It is so nice to see
so many FaceBook Postings lately on the successes zoos have had. This is thanks
largely to Kristen Otterson and the group 'Zoos Saving Species'.
This turns the oft
repeated ill researched statements by the Animal Rights Anarchists on their
"Returning captive-bred animals to the wild is, in
most cases, impossible because animals who are reared in zoos are denied the
opportunity to learn survival skills, can transmit diseases to their wild
"Very few of the zoos who claim to keep and breed
animals for the purpose of “conservation” actually do so and if they did, there
would not be “surplus” animals, because they would be returned to the wild."
Zoos, Good Zoos
could do a lot more than they do but are realistic. It is absolutely pointless
putting any animal back into the wild unless there is a wild for it to return
to. And if there is a wild is there space to return without causing territorial
fights? And yes "disease" is also a consideration along with a lot
more. Good Zoos care.
Being realistic the
Good Zoos are more about the long term maintenance of genetically viable
populations for a magical release date in the distant future.
Our problem is that
there are far more Bad Zoos than there are Good ones. I have said it so many
times before but until the Good Zoos actively condemn and expose the Bad Zoos
we will continue to have problems with Animal Rights
Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 52,000 'Like's' on Facebook and has a weekly reach often exceeding over 350,000 people? That ZooNews Digest has subscribers in over 800 Zoos in 153+ countries? That the subscriber list for the mail out reads like a 'Zoos Who's Who?'
If you are a subscriber to the email version then you probably knew this already. You would also know that ZooNews Digest pre-dates any of the others. It was there before FaceBook. It was there shortly after the internet became popular and was a 'Blog' before the word had been invented. ZooNews Digest reaches zoo people.
I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos,
not DYSFUNCTIONAL zoos.
research may yield crucial answers to zoo animals' survival
Up four flights of
stairs and in a remote corner of Brookfield Zoo's Tropic World, a version of
"The Bachelorette" TV show is unfolding.
This one features a
tropical bird, the female blue-gray tanager, perched in a large enclosure.
Lining one side of her cage are three separate enclosures. Each contains a male
tanager who can see the female but is blocked by wire mesh from having conjugal
relations with her. Cameras are trained on the scene for hours a day.
When zoos really matter – how we protected the last
I’m all for action
and less for loose talk. I think I share this with a majority of the public,
and that is a good reason for zoos to really step up the game when it comes to
Saving a healthy
gene pool of animal population in zoos and aquaria is vital for the existence
of the zoo community, and in a longer perspective also important for species on
the brink of extinction.
But zoos can’t just
stand and wait until the tigers have vanished from the forests of Asia before
taking action. We have to take action now to prevent it from happening. In my
zoo we have put a lot of focus on inspiring young people to live sustainable and
to have a respect for nature, that is a long term work. But we have also seen
that we have to take direct action in cases where our knowledge, research and
experience is needed to save an endangered species or population.
This is the story of
SAMBAH. Kolmårdens largest success in conservation, ever.
Acoustic Monitoring of the Baltic Sea Harbour porpoise) was first initiated in
2008. It is sprung from two main causes:
Nobody knew how many
Harbour Porpoises their were left in the Baltic Sea. What we knew was that the
number of sightings of porpoises had decreased drastically during the last
We didn’t know were
they were, how they moved and w
Julie Scardina –
Racing Against Time, The Role Trainers Have Today.
I met Julie Scardina
personally this year at the IMATA conference and I asked her what her vision is
on our current situations. After a while I discovered that she is making a huge
difference in the life of animals around the world. She started at Seaworld
0ver 35 years ago and became an ambassador and educator for all of our animals
on this planet. I asked her if she could share her thoughts about conservation
and animal training in a guest blog. She is an Inspiring, Motivational
individual with a lot of great stories. She just published a new book together
with J. Flocken, WildLife Heroes.
Gecko Escapes Danger Naked and Alive
The fish-scale gecko
has a freaky way of eluding danger. When snatched by an attacker, it rips off
its scales and skin so it can slip away unscathed. Basically, it streaks to
“It looks like a
fish until you grab it, and then it looks like a naked chicken breast,” said
Mark D. Scherz, a doctoral candidate at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
The torn-away scales reveal the gecko’s pink flesh, and through its translucent
tissue you can see its spine and blood vessels. “It’s bizarre, it’s really
surprising, and it’s quite uncomfortable when you see them,” he said.
It may seem like a
gruesome getaway, but it doesn’t hurt the lizard. It loses its skin and scales
with extreme ease and regenerates them in full a few weeks later. The new
scales grow in with a different pattern than the previous ones, but other than
that are nearly indistinguishable from the orig
Beastly incidents ignite debate over zoos
TWO weeks ago, a
tiger in Ningbo Youngor Zoo in Zhejiang Province was shot dead after mauling a
father of two who jumped into the beast’s enclosure to dodge an entry fee.
