Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Zoo News Digest 27th - 31st July 2013 (ZooNews 869)

Zoo News Digest 27th - 31st July 2013 (ZooNews 869)

Dear Colleagues,

Probably the most disturbing thing I read this week was that the owner of Zoobic Safari has offered to take Mali the elephant from Manila Zoo. In fact agreement has already taken place to temporarily house Mali there. As you are aware I am no fan of the Zoo but to send this animal to Zoobic would be a big big mistake. I have not seen any support for the offer as yet but no doubt it is not far away. It will come from that ignorant group of people who for some very odd reason think that 'safari' is better than 'zoo'. It isn't and in this case it most definitely isn't. Mali is better off staying in Manila and the proposed expansion of accommodation and then companions from Sri Lanka the icing on the cake.

Zoobic Safari

Residence Inn Mini Zoo at Tagaytay

Manila Zoo

I have seen some truly awful collections and Zoobic Safari is one of these. So too is its sister collection at Tagaytay. Zoobic was described by one of my close zoo friends as the worst zoo she had ever visited.

I make no apologies but I know next to nothing about football and even less than that about American Football. I do know that the stars of the game do have a strong influence on their fans. It is therefore extremely sad that some star by the name of Darnell Dockett should have decided to buy himself a pet tiger. Apart from the stupidity of obtaining such an animal as a 'pet' it is probably more disturbing that some corrupt commercial half wit should sell him one (any ideas who?). You can almost guarantee that some of Darnell's fans are going to buy their own. It isn't cool Darnell. Do the animal a favour and hand it over to someone who can properly care for it. Have it neutered and support it till the end of its days.

Why is it that I have a strong gut feel that the idea of the Pinkanakorn Development Agency taking over the Chiang Mai Zoo is a very bad idea? My gut is rarely wrong in these matters. Just who are these people? I have tried to find out more but so far not come up with anything. When it comes to zoos and wildlife in Thailand there is a lot of corrupt members of an old boys club of which influential politicians are co members. It is commercial greed rather than animal welfare which is important to them. Not that there aren't good people on the zoo scene....there are, and some excellent people too....but hands are so often talks louder than caring.

Has Chris Draper from the Born Free Foundation any idea of what the good modern zoo is about?
Does he think statements like "It is very likely that the tigers born at Chester Zoo will spend 
the rest of their lives in a zoo. I think it is extremely unlikely that they will ever be re-introduced into the wild," are a shock to us? We know that, we all know that. Why....because the wild is in a mess. Okay these tigers will not go back to the wild but their great grand cubs may. And the zoo more than anybody (good zoos) know about genetic diversity. We really care about it. In fact bringing in a few more tigers from the wild could ensure we strengthen it....but I am sure the Born Free Foundation would moan big time if that was suggested.

Returning once again to the 2-headed turtle in San Antonio Zoo. I mentioned a week or two ago that I believed the best move would be to euthanase the unfortunate little creature. Several people disagreed with me. My opinion has not changed. In fact it has strengthened now that the creature(s) has its own Facebook page with the two heads having conversations with each other. This, to me, is 'laughing at monkeys'...make fun of the little freak, and I really dislike that. It is wrong. Freaks have no place in the modern zoo. They are in the same category as Tigons, Ligers, White Tigers and their ilk. Why not start a freak zoo? I have seen two headed turtles in other collections....Dysfunctional Zoos I might add. I have included a link to a bunch of other sad little two headed animals.

Delighted to see that Pakistan is thinking of starting up a national zoo association to improve animal welfare. Lets hope they do and that minimum standards set and become compulsary throughout Pakistan. An association is not worth its salt unless it can demand its members to adhere to the rules.

I reckon just about everyone knows how much I am against The Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi Thailand.
Take a look at the video you will see further down the links and form your own point of view.

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Why Freeing Willy Was the Wrong Thing To Do
Willy was never really free. The killer whale star of the Hollywood movie Free Willy had to be cared for by humans even after he was released and he never successfully integrated with his wild kin. Researchers now say attempts to return him to the wild were misguided.
"We believe the best option for [Willy] was the open pen he had in Norway, with care from his trainers," says Malene Simon of the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, who participated in efforts to reintegrate the cetacean in the wild and is lead author of the study. "He could swim as much as he wanted to, had plenty of frozen herring – which he was very fond of – and the people that he was attached to kept him active."

The killer whale, whose real name was Keiko, died in December 2003, at about 26 years old. Despite efforts to integrate him with wild killer whales in Iceland towards the end of his life, he proved unable to interact with them or find food.

"While we as humans might find it appealing to free a long-term captive animal," the researchers say in the paper, "the survival and well-being of the animal may be severely impacted in doing so." The only cetaceans that have successfully been returned to the wild have been young and only kept in captivity for short periods.

The team's comments contradict those made by members of the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation, who declared in 2003 that his case had challenged the perception that whales cannot be returned to the wild. But Simon's account of Keiko's last few years shows just how unsuccessful his release was.

Public pressure

Keiko was born into a wild group of killer whales, also called orca, in Icelandic waters. He was captured in 1979 at about two years old and spent over a decade in a small tank in a Mexican amusement park, isolated from others of his species.
It was during this time, in 1993, that Keiko made animal stardom when he "played" a leading role 
in the hit

Saint Louis Zoo keeper helps wildlife in Peru

5 Reasons Being a Zookeeper Will Make Me a Better Parent
My partner and I don't have kids yet, but we're trying. As more of my friends squeeze out little bundles of joy, I'm struck by how similar zookeepers and parents really are. We're both obsessed with poop. Moreover, we take our jobs as caregivers very, very seriously. When you have another life depending on you, it's time to step up your game. Here are five ways that being a zookeeper will make me a better parent. 

Bring On The Bodily Functions 
Ever been peed on by a tiger? In sheer volume and stink quality, nothing is more gross. So I'm confident that, when my own tiny human chooses to shower me with urine, I probably won't bat a pee-soaked eyelash. Zookeepers deal with feces on a daily basis, and most have been spat on, puked on, even rubbed with scent glands. Sure, baby poop is stinky, and I'm sure there will be times when I'm nearly knocked unconscious by what I find in my child's diaper, but it's probably nothing worse than something I've smelled at work. 

Just Tell Me What You Want! 
Babies can't talk. They can squirm, and cry, and smile, but they can't talk. Neither can animals. Zookeepers are masters of body language, noticing tiny changes in animals' moods based on glances or vocalization. Changes in routine are analyzed to see what might have caused a disturbance. 

There will be times when my own child will baffle me with the incessant need to express herself by screaming at the top of her lungs, but hopefully I'll be tuned in to all the clues to figure out what's wrong. Or at least comfort myself that I've made a most exhaustive search and she's simply angry about life. 

Offspring, Sit! Stay. 
Orangutans have the cognition of a 3-4 year old child. So, I'm going to make a leap here and assume that all babies are apes. Or, at least, they learn in similar ways. Training for zoo animals is based on positive reinforcement: Rewarding behavior we want with something good. It teaches us to focus on what we want our animals to do, and

Journal of Threatened Taxa
The International Journal on Conservation & Taxonomy
ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print)
July 2013 | Vol. 5 | No. 11 | Pages 4529-4620
Date of Publication 26 July 2013 (online & print)
CEPF Western Ghats Special Series
Multi-stakeholder perceptions of efficiency in biodiversity conservation at limited access forests of the southern Western Ghats, India
-- Arun Kanagavel, Revati Pandya, Aditya Prithvi & Rajeev Raghavan, Pp. 4529–4536
CEPF Western Ghats Special Series
A new species and new records of parasitic wasps (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae) of wood boring beetles from southern Western Ghats, Kerala, India
-- P.M. Sureshan & Dhanya Balan, Pp. 4537–4541
Additions to the fauna of parasitic wasps (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea) and coccoids (Hemiptera: Coccoidea) from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India, with illustrations and diagnosis
-- Ankita Gupta & Sunil Joshi, Pp. 4542–4555
A report on Lecanidae (Rotifera: Monogononta) from Andhra Pradesh, India, including six new distribution records with notes on their contemporary taxonomic nomenclature
-- S.Z. Siddiqi & M. Karuthapandi, Pp. 4556–4561
CEPF Western Ghats Special Series
Population dynamics of the Hill Stream Loach Acanthocobitis mooreh (Sykes, 1839) (Cypriniformes: Nemacheilidae) from northern Western Ghats of India
-- Sanjay S. Kharat & Neelesh Dahanukar, Pp. 4562–4568
CEPF Western Ghats Special Series
Records of the endemic and threatened catfish, Hemibagrus punctatus from the southern Western Ghats with notes on its distribution, ecology and conservation status
-- Anvar Ali, Neelesh Dahanukar, Arun Kanagavel, Siby Philip & Rajeev Raghavan, Pp. 4569–4578
CEPF Western Ghats Special Series
Range extension of Ferguson’s Toad Duttaphrynus scaber (Schneider) (Amphibia: Anura: Bufonidae) up to the northern most limit of Western Ghats, with its advertisement call analysis
-- Anand Padhye, Rohan Pandit, Rajgopal Patil, Swapnil Gaikwad, Neelesh Dahanukar & Yogesh Shouche, Pp. 4579–4585
An inventory of wetland non-passerine birds along a southeastern Brazilian coastal area
-- Davi Castro Tavares  & Salvatore Siciliano, Pp. 4586–4597
CEPF Western Ghats Special Series
An endemic and Critically Endangered species, Gymnema khandalense Santapau (Apocynaceae: Asclepiadoideae) - a new record to Goa State, India
-- Subhash S. Deokule, Shrinath P. Kavade, P. Lakshminarasimhan & Vikrant B. Berde, Pp. 4598–4600
On the occurrence of an interesting leafless orchid Neottia listeroides Lindl. in Himachal Pradesh, northwestern Himalaya, India
-- Jagdeep Verma, Kranti Thakur & S.P. Vij, Pp. 4601–4603
Two new localities of Sri Lankan Relict Ant Aneuretus simoni Emery, 1893 (Formicidae: Aneuretinae) with the very first record in the intermediate zone
-- D.A.G.N.B. Karunarathna & W.A.I.P. Karunaratne, Pp. 4604–4607
CEPF Western Ghats Special Series
Rare fungus feeding Darkling Beetle, Byrsax cornutus Fabricius, 1792 (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae: Bolitophagini) from the Western Ghats, India
-- C. Arunraj, Sabu K. Thomas & Ottó Merkl, Pp. 4608–4611
Threatened butterflies of central Nepal
-- B. Khanal, M.K. Chalise & G.S. Solanki, Pp. 4612–4615
Response: On the identification and misidentification of butterflies of the Garo Hills
-- Krushnamegh Kunte, Gaurav Agavekar, Sanjay Sondhi, Rohan Lovalekar & Kedar Tokekar, Pp. 4616–4620

Darnell Dockett Nabbed a Pet Tiger, Looking to Add Monkey If You Know of Any
Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith reports on a veritable menagerie budding in Darnell Dockett's backyard. 

The star Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman has already procured a pet tiger and is browsing around for a monkey—at least that's what he offered in an interview with Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports 910 AM in Phoenix. 

Dockett is eager to share images of the tiger cub he is calling "Little Buddy." Here is the 
coolest pet in the NFL, via Dockett's Twitter feed. 

Tiger Temple Thailand Kanchanaburi

Flip-flop animal sculptures at The Virginia Zoo
Designers have brought out the animal in flip flops at the Virginia Zoo.
Animal sculptures made of flip flops are now available in the Zoo’s gift shop.
The sculptures are part of an effort to recycle thousands of flip flops in the Indian Ocean, where flip flops are one of the largest marine pollutants. The company Ocean Sole takes these flip flops and pays artists in that area to make sculptures out of the footwear.
The Virginia Zoo’s executive director partnered with Ocean Sole and the San Diego Zoo to bring this art to the U.S. The Virginia Zoo

Members Of Oregon Zoo Staff Test Positive For TB
A Multnomah County health official says members of the Oregon zoo staff, who have had contact 
with an elephant infected with tuberculosis, tested positive for the disease. 
Justin Denny is a doctor with the Multnomah County Health Department. He says “very, very few” staffers tested positive for TB. He says the staff members have a latent form of TB that’s highly treatable.

“So it’s curable. And so it’s good news that we have very very reassuring information. So two bits of good information, one is it’s treatable TB and the second thing is very very few people became positive as a result of the exposure,” Denny says.

Denny says zoo visitors are not at risk.  Only zoo staffers who had direct and prolonged contact with the elephant tested positive.

And while health officials ass

Mangalore: 36 King Cobras born at Pilikula Biological Park
Snake lovers, photographers and tourists will find an added attraction in Pilikula from now on. 

As many as 36 King Cobras were born in Dr Shivarama Karantha Biological Park, Pilikula recently.
With the assistance from snake lovers, 37 eggs of King Cobras were rescued from a farm belonging to an agriculturalist near Dharmasthala in Beltangady taluk. They were brought to Pilikula Biological Park sometime ago.

After these eggs were artificially hatched for nearly 80 days, 36 out of 37 king cobras were born in the biological park. These baby King Cobras are around one to one and half feet long and in good health, said H J Bhandary, director of the park.

By birth, these baby snakes are poisonous enough to kill a person with a bite. Usually, procreation of these breeds take place in the forest. How

A new look at preserving biodiversity
Conservationists are used to justifying their work. Since the movement first took shape in the 1800s, they’ve provided a litany of contemporary arguments for conserving the natural world, from economic (protecting forests for wood) to spiritual (preserving places that stir the soul) to scientific (safeguarding biological systems). But lately they’ve been wrestling internally with another fundamental question about their task: not why we should save nature, but what exactly we should save and how we should save it. Against a backdrop of growing global resource demand and climate change — as well as emerging technologies, such as synthetic biology — that are wreaking philosophical havoc, finding the answers is urgent.

At issue is how to modernize a predominantly 20th-century enterprise. Since at least the 1960s, biodiversity conservation has largely taken its cue from the health of particular species. It’s been reactive, focused on stopping things: habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, extinction. But despite valiant efforts, billions of dollars and years of long-fought battles, conservation seems perpetually on the losing side of a war.

For evidence, look no further than the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List Index, which shows trends in the conservation status of mammals, birds, amphibians and corals. According to the IUCN’s website, the index “clearly demonstrates that the status of these major groups is still declining.” Around the world, we’re transforming ecosystems at an ever-increasing rate. Even in areas set aside for wildlife — at great expense and effort — animals are struggling to survive amid frustratingly hard-to-squelch activities such as poaching and logging. 

It’s not that there haven’t been individual success stories — particularly in the U.S., where 40 percent of threatened or endangered species are stable or improving. Even those successes, however, come with caveats: 84 percent of species listed under the Endangered Species Act may require sustained human intervention in order to survive, according to a paper published by University of Idaho biologist J. Michael Scott and colleagues in 2010.
“We know absolutely that something has to be different,” says Jon Hoekstra, chief scientist at the World Wildlife Fund. “In the 21st century, instead of starting with only 2 or 3 billion people, we start with 6 and go to 9, and do it under changing climate conditions and intense resource demands. The context of conservation is going to be profoundly different.”

“Overall,” says Kent Redford, a conservation biologist who spent many years at the Wildlife Conservation Society and now runs his own consulting firm, the current tools of conservation “are not up to the problems as they either are or will soon be.”

Battle Lines & Shared Ground

Chat with a conservation leader today and you’re likely to hear some fairly surprising things. We can’t do it species by species. Protected areas aren’t going to be enough. Saving the last place or the last of the species is not our focus.

The exact messages may differ — after all, there may be as many distinct conservation agendas as there are places, creatures and ways of life — but the theme is constant: Something needs to change. Conservation today is in need of a far more potent approach.

Answering those looming questions — what to save, how to save it — has sparked heated debate among practitioners. Last year the Breakthrough Institute, the pragmatic think tank that’s been a thorn in the side of traditional environmentalism since its inception in 2003, published an essay by Peter Kareiva, chief scientist of The Nature Conservancy; Robert Lalasz, TNC’s director of science communications; and Michelle Marvier, an ecologist at Santa Clara University. Titled “Conservation in the Anthropocene,” the essay argued that conservation is failing in its efforts to save both

Indonesia, India fingered as biggest shark catchers
Indonesia and India on Tuesday were named as the world's biggest catchers of sharks in an EU-backed probe into implementing a new pact to protect seven threatened species of sharks and rays.
Indonesia and India account for more than a fifth of global shark catches, according to the 
wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

They head the list of 20 countries that together account for nearly 80 percent of total shark catch reported between 2002 and 2011.

The others, in descending order, are Spain, Taiwan, Argentina, Mexico, the United States, Malaysia, Pakistan, Brazil, Japan, France, New Zealand, Thailand, Portugal, Nigeria, Iran, Sri Lanka, South Korea and Yemen.

Did you note where the US comes on the list above?

