I have never been a
fan of striking in zoos. It is not something I could ever do but, in certain
circumstances I can understand why people do. Run your eyes down to the three news items about the strike in the Maharajbagh zoo.
One really needs to
have a little bit of understanding of the terms "Daily Wages",
"non-permanent staff", temporary staff when used within zoos in India
and Pakistan. Regardless of the name attached to them these are keepers in full
time employment and have often worked in the zoo (I am not just talking about
Maharajbagh here) for three to thirty years. Giving these keeper positions a
temporary sound to their posts allows the powers that be to pay only the lowest
of wages…..after all they are just looked upon by many as 'shit shovellers' and so get
away with paying just a pittance. Out of 30 staff in this zoo all but 3 are in
this position. In this case they are being paid just US$41.00 or GBP33.00
(Indian Rupees 2,700) a MONTH. This is way below the recognised minimum wage.
Please be aware that these are KEEPERS, with wives, children and elderly
parents to support. Many of them are skilled and knowledgeable but simply not
recognised. Many are illiterate but no less good at what they do. The picture
is much the same in many zoos on the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere.
Striking is a big
deal and smacks of desperation because their 'temporary' positions mean that
they can be so easily dismissed and have nothing at all.
Every now and again
you see zoo conferences on the Indian subcontinent attended by zoo
staff….great, I am in favour of that but none of these people will ever attend.
They will be attended by zoo staff who have never picked up a piece of shit in
I am delighted that
the Central Zoo Authority is taking action in this case but I would urge them
to take a long hard look at the other zoos around the country.
Thinking on it I
should actually be in favour of strikes. After all if it had not been for a zoo
strike back in 1967 (the staff were sacked as a result) I may not have got my
first opportunity to work in a zoo. Loved it from day one and never regretted it.
The money was poor, I got GBP36.00 a month way back then, just 3 quid more than
those poor Indian keepers are taking home in this modern world. It just isn't
Webpage is FAKE….it announces the SEAZA conference for 2017.
ARK AVILON informed
me it was FAKE a few days ago and informed me that PHILZOOS were previously
aware and were investigating. Yet the site remains up and running. I don't
imagine there is a huge interest in attending but for as long as it is up and
running it is taking 5,000 Pesos from unsuspecting people. This is criminal but
perhaps it is more sad that ARK AVILON, PHILZOOS and SEAZA are allowing it
to continue. Someone is making a nice little nest of cash.
The genuine SEAZA
meeting is taking place in November. You can learn more by visiting here:
Sex sells without a
doubt. The links on ZooNews Digest get a lot of interest. Usually averaging
between three and twenty thousand people. This one
loses TESTICLE after ‘skewering scrotum’ on fence" got nearly forty
There was a little
snippet of news which both bothered and confused me ""DUBLIN Zoo
isn’t allowed to shoot an escaped lion if a vet is not on site, we have
learned. Staff would be forced to wait for one before tranquillising any animal
that may get out. Dublin Zoo staff can’t shoot escaped beasts. Inspectors from
the National Parks and Wildlife Service have noted their “concerns” about the
availability of chemical restraints at the attraction, which is home to lions,
tigers, snow leopards and hippos. The facility was found to be “professionally
operated, with well-considered master planning and welfare and husbandry
programmes in place”, in the 2016 inspection report seen by the Irish Sun on
Sunday. But the National Park inspector flagged “legal constraints” regarding
the use of darting equipment.""
It bothers me
because when an animal first escapes it is the best time to tranquilise it.
Whilst I fully recognise the dangers of immobilising drugs the zoo management
AND the vet should have full trust in the professional zoo capture team. To
leave action till the vet is found and arrives means that it is highly likely that the escapee would stray further afield and make shoot to kill the only option. Using
tranquilising drugs at a zoos perimeter is not a sensible consideration.
