Thursday, December 31, 2015

Zoo News Digest 13th - 31st December 2015

Zoo News Digest 13th - 31st December 2015 
(ZooNews 918)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

Wishing everybody all the very best for 2016. Last year appears to have just flashed past me. Scarcely knew it happened.

Right now we are in the silly season. Over the next few weeks just about every zoo will be carrying out their annual census….and all local papers and some Nationals will be reporting on it as they do every year. The census today is now more a tradition than a necessity. Most zoos today have some sort of computerised record system which if updated regularly should give management the state of play during any week of the year. I am not including any stories about stock takes unless they are novel. Blackpool zoos little video however did make me laugh. You will have to go to their Facebook page to see that.

The Goat and the Tiger are still in the news. There is WebCam and there is talk of a movie. Did you know they now plan a children's book on it? It would seem that there are people out there that believe the unnecessary barbaric act of feeding a live goat to a tiger is a perfectly acceptable thing to do. It isn't…and if we start telling children that it is, well there really isn't a very nice future waiting for some poor creatures. Don't get me wrong. I would, could and have slaughtered many a goat for feeding. Horses, camels…well you name it and I have probably killed it at one time or another. But, and it is a big but… I hate animal cruelty in all its forms, and this is cruel and bloody stupid. Live feeding is wrong. This explanation… "The park’s specialists explain this (live feeding) has to be done from time to time to ensure the tiger retains hunting habits" is absolute crap!

You will note that the South Lakes Wild Animal Park is getting a lot of press lately. I have posted several links. It has been stated they will close on the 9th of January and more recently on the 11th. We will see. Personally I am sick of it. I don't want to see anyone losing their jobs but I just wish they would cut the crap and close the place and stop playing silly games.

I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos, 

Interesting Links

Vol. XXX | No. 12 | December 2015
ISSN  0971-6378 (Print)
0973-2543 (Online)
Date of publication 21 December 2015

A Report on Midwinter Bird Diversity from Mangalajodi Wetland, Odisha
-- Suvamoy Changder, Sagar Adhurya, Utpal Singha Roy and Moitreyee Banerjee, Pp. 1-5
Announcement: World Fish Migration Day, May 21 2016
P. 5
Abundance of Indian Grey Mongoose Herpestes edwardsii (É. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1818) (Carnivora: Herpestidae) in the Bengaluru region
-- S. Rajashekara and M.G. Venkatesha, Pp. 6-12
Tragia praetervisa Chakrab. & N.P. Balakr.(Euphorbiaceae) – an addition to the Flora of Odisha from Nayagarh
-- Dhole P.A., P.K. Baske, A.C. Halder and K.A. Sujana, Pp. 13-14
Announcement: 13th International Otter Congress: Otters & People, 03-08 July 2016, Singapore
P. 14
Management of Impaction in Greater One-horned Rhino
-- R.K. Singh, U.C. Srivastava and Mohd Nasir, Pp. 15-17
A first record of albinism in Jungle Palm Squirrels Funambulus tristriatus (Rodentia: Sciuridea) from India
-- Amit Sayyed, Anil Mahabal and Abhijit Nale, Pp. 18-19
Husbandry and Care of Terrestrial Invertebrates (Chapter 36, ZOOKEEPING)
-- Tom Mason and Aaron M. Cobaugh, Pp. 20-30
ZOOLEX: Otter Centre, Stoat Heath
Pp. 31-35
Education Reports
Pp. 36-39
Announcement: 5th Biodiversity Conference, March 10-12 March 2016, Madrid, Spain
P. 40
Announcement: IUCN World Conservation Congress, 1-10 September 2016, Hawai’I

Back Cover page


Tiger-Goat Duo rockets to stardom in Russian cyber space on New Year’s Eve
In the last weeks of the outgoing year - the Year of the Goat in the Chinese Zodiac - a black goat nicknamed Timur and Far Eastern (also called Siberian) tiger called Amur met in a safari park in Russia's Primorye Territory to instantly rocket to stardom in the national cyber space. At the end of November the goat was brought to tiger Amur’s vast enclosure the size of a football pitch approximating wildlife environment as live prey. The park’s specialists explain this has to be done from time to time to ensure the tiger retains hunting habits. It is easy to imagine how surprised the park’s attendants were when the goat boldly confronted the huge cat head on showing no intention to step back an inch. The tiger had to retreat. Then, at a certain point the beast of prey for some reason displayed remarkable benevolence towards the unexpected guest. First, the tiger let the goat use his shelter to hide from rain and snow during the night. Then, in several days’ time the wild beast and the domesticated goat apparently developed what began to look pretty much like real friendship. They were repeatedly seen take long strides together, play tag and even have their

