Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Atlantis, Dubai joins World Association of Zoos And Aquariums


Atlantis, Dubai joins World Association of Zoos And Aquariums

One year on from receiving the prestigious AZA accreditation, Atlantis, Dubai's WAZA membership further highlights the resorts' commitment to global conservation as part of the Atlantis Atlas Project


Atlantis, Dubai announces today the resort's membership to the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). This is the global alliance of regional associations and national federations dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world. In joining WAZA, Atlantis, Dubai has become a member of a 400-stong global community working to support wildlife and improve animal welfare standards.

One of Atlantis, Dubai's key priorities, and the second pillar of the Atlantis Atlas Project is Marine Conservation and Animal Welfare and in order to protect wildlife globally, collaboration is key. WAZA is the backbone to this collaboration, bringing together world-class zoos and aquariums, associations, as well as leading wildlife experts, academies, and universities, to encourage the highest standards for global animal welfare among its member institutions, while leveraging support for species conservation management.

Tim Kelly, Managing Director & Executive Vice President of Atlantis Dubai, said: "We're delighted to announce our membership to the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and join the global community of modern and progressive organisations that are actively working to protect wildlife globally. Atlantis, Dubai is home to a dedicated expert animal care team, who work around the clock to maintain our high animal welfare standards, deliver world-class education programmes to guests and visitors, and support marine conservation. Achieving WAZA membership further highlights our commitment to sustainability and to doing business in ways that protect both people and planet, through the Atlantis Atlas Project.”

Since receiving accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) last year, Atlantis, Dubai has led a varied programme of initiatives supporting and driving education around marine species and conservation. On the UN World Oceans Day 2021, the destination resort launched the Atlantis Atlas Project, cementing the resort's commitment to doing business in ways that are good for both people and planet. As part of its strategy to give back to the local community as well as contribute to global marine conservation, Atlantis, Dubai announced that for every marine experience booked, 1 USD would be donated to conservation, sustainability, and environmental education initiatives, to be selected twice annually and make a measurable impact to the natural world.

In addition, in February 2021, the resort launched its popular marine education programmes, including the Mini, Junior and Master Marine Biologist programmes, through which younger guests aged from 3-16 can experience a day in the life of a marine biologist, learning about species and habitats, animal behaviours and their care and wellbeing, and develop a passion to protect oceans and all marine life.

In the past year, Atlantis, Dubai's successful shark and ray breeding and release programme has also supported the release of Arabian carpetsharks back into Arabian Gulf waters, boosting local wild populations. Atlantis, Dubai has also partnered with Zayed University, and founder and director of the UAE Dolphin Project Initiative, to support the Dubai Dolphin Survey 2021-22, a project which aims to gather scientific baseline information about the local dolphin population off the coast of Dubai.

Designed to drive sustainability not just within Atlantis Dubai, but across the industry, in the region and beyond, Atlantis Atlas Project has a long-term roadmap for sustainable, responsible tourism. Initiatives including beach clean-ups, mangrove tree plantings, and CSR activities are planned to continue supporting people and planet throughout the remainder of 2021 and beyond as Atlantis, Dubai continues forward on its journey to becoming a sustainable tourism business.

For more information on the Atlantis Atlas Project, please visit:    

About Atlantis Atlas Project

Atlantis Atlas Project is Atlantis, Dubai's commitment to sustainability – to do business in ways that are good for people and the planet. The initiative is focused around four core pillars: Responsible Operations, Education & Awareness, Marine Conservation & Animal Welfare, and Corporate Social Responsibility. These fully incorporate the destination's commitment to economic, social, and environmental responsibility, and provide immersive experiences and opportunities for visitors and guests to experience and learn more about their local environment both in and outside of the resort. Diners can enjoy a selection of sustainable, locally sourced, and organic dishes with food choices grown and harvested in Dubai at eight of Atlantis Dubai's signature restaurants. Young explorers and families with a keen interest in life underwater and the environment can get closer to nature through Atlantis Dubai's new Marine Biologist programmes and back of house tours. Atlantis, Dubai also supports the local community through its own projects including shark and ray releases which boost wild populations of local species and through supporting other charitable efforts to make measured impacts on conservation, education and society.

About Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai

Located at the centre of the crescent of The Palm in Dubai, Atlantis, The Palm is the first entertainment resort destination in the region. Opened in September 2008, the unique ocean-themed resort features a variety of marine and entertainment attractions, as well as 22 hectares of waterpark amusement at Atlantis Aquaventure, all within a 46-hectare site. It is home to one of the biggest waterparks in the world and the one of the largest open-air marine habitats, with more than 65,000 marine animals in lagoons and displays including The Lost Chambers Aquarium, a maze of underwater corridors and passageways providing a journey through ancient Atlantis. Aquaventure Waterpark features 23.5 million litres of fresh water used to power 105 thrilling waterslides and attractions, including several world record-breaking slides, and two river rides featuring tidal waves and pools, water rapids and white-water chargers. Dolphin Bay, the unparalleled dolphin conservation and education habitat, and Sea Lion Point were created to provide guests a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn more about some of nature’s most friendly mammals. The resort boasts an impressive collection of luxury boutiques and shops as well as extensive meeting and convention facilities. Atlantis, The Palm is also known as the culinary destination in the region where guests can take their pick from a collection of 29 world-renowned restaurants including Bread Street Kitchen & Bar, Hakkasan, Nobu, Ronda Locatelli, Seafire Steakhouse & Bar and the award-winning underwater restaurant, Ossiano. Atlantis is also home to a buzzing nightlife scene with entertainment destination Wavehouse offering something for everyone, while WHITE Beach & Restaurant is the perfect place to unwind with a drink as the sun slips into the Arabian Sea.




Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant

Saturday, March 27, 2021





Since last summer, the Paris Zoological Park has been participating in a scientific project on Humboldt penguins , in partnership with the Hubert Curien Pluridisciplinary Institute (IPHC) of the CNRS and the University of Strasbourg, and the Polar Department of the Scientific Center of Monaco.


This multidisciplinary project makes it possible to refine the techniques and perfect the procedures before going to apply them in the natural environment, in Antarctica, with the constant concern to develop new study methods making it possible to reduce or even eliminate any disturbance on the animals due to the study itself . Beyond this help, which allows to significantly shorten the development phases before going to apply them in extreme environments, it also turns out that studying our penguins makes it possible to answer certain targeted questions for which it is impossible to respond in a natural environment (lack of history on individuals, disappearances during studies, etc.)



As already done in the natural environment by CNRS research teams, the approach of animals by a rolling robot makes it possible to have a reduced impact on the behavior of the colony .


At the Zoological Park, the project started its second study phase in January with the work of a Master 2 student for a period of 6 months, who will take care of this rolling robot “Rover”, but not only.


If this new step will allow the robot to try out different appearances in order to find the one that will allow you to go unnoticed within the colony , it will also be accompanied by other technological innovations, in particular for remote cardiac monitoring. animals without having to capture or stress them.


In addition, an automatic weighing platform will be set up. It will make it possible to obtain, record and transmit the weights of the penguins which will pass voluntarily over them. This information will provide the animal team with precise and constant monitoring of a very good health indicator, the weight of individuals, thanks to this autonomous system.


The animals will be identified automatically by two means: their chip and a camera linked to visual recognition software . Developed by the Scientific Center of Monaco, this technology, which uses powerful artificial intelligence algorithms, will thus be at the service of the health of our animals, while it will allow in Antarctica to better understand variations in weight over time. the life cycle of these extreme birds. Our visitors will be able to see this technology at work… and modestly keep the weight of our penguins to themselves!


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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

No, the Tasmanian tiger has not been re-discovered


No, the Tasmanian tiger has not been re-discovered


A leading Tasmanian tiger expert says new images purportedly of the extinct thylacine are, in fact, of a totally different species.

Neil Waters, president of the Thylacine Awareness Group of Australia, released a video on Monday claiming he had new images of a baby Tasmanian tiger, taken from a camera trap in north-east Tasmania.

Mr Waters said the images had been authenticated by a veterinarian, and he had submitted them to Nick Mooney, honorary curator of vertebrate zoology at the Tasmanian Museum.

But on Tuesday afternoon, the museum released a statement saying the images did not show a Tasmanian tiger at all.


“Nick Mooney has concluded, that based on the physical characteristics shown in the photos provided by Mr Waters, the animals are very unlikely to be thylacines, and are most likely Tasmanian pademelons,” a museum spokesman said.

“TMAG regularly receives requests for verification from members of the public who hope that the thylacine is still with us. However, sadly, there have been no confirmed sightings documented of the thylacine since 1936.”

A pademelon is a small wallaby.

The thylacine, also known as the Tasmanian Tiger, went extinct in 1936, when the last surviving member of the species died in Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart.

The creatures looked similar to dogs – they are often called Tasmanian wolves – but had short ears, stripes, and on the females a pouch to carry offspring.

There were about 5000 in Tasmania at time of European settlement, but introduced animals, habitat destruction and hunting quickly pushed them to extinction.

In the video released by the Thylacine Awareness Group of Australia, titled WE FOUND A THYLACINE, Mr Waters strolls through “some little town that grows a bit of hops, for all the beer”. As he narrates the video – which appears to have been shot on a hand-held camera – Mr Waters drinks from a can of Boags Draught.

“In the last 10 days, I’ve probably been acting a bit weird,” he says. “That’s because, when I was checking the SD cards, I found some photos, that were pretty damn good.”