You know what would
really make my day? It would be to see the announcement of the opening of a new
aquarium where it was stated that all of the fish and other animals were bred
in captivity. Sadly it is not going to happen anytime soon. Will it ever? Aquariums
are still thirty years plus behind the Good zoos of the world.
Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 53,800 '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.
breeding programme victim of its own success
A breeding programme
for Arabian oryx and wild gazelle has been so successful that their populations
are fast outgrowing the capacity of their nature reserve.
In 2009, eight
Arabian oryx, eight mountain gazelle and eight sand gazelle were introduced to
the 100-hectare Al Wadi nature reserve.
The reserve has
since been expanded to five times its original size and is now home to 43 oryx,
52 sand gazelle and 10 mountain gazelle. Eight more oryx arrived in 2012.
"For the oryx
and sand gazelle that’s very good growth," said Ryan Ingram, director of
the nature reserve. "It’s a success story in terms of breeding."
The decision of Ras
Al Khaimah’s royal family to donate extra land to the reserve and build a
boundary fence in 2012 was "a big show of faith in the direction of
conservation", Mr Ingram said.
The success of
breeding schemes such as the reserve’s, which is now part of Al Wadi
Ritz-Carlton resort, has enabled the Arabian oryx to be taken off the list of
vulnerable species. The major problem now is the lack of space.
"We are now at
the point where we require more space for the herd to keep growing, otherwise
we must relocate some of the population, as we are putting too much strain on
the ecosystem," Mr Ingram said.
expensive, complicated and delicate. The best option is to expand.
only take place at certa
endangered species back from the brink of extinction
The saiga antelope
makes a strange pin-up for the conservation world. With its odd bulbous nose
and spindly legs, it is an unlovely looking creature – particularly when
compared with wildlife favourites such as the polar bear or panda.
But the survival of
Saiga tatarica tatarica is important, for it gives hope to biologists and
activists who are trying to protect Earth’s other endangered species from the
impact of rising populations, climate change and increasing pollution. Once
widespread on the steppe lands of the former Soviet Union, the saiga has
suffered two major population crashes in recent years and survived both –
thanks to the endeavours of conservationists. It is a story that will be
highlighted at a specially arranged wildlife meeting, the Conservation Optimism
Summit, to be held at Dulwich College, London, this month and at sister events
in cities around the world, including Cambridge, Washington and Hong Kong. The
meetings have been organised to highlight recent successes in saving threatened
creatures and to use these examples to encourage future efforts to halt
extinctions of other species.
According to the
summit’s organisers, there still are reasons to be cheerful when it comes to
conservation, although they also acknowledge that the world’s wildlife remains
in a desperate state thanks to swelling numbers of humans, climate change and
spreading agriculture, which
PDKV neglects zoo, staffers warn of strike from Thursday
The Maharajbagh zoo staff has threatened to strike work from April 13 to protest the indifference of Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV) towards providing facilities for visitors and zoo animals.
The 120-year-old zoo houses 300 animals and birds. For years together, it is grappling with issues like improper cages, meagre staff, poor upkeep of animals, no full-time veterinary doctor and medical facilities.
According to sources, 40 people have been engaged for handling the zoo affairs but barring three employees all are working on temporary basis
Zoo workers on
strike, animals & avians suffer
Maharjbagh Zoo, managed by Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV),
remained confined to their cages and were not released for display as temporary
workers managing the zoo went on indefinite strike from Thursday.
workers are on strike as they are not getting minimum wage. "We are paid
Rs90 per day only for risking our lives by managing leopard and tiger
cages," said a section of them.
On Thursday, zoo
in-charge Dr SS Bawaskar and livestock supervisor MR Pande were the only two
permanent employees present at the zoo scrambling to manage the affairs.
Zoo workers call off
The Maharajbagh zoo
workers called of their strike on Friday after the Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi
Vidyapeeth (PDKV) enhanced their wages to Rs112 from present Rs90 per day.
