Friday, January 27, 2012

Zoo News Digest 14th - 27th January 2012 (Zoo News 802)

Zoo News Digest 14th - 27th January 2012 (Zoo News 802)

Photo credit Jon-Paul Orsi

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

"Another result of IDA’s relentless advocacy for elephants in zoos has been the creation of an historic management policy by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The new policy calls for an end to handling that requires keepers to share the same unrestricted space with elephants. If the AZA is serious about enforcing this policy, it will facilitate an end to the use of the bullhook, a weapon used by keepers to threaten and often inflict painful physical punishment."

Oh it was the IDA was it? Interesting.

Bullhook? A Weapon!!!!!!!! What utter crap! How can anyone with an ounce of intelligence take anything that the IDA says seriously. Read Ankus

I am delighted that Carol Buckley is involved in the plans for at least some of India's Elephants as stated in the article. "Unchained: Indian Elephant Rehab Center to Be a Model for Rescued Zoo Animals". Good article in the main but why include this "Most mahouts (as well as many Western trainers) control animals by jabbing a sharp metal pole and hook combination called the ankus into elephants’ mouths, ears and other sensitive areas." Now MOST MAHOUTS AND WESTERN TRAINERS are not going to like that. SOME irresponsible and ignorant mahouts may behave in such a way and MOST MAHOUTS AND WESTERN TRAINERS frown on such practice, so lets get it right!

The above just proves how ignorance begets ignorance and then people start believing it as fact. It's wrong, it's dishonest, it's lies..... and often its just one person's opinion.

Read below the link for 'Top Zoos of The World'. I have seen it discussed elsewhere. But who says that these are the Top Zoos? One person....and have they even visited all these zoos? How did they assess? I note that my Best Zoo In The World does not appear in the list....nor do most who appear in my top five...but there we go that is just my opinion.

Getting back to the so called Bull Hook....the Ankus. Nothing wrong in the right hands and you will see them in use in the so called 'Sanctuaries' as well. Why? Because they are not weapons. My question would be...just what are they using to control these animals, these huge great beautiful creatures which can be unpredicable at times...they are animals after all. Is there a taser hidden away there somewhere? I hate the things....I suppose just possibly of value if being attacked in an escape but otherwise I think not. Well I have seen them suddenly appear from a hidden place when things get awkward with big cats. These 'wonderful' people who appear to have a magical mastery over these huge carnivores will all of a sudden have a weapon in their hands. Do these ankus-less elephant handlers have them too?  They are not going to tell us even if we ask and if they did it would probably be a lie...I mean they lie about the ankus, don't they?

The internet has continued to play me up this past week or so but is altogether better than it was. Socially busy though and eating and celebrating the Chinese New Year with my Chinese friends.

"DNA database to protect elephants"....sounds wonderful and I hope it gets done but then Thailand talked about doing this with Tigers years back. How far has that progressed? We still have all these crappy dysfunctional collections like the Tiger Temple and Sri Racha Tiger Zoo with their ignorant and illicit practices carrying on as if nothing had happened. There again India planned a DNA database on their elephant population a few years back. Where is that up to?

"Licensed to kill for beastly trade" states "A year later, three more trophies were exported to Vietnam and by 2009 the number of trophies had grown to hundreds – yet Vietnamese authorities could only account for the official arrival of 38 horns."....worrying? Of course it is. Perhaps more worrying is the appearance of unaccountable living Rhinoceros in China. Read Rhinoceros Farming in China.

I admit to being surprised at learning that the Orangutan in the Cleveland zoo becomes first of its kind to get implanted birth control in U.S. It is common enough with Chimpanzees in the UK...never really thought about Orangutans up till now.

I'd love to know the results of the investigation of the cheetah escape "The zoo is investigating how Turbo managed to clear his fence, which had electrified elements, spikes and a sloping area making it difficult to clear." on earth did it get out?

Thank you for the two donations this past week. They are greatly appreciated. It is pleaseng that people will still donate when I don't send out reminders. Thanks again.

I write about a lot of different subjects and my articles popularity go up and down. I am always delighted when I see some of my zoo hubs in the top ten and so getting the message across. Can't quite understand though how the Edward VII Love Chair shot to number two last week, I wrote it a year or more ago, I think, but suddenly lots and lots of readers.


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Panda Tartan Revealed
Auspicious timings, to tie in with Burns Night and the Chinese New Year, Edinburgh Zoo will unveil the exclusive fine wool worsted Edinburgh Zoo Panda Tartan fabric to commemorate the arrival of Tian Tian and Yang Guang to their new home in Scotland.
The unique tartan was commission by Edinburgh Zoo with Kinloch Anderson, an Edinburgh based family company renowned for their kits, tartan and highland dress since 1868. The tartan has been approved by the Scottish Registrar of Tartans – emphasising the huge cultural significance of the pandas to Scotland.
Deirdre Kinloch Anderson, Senior Director of Kinloch Anderson, said:
“Tartan is one of Scotland’s greatest icons. Careful attention was given to create a tartan with a meaningful background, with relevance both to the Zoo and also to China - and importantly a tartan that people find attractive. In 1909 the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland was founded by the Edinburgh Lawyer Thomas Gillespie, so the sett is based on the Gillespie tartan. Clearly the tartan was to be black and white, but also with some grey to soften it, just as there is some grey in the Pandas’ fur. The green line is for the Pandas’ favourite food of bamboo. There are three fine red lines to represent China. Number 3 is China’s lucky number and also the red lines are in the heart of the design to indicate that the Pandas are in the hearts and minds of the Scottish and Chinese people.
“We hope that this tartan will “Fly the flag for Scotland” and that tartan merchandise will leave the Zoo gift shop for homes not only in Scotland but all over the world.”
Hugh Roberts, Chief Executive for Edinburgh Zoo, said:
“We’re delighted with the panda tartan designed for us by Kinloch Anderson. This significant and highly exciting project symbolically demonstrates the coming together of Scotland and China’s heritage and culture – making it the perfect way to commemorate the gift of two giant pandas that China bestowed upon Scotland. It’s unveiling on the overlap of two separate culturally significant days for both China and Scotland feels very appropriate and auspicious timing.”
Kirsty Franey, Tartan Designer at Kinloch Anderson, said:
“It has been a great pleasure to work with the Edinburgh Zoo on such a culturally significant project and I am very proud to be able to celebrate and showcase the arrival of the Pandas with the exclusive Edinburgh Zoo Panda Tartan.”
The panda tartan will be showcased for photographers at Edinburgh Zoo’s panda enclosure, where the tartan’s designer Kirsty Franey from Kinloch Anderson will model a tartan mini created from the exclusive panda tartan.
The panda tartan will also be showcased to the patrons of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland at a private Burns Supper on Tuesday 24th January.
From early April a fine range or Edinburgh Zoo panda tartan merchandise, including silk scarves, leather goods, ties, cufflinks, and hipflasks, will be available at Edinburgh Zoo’s gift shop and online shop

A jumbo gift!AN online campaign has been launched to present an elephant to the people of Bahrain.

Muhammed Anjooraan, from India, has lived here for more than a quarter of a century and wants to give something back to his adopted home.
The US naval base employee says he first got the idea after visiting Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve two years ago.
"I saw they had a lot of animals and they were well looked after and seemed happy, so I asked them why they did not have an elephant," Mr Anjooraan told the GDN.
"The officials said they did not have an elephant because nobody gave them one.
"Since then, this idea has been forming in my head.
"I wish the residents of Bahrain can do something, get together and organise this effort."
Mr Anjooraan, who hails from Trichur in Kerala state, has created a Facebook page for his


Thai elephants are being killed for tourist dollars
At least six wild elephants have been found dead within three weeks - and this is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Both national parks occupy a very large area, with Kaeng Krachan being Thailand's biggest national park. Combined, the two national parks are home to at least 500 wild elephants.
In one of the first interviews after the discovery of five dead elephants, one government official alleged that these animals were killed to provide elephant meat and sexual organs for consumption at wildlife "bush-meat" restaurants on Phuket, for visiting foreign tourists. This news was extremely shocking to a big part of Thai society, but to date it has not been proven right. In fact, neither the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division (NRECD), or the office of the Phuket governor, have found any evidence that such a place exists. Nor can the official that made the statement give any weight to his claim. It seems like a deliberately made-up claim, for whatever reason, but the real reason for the killing of these elephants could be explained in a much easier way.
The value of young elephants at camps nationwide has soared because not enough babies are being born in captivity to meet the demand. Although we see stories in the news every now and then about the birth of babies at elephant camps, there are just not enough captive-born calves. This gap in demand and supply is reflected in the prices camp owners and businessmen are willing to pay. A two- to four-year-old female, for example, can now fetch

DNA database to protect elephants
Preecha planned to build a DNA database on 4,000 or so domesticated elephants in order to stop people taking over identity papers of deceased pachyderms and replacing them with elephants taken in the wild.
After a Wednesday press conference to discuss the February 35 elephant fair at the Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang's Hang Chat district, Preecha said he would contact the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of issuing elephant identification papers, for information about the beasts living in camps and elsewhere nationwide.
He said, once the data was collected, university veterinarians could start collecting the blood samples for DNA tests.
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) will also carry out DNA tests on wild elephants in order to create a database for comparison, he said.
Preecha explained that the killing of two elephants in the Kaeng Krajan National Park had alerted the authorities about elephant issues and that he had instructed the DNP to cooperate with police.
Commenting on news that DNP chief Damrong Pidet had avoided discussing the killings in order to protect his subordinates, Preecha said DNP had given the police full authority to investigate the case so the wrongdoers could be punished. He confirmed that no "favoured persons" would be saved.
Besides, Preecha said that he would chair the factfinding committee himself and would call a meeting on Friday in order to speed up the process.
Meanwhile, National Elephant Institute director Worawit Rojanapaithoon said the project of surveying the elephant population and studying their genetic diversity had made good progress. So far, blood samples have been collected from 1,000 elephants, though officials have only completed DNA tests on 700 samples because the budget is limited to Bt4 million a year. He said that once a DNA database was

The global decline of mangroves: is there a sustainable future?,OALK,110QE2,1YMLI,1

Dutch Zoo Fits Elephant With Contact Lens

An elephant at a Dutch zoo has become the first in Europe to be fitted with a contact lens. The pachyderm had injured her eye in a scrap with a fellow elephant, but her caretakers say it will now be able to heal.,1518,811536,00.html

