video posted to their Facebook page, the Brevard Zoo explains how the honey is being used to treat injured sea turtles.
According to the video, five sea turtles are being treated with the bee honey to help naturally heal open wounds on their shells.
Sweden becomes first Nordic country to X-ray living giraffe
Veterinarians and keepers at Kolmården wildlife park have X-rayed one of the zoo’s giraffes, becoming the first in Scandinavia to conduct the challenging examination.
The examination was made possible by modifying the giraffe’s stables and installing new X-ray equipment, reports SVT Öst.
The giraffe, Garp, was trained for several months before undergoing the test, which consisted of an X-ray of its jaw.
Living wild animals such as giraffes are not usually capable of being still to the extent required for accurate X-ray images to be taken.
But there are several medical benefits to the test, as well as a reduction of risk associated with tranquilising a large beast such as a giraffe.
“Investigations and treatments that can be performed on conscious animals that cooperate with zookeepers reduce the risk of stress and injuries that can occur in association with tranquilising,” Kolmården vet Bim Boijsen s
‘They’ll rip your face off’: How humans inherited warlike aggression from chimpanzees
HUMAN beings inherited warlike nature and aggressive characteristics from chimpanzees, one of our closest living relatives.
Primatologist Jane Goodall hit home the point in the recently-released documentary Jane, about her life studying chimpanzees, starting in Eastern Africa more than four decades ago.
Back then, Goodall thought chimpanzees were friendly apes, and neither frightening nor as dangerous as Africa’s big cats, lions, leopards and cheetahs.
But as her research would reveal, chimpanzees were dangerous and the DNA they share with humans gave humans our dark side, The Mirror reported.
“I didn’t know chimpanzees can rip your face off,” Goodall said. “I had no idea of their brutality. There was no one talking about that.
“There were no people out in the field whose research I could read about, except one man who painted himself with baboon poo and sat in hides, hoping chimpanzees would appear.
“Sometimes I was frightened of things
A ban on captive animals could speed up extinction
The recent death of the last male Northern white rhinoceros — and the imminent extinction of the vaquita porpoise — is a stark reminder we are not going to win every battle to save endangered species in the wild. We can rescue some from total extinction — and have already — but only the help of zoos and aquariums.
Wildlife populations are increasingly under stress from human activities and their impact on the environment. Population growth, habitat destruction and wildlife poaching — whether for sustenance or profit — are among the largest threats contributing to their extinction.
Rhino horn, for example, fetches upwards of US$60,000 per kilogram in countries where it is prized as a cure and status symbol. But this is bogus. Rhino horn is made of keratin, like our fingernails, and cannot cure disease.
We need a planet-wide shift in thinking abo
Opinion | Zoos aren't unethical
Zoos have been a fond pastime for many people. I remember how fun the zoo was when I was a child. I’d see all the animals lazily sitting around their habitats, from the mighty lions to the various birds that had enough different colors to fill a box of crayons. There were monkeys that couldn’t sit still, and a dimly lit reptile room where lizards and snakes of various sizes would stare stoically back at me, as if daring me to try and tap on the glass.
There’s no denying the fun I had visiting zoos, and I still enjoy the occasional visit now and then. Sadly, I can no longer enjoy it as I once did due to the negative controversy that I’ve started to hear surrounding them. Many people have come to view zoos as little more than prisons, denying animals their freedom and leaving them to be looked at by thousands. I’ll admit zoos aren’t perfect, but they aren’t as unethical as one would initially think. In fact, zoos have many conditions that ensure that animals are treated humanely.
While there are some who view zoos as cruel institutions, the government has procedures set for any constructed animal habitat. The A
The mysterious and tragic story of the Carolina parakeet, America’s only native parrot
It was winter in Upstate New York in 1780 in a rural town called Schoharie, home to the deeply religious Palatine Germans. Suddenly, a flock of gregarious red and green birds flew into town, seemingly upon a whirlwind.
The townspeople thought the end of the world was upon them. Though the robin-size birds left quickly, their appearance was forever imprinted on local lore. As author Benjamin Smith Barton wrote: “The more ignorant Dutch settlers were exceedingly alarmed. They imagined, in dreadful consternation, that it portended nothing less calamitous than the destruction of the world.”
You and I know that the birds weren’t a precursor of mankind’s demise — but in a way, there was impending doom ahead. These birds were Carolina parakeets, America’s only native parrot. Exactly 100 years ago, the last captive Carolina parakeet died, alone in a cage in the Cincinnati Zoo, the same zoo where the last captive passenger pigeon, named Martha, died four years earlier. The last “
World of Birds: A Conversation with Christine Sheppard, Retired Curator of Ornithology at the Bronx Zoo
For decades, Christine Sheppard was part of the legendary team of zoo professionals at the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo. She spent most of this time as Curator of Ornithology, where she was responsible for managing one of the largest bird collections at any zoo in the world. Sheppard and her staff accomplished many advancements in bird husbandry, reproduction and research. Here is her story.
Why I Don’t Tell People I’m A Zookeeper
Look, being a zookeeper or aquarist is great. It’s the best job on the planet, we all know that. In fact, even science knows that. I challenge anyone to find a better combination of satisfying, dynamic, engaging, mission-driven, and cute-animal-filled. That type of awesomeness adds up to us being incredibly passionate about our jobs. Hell, even calling it a job can be a misnomer, since it’s likely something that we would do for free if we didn’t have expensive pet, coffee, and beer habits to pay for. Yet despite all of that, I find myself hesitating to tell people I meet that I’m a zookeeper. Far more often than College Intern Aspiring To Be A Zookeeper Me would have expected back more than a decade ago.
The last of their kind: how the wild white rhinos died
Much has been written about the death of a rhino called Sudan. He was the last surviving male northern white rhino, living out his days under armed guard in a Kenyan sanctuary.
Barring a technological miracle involving IVF and surrogates, his species, the northern white rhino, is destined to die with him. This two-tonne colossus will disappear on our watch, in full view.
Mysterious Giraffe Disease Has Scientists Baffled
When Arthur Muneza was about to start his master's at Michigan State University in 2014, he faced a pivotal question: What did he want to study?
He considered many rock stars of the African animal kingdom: elephants, lions, even hyenas.
But then the biologist heard that few were studying the little-understood giraffe skin disease, and he knew he was onto something.
"We said, let's just go for it. Let's look at giraffe skin disease and see what we can get out of it," he says.
The mysterious condition, which is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, causes grayish, crusty lesions on giraffe necks and legs. It's unknown what, if any, environmental factors are to blame, or even if it's a compilation of several diseases that attack the
HOW ZOOS HELPING LFP LOST US LUSH’S SUPPORT
This week we were very sad to receive the news that our application to Lush to hold a Charity Pot party at our local Lush Oxford store was denied because we accept funds from zoos. We first learned about the Charity Pot fund from our lovely associates at EAST, who are linked to a zoo (that is also a rescue centre), Monkey World. We subsequently have attended many conferences run by zoo conservation groups that have had Lush-funded attendees. It never occurred to us that Lush was anti-zoo, and indeed, we have always been funded by zoos and during that time, have done 3 Charity Pot parties, ran an event in the opening week of Lush’s flagship shop in Oxford street, our team members have worked for Lush and wrote articles about Little Fireface Project for the internal staff newsletter, and our team has passionately supported the
Sloths Hot, Armadillos Not: Zoos Seek Affection for Overlooked Species
For $40, a visitor can spend 30 minutes, one on one, with Willy, a Southern three-banded armadillo, who runs around in circles in a small fenced enclosure, sniffing and eating crickets and worms at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.
On a recent day, Willy had only one visitor. His neighbor, Vivien, a two-toed sloth, was booked solid for the day at $150 per half-hour.
The girl with the poison frog tattoos
A Devon doctor has anatomically correct tattoos of poision frogs on her arm to mark the first successful breeding program at a county zoo.