Swiss architects go wild over zoo design
Designing spaces for wild animals is not what most architects have in mind when entering the profession. But the creative Swiss are embracing the challenge to make lions, elephants and sea creatures feel at home.
Markus Schietsch clearly remembers his first encounter with a wild bull elephant. He was in the back of an open pickup truck when the elephant repeatedly mock charged the vehicle in the Kaeng Krachan national park in Thailand. The adrenalin-packed experience was courtesy of a study trip organised by the Zurich zoo, as the Zurich based-architect had just won a CHF57 million ($56.7 million) contract to build their new Kaeng Krachan elephant house.
“The visit was to help me understand more about the role of zoos today,” the boyish-looking 40-year-old told “You can still be critical about zoos but they are very important to generate an awareness about conservation problems outside Europe.”
He was thrilled to win the elephant house commission, the biggest project his firm had ever been entrusted with. Competition was fierce, with around 65 entries from countries including the United States, France, Italy, Germany and Austria.
But his 6,800 square metre free-standing wooden roof – designed to give the impression of being under a giant tree – bowled the jury over.
“We delved into the world of the elephant and came across these beautiful tree canopies where they lived,” says Schietsch. “We then tried to translate this structure into the elephant house design.”
Another Swiss architect who bagged a multimillion-franc zoo contract is Roger Boltshauser, who is also based in Zurich. His firm beat internationally-renowned architects like Zaha Hadid and David Chippe

Emmen zoo closes its doors after 80 years
Emmen zoo closes its doors at 16.30 on Thursday, 80 years after it first opened. The zoo will reopen at a new, bigger location outside the town in March. ‘We had to do something,’ said spokeswoman Hanneke Wijshake. ‘We were squashed in between the houses and could not expand.’ The decision to move to a new location was taken several years ago. The new zoo will be renamed Wildlands Adventure Zoo and will have bigger enclosures for the animals. The first of them, such as the tigers and panthers, have already been moved to their new home. ‘They will have to get used to their new situation, which is why we are taking three months to reopen,’ Wijshake said

What happened to the missing sun bears?
Two years ago, I visited the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sepilok, Sabah, for a documentary project. The centre is established and managed by an amazing individual known simply as Mr Wong. And through Mr Wong, I became acquainted to the main character of our documentary – Damai, a Malayan sun bear.
Damai is an adorable sun bear who was just eight months old when I met her. Unlike most sun bears who are dependent on their mothers until at least two years of age, Damai spends most of her time alone. This is because she is an orphan.
Apparently, when Damai was still a baby, she and her mother got lost in a palm oil estate. The workers who found them killed her mother and sold Damai as a pet. Damai then grew up with her adoptive human family, treated like a puppy, caged and given human food.
However, when she was four months old, Damai managed to escape from her cage and was found walking aimlessly around the neighbourhood when a concerned citizen informed the Wildlife Department – that was how she ended up at the sun bear conservation centre.
When I met Damai, she was already four months living in the centre under the care of Mr Wong. She totally depended on Mr Wong to help her regain her strength and teach her the skills she needed to survive in the forest one day. But it wasn’t an easy task to re-acquaint Damai to the forest.
The fact is, sun bears are supposed to be experts at climbing trees besides having a natural curiosity to explore the woods. Sadly, having been cage

Zoo breeds very rare jellyfish
Schönbrunn Zoo, which is the world's oldest zoo and is based in the Austrian capital of Vienna, notched up the success and revealed they have managed to breed the rare animal, which is now on show in the aquarium.

Rhizostoma luteum is so rare that despite claims of its existence based on sightings from hundreds of years ago, there was significant doubt that any were still left alive.

Zoo director Dagmar Schratter said: "The giant jellyfish was discovered in 1827 in the Western Mediterranean. But it is so rarely seen nowadays that some scientists had doubted its continued existence.

"The fact that specimens are still alive was only confirmed a few years ago when a few of the animals were stranded on beaches in Morocco and Spain."

This jellyfish currently measures just 4 centi

Tiger put down after escaping from KZN zoo
A tiger that escaped from the Natal Zoological Gardens and Lion Park in Pietermaritzburg has been put down.
Owner Brian Boswell, who also owns the controversial Brian Boswell's Circus, says that the animal escaped on Tuesday.

"We were notified yesterday [Wednesday]. It has since been killed," he said.

"We had a vet with us and we had to put it down because it wasn't safe enough to dart [tranquilize]."

He said nobody was attacked by the tiger.

Boswell did not comment on how the animal escaped.

"The police will look into that."

Nicholas May, who lives in the Mpushini Valley area, where the tiger made its way to, said the animal was spotted by a neighbour in her farm yesterday.

He says the owners were called, and locals assumed the animal would be tranquilized.

"They brought a shotgun and blasted the hell out of it... The animal has been in a cage, it was almost tame," May said.

He said the animal appeared to have survived that and walked off into the nearby bushes.

Boswell however confirmed that the animal was dead.

The circus has been heavily criticised recently, and calls were made for it to be boycotted after allegations emerged that it was mistreating

Were five more tigers killed on Boswell’s Lion Park property?
The controversy over the recent ­shooting of a Bengal tiger that escaped from zoo and circus owner Brian ­Boswell’s property was further fuelled on Tuesday by allegations that it was one of six tigers in fact killed in the wake of a mass escape.