The shock following the city of Detroit's bankruptcy announcement has settled, and now many are wondering what's the next step for the troubled metropolis. According to the Detroit Free Press, the city is contemplating selling some of their assets, including a female giraffe named Chardo from the Detroit Zoo.

The 'I' of the Tiger
World Tiger Day proudly sits on Monday 29 July, a day to raise awareness of the plight of the tiger - in fact, 3,200 tigers, which is the grand total of those remaining in the wild. (An often stated fact is that there are more tigers in captivity in the USA than there are in the wild globally). But, what does World Tiger Day mean and how can it really help save the Tigers? And what is the 'I' of the Tiger?

Okay: which of these words should describe World Tiger Day: useful, pointless, or neutral? Who knows?

Certainly WTD can't hurt, but preaching to the converted is not the way. We need to reduce consumer demand for tiger 'parts', increase enforcement systems to protect them in the wild, manage habitats to avoid 'human-wildlife conflict', and just stop being so damn 'human' in our approach. Not everything has to have a price or has to come second to our needs. So, for World Tiger Day, let's quickly debunk some myths:

Fact: Drinking tiger wine does not make you more virulent. It makes you barbaric and senseless.

Fact: Having a tiger skin rug or trophy on your wall does not make you look or feel rich. It makes you look arrogant, ill-informed and uneducated.

Fact: Going to an attraction like Tiger Temple for a Facebook photo isn't a rite of passage, and any tiger that needs to be chained for ho

SeaWorld Trainer on Recent Controversy

Dolphin leaps outside its enclosure at SeaWorld
Video has surfaced of a dolphin stranded on concrete after jumping from its enclosure at a SeaWorld in Texas.
The video, posted on YouTube by animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
(PETA), shows the bloodied animal floundering on the ground just outside its tank at the San Antonio SeaWorld.
PETA says overnight guests at the water park on a tour before the park opens were feeding the animals when the dolphin stranded itself.
Eyewitnesses told PETA two dolphins were performing tricks for the guests when they crashed into each other and one landed outside the enclosure.
Guests were ushered away f

SeaWorld fights OSHA citations
Company hires attorney son of Supreme Court Justice
Calling themselves "the world leader" in the care of marine mammals, SeaWorld attorneys have filed a brief with an appeals court, hoping to get their animal trainers back in the water with the park's famous killer whales.

To prepare for the challenging legal battle, the company recently hired Washington D.C. attorney Eugene Scalia, a former Department of Labor solicitor who happens to be the son of Surpreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

After trainer Dawn Brancheau was drowned by a killer whale in 2010, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration issued safety citations against SeaWorld.  Last year, an administrative law judge upheld OSHA's recommendation that trainers remain behind physical barriers or a safe distance away from the water when interacting with killer whales during

Subic park boss to Erap: We can take care of Mali
Looks like a third party wants a piece of Mali.
An operator of animal theme parks in Luzon has asked Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada to allow his company to take care of Mali, the lone elephant at Manila Zoo, saying it could provide a more suitable habitat for the aging animal.
The request came from the Zoomanity Group (ZG), a part of the Yupangco Group of Companies that operates the Zoocobia Fun Zoo at Clark Freeport, the Zoobic Safari in Subic, Zambales province, and the Paradizoo Theme Farm in Cavite province.
In his July 23 letter, ZG president Albert Yupangco asked Estrada to let his company transfer Mali to the 50-hectare animal theme park in the Subic Bay Freeport.
Yupangco cited the campaign of animal rights activists to have Mali transferred to a nature sanctuary in Thailand. “However, there are some misgivings whether Mali can withstand the strenuous travel to Thailand, in view of her physical condition and old age,” he said.
The businessman also assured the Manila city government of a P10-million to P20-million income per year from the 500,000 or more annual visitors at Zoobic Safari who pay to enter the theme park.
Estrada could not be immediately reached for comment on Saturday, but one of his media officers, Ike Gutierrez, pointed out that the mayor and former President had made his position clear on the issue.
“He has stated that Mali will stay in Manila Zoo and two more elephants will be donated shortly by Sri Lanka,” Gutierrez told the Inquirer. The animal was a gift given by Sri Lanka in the 1970s to then First Lady Imelda Marcos.
In a message during the zoo’s 54th anniversary celebration last week, Estrada said he “will not let Mali leave the place she grew up in” and that he was in talks with investors from Singapore who were planning to infuse P2 billion to modernize the zoo.
According to Yupangco, veterinarians and animal-care experts from his company can take good care of Mali. “(She) will be placed in a vast forest which simulates her natural hab

Mali going to Zoobic
Mali the elephant is finally leaving the Manila Zoo, but only temporarily, and not for a sanctuary in Thailand.

The elephant will stay in a park in Subic once the renovation of the Manila Zoo starts. Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada yesterday said he agreed to the request of Zoomanity Group (ZG) to allow the company to take care of Mali at least temporarily.

“It would be temporary because we will be constructing a world class Manila Zoo. While it’s being constructed we might give (Mali) to Subic... We will not let go of Mali,” he said.

ZG of the Yupangco Group of companies operates several farms and zoos including Zoocobia Fun Zoo at Clark Freeport, Zoobic Safari in Subic and the Paradizoo Theme Park in Cavite.

In a letter to Estrada, ZG said it could provide better care for t

2-headed turtle at Texas zoo gets Facebook page
The Facebook page on Sunday showed photos of the quirky reptile and imaginary conversations between the two heads
A two-headed turtle born last month at the San Antonio Zoo has become so popular that she has her own Facebook page.

Zoo officials say the Texas cooter, named Thelma and Louise for the female duo in the 1991 Oscar -winning movie, has been doing well.