Dr Katy Upton is marking her team’s first successful breeding of each rare frog species at Paignton Zoo. She said: “I’m very proud of the work we do with these species and I love tattoos of the animals I work with. So far I’ve got two on my right forearm - Raniotmeya summersii - Summers' poison frog - and Ranitomeya sirensis – the Sira poison frog.”
She got her first tattoo at 18, but these two frogs are recent additions. They were done by Claire Jackson at Artium INK in Exeter. They took an hour each, with t
Discovering More About Our Elephants With Microsoft
25 Best Aquariums in the United States
Why Are Robin Eggs Blue?
Learn Why Wild Bird Eggs Come in a Rainbow of Colors
Blue is not the only pretty shade found in wild bird eggs. Eggshells can be a rainbow of hues, from simple white, cream, buff, and tan shades to lavender, mint green, yellow, teal, gray, red-orange, pink, and blue-green.
Eggs may be plain, or they may have markings in different colors, such as red-brown, deep purple, black, gray, or green. Spots, flecks, specks, splotches, blotches, and squiggles can all be marked on eggs and add to their color variations. Furthermore, some eggs may even be stained from nesting material, particularly in wet areas such as marshes or wetlands where decaying plants can leave smudges on eggshells.
Starting From Scratch: A Conversation with Greg Geise, Retired President/CEO of the Binder Park Zoo
Over the course of forty years, the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, Michigan has evolved from land, a group of volunteers and a $15,000 check in the bank to a modern zoo featuring the worldclass Wild Africa. For the first 35 years of its existence, the zoo was led by Greg Geise. His leadership, vision and focus on professionalism helped the zoo grow into what it is today. Here is his story.
Frozen sperm won’t save the rhino — but stopping poachers might
When 45-year-old Sudan died this week in Kenya, the world lost a rhino but not a species. It’s true that Sudan was the last male white northern rhino on Earth. (Two females remain). But the northern white is a subspecies, not a full species, and it had already been functionally extinct for at least a decade.
The rest of the rhino species, however, given safe havens and adequate numbers of breeding individuals, can rebound. Unlike the northern white rhino, the southern white rhino — another subspecies and Sudan’s close kin — is a conservation success story: In the early 1900s there were fewer than 200 animals; today there are more than 20,000, primarily in South Africa.
Why are the stories of these two closely related rhino populations so different?
Was the Death of the Last Male Northern White Rhino the End of a Hoax?
Sudan, the last male of his kind, died on March 19, 2018, in Kenya. It’s now curtains for northern white rhinoceroses. His survivors are his daughter Najin and Najin’s daughter, Fatu.
The international media chronicled the poignancy of the 45-year-old’s death at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a private reserve owned and operated by a Kenyan NGO in a long-term agreement with another NGO, Flora and Fauna International, UK.
In ancient Egypt, the penalty for killing a ‘bin chicken’ was death
In a time long before the term "bin chicken" existed, ibises were the subject of reverence rather than divisive debate.
Paleogeneticist Sally Wasef has dedicated her research to studying ibis DNA from ancient Egypt, where the birds were respected because of their representation of the god Thoth.
OFFICIALS ADMIT KNOWING ABOUT BIRD FLU STRAIN SINCE AUGUST
Animal control departments on Monday admitted to dozens of mammals dying in Isaan for the past seven months due to a strain of avian flu – a day after a disease specialist chided them for concealing the information.
The Department of Livestock Development in Surin said it knew about dozens of small carnivorous mammals infected with bird flu in 10 Isan provinces since August – which led 15 of them to die. The acknowledgment came a day after an expert said avian flu in Thailand was not being publicized enough.
“It’s not shared a lot on social media, but bird flu is still very important. If citizens are not aware, after birds die they could still prepare them as food,” said Teerawat Hemachuta of the Center of Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University.
Teerawat said on Sunday that public health officials are not publicizing the issue because responsible disease control, livesto
Baton Rouge Zoo loses accreditation; inspectors cite animal escapes, outdated facilities
The Baton Rouge Zoo has lost its 40-year-old accreditation from the national Association of Zoos and Aquariums, an honor that zoo officials have touted in the past to defend their history of maintaining the zoo and providing quality care for the animals.
The accreditation decision came over the weekend and the Baton Rouge Zoo announced it Monday, on the heels of a vote last week to keep the Baton Rouge Zoo at Greenwood Park in north Baton Rouge. BREC Superintendent Carolyn McKnight and Zoo Director Phil Frost pushed for a relocation to Airline Highway Park, but they met fierce backlash from residents who argued the zoo had been neglected and questioned why the zoo could not be revitalized at its longtime home.
Trump's 'Wildlife Conservation Council' Is a Nightmare of Trophy Hunters and Gun Industry Executives
Contrary to its name, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s newly-created “International Wildlife Conservation Council” is filled almost entirely with people who enjoy shooting animals for sport.
The Associated Press reports that one member, Peter Horn, co-owns a private hunting preserve in upstate New York with Eric Trump and Donald Trump, Jr.; Horn is also an ex-vice president of the Safari Club International Conservation Fund and a vice president for gun-maker Beretta, and folks, it just gets more fucked up from here. We’ve got Erica Rhoad, the NRA’s director of hunting policy; Steven Chancellor, a GOP money man who has killed six elephants (and 18 lions, 13 leopards, and two rhinos, at least); and Cameron Hanes, a hunting TV show host and friend of Don Jr. who recently said that killing animals like elephants gives them “value.”
So, who are the other ladies on this council? Let’s check ‘em out!
Doing Something Different: A Conversation with Karen Fifield, Chief Executive of Wellington Zoo
Since 2012, Karen Fifield has served as Chief Executive of the Wellington Zoo in New Zealand. Since that time, the zoo has evolved from a relatively antiquated zoo into one striving for creativity and optimal animal welfare. Some of Fifield's initiatives have included adding a major exhibit on New Zealand wildlife, building a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital where guests can observe the medical care animals receive, installing an animal welfare committee and forming conservation partnerships. She also serves on the Australasia Zoo and Aquarium Board and the Animal Welfare Committee of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Here is her story.
What Aardvark Milk Reveals about the Evolution of Lactation
or decades, cow’s milk has reigned as America’s milk of choice. Even as alternative, plant-based milks made from almonds, soy or oats increasingly challenge the familiar frosted plastic jugs for space in refrigerators across the country, the bovine beverage remains ubiquitous—virtually everywhere, that is, except the Exotic Animal Milk Repository at the Smithsonian National Zoo’s Conservation Biology Institute.
“I have 400 or 500 samples of gorilla and orangutan milk in my freezer right now,” Mike Power says, without a hint of irony. Power heads up the milk repository, an assortment of milk collected at zoos across the country from more than 180 different species of mammals, more samples from more species than anywhere else in the world. And the collection is growing quickly. Just ten years ago, Power says, the scientific community knew virtually nothing about ape milk, let alone the milk of dozens of other exotic mammals whose samples now dominate the repository freezer. The newest addition? Weekly samples from Ali the aardvark, a proud new mother at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.
The milk repository’s collection allows scientists to study the nutritiona
This is 1 of the most important training steps you need!
In 2005 I started to work at Ouwehands Zoo in the Netherlands. I worked under a great supervisor who taught me a lot over the years to come. One of his key points I never forget is to train animals to be used for anything and everything. He explained me that you should overdo it all the time. I was wondering what he meant by this and asked further. He said to me you know when I throw a brush all over the place, when would that happen? With another surprised look I answered, Never? He said a brush could just fall on the ground and if the animals are ok with the throwing they will for sure be oke with it just falling. He had a point but I got to wonder if this really works this way. While working In Ouwehands Zoo he showed me this technique many times. From then on I took this idea everywhere over the course of my career.
Desensitization: The process of using time or experience to change an animal’s perception of a stimulus from a value, either reinforcing or punishing, to neutral or no value. If reinforcement is not used, this is refer
T cell responses against elephant herpesvirus identified
Why are young Asian elephants more susceptible to elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV)? Some believe it is because juvenile elephants have not yet been able to mount an effective T cell response; however, little is known about the T cell response in either young or adult elephants who latently carry the virus. Now, for the first time, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have been able to identify T cell immune responses directed against EEHV.
