The Saga of the
South Lakes has taken the lion's share of the news this week. Where it has not
been in an article directly about the collection it has been referenced in
stories about zoos in general. It has not done us any good. Unless I have
missed it I have not seen any defence.
It is a pity that this mess has, to a degree, overshadowed the murder of the Rhinoceros in France. This
really sickened me. The really sad thing is that the whole zoo world knew it
was coming. I sympathise strongly with the staff of Thoiry zoo and particularly
the keepers who looked after Vince.
British Zoos have
been on their guard since 2012 and before.
British zoos put on
alert over rising threat of rhino rustlers
warning as animal's horn fetches more than gold on black market
The papers say it
was the first incident of its kind but I wonder if it is. Killing captive
elephants for their ivory has been reported a few times in the past twenty
years that I recall. Not every story makes the press.
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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.
Why the world needs
I have written
before about the importance of zoos and the role they have to play in the world
for conservation and education. They are in particularly important for
endangered species – many animals are critically endangered in the wild and may
go extinct there soon but are going strong in zoos. Many others are already
extinct in the wild and only survive because of populations kept going in
captivity. Even those critical of zoos often recognise this role and that it is
better to have species preserved somewhere than be lost for all time. However,
even species that are common can come under severe threat very quickly or
without people realising.
Take the ring-tailed
lemur of Madagascar for example. This animal is almost ubiquitous in zoos and
few do not keep groups of these pretty primates as they breed well in captivity
and the public are fond of them. However, despite their high numbers in collections
around the world, they are under severe threat in the wild. A recent survey
suggested that a huge 95% of the wild populations have been lost since 2000.
This is clearly catastrophic and also means that the remaining individuals are
greatly at risk. One bad year or a new disease could wipe out those that are
left, and small and fragmented populations will be vulnerable to inbreeding so
even a single loss can be keenly felt.
Such trends are not
isolated. Giraffe are another species that are very common in zoos and unlike
the lemurs are very widespread being found in numerous countries across much of
Snake bit? Chemists
figure out how to easily and cheaply halt venom's spread
In the U.S., human
snakebite deaths are rare—about five a year—but the treatment could prove
useful for dog owners, mountain bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts brushing
up against nature at ankle level. Worldwide, an estimated 4.5 million people
are bitten annually, 2.7 million suffer crippling injuries and more than
100,000 die, most of them farmworkers and children in poor, rural parts of
India and sub-Saharan Africa with little healthcare.
treatment requires slow intravenous infusion at a hospital and costs up to
$100,000. And the antidote only halts the damage inflicted by a small number of
anti-venom is very specific to certain snake types. Ours seems to show
broad-spectrum ability to stop cell destruction across species on many
continents, and that is quite a big deal," said doctoral student Jeffrey
O'Brien, lead author of a recent study published in the Journal of the American
Zeroing in on
protein families common to many serpents, the UCI researchers demonstrated that
they could halt the worst effects of cobras and kraits in Asia and Africa, as
well as pit vipers in North America. The team synthesized a polymer nanogel
material that binds to several key protein toxins, keeping them from bursting
cell membranes and causing widespread destruction. O'Brien knew he was onto
something when the human serum in his test tubes stayed clear, rather than
turning scarlet from venom's typical deadly rupture of red blood cells.
Ken Shea, senior author of the paper, explained that the venom—a "complex
toxic cocktail" evolved over millennia to stay ahead of prey's own
adaptive strategies—is absorbed onto the surface of nanoparticles in the new
material and is permanently sequestered there,
Cumbrian zoo boss
refused new licence after hundreds of animal deaths
The founder of a zoo
in Cumbria, where nearly 500 animals died in less than four years, has been
refused a new licence.
The chair of Barrow
council’s licensing committee, Tony Callister, said the unanimous decision was
made because councillors were not satisfied conservation matters referred to in
the Zoo Licensing Act would be implemented.
Last week, a damning
report on conditions at South Lakes Safari zoo in Dalton-in-Furness, which is
home to more than 1,500 animals, found 486 died of causes including emaciation
and hypothermia between December 2013 and September 2016.
recommended the local authority refuse to renew the zoo’s licence and that
David Gill, who founded the zoo in 1994, be prosecuted under the Animal Welfare
Act for allowing animals to suffer.
The inspectors, who
are appointed by the government, found “overcrowding, poor hygiene, poor
nutrition, lack of suitable animal husbandry and a lack of any sort of
developed veterinary care” when they
Cumbria Zoo Deaths
Spark Bizarre Row Between Kay Burley And MP John Woodcock
Details of the
neglect and cruelty inflicted upon animals at the South Lakes Safari Zoo in
Cumbria were today reported widely after councillors rejected an application
for a new licence for the zoo where almost 500 animals died within four years.