Mum sues Lion Man for slander
Zion Wildlife Gardens operator Patricia Busch is suing her son - Lion Man Craig Busch - for defamation after he posted a video on You Tube.
Mrs Busch and her business consultant Michael Bailey are suing Mr Busch and his spokeswoman Jill Ward for $100,000 in general and punitive damages through the Whangarei District Court.
Ms Ward yesterday confirmed the claim would be defended but refused to make further comment as the matter was before the court.
In August 2010, lawyer Steve Barter had asked the Lion Man and Ms Ward to remove the video clip and to publish a retraction.
Mr Barter said when they failed to act, court proceedings were filed, with claims of $50,000 in general and another $50,000 in punitive damages.
Mr Busch had claimed in a You Tube video posted on August 22, 2010 that his mother and Mr Bailey had slandered him in the media. He was also critical of the pair's not guilty plea after keeper Dalu MnCube was mauled to death by a big cat in May 2009.
In December, the Whangarei District Court ordered Zion to pay $60,000 reparation to Dalu's widow when the park pleaded guilty after earlier pleading not guilty to two charges of failing to take steps to prevent a hazard and failing to take steps to prevent harm.
Mrs Busch and Mr Bailey's statement of claim says Mr Busch made defamatory claims to do with events on the day Dalu died.
The statement also says

Ray bites boy at theme park
A six-year-old boy has been bitten on the finger by a stingray at a theme park on Queensland's Gold Coast.
It happened at a Sea World exhibit yesterday morning.
The boy's wound was treated by a nurse at the theme park and he was taken to hospital as a precaution.
Sea World says it is the first time such an injury has

Top Zoos of The World

EPA: Palm oil flunks the climate test
The Environmental Protection Agency will publish data Friday showing that biofuels made from palm oil won’t count towards the nation’s renewable fuels mandate because they’re not climate-friendly.
Environmentalists will welcome the conclusion because the growth of palm oil plantations has driven tropical deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia.
The national Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) mandates increasing amounts of renewable energy in the nation’s motor fuel mix. A 2007 law that expanded the mandate requires that the fuels have at least 20 percent fewer “lifecycle” greenhouse gas emissions than conventional gasoline and diesel — although most corn ethanol was exempted.

Mississippi wildlife officials seize zoo animals
Eleven animals were removed from a Mississippi zoo Wednesday by state wildlife officials after alleged permit violations.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks seized the animals from the Collins Zoo and plans to relocate them to other animal sanctuaries.
The animals include three tigers, three cougars, two leopards, two wolf hybrids and one Rhesus macaque, according to department spokesman Jim Walker.
"These animals are going to be relocated to sanctuaries outside the state," he said.
The Humane Society of the United States also was called in to assist in the relocation of the animals.
Humane Society spokeswoman Jordan Crump said the animals are headed to three

SA’s rhinos heading for extinction
Amid shocking predi-ctions that SA’s rhinos are headed for extinction within a matter of decades – unless the runaway poaching rate is arrested – bogus hunters from Vietnam, China and Thailand are still slaughtering the country’s dwindling rhino population using perfectly legal loopholes in local hunting laws.
An official list of hunters who killed rhinos in North-West province over the past three years shows that the vast majority are from countries in the Far East most deeply implicated in the illegal trade in rhino horns by organised crime syndicates.
In North West province alone, more than 90 percent of the more than 180 legally sanctioned hunts over the past three years appear to have been awarded to Eastern nationals.
While far fewer rhinos were hunted in KwaZulu-Natal, almost 50 percent of the rhinos legally shot in this province in 2009 were killed by Vietnamese nationals.
And while local conservation officials have been alert to the abuse of hunting permits in several provinces for almost a decade, Environment Minister Edna Molewa rejected calls earlier this month for a national moratorium on rhino hunting in SA.
Largely owing to its formerly proud record in protecting

Licensed to kill for beastly trade
The alarm bells rang way back in 2003, when the first batch of bogus Eastern “trophy hunters” arrived in SA, home to the largest remaining rhino population in the world.
Once the beasts were shot, SA authorised the export of at least nine rhino trophy horns to Vietnam, under the authority of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) permits.
A year later, three more trophies were exported to Vietnam and by 2009 the number of trophies had grown to hundreds – yet Vietnamese authorities could only account for the official arrival of 38 horns.
According to a report by rhino specialists Tom Milliken and Richard Emslie, at least 87 percent of the South African trophies were going astray, while Cites permits were also being recycled to launder other illegal horn exports.
“Investigations in South Africa have revealed disturbing evidence of organised crime, including the frequent involvement of a small number of Vietnamese nationals in rhino hunting, often on the same game ranches repeatedly; numerous cases whereby Vietnamese “trophy hunters” paid above market price for rhino hunts, but then had to be instructed how to shoot,” Milliken and Emslie warned in an official report to Cites officials in 2009.
They also reported the alleged involvement of Vietnam embassy staff and vehicles in the illegal movement of horns through SA, while one official invoked diplomatic immunity to evade arrest.
The report also drew attention to involvement of several Thai, Chinese and Cambodian nationals in the illegal trade and warned that there were no systems in place within Vietnam to prevent sport trophies being ground down into powder for Eastern traditional medicine.
Yet, almost a decade after the first bogus hunters began to exploit the legal loopholes in the Cites hunting permit system, scores of Eastern “

The 40th Symposium of European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM) will be hosted by the Zoo Aquarium Madrid, Spain from 9 to 12 March 2012.
For fuller details please go to

Meet Liz Thaete - Coronado's Very Own Penguin Trainer at SeaWorld
Even though Coronado is famous for sunny weather, usually in the 70’s, Liz Thaete wakes up on work days and has to wear a pair of long underwear and a couple of pairs of socks to her 6:30am shift in the 40 degree penguin enclosure at Sea World.
Liz Thaete’s family was brought to Coronado by way of the Navy. She and her sisters were born here and have been through all the schools, sports and youth groups the island has to offer. She graduated CHS in 2005. I was very excited to learn that we both had the same history teacher, Mr. Heaphy, while at Coronado High School.
Since Liz was little, she always had a keen interest for animals that her friends and family observed. She has always known she wanted to work with animals no matter what. While growing up she volunteered at local animal shelters to try and get as much hands-on experience with animals as possible before applying for a job that had to deal with any sort of creatures.
She attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara and graduated in 2009. During her summers away from college, Liz worked in the educational department at SeaWorld. Finally, when she was able to apply for a full-time job to work with any species of animals, she got the news she was going to be working with the penguins!
“It is not a glamorous job, but I love it” was Liz’s first reply when I asked her about what it is like to be a penguin trainer at SeaWorld. “Having penguin poop, scales, and the odor of fish on you all day,” she said, “is not pretty,” but she has grown to love the penguins who cuddle up to her legs when

Orangutan in the Cleveland zoo becomes first of its kind to get implanted birth control in U.S.
An orangutan at a Cleveland zoo has become the of it's kind in North America to receive an implanted birth control device.
Two doctors, including a gynecologist from the Cleveland Clinic, implanted the contraceptive into the 10-year-old orangutan named Kitra on Tuesday morning.
Not wanting to separate her from the group in which she lives, which includes her mother and father, the zoo worked to find a safe

South African cheetah seized at Heathrow
Animal was discovered at airport without microchip.
The UK Border Agency has announced that it has seized a live African cheetah at London Heathrow Airport.
One of four cheetahs being transported from a South African safari park to Russia, the endangered animal was discovered to be without a micro-chip, therefore breaking international rules concerning the transportation of endangered animals.
The animal was impounded by the UK Border Agency’s specialist CITES (Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species) team.
Head of the UK Border Agency Marc Owen, accounting for the seizure, said, “The illicit trade in animals is a serious contributory factor in the threat of extinction faced by many endangered species, and that is why the rules around moving them are so strict.
“Each animal has to be clearly identifiable

Helps toads cross the roads
Volunteers are being sought to help save hundreds of toads and other amphibians from being killed as they make their perilous annual breeding migration.
Every year toads, frogs and newts migrate from their winter resting sites to ponds and streams to breed. Toads in particular are very fussy about where they breed and like to return to their ancestral ponds; this often means crossing busy roads.
Some roads have been closed for the breeding season, allowing the animals to cross safely, but many roads still remain open and busy. Now toad patrols have been set up at some of the busiest crossing points - in Fishponds and Pill, Bristol; and Edington village, near Westbury in Wiltshire.
Bristol Zoo’s sister organisation, the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation (BCSF), is now calling on people to help them collect migrating toads and move them to safe breeding sites.
Jen Nightingale, the UK Conservation Manager for the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation, said: “Volunteers will be needed over the coming weeks as toads will start to migrate when the weather reaches over five degrees. As we’ve experienced quite a mild winter, the toads might start moving very soon, and the migration period can last up to four weeks.”
She added: “Toads and other amphibians set out on their journeys after dusk, preferring dark, wet and warm conditions, so we need volunteers between 6pm-10pm to help collect up hundreds of toads, frogs and newts and save them from being run over.”
“Even if you can only spare one evening, it will help save amphibian lives. All you need is a bucket, a torch and a high visibility jacket.”
Toads can often travel more than 1km during their migration back to their spawning ground. Rather than using rough hedgerow or grassy land, toads will often choose the easier bare ground to travel along, making roads the obvious easy travel route.
To find out more about volunteering for toad patrols, contact Bristol Zoo’s conservation office on 0117 974 7382 or email .
Alternatively contact the Avon Reptile and Amphibian Group (ARAG ) which coordinates the toad patrols in Fishponds and Bath  or email
To find details of other toad patrols in the south west, visit the Froglife website at Froglife is a national wildlife charity committed to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles -and saving the habitats they depend on.
Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work in the zoo, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.
For more information about Bristol Zoo Gardens visit the website at  or phone 0117 974 7300.