Spokeswoman Debbie Rios-Vanskike (van SKYKE') says the turtle eats and swims, and added that the two heads — named Louise Left and Thelma Right — get along.

The Facebook page on Sunday showed photos of the quirky reptile and imaginary conversations between the two heads.

The turtle hatched June 18. The animal is o

Photos: Two-headed animals

UK-Born Javan Langur Struggling to Adjust
The only male among six Javan Langur monkeys born in captivity in British zoos and now being sheltered at a rehabilitation center in Batu, East Java, is facing difficulties adapting to its new surroundings, according to an official at the center.

Iwan Kurniawan, the project manager for the Javan Langur Center in Batu, said on Thursday that since the six langurs were moved from Patuha in West Java to Batu on July 11, all five females in the group had been able to adapt well.

The six langurs were born at the Port Lympne and Howletts zoos, both in southeast England, to parents that were part of an animal-exchange program with Jakarta’s Ragunan Zoo.

They were sent to Indonesia in February and had been placed in a primate rehabilitation center in Patuha to adjust to the tropical climate before later being sent to Batu to be prepared for subsequent release into the wild.

Iwan said the langurs would undergo a process of training before being released. They will be eased into their natural diet

Japan bucks trend: Captive dolphin biz big
Despite an international trend taking the opposite tack, the number of aquariums in Japan is growing and sales of dolphins continue to flourish, results of an independent study have revealed.

Animal welfare groups Elsa Nature Conservancy and Help Animals have collated data from official documents, marine facilities and other organizations showing Japan is the world’s leader in aquariums and the numbers of cetaceans kept in them.

“When it comes to aquariums, Japan is the globe’s superpower,” leads the report, “Dolphins Raised in Japanese Facilities,” released July 20. The majority of dolphins kept in captivity are taken from the wild and cetacean deaths within facilities “are not unusual,” it continues.

Elsa and Help Animals found some 30 million people annually visit 65 facilities that are members of the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Nonmember facilities take the nation’s aquarium count close to 100, meaning almost one-fifth of the world’s total are located in Japan.

Around 57 percent of JAZA member institutions keep a total of 600 dolphins.

“When I started the research in 2003 there were 500 dolphins in captivity, meaning numbers have since increased 20 percent,” said Elsa’s Sakae Hemmi. “This is a dire situation . . . especially in light of an international trend to reduce (the) numbers of aquariums and dolphins in captivity.”

The United Kingdom closed all its dolphinariums back in 1993 and more than 23 other nations, including Australia, Mexico, Thailand and Croatia, have either banned the catching or trade of wild dolphins, or keeping them in captivity. This is mainly due to a growing belief that to do so constitutes a form of animal abuse.

In March, India announced the banning of new dolphinariums after they were deemed unlawful under the country’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

The United States has around 30 of the facilities, down by 14 in the past 20 years, according to Naomi Rose at the Humane Society International, headquartered in Washington. Around one-third of them refuse to keep dolphins, Hemmi and Yukari Sugisaka of Help Animals have discovered.

“Overall, the upward trend is only seen in the developing world, while it’s the reverse in the developed world,” said Rose, who specializes in marine mammal protection issues. “Japan is considered a first-world country, but when it comes t

Wildlife conservation: Formation of National Zoo Association advocated
The establishment of a national zoo association is crucial in order to improve animal welfare, their gene pool and conservation, World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan Biodiversity Director Uzma Khan said on Tuesday.
She was speaking at a workshop to highlight the importance of an organisation to enhance partnership among the zoos in the country.
“This workshop is a critical step towards the formation of a national zoo association,” she said, “Our zoos could then be represented at the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).”
The workshop was attended by officials from the Lahore Zoo, Lahore Zoo Safari, Karachi Zoo and the Lamar Wildlife Park (in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa). Several climate change and WWF officials attended the workshop as well.
The participants agreed that the association could play a significant role towards improving coordination between zoos and provide them opportunities to share expertise and adopt best management practices. The association could also monitor the setting up of zoos, their administration and the quality of care and safety of captive wild animals in the country.
Former WWF director general Abdul Azeem Chaudhry said, “It will be hard to formulate legislation regarding zoos at the federal level especially after the 18th Constitutional amendment.” He said that consultative workshops for veterinary doctors should be organised under the aegis of the National Zoo Association. Diagnostic labs could also be established at the bigger zoos.
WWF Senior Programme Director Ghulam Akbar said that management of zoos should be taught in universities as a separate subject. He said the formation of a national association could ensure conservation of wild animals.
WAZA Council Member Sally Walker shared her insights with zoo officials and workshop participants.  She said that she hoped that the formation of a national zoo association would be possible in the near future.
WWF Senior Director Ejaz Ahmad thanked the zoo representatives for attending the workshop. He said that he hoped that such

Why Should We Care? By Peter Riger, Vice-President of Conservation 
Vice President of Conservation, Peter Riger is visiting Borneo to find out how the Houston Zoo can be of further assistance in the race to save Asian wildlife.

Why should I care?  That is an odd question, but extremely relevant in today’s world. Some of the challenges we face are growing human population, water and food shortages, and competition for other natural resources between human-to-human and wildlife-to-human.
Why should we care about wildlife and wild places? There has to be some value in protecting not only species but complete ecosystems. Believe it or not, they really do sustain life and without animals – from insects to elephants – these systems will falter.

But if you live in a country that does not have a wild population of elephants, why should you care? They do not walk through your crops, threaten your livelihoods and other than viewing them at a zoo or on tv, they most likely are not something you think about.

I worry about this constantly. How do we make you care enough to want elephants or any other species to survive? I am not really sure of the answer. We can inspire you to care, individualize the animal, tell you it’s story and let you look into it’s eyes through photography or even a visit to the zoo. Your children can care enough to make you care but what is the conservation action that someone living in the US can take part in to protect elephants? Donate to a worthy project? Take a stand on banning ivory products? Is just caring enough? I do not have the answer.