David Gill, who
founded the zoo in 1994, had his claim rejected unanimously by Barrow Borough
Council’s licensing regulatory committee. The deaths at the Dalton-in-Furness
between 2013 and 2016 were revealed in a report submitted to the panel.
The story was picked
up by Sky News as presenter Kay Burley interviewed the local MP, John Woodcock.
couple? The appalling story of hundreds of animals dying at a zoo, its
millionaire owner (who seduced a 17-year-old kangaroo keeper) and his beauty
Even by the
flamboyant standards of the fashion industry, it was an audacious entrance.
The model —
resplendent in a strapless wedding gown and floor-sweeping chiffon train —
emerged onto the catwalk not with customary high-heeled swagger, but astride a
beautiful white horse.
The stunt drew gasps
of awe at the prestigious bridal fashion show, until the horse's hoof tripped
on the model's train and any traces of admiration turned to horror.
and the Planet:
scientists. You persevere in helping us understand our complex
new miracles right under our noses. March's stories at
recent scientific revelations about the secrets of plants:
. Plants react to
insect attacks, can differentiate between
neighbors and siblings, and even respond to sound. Now
they have rudimentary sight as well.
. Flowers attract
pollinators with their shape and structures, with
and colors targeted to the pollinator. Still, what if a
flower's color also
created an attractive environment within the flower?
Nothing like sitting
by a fire on a cold evening.
. Climate scientists
have come to recognize that plants can be vital
carbon sinks. A
couple of years ago, large ancient trees were recognized as
carbon sinks than any number of younger, smaller trees. Now
a vast carbon sink
has been discovered in the peatlands deep in the Congo
. Don't you hate it
when a couple is mating and a predator eats
them? A small moth
from Florida uses a toxic plant to create a bridal bed
toxic to predators.
Go on, eat me.
For Wildlife" has become popular. But like so many
trends, the details
are not understood as well as they need to be. A new
study says that
bird-friendly gardens may increase bird deaths.
As we consider how
we can educate the public (and ourselves) about
and choices perhaps we need to be shaken from our
comfort zone. Just
how much good do personal behavioral changes really do?
Please share these
stories with associates, staff, docents and - most
Follow on http://twitter.com/PlantWorldNews
Facebook Or visit
http://www.plantworldnews.com - new
day as well as
hundreds of stories from the past few years.
Have German Zoos On High Alert
Mannheim, in southwestern Germany, have a real whodunnit on their hands, a
brutal kidnapping-murder case — but with a twist. The victim is a five-kilogram
Humboldt penguin whose lifeless and decapitated body was found last month in a
local parking lot.
discovery came five days after the animal, of South American origin, was
snatched from its enclosure in the Mannheim city zoo. The bird was just 10
"The case of
our missing penguin could not have taken a worse turn," zoo director
Joachim Költzsch was quoted as saying by t
8 Secrets Of London
ZSL London Zoo was
the country's first scientific zoo, established in Regent's Park in 1826. Still
on the same (albeit expanded) site today, it now functions as a conservation
charity, and welcomes millions of visitors every year. Here are some things you
probably didn't know about it.
Zoos Focus on
Conservation Efforts in Face of Global "Conservation Crisis"
The zoos of the
1970s would be barely recognizable when compared to the zoos of today, and some
believe the zoos of the future will be radically different again - with their
focus geared mostly towards conservation efforts.
Mark Vukovich, the
president and CEO at Blank Park Zoo, calls the condition of the world’s wild
species a “staggering disaster.” He says, "In 20 years for sure,
Why I’m so
conflicted by zoos
The elephant stared
balefully down, its eye as big as my head.
“Well, this is
terrifying!” I said.
“It’s fine,” said
the zookeeper. “Why are you frightened?”
“I thought it would
be smaller,” I said.
“It’s an elephant,”
“Are you sure?” I
said. “It’s the size of a stegosaurus.”
“These are the most
docile elephants in the world,” said the keeper. “This is London Zoo. They see
crowds of people every day. They’ve had their photo taken with the Queen. There
is nothing to be worried about.”
“Fine,” I said,
picking up the shovel. That dung wasn’t going to clear itself. We swept the
enclosure as the elephant loo
Poachers break into
Paris zoo, shoot rhino dead and steal its horn
A rhinoceros at a
zoo near Paris was shot three times in the head last night by poachers who then
cut off its horn with a chainsaw.
rhinoceros named Vince was found dead this morning by keepers at Thoiry Zoo, to
the west of the French capital.
One or more poachers
are believed to have broken in to the zoo and forced their way into an
enclosure where three rhinos lived, reported Le Parisien.
of endangered mammals offer conservationists hope in Myanmar
The forests of Karen
state are a conservationist's dream.
Ranging from teak
trees to bamboo, they contain some of the most iconic species of endangered
mammals in the world.
things like tigers, leopards, elephants, bears — all of these species of huge
global significance," said Clare Campbell, executive director of Karen
Wildlife Conservation Initiative (KWCI).
"I think it's
probably one of the most signi
What happens when
the research underpinning conservation is wrong?
conservation management is something that every biologist wants to see. This is
especially true for shark biologists like me, because one in four cartilaginous
species are currently estimated to be threatened with extinction (Dulvy et al
2014). But while it’s easy to cheer conservation efforts, what happens when the
research underpinning the strategy is wrong?
I’ve been thinking
about this since listening to a talk by Dr Dean Grubbs at the European
Elasmobranch Association Conference last year. Grubbs provided a timely
reminder of the disastrous consequences that can happen when the research which
informs and underpins the conservation strategies executed is not objective
and, crucially, isn’t subjected to rigorous peer review.
Since the late 1990s
declines in shark populations have led to a surge in research seeking to
understand cascading effects of predator removals on lower trophic levels. For
example, a highly cited paper (Myers et al 2007) published in the journal
Science, claimed dramatic increases in Atlantic Cownose Ray (Rhinoptera
bonasus) populations in the north-w
planned after Audubon Zoo gorilla throws object, injures pregnant woman
The Association of
Zoos and Aquariums will review how a gorilla at the Audubon Zoo managed to
chuck a piece of wood out of its habitat that hit a pregnant woman in the head
over the weekend. The woman was treated at hospitals for her injury after the
gorilla, named Praline, hurled the piece of wood into a crowd gathered for the
zoo's Soul Festival on Sunday afternoon, WWL-TV reported.
Katie Smith, a
spokeswoman for the zoo, said Tuesday (March 7) that the zoo has reported the
incident to the associations's Accreditation Commission.
examining how this happened and will address necessary concerns," Smith
wrote in an emailed statement.
Rob Vernon, a
spokesman for the accreditation association, confirmed the zoo had been in
touch about the incident.
association's accreditation standards, Vernon said the zoo will have 30 days to
provide a written report on the incident once a request is made by the
association's Accreditation Commission.
Police to visit UK
zoos and wildlife parks after rhino killing in France
Police are visiting
every zoo and wildlife park in the UK that houses rhinos to offer security
advice after poachers shot dead a white rhinoceros and sawed off its horn at a
zoo in France.
The head of
Britain’s National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) said the French attack, the first
of its kind in Europe, was a wake-up call, and urgent security checks needed to
be made to protect the 111 rhinos in captivity in the UK.
Society of London (ZSL) said it has a herd of greater one-horned rhinos and
white rhinos at Whipsnade zoo in Bedfordshire and was increasing security
patrols following the French attack.
“These animals are
kept in secure enclosures guarded by full-time security teams, who also conduct
regular patrols across the zoo,” a spokesman said. Double-layered barriers and
electric fences were already in place.
“Our security teams
at ZSL London zoo and ZSL Whipsnade zoo are aware of this tragic incident and
will be increasing their on-site patrols.”
The chief executive
of Chester zoo, Dr Mark Pilgrim, said the killing was a “devastating new
development in the rhino poaching crisis”. He said the zoo had “sadly been
aware of this threat for some time
330kg of Malawi
ivory seized at Suvarnabhumi
Officials on Tuesday
confiscated more than 300kg of elephant tusks from Malawi at Suvarnabhumi
airport and arrested a Gambian national on charges of ivory smuggling and
violating customs laws. The seizure...
Conservation: Is Moving Rhinos to Australia Conservation or Intellectual
The Australian Rhino
proposes importing 80 rhinos from South Africa to Australia by 2019 at a cost
of over $US4 million, with the first six due to have been moved in 2016. This
project has high-profile supporters in the private sector, zoos, and both
governments, and is gaining major publicity through association with sporting
teams and TedEx talks (http://www.theaustralianrhinoproject.org/index.php/news/blogs/11-news-and-blogs/242-ray-tedx).
However, establishing extralimital populations of African rhinos is a very
low-priority conservation action, particularly given over 800 are already in
captivity, and we argue this project diverts funds and expertise away from more
important conservation activities; the proposed captive conditions will lead to
selection for domestic traits; the most likely species involved is the white
rhino, which is the lowest priority rhino species for conservation; it removes
a driver of in situ conservation; it does not focus on the critically
endangered Asian rhino species; and it extends the historical exploitation of
Africa’s resources by colonial powers. There are also insufficient details in
the public domain about the project for objective decision-making. We believe
this is misdirected neocolonial conservation and the policy support from both
governments for this project should be reconsidered.
www.zoolex.org in March 2017
~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~
Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for
is a themed area at Karlsruhe Zoo that makes good
use of a cool and
shady slope. With a breeding pair of red pandas the
Zoo takes part in
the European conservation breeding program for this
species and also
supports conservation projects in the Himalayas.
Here is the German
Don't miss it - 4th
to 7th April 2017 in Wroclaw, Poland!
Please use this link
for information and registration:
presentations and two discussion panels, a dense programme is
participants of the first international zoo design
2004. The first day is dedicated to "zoo design trends
developments" including a discussion on "zoo strategies and design
theme of the second day is "enrichment for welfare" with
speakers from around
the globe. The third day is about "technical
aspects of zoo
design" and will end with a discussion on "working with
experts" before a visit to Wroclaw Zoo in the afternoon:
ZooLex together with
Wroclaw Zoo organizes this international zoo design
We keep working on
The ZooLex Zoo
Design Organization is a non-profit organization
Austria (ZVR-Zahl 933849053). ZooLex runs a professional
zoo design website
and distributes this newsletter. More information and
4 Major Wildlife
crises in SA, where is the DEA?
While the Department
of Environmental Affairs is the custodian of SA’s wildlife and natural
resources on a governmental level, a few pressing environmental cases in dire
need of national attention are being blatantly ignored.
Apart from the fact
that the DEA says it would like to legalise domestic trade in rhino horn in
order to ‘clear its house’ of the rhino horn stock, there are a number of other
shocking actions – or perhaps the lack of action – that needs urgent attention from the
As the world
celebrates the official World Wildlife Day across the globe, we take a look at
four wildlife issues in SA which have baffled conservationists so far in 2017.
Dade City zoo
ordered to stop letting tourists swim with tigers
The United States
Department of Agriculture has ordered Dade City's Wild Things to end its tiger
cub swimming encounters and pay a $21,000 fine for exposing the animals to
"rough or excessive public handling."
The order, issued
Feb. 15 and effective March 22, found the zoo's swim program broke the law when
it allowed tigers to be harmed during handling and exposed people to dangerous
conditions four times between September 2011 and October 2012.
The decision follows
a lawsuit the USDA filed in July 2015 citing Animal Welfare Act violations. A
lawsuit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed in October, alleging
the zoo's encounter program violates the Endangered Species Act, is still pending.
Parts of Vienna zoo
close after bird flu virus found in dead pelican
Parts of Vienna's
Schoenbrunn Zoo have been closed to the public after the highly contagious H5N8
bird flu virus was found in a pelican that was put down this week, the zoo said
The H5N8 strain,
which is deadly for birds but has not been found in humans, has spread across
Europe and the Middle East since late last year, leading to the slaughter of
hundreds of thousands of poultry and the confinement of flocks indoors.
The zoo's Dalmatian
pelicans had been kept in a tent since December as a preventive measure, the
zoo said in a statement. One of them became acutely ill on Monday and was put
"We now have
proof that it was infected with the H5N8 strain of bird flu," zoo
veterinarian Thomas Voracek said in the statement.
The rest of the
pelican flock is being tested for the virus and results are due on Thursday.
"In order to
protect the remaining bird stock, the bird house, the rainforest house and the
desert house are closed with im
Vienna zoo puts 20
pelicans to sleep after bird flu virus found
Zoo tested its pelican flock, one of the largest of any zoo worldwide, after
the virus was found in one pelican earlier this week.
The virus has spread
widely across Europe and the Middle East since late last year, leading to the
slaughter of hundreds of thousands of poultry and the confinement of flocks
The zoo's Dalmatian
pelicans had been kept in a tent since December as a preventive measure but one
of them became acutely ill on Monday and was killed.
"To protect the
remaining bird stock we had to put down all pelicans this morning," zoo
veterinarian Thomas Voracek said.
The bird house, the
rainforest house and the desert house at the zoo will remain closed to the
Latest figures from
the European Centre for Disease Pr
helped to fight off facial tumour disease with live cancer cell injection
they have for the first time successfully treated Tasmanian devils suffering
from the deadly devil facial tumour disease.
The breakthrough is
hoped to speed-up development of an effective vaccine, which can be
administered to devils in the wild.
treatments have been made on captive animals, with scientists injecting live
cancer cells into the infected devils to make their immune system recognise the
disease and fight it off.
research, led by the University of Tasmania (UTAS), has been published in the
scientific journal Scientific Report, and details the effective use of
immunotherapy on the species.
Five devils with the
disease were treated using the technique over six years, and three survived.
UTAS professor of
immunology Professor Greg Woods likened it to "fighting cancer with
"We used the
cancer cells, cultured them
New Australian tick
species discovered for first time in more than 50 years
A new Australian
tick species discovered in Western Australia is the first to be formally
recognised in more than 50 years.
The new tick was
named Ixodes woyliei because it has a taste for a rare marsupial called a
brush-tailed bettongs, were once found across more than 60 per cent of mainland
Australia but are now critically endangered in WA and endangered nationally.
Predation by foxes
and feral cats and possibly disease have caused woylie populations to crash by
90 per cent in seven years, according to Murdoch University parasitology
researcher Amanda Ash.
Dr Ash told ABC
Radio Perth it was the first Australian Ixodes tick species to be described in
a scientific journal in more than 50 years.
"We thought it
might have been a different speci
Zoos: Prisons or
everywhere can relate to the excitement and wonder associated with going to the
zoo. However, many are also dismayed by the small enclosures and the often
oppressed and miserable-looking animals trapped inside.
animal welfare organizations, such as PETA, have spoken out against zoos,
condemning their push for profits, as well as the unnatural and depressing
environment in which many animals live.
They have a point,
but PETA tends to paint the issue as black and white when, in fact, the reality
is far more complex.
organizations, such as the American Humane Association (AHA), are intent on
elevating the welfare standards of zoos and aquariums worldwide. While the AHA
acknowledge the problems in
GOOD ZOOS: PLEASE
DON’T LET ONE BAD EGG TARNISH THE GREATS
It’s a horrific
story. 486 animals had died at South Lakes zoo in the space of over four years,
frequently as a result of poor husbandry practices, and sometimes found still
decaying in the enclosure. The owner, David Gill (whose attitude has been of
concern for the zoo community for a while now), has been refused the licence
and it all seems likely the place will, rightly, be closed.
South Lakes is a bad
zoo; it is not, however some press opinions have already starting hinting, an
example typical of zoos. These articles range from suggesting that live animals
on public display is a bygone that should be replaced by virtual reality, to
saying that all zoos should be outright banned.
On top of this mess,
the tragic news broke yesterday that in a historical first, a rhino at Paris
Zoo was killed by poachers. It’s horn removed to fuel the illegal trade, this
How zoos should be
changed for the modern world
calling on British zoos to beef up security and overhaul their animal care
after a series of tragic incidents among captive animals across Europe. They
are warning that the shooting of a rhinoceros in a French zoo by poachers could
be the first of many such animal slaughters. And they are concerned about the
South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria which was refused a new licence this week
after almost 500 animals died within four years. Vince A four-year old white
rhinoceros, called Vince, was found bloodied and mutilated at Thoiry Zoo, 30
miles west of Paris, this week after its killers shot him three times and cut
off his horn with a chainsaw. The horrific incident highlights the difficulty
of keeping animals safe in captivity, which makes them “sitting ducks” for
determined poachers, campaigners say. This is the first time an animal has bee
never-before-seen photos of North Korea’s infamous zoo – where a chain-smoking
chimp is the star attraction
photos offer a fascinating glimpse into everyday life inside North Korea’s
infamous Pyongyang Zoo – where a chain-smoking chimp is the star attraction.
They show hordes of
people peering into enclosures, where hundreds of exotic animals – donated to
the country by some of history’s worst dictators – are housed.
Why the Audubon
Zoo's white tiger, King Zulu, won't be replaced
spokeswoman Katie Smith said that King Zulu, the aged and ailing white tiger
that was euthanized on Sunday (March 5), will not be replaced. At least not
with another white tiger.
Snowy striped cats
like King Zulu, which had been part of the zoo collection since the early
1980s, are splendid to behold, but the narrowly selective breeding necessary to
produce them can weaken the individuals. And procreating white cats doesn't
contribute to the increase of the population of normally colored animals.
As Smith wrote via
email: "Breeding practices that increase the physical expression of single
rare genetic traits can compromise the welfare of individual animals. This
hastens a population's loss of gene diversity and creates a domesticated form
of the species that no longer represents or resembles the wild
A story on Slate.com
titled "Why White Tigers Should Go Extinct" details the pitfalls of
inbreeding tigers to perpetuate white coats.
The Audubon Zoo,
Closure order throws
zoo future into doubt
THE long-term future
of South Lakes Safari Zoo (SLSZ) has been thrown into doubt.
attraction, which has become the centre of the country’s media attention after
a harrowing list of nearly 500 animal deaths was released, has been issued with
a closure order which means it must shut its doors to the public in less than a
The order, which can
be appealed, was made by Barrow Borough Council’s (BBC) licensing committee
this week after it refused to grant a new zoo licence to its founder David
SLSZ was served the
notice after the committee found the zoo had failed to comply with a direction
order on its licence requiring robust management and staffing to be in place.
The zoo has 28 days from today (Thursday) to appeal.
The closure order
was issued just hours after councillors unanimously refused to grant Mr Gill a
fresh six-year licence to operate the zoo.
expected to consider another licence application to run the zoo in the coming
weeks. It has been submitted by Cumbria Zoo Company Limited (CZC), who have
been operating the zoo sinc
Lions, elephants and
other exotic animals could be phased out at Belfast Zoo
for the future of loss-making Belfast Zoo include the removal of exotic animal
species or the possible relocation of the facility. Belfast City Council, which
owns the 55 acre site at Cave Hill, is considering a number of key issues after
concerns were raised last year about animal welfare at the zoo.
In a report, the
European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (Eaza) stating that many of the
enclosures were too small and it listed seven minor concerns about the welfare
of animals. The Council said at the time that work was under way to rectify the
issues raised. Coupled with these concerns, the council is also trying to
determine how to stem the haemorrhaging of money from the zoo, which has been
running at a deficit of £2m for the past three years. It already been agreed
penguins, polar bears in zoos - why do we get so upset about animal stories?
A penguin found
decapitated– a polar bear cub dead from an unknown cause – a white rhino shot
through the head – all news that led to a public outcry. Why do we get so het
up about animal stories?
The killing of a
rhino in a Paris zoo, the death of a polar bear cub in Berlin, the fate of a
penguin that disappeared from a zoo in the German city of Mannheim – there has
been no shortage of shocking reports relating to zoo animals recently. This
kind of story attracts widespread public attention. Anger, frustration,
sadness, disgust. So what is it about
these animal tales that arouse such strong emotions in so many of us humans?
According to a
recent study of human-animal relations from the University of Quebec-Montreal
and the University of Melbourne , we feel a "psychological bond" with
animals, and a kind of solidarity. Catherine Amiot and Brock Bastian are
working to understand the psychological links that make people empathize with
The more people
subjectively perceive that animals and humans share similarities and common
factors, the more they tend to feel solidarity with them, Catheri
Arrests 'big step'
in chimp trade battle
A series of dramatic
arrests of notorious wildlife traffickers is being hailed as "one big
step" against the illegal trade in baby chimpanzees.
Last weekend one of
the most prolific animal dealers in West Africa was found and detained in
Prior to the arrest,
he had been on the run for four years.
This followed the
arrest last month of the dealer's father who was regarded as the key figure in
a vast smuggling network spanning the region.
And only a few
months ago a year-long BBC News investigation led to the arrests of two
traffickers, Ibrahima Traore and his uncle Mohamed, in neighbouring Ivory
on the black market showed dozens of baby chimpanzees held in a distinctive
blue room that served as their holding centre while buyers were sought.
Chimpanzees as a
species are listed as endangered because their populations are dwindling in the
face of deforestation and poaching but a collapse in their numbers in West
Africa means they are described as "critically endangered" there.
It is against
international law to seize or sell the chimpanzees but baby chimps are in big
demand as pets for wealthy buyers in
Smelly send-off as
elephants pack trunks
Knowsley Safari Park
is moving its elephant herd over to France during the construction of a new
habitat – with a rather smelly way of settling them into their new home.
Plans are underway
for a state-of-the-art facility to be built here on Merseyside as part of the
park’s ‘Foot Safari Transformation’ project.
In the meantime,
Knowsley’s four African elephants will be making the move over to ZooParc de
Beauval in Saint-Aignan in southern France to participate in the European
Breeding Programme while their old habitat is being renovated.
To help them cope
with the transition, their own dung is being shipped across the Channel as well
as some French equivalent coming in the opposite direction.
Eveline de Wolf,
Head of Animal Collection for the park, said: “We have been preparing for this
move for the last year and our team of keepers have been working c
New Approach Used by
Cincinnati Zoo Reproductive Scientists Improves Pregnancy Odds
An ocelot kitten
born four weeks ago at the Texas Zoo in Victoria was produced using a new
artificial insemination (AI) approach that improves the timing of AI relative
to the female’s ovarian cycle. The birth of a healthy kitten helps to validate
this “fixed-time” AI method for producing pregnancies in endangered cat
Animal to man, fear
of the next pandemic
On a frigid night a
few days after Christmas 2012, Trish Khan drove back to the Milwaukee County
Zoo to check on the star attraction, a playful, wildly popular 5-year-old
orangutan named Mahal. It was almost 11 p.m.
Khan, the zoo’s
primary orangutan keeper, was off on medical leave. Yet she’d come in earlier
in the day, as soon as she heard something was wrong with Mahal.
Raised on a horse
farm in Wisconsin, Khan has a passion for animals, especially primates and most
especially orangutans, a great ape found in Asian rainforests and admired for
Even so, her deep
affection for Mahal was unique. She had flown to Colorado to pick him up from
the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo after the orangutan had been rejected by his mother.
Khan had accompanied Mahal to Milwaukee, and when he settled
Zoos in World War II
War and film buffs
are probably aware of The Zookeeper's Wife, a British-American movie slated for
release at the end of the March. Based on historical events, it's about the
keepers of the Warsaw zoo who hid and saved hundreds of Jews. Apropos of this upcoming
film, we'll take a look at how World War II affected animals living in the
world's cities at the time.
Congress of ZooKeepers
leaving predators in peace boosts livestock on Australian farms
environmental cost of livestock farming is that it causes the deaths of untold
numbers of predators. Worldwide, leopards, tigers, wolves, wild dogs, and foxes
are persecuted because they’re thought to pose a risk to farmers’ valuable
cattle, sheep, and goats.
dingoes find themselves at the crux of this conflict: farmers shoot, trap, and
poison these animals to stop them predating on sheep and cattle on countryside
ranches. The perception of dingoes as pests is so deeply ingrained, in fact,
that Australian farmers are widely encouraged to eradicate the animals from
their land in return for state-provided bounties. But the ecological
consequences of that practice are worrying. As dingoe
High price of rhino
horn leaves bloody trail across the globe
On the black market
it is reputedly worth more than its weight in gold or cocaine, and this week
the lure of rhino horn brought the bloody business of poaching to a zoo near
Paris. There, in the dead of night, criminals broke in, shot a white rhino
called Vince three times in the head and then hacked off its eight-inch horn
with a chainsaw.
The attack marks a
shocking new development in a crisis that sees more than three rhinos killed
every day in their southern African homelands. Trade in rhino horn is
completely illegal but demand from Vietnam and China fuels poaching and
smuggling, putting the rhinos at risk of extinction.
Rhino horn is made
of keratin – the same material as human fingernails – but an urban myth about a
senior Vietnamese figure being cured of cancer pushed up demand in recent years
and as its price rose, it has become a status symbol and hangover tonic. Longer-standing
uses such as a supposed fever treatment in traditional Chinese medicine and as
ornamental carvings have also driven up prices.
AZA Statement on
‘Troubling’ Vancouver Park Board Vote
Last evening, the Vancouver Park Board took a
troubling action in directing staff to
develop options to amend local law to prohibit the Vancouver Aquarium Marine
Science Centre from importing or displaying whales, dolphins and porpoises. The
Science Center is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA),
and in response, the Honorable Dan Ashe, AZA President and CEO, issued the
cetaceans ban: Vancouver commissioner
deaths of two belugas at the Vancouver Aquarium last fall were a "tipping
point" in the city's debate over cetacean captivity and helped lead to a
historic vote to ban the practice, says a park board commissioner.
Sarah Kirby-Yung, a
commissioner who previously worked as the aquarium's spokeswoman, said after
two nights of emotional hearings and thousands of public submissions it became
clear that banning cetaceans at the aquarium was "the will of Vancouverites."
"Our job is to
listen to the public," she said Friday. "This is an issue where
public sentiment has been changing and, progressively, people have been feeling
more and more uncomfortable."
The board voted
unanimously Thursday night to ask staff to bring forward a bylaw amendment to
hope for rarest bird in Galapagos
With an estimated
population of 100 individuals, saving the mangrove finch from extinction is not
an easy task. However, thanks to funding by the Galapagos Conservation Trust
and three years of intensive conservation management of the species in the Galapagos
Islands by the Charles Darwin Foundation, the Galapagos National Park
Directorate and San Diego Zoo Global, an individual singing male could be the
evidence that it has all been worth it.
The Mangrove Finch
Project is working in the Galapagos Islands to save the Critically Endangered
mangrove finch, whose global population consists of only around 100
individuals. The tiny population is still at risk, as it is affected by low
nesting success due to the parasitism of nestlings by the introduced parasitic
fly, Philornis downsi and predation by invasive rats. To try and counteract
these effects, in 2014 a multi-institutional project led by the Charles Darwin
Foundation and Galapagos National Park began to head-start mangrove finches by
collecting eggs from the wild, captive-rearing the chicks and releasing the
fledglings back to their natural habitat. The wild parents are able to lay
again, so this can double the chance of breeding success.
Over the last three
years, 36 individuals have been head-start
First evidence of
rhinoceros' ability to correct gender imbalance
Research led by
Victoria University of Wellington has demonstrated the ability of rhinoceros to
modify the sex of their offspring to avoid the dominance of one gender and
limit severe competition for breeding.
