Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Zoo News Digest 15th August 2017 (ZooNews 967)


Zoo News Digest 15th August 2017  (ZooNews 967)


Peter Dickinson

elvinhow@gmail.com

Dear Colleague,

Perhaps the thing which bothers me most about the 'Panda Incident' in Edinburgh Zoo is the fact that it is appearing now almost a year after it occurred. Who is it that has been sitting on the video and waiting for what they believe to be the right time to cause trouble? I don't know any more than anyone else about the situation in Edinburgh  but if there is one then the complainants need to stand up and be counted and not hide behind a cloak of anonymity. They are either right or wrong.
The Panda incident will already have been fully investigated and acted upon so to drag it up now to fulfill some alternative agenda seems very wrong. I mean how far back do you want to go back? This same tactic is used by so many anti-zoo newspapers which start out with an up to date zoo news item and then a paragraph later reel off a list of everything, no matter how minor, which has gone wrong in the zoo in the previous twenty years. I imagine the Born Free Foundation are going to make a meal of this one.

Two snippets that appear in the recent news items - "Zoological collections don't buy and sell animals – they loan, donate or swap."

and below the same:
"There is no sale or purchase of animals in our network"

I would like readers to think about those two statements. They say more or less the same thing and this is how GOOD zoos operate today. The animals belong to the officially sanctioned breeding programmes, to the world and not to a collection or person. This is how it should be. There is no profit motive involved.
How does your zoo measure up? You may be the most caring zoo employee on the planet but does your zoo care like you do?

I was delighted to see the recognition being given to Bali Zoo at last. It is sometime since I did a zoo tour of Indonesia. I only visited around a dozen collections but when I think back then Bali Zoo was undoubtedly the best of the bunch.



I was saddened to learn of the discovery of a new squirrel virus. I devoted a lot of time to Red Squirrels a few years back. They had enough problems back then without having to contend with a new one today.

I would urge you all to read the first link in this digest. It covers a subject I first made mention of in ZooNews Digest 22nd July 2017 (ZooNews 963). I reckon it needs more reading, more discussion. It is not too late to uninvite Mr. Pacelle and I believe that the correct action and is what the majority of AZA members want. But who am I? Just someone who listens and forms my own biased opinions.
There are some truly excellent presentations already planned...see Full Conference Schedule. I wish I could afford the trip.

Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 61,000 Followers on Facebook 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, 
not DYSFUNCTIONAL zoos.

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Op-Ed:Partnering with Animals Rights ensures extinction of zoos and aquariums
Recently, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), an organization whose members I have proudly promoted and defended locally and nationally in good times and in bad for more than 25 years, announced it had invited HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle to be its keynote speaker at the public display trade association’s annual meeting in Indianapolis next month. Echoing the thoughts of many rank and file zookeepers and zoo directors that have shared on social media and directly with new AZA CEO Dan Ashe, this is a terrible decision. A trade association’s first duty is to protect and advance the interests of its members, not to “invite the fox into the henhouse.” Instead, the naïve invitation sends an unmistakable signal to the world that its finest and most knowledgeable zoological park professionals need the help of the most committed and well-funded anti-zoo organizations in the area of animal welfare.

Ridiculous.

Rather than reverse course on an unpopular and dangerous decision with lasting implications, the AZA doubled down a few days later in a press statement that not only tried to legitimatize the HSUS as a welfare organization and part of the mainstream, but implied those of us that oppose this invitation are “afraid to listen.”  That alone would be laughable if it weren’t also quite revealing about the trajectory of the AZA over the past decade. Perhaps the new AZA CEO and his team should spend more time with its own animal professionals– keepers, trainers, researchers, aquarists, aviculturists, herpetologists, and veterinarians are some of the most courageous and skilled people I have ever known.

Fact is there’s nothing new to be learned from Mr. Pacelle. We have heard from the HSUS for years. More importantly, we have seen in the public record how he and they have behaved to define and curtail all zoos and aquariums, including AZA members. Those slick efforts in words, deeds, and in the halls of Congress and state legislatures around the country continue in earnest. And the suggestion by AZA leadership tha





These Zoo Elephants May Be the Loneliest in the World
Miyako is a female Asian elephant who has lived without other elephants since arriving at Japan's Utsunomiya Zoo, just outside of Tokyo, 44 years ago when she was six months old. She is kept in a small, concrete enclosure near the zoo’s amusement park, says Keith Lindsay, a conservation biologist and elephant expert based in Oxford, England.