This thought began again when I was at a colleague’s home here in Borneo and I picked up a book called London Zoo from Old Photographs 1859-1914 ( if you find a copy please let me know as Amazon has a used one listed for $265.00 which is $230.00 more than I am willing to pay). The photo depictions by today’s standards of zoo’s were not great by any means. Zoos in the late 1800's collected an individual, did what they could to keep it alive, and then replaced it. Sad, tragic, and consistent with a mentality that prevailed 150 years ago.

What I was looking for were certain animals that they might have kept, species that are now extinct, and I thought to myself if they could have held on to these just a decade or two more until they could figure out their care and management, those species would still be with us. It was not the collecting of 5 individual Quagga that drove the animal to extinction, it was already gone from the wild. The last Thylacines on the planet, known as a Tasmanian Tiger, lived longer in the zoo

How Does A Giraffe Tongue Work?

Cairo Protest Sends Zoo Animals Into Panic – Report
A weeks-long protest in support of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo is sending animals at a nearby zoo into panic, the widely circulated Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram (The Pyramids) reported Sunday.
Fearing attacks by police after the country’s Interior Ministry vowed to disband the rally, demonstrators have installed powerful spotlights around the gathering in Cairo’s Al-Nahda Square to ward off possible armed encounters at night, the newspaper said.
However, the bright lights are shining into the nearby zoo and stirring up a frenzy among the sleep-deprived animals, who are not used to unnatural light, the report said, citing a zoo management representative.
“The park has a lot of tigers, lions and zebras who until recently had only seen the sun rise and set, and used that for orientation. We don’t have any artificial lighting; everything here is as close as possible to the natural environment. But now these protestors are lighting up the park at night wi

More Room To Roam
A few of the biggest local celebrities are getting a new home as the Oregon Zoo elephant enclosure is set for expansion.

The zoo is in the midst of its most significant construction project since it opened at its current location in 1959. Projects scheduled over the coming years aim to upgrade outdated facilities and improve the zoo experience for visitors.

One project at the heart of the construction effort is the 6.25-acre Elephant Lands. Construction on the $53 million project started in early June and is scheduled to be completed by 2015.

“It was state of the art at the time, but we’ve learned so much since then,” said Hova Najarian, media and public relations officer.

While the Elephant Lands project is one of the largest changes in store, a series of additional improvements, using sustainable practices, are scheduled in the coming years. The projects are paid for by a $125 million bond measure passed by Portland Metro-area voters in 2008.

With an area more than four times the size of the current facility, Elephant Lands is expected to provide the

Mammoth mission to secure friends for lonely elephant
A mission to provide friends for a lonely elephant at Auckland Zoo has struck a hitch because of strict quarantine rules.

The zoo wants to import a pair of orphaned pachyderms as company for Burma, who has been on her own since the death of long-term partner Kashin four years ago.

"We are really keen for her to have a family at Auckland Zoo, this is her home, this is where she is most comfortable," said Kevin Buley, from Auckland Zoo.

How Old Is That Lion? A Guide to Aging Animals
Animals may not have birth certificates, but they do display telltale signs of aging.
It seems like every year, the world discovers a newest oldest animal.

Almost a decade ago, it was Ming, the 405-year-old clam. Then there was Jonathan, a giant tortoise who was touted as the world's oldest living creature—until questions later emerged about his identity. There are accounts of 150-year-old whales and 115-year-old reptiles. They make Lonesome George—the famous Galápagos tortoise who died last year at 100—seem relatively young in comparison.

Determining the ages of these particular animals was not overly difficult. Like all clams, Ming grew tree-like rings for every year it was alive. Jonathan and George—the tortoises—were well documented, having appeared in diaries and photographs over the years. The bowhead whale—called the longest-living mammal on Earth—was found with a century-old harpoon pin lodged inside of it.

But determining the age of other animals—particularly those born in the wild—is not such an easy task. Zoologists can take x-rays to look for growth markers in the skeletal structure. And they can easily find out how old an animal is after death, by examining certain biological markers on an autopsy.

Without x-rays or tissue samples, however, determining the age of an animal becomes a lot more difficult. Zoologists must rely on visual cues, with a little bit of guesswork thrown in. Below, a guide to what they look for in various species to determine age.

Orangutans Get Wrinkles Too

A lot of primate aging has to do with teeth, says Meredith Bastian, curator of primates and small mammals at the Philadelphia Zoo.

"If I look at teeth, I have a pretty accurate idea of how old an animal is," she says.Specifically, Bastian is looking at a primate's molars. Worn-down molars may indicate that a primate is older—or it may i

Tasul's Collar

New rules for zoo animals
The Environmental Protection Authority has set new rules for keeping animals in zoos.

The change will mean a standard set of rules will apply to all animals approved for containment in zoos, where in the past there were different rules for different species and different situations.
The new rules are outcome based, which means the focus is on making sure zoos contain their animals properly, rather than providing prescriptive rules about how they contain them. They include requirements for facilities to have written documentation to show they are complying.
They will have to prove their management practices and finances are robust enough to care for their animals in the long term.
Every facility will have to document staff training, and ensure they have the right level containment for their animals.
The new controls have been set by the EPA's Hazardous Substances and New Organisms committee, following an application from the Zoo a

Govt planning transfer of Chiang Mai Zoo operations
The government plans to transfer the operations of Chiang Mai Zoo over to the Office of the Prime Minister's Pinkanakorn Development Agency, said the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry's permanent secretary Chote Trachu yesterday.

