Friday, August 17, 2018

Zoo News Digest 17th August 2018 (ZooNews 1005)

Zoo News Digest 17th August 2018  (ZooNews 1005)

Photo Credit - Brian Lilly, Bristol Zoo

Peter Dickinson


Dear Colleague,

I was lucky enough to have been invited to the first meeting of Emirates Zoo and Aquarium meeting (EZAA) last Wednesday. It is early days yet but I am sure it will get off the ground. This replaces the Arabian Association of Zoos and Aquariums which in spite of several meetings over a number of years never quite made it. Perhaps that too will arise from the ashes one day once political issues and Middle Eastern strife goes away. Animals recognise no borders other than their own marked out territories and man should only be concerned only about ensure that correct ethical management and welfare of captive animals wherever they are held. It is always going to be difficult in the Middle East where there are so many private collections which sidestep regulations.

It was perhaps my 5th visit to Al Ain since I left working at the zoo in 1982. The place has changed immensely since those happy days. It is where my children learned to walk and when my marriage was strong. I had many friends both human and animal....all gone now...perhaps except for one. In zoo terms though we were at the time just stepping out of the dark ages of zoo design and management though welfare and caring was abundant. I have always missed the place and still do. It is today a very different place. Many new buildings and the grounds lush and green. I still maintain however that the acreage covered is less today than in my time. Not that it matters a hoot really as we know it is not the size of an enclosure that really counts but what you do with it.

The meeting was not too long and gave plenty of time to catch up with colleagues from other collections in the UAE and to meet some new ones.

I am going to miss the UAE and the Arabian Gulf in general. I will be back no doubt. Since my first arrival in 1951 I have left and returned several times. The sand gets in your blood.

 "good zoos will not gain the credibility of their critics until they condemn the bad zoos wherever they are." Peter Dickinson

Did you know that advertising your vacancy or product on ZooNews Digest can potentially reach 79,000 + people?

Lots of interest follows. 


Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 78,000 Followers on Facebook( and over 78,000 likes) and has a weekly reach often exceeding over 350,000 people? That ZooNews Digest has subscribers in over 823 Zoos in 154+ 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,

Paternity Tests at the Penguin House
Roto and Copper, two Gentoo penguins at Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Utah, cared for three children together, taking turns feeding them. They’re a social pair, just like Coco and Gossamer, a neighboring penguin couple that raised their own chicks.

Or did they?

We tend to think of penguins as monogamous, with social bonds formed between two parents for life. But researchers have discovered that penguins in captivity, like some species in the wild, sometimes stray. After sampling the DNA of 19 Gentoo penguins at the aquarium, researchers revealed last month in the journal ZooBiology that Roto is the father of two chicks believed to be Gossamer’s offspring.

“We’ll go back to the classic movies where the male gives the female a rock and they start to bu


Private party to manage Safari Park
The City Council of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation approved on Wednesday the transfer of Safari Park management to a private company under the public private partnership mode.

The opposition leader, Karamullah Waqasi suggested that the matter of the transfer of Safari Park management should be sent to the committee concerned. He also called for initiating projects for water, sewerage and project on build, operate and transfer model.

Parks Committee Chairperson Hanif Soorti informed the council that steps were being taken to provide natural environment to animals in the Safari Park.


Zoo’s tiniest giant panda cub born to world’s oldest father
A giant panda cub born at a zoo here on Aug. 14 immediately made a big impact as the offspring of the world’s oldest father panda.

Eimei, the dad, is 25 years old--equivalent to the mid-70s in human years--and remarkably, he conceived the female cub naturally with 17-year-old mother, Rauhin, breaking his own world record for mating in captivity at such an advanced age.

In another first, the cub is the lightest ever to be born at the Adventure World wildlife park, weighing 75 grams and measuring 15.5 cm in length.

The smallest panda cub to be reared successfully at the zoo until now was 84 grams at birth.

It is the 16th panda cub to be born in the park, and the first in about two years. Eimei is now father to 15 pandas, and Rauhin has become a mother of nine.

According to the zoo, the cub was born at 10:32 p.m. on Aug 14.

She is unable to suckle her mother’s breast by


China to move critically endangered porpoises to aquarium as shipping, pollution choke river habitat
Facing a continuous drop in the population of the Yangtze finless porpoise, China has decided to explore a method of artificial breeding to protect the critically endangered species.

The plan calls for relocating 14 of the porpoises to commercial aquariums.

However, the plan was met with strong opposition from Chinese environmentalists, who urged the government to reconsider the move and suggested focusing more resources on the protection of their habitat.

Some environmentalists even suggested that moving the porpoises to aquariums will do no good to the porpoises, but will turn the endangered species into a tool for making profit.