“She’s been in that place her whole life, with no other elephants and nowhere to move,” he says.

Lindsay observed Miyako earlier this year, when he spent two weeks visiting 14 zoos believed to be the majority in Japan keeping elephants in isolation. He summarized the conditions of the animals and their surroundings in a new report released today, on the eve of World Elephant Day.

Five elephants have been alone their entire lives, the report says. Eight became isolated after their companions died or were moved, and one rejoined her previous companion but had to be kept in a separat





Disturbing video of Ottawa-area zoo reinforces calls for provincial regulations
Shocking video released by an animal rights group Friday appears to show the manager and the son of the owner of Papanack Zoo, near Ottawa, admitting to beating a lion cub for training purposes.
“This footage shot at the Papanack Zoo shows a number of very disturbing things, including baby animals ripped away from their mothers when they’re very young so they can be used as selfie props,” Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice, told Global News.

“It includes a zoo manager admitting to beating a baby lion for training purposes, it includes animals performing repetitive stereotypical





Sabrina Brando Named WAZA’s First Animal Welfare Coordinator
WAZA confirmed its commitment to animal care and ethics with the appointment of Sabrina Brando as the first-ever WAZA Animal Welfare Coordinator.

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) confirmed its commitment to animal care and ethics with the appointment of Sabrina Brando as the first-ever WAZA Animal Welfare Coordinator.

Brando will oversee programmes that emphasize research, enrichment, advocacy, and the well-being of animals throughout WAZA’s global network.

“We are extremely pleased to have someone as highly regarded throughout the animal care community as Sabrina Brando join our staff as WAZA’s first Animal Welfare Coordinator,” said WAZA Chief Executive Officer Doug Cress. “WAZA is dedicated to achieving the highest possible standards for the animals in the care of its member zoos and aquariums, and we believe Sabrina






-----------------------------
www.zoolex.org in August 2017
~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~

Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!

              ~°v°~

NEW EXHIBIT PRESENTATION

The Snow Monkey Exhibit at Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of 
Natural History displays a group of Japanese macaques. The exhibit 
offers a "window to the zoo" from the parking lot and several viewing 
areas inside the zoo. The netting enables the monkeys to use all 
vertical space and high vantage points.


We would like to thank Kylee Breems and Elizabeth Whealy from Great 
Plains Zoo for preparing this exhibit presentation for ZooLex.

              ~°v°~

ZOO ARCHITECTURE

Natascha Meuser published two interesting books on the topic.

1. Architektur und Zoologie - Quellentexte zur Zooarchitektur

This book offers a great selection of articles in German on developments 
in zoo architecture, except for one article that is in English. Here 
John Allen intriguingly describes Lubetkin's zoo projects from penguins 
at London Zoo to penguins on Phillip Island in Australia.
Other articles include
- Philipp Leopold Martin's concept of a Geo-Zoo from 1878;
- Gustave Loisel's reports of zoos and behaviour enrichment from 1912;
- Kurt Brägger's evolution of landscape immersion for Basel Zoo in 1971.
You can also find a chapter of Heini Hediger's book "Wildtiere in 
Gefangenschaft" on space quantity and quality of animal enclosures and
a German translation of William Conway's famous article "How to Exhibit 
a Bullfrog".

2. Architektur im Zoo - Theorie und Geschichte einer Bautypologie

This huge volume has amazing drawings and photos of zoo buildings and 
designs from 1950 to 2015. Although it is written in German, the English 
speaking audience with an interest in zoo architecture will enjoy this 
thorough documentation with its focus on German speaking countries on 
one side and pachyderms, primates and big cats on the other side.

                      ~°v°~

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



Inches from disaster: Edinburgh Zoo Keeper escapes looming giant panda let into enclosure by mistake
An Edinburgh Zoo keeper made a last-minute escape after one of the zoo's giant pandas was let into the enclosure by mistake.

A dramatic picture has emerged which shows the female staff member fleeing to safety.


The shocking security lapse in the capital has been blamed on staff shortages by disgruntled keepers, who claim the worker could have been killed.

Despite their "cuddly" image, adult giant pandas can be as dangerous as black bears and there have been several serious attacks on zoo staff and visitors in recent years.





EU Zoos Directive drives conservation, education and research
Pages 204-205





Polar bear buddies hug it out on World Bromance Day
Two polar bears living in the Highlands appear to have celebrated “World Bromance Day” – with a bear hug.

Walker and Arktos have been best friends since being introduced to each other at The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland Highland Wildlife Park in April 2012.

And the pair seemed to show off their relationship by getting into the spirit of World Bromance Day, which takes place six months after Valentine’s Day.





Bali Zoo awarded Best Conservation Institution in Indonesia 2017
Bali Zoo has been recognized by the Indonesian government as the best conservation institution in the country for 2017.

The award was given to the Bali conservation park by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry last Thursday in East Java’s Baluran National Park by Darmin Nasution, coordinating minister for Economic Affairs and Siti Nurbaya Bakar, minister of Environment and Forestry Indonesia.

While Indonesia is home to some of the most biological diversity on the planet, the country also leads the way with some of the most endangered species.

Operating in Sukawati, Gianyar, Bali Zoo’s motto of “Love. Conserve. Share.” seems to be what earned it such a major nod from the government.

Active participation in wildlife conservation apparently set the Bali Zoo apart from other conservation institutions in Indonesia this year, namely the successful breeding and routine release of





An Honest Report on Bali Zoo
Bali zoo http://bali-zoo.com is yet another Bali animal collection which prices its gate in US dollars. Here it was $20 or 225,000 Indonesian Rupiah. This is no small amount and I half expected to be ripped off.

I already knew a little of Bali Zoo having followed links in ZooNews Digest and knew of its recent association with Peel Zoo in Australia.

On their website they claim to be the first and only zoo in Bali. Well they may well have been the first but they are certainly not the only because there is the Bali Bird Park and the Bali Safari and Marine Park amongst others. I suppose it is the website designers perception of what is a zoo.





Activists sound alarm over Russia's whale trade
A young beluga whale looks down as it is winched in a net onto the deck of a rusty Russian ship moored at a far-eastern port.
"Don't forget us, bitch!" shouts one of its captors onboard the ship as the animal is deposited next to three more belugas and rows of other sea mammals such as seals.
The grim footage—aired in a recent Russian documentary—shines a spotlight on a murky and poorly regulated trade in marine mammals that has made the country the biggest supplier of some species to aquariums across the globe.
Activists documented squalid conditions and dead beluga whales being hastily buried as traders exploited loopholes in legislation to turn a lucrative profit.
"We started making a film about aquariums, but I couldn't imagine such a huge business behind them, a huge corrupt system," said Gayane Petrosyan, who directed the film "Born Free" that premiered earlier this year.
While many countries around the world are phasing out the use dolphins for entertainment, China's industry is expanding and Russian animals are its star performers.
"The animals are treated as a commodity," Petrosyan said.
Loopholes
Officially Russia has exported 91 live marine mammals—including seals, whales and dolphins—since the beginning of 2016, 84 of which went to China, according to available customs figures.
Each year, the government permits traders to catch about 10 orcas and 150 beluga whales for zoos and oceanariums, said Dmitry Glazov, deputy chairman of Russia's Marine Mammal Council of scientists.
Permits for orcas, which fetch at least a million dollars each, are especially in demand.
While these numbers may sound low, activists believe the true figure is higher as fishermen abuse quotas meant to cover animals captured for educational or scientific purposes to export them commercially.
"If you catch an orca for education and cultural purposes in Russia and then sell it to China for those purposes, that's against the law," said lawyer Maxim Krupsky, who h





ENVIRONMENTAL ENRICHMENT IN ZOOS AND AQUARIUMS
Hosted by Disney's Animal Kingdom®
Orlando, FL
March 10 - March 15, 2018





Blue Planet Aquarium confirms escapee otter Cho is back with her family
Blue Planet Aquarium has confirmed escapee otter Cho has been recaptured, but is unwilling to discuss whether more than one otter went missing.

On Friday (August 11) the popular Ellesmere Port attraction asked for the public’s help in tracking down their fugitive otter which had been spotted at nearby Cheshire Oaks and even filmed.


Blue Planet Aquarium has now confirmed that Cho, a female Asian short-clawed otter, was recaptured over the weekend and reunited with her mate Brian and baby Connie.

Puzzlingly, Cheshire Police received reports of three otters having escaped last Thursday but understands one was found in a supermarket car





How to save zoos? Focus on education, conservation
One of my earlier memories from my childhood is visiting the Frankfurt zoo in Germany. I watched several elephants in an indoor enclosure, and while they were huge and fascinating, it also saddened me to see such magnificent animals in captivity. I also remember having straw thrown in my face by one of those elephants, although my parents dispute this.
Now, with my own children, we visit the Toronto Zoo with all of its animals in more naturalistic enclosures, and the many educational and conservation programmes and displays. It’s a different world.

For many, zoos are central to some of their favourite memories as children. Seeing lions, tigers and elephants and other less familiar animals, never mind smelling them, can be a wonderful experience.

But the role of zoos in society has led to serious discussion about whether zoos should even exist. A strike earlier this year by workers at the Toronto Zoo had many musing about whether the zoo should re-open at all. The Toronto Star reported that social media and emails they received argued “zoos are outdated, inhumane attractions that should be closed outright, or converted to animal sanctuarie





Hunt for groom on for Rani Baug's only single penguin
Officials are taking a special interest in finding a mate for Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Zoo's lone single penguin from the waddle of seven now living here.

Zoo officials claim that they are coordinating for one more penguin with Goatrade Farming Co. Ltd., the Thailand-based procurement agency that helped the Mumbai zoo acquire the penguins.

"In case a penguin died while being in quarantine, a commitment was made by the agency to replace it," said a senior BMC official. Eight penguins were brought to Mumbai, however, one died in October 2016, while in quarantine.

Dr Sanjay Tripathi, Director of Byculla Zoo, informed, "We are constantly reminding the agency of their promise. They have been assuring us that they are looking for a Humboldt penguin for Bubble." He said that they were concerned about Bubble and had sp

  



Cincinnati Zoo Scientists’ Study Reveals Red Panda Reproduction Secrets
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s red panda care team was not surprised when a red panda cub was born on June 25, 2017. Thanks to a multi-year research study by the Zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW), the caregivers knew that mom, Lin, was pregnant, and so they were able to prepare for the impending birth of this endangered species.
Red pandas are one of many cold-weather animals that experience delayed implantation during pregnancy, in which an embryo stops growing and can float around for weeks or months before attaching to the uterine wall. This results in a two-month window of potential due dates for all expecting moms. Additionally, non-pregnant females can experience pseudo-pregnancies: following breeding season, they may gain weight and build nests, even though no embryos are present. Together, these two reproductive phenomena make it nearly impossible to diagnose pregnancy or predict parturition date in this species.





Sun bears, Malayan tapirs and Asian songbirds get stunning new homes at Chester Zoo
Chester Zoo has unveiled state-of-the-art new habitats for sun bears, Malayan tapirs and Asian songbirds.

The world famous zoo has added the huge new animal habitats to its £40m Islands zone – already the largest zoological development in the UK – which features animal species native to South East Asia.


The zoo’s two sun bears, Milli and Toni, who were rescued from Cambodia after their mothers were killed by poachers and they were found as mistreated pets, are among the individual animals with new South East Asian habitats.






Rethinking the Big, Bad Wolf
Last month the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife killed its first wolf from the Smackout pack after deciding that the animals were preying on too many cows in the state’s Colville National Forest. The state’s action came after its “Wolf Advisory Group” concluded that “lethal action” was the best way to manage the pack’s population following a string of attacks on livestock on grazing allotments in the forest, despite the fact that numerous scientific studies have proven that livestock predation actually increases when wolves and other large predator animals are killed.

Almost 5,000 miles away, across the continental United States and Atlantic Ocean, a similar situation is playing out in Denmark. There wolves have established a population for the first time in more than 200 years, thanks to reproductive success in nearby Germany. As in the western United States, the argument that wolves should be managed according to science is playing out against livestock-owner and hunting-industry desires to use lethal measures to stop the animals from preying on stock and game. It’s a contentious struggle — and one that has its origins in Europe itself.

“Wolves and other predator animals have been persecuted in Europe for hundreds of years by ranchers who want to protect their anima




Latest Newsletter Here


Remake of BBC children's classic Animal Magic should be axed say campaigners in row over zoo creatures being given 'misleading' human voices
A BBC remake of the creature-based television classic Animal Magic in which animals are given amusing voiceovers, has been branded 'mis-educational' by an animal rights charity.
CBBC's The Zoo has been criticised by the Born Free Foundation for 'attributing human voices to animals and misinterpreting their actions to meet a fabricated narrative'.
Billed as the 'Animal Magic of the 21'st Century', the 15-part series is due to air on Monday and features real creatures with computer-generated mouths to give a realistic impression that they are actually talking.





Khao Kheow Open Zoo unveils Forest of Asia
 Khao Kheow Open Zoo has unveiled a new display zone called Forest of Asia.

In his opening speech, Director of the Thailand Zoological Park Organization Benchapol Nakprasert, mentioned the role of Khao Kheow Open Zoo as a model of zoological management and said that Forest of Asia was expected to raise public awareness of the importance of wildlife and forest conservation.

The new display zone offers visitors the opportunity to get a close look at rare wild animals such as Himalayan marten, black giant squirrel, grey-shanked douc, Siam





Adaptation and Acceptance
Being in a position of giving a helping hand with many different species gives me an opportunity to observe species I never had the chance to observe before, I learn a lot. Observation is an important part of our day. A Head Trainer told me once do we really know our animals if we just train them and never observe in free time? Valid question I thought and Past the message through the departments in our Zoo.

How do animals respond to each others behaviour? To different species joining the environment? To new members being added on the environment? Or even babies that are born or start to move a lot more?

There is a lot to learn through looking at the animals we work with especially at moments where we change the groups around for a little bit. As with people I believe that animals also have the ability to like some animals better as others what I think is a normal thing. When animals don’t really like each other for whatever reason we can make them accept each other what gives both of them the b

  




Animal cruelty charges dropped against Marineland
 Animal cruelty charges that had been laid against Marineland were dropped Thursday after prosecutors said there was no reasonable chance of conviction on most of the 11 counts faced by the Ontario tourist attraction.

During a brief hearing in a Niagara Falls, Ont., courtroom, the Crown said it could have proceeded on three of the charges — which related to failing to comply with standards of care for a peacock, guinea hens and a red deer — but did not believe it was in the public interest to do so, citing potential court costs and a weak case.

Crown attorney Stephen Galbraith said prosecutors had instead come up with an alternative solution that included ongoing monitoring of the amusement park and zoo.

“The Crown’s case is more circumstantial than direct evidence,” Galbraith told the court. “The photographs and video provided preserves observations, but there was no independent examination of the animals. The veterinarian’s re










Scientists hope to breed Asian ‘unicorns’ – if they can find them
In 1996, William Robichaud spent three weeks with Martha before she died. Robichaud studied Martha – a beautiful, enigmatic, shy saola – with a scientist’s eye but also fell under the gracile animal’s spell as she ate out of his hand and allowed herself to be stroked. Captured by local hunters, Martha spent those final days in a Laotian village, doted on by Robichaud.

Since losing Martha, Robichaud has become the coordinator of the Saola Working Group (SWG) at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). He has dedicated his life to saving this critically endangered species – and believes the best chance to achieve that now is through a captive breeding programme.

“We need to act while there is still time,” he said adding that “seldom, if ever” are captive breeding programs begun too soon for species on the edge.

“More likely, too late.”

We just found the saola – and now we’re very close to losing it forever.

Discovery
Hardly a household name, the saola was one of the most astounding biological discoveries of the 20th Century. In 1992, a group of scientists met a local hunter in Vietnam who gave them a skull of something no





UK named as world's largest legal ivory exporter
Britain was the world’s largest exporter of legal ivory between 2010 and 2015, a breakdown of records held by the Convention on international trade in endangered species (Cites) has revealed.

Not only did the UK export more ivory than anyone else to Hong Kong and China – which are considered smuggling hubs for “blood ivory” - it also sold on 370% more ivory than the next highest exporter, the USA.

The new trade analysis, which is being released ahead of World Elephant Day on Saturday, will embarrass the government, after a call by Boris Johnson for “an all out ban” on ivory exports last month.

Mary Rice, the executive director of the Environmental Investigations Agency which carried out the research said: “UK ivory exports are stimulating consumer demand globally, especially in Hong Kong and China, two of the world’s largest markets for both legal and illegal ivory.




Proper paperwork puts penguins on path to Portugal
Twenty penguins from a coastal zoo in Devon have been sent to a new home in Portugal to help with the conservation of their species.

Living Coasts in Torquay has sent the penguins to Parque Zoologico de Lagos. The birds travelled by road in a temperature-controlled van, taking a ferry across the Channel before being driven on to the Algarve, a total journey of 1,700 miles.

The group – two breeding pairs and a collection of younger birds – is starting a new colony. Clare Rugg, Living Coasts operations manager/curator, said: "They arrived and all went for a swim. They seem to be fine after their journey."

Paulo Figueiras, the curator of Parque Zoologico de Lagos, said: "I am so excited, they are lovely birds. They will be a success at our zoo. When they arrived, they spent so long in the water… they go in the pool a lot. Thank you so much."

Like anyone going overseas this summer – they all had to have their travel documents in order.

Zoological collections don't buy and sell animals – they loan, donate or swap. And, as awe-inspiring and exciting as nature is, the conservation of species is a serious world of acronyms, committees and computer spreadsheets.





A pox on their squirrels: German scientists find new virus
Scientists in Germany have identified a new type of pox virus that's sickening young red squirrels in Berlin.
Tanya Lenn, who works at a local squirrel sanctuary, had noticed juvenile animals with severely inflamed hands and feet.
Lenn says: "The little squirrels cannot keep hold of anything because their tiny fingers are sticking together. The wounds are so painful that some animals die in shock."





Chinese tourist agencies to stop promoting elephant shows, rides
Three major Chinese travel agencies have pledged to stop offering elephant rides and shows over animal welfare concerns, a first in China according to one organization. 

CAISSA Touristic, Zannadu and Faxian Trip are the first agencies in China to phase out elephant tourism from their offerings, Zheng Yu, an employee with World Animal Protection told thepaper.cn.

Zheng said the Chinese agencies join more than 160 travel agencies worldwide committed to keeping elephant-based entertainment off their itineraries.

Most of the activities are offered to tourists in South Asia, in countries including India, Sir Lanka and Nepal, thepaper.cn reported on Thursday.

About 100,000 visitors choose CAISSA Touristic to experience elephants rides every year, said Ge Mu, the company's deputy CEO.

Faxian Trip has already stopped offerin




Toby Nainan: The zookeeper who handled fighting hyenas, cuddly tigers and an anxious Rajiv Gandhi
On a rainy evening in July, 78-year-old Toby Nainan sat by his window recalling the day he caught a snake at his neighbour’s house. He looks for a picture on his phone and after some confused swiping, retrieves one from WhatsApp. In the photograph, Nainan has a firm grip on a snake’s mouth with his left hand. Zooming closer, he reveals his missing index finger. That one was lost while separating two fighting hyenas, he adds. The hyena episode also left him with a deep scar above his right ankle.

The table in Nainan’s drawing room was adorned with two large, emerald green emu eggs and coasters from the zoo in Algiers, both gifts from his travels. Much like the scars on his body, each of the objects in the room had a story that related to his time as the curator of the Delhi Zoo.




The future of zoos: A focus on education and conservation
One of my earlier memories from my childhood is visiting the Frankfurt zoo in Germany. I watched several elephants in an indoor enclosure, and while they were huge and fascinating, it also saddened me to see such magnificent animals in captivity. I also remember having straw thrown in my face by one of those elephants, although my parents dispute this.

Now, with my own children, we visit the Toronto Zoo with all of its animals in more naturalistic enclosures, and the many educational and conservation programs and displays. It’s a different world.

For many, zoos are central to some of their favourite memories as children. Seeing lions, tigers and elephants and other less familiar animals, never mind smelling them, can be a wonderful experience.

But the role of zoos in society has led to serious discussion about whether zoos should even exist. A strike earlier this year by workers at the Toronto Zoo had many musing about whether the zoo should re-open at all. The Toronto Star reported that social media and emails they received argued “zoos are outdated, inhumane attractions that should be closed outright, or converted to animal sanctuaries.”

That’s a widespread sentiment, manifested in part by t





Activists call for whale refuges, but can they stay afloat?
A Hawaii marine park’s purchase of Kina, a 40-year-old false killer whale long used in echolocation research, has reignited a debate about captive marine mammals and the places that care for them.

Most of the world’s captive cetaceans – dolphins, whales and porpoises – are now born in marine-park breeding programs, though some are still taken from the wild. Since they’re so expensive to care for, even marine mammals used solely for research, like Kina, often end up at attractions like Oahu’s Sea Life Park.

Animal-rights activists are calling for the creation of ocean-based refuges, where they say captive marine animals could retire and live a life closer to nature. At least two groups already are working to create such sanctuaries, but experts question whether they can stay afloat.

A closer look at the discussion:





Portrait of a Nation: Expert coaxed out of retirement to welcome wild animals to Dubai
With a lifetime of experience behind him, Timothy Husband was settling into retirement when the lure of helping captive wild animals at a new venture in Dubai pulled him back to work.

The animals at the closing Dubai Zoo had an uncertain future and, as an expert on exotic animals and as a trouble-shooter for failing zoos around the world, he knew he could assist in the setting up of Dubai Safari.

The New Zealander’s expertise in turning round poorly run wildlife parks was viewed as a key asset when he was approached by UAE authorities to take on the project, due to open in November.

Mr Husband, who studied a degree in zoology at Sydney University, has worked in zoos and safari parks in Canberra, Cairns, Bali and elsewhere in Indonesia before moving to the UAE with





Learning the rules of the rock–paper–scissors game: chimpanzees versus children
The present study aimed to investigate whether chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) could learn a transverse pattern by being trained in the rules of the rock–paper–scissors game in which “paper” beats “rock,” “rock” beats “scissors,” and “scissors” beats “paper.” Additionally, this study compared the learning processes between chimpanzees and children. Seven chimpanzees were tested using a computer-controlled task. They were trained to choose the stronger of two options according to the game rules. The chimpanzees first engaged in the paper–rock sessions until they reached the learning criterion. Subsequently, they engaged in the rock–scissors and scissors–paper sessions, before progressing to sessions with all three pairs mixed. Five of the seven chimpanzees completed training after a mean of 307 sessions, which indicates that they learned the circular pattern. The chimpanzees required more scissors–paper sessions (14.29 ± 6.89), the third learnt pair, than pap





The biggest condor recovery milestone yet: a second-generation wild-born condor.
Miracle and Nomad have made history.

Ventana Wildlife Society biologists discovered July 6 that Condor 538 (Miracle) and Condor 574 (Nomad), both of whom were born in the wild, made a nest together this year in southern Big Sur. It is the first known nest of wild-born California condors in the state since 1985.

But that’s not all: They have a chick in their nest, the first second-generation wild-born condor in decades





The BIG LIE about lion trophy hunting
So often we hear from the pro-hunting lobby that by killing free roaming lions, trophy hunters are actually saving lions.

Well, if my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle.

That term “sustainable offtake” often creeps into the justification. The trophy hunting of free roaming lions is about as sustainable as putting ice cubes in a mug of steaming coffee. Let’s dig deeper into this issue of sustainable, shall we?




Syndicate smuggling pangolin scales to Malaysia busted
Authorities in Ghana have arrested three agents from a syndicate behind the smuggling of US$1.2 million (RM5.14 million) worth of prohibited pangolin scales from the west African country to Malaysia in June.
They were said to have initially evaded detection by labelling the packaging of the goods in 16 boxes, weighing a total of 400kg, as “oyster shells”.
Graphic Online, an Accra-based news portal, reported on Saturday that the trio – shipping agents Prosper Kumako and Prince Anim, and exporter Robert Konu – were picked up in the capital city on July 27 and 29 through a paper trail for the illegal export during investigations.
It quoted Nana Kofi Adu-Nsiah, executive director of





French farmers demand action against wolves killing livestock
Hundreds of farmers, shepherds and politicians rallied in Aveyron, southern France, on Saturday calling for action to halt the slaughter of livestock by packs of wolves.

The demonstrators gathered more than 3,000 sheep, about a hundred cattle and a few horses in a field to represent the number of animals killed by wolves in France in recent months.





How To Leverage Education Value To Increase Visitation to Cultural Organizations (DATA)
Providing an educational experience helps visitor-serving organizations increase visitation – but not necessarily in the way that they might suspect.

This week, I would like to underscore an opportunity – and that opportunity is for cultural organizations (i.e. museums, zoos, aquariums, gardens, performing arts organizations, etc.) to successfully leverage their education value…by increasing their entertainment value.

Who said that they were at-odds in the first place?

These data do not represent a “win” for education in the infamous, ugly, and ongoing “education vs. entertainment” debate that still ra





Living blanket, water diviner, wild pet: a cultural history of the dingo
In traditional Aboriginal society, women travelled with canine companions draped around their waists like garments of clothing. Dingoes played an important role in the protection and mobility of the women and children, and are believed to have greatly extended women’s contribution to the traditional economy and food supply.
Dingo pups were taken from the wild when very young. The pups were a highly valued ritual food source, while others were adopted into human society. They grew up in the company of women and children, providing an effective hunting aid, a living blanket and guarding against intruders.

Nursing young dingo pups was also deeply embedded in traditional customs. Interspecies breastfeeding of mammalian young was common in most human societies pre-industrialisation, historically providing the only safe way to ensure the survival of motherless mammalian young. Technological advances in milk pasteurisation made artificial feeding a viable alternative by the late 1800s.

Cohabitation with human society represented a transient phase of the dingo’s lifecycle: the pups generally returned to the wild once mature (at one or two years of age) to breed. As such, dingoes maintained the dual roles of human companion and top-order predator – retaining their independent and essentially wild nature over thousands of years.





Regulating Costa Rica Zoos and Rescue Centers





New genetic analyses help scientists rethink the elephant family tree
The first DNA analysis of ancient straight-tusked elephant fossils may be changing what we know about elephant evolution. A new study shows that African forest elephants are more closely related to a now-extinct ancestor than they are to African savanna elephants, according to a report in the online journal, Mongabay.





Elephant dung shows stress levels
Asian elephant stress levels peak during dry seasons, when resources are low. This is what studying leftover hormones in elephant poop unravels. The method could be an important non-invasive tool to study the health of wild pachyderm populations in India, finds a new study. In the future, it could also help test the efficacy of management interventions introduced to conserve the endangered species.

With shrinking habitats, India's endangered elephants face food shortages and increased disturbances in their environments. The resulting physiological stress (a result of secretion of stress hormones such as glucocorticoids) can be beneficial for elephants, helping them escape from threats. However, if prolonged, the stress can affect their health, reproduction and even survival. Stress levels are often high in emaciated pachyderms: so can hormones – traces of which come through in elephant dung – be an indicator of elephant health?

Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, examined changes in visual body condition scores of 261 elephants in the Mysuru and Nilgiri elephant reserves in south India during wet and dry seasons, scoring their ‘body condition’ on a scale of one (for very thin pa





Naka Foundation: Changing the Narrative for Captive Elephants
We in Thailand have long taken elephants for granted. They have always just been ‘there’, taking our kings into battle through history, sung about in nursery rhymes, seen begging on the streets and as a tourist magnet. Elephants have lived amongst us and with us for so many generations that today’s trend to ‘free’ elephants, calling for a return to the wild, can be quite bewildering to we Thais.

Just over a century ago Thailand was home to over 100,000 wild elephant, today that number has dwindled to around 3,000. However, thousands more live in captivity alongside man in elephant camps and sanctuaries. This is cause for much debate amongst experts and profiteers, animal rights groups and owners.

CityNews talks to Carmen Rademaker, Founder of Na





Farmers offered free llamas to protect sheep from wild lynx
Farmers could be offered free llamas as bodyguards to protect their sheep from wild lynx, which conservationists are hoping to reintroduce to Britain.

The Lynx Trust has applied to Natural England for permission to release Eurasian lynx into Kielder Forest in England and also want to rewild the animals in the Scottish Highlands.

But farmers are opposing the plans, claiming lynx will kill sheep and lambs.





New grass snake discovered in the UK
A new type of snake has been discovered in the UK, bringing the total number of species to four.
Scientists say the barred grass snake, Natrix helvetica, is actually a different species to the common or eastern grass snake, Natrix natrix.
Before, it was thought the grass snake was one species with several subspecies that looked slightly different.
The others native to the UK are the smooth snake and the adder, which is venomous.
Grass snakes are a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act so it is a criminal offence to injure or kill them.
Both types of grass snake are normally found in lowland regions in the south of England. The snakes can be more than a metre (3ft) long, are found near water and eat mainly amphibians like frogs and newts.
The newly distinguished barred grass snake is grey, not olive green like the N. natrix and does not have the same bright




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



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About me
After more than 49 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' and writes about these in his blog http://zoonewsdigest.blogspot.com/

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 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