The 38th issue of the Journal of Threatened Taxa is online at . We thank all the subject editors, reviewers, language editors and authors for their contributions in producing this issue.
January 2012 | Vol. 4 | No. 1 | Pages 2277–2332
Date of Publication 26 January 2012 (online &print)

First iguanas born at Durrell in Jersey in 11 years
Two rare Caribbean iguanas have been born at the Durrell Wildlife Park in Trinity, Jersey.
The Lesser Antillean iguanas successfully bred at Durrell for the first time in 11 years.
The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust first bred a single offspring in 1997, followed by eight more in 2000.
Durrell said the iguanas were becoming increasingly endangered in the wild because of habitat loss, predators and interbreeding.
Mark Brayshaw, head of Durrell's animal collection, said: "We are delighted by the arrival of these new hatchlings.
"They are feeding and growing well, and we are continuing to monitor them carefully at our herpetology department.

The January 2012 issue of ZOO’s PRINT Magazine (Volume XXVII, Number 1) is online at in a format that permits you to turn pages like a regular magazine.

Rhino keeper named as Green Traveller of the Year
A RHINO keeper has been named as Chester Zoo’s Green Traveller of the Year.
Mark Cleave has cycled to work every day for the last 17 years, pedalling 72,726 miles in the process - that’s equivalent to almost three times around the world, or nearly a third of the way to the moon.
“Come rain, sleet, wind, snow, hail, fog or shine, I haven’t missed a day, nor used any other means of transport,” said Mark.
“In truth, I’d cycle a heck of a lot further to work with black rhinos. They’re incredible animals and it’s a privilege to work with them day in, day out. We run a successful breeding programme

Two senior staff quit Singapore Zoo
Barely two months before the giant pandas arrive, the Singapore Zoo has lost one of the key people involved in bringing the animals here.
He is zoologist Biswajit Guha, who quit as the zoo's general manager last month after working there for more than 18 years.
Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) - which runs the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park - confirmed his departure.
It also confirmed the loss of another senior staff member, Ms Pauline Chua, WRS' director of human resource. She

Scots tell PM David Cameron: 'Keep you hands off our pandas'
PROUD Scots yesterday insisted “You’ll never take our pandas” as it emerged a key issue in the independence debate could be the loss of our beloved bears.
It is feared Edinburgh Zoo favourites Sunshine and Sweetie could become embroiled in a tug-of-love battle between the Scottish and UK governments if we break from the Union.
But animal lovers last night promised to fight to keep the bears at their new home.
Elspeth Walker, from Edinburgh, said: “I love them. It would be awful if we lost them now.”
Another zoo visitor added: “It would be stupid to take the pandas away. David Cameron should butt out or he’ll have a fight on his hands.”
Unionists claim custody of the giant pandas could be in question because the pair – also known as Tian Tian and Yang Guang – were a gift from China to the UK government.
They arrived a month ago on a 10-year loan and it’s hoped they will eventually breed here.
But the SNP yesterday said the panda agreement was signed between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA).
Student Pamela Gray, 22, said: “We only just got the pandas and they are settling in. It would be unfair to uproot them again.
“Scotland is ranked alongside places like Tokyo and Dubai as a top tourist attraction and we want to keep it that way.”
Fellow student Megan McAllister, 21, added: “They are the only pandas in the UK. It would be terrible to see them go.”
Rose Jones, who is in her 50s, said: “Independence would not be good for Scotland and neither would losing the pandas. Having them here is wonderful.”
Zoo visitor Carole Williams, from the Cayman Islands, said: “If Scotland became independent and the pandas were moved, maybe the Queen would also have to give up her Scottish homes.”
SNP MSP Colin Keir, who represents Edinburgh Western constituency, warned Westminster to keep their hands off.
He said: “I thought Cameron blundering into the referendum was bad enough. Trying to take the pandas out of their home would surely be a step too far, even for the Tories.”
An SNP spokesman added: “Edinburgh Zoo has been recognised by the CWCA as having the world-class expertise necessary to breed and care for these rare animals.”
Yang Guang was taken out of public

Slime helps Edinburgh zoo panda recover from colic
Edinburgh Zoo's male panda is steadily improving after his bout of colic, according to zoo bosses.
Yang Guang was taken off public display last week after he became unwell.
The eight-year-old and his breeding partner Tian Tia - the first giant pandas to live in the UK for 17 years - arrived in the capital at the start of December.
Over the weekend he passed a mucus plug, known as panda slime, and his energy levels have since risen.
Simon Girling, head of veterinary services at Edinburgh Zoo, said: "A clear jelly like pellet, panda slime often goes hand-in-hand with panda colic and is produced in the bear's large

Record year for Dalton zoo
A FURNESS visitor attraction reported a record year for visitors.
More than 300,000 people poured through the gates of South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Dalton last year.
The figure represents a rise of 31,000 from the previous year and is the highest ever recorded since the park opened in May 1994.
Zoo boss David Gill said it had managed to crack the credit crunch by improving visitors’ experiences.
Improvements carried out over the last year included the building of a new gift shop, expanding the restaurant capacity and installing a new miniature locomotive.
The zoo also celebrated the arrival of several new animals, including Katoumi, the peralta giraffe, who came from France to join breeding partner Doya, and newborn rhino Indiana.
Mr Gill said he was pleased the zoo had such a successful year in what are difficult times.
He said: “The thing about

Berlin Zoo Chooses Design for Knut Memorial
Last year, hearts were broken in Berlin and around the world when Knut the polar bear died at the Berlin Zoo. Following an outpouring of grief, the zoo and an association supporting it decided to erect a monument to the bear, and issued a call to artists. On Friday, they announced the winner.,1518,809021,00.html

Center for Great Apes Earns Accreditation from Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries
“Center for Great Apes is a shining example of all that a sanctuary should be” says GFAS director
The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) is honored to announce that the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula, Florida, has achieved GFAS Accreditation.
“It is hard to encapsulate in a few words all that is so right with this sanctuary,” states Patty Finch, Executive Director of GFAS. “Patti Ragan, founder of the sanctuary, as well as their chief veterinarian each have over 20 years’ experience in working with great apes, which means that the orangutans and chimpanzees are receiving a level of informed care that is simply unsurpassed. And the facility itself is inspiring with a mile of elevated chutes that allow the great apes to meander throughout the sanctuary and observe other groups of apes, or even walk themselves to the infirmary for health checks.”
The accreditation means Center for Great Apes meets the comprehensive and rigorous definition of a true sanctuary and is providing humane and responsible care of the primates, meeting rigorous and peer-reviewed standards for operations, administration, and veterinary care established by GFAS, which is the only globally recognized organization providing standards for identifying legitimate animal sanctuaries. The accreditation status also provides a clear and trusted means for public, donors, and government agencies to recognize Center for Great Apes as an exceptional sanctuary.
Established in 1993, the Center for Great Apes is a 100-acre sanctuary in which more than 40 orangutans and chimpanzees have room to live in safety and in the company of their own species. It is the only sanctuary specifically dedicated to orangutans in the United States.
Ragan says “Most of our primates have either been used in the entertainment industry as circus performers, movie actors, or as props in advertisements where they were worked in these situations as infants and juveniles until they become too strong to be safely handled by trainers. Others came out of the exotic pet trade where they were pulled away from their own mothers to be sold as pets to private owners. In either case, coming out of these environments, they are rarely accepted by accredited zoos and could never be returned to the wild. So we offer a permanent home to these special great apes where they can live out their lives with dignity in large space, with appropriate nutrition, and companionship with their own species.”
The recent rescue of Clyde, a 44-year-old male chimpanzee who was captured in Africa as an infant and then sold to a family as a pet, is inspiring. Clyde had not seen another chimpanzee during those years and had lived his whole life in a small indoor cage. Due to a lack of sunshine, his skin is very white, and he's extremely thin. But, after only 6 weeks at the Center for Great Apes, Clyde is beginning to move and walk better and is gaining weight. And, he loves napping in the sunlight!
Finch states, “For everyone moved by this rescue: Long after this rescue has taken place, the sanctuary will still have the enormous ongoing costs of caring for these magnificent beings. Please consider even a small donation via an automatic deduction from your credit card each month. Such ongoing funding allows the sanctuary to plan responsibly. These chimpanzees and orangutans deserve our continued support, as dispensation for all the suffering they have endured at human hands.”
For more information on GFAS, please visit . For additional information on the Center for Great Apes visit

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Released After Angry Puffer Fish Removed From Its Throat
One lucky loggerhead sea turtle was released back into waters off the Florida Keys Friday after being rescued from an unusual predicament: a puffer fish he tried to swallow inflated its body to about twice the normal size in defense, causing it to get lodged in the turtle's throat.
"It's the first time we've ever heard of such a thing," said Jo Ellen Basile, manager of The Turtle Hospital in Marathon. "They had to deflate the fish in order to get it out. It closed off the glottis, blocking his ability to get air, so by the time they got the fish out, he was near suffocation."
The 99-pound juvenile loggerhead, nicknamed 'Puffer' by his caretakers at the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, was spotted in distress on December 17 by two children on vacation in the Keys. Emily and Ben Graue were snorkeling with their parents and the crew of the Jolly Roger dive boat when they saw Puffer struggling to breathe on the ocean's surface. After the captain received permission from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to approach Puffer, one of an endangered species, she used a life jacket to keep him afloat and bring him on

How a heroic hunt for penguin eggs became 'the worst journey in the world'
Scott centennial at Natural History Museum recalls horrific trip across polar wastes to prove link between birds and reptiles
Henry Bowers, Apsley Cherry-Garrard and Bill Wilson took 35 days to collect three emperor penguin eggs in July 1911. In the middle of the Antarctic winter, they had to survive intense blizzards and temperatures that plunged to –60C. It was pitch black and the three had to navigate by candlelight and the stars. They took turns falling into crevasses. Cherry's teeth chattered so violently that they shattered, while Wilson was blinded in one eye by a blob of boiling blubber from a camp stove.
In the end, the three men – members of Robert Scott's doomed expedition to the south pole – returned to their base camp, utterly exhausted and close to death, with the three penguin eggs packed in their sleds. Cherry never recovered from the ordeal – which he vividly described in his book, The Worst Journey in the World – while Wilson and Bowers died with Scott on his final trek back from the pole.
The eggs were supposed to reveal the evolutionary links between reptiles and birds but their collection nearly killed the journey's participants. They remain some of the most precious ornithological specimens on the planet and, for the first time, one will be put on public display when it will form the

Zoo story - a beastly tale
Someone once said that a zoo is an excellent place to study human habits. But human habits, especially in India, can be strange and can turn these safe havens for animals into death traps.
On January 3, a pack of stray dogs entered the enclosure for chinkaras (Indian gazelle) in Delhi zoo and killed four of them. A few months back, several black bucks - an endangered species - died in the same zoo after consuming contaminated water. Such incidents have been reported from most of India's 198 zoos. Just two months back, seven tiger cubs died at Nandankanan and Kanpur zoos. Five of them, shockingly, died of starvation.
Animals die in zoos all over the world but rarely do they succumb to callousness

Climate Change

Pandas depart for Paris research project
A pair of pandas from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding left the capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province on Sunday morning and was expected to arrive in Paris after flying nearly 11 hours.
Yuan Zai and Huan Huan will stay in ZooParc de Beauval in France to take part in a conservation and research program for a decade under a loan agreement reached between China and France.
"They are the first panda pair sent to France since 1973," said Zhang Zhihe, chief of the Chengdu base.
In 1973, China sent Li Li and Yan Yan to a zoo in Paris. Li Li died one year after arriving, and Yan Yan lived alone in France for 27 years before dying of old age.
"The arrival of Huan Huan and Yuan Zai is a historic event for ZooParc de Beauval, marking the accomplishment of a great collaboration with China," said Francoise Delord, founder and president of ZooParc de Beauval.
"We have been looking forward to this moment for five years. The zoo has prepared for this epic journey for a long time," he added.
Since 2005, workers from the French zoo have visited the Chengdu base many times, and in late 2007, experts from the Chengdu base visited the zoo to investigate whether it had the experts and proper facilities. The exchange of visits

Zoo denies cub sale claim
DARLING Downs Zoo has rejected online claims it plans to sell two of its lion cubs to a circus.
Owner Stephanie Robinson said it was possible the cubs would be moved from the zoo, but that would be a decision for the zoo to make.
"We are not in the practice of selling animals," Mrs Robinson said.
"We do work with other organisations."
The cubs were born at the zoo and represent the third generation of lions raised by Mrs Robinson and her husband Steve.
Claims two of the three cubs currently at the zoo were to be sold to a circus were published on the California-based website
An online petition against the rumoured sale had today attracted more than 1400 supporters from around the world.
Mrs Robinson said animal liberation supporters had been in contact with

Psychology Today magazine, "mating" with an ape and how to dress your chimpanzee at the wedding
My favourite and sometimes provocative magazine Psychology Today has an eye-catching photo on the cover of its February 2012 issue showing a chimpanzee in a tuxedo with a woman in a wedding dress as her "mate."
The article is called "Are You With the Right Mate? What to do when you think it's all a mistake (and you will)"
As an older divorced primate with what I believe is now a promising second attempt at lifelong companionship, I am compelled to read this article and others, ones in the February issue like the cure for insomnia, thinking like a genius, how to keep your brain

Polar bears and dogs playing

10 Worst Zoos For Elephants-Reid Park #2
The 2011 list of the Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants, released today by In Defense of Animals (IDA), once again exposes the hidden suffering of elephants in zoos, where lack of space, unsuitably cold climates and unnatural conditions condemn Earth’s largest land mammals to lifetimes of deprivation, disease and early death. The list is in its eighth year.

A promising trend toward the closure of inadequate elephant displays continued in 2011 and includes zoos that have appeared on IDA’s annual list.

The most recent are the Central Florida Zoo and Southwick’s Zoo in Massachusetts. The Toronto Zoo’s appearance on the 2009 list sparked a campaign that led to the closure of that exhibit in 2012. This brings the number of zoos that have closed or will close their elephant exhibits to 22, and zoo experts expect that number to rise.

The Reid Park Zoo appears for the second time on IDA’s list with the following entry:

Reid Park Zoo (Tucson, Arizona) ­ You can’t get more cold hearted than this.

This zoo has a cruel plan to separate Connie and Shaba, who have been tightly bonded for 30 years. Why? Because Connie, who is Asian, does not fit into the zoo’s new African-themed attraction. African Shaba will remain, but if she doesn’t integrate with the breeding group coming from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, she’ll be sent to another zoo. Zoos often separate bonded elephants, causing profound suffering, and ship them between

2011 Top Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants
The 2011 list of the Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants, released today by In Defense of Animals (IDA), once again exposes the hidden suffering of elephants in zoos, where lack of space, unsuitably cold climates and unnatural conditions condemn Earth’s largest land mammals to lifetimes of deprivation, disease and early death. The list is in its eighth year.
A promising trend toward the closure of inadequate elephant displays continued in 2011 and includes zoos that have appeared on IDA's annual list. The most recent are the Central Florida Zoo and the Southwick’s Zoo (Mass.). The Toronto Zoo’s appearance on the 2009 list sparked a campaign that has led to the closure of that exhibit in 2012. This brings the number of zoos that have closed or will close their elephant exhibits to 22, and zoo experts report that the number is expected to rise.
Another result of IDA's relentless advocacy for elephants in zoos has been the creation of an historic management policy by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that calls for an end to handling that requires keepers to share the same unrestricted space with elephants. If the AZA is serious about enforcing this policy, it will pave the way for an end to the use of the bullhook, a weapon used by keepers to threaten and to often inflict painful physical punishment.
"IDA's Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants list illustrates the many serious problems that condemn elephants to lives of misery in zoos," said IDA Elephant Campaign Director Catherine Doyle. "These include abnormal repetitive

Wildlife park receivers hope offer will save big cats
The receivers of the Zion Wildlife Park in Whangarei hope an offer for the zoo will ensure the survival of the animals.
The announcement comes after the lawyers representing the park claimed the 36 big cats may have to be put down if they are not moved by early February.
The receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers says an interested party has made an offer for the park and an application has been made to the Auckland High Court to support the sale of the zoo.
It says the welfare of the animals remains a priority and they are being provided with food and veterinary care.
A hearing to consider the sale of the park and the fate of the animals will be held at the Auckland High Court on Wednesday.
The president of the Australasian

Fears over the future of Zion's big cats
There are suggestions that 36 rare big cats at Whangarei's troubled Zion Wildlife Gardens may be shipped overseas.
The future of the endangered cats will be the subject of an urgent court hearing tomorrow in the latest battle for the troubled animal park which was forced to close its doors last year.
Animal welfare group SAFE said the cats will not be able to find a home at a park in New Zealand, but may have a chance finding a home overseas.
The park went into liquidation in August last year after an application to liquidate was made by Inland Revenue with lawyer Phil Smith claiming that Zion owes more than $100,000 in taxes.
Evgeny Orlov, lawyer for park operator Patricia Busch, said today the fate of the cats is uncertain, with Rabobank having applied "to euthanize the cats" or have the cats removed from the park urgently.
Christchurch's Orana Wildlife Park owner Lynn Anderson said the cats can be relocated to parks across Australasia.
But she adds that research may need to be done to determine whether the cats will fit with their new environment.
High Court application
Rabobank's application is to be heard in the High Court at Whangarei tomorrow, despite originally being

Prospective Zion buyer kept secret
Details of a prospective buyer for the troubled Zion Wildlife Gardens were kept secret at a court hearing today.
The Northland attraction was placed into liquidation in August after the High Court at Whangarei found it could not pay debts said to be more than $100,000.
Receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) said today they had received an offer for the park and a conditional contract was in place. They refused to disclose the buyer but said the park's 36 big cats would be kept alive and on the site.
During a lengthy hearing at the High Court at Auckland, the lawyer for park operator Patricia Busch, Evgeny Orlov, asked to view the sale agreement because he was concerned the offer was from his client's estranged son Craig.
"That would be an illegal transaction because he owes Mrs Busch money, and there are also questions about his previous treatment of the animals,'' he told the court.
Citing commercial sensitivity, Justice Mark Woolford allowed only lawyers to see an abridged version of

Unchained: Indian Elephant Rehab Center to Be a Model for Rescued Zoo Animals
Earlier this week we looked at the growing problem of elephant poaching and the illegal ivory trade, which has risen to its highest levels since the 1989 international trade ban on ivory products went into place. Today we look at a positive project in India, one meant to rescue some captive Indian elephants (Elephas maximus indicus) from the unhealthy and often-abusive conditions that they currently endure.
The animals are currently trapped in a kind of legal purgatory. In 2009 India’s Central Zoo Authority, a government body that owns all of India’s zoos, mandated that all elephants be removed from the nation’s zoos and circuses. The authority issued the order, which will eventually affect about 146 animals, after a five-year study by a citizens’ committee found zoo life can be profoundly unhealthy for the animals. Unfortunately, the elephants have had no place to go.
Life in the worst Indian zoos “can be quite horrible,” says Carol Buckley, co-founder and former director of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee and now founder of Elephant Aid International. In some, elephants spend their lives in stark concrete bunkers where they are perpetually chained and can barely move. Animals who are somewhat better off can also suffer. “There’s a zoo in Bangalore where a family of elephants is exhibited on a tiny dirt yard during the day where they can barely turn around,” Buckley notes, but when the zoo closes each day, the animals are released into the bordering forest.
Buckley is about to leave for Bangalore, India, where her nonprofit intends to build the first Elephant Care and Rehabilitation Center, currently in the planning stages. When completed, the 80-hectare facility is expected to become home to seven former zoo elephants and to be a model for other rehabilitation centers throughout India. “Once everything is working smoothly, the government will jump on and replicate this effort throughout India,” Buckley says. She also expects

Poacher caught from Assam zoo
The zoo, it appears, is no longer an insurance against poaching for feral animals.
Guards at the Assam State Zoo in Guwahati caught a poacher from near the rhino enclosure early Sunday morning. The man had scaled the wall Saturday night with a .303 rifle, six-round bullets and an axe in a bid to kill as many rhinos as possible. The zoo has nine rhinos.
According to the zoo’s divisional forest officer Utpal Bora, the man identified himself as Chin Khansong, 55, from Churachandpur district of Manipur. “He confessed to having sneaked in yesterday (Saturday) night hoping the zoo would be empty today (Sunday) on the occasion of Magh Bihu,” Bora told HT.
“He has been handed over to the police."
Khansong said he had arrived from Manipur on January 13, checked into a hotel and planned his strike. He was planning to take the rhino horns out to be eventually smuggled to gray markets in Southeast Asia via Myanmar.
Despite being a mass of hair, a rhino horn is highly valued as an aphrodisiac in China and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. It is also sought after in Yemen, where it is turned

Foxconn chief calls employees 'animals,' has zoo director lecture managers
Humans are mammals, and mammal are animals, therefore humans are animals. That said, it's not good practice to call your employees animals.
Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou called his employees animals at an end-of-the-year party, as quoted by WantChinaTimes. "Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million worldwide and as human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache."
Hon Hai is the parent company of Foxconn, which saw numerous employee suicides in 2010, many of them from a location that manufactures Apple products. It recently saw the threat of a mass suicide at a plant that manufactures Xbox 360s for Microsoft.
To make matters worse, Gou added that he wants to learn from Chin Shih-chien, who is the director of Taipei Zoo, exactly how animals should be "managed." It should be noted that Gou was probably joking --- maybe. Or perhaps not.
Gou had invited the zoo director to speak at the Hon Hai's annual review meeting. He asked all of his general managers to listen carefully to the lecture, so that they could learn how to manage "the animals that work for them."
It was when Gou asked Chin to put himself in the chairman's shoes that he reportedly "earned" laughter from his managers.
Still, one has to admit that changes in the minds and lives of Chinese workers have undoubtedly made them far less malleable than Gou might like.
Foxconn is just one of the huge manufacturing firms in what would formerly have been called underdeveloped nations where manufacturing is done in conditions that might not pass as livable or humane in the Western world. While Guo may not have meant it to come

Best wishes to you all for a natural disaster free 2012.

As you know, Elephantstay had a very tough end to 2011 with flood waters destroying virtually everything. From office equipment, everything in the staff and guest accommodation, kitchens, storage, food and equipment to care for our beautiful elephant friends etc. To rebuild Elephantstay to its former glory, will take alot of money and hard work.

Tim & Sharon postponed the Fundraising dinner from last year due to the busy Christmas period.

We are all excited and looking ahead to the new Elephantstay Recovery dinner date.

Saturday, 3 March 2012.
Bong Su room (near the Elephant enclosure)
Melbourne Zoo
6.30 - 11.30pm

Please see attached brochure for further details, and visit  for bookings.

If you are able to help with donations for the raffle, or if you are attending the dinner and would like to help on the night, or have any general queries about the dinner, please email Tim and Sharon at 

Plan your table and book early, as we expect this date to sell out fast.

Cheetah's pony attack ends with hoof to head
A zoo cheetah reported to have escaped its enclosure copped a hoof in the face when it attacked a pony being taken for a walk.
German website The Local reported that Turbo the cheetah managed to clear the fence around his enclosure.
At the time, the petting pony and several other animals were being walked around the Nuremberg Tiergarten zoo for exercise.
Turbo attacked the pony from behind, but took a hoof to his head, the website reported.
Both animals were returned to their enclosures. Turbo was sedated with a tranquiliser dart before capture. Neither

European Zoo Nutrition Centre,7805&anav=7797

Meet the Carnivore Keeper: Maicie Sykes from Lake Superior Zoo
Daily care of the Zoo’s carnivores including brown bears, polar bear, harbor seals, North American river otters, Amur tiger, African lions, snow leopard, siberian lynx, puma, gray wolves, snowy owl, great-horned owl, and silver foxes. Care includes cleaning, feeding, animal training, and enrichment. In addition to animal care, I often interact with the public through educational keeper chats.

How to use a camera to your advantage

Massive corruption and nepotism threatening Lives of poor elephants at Islamabad Zoo
After the suspension Mahaut (Elephant caretaker) who has been working for the last 20 years broke the headlines a month ago, the authorities at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad have refused to reinstate the suspended employ Muhammad Bilal, apparently the only trained Mahaut who can handle the two elephants at the facility. Bilal was suspended without any prior show cause notice, as per the rule of law and is still lurking in shadows, uncertain about his future.
For Bilal, there might be a strong possibility that he will able to find some other source of income particularly considering the fact that he comes from a long lineage of Mahauts, the two elephants at the facility have now lost all hope of surviving the miserable conditions.
The male elephant nick-named “Kawan” has not been unchained or taken out of his enclosure for the last three months and the poor animal has been standing at one place with heavy shackles tied on all four of his feet. Kawan has been one of the major attractions for the visitors and tourists who flock the elephant enclosure for a visit of the giant Pachyderm.
But the story does not end with Kawan alone. The smaller baby elephant which was brought some three years ago has a gorier story to tell.
The young female nick-named “Saheli” has developed gangrene in the right-hind foot and was seen limping in the enclosure virtually waiting for the deadly disease to sweep through the rest of the body causing a possible death in near future.
Staff present at the enclosure blamed the corrupt practices of the zoo officials especially Director Zoo operations Sajjad who has suspended the old Mahuat with citing any reason. Sajjad inducted several of his “favourites” for the job who have no knowledge or training of handling the giant animals.
The entrance ticket charged from the visitors is a meager six rupees for the adults but the ticket collectors refuse to give the tickets even on demand, although they eagerly collect the cost of them. Rampant corruption and negligence on part of the authorities have put the lives of many of the precious and rare animals in jeopardy. There have also been reports

Blackpool Zoo uses glitter to identify gorilla poo
Primate keepers at a Lancashire zoo have come up with a sparkling idea to help them measure reproductive hormone levels in one of their female gorillas.
Njema, who is 18 and came to Blackpool in 2002, has not yet had any babies despite being young and healthy and mating with resident silverback Bukavu.
Zoo staff are using child-friendly glitter mixed with yogurt as a means of being able to identify her droppings.
They can then send it off to specialist labs for analysis.
Peter Dillingham, animal manager at the zoo, said: "We would have hoped to have had a positive pregnancy test by now.
"We know that Bukavu is fertile as he fathered the first baby Western Lowland Gorilla ever to be born at Blackpool Zoo, who will turn two in May.
"Surprisingly, you can get a lot of information

Zoo shows off new polar bear centre
The Assiniboine Park Zoo’s new International Polar Bear Conservation Centre will officially open to the public Tuesday morning, although there aren’t any bears there just yet.
The centre represents the first phase of a massive zoo redevelopment that also includes the Journey to Churchill Arctic exhibit which will open late next year.
While that exhibit will showcase adult polar bears and other northern animals to zoo visitors, the IPBCC will serve as a research and education centre that will also house orphaned wild

‘Extinct’ monkey lives!
Deep in Indonesian Borneo’s Wehea Forest last summer in East Kalimantan province, PhD student Brent Loken set camera traps in hopes of capturing photos of the elusive Bornean clouded leopard.
Instead, he bagged the find of a lifetime—photos of the critically endangered Miller’s Grizzled Langur, which had never been documented in the 38,000-hectare Wehea rainforest and was thought to be possibly extinct.
The American Journal of Primatology is publishing an online article about the find this month.
"It was a challenge to confirm our finding as there are so few pictures of this monkey available,” says Loken, who is studying resource and environmental management.
“The only description of Miller’s Grizzled Langur came from museum specimens. Our photographs from Wehea are some of the only photos of this monkey.”
A former school principal and science teacher, Loken holds both Trudeau and Vanier scholarships, and spends up to six months each year in Borneo, where he runs Ethical Expeditions. He co-founded the non-profit organization three years ago to help the indigenous Wehea Dayak people fight back against deforestation.
Borneo has lost 65 per cent of its rainforest, largely due to palm-oil plantations and coal mines.
“Finding Miller’s Grizzled Langur in a forest outside of its known geographic range highlights how much we don’t know about even the basic ecology 

King Penguins Leaving Exhibit - Cincinnati Zoo

Penguin Parade 2012 - Cincinnati Zoo

Gorilla Family Trees
Very interesting collection...don't miss it.

Lonely Gorillas

The Pata Zoo Gorilla Keeper


First International New World Primate Symposium

" Don't forget that Twycross Zoo will be holding the First International New World Primate Symposium on 17th and 18th March 2012, Which will be, giving the chance for Zoos and Colleges from all over the world to have a part in the unique opportunity to share knowledge and skill on this fantastic group of primates.

The Program is now finalised and places are filling fast. We have tried to keep registration cost low as we can so that everyone can be involved, so for the whole weekend which includes all talks and workshops as well as lunches and coffee’s will be only cost £50 (Low cost local accommodation list can be available on registration and most accommodation listed are aware of symposium)

Keys speaker include: Stewart Muir, Dr Bryan Carroll, Tracey Moore, Charlotte Macdonald, Dr Kirsten Pullen, Dr Holly Farmer, Julian Chapman and Andy Moore.

So please Book Now!! With your help we can unite and make a significant difference in the husbandry and welfare of New World Primates in zoos. "


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EAAM 2012 - 40th Symposium

The 40th Symposium of European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM) will be hosted by the Zoo Aquarium Madrid, Spain from 9 to 12 March 2012.

For fuller details please go to



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Friday, January 13, 2012

Zoo News Digest 8th - 13th January 2012 (Zoo News 801)

Zoo News Digest 8th - 13th January 2012 (Zoo News 801)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

My internet connection has been kind this week but posting items a bit difficult. Big Brother is working hand in hand with the ignorant. I cannot help but be suspicious here.

"After nearly 31 years, Susan Chan has retired as Managing Editor for Animal Keepers' Forum, the monthly professional journal of the American Association of Zoo Keepers, Inc. Colleagues and friends may reach Susan at . Replacing her as Media Production Editor is Shane Good of Cleveland, OH. His contact information is as follows: email – ; phone - 330–483-1104; Fax - 330–483-1444; mailing address – P.O. Box 535, Valley City, OH 44280. All further submissions to and inquiries about Animal Keepers' Forum should be directed to Shane Good."

I am sure we all wish Susan a happy retirement. Actually it makes me feel a little old as I have been a regular reader and earlier subscriber of the excellent Animal Keepers' Forum for more than 31 years. The previous editor, unless I'm getting confused, shared her name with one of the Playboy bunnies...maybe I am getting confused. Anyway Susan, live long and prosper and I hope you enjoy every day.

The elephant dung paper is a good idea. It surprises me that more zoos don't take it up. Reading the story reminded me that there was a framed photo of Dao and I together back in Thailand. The frame was made of good old organic elephant dung. Sadly the frame and the photo will now have ended on some scrapheap after all the problems with the flooding and the mafia after I left for Dubai. Back to the elephant is also a pretty good remedy for psoriasis...and I am serious here. Read A Psoriasis Cure You May Rather Not Know About

Follow up 'The Ape Crusaders' link as there are some wonderful photos there. The one thing I would say about the 'Orangutan Scene' is that the whole protection/saving/rescue thing is a mess of internal politics and intrigue. Now I have said that you are wondering exactly what I mean. Well wonder away, don't be swayed by personalities and fame and do your own in depth research. I don't think it will be too long before you will come to your own positive conclusions. One thing for sure is that the Orangutans need our help. I don't know how much longer I have left on planet earth but this is one 'major' species I can see becoming extinct in my lifetime.

Even more sense from Michael Hackenberger. See below. Toronto Councillors be it on your own heads for having your judgement clouded by the relocation bribe and mingling with people who think they are famous! And in reality know no more than the man/woman in the street.

Sounds very much like famous last words to me "The authorities said there was no chance that the lioness could scale the boundary wall and stray into the city"
The things I have seen happen when similar statements were made you would not believe. Never say never.


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Animal lover fears Toronto’s elephants risk infection at their new home
While many activists are applauding the decision by Toronto City Council to move the Toronto Zoo’s elephants to a California sanctuary, one animal lover warns it might not be in the best interest of the pachyderms. Michael Hackenberger, the Director of the Bowmanville Zoo alleges the PAWS sanctuary where they’re being moved to is home to elephants with tuberculosis and herpes. He says the elephants, who have lived at the Toronto Zoo their entire captive lives, won’t have the immunities to fight off infection. As for the argument that Canada’s cold climate is not ideal for elephants, Hackenberger says that’s nonsense fabricated by activists. He cites African Lion Safari in Hamilton as having one of the most successful captive breeding programs of Asian elephants. Hackenberger says if they are to be moved, the elephants should go to an American Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited f

Rhino horns found in MDC-T minister’s car – HERALD
LOCAL Government, Rural and Urban De-velopment Deputy Minister Cecil Zvidzai (MDC-T) has been named in a case in which three men were arrested in possession of two rhino horns worth US$120 000 last week.
Police recovered the horns in an Isuzu KB300 registered in Mr Zvidzai’s name at Road Port in Harare.
The vehicle has since been impounded following the arrest of Zivanai Masvaire (27), a game scout at Eldorado Farm, Charles Dowe-rowe

Ministry denies abuse of Orang Utans
: The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Ministry has brushed off claims by UK-based animal conservation group that orang utans kept at the Melaka Zoo have been abused.
In a statement which was published in The Star today, the Ministry said that the NGO, Nature Alert, had taken photographs of the orang utans in angles in a “deliberate attempt to mislead the public”.
It also said the photographs were taken while the orang utan were being transferred to another cage to make way for the daily cleaning process at the zoo.
The Ministry said that the orang utan is a fully protected species in Malaysia and should not be manipulated by anyone to tarnish the country’s image.
“Melaka Zoo has been releasing its orang utan into the exhibit area on a rotational basis to prevent conflicts between the groups.
“Hence, all the orang utan are given the opportunity to roam freely in the exhibit area,” said the statement, adding that the process normally took a few hours to complete due to the number of cages at the night stall area.
“The orangutan are not locked up 24-hours as alleged by Nature Alert. These are baseless accusations, ” said the statement.
Whyte turned down invite
The Ministry also said that it had recently extended an invitation to Nature Alert CEO Sean Whyte so that he could view and analyse the newly-built orang utan enclosures at A’Famosa Resort, but he had refused.
The group had called for the animals to be sent back to a sanctuary in Sarawak rather than be put in A’Famosa, where some orang utans were transferred out due to reports of abuse.
“We would like to invite him again to drop by our ministry to discuss approaches to further strengthen wildlife management in this country,” it said.
On Dec 31, FMT reported the discoveries of Shiva Lucian of the NGO Friends of Orang Utan.
Lucian had taken photographs of abused orang utans, who were ‘kept at secret locations’ of the zoo.
He reported that he saw eight orang utan held captive in tiny dirty cages where they could barely move, and without “a single leaf” for enrichment of their environment.
The plight of the orangutans was also highlighted in the online versions of British newspapers, The Daily Mirror and Daily Mail.
Whyte, who condemned the treatment of the apes, had sought the prosecution of Melaka zoo staff by Perhilitan officials.
Whyte said he had lodged numerous complaints with the authorities but saw little action being taken.
He had then issued a six-point list asking the authorities to immediately:
1. Prosecute Melaka zoo authorities.
2. Return four Orangutans originally from A’Famosa to the Sarawak orangutan sanctuary, and not back to the resort.
3. The remaining Orangutans be given access to the outside area of the enclosure on a twice daily rotational basis
4. The adult male Orangutan which is likely incarcerated 24/7, must be also be given access in front
5. New enclosures and night shelters must be built; and
6. Management and staff of Malacca be sent to Singapore zoo for training.

March of the penguins… into Ski Dubai
Dubai shoppers will soon be able to get up close and personal with snow penguins, after Ski Dubai announced it would play host to a colony of the Antarctic birds.
The indoor ski slope, located in Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates, said it planned to build a special enclosure to host the birds as part of a multi-generation breeding programme.
The environment will “mirror the Antartic,” Ski Dubai said in an emailed statement. “Visitors will be able

Amazing retrieving cat

Good, clean dung
Elephant poo paper has become a surprise hit with tourists at a wildlife park in Indonesia.
"Everyone can't wait to come and see it being made and they all want a souvenir, want a piece to take home," says Australian education manager Wendy Husband.
Mrs Husband, and her partner Tim, are the curators of Bali's Safari and Marine Park, where they collect over 100 tonnes of elephant dung each month.
Once collected, it is rinsed, boiled and washed. "We want to break it down so it's not long and stringy," Mrs Husband explains.
It is then cooked on a stove and combined with recycled paper.
Not just any old dung can be used. Mrs Husband insists the park is "really picky".
"We're looking for a complete dung - some that has nice fibres in it because that's what holds the paper together."
Ms Husband says most people have a good reaction when they see the paper for the first time.
"Everyone smells it, everyone grabs a piece and smells it, it's the first thing they do."
She's keen to point out that the product is organic and clean. And she says the park's paper is starting to get commercial interest.
"A lot of companies are loving it and would love to use it."
Some, she says, even want to use it for their menus.
It is not just elephant dung that

Why Wild Animals and Hollywood Don't Mix
It was one of the most horrifying animal stories of 2011. On October 18, Terry Thompson of Zanesville, Ohio set loose captive Bengal tigers — along with dozens of other exotic animals in his private menagerie — before taking his own life. As town residents cowered in fear, overmatched Ohio police were forced to kill nearly all the animals, including the 18 Bengal tigers. Sheriffs reported later that some of the tigers had been charging police as they were shot — attacks which surely would have been lethal for the humans.
Reporting on the aftermath of the tragedy, it became clear to me just how little regulation exists around such private zoos. Ohio is one of eight states that do not regulate exotic animals, so even though there had been several complaints about Thompson's personal wildlife collection leading up to the incident, police could do little about it. The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducts some inspections of private zoos if the animals are exhibited for the public, but even there, escapes and attacks on human beings are not rare. "No one can be sure that they can control a dangerous exotic animal," Tim Harrison, a former Ohio cop who runs the NGO Outreach for Animals, told me at the time. "That should be common sense — but common sense isn't always that common."
I thought about the Zanesville story again this holiday weekend as my family made our annual Christmas night pilgrimage to the movies. Among the films on tap was the Cameron Crowe-directed family drama We Bought a Zoo, loosely based on the real-life story of a British journalist named Benjamin Mee who — in the wake of his wife's illness and eventual death — makes the half-crazy decision to buy, fix up and reopen a zoo in rural England. Mee (played by Matt Damon) has zero experience with wild animals before he takes over his own menagerie, but in Crowe's world, that's okay. "You don't need any special knowledge to run a zoo," Mee says in the film. "What you need is a lot of heart."
I imagine the professionals at the San Diego Zoo or the National Zoo in Washington might want to point out that, in fact, special knowledge — and perhaps even a graduate degree — is indeed useful for running a zoo. But my trouble with films like We Bought a Zoo go beyond the treacly script and the inevitable montages scored to Peter Gabriel tunes. Just as the Zanesville tragedy raised questions about the safety of owning exotic animals like tigers and chimpanzees, some animal rights groups have taken We Bought a Zoo to task for putting scores of wild animals to work in the movie — and glorifying private zoos along the way. "The messages coming out of these kinds of movies is very disappointing," says Julia Galluci, a primatologist with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
It's true that life is better for animals in Hollywood now than it once was. Nonhuman actors were once considered as expendable as the scenery. To get footage of a cowboy on horseback jumping into a lake for the 1939 Henry Fonda film Jesse James, filmmakers pushed a blindfolded horse off a high cliff; the animal suffered a broken back and had to be destroyed. That episode — along with other tales of cruelty on set — helped get the American Humane Association (AHA) involved in Hollywood, and in 1980 the film industry's rules were amended to include regulations requiring proper treatment of animals. The agreement allowed AHA representatives on set — though only at the discretion of the industry — and gave birth to the famous "No animals were harmed in the making of this film" end credit.
But even with AHA experts present, accidents and abuse can happen. A giraffe died on set during the filming of the 2011 comedy Zookeeper, and activists have charged that trainers on set abused an elephant appearing in the Robert Pattinson drama Water for Elephants. (The trainers denied the charges.) The interspecies clashes may be due to the fact that wild animals — as opposed to domestic animals like dogs or horses — are not meant to perform with human beings, or even safely co-exist with them, and need to be coerced to do so. "When you deal with tigers and elephants and chimps, these are animals,8599,2103595,00.html?xid=fblike

Desperation shows after black year for rhinos
2011 is the year that the rhino, and its friends, will never want to see repeated again; twelve months that have witnessed a bloody new chapter being carved out, in the story of the decline of this fearsomely magnificent animal. Rhino's have been air-lifted out of those reserves at most risk of poaching; they have had their horns sawed off, to prevent poachers targeting them; the South African army has been thrown into the fray in the Kruger National Park. All to no avail. This last year has seen a record number of poaching related deaths - approaching 460 - in South Africa alone, home to two-thirds of the world's dwindling rhino population.
That compares to 333 deaths in 2010 and just 13 back in 2007. It was also announced in November that the western black rhino is now extinct in Africa. And the toll from poaching is not confined to the dusty African veld. The Javan rhino was declared extinct in the jungles of Vietnam this year, with the last known animal found dead in October - its horn apparently hacked off by poachers. And the motive for all this slaughter? The myth of the horn's healing

Photo Competition
We’re having a PHOTO CONTEST!! Send us your favorite Mother/Baby Orangutan photos to be featured on the 2012 “M.O.M.-Missing Orangutan Mother’s” awareness day event banners. We’ll post all entries on the Orangutan Outreach Facebook page for voting. Email  with your photo submissions by Jan. 31, 2012.
Please send this information along with your submission:
1. Your name
2. Your email address
3. A bit of info about your photo. Who’s in it, where was it taken, etc.
You must hold all rights to photographs submitted to the contest and by submitting the photo authorize use for this year’s campaign. Image quality of all submitted photos is an important consideration. When submitting, please try to send the highest quality photo that you can. Ideally all submitted photos should have a minimum resolution of 1 megabyte or more.
For more information about the campaign visit

Nature In A Box : representations of zoo animals in Canadian literature
Of late, I have been deluged with messages regarding the shifting of elephants from Toronto Zoo to the PAWS(Performing Animal Welfare Society) sanctuary in California in USA. and have been constantly reminded of the Canadian poet Margaret Atwood’s statement, “Nature is to zoos what God is to churches.” An intriguing comparison but given the state of most zoos across the world and indeed in Canada, it might be more appropriate to say, “Aesthetics in zoos is similar to what pornography is in art.” There have been so many tomes written on zoos, especially in the West that one is spoilt for choice when considering the topic. If childhood visits to zoos are meant to help people gauge the true beauty and value of nature then these institutions are falling short of their objectives.
Traditionally, in Canada or in any other country, a visit to the zoo is meant to be an exercise in reconnecting with nature for city folks who have lost all touch with animals and plants. And as with any institution, zoos find a representation in literature in all countries, including Canada. My colleague Rob Laidlaw, director of Zoocheck Canada has written a book for children that questions the ethics and objective of conventional zoos. As an organization based in Toronto that monitors zoos in USA and Canada, they are in a good position to comment. Rob’s book, as a non fiction volume, lays bare the myths surrounding zoos, at least traditional zoos that stock as many animals as possible.
A Canadian writer named Yann Martel won the Booker Prize in 2002 for writing a novel based on a zoo sojourn named ‘The Life of Pi’. The book narrates the adventures of young boy named Pi Patel who makes a journey with zoo animals and is shipwrecked with a tiger. The plot is novel

Turning our national parks into zoos - are wildlife management policies failing to truly recover endangered species?
Earlier this week Yellowstone National Park released its ‘State of Conservation’ report in which it outlines its financial needs for improving or maintaining the park’s values as a World Heritage Site. Among its top priorities, the Park identifies the need to translocate grizzly bears into the park to maintain the population’s genetic diversity.
Given that grizzlies in Yellowstone are so few and so isolated that they would require the addition of translocated bears, it is confusing that the Fish and Wildlife Service believes the Yellowstone population of grizzlies is recovered and should be removed from the endangered species list. I mean, if a population is recovered, shouldn’t it be able to sustain itself into the future without indefinite human intervention to keep it going?
But in fact, the translocation of bears is part of Fish and Wildlife Service’s delisting plan for the grizzly. That is, the Service has specifically acknowledged that the Yellowstone population is genetically isolated from other grizzly populations and has been for about 100 years. Their answer to this is to translocate bears on a regular basis starting in 2020. While there are some efforts to attempt to connect the Yellowstone population with other grizzlies through landscape protection to facilitate connectivity, the recovery of grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park, by design, calls for indefinite artificial supplementation of the population to maintain

WE are NOAH’s ARK – The Immorality of Aquariums, Debunked.
I’ve been sitting on this post for a few months as it fermented and festered in my brain. In the past couple of years anti-aquarium activists in Hawaii have been leading a charge against the fishery that harvests wild marine fish from Hawaii’s coastal waters for use in aquariums. I should first offer a kind word, because after all, they do very much care about the reef and the life that lives there, and they are doing what they genuinely believe is the right thing to do. The problem? It’s not actually the right thing to do, yet they seem to be gaining momentum, and from what I’ve heard their efforts aren’t going to end in Hawaii. Hawaii, my friends, is just the beginning. It is the star player, and if they can take it down, the rest falls easily. And the ultimate goal is far beyond simply stopping the wild harvest of fish for aquariums – if really pressed, the ultimate reality is that no aquarium is a good aquarium. However, it is only the aquarium hobbyist who can be the ultimate savior of the reefs.
The anti-aquarium battle got public attention with “Snorkle Bob” Wintner’s “Dark Hobby” essay, but it has gained momentum by adding another notable voice in Rene Umberger, all under the auspices of the “For The Fishes” organization and the Snorkle Bob Foundation. These activists have succeeded in spawning more independent activists, such as Dr. Gail Gabrowsky of Chaminade University (seen in this youtube video irresponsibly releasing 5 store-bought tangs back into the waters of Hawaii – UPDATE – this video has been made private by the channel operator, but we’ve found mirror copies you should search for). The anti-aquarium effort has also brought attention to organizations like the intensely hypocritical SeaSave organization, a family affair founded by “former aquarium industry insiders” who rally against the industry with truly insane rhetoric.
Yet while railing against the aquarium industry at every turn, SeaSave’s former “insiders” operate what they call an “aquarium rescue”. When you strip away all the “pet rescue” jargon and “if these were puppies” strawmen, SeaSave is actually just another local fish store that takes in animals to “adopt them out” (AKA resells them). SeaSave also actively propagates corals and breeds fish (yes, right now on the homepage the first line is “We have a few of our Tank Raised Bangaii’s for adoption” and they claim to have “the largest breeding colony [of Banggai Cardinalfish] in captivity”). I wish I could directly quote some of the really juicy lines from the Sea Save Facebook page, but I’ve been long since blocked from it for calling them on what I perceive to be utter BS (i.e. there are 1,000,000 aquarium retailers in the US? 10 billion fish dying in the trade each year?). When the math doesn’t add up, it doesn’t add up folks!
And that really hits home the first point point – none of the anti-aquarium activists from anti-trade groups seem terribly concerned with logic and science. Nor are they concerned with the factual inaccuracy of their rhetoric. Whatever data (even if taken out of context) makes the most compelling data, is what they will use. When the truth is inconvenient, they’ll make up their own truth. And it would seem, with 2 of Hawaii’s county councils passing non-binding resolutions to ban the aquarium trade in 2011, the tactics are actually working. Why aren’t political figures, or citizens with a critical eye, crying foul? Quite simply, because in the end fact is irrelevant. The anti-aquarium movement started gaining traction the moment they framed the issue as one of ethics and morals.
Indeed, it seems tough to make a pro-aquarium argument work when we’re talking ethics and morals. It’s even more difficult when your opponents don’t seem terribly concerned with their own ethics and integrity, throwing out morally bankrupt misinformation to justify their moral condemnation. When you weigh the concept that “fish are dying by the billions at the hands of the industry and hobbyists” and “the reef fish are all gone” against selling points like “it’s educational”, “it makes people care about reefs that otherwise wouldn’t have any connection to them”, and maybe even “it’s people’s jobs”, aquariums lose terribly.
When you throw “sustainability” into the mix, you maybe get a little traction. You can make the argument that a healthy, sustainably-managed aquarium fishery creates vested interest in preserving coral reefs where there otherwise wouldn’t be (by creating value for reef fishes that are otherwise worthless to local people). Take away the aquarium fishery in developing nations and people might well be dynamiting the reefs for food, or dredging them up to help create a new port or shipping channel. And that’s great, but Hawaii isn’t a third world country. It has a vibrant tourism industry, so there’s already plenty of “vested interest” in the reefs, monetarily far more than anything the aquarium fishery initially creates. Anti-trade proponents see harvesting marine fish as harming their own industry (largely the dive industry), and not helping to preserve Hawaiian reefs, all the while adding virtually no economic value. It’s a dicey battle, and in this case, the anti-aquarium activists, spearheaded by diving-related individuals, carry the weight of a massively larger economic footprint. So even if you can make a good argument for sustainability creating value in the reefs, you lose out on politics and you haven’t proven any morally redeeming qualities to the activity of harvesting marine fish for aquarium use. The bigger industry simply wins and gets to scapegoat the smaller one in the process, making them look like they did “something”, while ignoring the impact of their own industry and not really addressing

North American Zoos Support Worldwide Elephant Conversation
2012 International Elephant Foundation Grants Backed by Zoo Donations.
The International Elephant Foundation (IEF) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) today announced support for 19 elephant conservation projects for 2012.
“IEF-supported projects protect elephants from poaching, seek solutions for human-elephant conflict, equip and train community conservationists, increase our knowledge of the treatment and prevention of disease, and educate people,” said IEF Executive Director, Deborah Olson “In 2012, IEF will provide over $225,000 to support elephant conservation around the world, adding to the over 2 million total invested in conserving elephants since its inception in 1998.”
IEF’s elephant conservation and education programs are ongoing both in managed elephant care facilities and in the wild. IEF is a non-profit organization established in 1998 by a group of zoos and other elephant care facilities to enhance and promote elephant conservation around the world. IEF receives the majority of its funding from AZA-accredited zoos. To date, seventy-five AZA institutions have contributed funds or support to IEF totaling over 1.4 million.
“African and Asian elephants are relying on us to ensure their future,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “Elephants in North American zoos contribute to studies in welfare, reproduction and behavior which has applications for their wild counterparts and also generate support for the International Elephant Foundation while providing a powerful, up-close connection to animals only seen on T.V.”
“AZA is proud to support the efforts of the International Elephant Foundation,” said, Jim Maddy. “Elephants in AZA-accredited zoos are wildlife ambassadors who educate the public, create life-long

The Ape Crusaders
A SHOCKING new book aims to highlight the appalling treatment of orangutans in Borneo – and champion the men and women trying to save them.
The Ape Crusaders takes the reader on a heartbreaking yet ultimately uplifting journey, showing for the first time the highs and lows of frontline conservation in action.
The book follows a small proactive group as they rescue and nurse back to health starving, scared and miserable apes from ignorant, or downright negligent, owners.
Author and photographer Sean Whyte was one of the first to bring the West's attention to the mistreatment of the loveable apes at Malaysia's Melaka Zoo.
There have been 125,000 protected orangutans killed, captured or sold into the illegal wildlife trade over the past 40 years without a single prosecution.
Through no fault of its own the orangutan – Man

Zoos South Australia ups wage bill by $2 million despite financial woes
ZOOS South Australia has spent an extra $2 million on staff salaries and wages in the past financial year, despite having financial problems that prompted a multimillion-dollar state government bailout.
Figures released by the zoo show that since 2007, annual staff costs almost doubled from $6.9 million to $12.8 million, while the amount spent on animal care rose only $165,000.
In the past financial year, wage and staff costs increased $2.3 million despite the zoo being unable to service $24 million in debt incurred as a result of infrastructure associated with the giant pandas.
Yet while the zoo was grappling with its financial problems, it cut spending on animal care from $723,000 in 2011 to $676,000 in 2010.
The number of staff directly involved in animal care and visitor services also declined in 2011, plummeting from

Mark February 2nd 9pm on your calendar. The W Network will be premiering "Undercover Boss Canada" and the first episode is the Toronto Zoo. Tracogna goes undercover at the zoo.

Carles Puyol recovering from leg surgery!?

Keeper celebrates 25 years at Port Lympne
Keeper Neville Buck has been recognised for his dedication at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park this week.
The wildlife enthusiast was presented with a sculpture to mark his 25 years of service to the park near Ashford but he has no intention of leaving anytime soon.
Neville said: “I started here in 1986 and since then have seen many changes to the park. I was chuffed to bits to be given this fantastic sculpture depicting a Scottish wildcat chasing a rabbit - wild cats are very close to my heart and the park has given me some incredible experiences with them.
“Every day brings something special and I’m looking forward to the next 25 years.”
The sculpture was created by the artist David Mayer was presented to the keeper by managing director Bob O’Connor.
Mr O’Connor said: “We are very lucky to have such a loyal and dedicated member of staff. Neville is the Section Manager for small cats at Port Lympne and he also holds the stud book for Scottish wild cats and the international stud book for bush

Lioness escapes from zoo enclosure in Odisha
A lioness slipped out of an enclosure in the Nandankanan Zoo, triggering panic among visitors here on Tuesday.
The lioness – Supriya – was still out in the open as the zoo authorities' day-long effort to capture it proved futile. The operation to catch it would resume on Wednesday morning. However, the comforting news is that zoo personnel have cornered the lioness in a 10,000 sq. metre marshy area. Watchers have been deployed to monitor its movement.
In what could be touted as the biggest-ever capture operation launched by the zoo authorities, more than 50 personnel and an elephant were engaged to drive out the lioness from the bushy area inside the 900-acre zoo.
Tranquilliser darts were fired at the lioness thrice, but they missed the target. The 10-year-old Supriya continued to dodge the zoo personnel throughout the day. Even deployment of an elephant did not help the cause.
“We were engaged in trapping the lioness since Tuesday morning. But the adverse weather condition made our job very difficult,” said Siba Narayan Mohapatra, Deputy Director of Nanandankanan Zoo.
Mr. Mohapatra said: “Since the lioness hid in the bushy area we could not get a clear vision. Due to heavy rain, visibility required to fire the dart was not there. Actually, an opportunity was there to tranquillise the animal, but she charged towards our team members foiling the attempt.”
The authorities said there was no chance that the lioness could scale the boundary wall and stray into the city. There is hardly 500 metres between the area where Supriya is wandering and a

Canine distemper virus turning fatal for hyenas
After totally wiping out jackals from the city zoo, the canine distemper virus is turning fatal for hyenas too. Two hyenas infected with the virus died early on Wednesday. The canine distemper virus infection, a disease found in stray dogs, had claimed the lives of eight jackals in the city zoo, four of which were subjected to euthanasia.
Fourteen-year-old Rahul and its seven-year-old cub Kumar had been under critical condition for the past one week. Their condition became severe by Monday. One died on Tuesday night and the other on Wednesday morning. The deaths confirm the spread of the deadly airborne disease to other animals in the zoo.
Both the hyenas were subjected to video endoscopy on January 2 owing to the suspicion of the intake of plastics. Remains of plastic hoses were found from their stomachs. Rahul was suffering from gastric ulcers and Kumar from megaoesophagus, a condition of enlarged oesophagus.
However, it is learned that canine distemper virus was the cause of death of the two. With these fatalities, no hyenas now remain in the city zoo. A female

Did the San Diego Zoo “Euthanize” Two Elephants Prematurely?
Questions are being raised by former elephant trainers and handlers about whether the San Diego Zoo “euthanized” two adult elephants prematurely last week – before they were needed to be put to death. Two Asian elephants were put to death last week because they were “ailing and aged” we’re told.
On top of that, we are raising a question of why the story about the elephants being killed was ignored by U-T San Diego and had to be broken by the LA Times. Perhaps, it was too messy and ugly a story to run for the U-T’s new owner, Papa Doug Manchester, and his image of a bright, shiny and wonderful San Diego that he wants projected by his daily fishwrap.
On Friday, January 6th, the LA Times ran a front page article by Tony Perry on their local section about our Zoo euthanizing two ailing elephants. The Times reported that Cha Cha, about 43 years old, and Cookie, about 56, were both “ailing and aged” and were “suffering and their

Nationwide Scientific Survey Finds Continued Approval of Hunting, Fishing, and Shooting
Providing new findings that agree with several decades worth of data, a recent nationwide survey finds wide approval of hunting, fishing, and target shooting among Americans. The study, conducted by Responsive Management for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), found that more than seven in ten Americans approve of legal hunting and legal, recreational shooting, while more than nine in ten approve of legal, recreational fishing. Such results indicate that Americans' attitudes toward these activities have remained consistent over the past 15 years, with approval and support continuing to greatly outweigh disapproval and opposition. Other pertinent findings from the research include that substantial percentages of Americans voiced interest in going hunting, fishing, and shooting, while sizable numbers of respondents said they had consumed wild-caught (as opposed to farm-raised or commercially processed) game meat or fish in the 12 months prior to the survey. The demographic proportions

Edinburgh Zoo's male Giant panda 'sick with colic' and taken off public display
The male Giant panda at Edinburgh Zoo has been taken ill suffering from colic.
Yang Guang has retreated from public view to his sick bed while he recovers from the illness.
The panda only arrived at the zoo from China on December 4 a few weeks ago, along with fellow panda

Is Perhilitan promoting zoos at cafe outlets?
Sahabat Alam Malaysia’s attention was drawn to an e-mail diverted to us for follow-up action, from a visiting tourist on a tiger exhibited in a small area at a café in Burau Bay, Langkawi.
A visitation from SAM revealed a tiger on display at a café in an enclosed area, with natural setting of grass and bamboo plants while another exhibit next to the tiger enclosure displayed a marmoset. There is intent to bring in a pair of tigers sometime this year.
There are already zoos in theme parks and resorts. Such being the case it won’t be long until café outlets move in with plans for mini zoos, aviaries and or aquarias. The café claimed that the wild female animal presented by a zoo is not a hybrid.
When questioned the purpose of keeping a tiger in a café, the café management was quick to proclaim that such facility benefit education and promote the conservation of our endangered species whose number have dwindled to near extinction.
The astonishing truth is permit for the keeping of this tiger was issued by the Wildlife department (Perhilitan) followed by periodic inspection of the animal.
There are two pertinent questions raised: What is a wild tiger doing in a café when ideally it should be in its natural habitat? Another pair will be coming in later. If it is not for breeding purpose what other reasons are there for the additional collection?
The café’s claim that the tiger is solely for education is totally unconvincing to SAM. We maintain that zoos deliver a misleading, and damaging message by implying (both implicitly and explicitly) that captivity is beneficial to the cause of species conservation

Nation's oldest white tiger dies at 20 at Saitama zoo
Ryu, the oldest white tiger in Japan, has died at Tobu Zoo in Saitama Prefecture at the ripe old age of 20, the zoo said.
An employee found the tiger dead in its rearing facility at around 8 a.m. Wednesday, the Miyashiro-based zoo said.
Ryu had been eating less than usual since the start of the new year, officials said, adding that 20 years for a white tiger corresponds to 100 in human terms.
About 200 white tigers, a mutation of the Bengal Tiger, are being reared in captivity worldwide. Ryu was among 26 bred

Colchester Zoo rhinos help research
CO-OPERATIVE rhinos from Colchester Zoo have been helping top-level scientific research.
A team from the Royal Veterinary College has been investigating how a two-tonne rhino gets about on such tiny feet.
And the rhinos in Colchester have been instrumental in the collection of vital data.
As part of their research, rhinos at the zoo were trained to walk across a hi-tech mat which was packed with sensors.
These allowed researchers to measure the pressure and forces in the rhinos’ feet, to reveal how the weight is distributed.
Prof John Hutchinson, from the college’s structure and motion laboratory, said: “There is a little bit known about the anatomy of rhinos and their health, but nothing is known about the mechanics of their feet – the physics, the physiology, the detailed anatomy or the behaviour of how they use their feet.”
That is where Cynthia, Zamba, Emily, Otto and Flossie came in.
Sarah Forsyth, curator at Colchester Zoo, said the rhinos had already been trained to target – a technique

Celebrating Plants and the Planet:

With the Holidays behind us, the memory and evidence of gluttony persists.
What is more central to living than eating? It is no different for plants
and those who eat them.

January's links at
(NEWS/Botanical News) focus on news about plants as food and plants as

. Why do some flowers attract bees to pollinate and others attract
hummingbirds? Is it only about flower form? No, research reveals the nectar
too must suit the drinker.

. New deep sea research has discovered a "hairy" crab that carries
its food on its claws: it farms bacteria to survive. (Nice video here: the
crabs are as interesting as their story.)

. Carnivorous plants show up in the most unexpected places. An
unassuming Brazilian herb has been found to be trapping microorganisms
underground and eating them. Is nowhere safe?

. Farmers in marginal areas of Africa can benefit from planting
trees among their crops. But which tree species can be a tricky question.

. Bladderworts suck in insect prey. In fact, they are the fastest
little suckers in the plant kingdom. Actually, they are the fastest anything
in the plant kingdom!

To begin the new year on a good note, enjoy David Attenborough's slightly
odd music video
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