Risky move

The Yangtze River Fisheries Administration under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs on July 27 ordered conservation areas in Anhui and Hubei provinces to send 14 porpoises to the Chimelong Aquarium in Guangdong Province and Haichang Ocean Park in Shanghai. The administration did not reveal how long the porpoises will stay in the aquariums.

A staff member from the Anhui Agriculture Commission told the news site on August 3 that this is not a business move but a part of a protection campaign.

HOLY CLOSURE Dublin Zoo announce they will close for three days during Pope’s visit to Phoenix Park
DUBLIN Zoo has announced they will be closing for three days during the Pope’s visit.

The popular attraction won’t be open to the public on August 25, 26 and 27.
But keepers will still be able to get in to look after the animals.

A spokesperson wrote on Facebook: “To facilitate the visit of Pope Francis to the Phoenix Park, the Phoenix Park will be closed to the public on Saturday 25th, Sunday 26th and Monday 27th August.

“This means that Dublin Zoo will not open for these days.

“The necessary Dublin Zo

East of Siberia: Goral on the Cliffs
They are highly secretive animals: stocky, goatlike creatures about the size of German shepherds
The Khuntami Cliffs are a cathedral of rock. They rise slowly from inland to crest like an enormous wave frozen just before crashing into the Sea of Japan. It’s been a favorite spot of mine in the Sikhote-Alin Reserve for years now; I’ve seen everything from nesting Eurasian eagle owls to Pacific swifts here, watched Minke whales in the sea, and seen tracks of wild boar, Asiatic black bears, and Amur tiger in the sand along Khuntami Bay below.

South Africa rhino poaching: 'Bribes paid to court syndicate'
A whistle-blower has told the BBC he was the middleman between rhino-horn smugglers and a court syndicate in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province.

He alleges he took money given to a lawyer from rhino-horn kingpins and paid it to people within the judiciary.

The lawyer, Welcome Ngwenya, denies that he was involved in paying bribes.

But investigations, involving others informants, point to a court syndicate that could be keeping rhino killers beyond the reach

Alligator that survived WWII bombings still alive and snapping
American alligator Muja arrived at Belgrade Zoo on the eve of the Second World War and is believed to be the oldest of his kind in captivity and still in good health with a hearty appetite for his age, his handlers said on Tuesday.

Generations of Belgraders and tourists have come to watch Muja and though he rarely moves around much, he is still agile at feeding time — when he munches on rats and quail. This is when his age shows, though, as he sometimes misses the target when he snaps at his food.

So far Muja’s only health i

Chinese zoo angers visitors with dog in tiger cage
A zoo on Beijing's outskirts got visitors roaring after they found a dog in a cage marked "Siberian tiger," among other mislabels.

A Weibo user "Schlieffen" posted a photo Monday of what appears to be a caged husky at the Yuhe Zoo in Langfang, Hebei Province, which made the rounds on social media.

A number of posts from visitors made similar claims: cages labeled "long-eared rabbits" housed regular rabbits, the crocodile pond was instead inhabited by swans, and cages marked "owl" and "golden eagle" also contained dogs.

"There were a lot of signs that didn't match up," Weibo user "Schlieffen" later told Beijing Youth Daily.

The park responded on Tuesday that many of the larger animals were removed earlier this year and the signs had yet to be changed.

According to an emplo

Zoo owners owe a whopping £350,000
A BORTH zoo, which last week won a temporary reprieve from moves to wind the company up, is believed to owe creditors almost £350,000.

A petition at London’s High Court by creditors to wind up Borth Wild Animal Kingdom was adjourned by a top insolvency judge last Wednesday.

The zoo, which says it is dedicated to conservation and is a home for endangered animal species, was granted a reprieve for 42 days by Chief Registrar Judge Nicholas Briggs at the Insolvency and Companies Court.

A petition to wind up Borth Wild Animal Kingdom Ltd whose website motto is “A little zoo with a big heart” was applied for earlier this summer by one of its creditors, Grenke Leasing Ltd, of Guildford, Surrey.

At a brief hearing Grenke sought a compulsory winding up order over the debts owed to it.

However, the zoo succ

Local rhinos given new lease of life Down Under in fight for survival
The first group of at least 30 SA rhinos is set to emigrate to Australia in 2019 to help ensure the survival of the species.

Zookeepers and conservationists have been fencing and vegetating a 560ha open-plains area for a new "insurance population" of African rhinos at Monarto Zoo, about 60km from Adelaide in south Australia.

It seems likely that the animals will have to spend up to a year at the Orana Wildlife Park in Christchurch, New Zealand, because of rigorous biosecurity and quarantine requirements by the Australian government.

The Australian Rhino Project was established in 2013, aiming to relocate a significant population of rhino to a separate continent because of the horn poaching crisis, which has led to 1,000 rhino killings annually in SA for five consecutive years.

While the project has been cri

India’s first Humboldt Penguin born in Mumbai Zoo
Nature lovers were thrilled as India’s first Humboldt Penguin chick was hatched at the Mumbai Zoo, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officially announced here on Thursday.
“The Humboldt Penguin chick hatched at 8.02pm on August 15. It appeared to be active and the mother Flipper was trying to feed it too,” confirmed the Zoo Director in-charge Sanjay Tripathi.

After mating in captivity, the Penguin pair Mr Molt and Flipper, finally delivered an egg in July at the Veer Jijabai Bhonsale Udyan, or Mumbai Zoo.
While Mr Molt is the youngest male, Flipper is the oldest female in the zoo’s penguin colony which attracts hordes of excited visitors daily.
As an anxious team of zoo caretakers, vets and others kept vigil for nearly 40 days, the egg was finally hatched late on Wednesday and the small fluffy chick struggled o

Oldest hippopotamus in captivity dies at 59 in Jerusalem zoo
Tami, believed to be the oldest hippopotamus in captivity, died on Thursday at the age of 59 in her sleep at Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo, the zoo announced.

She was found dead in the lake of the African-themed area where she lived in the Israeli zoo, a statement said.


Which Countries Have Banned Plastic Bags?
In an effort to reduce unnecessary waste, some countries have placed bans on plastic bags. Continue reading to find out which places have taken this action as well as more information about the pollution problem facing our planet today.

Plastic Bag Overload
Let's face it: plastic bags are everywhere these days, and while they may seem like a cheap, easy way to carry our goods, they are wreaking havoc on the planet in a number of ways. According to the Earth Policy Institute, nearly one trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year. The problem is that these bags contain polyethylene and cannot biodegrade, which means if they aren't recycled or disposed of properly, they become pollution that we commonly see alongside the road or floating in the water. This equals trouble for not only us and our environment, but animals and other wildlife as well.


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New Meetings and Conferences updated Here

If you have anything to add then please email me at
I will include it when I get a minute. You know it makes sense.

Recent Zoo Vacancies

Vacancies in Zoos and Aquariums and Wildlife/Conservation facilities around the World

About me
After more than 50 years working in private, commercial and National zoos in the capacity of keeper, head keeper and curator Peter Dickinson started to travel. He sold house and all his possessions and hit the road. He has traveled extensively in Turkey, Southern India and much of South East Asia before settling in Thailand. In his travels he has visited well over 200 zoos and many more before 'hitting the road' (many more before that) and writes about these in his blog

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

"These are the best days of my life"

Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant
+971 50 4787 122 | | Skype: peter.dickinson48

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Zoo News Digest 14th August 2018 (ZooNews 1004)

Zoo News Digest 14th August 2018  (ZooNews 1004)

Photo Credit Rasik Chavda

Peter Dickinson


Dear Colleague,

I am a bit disappointed about the relocation of Dusit Zoo. If it really and sincerely is about improving the husbandry and giving more space however then I will be happy to go along with it. The vacated green space then in the heart of Bangkok should then remain as a park and not turned over to more offices and hotels. Will it or won't it? Another thing is the new zoo is over 40 Km away and will be just too far away for many. The relocation of the Dubai Zoo out to the Dubai Safari has lost the core of its most loyal visitors by moving out to next to the Dragon Mart....just too far away. Too expensive for most to reach. Although it has been quiet for a while now I imagine talks of moving Surabaya Zoo will once again start to appear in the press. There have been a few stories about moving some of the Indian Zoos in recent years. It is all a bit sad. City Zoos are important. More important than office blocks anyway.

The video of the Ostrich attack was quite disturbing. I am glad the keeper was not too badly injured. I have seen just what a rutting male Ostrich can do. I once had to extricate a keeper from a 10 foot tall Acacia tree. He had been kicked into the top of it and could not move for the thorns in his body. Since my earliest days in zoos I was told that if you were attacked the best thing to do was to lay flat on the ground. It wasn't however till around thirty years ago I found myself having to do exactly this as there was no alternative. What do you know? works. The ostrich strutted its stuff around my prone body for a while and then moved off. Each time I raised my body he attacked again and each time I lay flat he wandered off. So it was a case quickly getting up and running a short distance before falling flat and playing dead once again. In this way I managed to escape the enclosure. Let's face it you can't outrun them.