Their findings, published in the current edition of the Journal of Virology, could be the first steps in developing an effective vaccine for this deadly disease.
EEHV affects elephants in the wild and in captivity. It can be latent in adults but in young elephants it can be lethal. By the time symptoms are observed, the disease has often progressed to a point where treatments are not effective. Working with the Houston Zoo, Dr. Paul Ling, associate professor of virology and microbiology at Baylor, has played a role in regular testing of blood for the virus. When detected, treatment can begin immediately.
“Despite the availability of sensitive tests and protocols for treating EEHV illness, these measures are not always effective,” said Ling, who also is a member of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center. “The best line of defense would be a vaccine. By understanding how the adult elephant immune system is able to protect against EEHV, we are closer to developing a vaccine for juvenile elephants.”
In the current study, researchers followed the Houston Zoo herd, where several elephants are known to latently carry the virus. Using data from a past study that sequenced the genome of EEHV1A, the species of EEHV associated with the largest percentage of deaths, Ling and his colleagues focused on areas in the genome that are common to all herpesviruses, even those found
The Hard Truth about the Rhino Horn “Aphrodisiac” Market
The brazen slaying and dehorning of an endangered white rhino in a wildlife preserve near Paris last month spurred widespread outrage. Mainstream media coverage blamed its usual suspects: Asian men who supposedly buy rhino horn as a crude form of Viagra. But this prurient tidbit overlooks the main factors driving the illegal rhino horn trade—and may even be reinforcing false beliefs about the substance’s powers.
The reality behind the demand is far more complex. Historically rhino populations were decimated by uncontrolled trophy hunting during the European colonial era. These days the main threat to the surviving rhinos comes from the illegal rhino horn trade between Africa and Asia. Certain buyers in Vietnam and China—the largest and second-largest black market destinations respectively—covet rhino horn products for different reasons. Some purchase horn chunks or powder for traditional medicinal purposes, to ingest or to give others as an impressive gift. Wealthy buyers bid for antique rhino horn carvings such as cups or figurines to display or as investments. A modern market for rhino horn necklaces, bracelets and beads has also sprung up.
Most of the desire for rhino horn seems unrelated to any wish for a raging hard-on, experts say. There is one group of buyers in Vietnam that may partially reflect the stereotype of horny Asians seeking a rhino horn fix. A 2012 report by TRAFFIC International, the World Wildlife Fund's trade monitoring program, described how wealthy Vietnamese and Asian expatriate business elites in Vietnam would “routinely mix rhino horn powder with water or alcohol as a general health and hangover-curing tonic”—an extravagant version of a detox routine. That group also included some men who also apparently believed rhino horn could cure impotence and enhance sexual performance.
This example stands out because it is rare, however. Overall, conservationists say there is no sweeping aphrodisiac craze driving lust for rhino horn. “I would never say that (aphrodisiac) is never a use, because I’m sure people buy into the myth,” says Leigh Henry, senior policy advisor on species conservation and advocacy at the WWF. "But it’s not the widespread demand driving the rhino horn trade.”
Secret swimming world of polar bears unveiled in Sapporo
A new underwater tunnel to observe polar bears swimming has been opened to the public at Maruyama Zoo here as part of a facility dedicated to polar bears.
From the transparent tunnel set up at the bottom of a pool, the large mammals can be viewed bombing through the water.
Lala, 23, and her 3-year-old daughter, Lila, seemed happy in their new home when the media were allowed in for a preview of the facility on March 9.
When Lala spotted a seal in the pool separated by a clear wall, she kept chasing the potential meal. Lila, on the other hand, paid no notice to the seal that might be a tasty snack out in nature and instead played with a tree branch.
The new two-story facility that cost 2.3 billion yen ($21.6 million) is one
Zookeeper bitten by gorilla at Tokyo zoo
A female zookeeper at Ueno Zoological Gardens in Tokyo sustained injuries Tuesday after a gorilla bit her right arm, police said.
The zookeeper was guiding the gorilla from an exhibition space to its living space when she was bitten, the police said. The zoo reported the incident to the police around 4:50 p.m.
The zoo is investigating how t
Avian Flu outbreak confirmed at Cape Town's Boulders penguin colony
The Table Mountain National Park has confirmed there is an outbreak of avian flu (bird flu) at the Boulders penguin colony in Simons Town.
"Table Mountain management would like to alert the public that several cases of bird flu in the penguin colony at Boulders have been confirmed by state veterinary services," TMNP spokesperson Merle Collins said.
"It is reiterated that this virus is a very low risk to humans, but is a real threat to domestic poultry. This strain of avian influenza virus (H5N8 strain) has been detected in a range of wild seabirds e.g. swift, sandwich and common terns, African penguins and gannets.
"The park is monitoring the situation closely and has now implemented the following precautions:
* With the exception of visitors on Boulders Beach boardwalk, nobody may access the main breeding colony.
* In instances where staff need to go off boardwalks to collect injured birds or hats, camera lens, caps etc dropped by visitors they
Crocodile attacks Mysuru Zoo worker, devours two of his toes
In a macabre incident at Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens on Tuesday, a crocodile attacked a zoo worker and swallowed two of his toes, leaving the zoo officials shocked.
The Green Planet – how zoOceanarium and Meraas are creating a tropical rainforest in Dubai
Meraas and zoOceanarium have created a tropical rainforest in the very heart of Dubai – and visitors love it
The Green Planet has achieved the miraculous – bringing a rainforest to the desert. The tropical ecosystem in a bio-dome has been created and operated by zoOceanarium for Meraas in Dubai.
New report links South African government to commercial lion body part trade
A new report has revealed shocking insights into the development of South Africa’s controversial captive lion breeding industry.
Despite widespread international condemnation, South Africa’s controversial lion breeding industry has grown year-on-year and has links to wildlife trafficking, according to a new report Cash Before Conservation: An Overview of the Breeding of Lions for Hunting and Bone Trade, published today by international wildlife charity Born Free.
Born Free’s President and Co-Founder, Will Travers OBE, said: “As many as 8,000 lions languish in more than 200 captive breeding facilities across South Africa.
What is biodiversity and why does it matter to us?
It is the variety of life on Earth, in all its forms and all its interactions. If that sounds bewilderingly broad, that’s because it is. Biodiversity is the most complex feature of our planet and it is the most vital. “Without biodiversity, there is no future for humanity,” says Prof David Macdonald, at Oxford University.
The term was coined in 1985 – a contraction of “biological diversity” – but the huge global biodiversity losses now becoming apparent represent a crisis equalling – or quite possibly surpassing – climate change.
More formally, biodiversity is comprised of several levels, starting with genes, then individual species, then communities of creatures and finally entire ecosystems, such as forests or coral reefs, where life interplays with the physical environment. These myriad interactions have made E
Animal Care Monitoring Tool Coming to ZIMS Thanks to Member Support
Optimizing animal care, welfare and conservation
Zoos and aquariums are leading the way in the conservation of endangered species and educating an estimated 700 million visitors annually about the magnificent and fragile interrelationships between humans, non-humans and environment.
The need for consistent indicators
As our members continue to lead the way in this important work, new monitoring tools are needed to provide access to meaningful, and actionable, insights on animal welfare. Understanding animal care and welfare norms makes identifying potential problems easier. An important first step is to define key indicators of excellent animal care and then track them over time. Monitoring key indicators over time will help surface issues faster, so they can be investigated and addressed in the most efficient manner possible.
Where are South Africa’s missing rhinos?
Hundreds of rhinos have been shipped from South Africa to disreputable zoos and breeding facilities across the world, despite losing more than 1000 rhinos a year to poaching.
Between 2006 and 2017, amid the onslaught of a national poaching crises, South Africa shipped about 900 live white rhinos overseas. These animals are now destined to live out their lives in the zoos and breeding facilities of China, North Korea, Singapore, Bangladesh, the US, Mauritius, Russia and Vietnam.