The allegations emerged during a ­protest by animal rights activists ­outside Boswell’s Natal Zoological ­Gardens and Lion Park on Tuesday.

In a brief telephonic conversation with The Witness, Boswell later, however, denied that more than one tiger was killed “that day”.

“One tiger escaped and one tiger was shot in a separate incident,” he said.

In reply to the allegation that it was rumoured that five other tigers were also shot, Boswell said, “We have put down tigers before, but this was separate. On this occasion there was one tiger that was shot.”

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesperson Musa Mntambo said the organisation was aware of only one tiger being shot at Boswell’s behest after it escaped onto a neighbouring farm.

“I have received other phone calls from people also asking the same ­question you are … Our guys are busy trying to find out if it is true or not,” said Mntambo.

He said later Boswell had denied there were additional tiger shootings.

According to his information, however, it appeared that legislation does not require a permit to shoot a tiger provided it is shot on the owner’s property.

The allegation of a mass escape and killing of tigers on Boswell’s property ­emanated from a local resident.

The man told the protesters on Tuesday that according to his information six ­tigers had been shot, not only the one reported in the media.

He said later that he had heard about this from Boswell’s employees.

“I live in the Lion Park area and the people who work there are friends.

“What I heard was that six tigers escaped — five were shot and one escaped from that shooting and was shot later. In all there were six shot dead,” he said.

He said that prominent monkey expert and animal activist Steve Smit, who was at the protest, phoned Boswell in his presence and confronted him with the information. “He [Boswell] confirmed it,” he said.

Smit said that when he called Boswell he did not ask him if it was true that six tigers were shot.

“I just said that I was calling about the six tigers that escaped and were shot, and Boswell confirmed it,” he said.

Smit said he asked Boswell if the tigers were all shot on the same day and he had replied “no” and said they were shot “over a couple of days”.

“Five were shot on his property and one went onto a neighbouring property and was shot there. I asked Boswell why the tigers were not darted, and he said it was because the bush was too thick,” said Smit.

A video recording of Smit talking to Bo

Large permanent reserves required for effective conservation of old fish
100 years needed to fully recover slow growing fish
Permanent marine protected areas and wilderness--places where fish can grow old--are critical to the effective conservation of marine ecosystems according to a new study conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society, James Cook University, and Lancaster University.

Unlike previous research focused primarily on the weight or biomass of fish as a measure of reef recovery, this study evaluated the life histories of fish communities. In doing so, the researchers found much slower change--well beyond the 20 years that it took for biomass to recover--and some factors like growth rate were expected to change for more than 100 years. The findings underscore the importance of permanent marine protected areas and wilderness in the effective protection of marine fishes.

The study titled "Marine reserve recovery rates towards a baseline are slower for reef fish community life histories than biomass" appears in th

Stem Cells May Save Northern White Rhinos
With only three northern white rhinoceroses left on Earth, conservationists are giving up on traditional breeding efforts and turning to cutting-edge science to save this subspecies.

At a meeting in Vienna from Dec. 3 to Dec. 6, researchers developed a plan to use stem cells to create fertilized rhino embryos, which will be carried by surrogate southern white rhino females.

This past year has been a sad one for northern white rhinos, a rapidly disappearing subspecies destroyed by habitat loss and poaching. There were six northern whites on the pl

Oldest of zoo gorillas turns 59 at Columbus Zoo
A gorilla that officials say is the oldest known gorilla living in a zoo is celebrating her 59th birthday with a party.

The Columbus Zoo says the female western lowland gorilla, named Colo, is celebrating with toys and an ice cake containing treats such as clementines and tomatoes frozen inside. Online viewers can see Colo’s habitat drap

Bowmanville Zoo owner denies wrongdoing after PETA releases video of whipping
A Bowmanville zoo director is defending his actions after an animal activist group released a video showing the man whipping a tiger and saying that if PETA had seen his actions, they would burn the place to the ground.
PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – posted a 1:37 video of Michael Hackenberger training the Siberian tiger. Hackenberger is heard swearing angrily after the animal ignored his cue and jumped on a ledge instead of continuing with his practice routine.
“Fu**ing piece of fu**cking sh**,” he says as he

Statement from Canada's Accredited Zoos and Aquariums
The following is a statement from CAZA Executive Director, Massimo Bergamini, following the release of a video alleging animal abuse at the Bowmanville Zoo.

"The welfare of the animals in the care of our accredited member institutions is our paramount concern. 

CAZA's values, policies and standards are clear: animals must be treated with respect and dignity and in a manner that does not jeopardize their welfare. 

After viewing the edited video, we have decided to bring the matter before our Ethics Committee for investigation.

The Committee is being empaneled today and we expect that it will convene quickly to consider the matter.

