Back in Dubai. Glad to be back too though I enjoyed every minute of the congress in Singapore and of being back home in Thailand. The birthday party (part one) went very much as expected....wild, and a lot of fun....and all night. This left next to no time to catch my plane from Bangkok. Couldn't sleep on the plane either. I lay down eventually at eight in the evening and did drop off only to be woken by a phone call from Lilli. She wanted me to come and see her right away. I did of course, not getting home till three thirty. Back to work today. I have missed it, the staff, especially Team Awesome at the Penguins and the Penguins themselves of course.
Conservation? Conservation? Conservation? Does he have even an inkling of understanding what this is about? Almost certainly not. And as to the 'Feline Conservation Federation' well this has lost ALL credibility in my eyes. See in links 'Doc Antle, chairman of the accreditation board, visited the preserve and was so impressed he donated to it a trio of his very rare tiger cubs. Visitors can now view a golden tabby, a royal white and a standard orange Bengal tiger playing together'. Really it beggars belief and gives me a sour feeling in my stomach. This is another damaging 'gift' such as were sent to Thailand a few years back.
So John Varty has gone onto the John Hume and proposing to sell off Rhino Horn. I'll bet that he has quite a bit to sell off as well. I would expect no less from 'Tiger Man' Varty who is another who has not the faintest idea of what conservation is about. Burn the horn stockpiles now. Hit these investors where it hurts. Rhino farming for horn should not be encouraged and this is exactly what these people are doing.
Check out the latest edition of International Zoo News. It is always an interesting read and this edition has some especially interesting articles and accompanying photos. There was a time when every zoo subscribed to this excellent publication. They still should. This latest edition has details of a Photo Competition. Please make your staff aware as I am sure that many of them will have a contribution to make.
Still not a whisper about the baby Orangutan and Gibbon from Abu Dhabi (see past Digests). As the recognised world organisations that the collection belonged to knew that they had these you would think they would be just a little concerned as to where they went. It doesn't smell right to me.
I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos, not DYSFUNCTIONAL zoos.
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Reston Zoo director guilty of drowning wallaby
The curator testified that animals had been euthanized in shocking ways at the Reston Zoo: Some were shot, rabbits were slammed into walls and chickens were fed to pythons.
But in a Fairfax County courtroom Friday, Ashley Rood said she reached her breaking point after uncovering evidence that the zoo’s director, Meghan Mogensen, had drowned an injured wallaby named Parmesan in a plastic bucket.
Rood confronted Mogensen, resigned in protest and later called police.
“I think you and your father are sick and sadistic people, and I don’t want to be part of this anymore,” Rood recalled telling Mogensen, whose father owns the zoo. “It’s one thing to euthanize an animal, but it’s another thing to drown it.”
Mogensen, 26, of Silver Spring, was convicted of animal cruelty and sentenced to 30 days in jail after Rood’s whistleblower complaint. A judge also found her guilty of possessing animal anesthesia without a license.
The unusual trial featured testimony about a wallaby autopsy known as a necropsy, veterinary forensics experts and fingerprint analysis as prosecutors sought to show that Mogensen cruelly killed the wallaby and then mounted an elaborate coverup.
The testimony also raised questions about the zoo’s care of its animals. Other zoos owned by Eric Mogensen have also come under scrutiny in recent years, according to media reports.
Meghan Mogensen’s attorney, Caleb Kershner, contended that his client, who didn’t testify during the trial, had humanely euthanized the wallaby using a lethal injection and was acting out of compassion for
CANGO PROMOTES INTERNATIONAL VULTURE AWARENESS DAY!
Henry Ford once said; “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is a process; and working together is success!”
As a conservation facility, we constantly promote the voice of preservation with the goal of educating the public on the plight of our many endangered animal residents. Considering the effort it takes to commit to this initiative, it remained an easy decision. It is not just our duty to protect the species… it is a global duty, and one that we are proud to be a part of.
International Vulture Awareness Day, on 1 September, was something that we were eager to support! It was enlightening to see like-minded facilities around the world join hands in promoting much needed awareness for the vulture species. At Cango Wildlife Ranch we have four Cape Griffon Vultures (Gyps coprotheres) – our very own Adams family consisting of Gomez, Morticia, Lurch and Pugsley. We proudly provide a safe-haven for these birds, of which two have been rehabilitated.
In the weeks building up to Vulture Awareness Day, our staff cut and painted a life-size vulture wing-span board and built a vulture donation box, while our curators and volunteers collected vulture feathers on the ranch! We sold the feathers to members of the public, as well as photo’s of our grumpy Adam’s family, while visitors of all ages measured their wing-span against our mighty vulture board! Our informative guides included extra information into their tours, explaining the plight of the vultures and the importance of International Vulture Awareness Day! In doing so, our donations box gained a lot of attention, as did our posters promoting the Endangered Wildlife Trust!
We are proud to announce that during the ‘Vulture-Weekend’ we raised a total of R1204.05! All the proceeds were donated to the Birds of Prey Programme, which is a conservation branch of the Endangered Wildlife Trust.
As a proud PAAZAB member, our confidence lies in knowing that we can all make a difference in the fight for conservation… and through working together - success is inevitable!
Four Leopards a week enter India’s illegal wildlife trade
New Delhi, India, 28 September 2012—At least four Leopards have been poached and their body parts entered into illegal wildlife trade every week for at least 10 years in India, according to TRAFFIC’s latest study “Illuminating the Blind Spot: A study on illegal trade in Leopard parts in India” launched today by Dr Divyabhanusinh Chavda, President, WWF-India.
The study documents a total of 420 seizures of Leopard skins, bones and other body parts reported from 209 localities in 21 out of 35 territories in India during 2001–2010.
Statistical analysis is used to estimate the additional levels of “undetected trade” and concludes that around 2294 Leopards were trafficked in India during the period—an average of four animals per week over the 10 year period.
Leopards (Panthera pardus) are fully protected under India’s domestic legislation, and commercial international trade is banned under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
“TRAFFIC’s objective analysis has cast new light onto the sheer scale of the illicit trade in Leopard parts in India, which has hitherto been overshadowed by the trade in another of the country’s national icons, the Tiger,” said Dr Chavda at the launch of the report.
“Without an effective strategy to assess and tackle the threats posed by illegal trade, the danger is that Leopard numbers may decline rapidly as happened previously to the Tiger” he further added.
Uttarakhand emerged as a major source of Leopard parts in trade, while Delhi was found to be a major epicenter of the illegal trade, along with adjacent areas of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana.
Dr Rashid Raza, Coordinator with TRAFFIC in India and the lead author of the study said: “Even though reports of illegal trade in Leopard body parts are disturbingly frequent, the level of threat to Leopards in the country has previously been unrecognized, and has fallen into our collective ‘blind spot’.”
Close to 90% of reported Leopard part seizures in India comprised solely of skins, making them the dominant body part found in illegal trade during the 10 year period. Other body parts, particularly bones, are known to be prescribed as substitutes for Tiger parts in traditional Asian medicine.
It is believed most Leopard parts are smuggled out of India to other countries in Asia, often via the porous border with neighbouring Nepal. Earlier investigations indicated many of the Leopard parts found for sale in northern Myanmar, northern Laos and the ethnic Tibetan regions of China originated from India.
The report recommends the establishment of a Task Force to tackle illegal trade in the areas identified as having the highest levels of Leopard-related crime, as well as better regional co-operation between source, transit and market countries through initiatives such as the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN).
An official database along the lines of “Tigernet” (http://www.tigernet.nic.in/), used for Tiger conservation in India, would also help monitor the illegal Leopard part trade. Studies are also needed to assess the levels of threat from human-Leopard conflict in the country, according to the report.
Ravi Singh, Secretary General & CEO, WWF-India said: “The Leopard is among the most charismatic large animals in the world, and plays an important ecological role in the forests it inhabits”.
“Any increase in external market demand could easily lead to a decimation of Leopard numbers in India, but I am hopeful this latest analysis will provide the impetus to catalyse effective conservation action; particularly increased effectiveness of law enforcement initiatives to curtail the illegal trade in Leopard body parts”.