According to the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) Draft Biodiversity Management Plan for White Rhinoceros, a receiving rhino facility abroad should only be deemed acceptable to acquire South African rhinos if it can show a high standard of husbandry and veterinary care.
The facility should also be able to maintain animal record systems, have written conservation action plans in place, contribute to scientific studies, promote education and demonstrate a risk management plan.
First UK polar bear cub in 25 years emerges from den
The first polar bear cub to be born in the UK for 25 years has emerged at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland's Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig.
Previously, the birth had only been confirmed by high-pitched noises heard from the maternity den.
The cub was born in the week before Christmas, after its mother Victoria mated with Arktos, one of two male polar bears at the park.
Victoria's enclosure has been closed to the public.
It is expected to be reopened to park visitors later this month.
The first image of the cub is from footage film
The Future of Wildlife in Southeast Asia?
Phnom Tamao, located about 25 km outside of Phnom Penh, is no ordinary “zoo.” In fact, it’s not a zoo at all. Run by the NGOs Wildlife Alliance and Free the Bears, as well as the Cambodian government, this 2,600-hectare area feels more like a forest with semi-natural enclosures to separate animals that would normally tear one another to shreds.
But Phnom Tamao isn’t just important as an inventory of tropical forest animals. As Asia’s forests shrink and wildlife interceptions by police increase, what is to happen to the region’s once-majestic fauna?
Outside of Luang Prabang, Laos, for example, a similar (if much smaller) enclosure for sun bears, Asiatic black bears, and Indochinese tigers is on display for visitors at the scenic Kuangsi Waterfalls, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. Where did these animals come from? Many were intercepted by poachers, just like the one at Cambodia’s Phnom Tamao, and some were rescued from illegal private zoos.
And these are the lucky the ones. The rest were stir-fried into oblivion for those with erectile dysfunction. Thailand has or had a facility called Tiger Temple Cave in Kanchanburi province, a place so mired in controversy it was shut down after dozens of frozen baby tigers were discovered in refrigerators. A man I know who works for a Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai said that Chinese tourists regularly inquire about buying “tiger parts
Shoot High and Go for Broke: A Conversation with Steve McCusker, Retired Director of the San Antonio Zoo
McCusker began his career working at the Harvard Primate Center. “That was my first animal job,” he said. “I learned a lot about primates. They had a lot of macaques and marmosets. It was all based on human medicine primarily and research done for that purpose.” After a year, McCusker moved to the Fort Worth Zoo. He started by working at the zoo’s aquarium but then transferred over to working with mammals. “The Fort Worth Zoo was really nice- beautiful location,” he remarked. “It was a really good experience for me because I learned a great deal. When we did seals and sea lions, I learned a lot about filtration, water quality, and maintenance. They had an Amazon dolphin while I was there, which was a great experience since I don’t know if there’s even one in human care anymore. I worked with lions, hyenas and tigers as well.”
Zoo puts all of its mammals on birth control amid fears of overcrowding
A zoo has put all of its mammals on birth control amid fears of overcrowding following an outbreak of TB.
Paignton Zoo was forced to cull 11 antelopes last year after TB was discovered in one of the animals.
Now Government restrictions imposed on the Devonshire sanctuary prevent it from moving any of its mammals until the end of the year at the earliest.
Marwell Zoo among the best UK companies to work for
MARWELL Zoo is being hailed for being good to its staff.
The zoo was named in the Sunday Times top 100 not-for-profit employers.
Staff were asked questions over eight areas: my manager, leadership, my company, personal growth, my team, giving something back, fair deal and wellbeing.
The winners were announced at a gala dinner in London.
Marwell was placed 13 out of 100 in the not-for-profit list.
The charity employs 250 people ranging f
Surprising Origin of American Flamingos Discovered
Few of us Floridians are native to the state. Even our emblematic flamingos were widely thought to be escapees from captivity—until now.
A new study sheds new light on a long-standing controversy by suggesting flamingos are indeed true residents of the Sunshine State.
FOOD AND FEATHERS
There are six species of flamingo, and the American, or greater, flamingo is found in Florida. The bird also lives in the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America.
"During the 1800s, it was commonly accepted that [flamingos] were native," says study leader Steven M. Whitfield, a conserv
China’s lust for jaguar fangs imperils big cats
The jaguar was found floating in a drainage canal in Belize City, Belize, on the day after Christmas last year. Its body was mostly intact, but the head was missing its fangs. On 10 January, a second cat — this time, an ocelot that may have been mistaken for a young jaguar — turned up headless in the same channel.
The killings point to a growing illicit trade in jaguars (Panthera onca) that disturbs wildlife experts. The cats’ fangs, skulls and hides have long been trophies for Latin American collectors who flout international prohibitions against trading in jaguar parts. But in recent years, a trafficking route has emerged to China, where the market for jaguars could be increasing because of crackdowns on the smuggling of tiger parts used in Chinese tr
Tiny but mighty? Krill could prove secret weapon in ocean plastics battle
They might be at the bottom of the food chain, but krill could prove to be a secret weapon in the fight against the growing threat of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.
New research Friday showed the tiny zooplankton are capable of digesting microplastics -- under five millimeters (0.2 inches) -- before excreting them back into the environment in an even smaller form.
Study author Amanda Dawson stumbled on the finding while working on a project involving microbeads -- polyethylene plastic often used in cosmetics such as face scrubs -- at the Australian Antarctic Division’s krill aquarium to check the toxic effects of pollution.
“We realized that krill actually break up plastic, it was amazing,” the re
Wildlife trafficking: The ring that provides tigers soaked in alcohol
A trafficking ring in HCMC and Long An province is a well-known provider of these products.
“Our products have prime quality. Goods will be delivered to you at your home. A tank of wild cat is priced at VND8 million, one bear arm soaked in with poppy flowers and opium is VND15 million,” said T, who introduced himself as the owner of the ring to reporters.
“Tiger cubs are now in Long An province, and bear arms and wild cats are at my house in HCMC. Only one tiger, one cat cub and two bear arms are available. But there are numerous grand cobra (Ophiophagus Hannah) “ he said over the phone.
Legal Africa-Asia Wildlife Trade Gets a Look in
In recent years, the focus on wildlife trade between Africa and Asia has been almost exclusively on poaching of iconic mammals and the smuggling of their parts.
Meanwhile, the vast, legal trade in wildlife has received scant attention, despite its many potential positive impacts, such as providing support to livelihoods and sustainable income for local communities.
A new TRAFFIC study released this week attempts to restore some of the balance in attention to wildlife trade issues through an examination of the trade in wildlife sourced in Africa and traded to Asia. It endeavours to shed light on legal trade trends, the diversity of species and countries involved, and new patterns emerging.
The data used was all publicly accessible, as information provided by Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) on trade in species listed within the Convention.
The analysis was made possible thanks to the generous support of Arcadia—a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. It revealed more than 1.3-million live animals and plants, 1.5-million skins and two thousand tonnes of meat were exported between 2006 to 2015 from 40 countries and a disputed territory in Africa, to 17 countries and territories in East and Southeast Asia.
There was a remarkable diversity: some 975 different taxa in all and among the trade patterns identified were the rising number of live animal and plant exports and the increased sourcing of species from captive breeding operations: from 42% in 2006 to a peak of 66% in 2013.
The analysis found evidence of newly emerging trade in hippo teeth from Malawi; a rise in European Eel exports from North Africa, mostly to South Korea in response to a Eu
St. Louis Zoo will buy 425 acres in north St. Louis County
A plan to buy land in north St. Louis County would more than quadruple the St. Louis Zoo’s space, opening it to possibilities such as saving more endangered animals and even letting visitors go on “safari” to watch animals graze.
The St. Louis Zoo Association, a private, nonprofit group that oversees fundraising, plans to buy 425 acres from the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562 for $7.1 million, officials announced Friday. The money came from two anonymous donors.