The issues raised by the video are serious and requi

13th International Otter Congress
03 - 08 July
Singapore Zoological Gardens
Learn more HERE

Siegfried and Roy Shouldn't Be Surprised By Their Tiger Cubs' Tragic Death
Just three months after Siegfried and Roy unveiled two white tigers who they had bred in captivity for people's entertainment, the Las Vegas performers announced, with great sadness, that the little cubs had died. The only problem is, the fact that these young animals lives' ended so early is their fault.

Hollywild Animal Park hires new curator
S. Nigel Platt will lead Hollywild's animal department and be the animal curator for the nonprofit animal park that has been home to the Upstate for more than 40 years.

The press release describes Platt in the following:

"For the last eight years, Platt has served as executive director at Safe Haven and Educational Adventures in Easley, SC, non-profit organization providing permanent refuge for rescued exotic wildlife. A native of England, Platt first came to the United States as Herpetologist for the Toledo Zoo in 1993. He then came to the Upstate as General Curator of the Greenville Zoo where he worked for six years providing professional leadership, strategic planning, oversight and supervision for the animal collection, facilities and personnel before being tapped by Reaseheath College in England to establish the school’s teaching zoo program and animal collection. Upon completion of the project, Platt returned to the SC Upstate and co-founded Safe Haven with Kim Chiswell, an animal care specialist and educator. Platt will remain a consultan

Vet's battle for chimp stranded in empty zoo
Marthe Arends had just arrived in Burkina Faso and was walking through the city of Bobo-Dioulasso when she heard a noise over her shoulder.

“I suddenly heard an ’uuhm, uuhm’ behind me,” the 31-year-old from Berlin said. On turning around she saw a pathetic looking Chimpanzee sitting on a wall with a chain around it.

“Lolita clearly wanted to get our attention,” said Arends. That was in 2012. But it became the start of a deep friendship for which the German vet even gave up her job.

Arends’ father - himself a doctor in parasiteology and veterinary medicine at the Free University in Berlin - had cautioned her before she left for Africa that she should

Council responds to Dalton zoo 'harassment' comments
SOUTH Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton is to close on January 9, bosses of the tourist attraction have announced.
A statement was issued after Barrow Borough Council ruled all wooden public walkways must be shut with immediate effect due to concerns about safety.

The decision was made at a meeting of the Licensing Regulatory Committee - prompting zoo spokesman Karen Brewer to say the attraction would be 'effectively closed'.

She said: "In effect if you close the walkways you are closing the zoo.

"We would be closing the only access areas to the natural park. You have been round to see the area and in effect you would be closing us."

Council responds to Dalton zoo 'harassment' comments
A statement was issued after Barrow Borough Council ruled all wooden public walkways must be shut with immediate effect due to concerns about safety.

The decision was made at a meeting of the Licensing Regulatory Committee - prompting zoo spokesman Karen Brewer to say the attraction would be 'effectively closed'.

She said: "In effect if you close the walkways you are closing the zoo.

"We would be closing the only access areas to the natural park. You h

Row over Dalton zoo safety intensifies
- Zoo criticises council's handling of licensing issues

- Council defends decision

- Evening Mail calls for both parties to hold clear the air talks

- MP hopes solution can be found

- Petition launched to stop zoo closure

Barrow Borough Council released a statement on Friday in response to South Lakes Safari Zoo accusing the authority of harassing the zoo for the past two years.

RELATED ARTICLES:  Muck heap baboon escape fears raised at zoo

Timeline: The storied past of Dalton zoo and David Gill
November 1997: Mr Gill is found guilty of endangering the public after a white rhino escaped from its enclosure. During the incident in May, the animal fell down a ravine and had to be shot.

July 2001: A tribunal awards former animal park employee Lara Kitson £30,000 in compensation after she claimed she was sacked for being pregnant. Mr Gill denied the allegations.

April 2004: Mareeba Wild Animal Park, Gill’s venture in Queensland, Australia, closes after 15 weeks. He was later fined $10,000AUS after a cheetah escaped from the zoo.

August 2007: Mr Gill is attacked in his own home by the estranged husband of his then-partner. Richard Creary is later jailed for five years for stabbing Mr Gill in the neck.

July 2008: Mr Gill quits as chairman of the Barrow and Furness Conservative Association after just three months. He ran unsuccessfully for the Dalton South ward of Barrow Borough Council in the May 2008 elections, and again in May this year.

December 2008: A fire in one of the park’s enc

Dalton zoo bosses to meet Barrow council chief
The attraction made a shock announcement earlier this month that it would close in January, following a decision by Barrow Borough Council to close the zoo’s public walkways due to health and safety reasons.

The council has explained that their licensing regulatory committee ruled that all wooden public walkways at the Dalton attraction must be shut with immediate effect due to concerns over safety.

The zoo was given 28 days to comply.

In response, the animal park issued a statement last week saying they would shut on January 9.

South Lakes Safari Zoo to issue 'formal complaint' against Barrow Borough Council, according to statement
THE South Lakes Safari Zoo has announced that they will be making 'a formal complaint' to Barrow Borough Council after the animal park was ordered to close its wooden walkways on safety grounds.