TRAFFIC’s work on the Leopard trade in India is supported by WWF-India and WWF-UK.
Zooland: The Institution of Captivity (The Cultural Lives of Law)
Two Oceans Aquarium hosts the 2012 International Aquarium Congress
Held every 4 years, The International Aquarium Congress is the world’s leading event for professionals working in public aquariums. 2012’s IAC took place 9th to 14th September in Cape Town and was hosted by the city’s Two Oceans Aquarium.
The popularity and number of public aquariums is growing and with so many challenges facing the marine environment, the conference was a great opportunity for many of the aquarium industry’s conservationists, executives, developers, and curators to meet and exchange information, network and hear from their peers about latest trends and developments in the aquarium world.
Related: Two Oceans Aquarium's Dr. Pat Garratt on the International Aquarium Congress (IAC) 2012 / David Kimmel, COO Georgia Aquarium on Exceeding Expectations / Managing Guest Experience at The Monterey Bay Aquarium - David Rosenberg / Aquariums are good for you! Dr Dave Gibson, MD, National Marine Aquarium / Interview with Ted A. Beattie, CEO, Shedd Aquarium
There was a theme of sustainability running through the conference with a keynote presentation from Dr Camille Parmesan on climate change and its impact on the world’s oceans. As one of the world’s most biodiverse habitats – Table Mountain alone has more indigenous species than the British Isles –Cape Town was a fitting location for the 8th IAC, and the city provided a vibrant and stunning backdrop to the much anticipated event.
The opportunity to host the IAC is a highly competitive affair and Two Oceans Aquarium, after winning the bid, had clearly worked hard to make the event successful. The first evening saw a drinks reception at the aquarium itself, with a welcoming address by Dr. Pat Garratt in front of the aquariums “predator tank”. Amarula (think South African Bailey’s) and biltong were served and delegates were given a behind the scenes tour of the aquarium. Education and conservation are key components of the aquarium’s mission and the classrooms and outreach programmes of the aquarium were particularly impr
Water park to open in Shanghai
A 600-million-yuan ($95.45 million) water park, Playa Maya, is scheduled to open to tourists in western Shanghai on May 1 next year.
The water park will be near and affiliated with the Shanghai Happy Valley amusement park, and will become one of the city's major entertainment facilities, said Wang Dansheng, deputy general manager of Shanghai Happy Valley, owned by Shanghai OCT Co Ltd.
Playa Maya, which will occupy 120,000 square meters, will have 12 sets of aquatic amusement facilities from the US and Canada, Wang said at the opening ceremony of Happy Valley Magic Festival, which will run from Sept 30 through Oct 7.
More than 20 magicians from dozens of countries, including Malaysia, Singapore, Canada, India, Indonesia and South Korea, will perform for visitors, he said.
"Facilities are being equipped at the water park, and things are on schedule," Wang said.
Shanghai Happy Valley, which opened in 2009, has more than 2 million visitors annually and earns about 60 million yuan ($9.5 million) a year.
"We need a new park to expand our business," Wang said.
The 900,000-square-meter amusement park has used 650,000 square meters for the first phase of its construction and set aside 120,000 square
Email from Dina Zulfikar - Check out Dina on Facebook. Fighting for animals in Egypt.
LIGER, LIGER - WITH APOLOGIES TO WILLIAM BLAKE
Liger, liger, burning bright,
Such huge weight and such great height,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
Huge as pony, hearth-cat tame,
Unlike the cats for whom you're named
Tigress mother, lion sire,
But you inherit neither's ire.
Your threat to man not wrath, but size;
While there's no malice in your eyes,
The hazard lies in frame and strength -
In play you may endanger men.
Liger, liger, burning bright,
Half-hearted in both mane and stripe,
No place does nature have for thee,
Bred by men's curiosity.