“Once we develop it, we’ll be in a much better position to care for animals and those who are
Kurdistan: Peshmerga Fighters Release Bears Back in the Wild
Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters released wild bears in the wild, in the mountains of Gara near the city of Dohuk, Northern Iraq on Sunday, after animal rights activists rescued a group of bears, AFP reported.
The Kurdish-American Friendship Organization concerned in environmental issues in Kurdistan, Iraq, has previously released a group of wild bears in a natural reserve near the borders with Iran. This process aims to bring these bears back to their natural habitat.
The group of six bears, including a cub, was brought back to the region’s mountains this year. This group is the first batch of wild animals the Kurdish-American Friendship Organization plans to release consecutively.
Sources in Kurdistan said that a convoy accompanying the bears, went on a four-hour journey from Erbil to the natural reserve
Innovation in Animal Welfare Prioritisation
Late last year I published a paper entitled "In pursuit of peak animal welfare; the need to prioritize the meaningful over the measurable", in it I argued that too frequently, animal management places too much emphasis on aspects of care reflected in welfare assessment metrics, and not enough on the actual feelings and experiences of animals, which remain stubbornly closed to us. The outcome of this quantification bias can be systematic sub-optimal animal welfare management. In other words, animal management all too frequently focuses on the measurable rather than the meaningful to the detriment of animal welfare.
In closing this paper, I advocated the use of alternative methodologies to determine welfare priorities; an area I have been working on for over two years with the collaboration of a number of international animal welfare charities, zoo associations and academic institutions. Following recent successful presentations to the Dutch Zoo Federation's accreditation committee, the EAZA community at their annual conf
Denbighshire's under-fire red squirrels bring in fresh re-inforcements to battle grey invaders
Denbighshire's lonely red squirrels have got some reinforcements as they battle pesky grey interlopers.
Conservationists have released seven reds in Clocaenog forest near Ruthin to boost a resident population that it thought to have dwindled to less than 50.
In 1998 there were up to 400 native squirrels in the forest – making it the largest population in Wales – but competition from invasive grey squirrels has steadily forced them out.
To give them a fighting chance, seven reds we
Sea Life aquariums could lose Marine Conservation Society sponsorship due to high animal death rates
The Sea Life chain of tourist attractions faces losing its sponsorship deal with the Marine Conservation Society over its “unacceptable” death rates.
More than a third of all animals at the aquarium in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, died in a single year according to mortality figures obtained by the BBC.
The MCS, which accepted funding from Sea Life to cover the printing costs of the Pocket Good Fish Guide and has worked with it on conservation projects, said the figures were a “cause for concern”.
Swedish Zoo Gets Death Threats for Slaughtering Hundreds of 'Surplus' Animals
Staff at the Borås Zoo, located in the Swedish city of the same name, have started to receive death threats after the park made national headlines for its practice of culling perfectly healthy animals.
Since an early January report that revealed the killing of hundreds of "surplus" animals not deemed deficient in any way, the Borås zoo has received over a dozen death threats via e-mail and social media. Among them were several death threats directed against zoo CEO Bo Kjellson. One of them features a montage, in which Bo Kjellson's head is placed behind crosshairs, national broadcaster SVT reported.
How a big black cat is avenging its death
In times past, a hunter would be lifted triumphantly aloft as the tribe celebrated wildly at his feet after he killed a black leopard. So why all the fuss when an animal of the same species is gunned down in 2018?
The tables have turned, and a mega-rich businessman is discovering that even his massive wealth is outweighed by the dead animal his group allegedly slaughtered. Black leopards (aka panthers) were among top jungle predators that terrorised our ancestors. Killing one would have been considered an act of extreme courage, bringing instant hero status and a tribal coming of age. The opposite now applies, and the businessman and his party have learned it the hard way after being branded villains and cowards. Things would be very different had the construction mogul killed a big cat th
Georgia Aquarium Loses Appeal to Import Beluga Whales
The Georgia Aquarium has lost an appeal against a federal judge who ruled against the institution importing beluga whales from Russia. The federal court decision upholds the determination made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2013.
However, officials from the Georgia Aquarium – one of the world’s largest – plan to review the ruling and make a decision on further action. In 2012, the Georgia Aquarium filed import requests for 18 beluga whales. The whales were meant to be distributed amongst other aquariums around the United States.
“When you’re looking at the sustainability or health of a population, you want to make sure that the removals don’t negatively impact the ability of that population to be healthy,” NOAA Fisheries’ director of the Office of Protected Resources, Donna Wieting, told NPR.
This is the first time in 20 years that NOAA has
Aquarium ‘disappointed’ with park board appeal of court ruling
Vancouver Aquarium Tuesday said it is disappointed with the park board’s move to appeal the Supreme Court ruling striking down the bylaw banning cetaceans.
On Friday, Vancouver Park Board announced plans to appeal the ruling that prohibited the board from applying its May 2017 bylaw amendment to the aquarium’s operations in Stanley Park. The aquarium responded Tuesday afternoon saying the organization is “disappointed with the Vancouver Park Board’s unwillingness to accept the sound reasoning and commercial realism of the Honourable Mr. Justice Mayer’s decision in the B.C. Supreme Court.”
Self-reported impacts of volunteering in UK zoos and aquariums
Zoos and aquariums are popular visitor destinations, with around 30 million visits made to them annually throughout the UK and Ireland. The role and mission of modern zoos have evolved, with the conservation of world’s remaining biodiversity now being their major purpose. They seek to aid biodiversity through a combination of public education, in situ and ex situ conservation programmes, and applied scientific research. Directly relevant to this paper, they are also institutions that actively recruit, attract and utilise volunteers. However, the impacts of volunteering in zoos and aquariums, on the volunteers themselves, are under-researched. Here we show that, in a survey of more than 500 volunteers at 19 different zoological collections in the UK, zoo volunteers report positive impacts, specifically in relation to increases in their human and social capital. We also found that these benefits were more pronounced in younger volunteers, and with those volunteers who received more initial training. We conclude that while volunteering in UK zoos correlates with significant personal benefits to individuals, zoos could aim higher and should seek to do more to maximise the positive effects of connecting volunteers with the wildlife and nature found in zoo settings, as well as tailoring their volunteer training programmes for different age groups.
6 African elephants to settle in east China
Six African elephants have passed quarantine inspection and will soon settle at a safari park in Changzhou City, east China's Jiangsu Province, according to the local inspection and quarantine bureau Tuesday.
The Zimbabwe-born elephants, four female and two male, are between three to four years old. This is the first time live African elephants have been introduced in Jiangsu.
In 2014, the park bought an African elephant specimen from South Africa and received a warm response from tourists, according to Li Dongming with the bureau. "Four years later, the specimen finally can 'walk out' to meet
Tilikum VS. J-34: A Tale Of Two Killer Whales
The Southern Resident Killer Whales are dying. It is happening now, it is happening quickly, and it is happening before our eyes.
In 2016, the number of Southern Residents plummeted from 83 to 78, one of the smallest populations since record keeping on the whales began in the early 1970s. One of these whales, J-34, or “Doublestuf,” a well known member of the J-22 matriline, washed ashore in British Columbia on December 20th, 2016. A breeding age male of 18, the BC Ministry of Agriculture’s initial examination revealed blunt force trauma and a hematoma as the cause of death. There is a high probability, though unconfirmed, that J-34’s injuries were caused through a vessel strike
Something Mysterious Is Killing Captive Gorillas
Just before 8 o’clock on a snowy Wednesday morning, deep in a maze of doors and steel fencing in the basement of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, a 30-year-old gorilla named Mokolo is getting a heart exam. He’s voluntarily shambled up to a stainless-steel fence, squatted on his stout legs, and pressed his belly to the mesh. Now he looks at the ceiling with thinly veiled exasperation, like a kid who wants to play outside but knows he has to stand still long enough to get slathered with sunscreen first. His expression is so recognizably human that it’s disconcerting.