In a statement issued on their Facebook page, the zoo claims that the council has used a 'heavy-handed approach'.

Dalton Zoo facing order to prevent baboons escaping
Barrow Borough Council's licensing regulatory committee is being recommended to issue direction orders against South Lakes Safari Zoo at a meeting due to health and safety concerns.

The authority has identified three conditions to the Dalton zoo's licence which it states are not being met.

A muck pile in the African enclosure, which houses rhinos, giraffes and baboons, could pose a route for the monkeys to climb fencing and escape, a report to the council has found.

The zoo was told to move the pile away from the boundary by December 31, however the attraction states it cannot do so until the completion of a new rhino facility which has been delayed by several months.

"Moving the muck heap away from the moat and enclosure fence will reduce the escape risk and is deemed to be an easy task," the report reads.

The direction order, if imposed, would give the attraction a deadline of 14 days to carry out the work.

A letter to the council from the zoo in response reads: "At this time it is absolutely necessary for the muck store to remain within the boundary of the rhino field albeit a safe distance from the boundary to prevent escape of baboons.

"Any suggestion that the pile was to be in the middle of the field is simply unsafe and not good practice. It would create very dangerous wet patches in the ground for rh

Researchers find that Australian and New Zealand little penguins are distinct species
A team of researchers from New Zealand's University of Otago and the University of Tasmania has discovered that Australian and New Zealand little penguins represent two distinct species, rather than one.

Scientists had previously wondered about the relationships between populations of the penguin (popularly known as little blue penguins or fairy penguins) found on either side of the Tasman. The trans-Tasman team used genetic techniques to compare populations from both countries, and surprisingly found that they are not the same species.

"We found a very strong pattern, where New Zealand has its own distinctive genetic group that is clearly very differe

Perth Zoo in echidna breeding world first
Perth Zoo has produced the world's first puggle from two captive-born echidnas.

Perth's newest puggle hatched in August, weighing less than a gram, before spending two months in its mother's pouch to eventually be deposited in a burrow when it got too prickly for its mum.

A Perth Zoo spokeswoman said short-beaked echidnas were notoriously difficult to breed, but changes to animal management and their exhibit design, inspired by Philadelphia Zoo, led to a successful result.

'The puggles will remain in their burrows off display until they're about six months old,' she said.

'By then they will have a fully protective covering of spines and look just like a small adult echidna.'

It is hoped the successful breeding p

Russian specialists ready to assist North Korea count Amur tigers
Russian scientists are ready to assist North Korea assess the potential presence of Amur tigers in the country, director of the Amur Tiger Center's Primorye branch Sergei Aramilev said.

“The Russian Natural Resources and Ecology Ministry and North Korean representatives are holding negotiations for the assistance of Russian specialists in the assessment of the tiger population in North Korea,” Aramilev told reporters on Dec. 14. “If ther

Chester Zoo and Cheshire Oaks sign up to become Autism Champions
Chester Zoo and Cheshire Oaks have signed up to become more autism-friendly.

Both of the attractions have pledged to become Autism Champions under a Department of Health-backed scheme.

They have committed to put their staff through training as well as help spread awareness and understanding.

The Connect to Austism project is being run in the north west by Wirral-based charity Autism Together.

Autism Together CEO Robin Bush said: “People with autism want to lead normal lives, they want to go to the cinema or visit the shops or go on holiday.

“It’s actually easier than you may think to make an organisation autism-friendly by training staff and making small adjustments to venues.

“For example, people with autism can take several seconds to process what you have said, so we train staff to wait patiently for an answer.

Why Elephant Rides in India May Soon Be Banned
For decades, elephants have been used to ferry tourists to popular destinations in India—walking to the Amber Fort, an opulent palace high on a hill some seven miles outside Jaipur, Rajasthan’s capital city, with up to four people on their back. It wasn't until this week that the government decided to speak out on their behalf. Members of the Indian Supreme Court have expressed concern about elephant working conditions and requested a response from the government in four weeks. Once they've reviewed the response, they will decide whether or not to ban the practice, which could be potentially be in violation of Indian law.

The original petition, filed by an advocate for the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, stated that only 50 of 130 elephants used for tourism in the Indian states of Goa and Rajasthan are housed in the state-sponsored supported Elephant Village, where the animals are given food, cleaned, and taken out for walks. The remaining 80 are housed in private sheds and “subjected to intense and relentless physical and mental cruelty” that affects both their mental and physical well-being—records exist of elephants suffering from back swelling, chain wounds on their legs, severe foot infections, and even exhibiting signs of depression.

Sadly, the mistreatment of elephants in India is an incident not limited to the subcontinent. In Vietnam, a number of elephants used for work in the touris

A Question To Ponder
The other day, the senior trainer on our team asked me a question as we filled out our records after the final session.

"If you could have a drink with one of the animals here, who would it be?" she asked. 
What a fantastic question, right?  Don't you ever wonder that about the animals you know?  What would they say if you were granted Doolittle amnesty and you could just chillax with a frosty beverage and wax poetic with another species of animal? 