The incident has
sparked heated discussions online, with netizens expressing regret over both
deaths. Some urged the closure of zoos and the release of the animals back into
The Asian branch of
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals published a series of posts on
Weibo after the Ningbo incident. One described zoos as prisons and said “tigers
don’t belong in zoos and wildlife shouldn’t be caged f
San Diego Zoo Polar
Bear Contributes to Energetics Research
Tatqiq, a 580-pound
polar bear at the San Diego Zoo, is making new strides in her “fitness”
training. Animal care staff and scientists at the Zoo’s Institute for
Conservation Research have been preparing the 17-year-old female to voluntarily
take part in a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) project that is studying the
energy demands polar bears face in the Arctic—an example of the role that zoos
play in conservation science.
biologists from the USGS and University of California, Santa Cruz successfully
collected data on Tatqiq’s resting oxygen consumption, in preparation for the
next phase of the study: walking on a motorized treadmill. “Collecting oxygen
consumption (data) gives us a measure of energy expenditure,” said Anthony
Pagano, a wildlife biologist with the USGS. “We can use this information to
understand what it costs a polar bear to rest—and what that means in terms of
the number of seals they need to catch.” Oxygen levels will be linked to data
gathered from a collar-mounted accelerometer, which wo
Rebuttal to article
“A better life for animals can be found outside of zoos”
In reference to the
article “A Better Life for Animals Can be Found Outside of Zoos,” we would
argue where outside? The writer mentions
sanctuaries and conservation centers as better options. The truth is, accredited
zoos and aquariums are both sanctuaries and conservation centers.
Webster defines a
sanctuary as a place where someone or something is protected and given
shelter. All accredited zoos and
aquariums have rigorous welfare and regulatory standards and can point to an
excellent record of having healthy, long-lived animals in their care. We are in the midst of what has been
identified as the 6th extinction. The rate of extinction has increased a
hundred-fold in the last century with over 18,000+ species
Rhino Bombshell: SA
Minister plans to permit trade in horn
In a somewhat
bewildering announcement today, South African Environmental Affairs Minister
Edna Molewa has declared that she plans to permit the trade in rhino horn
domestically and, in what looks like a loophole big enough to drive a tractor
through, the export internationally of horn for ‘personal purposes’. This after
years of repeated attempts by her in court to resist applications by local
rhino farmers to trade horn on the domestic market.
Tuatara: Chester Zoo
celebrate breeding 'living fossil'
A reptile believed
to have pre-dated most species of dinosaur has hatched at Chester Zoo for the
has been trying to breed tuatara - which are native to New Zealand - for the
last 38 years.
Isolde McGeorge said
tuatara, which first appeared 225 million years ago, "really are a living
fossil and an evolutionary wonder."
She said she
"broke down in tears" when the reptile hatched and that it was an
"lots of hard work, lots of stressful moments and lots of tweaking of the
conditions", Ms McGeorge added.
See more updates on
this and other stories from Merseyside and Cheshire
before the dinosaurs and they
James Borrell: Eight
reasons why zoos are good for conservation
This summer, a child
fell into an enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo with a western lowland gorilla named
Harambe, and to protect the child the gorilla was shot. This tragic and
much-discussed event rekindled the debate over the role of zoos and aquaria –
and much of the coverage was negative.
One would hope that
zoos themselves would be proudly showcasing their work, but as I discovered
while contributing to an Al Jazeera report on the incident, many are reluctant
to speak up due to the barrage of attacks that Cincinnati experienced.
Zoos are not
perfect. Should they continue to keep large predators or intelligent primates?
Over the next few decades, probably not. Should large new animals be collected
from the wild? No, unless there is a compelling case to develop a captive
But are zoos
changing and developing? Yes. More than ever, good zoos are aware of their
evolving role in conservation and responding to it.
Would I rather have
a species in captivity, than not at all? One hundred times, yes.
Here are my eight
reasons why zoos are critical to conservation:
1. There are 39
animal species currently listed by the IUCN as Extinct in the Wild. These are
species that would have vanish
extinction: how the pet trade is killing off many animal species
loss doesn’t just result from the destruction of habitats, or even hunting
species for meat. A huge number of species are threatened by trade – both alive
as pets or exhibits, or dead for use in medicines.
Though people have
become increasingly aware of the threat posed by the trade of high-value
species, such as the elephant for ivory, and various animals such as tigers,
rhinos and the pangolin for medicine, few realise the risk that the pet trade
poses to the future survival of many less well-known species.