Chote said the ministry had received an official letter from the Office of the Prime Minister about the transfer of the zoo's operations. In the letter, it was explained that the transfer was aimed at promoting the development of tourist destinations like Chiang Mai Zoo, which is a home of hundreds of wild animals, including several pandas from China. The zoo generates more than Bt100 million a year. 

The official letter was signed by Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi and was sent on August 4 requesting that Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wichet Kasemthongsri transfer administration of the zoo to the Pinkanakorn Development Agency.

According to the official letter, Plodprasop has also instructed the Zoological Park Organisation to organise a meeting to resolve the issue. 

An environmental expert, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was worried that the transfer of the zoo would lead to its commercialisation, while care of the animals would become a secondary concern.

The government has already transferred operations of Chiang Mai Night Safari and Chiang Mai International Convention and Exhibition Centre to the Pinkanakorn Development Agency.

According to the environmental expert, the government has instructed the Zoological Park Organisation of Thailand to team up with the Pinkanakorn Development Agency to study the pros and cons of transferring the zoo's operations. The Zoological Park Organisation will hold a meeti

Research at zoo to protect pangolins
Nandankanan Zoological Park has undertaken reserch to protect and conserve pangolins, as the toothless mammals face threat of extinction.

Set up in 2008, the Pangolin Conservation Breeding Centre (PCBC) has been studying the mammal's behaviour, reproduction, physiology, nutrition and the diseases they suffer from.

"Though many have an idea that pangolins are dangerous animals because of their scaly look, in reality they are completely harmless. But their scales are sharp and can cause cuts, if one is not careful while touching them. They are captured in large numbers for their scales and meat, which are used to make medicine," said Rajesh Kumar Mohapatra, a research fellow studying on pangolin at Nandankanan zoo.

Nandankanan zoo has been taking care of the pangolins for the last 50 years and so far 20 captive births have taken place at the zoo, of which three births occurred in the PCBC. Presently, the zoo has eight pangolins, including four females.

"It's very difficult to study the behaviour of these animals because they hardly come out during the day. These animals are very agile and tend to roll up into a scaly, armoured ball as self-defence mechanism. That's why they are easily caught by hunters," Mohapatra added.

The number of pangolins has fallen sharply because they are hunted and used in preparing medicines. However, very little is known about the status, ec

Two young elephants die within weeks at Chester Zoo
A second young elephant has died this month at Chester Zoo.

Three-year-old-male Nayan Hi Way died a few weeks after two-year-old female elephant Jamilah, the zoo said.

A post-mortem examination showed Jamilah died of an illness that affects both wild and captive elephants aged between one and four years of age.

Staff said it was too early to determine what had caused the second death, but the rest of the elephan

Zoo tigers 'won't save species from extinction'
On International Tiger Day zoo breeding programs for tigers are in the spotlight again. One conservation charity argues they’re doomed to fail and that saving the animals’ natural habitat is the only way forward.
Last month the birth of two Sumatran tiger cubs made headlines as the rare event was captured on camera at Chester Zoo in the north-west of England. Only 300 to 400 Sumatran tigers are thought to be left in the wild, and the species is considered to be critically endangered.
The Chester Zoo tigers are part of an international captive breeding program aimed at saving Sumatran tigers from extinction.
"The international breeding program is vital in terms of creating a viable back-up population to the wild," said a zoo spokesperson. "That's why these new arrivals are so important."
Yet some campaigners argue that captive breeding programs, where animals are bred in human-controlled environments like zoos and wildlife reserves, can never save endangered species alone.
"It is very likely that the tigers born at Chester Zoo will spend the rest of their lives in a zoo. I think it is extremely unlikely that they will ever be re-introduced into the wild," said Chris Draper from the Born Free Foundation, a conservation charity working with helping endangered animals survive in their natural habitats.
"If you look at Sumatran tigers, the numbers kept in breeding programs around the world are unfortunately not sustainable in the long term, particularly in terms of genetics. They will not be able to maintain 90% genetic diversity over 100 years, which is what is used as a measure of whether or not the program is going to work."
Some species exist in so small numbers in captivity that their gene pool is not large enough to protect them from diseases. This is one of the main problems with captive breeding, according to Draper.
"So if, perish the thought, Sumatran tigers went extinct in the wil

Zoo trainer beat sea lion for photos, report says
A trainer at Zhengzhou Zoo who beat a sea lion with a stick on Sunday upset some visiting children, according to the Dahe Daily.

The trainer and photographer were busy arranging children to have their photographs individually taken, for a charge of 20 yuan ($3.3), with a sea lion on Sunday, at the zoo, in Henan province.

The sea lion seemed impatient as it had to pose for the camera repeatedly. To everyone's surprise, the keeper started to hit it with a white plastic stick. The kids became upset and left with their parents.

The photographer told the newspaper the 4-year-old sea lion had been in the zoo for three years.

According to the newspaper, the sea lion had to pose with about 100 tourists in the morning for photos. If it misbehaved, the photographer is ou

Group lauds Al Ain centre’s conservation model for Arabian tahr
Management of Nature Conservation’s model can be used worldwide, group says
The conservation model used for the endangered Arabian tahr by a centre in Al Ain has been recommended to be used globally by an international group.
Al Ain’s Management of Nature Conservation (MNC), operating under the Department of the President’s Affairs, was recently awarded a Certificate of Excellence by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Germany in recognition of its dedicated contribution towards saving the Arabian tahr from extinction.
Abdul Jaleel Abdul Rahman Al Blouki, MNC director-general, received the recognition on behalf of 
Eng Mubarak Sa’ad Al Ahbabi, Chairman of the Department of the President’s Affairs. The award was given after a two-day independent audit of the centre’s system and processes conducted earlier this month.
The Arabian tahr (Arabitragus jayakari) is endemic to northern Oman and the UAE. It is listed as endangered due to a small population size fewer than 2,500 mature individuals, and is considered as possibly extinct in the UAE.
MNC started the cause of protecting the Arabian tahr in 2002 and started its breeding programme the same year. The centre achieved great strides in 2006 when 334 young Arabian tahr were born.
In 2011, MNC made a breakthrough by successfully producing the first ever Arabian tahr through artificial insemination. The centre’s current birth rate for the Arabian tahr is pegged at 80 per cent.
During the independent audit, the Review Committee from Germany led by Dr Heribert Hofer assessed the centre’s detailed programmes for the Arabian tahr, its state-of-the-art research and diagnostic laboratories, and veterinary division.
Willie Labuschagne, MNC deputy director, said the Review Committee was unanimous in saying that the particular con