"Take your time," the senior trainer added.   She knew how serious of a question this was.

So I walked around our main dolphin habitat, checking the area for the night to make sure everything looked good.  As I peered into the underwater viewing windows, I saw the dolphins playing*.  I heard their seemingly endless wh

The Disturbing Truth About Where Zoo Animals Come From
Sissy's life in the zoo system began in 1969. That year, at the tender age of 1, she was ripped away from her family in Thailand and shipped to the Six Flags Over Texas Amusement Park petting zoo in Arlington, Texas.

Not long after her arrival to Six Flags, she was sold to the Frank Buck Zoo in Gainesville, Texas.

Tiny Booroolong frog focus of $1 million project with implications for human survival
The waters of the trickling streams in the mountains around Oberon in central-west New South Wales are pretty chilly, even in December, but that goes with the territory for a group of dedicated frog researchers.

These scientists spend nights wading the waterways, listening for the croak of frogs, hand examining and recording each one to see if it is the Booroolong frog.

The species, found in pockets of streams along the Great Dividing Range in New South Wales and north-eastern Vi

Beef row: Bhilai zoo animals will now get fish
After having withdrawn a tender to procure beef for zoo animals following a controversy, public sector Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) will now feed fresh fish to animals at its famous Maitri Baag Zoo in Chhattisgarh.

Six New African Clawed Frog Species Discovered
McMaster University researchers have discovered and described six new African clawed frog species (Xenopus sp.) that reside in west and sub-Saharan Africa. The researchers determined the frogs were new species using a variety of analyses, including DNA, voice recordings, CT scanning of internal anatomy, and chromosome analysis.

Lions devour zebra in front of zoo visitors
Visitors to the lion enclosure at Duisburg Zoo were shocked on Thursday afternoon to see the big cats feasting on the remains of a zebra.
Zoo science director Jochen Reiter explained to Bild that at 24, the zebra had reached extreme old age and that it had been put down humanely according to animal rights rules.

Rather than disposing of the cadaver, the zoo keepers decided to reintroduce it to the circle of life by giving the l

 A zoo keeper at Indonesia’s Surabaya zoo has been arrested and charged with sexual assault on a number of animals and even, strangely enough, of impregnating a female orangutan, reports the Kalimantan Press this morning.

The 38-year-old zoo keeper was filmed in full action by a series of hidden cameras put in place by the zoo’s security officials after doubts emerged about the man’s devious actions towards the zoo animals.

“Some animals seemed sexually aroused when it was time to feed them” explains Akhiroel Yahya, employee of the zoo f

Report of orang utan sexually assaulted by zoo employee a hoax
 A report claiming that an employee of the Surabaya Zoo sexually assaulted an orang utan, resulting in the alleged victim's pregnancy, is a hoax, the zoo’s chief has confirmed.

Zoo chief Heri Purwanto debunked the report by the World News Daily Network on Saturday, saying that the zoo was not housing an orang utan named Marilyn and that the named officials were not employees of the zoo.

"Everything in the news report is false. We don’t have an orang utan named Marilyn or a director named Abd

Cheetah on the loose might be 'Annie Rose,' known to stalk children
The cheetah on the loose in B.C.'s Kootenay region looks like an adult female named "Annie Rose" that is likely to stalk children, says the owner of an Alberta zoo.

A cheetah was spotted wandering along the side of a snowy B.C. highway north of Creston, B.C. Thursday afternoon, triggering a public warning from the RCMP and a search by three conservation officers.

Doug Bos of Discovery Wildlife Park says the markings, collar and other details of the unidentified animal match Annie, a female cheetah that was at his facility in 2014.

Tasmanian devil monitoring program given $500,000 by US zoo amid federal funding concerns
A US zoo is giving a monitoring program for the Tasmanian devil $500,000 over the next five years amid concerns over federal funding.

A deal has been struck between the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program and the Toledo Zoo in Ohio.

The zoo will contribute $500,000 over the next five years for a program that monitors the mammals in the wild.

The program will also assess the evolution of the facial tumour disease afflicting the population.

Save the Tasmanian Devil's team leader Dr Samantha Fox said federal funding runs out next year.

"Our federal funding is about to finish in about a year's time, and so what happens is the program then has to review some of the projects we have ongoing and look and see what's absolutely necessary to the ongoing

My Professional Failures: New Trainer Edition
Here we go again, another journey down memory lane towards that oft-visited town I like to call FAILURE.  It's a bustling metropolitan area that lures me back on a relatively routine basis.  It's one of those places that always sounds really good in theory (you know, the whole "Oh, learn from your mistakes makes you a better person" thing), but when you get there it usually feels rotten.  Occasionally, like any good city experience, it makes you laugh.  Usually both.

13 veterinary doctors hired for looking after wildlife parks, zoos
Thirteen veterinary doctors have been recruited for treatment and looking after of wildlife and they are being posted at wildlife parks and zoos in the province.
One veterinary doctor each in wildlife parks whereas two each in zoos will be posted. Private breeders will also get guidance from these doctors.
This was stated by Wildlife and Parks Director General Khalid Ayaz Khan while addressing the first Breeders’ Convention in the history of the Department at Lahore Zoo on Saturday.
Officers of the Department, breeders from all over the province and a large number of people associated with this sector were also present on this occasion.
Khan said that online information system has been introduced for the guidance and assistance of breeders for protecting wildlife from diseases. He said that all matters relating to enhancing the period of renewal of license for breeding from two years to five years are being considered. However, breeders will have to provide all data of sale of birds and animals at the time of submitting application for renewal.
Khan said that all possible facilities will be provided to small breeders at every level and the procedure of bringing wildlife from abroad for breeding is also being simplified. He said that visits will be conducted to the farms of private

Feral dogs kill 6 animals, injures 2 others at Jackson Zoo
Six Jackson Zoo animals were killed overnight by feral dogs, zoo officials said. Two others were injured.

Zoo staff members said they discovered that the animals had been attacked early Friday morning. Staff members said one Addra Gazelle and five Springbok were killed. Two spur-winged geese were injured. The geese were taken to the Zoo’s Animal Hospital for care.

Animal Control was called so that the feral dogs could be caught and not other animals.

The Zoo captured four of the five feral dogs believed to be involved in the accident. One dog escaped; along with another dog that was spotted in the cemetery next to the zoo. They said they don’t think the dog

Cricket St Thomas Wildlife Park - what happened next? From cheetah to zebra, we track the animals
IT was an attraction which brought huge enjoyment to thousands and many were left distraught when Cricket St Thomas Wildlife Park closed in 2009.

Memories abound of coming face to face with the monkeys that roamed free or hearing tales of daring simian escapes to neighbouring towns.

The house, which was used as Grantleigh Manor, the setting for the television series To the Manor Born, and its estate is also remembered for becoming home to Crinkley Bottom, a theme park created by Noel Edmonds. The project was short-lived an

Fugitive monkey was getting bullied in his enclosure say zoo keepers
Tamil the lion-tailed macaque is still on the loose and experts have warned to steer clear of him because the animals are aggressive brawlers
An escaped monkey is still giving police and keepers the slip after two days on the run - because he was getting picked on.

The lion-tailed macaque is still on the loose despite keepers setting traps and searching the fields and countryside around the animal park.

Keepers from Howletts Animal Park, Kent, are continuing the search for Tamil, the six-year-old macaque who ran away from the zoo on Tuesday night.

It is thought th

Omaha zoo CEO addresses concerns about planned elephant import: We're saving the lives of these animals
Hundreds of people and several animal rights groups have concerns about the Omaha zoo’s planned elephant import.
The Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium and partner zoos in Dallas and Wichita, Kansas, filed for a permit with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to import a total of 18 elephants from Big Game Parks in Swaziland, a small country in southern Africa. That permit application was open for public comment until late last month.
More than 8,000 comments were submitted. While many included support from fellow zoos, individuals and other groups, there also were plenty of people with reservations.
Those concerned with the import have questioned its merit as a rescue, wond

World's rarest magpie comes to UK zoo
Conservationists at Chester Zoo have started the first conservation breeding programme in Europe for one of the world's most endangered birds.
The Javan green magpie has been poached almost to extinction from its native Indonesian forests. Now, three pairs of the birds have been released into their outdoor aviaries for the first time.
BBC science reporter Victoria Gill was there to see the tropical birds get their first glimpse of the

A Trainer's Great Insecurity
I want to admit something to all of you.

I'm a little nervous, though.  I don't want to offend anyone, because you all seem really nice and totally non-judgmental.  But I'm a little worried you're going to judge me.  Especially those of you who are trainers, and experienced ones at that.

But I feel like I need to come clean.  So here it goes, my admission to you before 2016 rolls in, where we turn over a new leaf and try to become a better person and improve the things we feel we fall short in in our lives.  Whew, deep breath…

My Family and Other Animals 60th anniversary: Gerald Durrell's book is a triumph of conscious craft
Gerald Durrell was a man of paradise. Paradise found, paradise lost, paradise regained, paradise destroyed, paradise dreamed in a vision of hope, paradise under siege, paradise relieved, paradise unattainable, paradise built with his own hands. Paradise was his business, his life, his destroyer, his salvation.

He produced a literary masterpiece that remains the finest evocation of paradise ever written. He built a paradise based on his own beliefs of what a zoo should be. And after his death in 1995, he left behind an organisation that works to restore a touch of paradise to humanity and to everything else that lives. "The world needs Durrell," says Sir David Attenborough. Durrell is a voice, an example, a legacy, a belief, a cause. And while his message has never gone away, it will be proclaimed with renewed power in 2016.