On visiting a zoo or
pet shop, you may expect that the reptiles and amphibians on show are bred in
captivity, but many of these animals may have been imported live. In fact, 92%
of the 500,000 live animal shipments between 2000-2006 to the United States (that’s
1,480,000,000 animals) were for the pet trade, and 69% of these originated in
These exports are
increasing annually from the majority of tropical countries. And without
careful regulation, this trade may be disastrous f
seek to improve welfare in captive birds of prey through olfactory enrichment
For the first time,
researchers are exploring ways to improve welfare in captive birds of prey
through olfactory enrichment- or using scent cues to alleviate boredom and
encourage species-appropriate behavior. A new study appearing in Zoo Biology
found that birds of prey, which had learned to associate the presence of food
with the scent of peppermint oil, interacted more with peppermint-scented
"sham" packages (i.e. without food) than unscented "sham"
The study is a
collaboration between Melissa Nelson Slater, psychology doctoral student at The
Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) and Assistant Curator
of Animal Husbandry at the Bronx Zoo, and Dr. Mark Hauber, Professor of Psychology
in the Animal Behavior and Conservation Program at Hunter College. In the first
phase of their experiment, the researchers introduced wrapped food packages
scented with peppermint oil into bird of prey exhibits at the Bronx Zoo, so
that the birds could l
Zoo Keeper sues
Rocky Council for $1.1m after mozzie bite
A FORMER Rockhampton
zookeeper says council failed to protect her from the risk of mosquitoes
resulting in her contracting two debilitating diseases.
Anita Nicole Green
is suing Rockhampton Regional Council for roughly $1.1 million, claiming it
should have taken reasonable steps to eradicate mosquitoes from the zoo.
As the 44-year-old
woman's employer, the defendant owed a duty of care to "provide adequate
and effective personal protective equipment and substances at the zoo to
Probing the Link
between Biodiversity-Related Knowledge and Self-Reported Proconservation
Behavior in a Global Survey of Zoo Visitors
communication interventions are built on the assumption that increased
knowledge will lead to changes in proenvironment behaviors. Our study probes
the link between biodiversity-related knowledge and self-reported
proconservation behavior, based on the largest and most international study of
zoo visitors ever conducted. In total, 6,357 visitors to 30 zoos from 19
countries around the globe participated in the study. Biodiversity
understanding and knowledge of actions to help protect biodiversity were
significantly related, but only 0.6% of the variation in knowledge of actions
to help protect biodiversity could be explained by those same respondents’
biodiversity understanding. Biodiversity understanding was only the sixth most
important variable in significantly predicting knowledge of actions to help
protect biodiversity. Moreover, biodiversity understanding was the least
important variable of those that were significantly related to self-reported
proconservation behavior. Our study indicates that knowledge is a real, but
relatively minor, factor in predicting whether members of the public – zoo
visitors in this case – will know about specific proenvironment behaviors they
can take, let alone whether they will actually undertake such behaviors.
Henry Doorly Zoo
team plays key role in restoring lemur habitat in Madagascar
Halfway around the
world, on the developing island of Madagascar, scientists from the Henry Doorly
Zoo & Aquarium are establishing one of the largest and most successful
reforestation programs of any zoo in the world.
Biodiversity Partnership aims to restore lost habitat — primarily in the form
of native trees — for endangered lemurs. After five years, the program planted
its 1 millionth tree in December.
“It’s amazing that
this has happe
to the Steppe of Central Kazakhstan
A new project,
KULANSTEP, aims to repopulate the central steppe of Kazakhstan with kulan. The
project will transport kulan from the large population in Altyn Emel National
Park in southeastern Kazakhstan to a release site on the ~60,000 km² Torgai
steppe, strategically located in a network of protected areas, ecological
corridors, and hunting areas.
The long term aim of
the project is to greatly increase population size and range of kulan in
Central Asia and provide a catalyst for kulan conservation actions across the
A new approach to
understanding subspecies can boost conservation
Earth is home to an
estimated 1 trillion species. To date, only about 1.2 million have been
identified and described scientifically. There’s good reason to increase this
number. Each species could offer an adaptive, evolutionary solution to the many
challenges presented by changing landscapes.
are often comprised of geographically distinct entities. These are known as
subspecies, races or management units.
phylogeographers armed with this information ought to be able to identify those
species with multiple evolutionary “solutions” in progress. These “solutions”
should then be catered for to ensure the relevant species can be effectively
But this approach
hasn’t been particularly successful, a
Australian lungfish dies at Chicago Shedd Aquarium aged in its mid-90s
lungfish believed to be the longest-living fish in captivity has died at a
Granddad, who was
housed at the Shedd Aquarium, weighed 11 kilograms and was euthanased after
showing signs of organ failure.
It is believed he
was aged in his late 90s, but Queensland researchers are hoping genetic testing
will confirm his actual age.