 "good zoos will not gain the credibility of their critics until they condemn the bad zoos wherever they are." Peter Dickinson

Did you know that advertising your vacancy or product on ZooNews Digest can potentially reach 79,000 + people?

Lots of interest follows. 


Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 79,000 Followers on Facebook( and over 80,000 likes) and has a weekly reach often exceeding over 350,000 people? That ZooNews Digest has subscribers in over 823 Zoos in 154+ 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,

Poor Animal Welfare in Zoos & How Wild Welfare is Supporting Improvements By Wild Welfare
Did you know that the exact number of zoos and zoological type exhibits and collections around the world is actually unknown, but estimates have been made anywhere between 10,000 and 16,000 zoos worldwide? Among the larger professional regional zoo and aquarium associations, such as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in the United States and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), the care and custodianship of animals is one of the primary uniting factors of their accredited members, who are constantly striving to achieve higher standards of welfare. However, a significant number of captive wild animal facilities actually fall outside the ethical oversight of a zoo association, neither are they influenced by national or international legislation pertaining to high standards of animal welfare. Consequently, if follows that there are

Thieves take endangered animals from Avilon Zoo
Several endangered animals from a private zoo in Rodriguez, Rizal were stolen by thieves Tuesday morning.

Taken from the Avilon Zoo were three mature red-footed tortoises, a yellow-footed tortoise, a common snapping turtle, three black palm cockatoos, and a brown tufted capuchin monkey, said the zoo’s Facebook post.

The animals are part of the zoo’s conservation breeding program. Police have yet to identify suspects a


LAPD Looking Into Video Of Man Who Spanked Hippo At LA Zoo
He might have done it for the ‘Gram, but now a man who crossed a barricade guarding a hippopotamus enclosure at the Los Angeles Zoo is looking at potential trespassing charges after he was filmed spanking one of the animals.

The Los Angeles Times reports the video started making the rounds on social media last week. It shows a man slowly climbing a metal guardrail, inching his way towards a 4-year-old hippo and its mother, the paper said. He then slaps Rosie, the young pachyderm, and immediately retreats before


Yangon zoo to be learning centre on biodiversity
Yangon Zoo aims to raise the awareness of people about the importance of biodiversity and environmental conservation and it would cooperate with a non-government conservation organisation to achieve its goal, the Yangon Zoological Gardens said in a statement.

The Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association (BANCA) and Htoo Zoos & Gardens Business Unit, which manages the Yangon Zoo, signed a Memorandum of Agreement last week for the programme.


British flamingos lay eggs for first time in 15 years after heatwave summer
Flamingos living in a British wildfowl reserve have lain eggs for the first time in 15 years after the heatwave mimicked conditions they would normally experience in the wild.

The rare flock of Andean flamingos at WWT Slimbridge in Gloucester last produced eggs in 2003, when conditions were similarly stifling.

This year’s record-breaking temperatures sparked six of the birds to lay nine eggs, but as they were all infertile, the expectant mums were left without chicks to rear.

So to stop the flamingos feeling glum about their empty nests, experts at the reserve swapped them for Chilean


120-year-old Bangkok zoo to be closed
The 120-year-old Dusit Zoo in the heart of the Thai capital Bangkok will be closed at the end of this month with all animals being transferred to provincial zoos.

The public relations department of Dusit Zoo, located opposite the Royal Plaza and the parliament, confirmed on Wednesday that the zoo is closing at the end of this month and all of its animals will be transferred to several provincial zoos.

Dusit Zoo, which has opened since 1898, is part of Dusit Palace. So are the adjacent Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall, Suan Amporn Garden, Vimanmek Mansion and the parliament.

A new parliament is being built on the bank of Chao Phraya River several kilometers away.

His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn has donated some 120 acres of land in Thanyaburi district of Pathum Thani province, about 40 km n

Marine mammal facilities vital for conservation
New scientific research backs up what any visitor to Bermuda’s Dolphin Quest could tell you: the dolphin inhabitants enjoy interacting with humans as much as we enjoy playing with them.

The study, published this summer in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, finds that dolphins in professional human care display behaviours that demonstrate they keenly anticipate interaction with humans. This finding reveals that the dolphins in the study perceived interactions with humans as rewarding.

Marine mammal facilities such as Dolphin Quest, whose Bermuda Ocean Habitat sanctuary is one of the largest and most natural dolphin habitats in the world, are life-saving arks of hope for wild sea life that is threatened by many human factors including marine debris, habitat degradation, overfishing and pollution.

These facilities educate and inspire visitors to care about and protect marine life while supporting vital marine mammal conservation efforts. Today’s ocean is becoming increasingly affected by plastics, pollution and marine debris. In many areas of the ocean, scientists find more plastics by weight than plankton.

A Plymouth University study finds that plastic pollution affects at least 700 marine species, and some estimates conclude that at least 100 million marine animals are killed each year because of it.

This pollution threat was brought home by a viral video, viewed more than 32 million times, of a straw being removed from the nose of a sea turtle. Ecologists suggest we are at the beginning stages of a sixth mass extinction, with 4,529 mammal, bird and amphibian species deemed at risk of extinction on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.

Zoo announces recipients of 2018 Animal Care & Conservation Awards
Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park has announced this year’s recipients of its annual Animal Care & Conservation Awards. Over the past three decades, the zoo has contributed tens of thousands of dollars, as well as thousands more as in-kind support and staff expertise to dozens of local, national and international organizations working on habitat restoration and wildlife conservation all over the globe. The financial awards of $1,000 to $10,000 each were created to recognize worthy efforts in field conservation, public display and education and basic research designed to preserve our planet and inspire future generations to care about wildlife and wild places.

The recipients include:

• The Marine Mammal Center (

• Zoological Association of America Wildlife Conservation Fund (

• The International Crane Foundation (

• The Cheetah Conservation Fund (……..

Cells of Endangered Vaquita Added to Frozen Zoo to Help Save Species
In a last-ditch effort to save the critically endangered vaquita porpoises, the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research received tissue biopsies for its Frozen Zoo.

The biopsies were collected at the end of 2017 from two female vaquitas during an attempt to establish a breeding program.

The tissue was collected by scientists working with the Mexican government and conservationists during a last-ditch effort to capture the few remaining vaquitas, which live in in the waters off the northern end of the Gulf of California.

The samples were brought to the Institute so that it c

Tasneem Zoo upgrades facilities after criticism and government inspection
A ZOO in Bahrain has upgraded its facilities following complaints, government officials who conducted a second round of inspections found.

Tasneem Zoo, in Shakura, had come under criticism from animal welfare activists after a baboon was shown in an online video, chained and pacing restless in a cage.

Animal Wealth Directorate officials and members of the Bahrain Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) visited the zoo on July 25 after the video went viral on social media.

They had given the zoo owners 10 days to rectify the situation at the facility.

In the follow-up inspection last Tuesday, officials found that the baboon had been moved to a new cage at the sprawling Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve, in Sakhir.

“We are happy that the inspectors found the changes acceptable,” Tasneem Zoo manager Zahra Al Dasma told the GDN.

“The major changes we made included relocating the baboon to Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve after concerns were raised of him being chained in the small cage,” she said.

“Other changes include open areas for dogs and cats and bigger food and water facilities for the animals.

“The overall cleanliness of the surrounding areas was also met with approval.

“The next phase we are workin

Vietnam province scrambles to save endangered monkey
A central Vietnam province is trying to buy back acacia plantations to save critically endangered douc langurs.
A group of grey-shanked doucs in Nui Thanh District, Quang Nam Province, are on the verge of extinction due to food shortage and habitat loss.

Authorities in the central province are scrambling to expand the habitat of the critically endangered douc langurs in an attempt to save the last members of the rare primates, which are protected by Vietnamese and international laws.

Quang Nam Vice Chairman Le Tri Thanh said local authorities were buying acres of acacia trees from local farmers to revive natura



Forest elephant DNA diverse, consistent, and distinct, study says
Forest elephants differ on the inside as well. Genetic research indicates that the forest elephant is a species distinct from the savanna elephant, having separated some 2–7 million years ago. In fact, analyses have found that African forest and savanna elephants differ from each other as much as modern Asian elephants do from ancient mammoths. Nevertheless, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) does not yet recognize the distinction.

Scientists see the distinction as important to bring species-specific conservation recognition and action to bear for African forest elephants. Industrial-scale poaching for ivory has caused forest elephant populations to decline much faster than those of savanna elephant populations. Lumping the two groups together underestimates the vulnerability of the forest elephant.

“More than two-thirds of the remaining forest elephants in Africa have been killed over the last 15 years or so,” said study co-author Albert Roca, professor of animal sciences at the University of Illinois’s Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology and College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES).  “Some conservation agencies don’t recognize African forest elephants as a distinct species, and these animals’ conservation needs have been neglected.”



Hyenas: A Different Perspective
In my opinion the above proverb epitomizes a predator we often overlook – the Spotted Hyena. For decades spotted hyenas have been seen as the dirty, the dark, smelly and cunning scavengers of the African bush and have been the subjects of many superstitions and myths. In African folklore it is believed that hyenas represent witches in disguise; in books and films they are often perceived as the villains of the story. As much as I enjoyed my childhood days of watching The Lion King over and over again – it didn’t do them any justice at portraying their true character.