Next year it will be 60 years since the publication of Durrell's greatest book – My Family and Other Animals. It has sold millions of copies worldwide, and across the decade's generations of schoolchildren have grown up with the story of the Durrell family's stay on their paradise island of Corfu in the five years leading up to the ou

December’s bank holidays and Christmas’s holidays have in common in that the Immaculate Conception is celebrated in both. The biological phenomenon in which a female animal reproduces without mating with a male is called parthenogenesis and, even if there isn’t any proof that this could happen to human beings, virginal birth is a widely distributed thing throughout the animal kingdom. In this entry we’ll see how this incredible phenomenon happens and some species in which it appears.


New zoo for animals rescued from cages flooded in September typhoon Goni
A massive rescue operation, divers and helicopters saved most of the zoo's animals after treacherous floods engulfed their cages. Two bears, a wolf and a badger were killed after the typhoon led to waters from the Rakovka River surging over the grounds of Green Island animal park.

Now 13 bears and a lion called Grey have taken up reside

Crimean deal for capital zoo in limbo
It was supposed to be a win-win proposal for both parties. A pair of white lions, a pair of Siberian tigers, 15 ring-tailed coati, two llamas, and five squirrel monkeys for the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo, all in return for just three elephants for the Taygan Lions Park and Skazka Zoo in Yalta, Crimea, Russia.

However, the much-anticipated animal exchange appears to be mired in bureaucratic hurdles in the State. The Forest Department, it is learnt, is not keen on exchange of an endangered animal species.

Since the city zoo does not have elephants of its own, the jumbos will have to travel from the Kottoor elephant rehabilitation camp of the Forest Department. This, apparently, has also come in for some opposition.

A lot of expectations were riding on the transfer for both the zoos. While the city zoo would get to add some ‘heavyweights’ to the 100-odd species it already housed, thereby increasing its profile and seeing an increase in footfall, the Yalta zoo would be realising its 15-year-old dream of having elephants.

According to reports in sections of the Russian media, t

Pandas Have More Babies if They Can Pick Their Mates
Giant pandas that are crazy about each other produce more cubs than panda couples lacking that mysterious spark, according to new research.

Even a one-sided romance has better odds of producing a baby than a mutually indifferent union.

The finding could provide a significant boost for the endangered species, many of which are lacking in the amorous arts.

Exhibit A are Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, the female and male pandas at Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C. All three of their cubs were conceived via artificial insemination after their parents couldn’t seal the deal the old-fashioned way. (Related: "These Newborn Pandas Face 4 Big Threats to Survival.")

Such unsatisfying arranged marriages are all to

The dogs that protect little penguins
When foxes discovered little penguins on a small Australian island, they nearly wiped the colony out. But a farmer came up with a novel way to protect the birds - and the story has been made into a hit film.
As a premise for a film, think Lassie meets Babe meets Pingu. What's not to like?
Middle Island, a beautiful, rugged and windswept outcrop off the coast of southern Victoria is home to a colony of the world's smallest penguins.
Originally known as fairy penguins, before some pen-pusher deemed that politically incorrect, they've now been given the far more dr

Monkey on the loose after escaping enclosure and fleeing from zoo
A monkey is on the loose after escaping from its zoo .

The lion-tailed macaque disappeared on night and concerned zoo keepers say it has left the boundaries of the zoo.

Staff, including specialist vets, have been put on standby to try to contain the monkey after it fled from Howletts Wild Animal Park near Canterbury, Kent.

The male primate has not been sighted since its remarkable escape from its open-topped pen.

Members of the public have been warned not to approach the ape, although animal director Adrian Harland reassured nearby residents that it is not considered a threat to anyone.

A spokesman for Howletts said: “A young male lion tailed macaque is currently out of his enclosure at Howletts and keepers

Detroit Zoo now totally powered by renewable electricity
The Detroit Zoo announced Monday that the zoo is now powered with 100 percent renewable electricity.

According to a release, the Zoo bought renewable energy credits through support from ITC Holdings Corp.

The Zoo said in a statement that the renewable electricity results in less environmental waste and pollution.

"We continue to look for ways to reduce our ecological footprint and thank ITC for helping us to accomplish that goal," Detroit Zoological Society Executive Director and CEO Ron Kagan said. "Our hope is to inspire others to look to clean, renewable energy sources."

Every Renewable Energy Credit represents a megawatt-hour of electricity generated by something like win

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About me
After more than 47 years working in private, commercial and National zoos in the capacity of keeper, head keeper and curator Peter Dickinson started to travel. He sold house and all his possessions and hit the road. He has traveled extensively in Turkey, Southern India and much of South East Asia before settling in Thailand. In his travels he has visited well over 200 zoos and writes about these in his blog

Peter earns his living as an international independent zoo consultant, critic and writer. Currently working as Curator of Penguins in Ski Dubai. United Arab Emirates. He describes himself as an itinerant zoo keeper, a dreamer, a traveller, a people watcher, a lover, a thinker, a cosmopolitan, a writer, a hedonist, an explorer, a pantheist, a gastronome, sometime fool, a good friend to some and a pain in the butt to others.

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Peter Dickinson
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"These are the best days of my life"

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