32 workers were on
strike for the last two days forcing the animals to suffer. The zoo cages were
not cleaned and on Thursday even the staff was forced to close the zoo.
Talking to TOI,
acting PDKV vice-chancellor VM Bhale said, "The issue has been resolved
after wage hike. We have also posted a veterinarian to replace the one who was
However, the steps
taken by PDKV, which manages the zoo affairs, are not only meagre but also
temporary in nature. The vet Bhavna Wankhede posted in zoo already works in PKV
dairy farm in the city.
Secondly, the wage
hike of Rs22 per hour is still not at par with minimum wage of Rs300 per day.
Workers are paid by Rs6,500 per month with certain adjustments.
Meanwhile, in a
letter written to zoo controller & associate dean of College of
Agriculture, Nagpur, Sanjay Thakre, member-secretary the Maharashtra State Zoo
Authority (MSZA), has asked to follow guidelines of Central Zoo Authority
(CZA). The recognition of the zoo ends on December 31, 2017.
THE BLOOD OF THE
Meghan Owings plucks
a horseshoe crab out of a tank and bends its helmet-shaped shell in half to
reveal a soft white membrane. Owings inserts a needle and draws a bit of blood.
"See how blue it is," she says, holding the syringe up to the light.
It really is. The liquid shines cerulean in the tube.
Zoo intruder loses
TESTICLE after ‘skewering scrotum’ on fence
The painful incident
happened at the historic Artis Zoo in Amsterdam – the oldest zoo in the
It is not known when
exactly the incident happened, with zoo director Haig Balian only saying it
Are zoo animals happy? There’s a simple empathy test
we can apply
The plight of
animals in entertainment has gained unprecedented public attention over the
past several years, and much of the consciousness-raising has occurred by way
of a particular orca whale named Tilikum, known by his nickname, Tilly. Tilly
was captured near Iceland in November 1983. When he was only two years old, he
was torn away from his family and his ocean home. After a number of years of
being transferred from one aquarium to another, Tilly was finally acquired by
SeaWorld San Diego, and became one of the star attractions and moneymakers for
the theme park. But the years of captivity and maltreatment took a toll on
Tilly, and he started behaving erratically. He eventually killed one of his
trainers, in front of a horrified audience. The details of Tilly’s tragic life
and fateful end were beautifully captured in a documentary called “Blackfish”
(2013). By weaving together ethological details about the cognitive, emotional,
and social lives of orcas in the wild with a catalog of the abuses and
deprivations experienced by Tilly, the film leaves the viewer in no doubt that
SeaWorld is a living hell for these
decimate wild bears
The country’s wild
bear population has declined sharply over the past 20 years, according to
recent surveys carried out in 22 protected areas.
The surveys were
part of a three-year collaborative project by the Centre for Environment and
Rural Development at Vinh University with the support of the conservation and
animal welfare organisation Free the Bears and Animals Asia.
Interviews with over
1,400 residents living next to the protected areas indicate that the bear
population declined between 1990 and 2005, mainly due to hunting. Although 77
per cent of respondents believed bears were still present in their local forest
area, the majority agreed their numbers had declined.
coincided with the expansion of bear bile farming, with the number of bears
kept on bile farms increasing tenfold, from 400 to over 4,000 between 1999 and
2005. Bears in bile farms, mostly Asiatic black bears, a
Behaviour: Combinations, Chains and Intelligence… What About the Others?
I Like to talk about
motivation, it has a very broad spectrum what I like very much. Sky is the
limit I always say. As you guys probably all have seen the blog from Kayce
Cover about training various animals the same way she has a strategy what I
actually really like. Telling the animal what you want in a very simple way of
communication. See her blog:
species; Always the Same, Except When it is Different… But we can go even
further from there.