By Shubhobroto Ghosh
Here’s the catch: David and Dana were the same infant. Each of the experiment participants were shown the same video of the same infant. Half of them were told the infant was a nine-month-old boy named David, and half were told the infant was a nine-month-old girl named Dana. That they described the “two” infants in such different ways was evidence that the participants’ perceptions were at least based in part upon pre-existing biases and preconceptions about the different ways in which boys and girls experience the world.
Now, a group of researchers from Tokyo and Berlin have published a new finding about the relationship between personality and genetics in captive elephants. They collected genetic information from the blood, feces, tissues, cheek swabs, or hair of 196 Asian (Elephas maximus) and African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Japanese, American, and Canadian zoos, and sanctuaries in Thailand. Personality information was collected for a seventy-five of those elephants by distributing to questionnaires to their keepers. Each elephant was assessed by more than one keeper.
An improved understanding of elephant personality would be not only extremely interesting from a basic science perspective, but also extremely useful for more effectively maintaining captive elephant populations in zoos and sanctuaries. The better that zookeepers and curators understand the psychology of the animals in their collections, the better the quality of care can be, which directly impacts animal welfare.
Every personality psychologist probably has their own nuanced understanding of the word, but a reasonably broad definition of personality might be something like “an observable pattern of thoughts or behaviors, ultimately derived from a set of genes, that an individual expresses consistently over time, in a variety of situations.” In other words, personality is reliable: it holds constant across environments, such as home, school, or work. And stable: it doesn’t change significantly as an individual ages.
That genetics underlies the stable behavioral patterns of personality is not a particularly controversial idea. Nor is the idea that non-human animals and humans alike have personalities. It is also not particularly controversial to collect personality information from third parties rather than from the individuals who are being studied. For example, in studies of infant or child personality, researchers often distribute surveys to parents or teachers. Indeed, the parent-child or teacher-student relationship is roughly analogous to the keeper-animal relationship at a zoo.
The researchers claim to have detected a correlation between a variant of a gene called ASH1 and neuroticism, for Asian elephants. They also found genetic polymorphisms – variations in composition – in two other genes that they looked at: AR and NUFIP2, but they did not detect correlations for these genes with personality. To be clear, this was not a GWAS, or genome-wide association study, a method plagued by false positives. They looked only at seven regions on six genes that had hypothesized relationships with personality and were known to be expressed in the brain in other species, including humans and domestic dogs. The researchers also concluded that there are at least five factors that comprise elephant personality: dominance, neuroticism, agreeableness, curiosity, and impulsiveness. “This is the first report,” they write, “of an association between a genetic polymorphism and personality in elephants.”
Unfortunately, the personality assessments were problematic. The researchers noted that the “elephants in Western zoos were rated as being more curious, and less dominant, impulsive, and nervous than elephants in Japanese zoos.” Could Western elephants really be more curious than their counterparts living in Japanese zoos?
What could explain this apparent group difference? It could be that the distinction is legitimate. Perhaps, as a result of random chance, the more curious elephants wound up in American and Canadian zoos, and the more dominant, impulsive, and nervous ones were placed in Japanese zoos. It is more likely, however, that the assessments measure the keepers’ perceptions of elephant behavior rather than elephant behavior per se. The differences that the researchers found might therefore reflect differences among Japanese and Western keepers! It’s the problem of David and Dana, all over again.
Recall that personality should be independent of environment. That is, if you took an elephant from an American zoo and placed it into a Japanese zoo, its basic personality would remain unchanged. This study suggests that it’s personality assessment, however, might not. And that’s a problem. To avoid the issue, the researchers looked at the gene-personality correlations only among the elephants from Japanese zoos. And so seventy-five elephants with both personality and genetic data became forty-five. Those forty-five were really one group of seventeen Asian elephants and a second group of twenty-eight African elephants. Here’s why.
The elephants in the study came from two different genera: Loxodonta and Elaphas. Genera is the plural of genus, which is the level of taxonomic classification above species. These two elephant species share designation at the family level, Elephantidae. By comparison, the family Hominidae includes four genera: Pan (chimpanzees and bonobos), Gorilla (gorillas), Homo (humans), and Pongo (orangutans). The African and Asian elephants diverged from their common ancestor approximately seventeen million years
to be revoked in Aceh (Sumatra) creating history
Withdrawal of Kalista’s Permit: First time In The
History of Aceh
Senin, 24 September 2012 14:30 WIB
MURDANI ABDULLAH | Free translation by Adji Darsoyo
Translation to English:
Three Animals in Infamous Surabaya Zoo in Critical Condition
Three animals in the notorious Surabaya Zoo are in critical condition and currently undergoing intensive medical treatments, an officer with the zoo has said.
Anthan Warsito, the spokesman of the zoo, said the three animals were a 14-year-old American grizzly bear called Beno, a 24-year-old babirusa and a Sumatran tiger.
“The grizzly bear has been suffering from skin tumor since 2010,” Anthan said in Surabaya on Saturday.
The aging babirusa’s health has been deteriorating and is often ill, while the Sumatran tiger is suffering from a digestive problem, Anthan explained.
He admitted many animals in the zoo were in poor health condition, suffering from diseases, as 20 percent of the zoo’s inhabitants were over 20 years old.
Anthan said the aging and ailing animals were no longer fit for display, but the zoo would not opt euthanasia for them, hoping they would somehow survive.
“The aging animals, including some camels, elephants and deer, surely need more attention,” Anthan said, as quoted by the Indonesian news portal metrotvnews.com.
The zoo, reportedly Indonesia’s largest, has become notorious since Antara news agency reported that it had turned into a “place of horror” and “death camp” for animals. A zoo officer said in March some 500 animals died there between 2010 and
L.A. Zoo privatization negotiations fall apart
A money-saving plan to privatize the Los Angeles Zoo has stalled after city negotiators failed to reach an agreement with the nonprofit seeking to run the facility.
The announcement that the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Assn. was pulling out of talks Thursday because of a disagreement over whom the zoo director should report to puts the fate of the facility in jeopardy, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana warned.
With the city government looking at a deficit of half a billion dollars over the next two fiscal years, the zoo will be "forced to fight with public safety and other city priorities for its own survival," Santana said. "Inevitable cuts" to the zoo budget could lead to hikes in ticket prices and other changes, he said.
Santana, who has pushed for privatization despite protests from city employee unions, says public-private partnerships are a way to maintain service levels in an era of declining revenue. He has called for similar arrangements at the Los
'Tiger man' Varty issues rhino horn challenge
"Tiger Man" John Varty has suggested that breeders should defy the government's trade ban and stage a high-profile global auction of horns.
In an open letter to the world's largest rhino breeder, Mpumalanga-based John Hume, published on his own JV and the Big Cats website, Varty said Hume should ask the environment minister for permission for a one-off auction of all privately owned horns.
"Point out that the precedent was set in the 1980s when South Africa's National Parks had ivory auctions in which Japanese, Taiwanese and Chinese buyers participated in the purchase of ivory from culled elephants in Kruger National Park," he said. "The money from those auctions went back into the protection and conservation of elephants in South Africa."
If the minister did not grant permission for the auction, he wrote, Hume should "create a global event", similar to the way Kenyan conservationist Richard Leakey focused attention on elephant poaching when he persuaded then-president Daniel arap Moi to burn 12 tonnes of ivory in 1989.
"In your case, you go ahead with the auction, informing the South African government of your intentions. If you would like me to stand beside you, I will do so," Varty said.
"You invite 100 private individuals who have rhino horn from dead or dehorned rhino to join you in the auction.
"If you were on your own, the government could arrest you. I doubt if the government could arrest 100 high-profile private individuals trading openly in rhino horn and advertising the auction globa
Varty courted controversy when he defied conservation dogma in the 1990s by setting up a tiger-breeding project in the Free State because he believed the Indian government was not doing enough to save the big cats from extinction.
PROOF THAT ANIMALS AND PUNK ROCKERS DON’T MIX
CALLS were made last night for an investigation into the way Britain’s leading zoos are hired out for drug-linked music festivals and boozy office parties.
Undercover filming by animal welfare campaigners shows clubbers taunting gorillas and hurling objects into enclosures during a three-day rave at Prince William’s favourite zoo .
The partygoers mingled with shocked young families at the zoo when their rave tickets gave them free access to the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, in Kent, a fortnight ago.
The owners, the Aspinall Foundation, whose trustees include millionaire Tory MP Zac Goldsmith and casino tycoon Damian Aspinall, had hired out a large area 500 yards from their main entrance for the Ibiza-style Zoo Project dance festival weekend.
It also let the Hevy Festival, a weekend of punk, heavy metal and rock bands, use it with similar access rights in August, just two months after Prince William toured the zoo to back its black rhino breeding project.
Many zoos are now using their animals as exotic backdrops for events. London Zoo offers “Black Tie with a Hint of Animal” functions for office parties. Animal
Wolves were aggressive prior to fatal attack
The pack of wolves that killed a zookeeper at the Kolmården animal park earlier this year had displayed aggressive behaviour toward zookeepers in the past, according to a newly discovered report which contradicts the zoo’s initial assessment of the attack.
When the zookeeper was killed by the wolves at Kolmården in June 2012, management at the park said the incident happened without warning or provocation.
However, a 2011 incident report reveals that the wolves had previously threatened a zookeeper who entered the wolf enclosure alone, the Aftonbladet newspaper reported.
In the report, the zookeeper tells of being encircled by the wolves, who were behaving ever more threateningly.
“I screamed and made a lot of sudden movement. But it felt like that just triggered them even more,” the report reads.
The zookeeper became frightened and hit one wolves with a shovel – but the blow had no effect.
In the end, the zookeeper managed to escape from the enclosure.
Mats Höggren, zoological head at Kolmården, said that “thorough assessments and analyses” were carried out following the incident.
“The measures we implemented were to be more careful and make note of behavioural deviations among those particular individuals,” he told Aftonbladet.
Kolmården said the incident didn’t result in any major changes to procedures.
”All incidents have been documented and investigated according to existing regulations,” the animal park said in a statement.
On Monday, Kolmården will provide answers about the fatal June attack to the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket), the agency responsible for investigating work place fatalities.
In the report detailing the circumstances surrounding the accident, Kolmården is expected to present the measures it has taken to prevent similar incidents from
Tigers for Tomorrow on Untamed Mountain Approved for Feline Conservation Federation Facility Accreditation
Tigers for Tomorrow on Untamed Mountain meets the high standards of feline care and facility management that are hallmarks of the Feline Conservation Federation facility accreditation. Doc Antle, chairman of the accreditation board, visited the preserve and was so impressed he donated to it a trio of his very rare tiger cubs. Visitors can now view a golden tabby, a royal white and a standard orange Bengal tiger playing together in their roomy new habitat on the mountain preserve. The accreditation committee reviewed the extensive written application and approved Tigers for Tomorrow for FCF accreditation.
Tigers for Tomorrow on Untamed Mountain is a 140-acre piece of property in Attalla, Alabama, nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. In the six years since the facility moved from Florida to Untamed Mountain, the animal population has grown to 87 predators
MBARI researchers discover diet of vampire squid
Vampire squid aren't blood suckers. They're "snot" suckers to put it not so politely. Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute have discovered that these unearthly creatures don't eat live prey, as their closest relatives, octopus and squid do. Instead, they drift in the ocean, relying on long filaments to capture floating debris that they coat with mucous before pulling it into their mouths. "They live life in the slow lane," said Henk-Jan Hoving, the researcher who conducted the new study, along with Senior Scientist Bruce Robison.
Vampire squid live in the deep ocean depths where there is little oxygen. Most of their diet consists of "marine snow," which is made up of organic matter that drifts down from upper ocean layers where there are a lot more animals.
With their deep red skin and webbed arms lined with spiky-looking "cirri" (which are actually harmless), it's no wonder they were dubbed with the scientific name, Vampyroteuthis infernalis -- latin for "vampire squid from hell."
Vampire squid, about the size of a football, belong in the same class of animals as octopus and squid, collectively known as cephalopods. In fact, vampire squid were originally mistaken for an octopus