Sea lions' eyes hurt by Whipsnade Zoo water
Sea lions at a zoo in Bedfordshire suffered eye problems after a new water filtration system was installed.

Whipsnade Zoo's five Californian sea lions had been temporarily housed at London Zoo while their pool was refurbished.

But when they returned the increased chlorine levels hurt their eyes, an inspection report from March 2012 has revealed.

Whipsnade Zoo said the problem was "quickly rectified".

A report on the zoo, obtained by a Freedom of Information request by the Independent on Sunday, said a sea lion called Salt had shown an "adverse reaction" due to the increased chlorine levels.

The inspector said the sea lions had returned from London Zoo before the filtration system could

'Zoo-cum-safari imperils wildlife in Bellary'
Former minister Gali Janardhana Reddy might be languishing in jail but his brainchild — the Atal Behari Vajpayee Zoo-cum-Safari — has raised hackles among environmental activists. 

Proposed to be spread across 350 acres of scrub forest land within the buffer zone (200 metre) of the Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary in Bellary district, the project has come as a “rude shock” for ecologists.

Officials in the know told Deccan Herald that the government had already floated the tenders for the project and preliminary work, including digging of borewell, has commenced. 

They, however, rue that not all the required approvals have been obtained. “As the area is a reserved forest and numerous trees will be lost, approvals are necessary from the National Wildlife Board and the Ministry of Environment and Forests,” Santosh Martin, Honorary Wildlife Warden of Bellary district, said.

An impact assessment study conducted by a team of Bangalore-based ecologists has revealed shocking facts of the impact the safari will have on the rich flora and fauna of the sanctuary. 
The team — comprising M B Krishna, K S Seshadri, M Sunil Kumar, Seshadri Ramaswamy and Ganesh Babu — points out: “...With over half million tourists expected every year, the sanctuary will become a major hub for tourists, commercial activities, vehicular movement, lights, sound, etc, putting huge pressure on the highly fragile ecosystem.” 

The study observes that the presence of a zoo nearby could possibly transmit diseases from the local and exotic animals to the wildlife in the sanctuary. 

“On a conservative estimate, 45,000 trees will have to be felled to accommodate this artificial Zoo-cum-Safari,” the study mentioned. Besides, several species of fruit-bearing Grewia trees, endemic to this area, are natural food of the sloth bears. The interdependence of endemic trees and the local wildlife will be in danger with the fencing and cutting of trees. 

In addition, bears and leopards move freely in this corridor between Billikallu East RF (Daroji Bear Sanctuary) and Billikallu West Reserve Forest (proposed Zoo area), and the Safari blocks this corridor, which will result in fragmentation, genetic inbreeding and eventual death of wild animals. 

Reddy had proposed the project at a site close to Hampi, a popular tourist destination (see image). He had envisaged shifting the Bellary zoo, located on a 30-40 acre land near the Old Trunk Ro

Brand New Sea Turtles Coming to Charleston, South Carolina

PGAV Destinations chosen to design new aquarium exhibit

St. Louis-based design firm PGAV Destinations has been chosen to design the South Carolina Aquarium’s new Sea Turtle Rescue Center.
For years the South Carolina Aquarium has run one of the country’s most successful and active sea turtle rescue programs. In partnership with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resourcessick or injured sea turtles are brought to the Aquarium where they are rehabilitated for an average of eight months and then returned to the wild.
The new endeavor, being led by the Aquarium’s  president and CEO Kevin Mills and PGAV aquarium strategists and designers Emily Howard and Tom Owen, will work to bring the Aquarium’s recovering turtles out into the public eye as a permanent addition to the Aquarium.
The team will kick off its first official meeting in mid-August, where they will begin to outline the goals of the project and the key messages the Aquarium would like to convey with this Rescue Exhibit. Chief among these messages will be educating the public about the destination’s efforts in sea turtle conservation and rehabilitation, while bringing guests face-to-face with these amazing animals in unique and immersive environments.
“Turtles and sea turtles have become really popular animals at zoos and aquariums even more than in the past,” says PGAV Destinations VP Emily Howard. “The species of sea turtles found in the US are either endangered or threatened, so their conservation message is more important than ever.  These animals are also truly charismatic; the public loves to see and learn about them.”
The Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital is currently treating a variety of species including loggerhead, green, and Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, the most endangered sea turtle species in the world.
Many sea turtle species are endangered due to widespread habitat loss. The turtles nest on beaches, but troublesomely these beaches are often popular tourist destinations. This causes development which encroaches on nesting grounds, tourists to inadvertently damage nests, and the lights of buildings to confuse the sea turtles (which navigate by the moon’s light when nesting at night).
PGAV Destinations has most recently been involved in SeaWorld Orlando’s Turtle Trek, an exhibit renowned for its groundbreaking 4D theater and compelling conservation message intertwined with beautiful and immersive turtle habitats. PGAV will spend the fall collaborating with the South Carolina Aquarium on ideas, story-lines, and potential lay-outs for the project, and is aiming to present its “winning design” later this year.


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