Animal welfare key to Dusit Zoo move
At the end of this month, Bangkokians will bid farewell to Dusit Zoo, as the final curtain falls for the site, treasured by many not just as a recreational edutainment place, but also as a vast green space...

Brush with death inspired this carpenter to become a CROC STAR
Shaun, 39, started off keep crocs in his garden before deciding to jack in his job as a carpenter.

He now works with the reptiles time – drawing comparisons with Hogan’s eccentric poacher character the 1986 hit film and its sequels.

Among his collection of cold-blooded creatures are a 30-stone, 12ft tomistoma, several endangered species and about 30 Nile crocs, which get snappy at feeding time.

And dealing with these toothy terrors has meant even experienced handler Shaun has had the odd accident.

He says: “When you work with a dangerous animal every single day, the always going to be things that happen.

“We have 132 crocodiles on sit small accidents do happen, but they very rare – no-one has lost an arm any fingers!

“I probably had the closest sh when I was training a 7ft crocodile wasn’t really concentrating. That w big error on my behalf and she

Alex, the National Zoo’s 100-year-old Aldabra tortoise, is euthanized
One of the National Zoo’s oldest and largest animals died Tuesday after caretakers found fluid inside his shell and around his heart.

Zookeepers euthanized Alex, a 100-year-old Aldabra tortoise who arrived at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington in the mid-1950s. Aldabra tortoises, among the world’s largest tortoises, have a life expectancy of 100 to 150 years.

Alex was considered an “ambassador” for his species, experts said. He was known as a social and personable tortoise who enthusiastically did training sessions. His favorite pastime was “relaxing in a cool and often muddy section of the outdoor yard,” the zoo said.

Zookeepers said Alex was a visitor fa

How Killer Whales Went from Hated, to Adored, to Endangered
It was not so long ago that killer whales were reviled as vicious pests, shot, harpooned, and even machine-gunned by whalers, fishermen, and government agencies. Today, the world has come to appreciate these sleek creatures not only as apex predators but also for their complex societies and their ability to feel grief. But as Jason Colby explains in his new book, Orca, our love affair with killer whales may have come too late, as declining fish stocks, marine pollution, and other forces push some of them ever closer to extinction.

When National Geographic caught up with Colby in Hawaii, he explained how orcas display complex social behavior and even grief, why a controversial new pipeline in Canada threatens their survival, and how writing this book was also a redemptive personal journey.

Ostrich Attacks Zoo Worker in Penza
An ostrich attacked a Penza Zoo employee who violated safety rules and entered a cage during mating season.

The ostrich knocked the man off his feet, kicking him several times, but after a few seconds it lost interest.

According to a representative of the zoo, the ostrich mating season lasts from June to October; thus the male who attacked the zoo employee perceived the latter as a rival. The representative added that the employee did not apply for medical help, since he did not receive serious injuries, only a sing

In 2012-17, 54 lions, 11 tigers, 17 leopards found infected  ..
A report prepared by scientists at Indian Veterinary Researc ..

Multiple people injured from hail at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Colorado Springs Police and the Fire Department rushed to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to help people with serious injuries at the facility from a major hail storm around 3 p.m. The fire department says five people were taken to the hospital by ambulance while 11 others were treated on scene and released.

The zoo is currently closed and will remain closed for a damage assessment Tuesday.  Unfortunately, a 4-year-old muscovy duck named Daisy and a 13-year-old cape vulture Motswari were killed by the hailstones.

People at the zoo were told to stay in place as emergency personnel made arrangements for evacuations to Cheyenne Mountain High School for reunification efforts for families and large groups.

A total of seven busloa

Ancient virus defends koalas against new viral attacks
The human genome is riddled with endogenous retroviruses—little pieces of degraded and generally harmless retrovirus DNA passed down through the generations, along with our own genetic information. Because most endogenous retroviruses have been part of our DNA for millions of years, scientists can't explain how they went from their virulent, disease-causing forms to the inert bits of "junk DNA" most of them are today. A new study published today in the journal PNAS looks to koalas for an answer.

"In humans, the youngest known endogenous retrovirus groups are around 5 million years old. That makes it very hard to tell what happened. But the koala is one of the few species known to have an ongoing invasion of the germline by a retrovirus," says Alfred Roca, one of the authors of the study and an associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois.

Like other viruses, retroviruses first attack from the outside. They enter the body, fuse with cells to release their contents, and insert pieces of their DNA into the genetic code of the host, hijacking the host's DNA-replicating machinery to make more copies of themselves.

But if they find their way into sperm and egg cells, retroviral genes can be passed on to the host's offspring, becoming a permanent part of the reproductive

Tracking langurs in Sơn Trà nature reserve
Viet Nam News
Having graduated with a degree in biology and environmental studies from the Đà Nẵng Teachers Training College, Bùi Văn Tuấn has explored remote forests across central Việt Nam to conduct his scientific research on primate species and their diets, as well as the rich forest biodiversity of the  region.

The 4,439ha Sơn Trà Nature Reserve in Đà Nẵng has been his favourite site since he began studying Vietnamese biodiversity and the endangered red-shanked douc langurs (Pygathrix nemaeus) population living in the reserve.

Tuấn, 33, and a research team from the Biodiversity Conservation Centre of GreenViet, an NGO in Đà Nẵng, are conducting a 10-year study of every corner of the reserve to research the endangered langu

Dogs to be vaccinated to protect wild pandas from diseases
Panda experts are planning to vaccinate dogs around wildlife reserves in China to prevent giant pandas from contracting rabies or distemper.

The method has been proven to be effective, according to Diao Kunpeng, a panda expert at the Beijing-based NGO Shan Shui Conservation Center, which conducted a pilot program around the Shaanxi Foping National Nature Reserve and other reserves in the country since 2015.

The fatal canine distemper virus (CDV) killed five giant pandas between December 2014 and March 2015 in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

The center, with the help of China Agricultural University, has vaccinated 300 to 400 domestic dogs around several wildlife reserves in China since 2015, Diao said.

There has been no reported case of CDV infection of pandas since then.

Research conducted by the center shows that 72 percent of unvaccinated domestic dogs living in and around a reserve in Shaanxi carried CDV. 

Scientists also noticed that dogs and wild pandas roa

The Value of Having Cetaceans in Human Care at Accredited Aquariums and Zoos
I’ve spent my entire 37-year career in the field of conservation. I can count many accomplishments, but few make me prouder than those opportunities when I’ve been able to support the protection of places, great and small, but especially the areas that stand apart as ecosystems unto themselves — like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. These are amazing places, increasingly rare in a world where human populations are continuing to expand in numbers and affluence. They are increasingly hard to protect, as illustrated in our government’s current headlong rush to allow oil developers into the Arctic Refuge’s coastal plain; its biological heart.

If we are going to protect these great places, providing homes for the creatures, great and small, that depend upon them, we must nurture a public that sees the protection of these places as relevant and essential. This is challenging in a world where people are rapidly evolving into ur

Journey to transport Mundi from Puerto Rico to south Georgia will be 'incredibly complex'
The journey of bringing a 35-year-old elephant living at a Puerto Rican zoo to a new South Georgia sanctuary continues to unfold.

Mundi is currently at Dr. Juan A. Rivero zoo in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. The center has attracted global headlines in the past year for its inability to care for animals amid the territory's economic turmoil.

Last year, an organization called Elephant Aid International announced it was working with the Puerto Rican government to "retire" the elephant to a sanctuary in Attapulgus, Georgia, less than 30 miles from Tallahassee.

Carol Buckley, founder of the nonprofit, said the sanctuary is nearing the end of construction, which would allow it to b

Striped hyena escapes enclosure at Vandalur Zoo, triggers panic in Chennai
Tension prevails at Arignar Anna Zoological Park, popularly known as Vandalur Zoo, as a young male striped hyena aged about three, jumped out of its enclosure post working hours on Monday evening.

Despite the best efforts of the zoo authorities, the animal was still free-ranging till Monday midnight within the sprawling campus of the zoo. The officials are working on baiting it back into its enclosure at least by Tuesday morning.

“The zoo is anyway closed on Tuesdays. We’re hoping that the animal will come back to it’s enclosure by morning,” an official said adding that trap cameras have been set.

Generally, stripped hyenas are primarily scavenger and pose to threat to humans unlike spotted hyenas. “This Hyena is generally very shy and harmless. We’re not alarm

Loro Parque Foundation opens the window for the reception of new projects for 2019
Loro Parque Foundation has announced their deadline for the reception of new projects for 2019.  They will accept new proposals until Wednesday, August 15.  The Foundation will distribute US$ 1,000,000 among all the selected projects, which will be evaluated by a committee of independent experts.

This international non-profit institution, whose main sponsor is Loro Parque, supports projects that focus primarily on parrots and marine animals, with the particular aim of improving the conservation status of endangered species.  In addition, through its activity, it also promotes the conservation of their habitats and of biodiversity in general.

Thanks to the fact that the Parque, considered the best zoo in the world according to TripAdvisor contributors, covers all the expenses of the Foundation, 100 per cent of all donations are used for envi

Animal-loving anarchists set fire to French zoo
Anarchists have claimed responsibility for setting off a fire at a zoo in central France.
Anarchists calling zoos 'prisons' have said they were behind a blaze that destroyed several ticket booths at the Peaugres Safari park in the Ardèche region on August 1, France Bleu reported.

No animals or people were harmed by the flames.

The fire began late in the night on August 1st and burned through into the early hours, until firefighters arrived to put it out.

The zoo had to close for 1 day on August 2.

140-year-old Jaipur Zoo to be transformed into a bird aviary
Located in the mid of the city, 140-year-old Jaipur Zoo will soon be transformed into a bird aviary. A proposal regarding this has been sent to the Central Zoo Authority of India (CZAI) in New Delhi. The decision will be taken soon. After the proposal is approved, the place will become a home to different species of birds and the other animals will be shifted to Nahargarh Biological Park. Special enclosures for the bird will be set up.

The zoo administration has sent a new design for the zoo to the CZAI in which 25- 30 enclosures will be created for keeping the different species of birds. Several birds will be brought from across the globe through exchange programs. Apart fr

Is Taronga Zoo responsible for Sydney's prolific ibis population?
In the early 1970s, Taronga Zoo launched an experimental breeding program encouraging the Australian white ibis to roost in the grounds on Sydney Harbour.

At the time it was seen as an exciting opportunity, but could the zoo be held responsible for the rise of the much-maligned bin chicken?

In 1973, just 19 ibis from Healesville in Victoria were held at the zoo and were encouraged to breed as free-ranging birds.

A report on the Taronga program unearthed by the ABC RetroFocus project describes the ibis as being "among the most graceful and decorative of Australian birds".

Today, Sydney's ibis population is estimated to be aroun

Capturing elephants from the wild drastically shortens their lives, study finds
Around the world elephants are kept as tourist attractions, for religious purposes and even as part of the workforce, but a new study shows taking these majestic animals from the wild cuts their lives short.

Humans have captured elephants for thousands of years, and today a third of the remaining 15,000 Asian elephants are held in captivity.

Across forested parts of Southeast Asia, for example, humans use the considerable strength of their local elephants to haul timber around for the logging industry.

The cargo ship Rolldock Sun, which arrived in the Dutch harbor of Vlissingen on Friday August 3rd, was carrying a very special load: one specimen of galago, a small primate mainly native to Tanzania, also known as “bushbaby”. The galago most likely climbed on board without being noticed while the ship stopped in Tanzania two months ago. Since being discovered and until his transport to AAP, he had been cared for by the crew.

Billionaire philanthropist donates $1M to Sioux Falls zoo
Billionaire philanthropist T. Denny Sanford has donated $1 million to the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls.

It's the largest donation in the zoo's history. Sanford says, "I'm a zoo guy."

The money will go toward a lion exhibit. The zoo is trying to raise $5 million for the project, and has reached the $2 million mark.

The lion habitat will feature a pride of up to 10 lions and cubs, including a habitat and yard area, a holding and viewing building, and a training demonstration area. The project also will expand seating at a cafe to accommodate the zo in August 2018

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Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!



The Goeldi Monkey Exhibit at the Tropikariet in Helsingborg, Sweden, is 
an indoor exhibit that was completed in-house. Thanks to the staff's 
horticulture experience the result is a lushly planted naturalistic 
exhibit that replicates a tropical rainforest scenery.

We would like to thank Magnus Lindqvist for preparing this presentation.



This conference will be hosted next month by Seattle Aquarium and 
Woodland Park Zoo. Barbara Brem will attend for ZooLex. She would love 
to speak with you about presenting your animal exhibits on ZooLex. You 
can meet her at the poster session or anytime during the conference.



Thanks to Eduardo Díaz García we are able to offer the Spanish 
translation of the previously published presentation of the Mink-Ferret 
Rotation Exhibit at Fasanerie Wiesbaden in Germany.


We keep working on ZooLex ...

The ZooLex Zoo Design Organization is a non-profit organization
registered in Austria (ZVR-Zahl 933849053). ZooLex runs a professional
zoo design website and distributes this newsletter. More information and


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About me
After more than 50 years working in private, commercial and National zoos in the capacity of keeper, head keeper and curator Peter Dickinson started to travel. He sold house and all his possessions and hit the road. He has traveled extensively in Turkey, Southern India and much of South East Asia before settling in Thailand. In his travels he has visited well over 200 zoos and many more before 'hitting the road' (many more before that) and writes about these in his blog

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

"These are the best days of my life"

Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant
+971 50 4787 122 | | Skype: peter.dickinson48