1,5 weeks ago I was
in ZooMarine Portugal for a visit to organize a conference in 2018. Great
people and just a great park with endless possibilities in training the
animals. We know with marine mammals we can achieve a lot and that’s what they
do up there. The bird show was a surprise for me too especially now Im looking
more into ways of developing training programs with animals where we can add
some extra challenges. I mean it was not particularly a big surprise but from a
training perspective it was. The head trainer has a great perspective to train
animals the way we do with marine mammals and apply this with his birds and he
achieves some amazing goals with some amazing exotic animals. I ask
and the Planet:
Can any real
discussion of animals avoid considering plants?
For that matter, how can any serious exploration of plants not include a
look at the influence animals have? April’s stories at www.zooplantman.com (NEWS/Botanical News)
include new discoveries about how plants have influenced animal evolution and
how animals have affected plants:
· How did male and female eclectus
parrots come to look so strikingly different? Well, it all starts with trees.
· How did some primates evolve to have
bigger brains than other species? Forget the “paleo diet.” It has more to do
with what parts of trees they eat.
· How do leaf-cutter ants avoid
collecting plants unsuitable for their fungus gardens? They study the colony
· What can scientists learn from the
seeds preserved in a dinosaur’s stomach?
· What African savanna animal do you
think transports seeds furthest? Hint: it is not a bird.
Take a few minutes
for this amazing graphic visualization of the rise and spread of human
urbanization from 3,700 BC to today. The development of human civilizations is
breathtaking. Yet with this growth can the decline in biodiversity and wild
Please share these
stories with associates, staff, docents and – most importantly – visitors!
Follow on Twitter,
Facebook Or visit www.plantworldnews.com
– new stories every day as well as
hundreds of stories from the past few years.
Seaworld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund
New trade ruling
spells end for rhinos say conservationists
With the Sumatran
rhino officially extinct in the wild, are South Africa’s rhino doomed to the
same fate? Earlier this month the country’s 2009 moratorium on the domestic
trade in rhino horn was lifted by the Constitutional Court. This ruling went in
favour of private rhino owners and makes it legal to buy and sell rhino horn
within South Africa. But with what consequences?
Pelham Jones, chairman of the Private Owners Association, rejoices, saying
they, “are absolutely delighted at the ruling,” Minister Molewa says, “It
should be noted that the court’s decision should not be construed to mean that
the domestic trade in rhino horn may take place in an unregulated fashion.” But
conservationists believe trade could mean disaster for rhinos. They question if
the government has, “the funding, capacity or expertise to regulate a legal
domestic trade and continue to police an illegal one?”
Dr Jo Shaw, WWF’s
rhino programme manager says she is, “concerned by the court’s decision… Law
enforcement officials simply do not have the capacity to manage parallel legal
domestic trade on top of current levels of illegal poaching and trafficking.”
Susie Watts of WildAid’s Africa Program agrees, “There is no domestic demand
for rhino horn products and, as the pro-trade lobby very well knows, the reason
why the moratorium was implemented
The Rise of Whale
and Dolphin Captivity in China
In August of 1970,
80 killer whales from L-25 pod were encircled by a net at Penn Cove in Puget
Herded together by a
sophisticated operation involving speed boats, planes and explosives, the young
whales were then lassoed and literally dragged out of the water and away from
All told, seven
killer whales, also known as orcas, were captured in the Penn Cove operation
and five died, according to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
In an effort to
limit bad press – and because dead animals counted towards the team’s capture
quota – the deceased animals were subsequently hidden at the bottom of the
“They had us cut the
animals that were already dead open and put rocks inside their cavity and
anchors around their tails and sink them,” recounts John Crowe, a participant
in the hunt, in the documentary film The Killer Whale People. “It was because
of publicity and the money.”
the whale hunters, t
April the giraffe
gives birth in New York zoo, watched by an audience of at least 1 million
And baby makes glee.
Before an online
audience of more than a million viewers, April the giraffe gave birth to a calf
Saturday at a New York zoo, ending weeks of proverbial pacing by animal lovers
in a virtual worldwide waiting room.
bipartisanship on animal protection issues
Congress has found
something cute and cuddly to agree on.
Plagued by bitter
division and fierce infighting, Republican and Democratic lawmakers have found
rare consensus on legislation to protect dogs, cats, horses, tigers and bunnies
In the first few
months of the new 115th Congress, House members and senators have introduced
more than a dozen bipartisan bills on animal welfare, including a measure to
bar people from keeping tigers, lions, and other big cats as pets and
legislation to outlaw the sale of shark fins in the U.S.
About half of those
stand a strong chance of passage this session, said Wayne Pacelle, president
and CEO of The Humane Society of the
EAZA Strategic Plan
What happens when
all the animals are gone?
We live in a time
where we are heading towards a world without wildlife. We have a voice and a
vote, yet we elect people who support the destruction of what makes our planet
livable. But perhaps our gravest sin continues to be our treatment of wildlife.
How is it that, given an earth so rich in life, humanity has chosen to kill —
to destroy — the oasis we have been granted?
We live in a time of
great knowledge about animals, and many people have become advocates for all
species. Yet prejudice, war and social unrest make even our relationships with
our fellow humans complex. Governments are already slow to act to protect the
natural world. Now, consider how hard we find it to deal with species that look
nothing like us, that live underwater or fly through the sky, that compete with
us for food or could even make us their next meal.
Add into the mix
poverty, hunger, p
International Congress of ZooKeepers
Live Jelly Cam -
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Curiouser--Octopus's Evolution Is Even Stranger Than Thought
As if octopuses,
squids and other cephalopods were not already strange enough, they may have
found a way to evolve that is foreign to practically all other multicellular
organisms on the planet.
For most animals,
changes that might prove beneficial to the organism primarily occur at the
beginning of their molecular production process. Mutations occur in DNA that
are then transcribed into RNA; the RNA is then translated into an altered
Not so for
cephalopods—at least not entirely. A new study published in Cell reports these
aquarium oddities can modify the proteins found in their bodies without having
to change the basic sequence of their DNA blueprint. As a result, it looks as
if cephalopods have changed very slowly over the eons of their existence. The
findings also suggest that octopuses and their tentacled cousins may be a lot
older than previously thought.
The new paper
reports on a process called “RNA editing,” which involves enzymes swapping out
one RNA base (or nitrogen-based “letter” in the RNA/DNA alphabet) for another,
presumably in the interest of an organism adapting to its environment. RNA e
How to move an
elephant to Europe post-Brexit
n the latest
warnings about the effects of a post-Brexit future, it isn’t just humans who
could be affected. The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums has
said that leaving the EU without a deal could threaten already endangered
species, whose survival depends on easy access to Europe-wide breeding
At the moment,
breeding progammes in Europe are overseen by the European Association of Zoos
and Aquaria (EAZA), and work efficiently thanks to shared resources and free
movement. “I think the lack of clarity [over post-Brexit legislation] is the
largest concern for us,” says Zak Showell, animal records registrar at Twycross
zoo. “There are more than 400 breeding programmes operated by EAZA. These
breeding programmes are there to ensure the genetic and population survival of
those species we have in captivity.”
does the matching. Each breeding programme has a coordinator who monitors the
Animals Are Keeping Kosher for Passover, and Loving It
It's that time of
year and Israelis are frantically cleaning their homes and eradicating any
signs of chametz, as well as shopping for rabbinically approved Passover
products. They are also spending small fortunes on special products for
Passover, from the mandatory chocolate-covered matza for the kiddies to kosher
cigarettes. And pet food.
Even the Safari Park
in Ramat Gan acknowledges the week-long holiday. The animal cages, night
quarters and pedestrian walkways of the gigantic zoo were cleaned as thoroughly
as sanely possible, and the animals were shifted to special-for-Passover chow,
normally get bread as a treat with their diet – including apes and elephants,
for instance, and the aromatic goats and so on of the petting zoo – were m
WHAT'S IN A WORD?
WHY IT'S TIME TO RETIRE "ROADSIDE ZOO"
"roadside zoo" has become over-used recently as a way to denote a
"bad” zoological facility. Since there is no consensus among the groups
that use the term regarding what it actually indicates about a facility,
“roadside zoo” itself has by now lost any pre-existing operant definition and
its continued use serves mainly to provoke an emotional reaction. Let’s look at
exactly how confusing the term has gotten, and then delve into the relevance of
the concepts the regular public associates with the term.
"what do you think makes a facility a roadside zoo?" was originally
posed to the Why Animals Do The Thing blog audience because of the the
frequency with which the term was occurring in zoo-related discourse. During
the summer of 2016, “roadside zoo” was heavily used in messaging surrounding
zoos, but rather than being a well-defined term used for public education, it
seemed be an amorphous label that could be slapped on pretty much any facility
in order to condemn it. This was especially confusing as the term “roadside
zoo” was present in messaging from both the Association of Zoos and Aquariums
(AZA) (a highly influential regulatory body in the animal management world) and
organizations that heavily influence the creation of animal-related legislation
(which must by nature be accurate and precise in wording) such as the Humane
Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals (PETA). Curiosity arose - it seemed important to find out if the general
public understood “roadside zoo” to mean the same thing as the organizations
that were using the term frequently in their messaging. However, in orde
A PROPOSAL FOR REPLACING THE TERM "ROADSIDE ZOO"
In order to provide
an accurate picture of which zoological facilities are "good"
facilities, and labels that help the public understand which good facilities to
support, it’s important to move beyond the confusing terminology of
"roadside zoos." As explored in a previous article, “roadside zoo” is
not a useful label, because it communicates no tangible information to the
zoo-going public and it’s usage is often loaded with political connotation.
The current movement
towards critical consumption of zoos and the array of animal experiences
available is going to continue to gain momentum, and so it is crucial to the
survival of reputable facilities that the field shift to providing clear and
less-politicized language to help guide potential guests in their
decision-making process. Terminology promoted to the public should have
consistent operant definitions that designate a comprehensible set of
characteristics simple enough that laypeople will be able to use them to assess
a facility. What is needed is a word that intuitively summarizes the problems
the public associates with a “bad” zoological facility: low quality of animal
welfare, a high density of animals in close proximity, animals living in cages
rather than exhibits, pay-t
huge tiger population is finally getting more oversight
Here’s a weird and
pretty shocking animal fact: More captive tigers live in the United States — in
backyards, basements, traveling zoos and roadside menageries — than in the wild
The word “probably”
is key, because there’s such a patchwork of laws regulating tiger ownership
that no one actually knows how many tigers call America home. But the U.S.
government and conservation and animal welfare groups estimate that between
5,000 and 10,000 do; as few as 3,200 endangered wild tigers remain.
Now two new federal
rules are strengthening government oversight of the domestic tiger population,
and animal welfare groups say it’s about time. One does away with a legal
loophole that animal welfare organizations have long argued led to rampant
breeding and trade of the big cats in the United States, and drove the illegal
market for tiger parts around the world. A second new regulation aims to help
America’s youngest captive tigers.
All tigers are
technically protected under the Endangered Species Act, but the U.S. government
has long only monitored and regulat
donated to zoo in Georgia devastated by flooding
A group of penguins
from Bristol Zoo has been donated to Bristol’s twinned city of Tbilisi in
Georgia, which lost many of its zoo animals in a flash flood in 2015.
19 young South
African penguins are now settling into a newly refurbished penguin pool at
Tbilisi Zoo after making the journey by charter plane.
A Trip to the Zoo
Can Get People Talking About Climate Change
Climate change is a
subject most of us don’t really want to think about, let alone discuss over
dinner. While our fears of a decimated environment are clearly reflected in
apocalyptic fiction, frank talk about our warming world is relatively rare.
If this reflects
deep-seated denial, we’re all in trouble. But what if the issue is simpler?
What if we avoid the subject because we don’t really understand it — and don’t
want to sound like an idiot?
Day at the zoo:
Durrell lists hits and misses
A child-like emotion
grips her as she walks by the storks, herons and ibises in the Alipore zoo
aviary. As a black ibis picks its catch from a pond, she recalls her fight to
save one of its cousins, the Waldrapp Ibis, a critically endangered bird that
suffered severely from human actions in Europe from where it disappeared more
than 300 years ago. Welcome to the world of Lee Durrell. And, the backdrop
couldn't have been better.
On her maiden visit
to Kolkata on Wednesday, the American naturalist, author and zookeeper took a
stroll inside Alipore Zoological Gardens, taking a look at the enclosures, the
waterbody, the birds and animals, and of course ta
Seoul Zoo tigers to
be relocated to more natural environment
A group of Siberian
tigers currently exhibited at a local zoo in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, will
be transferred to a government-owned arboretum this summer, according to the
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs on Wednesday.
Selected tigers at
the Seoul Zoo will be relocated to a 48,000-square-meter forest designed to
simulate a wild tiger habitat. The area, called “Tiger Forest,” is part of the
ministry’s 220.1 billion won ($192.4 million) project to build Asia’s largest
arboretum in North Gyeongsang Province, set to officially open to the public
Breeders from Dutch
zoo learn giant panda breeding techniques(1/6)
Breeders from China
and the Netherlands prepare food for Xing Ya and Wu Wen to eat on their
journey. (Photo/Courtesy of the China Conservation and Research Center for the
Xing Ya, a
3-year-old male, and Wu Wen, a 3-year-old female, will soon be the first
Chinese pandas to call the Netherlands home.
intelligence tests reveal body awareness, self-understanding
Humans have been
handing mirrors to animals since at least the early 1800s, when a young Charles
Darwin proffered a polished glass to a pair of orangutans at the London Zoo.
“Both were astonished beyond measure at looking glass, looked at it every way,
sideways, & with most steady surprise,” Darwin wrote in his notebook.
More than a century
later, psychologist Gordon G. Gallup codified what became known as the mirror
test, when in 1970 he demonstrated that chimpanzees could recognize their own
reflections. Only a handful of other animals have passed the mirror test: apes,
dolphins, orcas, Eurasian magpies and an Asian elephant named Happy.
“There are many
camps that argue about what this all means,” Joshua Plotnik, a visiting
psychology professor at the City University of New York’s Hunter College and
founder of the non-profit Think Elephants International, told The Washington
Some scientists view
a successful mirror test as a sign that animals have self-awareness, linked to
complex concepts like empathy. And if an animal can’t pass the test, well, then
it simply can’t be self-aware.
Plotnik, who worked
on Happy’s mirror test, took a more diplomatic approach. It is more likely, he
said, that self-awareness exists on a continuum,
Dutch Panda Mania As
Giant Bears Arrive From China
Two giant pandas
arrived by plane at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport Wednesday after a marathon
8,000 kilometre journey from China, the first breeding pair on Dutch soil in
Female panda Wu Wen
(Beautiful Powerful Cloud) and her male companion Xing Ya (Elegant Star)
touched down at Schiphol at around 1730 GMT after leaving Chengdu in central
China more than 10 hours earlier.
A giant television
screen showed the pandas being lowered onto the tarmac from a passenger jet
operated by Dutch national carrier KLM, surrounded by Dutch border police.
Later they were put
on display for more than 100 journalists and guests straining to catch a
glimpse of the two animals in their specialised cages which included
"I'm so happy
so many friends have come to welcome my two new colleagues," China's
ambassador to The Netherlands Wu Ken told the cro