SSPs, TAGs and Permits: A Conversation with Alan Shoemaker, Retired Collections Manager at the Riverbanks Zoo
For the first 28 years of its existence, Alan Shoemaker was a staple of the Riverbanks Zoo team. After serving as Curator of Mammals for several years, he became Collections Manager. Along with Director Satch Krantz, Shoemaker helped the zoo grow both in size, scope and reputation and become heavily involved in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. In the zoo industry, Shoemaker became regarded as an experts in writing permits for animal acquisitions. He also was instrumental in the development of Species Survival Plans (SSPs) and Taxon Advisory Groups (TAGs), which were fundamental to creating sustainable populations of animals in zoos. Here is his story.
175 newborn animals, 5 cheetahs at Dubai Safari
As many as 175 newborn animals of 30 species and five big cheetahs have become the new inhabitants of Dubai’s wildlife attraction, Dubai Safari Park.
The facility has welcomed new arrivals such as a vervet monkey, 22 blackbuck antelopes, three Arabian wolves, 12 corn snakes, two Nile crocodiles, five Egyptian fruit bats, six wood ducks, 24 African spurred tortoises and three African white lions among others, it said in a press release.
“With the addition of the 175 newborns, we are pleased to see the Dubai Safari family growing in terms of both the number and diversity of the species,” said Khalid Al Suwaidi, Director of Leisure Facilities at Dubai Municipality which manages the facility.
He stated that the list of the new arrivals highlights the sheer variety visitors can look forward to at Dubai Safari, including rare animals such as the African white lions.
He said it further strengthened the park’s commitment to conservation efforts for endangered species.
Stolen Apes Report
Stolen Apes: The Illicit Trade in Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Bonobos and Orangutans [PDF] is the first report to analyze the scale and scope of the illegal trade and highlights the growing links to sophisticated trans-boundary crime networks, which law enforcement networks are struggling to contain.
Stolen Apes, which was produced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) through GRASP, estimates that a minimum of 22,218 great apes have been lost from the wild since 2005 – either sold, killed during the hunt, or dying in captivity – with chimpanzees comprising 64 per cent of that number.
The report examines confiscation records, international trade databases, law enforcement reports, and arrival rates from sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers between 2005 and 2011.
Could Las Vegas support a world-class zoo? This group believes so
Amid the excitement surrounding potential new stadiums, arenas and art museums, some locals want Las Vegas to get a different kind of venue.
During the past few years, members of the nonprofit Las Vegas Zoological Society have been quietly laying the groundwork for a world-class zoo. Their mission: “to inspire education and conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature.” Unlike zoos of the past, this one would have a focus on “animal care, science, education and conservation.”
A “motor safari ride” would ferry visitors around the planed 100-acre park, which would offer 16 exhibits featuring 900 animals from 300 species. The conceptual site plan shows exhibits grouped by region (Nevada, Africa, Asia), along with a botanical garden, children’s zoo, aviary, amphitheater and aquatic exhibit.
Conservation and education plans are no less ambitious. The Zoological Society would offer a college preparatory program for high school students; a kids’ Safari Camp; a public zoo library; workshops and classes; and a weekly TV show called Wild Zone. A conservation center would include fieldwork and research
Top 5 Concepts What Makes Your Training a Success
As the business owner of an online space where many different animal training professionals come together, here are five important concepts that really stood out to me in 2017. I present these here as conversation starters and look forward to everyone’s thoughts and feelings on them …
1) Define yourself as a trainer.
As the business owner of an online space where many different animal training professionals come together, here are five important concepts that really stood out to me in 2017. I present these here as conversation starters and look forward to everyone’s thoughts and feelings on them …
BRISTOL’S LINK TO THE GREATEST SHOWMAN
Still wowing audiences on the big screen – including in a singalong version at three Bristol cinemas this week – The Greatest Showman is one of the major movie successes of the last 12 months.
A newly published book about Bristol Zoo now uncovers Bristol’s link to the man whose life the film is based on – the American showman and politician PT Barnum.
In 1894, a female Bengal tiger was loaded onto a passenger train at Clifton Down station bound for Paddington. Once in London, the animal headed onto New York to join Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth.
The Secret Life of Elephants
We have the pleasure of watching elephants in broad daylight in precious few places like Udawalawe, where they are habituated enough to be placid and tolerant of onlookers. Indeed, one can get rather spoiled in this particular Park, because even the birds are unafraid and will happily sit and pose for your clumsy photograph from inches away. At times, certain exhibitionist pachyderms even appear to put on a show for the gawking crowds:
Orangutan Smokes Cigarette; Bandung Zoo Tracks Down Perpetrator
Bandung Zoo managements publically asked the person responsible for giving one of the zoo`s orangutans a cigarette to make a public apology.
“We urge the perpetrator to apologize to the public,” said Bandung Zoo spokesman Sulhan Safi’I on Wednesday, March 7. Meanwhile, zoo management is tracking down the identity of the suspect.
From Cages to Science: A Conversation with Dr. Lester E. Fisher, Retired Director of the Lincoln Park Zoo
Dr. Lester E. Fisher was a true visionary in the zoo profession. During his three decades as Director of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, he transformed the institution into a leader in animal research and a modern zoo. Fisher was particularly known for his expertise in great apes as he led the Lincoln Park Zoo to having the largest gorilla population in North America and conducted groundbreaking research on the species. Here is his story.
What We Can Learn From the Demise of the Northern White Rhino
The health of the world’s last male northern white rhino, Sudan, is rapidly declining, bringing the subspecies’ inevitable extinction closer to a reality. Even as scientists and conservationists work on an ambitious in vitro fertilization effort, there’s little reason for hope that the 45-year-old Sudan and his two female companions—the last of the entire subspecies—will leave any offspring behind.
Sudan, who is aging and suffering from a leg infection, could soon be euthanized if his condition doesn’t take a turn for the better. Until recently, the subspecies numbered in the thousands across central Africa. However decades of poaching and habitat destruction leave only Sudan, his daughter Najin, and granddaughter Fatu. As of Tuesday, Sudan’s condition had improved slightly according to the BBC, although his caretakers say the prognosis is still “not looking bright” and they are not holding out “big hopes” for a miracle recovery.
Google, Facebook, and Other Tech Giants Unite to Fight Wildlife Crime Online
The black market trade in ivory and rhino horn doesn’t just happen in the back rooms of stores or under the table at nondescript secret meeting locations. Increasingly the illegal wildlife trade has moved online, where anonymity and the sheer number of for-sale postings makes it hard to stop the smuggling. When one company cracks down, sellers simply move to another platform.
A new international effort aims to put a stop to this whack-a-mole effect. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), TRAFFIC, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare are launching the Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online, bringing together technology, e-commerce, and social media companies to work together to squeeze out wildlife traffickers. The coalition includes Google, eBay, Facebook, Instagram, and many others.
“Criminal groups and illegal traders are exploiting the technology to operate anonymously online with less chance of detection and to reach a wider market than ever before,” says Crawford Allan, the senior director of wildlife crime at the World Wildlife Fund and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring organization. Law enforcement can’t police it all, he says. “The companies themselves wer
Sea lions’ night-time ruckus leads to Cologne Zoo’s first ever squabble with neighbours
Cologne’s sea lions have landed in hot water after their late-night antics led local residents to file a noise complaint. This is the first time in 168 years that someone has taken offence at the adorable creatures.
The beloved sea lions Astrid, Amelie, Oz, Lina and Mia are the focus of an official investigation at the Cologne Zoo after complaints were lodged by local residents about their load nocturnal roars.
In a story first reported on Wednesday morning by Cologne newspaper “Express”, the city government is launching a full inquiry into the nature of the sea lions' nighttime activities, as well as the ability of the zoo to comply with German noise regulations.
The investigation is forcing Cologne Zoo to check the quality of its sound-proofing within the sea lions' enclosure and to analyze surveillance video to determine the cause of the creatures' late-night noise. The zoo’s sp
Two Species of Ravens Nevermore?
Speciation, where one species splits into two, has long been a focus of evolutionary research. A new study almost 20 years in the making suggests that the opposite—speciation reversal, where two distinct lineages hybridize and eventually merge into one—may be just as important.
In the paper, published in Nature Communications, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute scientists and partners report some of the strongest evidence yet of this phenomenon in two lineages of common ravens.
Researchers examined genomic data from hundreds of ravens across North America, a challenging effort that proved to be worthwhile. “Next-generation genomic techniques are revealing more and more examples of species with hybrid genomes,” explains Anna Kearns, postdoctoral fellow with SCBI’s Center for Conservation Genomics and the study’s lead author.
In fact, throughout history this natural evolutionary process of speciation reversal has probably occurred in hundreds or thousands of lineages across the planet
When UMBC professor of biological sciences Kevin Omland, one of the paper’s authors, first started down this road in 1999, common ravens were considered a single species. A year later, he reported that in fact two common raven lineages existed—one called “California” concentrated in the southwestern U.S. and the other called “Holarctic” found everywhere else.
But that’s not where the story ends. After analyzing mitochondrial DNA from ravens throughout the western U.S., scientists found that these two lineages are widely intermixed. Further study of nuclear genome data led to the conclusion that the California and Holarctic raven lineages did diverge for one to two million years but later came together and have been hybridizing for at least tens of thousands of years.
Popular Al Ain Zoo turns 50; 7 mega projects announced
The garden city of Al Ain will soon be known as the global leader in wildlife tourism thanks to Al Ain Zoo's major expansion plans to mark its golden jubilee this year.
After a successful half century as the region's leading wildlife conservation sanctuary and a favourite family destination, the Al Ain Zoo, in its 50th year, has announced seven mega projects including an Elephant safari, Lion Pathway, a Wild Reserve Project, Elephant village, Kuala Land and Sand Cat Breeding Centre, and also a shelter for rescued animals.
The 8 Million Species We Don’t Know
The history of conservation is a story of many victories in a losing war. Having served on the boards of global conservation organizations for more than 30 years, I know very well the sweat, tears and even blood shed by those who dedicate their lives to saving species. Their efforts have led to major
Science-based management essential to achieve St Petersburg goal of doubling the number of tigers by 2022
The India story on tiger conservation has been a good one. The number of tigers in the wild increased from 1,706 in 2010 to 2226 in 2014. An all-India tiger census currently is underway, and preliminary state surveys suggest a substantial increase in the country’s big cat population. India is one of the 13 tiger range countries therefore a substantial increase in its tiger population is good news. However, serious gaps in the management of tiger conservation areas across range countries could ma ..
Giant pandas' home in Finland opens to public
The new home of Chinese giant pandas Huabao and Jinbaobao in central Finland officially opened to public on Saturday following a two-and-half-week trial period.
They landed in Finland from China in January this year, and spent one month in quarantine. "Now they have adapted perfectly well," said Jukka Salo, a zoologist working with the Ahtari Zoo, some 300 kilometers north of Helsinki.
Salo said the pair were completely ready to meet the public. During the experimental days, they were curious about people, and did not react in bad way to the appearance of people. "They are truly ambassadors of China," added Salo.
Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila was among the hundred guests taking part in the official opening ceremony at the zoo on Saturday.
Talking to the press, Sipila said the arrival of the pandas was "a great thing" for Finland, and it was the result of the bilateral trust.
He said the cooperation on the resea
US to help save endangered PH pangolin
Help is on its way to save the Philippine pangolin, also known as the “Balintong,” from possible extinction.
This particular pangolin species that is endemic to the Palawan province is at risk extinction out due to heavy hunting because of its valued scales and meat.
To counter this, the country’s first-ever population study of the Philippine pangolin was recently launched during the celebration of the World Wildlife Day, which were attended by visiting United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II and officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR).
Findings from the USAID-supported study, conducted in collaboration with local universities and Conservation International, will inform policy to protect this endangered species, which is the world’s most trafficked mammal.
Hardy visited Palawan this week to engage with development partners and reinforce the US government’s commitment to the province’s sustainable growth.
According to the US Embassy in Man
Showing the Truth About Predators: A Conversation with Adrienne Rowland, Director of Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
Since opening in 2000, Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay has inspired the residents and tourists of Las Vegas to look past the misconceptions of predators, especially sharks. Much of the success of the organization has been because of Adrienne Rowland, the aquarium's director since 2008. Her commitment to providing top-notch animal care, insightful experiences, professional development, excellent guest service and storytelling has let Shark Reef Aquarium flourish. Rowland currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, helping steer the direction the organization goes in. Here is her story.
How Some U.S. Ape Sanctuaries Fail Their Animals and Staff
Kaleigh Rhoads recalls that cloudy afternoon in May 2015. She’d just picked up a new intern from the airport when she received a disturbing call: A chimp named CJ had escaped from her enclosure and was at large in a building employees call the Chimp House.
“My jaw just dropped,” she says. Chimps may look friendly, but they’ve been known to maim or kill people.
Rhoads, 24, had recently finished training at her dream job as a caregiver at Chimps Inc., an animal sanctuary in Oregon then home to seven chimpanzees. Nestled on a five-acre farm with a stunning view of the Cascades, Chimps Inc. is a place where the apes are photographed trying on hats and chowing down on watermelon. In the two-bedroom house where trainees live, a plaque commemorates one o
Lioness that mauled woman to death at African wildlife park may be killed, as it emerges it was being taken for a walk by social media star 'lion whisperer' when it attacked its victim
A lioness that mauled a woman to death in a South African wildlife park was being taken for a walk by a self-styled 'lion whisperer' when it launched the attack, it has emerged.
The 22-year-old visitor died from devastating injuries after being pounced on by a lioness named Ndira while it was out walking with expert and social media star Kevin Richardson in the Dinokeng Game Reserve.
Mr Richardson, 44, whose intimate interactions with big cats have won him millions of fans around the world, said today: 'I am devastated and my heart goes out to this young woman's family.'
Ndira, who was hand-reared by Mr Richardson, may meet the same fate as her victim after the park admitted 'no decision has bee
Flight range, fuel load and the impact of climate change on the journeys of migrant birds
Climate change is predicted to increase migration distances for many migratory species, but the physiological and temporal implications of longer migratory journeys have not been explored. Here, we combine information about species' flight range potential and migratory refuelling requirements to simulate the number of stopovers required and the duration of current migratory journeys for 77 bird species breeding in Europe. Using tracking data, we show that our estimates accord with recorded journey times and stopovers for most species. We then combine projections of altered migratory distances under climate change with models of avian flight to predict future migratory journeys. We find that 37% of migratory journeys undertaken by long-distance migrants will necessitate an additional stopover in future. These greater distances and the increased number of stops will substantially increase overall journey durations of many long-distance migratory species, a factor not currently considered in climate impact studies.
Project to save horseshoe crab wins green prize in Singapore
ITE College West student Eunos Chong had never met a horseshoe crab face to face until a project he started about two years ago made him passionate about protecting the endangered creatures.
As part of a project for the SembCorp Marine Green Wave Environmental Care Competition, Mr Chong, 18, and three of his schoolmates designed and manufactured a "Horseshoe Crab Propagation System", a system of tanks and an incubator for breeding and rearing horseshoe crabs.
And on Thursday (Feb 23), they took home the winning prize in the junior college/ ITE category for their project.
EAZA Group on Zoo Animal Contraception
We are the EAZA Group on Zoo Animal Contraception, a group formed to gather knowledge on the use of contraception in captive wildlife within Europe.
We are an active part of the European zoo community, producing contraceptive guidelines for individual institutions, as well as working with breeding programme coordinators and studbook keepers.
New animal park to open next month
After two years of construction, Safari World, one of the biggest zoos in the kingdom, will opened its doors to visitors next month in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district.
With a capital investment of $9 million, the park will exhibit around 800 animals, including bears, ostriches, kangaroos, giraffes, tigers, dolphins and deer.
According to the zoo’s website, there will be shows featuring crocodiles, orangutans, tigers and different types of birds.
Ly Yong Phat, president of LYP Group and owner of the park, told state-run media outlet AKP that the zoo will be the largest of its kind in Cambodia, and explained that it was previously located in Koh Kong province.
“We moved from Koh Kong to Phnom Penh to take advantage of the large number of visitors to the capital,” he
Op-Ed: South Africa’s involvement in export of Asian tigers and link to trade in tiger products
In the last five years, according to the Cites (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) trade database, South Africa has exported over 200 live captive-bred tigers, mostly to Asia and the Middle-East. These figures exclude the dozens of tiger trophies, bones, claws and skulls exported over the same period.
Most (almost 100) were exported to Vietnam and Thailand, both countries which form part of the cat’s natural range. Other Asian countries favouring South African-bred tigers include Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan and China. All these countries – along with South Africa – are implicated in the legal and illegal trade in tiger products.
The trade is most likely driven by the demand for tiger bone wine, a form of traditional medicine used for the treatment of bone or joint-related ailments such as arthritis. Tiger bones are boiled down until they form a glue-like substance, which is then dried in cake-like blocks from which shavings are mixed with wine and consumed.
The insatiable demand for tiger wine has decimated tigers throug
Facilitating Wildlife, Wild Places and Communities Globally: A Conversation with Gordon McGregor Reid, Retired Director of the Chester Zoo
The Chester Zoo is not only regarded as one of the premier zoos of the world but as a conservation powerhouse. This is largely because of the ambition and leadership of Dr. Gordon McGregor-Reid, who led the zoo from 1995 to 2010. Among his accomplishments at the institution were rebuilding much of the zoo, putting into place world-class animal wellness practices, doubling attendance to become the 2nd most attended paid attraction in the United Kingdom and setting up a strong field conservation program. Reid served as an important leader in the profession as President of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and wrote many important papers on zoo conservation. Here is his story.
A Day in the Life of an Amazonia Keeper
“Our male titi monkey, Henderson, is very curious, which makes him a great animal to work with. One of the ways that we monitor his health is by conducting husbandry training sessions inside the forest. Because the exhibit is open and the animals roam freely, we want him to be familiar and comfortable with coming to a designated spot voluntarily. To communicate with him, we use a target stick with a blue ball on the end. When he sees that target, he knows that he should follow it and touch his nose to the ball. If he does, he receives a reward from me, usually in the form of peanuts, grapes or—as is the case today—a bright red strawberry. We do these sessions with him at least twice a d
Judge bans Dade City’s Wild Things from owning tigers
After a "calculated and deliberately deceptive" plot to evacuate tigers from their zoo in the middle of an animal welfare lawsuit, a federal judge on Friday ruled Dade City’s Wild Things should never be allowed to possess tigers again.
The ruling confirms that Wild Things owner Kathy Stearns, her husband, Kenneth, and son, Randall, violated a court order in July by transporting 19 tigers to Oklahoma to avoid a site inspection by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a 1,200-mile haul where one female gave birth and all three cubs died.
PETA sued Wild Things in October 2016, alleging its tiger cub petting business violates the Endangered Species Act by pulling cubs prematurely from mothers, forcing them to interact with the public and confining them to tiny cages when they outgrow the photo-op stage.
Because of the Stearnses’ "flagrant disregard" for the court, Magistrate Judge Amanda Sansone ordered a default judgment in PETA’s favor in the underlying lawsuit, that the Stearnses pay PETA’s legal fees and dismiss Wild Things’ counter claims. Sansone stopped short of imposing criminal sanctions on the Stearnses, stating there was "no need to pile on contempt proceedings."
Law of the jungle: Taronga sues rival over 'Sydney Zoo' name
Taronga Zoo, with its sweeping views of Sydney harbour from Mosman, is suing the operators of a planned second zoo in the city’s west over its proposed use of the name Sydney Zoo, claiming it is misleading and deceptive without the qualification it is in "western Sydney".
Plans for the $36 million cage-free Sydney Zoo in the Western Sydney Parklands at Bungarribee in Blacktown were revealed in 2015 and the venture received final planning approval in September last year.
The not-for-profit Taronga Zoo has launched a Federal Court bid to stop the proponents using the name Sydney Zoo on the grounds it is likely to mislead th
SeaWorld: What happens next after leadership shake-up?
Since there were no heavy crowds to fight through Friday, Eveline Brinks knocked off all the SeaWorld Orlando’s thrill rides in less than two hours.
“You get butterflies in your stomach,” said Brinks, 23, who is from the Netherlands, after she rode the park’s newest and fastest roller coaster that posted a generous wait time of five minutes. “The adrenaline.”
The Orlando-based theme park company’s challenge is getting more visitors like Brinks through the turnstiles as the company is undergoing a major leadership shake up after the latest quarter earnings report showed more declining attendance and revenue.
CEO Joel Manby, SeaWorld Entertainment’s leader since April 2015 who made the decision to stop orca breeding, stepped down this week. He is replaced by interim CEO John T. Reilly, a former Park President of SeaWorld San Diego and Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
The company has battled public perception issues and a backlash, especially with millennials, from the anti-captivity documentary “Blackfish.
UN issues 25TH edition of endangered species stamps highlighting species protected under CITES
The United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) has unveiled a new series of 12 stamps, as it has done every year since 1993, featuring 12 species protected under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). The 25th edition launched today at an event at the UN Headquarters in New York to celebrate UN World Wildlife Day features species included under CITES over the past 25 years.
CITES Secretary-General, John E. Scanlon, said: “We are most grateful to the UN Postal Administration for its generous support over the past 25 years in using its beautiful stamps to raise awareness of CITES-listed species. This year is the first time these stamps are released on UN World Wildlife Day, being the day CITES was signed in 1973, and also marking the 45th anniversary of the Convention. We understand that these stamps are among the most popular series issued by the UN and we hope this wonderful cooperation will be continuing for the next 25 years and beyond.”
Mr. Thanawat Amnajanan, Chief of the United Nations Postal Administration, said: “For 25 years, the UNPA has been working with CITES to issue stamps to celebrate many beautiful and varied forms of wild flora and fauna, and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation provides. UNPA is proud to celebrate this 25th anniversary milestone with 12 different variety of species that were added to the CITES list in the past 25 years.”
The CITES-listed species featured on the stamps are the red-cre
South African lion breeders hear whispers of doom
The fatal mauling of a 22-year-old female visitor to “lion whisperer” Kevin Richardson’s tented camp in the Dinoken Big 5 Game Reserve stole headlines on February 27, 2018 from Parliamentary action promising to turn the South African wildlife breeding and viewing industry upside down––and, perhaps, to plunge the nation into the sort of economic chaos that has plagued neighboring Zimbabwe since 2000
Man sets free four leopards from enclosure in Goa zoo
A zoo situated inside the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary had to be locked down for the day after an intruder set free four leopards from their enclosure in the early hours of today, zoo officials said.
They informed that three adult leopards and a cub were set free forcing them to close the zoo so that visitors who would have arrived during the day were not harmed.
He said that the enclosure, the gate of which was broken by the intruder, had five leopards inside, including two cubs, at the time of the incident.
When the incident came to light, authorities closed the zoo gates and managed to track down two adult leopards- Mandu and Anajli- and a third one- Julie- a little while later, they informed.
The cub which was set free was found
Nicole Scherzinger bottle feeds a chained lion and plays with orangutans dressed in clothes as she visits a zoo in Dubai
The X Factor judge was seen playing with an orangutan, who was dressed in a pair of shorts and a vest top, as well as some others dressed up and riding a toy car.
The exotic animals belong to Princess of Dubaï Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum's and are kept in the zoo there.
Nicole has just returned from a trip to Dubai, where she enjoyed an impressive looking Pilates session.
Experts: Kemaman Zoo has some shortcomings
Malaysian Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria (Mazpa) has made several recommendations to the Kemaman Zoo, following an investigations into claims that animals there were mistreated.
Lazarus told Malaysiakini that there were some shortcomings, but it was not done intentionally.
"I wouldn't say the zoo is in poor conditions, but there are definitely room for improvement," he said.
At this past year’s Annual Conference, Vickie Clyde shared some special news during a business lunch.
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