The study, led by
Associate Professor Wayne Linklater from Victoria's School of Biological
Sciences, provides the first experimental evidence in the wild that unbalanced
population sex ratios can result in a compensatory response by parents to
'correct' the imbalance.
"This is called
a homeostatic sex allocation (HSA) response—a biological theory first proposed
in 1930," explains Associate Professor Linklater.
population models assume birth sex ratio is fixed. Our evidence indicates that
this may not be the case."
The study, published
today in Nature Ecology & Evolution, was co-authored by Dr Peter Law from
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa, Pierre du Pr
How to kill wild
animals humanely for conservation
Every year, trained
professionals kill millions of wild animals in the name of conservation, human
safety and to protect agriculture and infrastructure. Commercial pest-control
operators, government agents and conservationists trap beavers, poison cats, shoot
wolves and gas rabbits in their warrens with varying levels of ethical
oversight. Now, animal-welfare experts and conservationists are making a bid to
ensure that these animals get the same consideration given to pets and even to
lab animals that are killed.
People use methods
such as carbon dioxide gas, drowning and painful poisons, to kill non-native or
‘pest’ animals, says Sara Dubois, chief scientific officer for the British
Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Vancouver, Canada.
She considers these methods inhumane. But no one bats an eye, she says, because
those animals are considered ‘bad’.
Dubois is the lead
author of a set of guidelines published on 9 February in the journal
Conservation Biology1. The authors — a group of animal-welfare experts,
conservationists and government researchers from around t
rescue renews fears for wildlife at Perth road project
An endangered black
cockatoo has been rescued from the side of a road near the construction site
for the controversial Perth freight link project.
Days after Western
Australia’s environment minister, Albert Jacob, said he would defy state
senators’ recommendation to suspend works pending an environmental all-clear,
the black cockatoo was spotted in a
All the Right Moves-
What It Takes to Transfer Animals Among Zoos
In 2016, more than
4,000 animals transferred to or from Brookfield Zoo. Each of these animal
moves—from the tiniest dart poison frog to a 600-pound tiger—is based on
careful strategy and involves meticulous preparation and planning.
When we transfer an
animal to another institution, we make sure the animal is healthy and, if
young, is weaned. We provide the other institution with complete medical and
behavioral records for the animal and may even send along a supply of its food
to make the transition easier. Based upon breeding season and weather, we
determine the best time of year for the transfer to take place.
before, during, and after transport is of the utmost importance to us. As every
pet owner can attest, even under the best circumstances, travel can be eventful
for animals. Digestive systems often may be temporarily disrupted, so one type of
preparation might be to begin a course of probiotics to bolster stomach health
prior to the transfer.
trips are by land, so we may begin behavioral modifications to prepare for the
trip, such as training animals to enter a trailer. We also maintain a group of
trusted animal movers, professionals who understand and are dedicated to caring
for our precious cargo. In some cases, members of our own
orangutans to fight in boxing gloves and wear bikinis
This place isn’t
A Thailand zoo
recently hosted an event featuring orangutans boxing as other apes stood
outside the ring banging on drums and dancing in bikinis.
The wild display at
Safari World has gotten mixed reviews over the years, but some argue it should
be shut down.
extremely intelligent, and the zoo was exploiting that,” said Samantha Fuller,
a teacher from Boston living and working in Thailand. Fuller saw the show on a
recent school field trip.
“They’re smart and
can tell when they’re being laughed at,” she said. “It upset me so much I had
to come home and shower just to
How do you bury a
12,000-pound elephant in secret? Oregon Zoo had a plan
How do you transport
a recently-deceased elephant, who weighs more than six tons and who is infected
with a highly contagious disease, from the zoo in the west hills of Portland to
his secret burial site some 90 minutes away without anyone knowing?
The answer: very
When Packy, the
54-year-old iconic elephant at the Oregon Zoo, was euthanized last month after
a long battle with drug-resistant tuberculosis, the zoo had a number of plans
One of those plans
was how to get Packy, who weighed in excess of 12,000 pounds when he died, from
the zoo to his final resting place in secret.
According to a draft
of the transportation plan obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive through a
public records request, things were set in motion Feb. 8, the day before Packy
died. An "incident commander" was assigned to the plan, which was
Dead tiger keeper’s
mum still waiting for apology
The mother of a
handler who was killed by a tiger at South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria four
years ago has never had an apology from the park’s owner.
The zoo was fined
£297,500 after Sarah McClay, 24, was killed in an accident that a judge said
was “as tragic as it was foreseeable”.
David Gill, the
owner of the attraction, at which 500 animals died in less than three years,
many from injury, neglect and hypothermia, has had no contact with Fiona
McClay, but she was sent a cheque for £50, payable to Sarah, for wages, months
after she died.