“I know what they are. And so do a few independent expert witnesses, expert canine judges, feline judges, and a vet. I have left the images with Nick Mooney from the museum. He’s having a look at them.

“I can tell you there is three animals. We ... believe the first image is the mum. We know the second image is the baby, because it’s so tiny. And the third image is the dad.

The mother and father are “ambiguous”, a broadly-smiling Mr Waters says. “However, the baby is not ambiguous. The baby has stripes, a stiff tail, the hock, the coarse hair, the right colour.

“Not only do we have a family walking through the bush, but we have proof of breeding.

“Congratulations everyone. We have done it. Cheers.”

Mr Waters has previously claimed his group spotted a thylacine in Adelaide in 2016. That sighting was dismissed by the South Australian Museum at the time.

Saturday, February 13, 2021




            An international group of primatologists led by the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) — with support from San Diego Zoo Global, the Columbus Zoo and GaiaZOO — are providing a new home for 25 monkeys that were confiscated from wildlife traffickers. The monkeys all appear to be young and suffering from malnourishment and stress. They represent six different species native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This confiscation is one of the largest in recent years, and reflects the crisis in criminal trafficking that is hitting Africa’s native wildlife.

            “This is the largest rescue in our 20-year history,” said Gregg Tully, executive director of PASA. “The monkeys were poached in DRC and then driven along a known route for traffickers. We’re grateful that authorities in Zimbabwe confiscated the animals. Otherwise, they would be sent to China or a tourist attraction, with no possibility of being reintroduced to the wild.”

            PASA’s goal is to return the young primates to their native country, where they can be placed in an accredited sanctuary. The group has been collaborating with the leaders of Jeunes Animaux Confisques au Katanga (J.A.C.K.), a PASA-accredited sanctuary in Lubumbashi, DRC that has experience caring for and rehabilitating chimpanzees. The long-term goal is to re-wild these individuals, which include lesula monkeys, Allen’s swamp monkeys, gray-cheeked mangabeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, putty-nosed monkeys and golden-bellied mangabeys. The monkeys will be given appropriate medical care at J.A.C.K., and assessed for their readiness to return to native habitat. To accommodate such a large group at one time, the team determined that new facilities needed to be constructed.

            “We’re creating state-of-the-art enclosures for these monkeys,” said Franck Chantereau, president and founder of J.A.C.K. “Thanks to the funding we received, we were able to move quickly; and we’re excited about this progress, but we aren’t taking anything for granted. Too many lives are on the line.” 

            San Diego Zoo Global, the Columbus Zoo and GaiaZOO responded to the immediate need by providing funding for the enclosures and ongoing care of the group of youngsters. 

            “Our organization is very involved in the effort to stem the tide of wildlife trafficking,” said Dean Gibson, director of primates at San Diego Zoo Global. “We regularly provide refuge for wildlife that have been confiscated in the United States. Although it has been a difficult year for our organization due to COVID closures, when I alerted our leadership to the plight of these young monkeys, they thought it was important for us to contribute to their rescue.”

            San Diego Zoo Global supports work with communities in Cameroon’s Ebo Forest, with efforts to both protect primates and their habitat. 

            “We have been working with local communities in Cameroon for years, to promote forest health and protect the gorilla and chimpanzee populations that call the Ebo Forest home,” said Megan Owen, Ph.D., corporate director of wildlife conservation science at San Diego Zoo Global. “Understanding that we need to restore species and protect ecosystems in order to have a healthy world is important to us.”

Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant

Monday, January 11, 2021

"A Discussion about Poop Soup: The Case for Transfaunation"


"A Discussion about Poop Soup: The Case for Transfaunation"


January 18, 2021, at 8:00 pm eastern (Happy Hour begins at 7:45 pm eastern).  Please register in advance.  Registration is free.  Seating is limited.


We learn new things about our animals, their care and management, and ourselves daily. It is easy to think back to 5 or 10 years ago and recognize how far we’ve come. It is equally as easy to leave some of the ideas (good AND bad) in the past, for that is sometimes where they belong. However, it is equally important to review some of those “old” ideas with the lens of increased knowledge and perspective gained over time (lest we let a good idea go prematurely). The concept of transfaunation (aka – fecal transplant, fecal microbiota transplant (FMT), stool transplant, etc) has been around since the beginning of recorded time in humans, and currently receives attention for specific GI bacterial infections. In domestic animals, it has been used for centuries to treat poor digestion and associated maladies. Recently, we’ve started to become aware of (and employ) the practice across a wide range of taxa in our care. This will be a brief discussion of the practice, some pertinent literature and examples, and how it might be something for you to consider in better managing the health and care of your animals.


Presenter: Mike Maslanka, Senior Nutritionist and Head of the Department of Nutrition Science for the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant