Saturday, October 18, 2014

The SeaWorld® & Busch Gardens® Conservation Fund Finalizes 2014 Grant Recipients

The SeaWorld® & Busch Gardens® Conservation Fund Finalizes 2014 Grant Recipients

Fifty-seven wildlife conservation projects around the world are receiving much needed funding from the SeaWorld® & Busch Gardens® Conservation Fund this year. Just over $1 million is being distributed among these projects bringing the amount awarded since the Fund was created in 2003, to more than $11 million.

A majority of the grants awarded this year, and every year, are for projects with defined timelines and long-term objectives and goals, but occasionally the Fund receives requests for crisis grants when conservation organizations are faced with unforeseeable challenges.

Crisis Grant – Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary:
In late August the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leon, west Africa submitted a crisis grant for funding. The Sanctuary is a non-profit organization established in 1995 to rehabilitate orphaned or abandoned chimpanzees with the goal of releasing them back into their natural habitat. A portion of the Sanctuary's expenses are typically covered by income generated by visitors to the sanctuary and its eco-lodges.

However, due to the devastating Ebola outbreak that was confirmed in Sierra Leon in May and the resulting drop in tourism to the area, the Sanctuary's funding was negatively impacted and the care of the chimpanzees jeopardized. The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund board reviewed and approved the crisis grant request and provided financial support to offset their funding issues.

Standard Grant – Painted Dog Conservation:
Painted dogs, also known as wild African dogs, are among Africa's most endangered species. One of the biggest threats they face is poaching for bush meat. An organization called Painted Dog Conservation has formed anti-poaching units that patrol 10,500 square kilometers in Zimbabwe, removing snares laid by poachers.  The Fund has supported the organization by providing funding for these small, yet highly trained groups.

"The support from SeaWorld and Busch Gardens remains pivotal to the success of Painted Dog Conservation," said Peter Biliston, Managing Director of Painted Dog Conservation in Zimbabwe. "The fact that they have supported our anti-poaching units for many years shows that they really understand the complexity of wildlife conservation. They understand that permanent change does not happen overnight and it takes long-term committed support to make a difference."

Standard Grant – SANCCOB:
African penguins, one of 17 penguin species, are classified as endangered and their numbers are in rapid decline. The wild population is down to 2 percent of the original 1 million breeding pairs counted in 1930. A group called SANCCOB in South Africa works to rehabilitate adult penguins, to raise abandoned chicks to increase the wild population. Research indicates that the wild African penguin population is 19 percent higher entirely due to SANCCOB's oiled wildlife response efforts. The Fund has supported SANCCOB not only with financial support, but has also sent aviculturists from SeaWorld to South Africa to assist with penguin rehabilitation.

Standard Grant – Ecology Project International (EPI):
The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is the world's fourth most important nesting beach for critically endangered leatherback sea turtles. Without protection from illegal harvesting and other threats, 80 percent of leatherback sea turtle nests are lost. The Ecology Project International organization will protect leatherback populations by working to reduce the illegal harvest of nests and improving nesting habitats. They also will work with Costa Rican teachers and students to increase their ecological knowledge so they can better understand their role in the long term survival of leatherbacks and conservation in general.

For more information on the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and the other projects supported by the Fund, like the Fund on Facebook.

About the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund
A non-profit, 501(c)3 organization, the SeaWorld® & Busch Gardens® Conservation Fund supports wildlife research, habitat protection, animal rescue and conservation education in the U.S. and countries around the world. The Fund provides an outlet for park visitors to help protect wildlife and, because SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ provides all administrative and development costs as well as staffing and infrastructure, commits 100 percent of donations to on-the-ground wildlife conservation efforts.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


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Product Description
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Zoological professionals and organizations engage daily with countless challenges and opportunities. Excellence Beyond Compliance empowers them to channel their passion and dedication into concrete actions to better serve the animals in their care. It is an essential guidebook that will improve—and even transform—those who put its principles into practice.

Some of the key items addressed for zoological organizations include:

• Creating an outstanding leadership team, including a dedicated Animal Welfare Officer
• Preparing for inspections, with tips on creating inspection checklists, conducting entrance briefings and ensuring key staff availability during the inspection
• Interacting with inspectors during and after inspections, including advice on how to respectfully address differences of opinion with an inspector
• Utilizing self-certified compliance reporting to maintain compliance and document improvements between inspections and accreditation reviews
• Designing Animal Welfare Enhancement Plans and Zoo, Aquarium and Park Improvement Plans
• Addressing serious incidents and emergencies to ensure the safety of animals and people
• Handling investigations, complaints, and other challenges in a manner that promotes exceptional animal welfare and organizational excellence
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Advance recognition for EXCELLENCE BEYOND COMPLIANCE: Enhancing Animal Welfare Through the Constructive Use of the Animal Welfare Act
“Jim Gesualdi is a knowledgeable, tireless, and enthusiastic advocate for improving the welfare of animals in human care. His Excellence Beyond Compliance program is a unique resource, full of advice and useful tools gleaned from decades of experience, to help those of us dedicated to caring for animals do our very best each day. As he frequently says: ‘It's all about the animals.’ ”

Wendy Bulger, Esq.
General Counsel
San Diego Zoo Global

“Gesualdi’s primer is a ‘must have’ for anyone or any facility attempting to navigate the Animal Welfare Act. His team approach to welfare challenges every staff member to recognize that their performance, no matter what the task, should translate to improving the welfare of the animals in their care. My favorite quote: ‘EXCELLENCE BEYOND COMPLIANCE is an ongoing process rather than a destination.’ His challenge of continuous improvement takes us from just meeting requirements to developing a culture dedicated to welfare, health and safety for animals and their caregivers.”

Yvonne Nadler, DVM, MPH
Consultant to the Zoological community on all hazards contingency planning

Available from 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014



The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, registered as a charity in 1963, manages a worldwide species recovery program. Durrell’s headquarters is in Jersey and serves as a centre for breeding, research, professional training and fund raising.
A limited number of work experience places for students are available each year. Students stay for a minimum of two months and a maximum of a year, during which time they gain practical experience in the work of the Trust in the conservation and captive management of endangered species. Students are expected to help carry out everyday duties such as cleaning and food preparation, work closely with the keepers and are given a unique insight into animal management and the onsite contributions to global conservation. Students may have the opportunity to carry out a research project. Please note that any projects carried out must be approved by Durrell staff before arrival. Placements are coordinated by the International Training Centre. Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is under no obligation to mentor projects.

It is important to note that the Trust cannot provide either funding or accommodation. Placement students must therefore be self-financing, and the costs of living in Jersey should be considered before applying. Some students find part-time jobs to help support their placement. Due to Jersey employment laws Durrell is only issued a certain amount of licenses each year for non-Jersey residents studying relevant degrees. Before accepting your placement you must ensure that you are able to commit to the full length of time, otherwise you may be depriving someone else the opportunity.


• Applicants must be at least 18.
• Applicants should be studying or have have recently finished a relevant course of
• A high degree of fitness is required as the work is physically demanding.
• Any medical problems, allergies, disabilities etc. which may affect the student’s
work must be explained at the application stage.
• Applications are assessed on their merits, and successful candidates should
confirm their acceptance of a place as soon as possible.
• A good command of English is essential.

Commitment by Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and students 

The Trust will endeavour to organise an appropriate programme of work experience for
placement students in order to ensure that each student receives a wide-ranging education in captive animal management and conservation. Where time allows, Durrell staff will provide guidance and support to students undertaking a research project during their placement. The placement programme coordinator will also undertake to provide any assessments of students’ work required by their university or college. Students are expected to conduct themselves professionally and to work to the same standards as permanent staff. The Trust also requires a copy of any publications, reports, articles, dissertations, etc, which come out of work conducted here.

Departmental assignments 

Students are assigned to placements within the zoo according to their course requirements and interests. Students spend at least two months at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Students must realise that places in each department are limited and that it may not be possible to meet all requests.

Hours of work and time off 

Students work a full-time, five-day week (Animal and Veterinary Departments: 0800-1700 hr in winter and 0800-1730 hr in summer; Conservation Education Department: 0830-1730 hr) and days off are scheduled by the appropriate Department Head; these may not include weekends. Students may also occasionally be asked to work with permanent staff outside normal working hours if necessary. A minimum of two weeks advance notice, and preferably more, must be given of holiday time.


Animal departments 

Spending time in the animal departments will enable students to gain first hand experience of working with a variety of animal species. The role involves the following:

o Assisting with routine tasks on section such as food preparation, enclosure cleaning, animal feeding, behavioural observations, enclosure maintenance and watching veterinary procedures.
o Opportunities to learn practical captive husbandry skills (nutritional requirements, environmental requirements, normal behaviour, reproductive management etc)
o Students will also learn about the species biology and conservation issues relating to each species worked with.

The Bird Department 

The bird department has ten members of staff. Roughly divided into two, one section consists of wildfowl, cranes, ibis, flamingos and parrots, while the other comprises the passerines, pink pigeons, pheasants and hornbills. The department works with over 50 species of bird and has, over the years, worked on the recovery programs of many species. These include the pink pigeon, Madagascar teal, Waldrapp ibis, Meller's duck, Mauritius kestrel, Bali starling, Montserrat oriole, St. Lucian parrot and Echo parakeet.

Students can expect to be involved with routine work such as; feeding, food preparation and general upkeep of aviaries. There may be some restrictions on student access to aviaries, particularly during the breeding season. Time spent working in the bird department can give a valuable insight into zoo work and the conservation management of birds in captivity. The bird department has currently has ten keepers and work with three students at a time

The Mammal Department 

The Mammal Department currently has fifteen members of staff and is divided into four sections: (1) apes, (2) macaques, mongooses, bears and other South American mammal species, (3) lemurs, bats, new world monkeys. At any one time we have one student on section (2) and three on section (3). Students are normally assigned to only one, or at most two, sections during their stay. Students should also note that it is rarely possible to work on the ape section.

The Herpetology Department 

The Herpetology Department has five members of staff and work with one student. This department holds a diverse collection of amphibians and reptiles, as well as several invertebrate species, and is actively involved in a number of conservation projects focusing on species from around the world. Students can expect to be involved with a variety of activities, including daily husbandry routines for some of the species in our collection (please note that there are restrictions on which species students can work directly with), general upkeep of enclosures, and other routine work essential to the day-to-day functioning of the Department. The range of jobs a student is allowed to do will depend on demonstrated skills and reliability, and will be reviewed throughout the placement.

Other departments

The Veterinary Department and Laboratory 

The Veterinary Department, staffed by two veterinarians, a microbiologist and a veterinary nurse, the department is responsible for the health of the animal collection in Jersey and in captive breeding programmes abroad. Our Veterinary department only takes 4th and 5th year students and graduates for work experience. Students will shadow the veterinary staff and will be involved in all aspects of health care from clinical and laboratory diagnosis to treatment, preventive medicine and anesthetics. Students will be expected to carry out a short research project of benefit to the trust, because this takes time, preference will be given to students asking for longer stays of at least two months.

Students also work in our laboratory logging in samples and assisting the microbiologist in analyses. Students will initially set up direct preparations, flotations and inoculating agar plates, but progressing over a period of time to independently conducting analyses according to skill levels.

Conservation Education 

Students will work as part of the Visitor Experience/Conservation Education team, delivering wildlife conservation messages to school groups, members and visitors to the wildlife park at Durrell's headquarters in Jersey. You will have the opportunity to get involved with developing signage and delivering animal talks to the visiting public as well as getting involved with curriculum-based sessions for school groups and informal workshops for the younger members of the Trust. They will also have the chance to get involved with surveying visitors etc through a public participation project to develop new interpretation materials for the site. The chosen individual should have excellent
communication skills, a keen interest in wildlife conservation and be able to work well as part of a team and independently.

The Marketing Department 

Students will work as part of the marketing team where they will have the opportunity to get involved in the following areas; PR and marketing campaigns; managing Durrell’s website and assisting with social media tools; be involved in market research and learn how Durrell’s conservation work can be effectively communicated to appropriate target audiences; and help with Durrell’s fundraising events. The chosen individual should have excellent communication skills, a keen interest in wildlife conservation and be able to work well as part of a team and independently.


Reference Material, Library Facilities and Computer Facilities 

Durrell’s main library facilities and computer facilities are at the International Training Centre, Les Noyers, next door to the zoo. The Sir William Collins Memorial Library comprises a collection of scientific periodicals and journals. The Phillips Reference Library holds a collection of books, and special bibliographic files (on species, habitats, etc). Loans from these collections may be possible for placement students, by arrangement with the library supervisor. There is a computer lab equipped with 20 computers running Windows XP. They are networked with internet connection, Office 2003 and a range of specialist software relevant to conservation. Free wifi is also available. Limited quantities of photocopying can be undertaken in the Trust’s main office. A charge may be made for large quantities.

Animal Records System

Since 1990, the Trust has maintained a computerised records system using ARKS (Animal Record Keeping System). Up-to-date information is readily available on individual animals in the collection. Information from before 1990 is on cards, which can be inspected by arrangement.

Other Activities 

The Trust frequently hosts visiting scientists and conservationists, many of whom give talks during their stay. Trust staff also give talks on their own work and organise discussion sessions on topics of interest. Talks by our Senior management team are organized for students throughout the year to give an insight into how a conservation organization is run. Students are encouraged to attend any of these activities.



There are bed and breakfasts and guest houses located nearby. Others are located further away and some form of transport is necessary. An accommodation list is provided on acceptance. There is heavy demand for places, and so booking well in advance is essential.

Cost of living 

While some costs are lower in Jersey than on the mainland (petrol, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.), basics tend to be slightly more expensive. Rents are quite high, and you can expect to spend £80-£120 a week in rent depending on the size and facilities.

Access to Durrell 

Students have free access to the grounds during their stay and are entitled to the same discounts as apply to the Trust’s permanent staff in Durrell’s restaurant and shop.


The Trust provides sweatshirts, and T-shirts for students during their placement. For work, you should bring sensible clothing (long trousers for winter, shorts if desired in the summer) and footwear (e.g. walking boots). Students are expected to be neat and tidy at all times.

Health and security 

Whilst all reasonable precautions are taken to ensure safety and security, the Trust cannot accept responsibility for any loss, injury or illness however caused. Anyone working in zoo grounds is covered for general accident by the zoo’s own insurance. Belongings should also be insured. A tetanus injection should be obtained well in advance of arrival. If you are working with the bats a rabies vaccination is also necessary.


Visas may be required for some nationalities and intending visitors should check this well in advance. Depending on nationality, a visa may also be required to enter the United Kingdom.

Travel arrangements and local transport

There are direct flights between Jersey and most regional airports in the United Kingdom, and from some regional airports on the continent. There are also regular sea services by ferry and high-speed catamaran from the south coast of England, to St Malo and Dinard in France, and to the other Channel Islands. As Jersey attracts a large number of tourists in the main summer season, reservations should be made well in advance at this time of year. Taxis are available from all ports of entry, and a bus service from St Helier, the main town. Durrell is situated in the north-eastern part of the island, i.e. about 5 miles (8 km) north of St Helier and the docks, and about 10 miles north-east of the airport. Bus services to all other parts of the island are linked through St Helier, although there is a limited evening service.

Application process 

We take applications in the autumn for the following June and September placements. We ask interested students to send in a CV and covering. If the application is shortlisted students are then asked to attend a Skype interview. Placements can start from June for a short summer placement, or September for a 10-12 month placement, and will require an agreement with the university.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Zoo News Digest 26th - 30th September 2014 (ZooNews 901)

Zoo News Digest 26th - 30th September 2014 (ZooNews 901)

Dear Colleagues,

I know I have said it before but it really saddens me how much ignorance there is out there in the zoo world. I would have thought with the advent of social media that the situation would become better, but it doesn't….it becomes worse. Some of the comments I read on Facebook make me cringe. The commentators haven't got a clue and probably never did. One can't help wondering about the management of the collections in which they work. I pride myself at being able to brush the smokescreens aside and see the truth. I can forgive a little wrong because none of us (and especially me) is perfect. But some of the facts and information given out, and repeated is a tissue of lies….and a very thin tissue at that. The good zoos need to stop hiding under their buckets and come out and say something. If we don't expose the lies for what they are the good zoos will continue to be tarred by the same brush.

The press doesn't help, reporters today never seem to be able to research as to whether a fact is actually a fact.

Although I have been based in Dubai these past three years I prefer to maintain a UK address  for my surface mail. This has changed yet again. It is now:

Peter Dickinson, c/o 2 Highgate, Dolwen, Abergele, Conwy, North Wales, 

United Kingdom, LL22 8NP.

Bear in mind it is NOT where I live. You can send books for review, cheques etc to that address. I will get them eventually....although it may take months. If you prefer to send by courier to Dubai then please email me and I will send details. My contact phone number in Dubai remains the same:

00971 (0)50 4787 122


I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos, not DYSFUNCTIONAL zoos.

Not all of Zoo News Digest links and information appear here. Discover more with comments on the

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This blog has many thousands of readers in 160+ countries and in thousands of zoos, aquariums and other captive wildlife collections

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Now, men in khaki to check PDA at zoo
At a time when Ludhiana zoo and Tiger Safari are grasping for funds and don't have proper infrastructure to ensure safety of visitors, the zoo authorities are thinking of brining in police to keep a check on couples who indulge in public display of affection (PDA).

Ludhiana zoo has sent an application to Lodhuwal police station demanding cops to check PDA at zoo.

Sukhpal Singh, in-charge, Ludhiana zoo, said, "The zoo is a centre of attraction for children and families. On weekends and during festivals, visitors come with their families. Moreover, schoolchildren come here. Couples found in inappropriate positions make it embarrassing for others and even affect the number of visitors as well."

"So we wrote an application to Lodhuwal police station with a request to appoint cops or constable in Ludhiana zoo, on Thursday. Though our staff in civil dress keep patrolling zoo area, it does not make much of a difference. We are sure that the presence of men in khaki will certainly make the difference," added Sukhpal Singh.

Another staff member of Ludhiana zoo said, "Often students in school uniforms come in the morning and stay till their school timings are over here

Wild encounters: Zoo workers in India constantly exposed to injury or even death in their line of duty
The death of a 20-year-old man in Delhi Zoo on Tuesday after being mauled by a white tiger has turned the spotlight on the training and preparedness of zoo staff across the country in dealing with emergency situations.
While zoo officials insist they scrupulously follow the guidelines set by the Central Zoo Authority and that their staffs are always on alert, wildlife experts say there is a major difference in attitude towards zoo keeping in the West and in India.
“It is a very passionate profession in the West not because of money but because of the love for animals,” says Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder of Wildlife SOS and member, Central Zoo Authority (CZA).

Trisha, Lavanya, Amyra lash out at Delhi zoo officials
The Delhi Zoo officials' decision to put down the white tiger, named Vijay, which killed a teenager few days ago, has not gone down well with animal rights activisits and few celebrities. Several actors and actresses have expressed their concern over the issue and urged people to sign a petition to stop this move by the zoo officials.

Speaking about the issue, Trisha Krishnan, who is a vocal supporter of animal rights, urged the President to intervene and save the tiger's life, saying, "Pranab Mukherjee: Please do not allow the sacrifice of the tiger of New Delhi Zoo (sic)." On a similar note, A

Is that the one which misbehaved, they ask; from her enclosure Rani wonders the same
Rani had nowhere to go. She was in her own home, but visitors outside were unruly and ill-behaved. She got as far away from the noise as she could and began pacing in one corner. But there was no escaping the nosy visitors. They catcalled and whistled and refused to let her rest. A stone was hurled her way by a particularly stubborn man, desperate to get her attention. She let out a warning, but it only got worse.
At 1.30 on a warm September afternoon, Rani decided that she would ignore the rowdies and went to her pool. She submerged herself and turned away from her tormentors. She sat still in the water even as a pebble fell next to her, splashing water on her. Her face was inscrutable. Perhaps, she was contemplating on the irony of it all. It was she who was trapped and they who were free. It was she who was wild and they who were supposed to be intelligent. She was the white tiger, they were the humans.
The noise from the other side of the fence was a usual occurrence. But last Tuesday, Rani had heard strange sounds. Sitting in her smaller enclosure away from the people, she had heard the thud — like that of a man falling over the wall onto their side. It had been 7-year-old Vijay’s turn to be in the larger enclosure that day. She had heard him pad up to the man, curious. For ten minutes, he had been amiable, even thought of leaving the man, Maqsood, alone. After all, his keeper Shyam Lal was calling out to him. But then someone threw a stone and Rani heard the rattle as it hit the cemented wall of the moat. She heard a muffled shout as Vijay pounced and it wa

The Middle Flipper Is (Part 11)......
...the pickiest sea lion in all the land.
I can hear all of you collectively "awwwwing" at your computer or phone screen.  Why? Because Patty had an adorable face.  You know what else she had?  Here's a little list:

* Charisma
* Smarts
* A lovely singing voice
* A beautiful blond coat
* Sass.  Lots and lots of sass.

Patty was a 32 year old California sea lion who was rescued as a pup, like so many others*.  Perhaps because she received excellent, doting care when she was such a young gal, she did precisely what she wanted, when she wanted.  She underwent a mastectomy for breast cancer when she was 30, pulled through like a champion, and went on to tell Planet Earth that she ruled.  Despite being mostly blind at her ancient age (30 years old for a California sea lion is the equivalent to a 90 year old human), her eyes were always bright and ready.  She vocalized a lot in short, staccato-like pulses that resembled normal sea lion sounds but were orated with confidence.  There was no, "BARK BARK BARK".  There was, "Bark.  Bark bark barkbark? Bark....bark!  Bark bark bark bark?"  Or, "Bark."  Simple, elegant, definitive.  God I wish I knew what she wanted to tell us.

I met Patty in 2013.  She was one of the first sea lions I ever got to know well, which surprised some of the veteran trainers at

Guidelines for aquariums in India to preserve endangered marine species
Aiming to rein in unregulated aquariums across India, some of which are showcasing rare and endangered marine species, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) is soon coming out with a policy for managing such aquariums across India.

According to official of CZA, which the nodal authority under the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to regulate and monitor zoos, there are over a dozen of government and private aquariums across the country and th

Young alala part of effort to bring Hawaii’s birds back from brink
An hour before the sun rises each day, the very raucous and loud calls of nine rare alala, or Hawaiian crows, can be heard by the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center staff. Inside their large open-air aviary, these juveniles seemed to engage in a vocal sparring of sorts in a manner that’s reminiscent of monkeys for research associate Amy Kuhar.

“There’s a big sound missing from the forest,” she said of the alala, which were once widespread on Hawaii Island and now survive only in captivity at this Volcano center and the Maui Bird Conservation Center in Olinda.

On a sunny Tuesday morning, Kuhar enters their stress-free environment to deliver enrichment, which this time is food and habitat items wrapped in ginger leaves. Perched on various branches, the young birds make their musical vocalizations while curiously watching their silent visitor’s every move as she throws and hides the packets. When she leaves, some of the birds begin to explore and manipulate the packets to get the reward hidden inside.

Such enrichment, Kuhar said, encourages these intelligent birds’ natural inquisitiveness, keeps them active, and provides opportunities to engage in species-appropriate behavior. Besides being stimulating, enrichment can help develop the stamina and adaptability for survival by giving them a taste, literally, of the forests where they might live someday soon.

These nine birds, born this last breeding season, helped the alala population soar to 114 — a significant increase for a species that numbered as few as 20 birds in 1994. Alala are extinct in the wild, and the last were recorded in 2002 in the forest, where they were threatened by habitat destruction, introduced predators and avian disease.

Alala are a main focus of San Diego Zoo Global’s Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program, which operates the two propagation facilities with the goal of preventing extinction and promoting

Gaza lions en route to Jordan via Israel after zoo damaged in war
A trio of scrawny lions was brought into Israel from Gaza on Tuesday en route to a better life at a wildlife sanctuary in Jordan after their zoo was damaged in the recent Israel-Hamas war.
The three, a pair of males and a pregnant female, were sedated at Al-Bisan zoo in Beit Lahiya before the big cats were placed in metal cages and loaded onto a truck that transferred them through the Erez border crossing into Israel.
Amir Khalil of the Four Paws International welfare group said the zoo's animals were in urgent need of care after the 50-day war. He said the zoo was badly damaged and more than 80 animals died as a result of the fighting.
Al-Bisan is one of five makeshift zoos in Gaza that have spotty animal welfare records.
Most of the zoo animals in Gaza have been hauled into the isolated territory through smuggling tunnels linking the territory to Egypt. In one famous scene captured on film, Gazans used a crane to lift a camel over the border fence by one of its legs as the animal writhed in agony.
Israel and Egypt have imposed a blockade on G

Zoo under investigation for up-close animal experience
A zoo is under investigation for charging visitors to pat their rare white lion cubs after a 7News investigation raised concerns.

Tasmania's ZOODOO Wildlife Park near Hobart is one of dozens around the country that offer up-close encounters with exotic animals to the dismay of welfare groups.

Endangered Taipei frogs bred in captivity
Taiwan’s most endangered indigenous frog species has been bred successfully by Taipei Zoo Conservation and Research Center, with the offspring ready for return to the wild.

Center CEO Chang Ming-hsiung said surveys since 2000 show the Taipei grass frog, Rana taipehensis, only survives in four of its original 14 habitats, and with sharply reduced numbers in the remaining areas.

“Habitat loss and pesticides are to blame,” Chang said, adding that the frogs can now only be seen in Sanchih and Shihmen districts of New Taipei City, and Longtan and Yangmei townships of Taoyuan County.

New Taipei City Government and Taipei Zoo initiated a conservation program for the frogs last year in Sanchih and Shihmen, with habitat restoration a major focus.

In Sanchih, the major problem was water lilies, which although beautiful, crowded out other species and eliminated the biodiversity on which the frogs depended. Volunteers joined zoo staff in the onerous task of uprooting the plants. The situation was different in Shihmen, with farmers encouraged to switch to organic farming to create a pesticide-free environment.

Zoo staff also put in countless hours of lab work to create a breeding program. “We gathered data on such factors as temperature, shade and food requirements

'Tiger enclosure meets norms'
A week after a 20-year-old youth was mauled to death by a white tiger in Delhi zoo, a probe committee set up by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has submitted its report in the matter.

CZA member secretary, B S Bonal, on Monday evening confirmed that the two-member committee has submitted its report stating that the enclosure of the white tiger, Vijay, is in conformity with CZA guidelines.

The committee, comprising S C Sharma, founder member secretary, CZA and Himanshu Malhotra, a documentary filmmaker and member of National Zoological Park's advisory board, had been looking at various aspects of the zoo. Sources said the committee has recommended an overhaul in ed


The Zoo Biology Group is concerned with all disciplines involved in the running of a Zoological Garden. Captive breeding, husbandry,cage design and construction, diets, enrichment, man management,record keeping, etc etc


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Peter Dickinson
Dubai: ++ 971 (0)50 4787 122

Skype: peter.dickinson48

Mailing address:
2 Highgate
North Wales
LL22 8NP
United Kingdom

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Zoo News Digest 20th - 26th September 2014 (ZooNews 900)

Zoo News Digest 20th - 26th September 2014 (ZooNews 900)

Dear Colleagues,

The biggest story of the week was the death of the unfortunate young man who was killed by the tiger in Delhi Zoo. The press had a field day and there can't have been a paper anywhere in the world which did not carry the story or have an opinion. I don't suppose we will ever get to the truth. Did he fall in, climb in, leap in or jump into the enclosure? I haven't seen 'pushed' but no doubt some paper stated it. Was he drunk or sober or mentally deranged? All have been stated in one report or another. Turns out that he was a married man and not a 'schoolboy' as many papers said. No-one blames the tiger so there is a little common sense at work…..but they have to blame somebody and so the finger is being pointed at the other zoo visitors and the zoo itself. The usual "why didn't they dart the tiger" rubbish comes up….this isn't Daktari, this is real life….and death. The papers like nothing more than a death of this nature but the real clincher for them is that there were photos and video. Not so in the case of the ZooKeeper killed by a tiger in China less than a month ago. Everyone seems to have forgotten him. A living breathing human being with family, friends, hopes and dreams. Yet there were only two very short reports on the incident. Nothing more. It would seem that if you have video to show then everyone will show more interest. I often think about that Chinese keeper.

And of course the Facebook Keeper groups went to town voicing their opinions. Some common sense and others verging on the ridiculous. I really do think that some should get out more, see how the world works. Because it was a 'White' tiger who killed the guy in Delhi there was the inevitable discussion down that road. Statements from keepers that said that 'all tigers are endangered and that most will never be released into the wild and therefore it doesn't matter what colour they are' show a startling lack of education. Zoos need to re-educate (or educate) some of their staff. They could not go far wrong by getting them to read the World Zoo Conservation Strategy in the first place….but then if they are a Dysfunctional Zoo they are not likely to do that.

We have a 'new' zoo in Ras Al Khaima which I hope to visit fairly soon. I will be interested to see the enclosures and facilities but even if these are excellent it will not matter because I have condemned the collection as Dysfunctional before I even visit. Why?....because the newspapers state "The animals include African and white lions, white and rare golden tigers, black panthers and cheetahs, grey and Arab wolves, rare antelopes and deer".  Funnily enough I don't really blame the owner for the choice of animals but the criminals who sell these things….and they are criminals and in more ways than one.

Pata Zoo is in the news again. It is an unfortunate place but believe me there are far worse collections in Thailand. The attacks on Pata take place roughly every two years then disappear from the Radar. I really do wonder if this time it is going to be any different. I doubt it. There is too much corruption. One of the biggest objections to Pata is that it is "in a Shopping Mall". So what? I really cannot see why this seems to get peoples goat so much. If it were located in a building 50 yards from a shopping mall would this make any difference? Or would it just mean that the AR's had just one less thing to moan about.

I note with great interest that Sentosa (SEA Aquarium and Dolphin Island) has been accredited by the AZA. This is a great move. Too often I see it stated in the press that this or that zoo meets International Standards. Hogwash….there aren't any. There are standards set by various zoo bodies including the AZA. How do you think Ras Al Khaima, Pata or Delhi Zoos would fare? Not too well I reckon. Easy to be critical of course because at the same time a huge percentage of North American Zoos would not have a hope in hell of being accredited by the AZA or EAZA or others.
What about SEAZA? Why did Sentosa not seek accreditation there with the Asian body? It's a good question but within the zoo world some accreditation is worth a lot more than others. Unless there has been some sort of radical change with SEAZA they still do not require members to be inspected before they are given accreditation. If someone knows different then please let me know. Most of the time the SEAZA website seems to be down and when it is up and running it is very rarely updated. So Sentosa in my opinion has shown great strength by applying for and gaining AZA membership. I hope more Asian zoos are brave enough to apply….most will fail and that includes a lot of the SEAZA collections.

Although I have been based in Dubai these past three years I prefer to maintain a UK address  for my surface mail. This has changed yet again. It is now:

Peter Dickinson, c/o 2 Highgate, Dolwen, Abergele, Conwy, North Wales, 

United Kingdom, LL22 8NP.

Bear in mind it is NOT where I live. You can send books for review, cheques etc to that address. I will get them eventually....although it may take months. If you prefer to send by courier to Dubai then please email me and I will send details. My contact phone number in Dubai remains the same:

00971 (0)50 4787 122


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Blackbrook Zoological Park near Leek to be relaunched as new zoo next year
ANIMAL lovers have been promised they will once again be able to enjoy their favourite creatures at a zoo – after the venue found new owners.

Administrators overseeing the sale of Blackbrook Zoological Park have confirmed the rural tourist spot has been snapped up and will open next year following "significant improvement work".

And animal fans and community leaders have welcomed plans for the site revealed by new owner T3115 Ltd.

Low visitor numbers and a number of financial problems caused the 30-acre zoo – which boasts birds,

Polar bears chew through silicone in Winnipeg zoo's underwater tunnel
The Assiniboine Park Zoo has temporarily closed its underwater polar bear viewing tunnel after the bears chewed into some of the silicone sealant around the tunnel's glass.

The zoo announced Friday that the tunnel, which is part of the Journey to Churchill exhibit, is closed for repairs for at least one to two weeks. However, officials have yet to determine the full extent of the damage.

Do Elephants Kill People? Elephant Caretaker Tragedy In Maine Sparks Barrier Debate
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums will require all zoos to use barriers between humans and elephants by 2017, following the killing of an elephant caretaker by one of the two elephants in his care. The decision came after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent a team to investigate the man’s death. The death was ruled an accident, but it shed light on the dangers of close-quarter interactions between elephants and humans.

"There were simply too many accidents. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums board wanted to take steps to prevent this from happening again," spokesman Rob Vernon told the New York Times.

An estimated 500 people a year are killed by elephants, according to National Geographic. Most deaths are accidents and a result of elephants being squeezed into smaller spaces. The constriction of elephant habitats happens in zoos frequently; it also happens in the wild. As farmers expand their lands to make ends meet, the territory where elephants can safely roa 

Experts warn about dwindling giraffe population
Giraffes are some of the most interesting animals in the wild.  For years, people have been captivated by the animals.  But experts say if changes aren't made soon, giraffes will be extinct.

Julian Fennessey is the executive director for the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.  He traveled from Southwest Florida all the way from South Africa.  His mission is to make people aware of the giraffe population problem, and hopefully find a way to help.

"Bottom line -- giraffes are in serious threat," said Fennessey.  "They're such a charismatic species. People love them.  But, we just really didn't know how much peril they're in."

According to Fennessey, studies show the giraffe population has dropped 40 percent in the last 15 years.  It's a shocking reality for Naples Zoo giraffe keeper Charlotte Phillips.
"Seeing those numbers and just seeing how low it is -- it's just really saddening," said Phillips.

For the last five years, Fennessey and his team have worked to establish the history of the mysterious creatures and to find out what's killing them.

"The issue really is poaching and illegal hunting," said Fennessey.

Fennessey says giraffes have already become extinct in 10 countries in Africa.

"If we can't save the giraffe -- if we ca

Inserting Captive-Bred Tigers Into the Wild: Will it Work?
The South China tiger has not been seen in the wild since the 1960s. Although Chinese delegates at a global tiger conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh this week are reluctant to admit it is extinct in the wild, it might as well be, because no confirmed sightings have been made since the 1970s. There were under 60 of the subspecies left in zoos worldwide in 2002.

However there is now hope that captive tigers can be trained to be reintroduced and function in the wild for the first time in decades.

“It is exciting,” says Brad Nilson from Conservation Finance International. “This was controversial, even crazy stuff 20 years ago when we wrote about it, but now its gained acceptability.”

The functional extinction of the South China tiger, after China’s Communist Party declared it an “enemy of the people” for killing livestock, has meant that this was the only route to saving what is viewed as one of the most endangered animals on the planet. With conservators in China reluctant to inter-breed the animals with other subspecies; “we have had to be very careful about how we optimize breeding,” notes Nilson, who is working on the program. With so few animals left, there are risks of inbreeding.

Five South China tigers were taken from Shanghai Zoo to a converted South African sheep farm where they could be “re-wilded.” Within a few years one of the refugee tigers named Tiger Woods was fathering babies born, perhaps for the first time in decades, in at least a semi-wild condition. There are now 18 South China tigers in South Africa, giving hope that this animal may thrive once more. “We’ve gone from around 50 to 110 since 2002,” says Nilson. “It’s safe to say its the only subspecies that has doubled, which makes a major contribution to the global aim of doubling the population by 2022,” he adds.

Back in China a pilot reserve to host the first re-wilded tigers in their natural habitat has been identified and developed in Jianxi province.

While the South China tiger is perhaps the most ambitious program,  it is by no means the only project to reintroduce tigers to the wild. Kazakhstan saw its last Caspian tiger in 1948 near the Ily river in the Balkhash region. While the specific Caspian tiger subspecies is extinct, scientists studying the genes of preserved specimens note remarkable similarity with the Amur or Siberian tiger, which continues to exist wild in Russia’s far east and in captivity. As a result, Dr. Igor Chestin of WWF hopes to reintroduce tigers into the wild in Kazakhstan’s marshy Balkhash region within the next few years.

“We first need to establish populations of prey in the area,” says Chestin, who has received approval from Kazakhstan’s government for the project. The process of building up prey numbers has begun with reintroduction of the enigmatic Saiga antelope, boar and other species into the wetlands south of lake Balkhash. Chestin also notes that there are around 400 households grazing livestock in the area. “We hope to eliminate grazing, its not a traditional grazing area,” he says.

Cambodia is also keen to start a re-wilding progra

Thailand, China expected to renew panda loan contract
China and Thailand have agreed to extend the contract lending pandas Lin Hui and Chuang Chuang to Thailand for another 10 years as Panda Ambassadors. They are expected to renew the agreement in November.

Chiang Mai Zoo Director Dr Karnchai Saenwong told the press at Chiang Mai Zoo earlier today of the progress toward a contract, noting that both China and Thailand have now primarily agreed on the

 The September 2014 issue of ZOO’s PRINT Magazine (Vol. 29, No. 9) is online at <> in a format that permits you to turn pages like a regular magazine.
If you wish to download the full magazine or certain articles click on <>
ISSN 0973-2543 (online)
September 2014 | Vol. 29 | No. 9 | Date of Publication 22 September 2014
Interview with Dr. Onnie Byers, Chair, Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, SSC, IUCN
-- Sally Walker, Pp. 1-4
Observations and Recommendations on Five Selected Indian Zoos: Report of USFWS sponsored Zoo Team to India, March 17-27, 1980, Edited by David A. Ferguson, International Affairs Staff, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C. and abbreviated by SRW, Editor
Pp. 5-6
From ZOOKEEPING : Husbandry and Care of Small Mammals
-- Donald E. Moore and Michelle R. Farmerie, Pp. 7-10
Ethology: some observations on animal behaviour
-- Arunachalam Kumar, P. 11
Crocosmia Planch - an addition to Iridaceae of Kerala, India
-- K. Althaf Ahamed Kabeer and J.H. Franklin Benjamin, Pp. 12-13
Crotalaria pallida Aiton var. obovata (G. Don) Polhill (Fabaceae) - an extended distribution for Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka
-- Sameer Patil, J. Jayanthi, J.S. Jalal and C.R. Jadhav, Pp. 14-15
Orchids as Nutraceuticals
-- Jagdeep Verma, Pp. 16-18
Incidence of Leptospirosis in Captive Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus)
-- M.G. Jayathangaraj, M. Palanivelrajan, K. Senthilkumar, S. Vairamuthu and G. Ravikumar, P. 19
The Menacing Threat of Stray Dogs to Wildlife: A Case Report in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala
-- R. Roshnath, Pp. 20-22
Extended distribution of Caralluma diffusa (Wight) N.E. Br. (Asclepiadaceae) in Tamil Nadu, India
-- Parthipan, M. and A. Rajendran, Pp. 23-25
Resighting of Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultia Lesson, 1826) from Rajasthan, India
-- Chhaya Bhatnagar and Deependra Singh Shekhawat, P. 26
Sensitizing local communities through training and awareness to conserve the Greater One-horned Rhino
-- B.A. Daniel and Manas Bandhu Majumder, Pp. 27-29
Regional Workshop on Freshwater Biodiversity Conservation
-- L. Isaiarasu, P. 30
Brief report of One Week Training Course on Use of GPS & Open Source QGIS in Wildlife Management
-- Fatima Sultana, Pp. 31-32
Education Report
P. 33
World Elephant Day at Tribal village in Coimbatore, TN
-- R. Marimuthu, P. 34
ZOO commemorates International Vulture Awareness Day
-- R. Marimuthu, P. 35

Mauritian reptiles get the backing of international philanthropist thanks to local trust company
The Jersey Foundation, established by an international philanthropist, will be making pledges to several local charities throughout 2014, one of which is to Durrell for £50,000. The donation will fund conservation work in Mauritius.

The £50,000 will support Durrell’s mission of saving species from extinction through the delivery of conservation projects on the ground and training Mauritian conservationists. On the ground, the funding will support efforts to restore six species of highly threatened reptile, including the Telfair’s skink, orange tailed skink and Gunther’s gecko, on the network of small islands that lie off the coast of Mauritius. This includes funding a desperately needed 4 x 4 vehicle to move the team and equipment to field sites, trips to each of the islands, and the movement of reptiles between islands to rebuild populations. The funding will also support our work with Mauritian Wildlife Foundation to build local skills for conservation through the provision of scholarships to attend our Endangered Species Recovery course that is based at the new Durrell Conservation Academy – Mauritius campus, as well as support for students coming to the UK and Jersey to receive specialist training.

Jan Kenny, executive director of Nautilus, said: It has been a pleasure to work with our client and to identify some really wonderful causes locally with which we are to provide financial support. We have an affinity with Durrell given that Nautilus also has offices in Mauritius and we can see first-hand the benefits the donation has made already. We hope that this is the start of an on-going relationship between Nautilus and Durrell.’

Oliver Johnson, CEO of Durrell, commented: ‘We are delighted to receive such strong support from a local organisation; it truly reinforces community spirit for both Je

Zoo critters prefer their horse meat
The lions, tigers and bears at the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo couldn’t have cared less about last year’s vociferous debate over whether horse slaughter should be resumed in the United States.

They were content just wolfing down their daily rations of imported horse meat – roughly 38,000 pounds of it per year.

Last year’s planned opening of a horse slaughter plant near Roswell outraged a large contingent – nationwide and in New Mexico – who argued that horse slaughter is inhumane and should not be allowed in the United States.

That controversy didn’t affect Albuquerque’s zoo, or its practice of feeding horse meat to many of its residents.

Zoo animals, it turns out, can be notoriously finicky eaters, said Ralph Zimmerman, the zoo’s head veterinarian. But the majority of the zoo’s large carnivores prefer horse meat over beef or pork, both of which would cost considerably more without offering the nutritional benefits of their equine counterpart.

Zimmerman said horse meat is “nutritionally very sound.” It’s higher in amino acids, B-6 and B-12 vitamins, and iron than beef and many other sources

Zoos add plants to improve habitat, aesthetics
The Virginia Zoo is all about animals - and, increasingly, all about plants.
There are 10 themed gardens that make up the zoo's 53-acre experience.
There's the White Garden with its cooling ambiance of pale flowers.
There's the fiery explosion of the Tropical Garden with its rain forest-like foliage.
And, there's the Organic Rose Garden where oldies and newbies flourish with only natural ingredients.
Brian Francis, the new curator of horticulture at the 100-year-old zoo in Norfolk, Va., hopes to enhance the gardens even more. He wants to add denser plantings to the animal habitats so you feel immersed in the country or continent; he also plans to create a database of plants and envisions future plant sales for the public.
"I'm really hoping to take it to a fresh and exciting new level that hasn't been seen here before," he said. "The zoo currently has many significant plants that are not

The family of a woman animal keeper mauled to death when a tiger walked through an open door say they still have questions unanswered following the conclusion of an inquest into her death.

Sarah McClay, 24, was pounced on in the keeper's corridor of the tiger house at South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Cumbria before she was dragged by the back of the neck into a den and then to an outside enclosure.

The animal was supposed to never have access to the corridor but male tiger Padang walked straight through a door to where Miss McClay, from Barrow, was as she carried out her cleaning and feeding duties in the house.

An inquest jury in Kendal ruled in a narrative verdict that Padang got to Miss McClay by entering two open internal sliding gates within the house and then an open door that led on to the corridor.

Systems were in place at the park in Dalton-in-Furness in to ensure that animals and keepers remained apart at all times through indoor and outdoor compartments connected by lockable self-closing doors.

But when staff members rushed in after the attack on May 24 last year they found the door to one of the tigers' dens ajar and not locked.

Two internal sliding gates were also open which allowed Padang and his female companion, Alisha, to move in and out of a light den and a dark den to the outside enclosure.

The court heard that a bolt on the top of the dark den door - which had been the one open immediately before the attack - was found to be defective in the hours following her death as the scene was examined but it could not be said if that damage had occurred before the fatality.

An environmental health officer for the local authority told the jury that the top spring-loaded bolt could not be held back and it would bang against the frame when it tried to close, which left a gap of between 20mm and 25mm.

The jury found that one or more of the bolts on that door extended so as to prevent it from closing into the frame.

South Cumbria coroner Ian Smith told jurors though that their task was not to try and apportion any blame for Miss McClay's death but to determine the facts.

A criminal health and safety at work investigation is being held by Barrow Borough Council which licenses the park.

Following the hearing, Miss McCl

RAK Zoo opens its doors to the public
Ras Al Khaimah Zoo opened its doors for the first time yesterday, with its owner and residents confident it will help boost tourism in the emirate.

The zoo, located in Al Dagdaga, is owned by Jasim Ali, general commander of RAK Police, and the first phase of the project has so far cost Dh6 million.

Mr Ali said he was pleased with the opening-day turn out. “There were actually many tourists from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar who followed me on Instagram and Facebook, and a large number of tourists from outside UAE came to the opening,” he said.

The zoo features African lions, white lions, white tigers, a rare golden tiger, panthers, wolves, deer and birds.

“The golden tiger that I have in my zoo is the first one in the whole of the GCC,” said Mr Ali. “In addition, it is important how I treat and act directly with the animals to attract visitors.”

During the summer the animals are kept in their own chilled isolation rooms to protect them from the unforgiving temperatures.

The next phase of the project will include the building of an air-conditioned area featuring rare reptiles, birds and an aquarium. It is expected to be completed in the next one-and-a-half years at an extra cost of Dh15 million, Mr Ali said.

There are 45 different types of animals in the zoo, and Mr Ali is planning to increase the number to more than 2,000.

“During the year, we will develop the zoo and over the next 40 years will develop it more and more, because the development doesn’t stop,” he said.

The residents of RAK were pleased with the opening of a zoo in their emirate.

Abdulaziz Ahmed Al Hafri, a 19-year-old Emirati student who was born in RAK, said the zoo would attract many tourists to the emirate.

“The thing that makes this zoo attractive to tourists is having rare and endangered animals,” said Mr Al Hafri.

“It is also close to Saqr Park, about four k

Shanghai Building World's Largest Polar Theme Park
Authorities have announced plans to open a polar theme park in Shanghai's Pudong New Area. The park will be the largest of its kind, housing more than 500 species of polar animals and over 20,000 different types of fish.

Visitors to the park will be able to see killer whales performing tricks in a large water pool and will also bVe able to visit the polar animal and ocean wild zones to see various wildlife, including polar bears, emperor penguins, dolphins and beluga whales. The additional pavilions will contain sharks, penguins and coral.

Six Tiger Attacks in Eight Years Across India's Zoos
A 20-year-old man was mauled to death by a white tiger in the Delhi zoo today. The man apparently slipped and fell into the tiger's enclosure.

Five similar incidents have occurred across India in the last eight years resulting in three deaths. Are our zoos safe enough?

Following are a few incidents of attacks by tigers at zoos across India:

January 1996: Two drunk men tried to garland a tiger after entering inside the enclosure at the Alipore Zoo of Kolkata. The animal killed one of them and injured the other.

December 2000: A tige

A look at recent zoo attacks
1994: A 29-year-old Australian tourist climbed a fence to get close-up pictures of a polar bear at the Anchorage Zoo, Alaska. She was mauled but survived the attack.

2007: A 350-pound Siberian tiger managed to escape its cage in a San Francisco Zoo. It mauled three men, killing one. Authorities were unsure of how the tiger escaped, but it was clear that the animal somehow travelled over a 20-foot wall and a

Death in the Delhi zoo—‘Beast’ vs. the Beast
Delhi and most of its denizens have the least apathy for animals and this is glaring if you ever visit the zoo or the zoological gardens as the 74 hectares of prime forest land in the center of Delhi is called.

“To inspire amongst zoo visitors empathy for wild animals, an understanding and awareness about the need for conservation of natural resources and maintaining ecological balance,” is one of the preambles adopted by the gardens which was set up in 1955 amidst a very urbane Delhi. This has never ever taken up for practical purposes as thi

Opinion: The secret life of zoo poo
Tonka, Jana and Edie have a big, smelly secret.

Every morning, the three resident African Elephants at the Knoxville Zoo plod into the Stokely African Elephant Preserve to begin a long day of eating. Vegetarians, they'll each consume nearly 500 pounds of hay and other plant material over the course of the day. Zoo visitors will ogle their majestic trunks and giggle at their swaying dance moves – a mechanism they use to cope with captivity – and some lucky patrons will even see the elephants deposit their excess waste around the enclosure.

But only one man will see what happens next.

Robert Hodge has been working at the Knoxville Botanical Gardens for a little more than a year. Having earned five years of urban agriculture experience in Knoxville, the quick-talking gardener joined the Botanical Gardens with an elephantine ambition – develop a community garden in a corner of the 47 acres of carefully cultivated green space.

He had accomplished a similar goal at the first community garden he helped organize, a site that he describes as "river bottom land." The project taught Hodge a new appreciation for rich, nutritious soil, and when he embarked on his second community garden in Lawnsdale, he knew he needed some kind of fertilizer to prepare the dirt.

Hodge went to Beardsley Community Farm, a local non-profit run by AmeriCorps volunteers, to see how they started their gardens in the nitrogen-deficient soil. There, the staff let Hodge in

The Zoo Debate: Educators or Entertainers?
Evidence for the Positive Contributions of Zoos and Aquariums to Aichi Biodiversity Target 1
The UN Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2010, is a ten-year model aiming to protect biodiversity and the benefits it provides. The plan is essential in global efforts to halt and, optimistically, reverse the current loss of biodiversity. 20 target goals, known as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, have been put in place with intent to increase value people put on biodiversity, maintain ecosystem services and support global action for a healthy planet. The first of these targets is as follows, “ by 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.” Achieving such an ambitious goal

New Multi-Million Exhibit Brings Zoo Guests Closer To The Penguins
A multi-million dollar exhibit is opening this weekend at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, bringing the penguin world and experiences closer to guests.
Marcus Washington was able to get an early behind-the-scenes look.
The new exhibit is five times bigger, if not more, than the previous living quarters for the penguins at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. There are so many sights and features around every corner.
After nearly four years of planning and 14 months of the construction, the new $11.5 million Penguin Coast exhibit is here at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.
In the wild, penguins typically have one mate for a lifetime. In a more controlled environment, that’s not always the case and with good reason.
“And to keep the genetics going within the penguins, they recommend that we breed one male with a certain female, so sometimes we do have to separate one pair up and try to repair them,” said Jess Phillips,  The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.
At more than 1900 square feet, this is the largest outdoor penguin exhibit in North American and only the second in the world to a facility

Thailand: Campaign to free gorilla from high-rise zoo
Officials in Bangkok have agreed to meet activists campaigning for the release of a female gorilla which has been on display in a department store's zoo since 1987, it's reported.

The campaign to re-house Bua Noi (Little Lotus) from the zoo on the top two floors of Bangkok's Pata department store has more than 35,000 signatures and has resulted in the director of the country's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) agreeing to speak to activists about the case, the Bangkok Post reports. Sinjira Apaitan, who organised the petition, told the paper: "I don't think animals should be locked up in such unnatural habitat. I hope to help all other animals being held captive in this high-rise zoo as well." Speaking to Bangkok's Nation newspaper Sinjira hopes that the zoo, which has been criticised for its cramped conditions in the world's media for several years, would lose its licence.

A BBC journalist who has visited the Pata Zoo says the cages are small, concrete and some of the hundreds of animals were clearly suffering mental effects from their confinement. In defence of the attraction, zoo director Kanit Sermsirimongk

Pata Zoo fights efforts to move Bua Noi
THE OWNERS of Pata Zoo are fighting back efforts by many people to move the gorilla, Bua Noi, to what they consider "a better home".

"Don't use mob rule here," Pata Zoo director Kanit Sermsirimongkhon said yesterday. "We have complied with all relevant laws".

He said his zoo had a proper licence and its hygiene standards met all existing legal requirements. The licence has been renewed since August 13, he added.

Kanit was speaking after animal activist Sinjira Apaitan and her supporters met with Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation chief Nipon Chotibal yesterday to discuss how Bua Noi's fate can be improved.

Pata Zoo is on the top two floors of Pata Department Store, an ageing building on a busy street in Bangkok. It houses more than 200 species of animals, including reptiles, turtles, birds, monkeys, leopards, tigers, bears and the lone gorilla, Bua Noi.

According to Kanit, Bua Noi is the only female gorilla in Thailand and perhaps Asia.

"We have taken care of Bua Noi well. She is healthy emotionally and physically," Kanit insisted.

Sinjira, a Thai woman who lives in New Zealand, has been trying to raise public awareness, saying a gorilla like Bua Noi deserves a better home than just being locked up in a cage on the top of a Bangkok department store. Her online petition via website had attracted 36,44

Can't fault zoo for the tragedy: CZA
A day after a white tiger killed a youth who had fallen into its enclosure, a two-member probe team of Central Zoo Authority visited the Delhi zoo twice on Wednesday. Though it is yet to file a report, the team didn't fault the zoo for the tragedy.

"We can't say it's the zoo's fault. To be honest, their enclosure is larger than what CZA guidelines provide for. Also, there are three barriers to keep visitors at a safe distance. There are boards warning visitors against disturbing animals. I can't imagine how the man jumped over the metal stand-off hedge and the wall. We are extremely saddened by what happened but the enclosure meets the norms," said an official.

To stress on the safety aspect, the official said that white tigers donated to zoos abroad and in India were all bred in that enclosure. "The tiger was startled to see the man up close. He has never had close physical contact with any human being; even the keepers feed him from outside. His instinct of securing territory probably took over," the official added.

The team, headed by S C Sharma, the founder member-secretary of CZA, is analysing footage of the incident and is expected to submit its report in a day or two. However, CZA had earlier suggested that glass barriers be installed at some enclosures. Delhi zoo had tried to implement it, but it didn't work out.

"They break and are not very useful. We are still plan

His obsession with tigers led him to his death
A pall of gloom has descended over a dingy hutment located below the Zakhira flyover in central Delhi, at Anand Parbat, on Wednesday. Maqsood, 20, who was mauled to death by a white tiger at the Delhi zoo on Tuesday, lived here with his family.

Almost 24 hours after his tragic death, the family recollects that it was his new-found love for tigers that had led to his death. A random visit to the zoo sometime in June had got him obsessed with tigers and he often spoke about it to his wife and family members. The visits became frequent after he lost his job as a porter a few weeks ago.

Maqsood had married Fatima, a woman from Kolkata, a year ago. Of late, he had heard about stories of Bengal tigers and how a tiger had mauled two men at Alipur zoo when they had gone to garland the animal back in 1995. "He never told us what was it about tigers that had aroused his curiosity so much but these stories used to excite him and he often shared his experiences at the zoo," said Mohammad Tahir, his grandfather.

Maqsood's friends say that his obsession only grew and he would often slip out of his house in the afternoon and visit the zoo to watch

the tigers, and lions. The fact that he had lost his job four months ago gave him ample time. He often told his mother he was going out to look for a job but instead landed at the zoo. He used the little money he had saved to buy tickets at the zoo.

"He had gone there even last Tuesday and told the children stories about the white tigers after his return," said Adil, a friend who owns a grocery shop outside the colony. He said Maqsood had dropped out of school in eighth class and was working as a la

Edinburgh Zoo panda enclosure ‘not suitable’ claim
EDINBURGH Zoo’s panda enclosure is unsuitable for breeding and Tian Tian may not even have been pregnant, a leading expert has claimed.

Gareth Starbuck described the £275,000 enclosure as “sparse, has a lot of concrete, one token tree and no cover”.

The animal breeding expert at Nottingham Trent University said it was also a mistake for Tian Tian to be kept in sight of her potential mate as wild pandas live many miles apart.

However, Edinbrugh Zoo has rubbished the claims and insisted the enclosure was designed “in collaboration with Chinese experts who are the foremost authority”.

Dr Starbuck, 42, said: “It strikes me that the best way to get an animal to behave in a successful manner is to recreate their natural environment as best as possible.

“The panda enclosure in Edinburgh is sparse, has a lot of concrete, one token tree and not much cover. In the wild they have plenty of cover.”

Dr Starbuck also said the fact the male and female pandas could see each other from their separate glass-fronted enclosures was a problem.

He said: “We put them next to each other and expect them to mate naturally when in the wild they are miles apart and only come into contact when she is ready to mate.

“Why is she going to be interested in the boy next door?”

Tian Tian was artificiall

Donkeys reunited at Polish zoo after sex scandal
The couple, together for 10 years, got into trouble when mothers expressed outrage that children had to witness their mating. Local conservative official Lydia Dudziak took up their cause and persuaded the director of the zoo in Poznan to have the animals put in separate pens.

The zoo acknowledged making a mistake Thursday and said the donkeys are again in one pen after about a week apart.

“It was never our intention for any animals to feel uncomfortable because of their natural behaviors,” the zoo said in a statement.

The interruption of the long-standing romance turned into a national news item in Poland in the past days. Nearl

Op-Ed: The crocodile suicides: Inside the Thai zoo where things go wrong
On a recent Friday at Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo, a 65-year-old woman slipped off her shoes, clambered over a balustrade and plunged into a pit of hundreds of crocodiles. As workers rushed to distract the reptiles, the woman swam toward them.
Investigators ruled it a suicide. Similar incidents took place at the self-proclaimed "world's largest" crocodile farm in 1992, 2002 and possibly in 2012. The owner said he has invested in safety but that there's not much you can do if someone is determined.
Safety, here on dusty fringe of Bangkok's sprawl, is relative. On a recent weekday morning, I drove out to the Samutprakarn farm to see what kind of a place this was and whether it still poses danger to those with depression. I wanted to ask the owner myself what measures have been taken and whether he thought he could do more.
It's dangerous to write about suicide, and it's dangerous not to. In an essay for the Poynter journalism institute, Cindi Deutschman-Ruiz notes that while many reporters shy from covering suicides, the gap in coverage creates the impression that suicide is not a major public health crisis, which it is. At the same time, vivid descriptions of methods can inspire copycats.
"A reporter should not risk providing another person considering suicide with the details of how it can be achieved," she writes.
In the case of Samutprakarn, that risk is already out there. Thai media, appropriately, snatched up the story immediately. International media quickly followed. The method of achieving death at Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm is well documented. What's not well documen

Kira Davis: ‘Blackfish’ Movie Does More Harm than Good When it Comes to Animal Welfare
By now, many Americans have heard of a documentary called Blackfish, which creates an emotionally harrowing tale of human overreach, greed and the potential risks of holding animals in captivity. The film specifically targets SeaWorld and their killer whale program, as it tells the story of SeaWorld Florida orca Tillikum:
“a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. Along the way, director-producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite complies shocking footage and emotional interviews to explore the creature’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity…and the pressures brought to bear by the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry” –
It certainly sounds captivating. Seeing that CNN actually gave the movie primetime airtime, and having brushed by it every day for the last few months on Netflix, I thought this might be a good film to watch with my 12-year-old s

RWS Dolphin Island, SEA Aquarium accredited by zoo association
Resort World Sentosa's (RWS) SEA Aquarium and Dolphin Island have been granted accreditation by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), the integrated resort announced in a release on Friday (Sep 26).

“By meeting the highest standards, SEA Aquarium and Dolphin Island are ranked among the best zoos and aquariums in the world,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “When people visit these attractions at Resorts World Sentosa, they can be assured that they are supporting a facility that is a leader in the care and conservation of wildlife.”

"Marine education, conservation and research, as well as the well-being of our animals have always been our utmost priority," added Senior Vice President of Attractions at Resorts World Sentosa John Hallenbeck. "We are delighted to be one of the few facilities outside of the United States to receive the accreditation from AZA, and we look forward to inspire more visitors to do their part for our o

Moscow Zoo Prepares to Install Webcams in Animal Enclosures
The Moscow Zoo has announced plans to install webcams in its enclosures, allowing animal-lovers to observe their favorite beasts from the comfort of their own homes.

"We have these cameras in our plans, but organizing the broadcast on our own will be problematic: The telecom signal at the zoo is rather weak," spokesperson Anna Kachurovskaya told local broadcaster

The webcam installation, which will be carried out in conjunction with ongoing renovations at the zoo, has an initial startup cost of about 100,000 rubles ($2,600), according to media expert Anton Korobkov-Zemlyansky.

The broadcasts will also cost dozens of thousands of rubles to maintain, Korobkov-Zemlyansky told, but added that the money could be generated from advertising. The park is also planning to sell zoo membership cards to raise the necessary funds for the project, the report said.

Natalia Drobova, a World Wildlife Fund coordinator, said the project would likely be a success and that demand should be particularly high for broadcasts showing young animals. She also highlighted raccoons, penguins and monkeys as animals that would be interesting for the public to watch, reported.

The locals aren't the only ones set to benefit

First zoo opens in Ras Al Khaimah
The two-stage RAK Zoo, which will be built at a total cost of Dh17 million, is the third biggest in the UAE after Al Ain Zoo and the Emirates Park Zoo in Abu Dhabi.

Jassim Ali, the owner of the zoo, on Tuesday told Khaleej Times that his personal zoo is home to a variety of 40 wild, rare and endangered animals. “The zoo, situated close to Saqr Park, is built on an area of 1 million square metres.”

The animals include African and white lions, white and rare golden tigers, black panthers and cheetahs, grey and Arab wolves, rare antelopes and deer, as well as a variety of beautiful birds and rare animals, he said.

Ali said the zoo, located at Daqdaqa area opposite the Institute of Applied Technology, has an equestrian club for training women and children, an array of restaurants and cafes. “There is also a special corner for children’s toys, cycle tracks, horse and camel riding tracks, prayer rooms for gents and ladies, toilets, footpaths, family walks and rest areas.”

Ali explained that the first stage of the mega project cost him Dh6 million, while the second phase will cost Dh11 million and will be inaugurated within a y

Download full issue of 26 September 2014 - - Pp. 6293-6388
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Contents Pp. 6293-6388
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Indirana chiravasi, a new species of Leaping Frog (Anura: Ranixalidae) from Western Ghats of India
--Anand D. Padhye, Nikhil Modak & Neelesh Dahanukar,  Pp.6293-6312
Abstract    HTML    PDF (7322Kb)

An analysis of the habitat of the Greater One-horned Rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis (Mammalia: Perissodactyla: Rhinocerotidae) at the Chitwan National Park, Nepal
--Vivek Thapa, Miguel F. Acevedo & Kul P. Limbu,  Pp.6313-6325
Abstract    HTML    PDF (3203Kb)

Biology and conservation status of Piraja’s Lancehead Snake Bothrops pirajai Amaral, 1923 (Serpentes: Viperidae), Brazil
--Marco Antonio de Freitas, Antonio Jorge Suzart Argôlo, Catherine Gonner & Diogo Veríssimo,  Pp.6326-6334
Abstract    HTML    PDF (6613Kb)

Genetic diversity of the Critically Endangered Philippine Eagle Pithecophaga jefferyi (Aves: Accipitridae) and notes on its conservation
--Adrian U. Luczon, Ian Kendrich C. Fontanilla, Perry S. Ong, Zubaida U. Basiao, Anna Mae T. Sumaya & Jonas P. Quilang,  Pp.6335-6344
Abstract    HTML    PDF (1950Kb)

Pollination ecology of the Gray Nicker Caesalpinia crista (Caesalpiniaceae) a mangrove associate at Coringa Mangrove Forest, Andhra Pradesh, India
--P. Suvarna Raju & A.J. Solomon Raju,  Pp.6345-6354
Abstract    HTML    PDF (2432Kb)

Wildlife art and illustration: stone sculpture and painting - some experiments in Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India
--M. Eric Ramanujam & S. Joss Brooks,  Pp.6355-6362
Abstract    HTML    PDF (7153Kb)

Distribution and conservation status of Croton scabiosus Bedd. (Euphorbiaceae), an endemic tree species of southern Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh, India
--Sugali Salamma & Boyina Ravi Prasad Rao,  Pp.6363-6370
Abstract    HTML    PDF (7680Kb)

Activity pattern of the orphaned Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus (Mammalia: Carnivora: Ursidae) cubs during rehabilitation processes
--Soumya Dasgupta, Parthankar Choudhury & Parimal C. Bhattacharjee,  Pp.6371-6375
Abstract    HTML    PDF (1978Kb)

New distribution records on the occurrence of the Delavay Summersweet Clethra delavayi Franchert (Clethraceae), a Chinese species in Arunachal Pradesh, India
--Jis Sebastian & H.B. Naithani,  Pp.6376-6378
Abstract    HTML    PDF (8044Kb)

Note on a nest of Saunders’ Embiid Oligotoma saundersii (Westwood) (Insecta: Embioptera: Oligotomidae) from Kolkata, India
--Prosenjit Dawn, Kailash Chandra & K.A. Subramanian,  Pp.6379-6384
Abstract    HTML    PDF (1502Kb)

A first report of symbiotic polychaete Scale Worm Gastrolepidia clavigera Schmarda, 1861 (Phyllodocida: Polynoidae) from Lakshadweep Archipelago, India
--Thangapandi Marudhupandi, Thipramalai Thangappan Ajith Kumar, Sanjeevi Prakash, Mohan Gopi & Thangavel Balasubramanian,  Pp.6385-6388
Abstract    HTML    PDF (1436Kb)

Short shrift for crocodile park
THE proposed creation of a crocodile park got short shrift at the House environment committee yesterday as deputies and local authorities found the whole idea suspicious.

The application submitted recently to the agriculture ministry by a Cypriot-Israeli joint venture sees the importation of around 1,000 Nile crocodiles for a theme park in Psematismenos village in the Larnaca district.

The crocodiles are to come from an Israeli farm that was closed down after 70 of the crocodiles escaped, causing a panic.

Larnaca local authority officials and environmentalists at the House yesterday said that 1,000 crocodiles was way too much for a theme park and suspected the beginning of a breeding industry leading to the slaughter of the protected animals for the production of crocodile-skin items.

“It is obvious that it is about a breeding farm, that due to its size, will turn into a processing company,” Greens MP Giorgos Perdikis said.

A representative of non-governmental-organisation Terra Cypria said the application for a theme park was a Trojan horse aiming to facilitate the trade of crocodile products in the EU.

Olympia Stylianou, permanent secretary of the agriculture ministry said the application concerned a theme park and “not a slaughter house”. She also said that the 70 crocodiles that escaped the farm in Israel were hatchlings.

Most of the committee members expressed their concerns over the large number of the crocodiles involved and the dangers they posed to biodiversity and the environment, the worry about safety issues.

Environment Commissioner Ioanna Panayiotou, said Nile crocodiles were a protected species and that it was Cyprus’ duty under EU law to protect it. She said that this number of crocodiles is far too big for a small place like Cyprus and that the farm posed a threat to the environment.

The representative of the interior ministry said that the farm in Israel had its licence revoked because the Israeli authorities ruled that it was impossible to keep the crocodiles from escaping. He also said that t

EXPOSED! T.I.G.E.R.S: A Tourist Attraction Exploiting Animals in the Name of Wildlife Conservation
It’s hard to pass up a chance to check out animals up close, especially when those animals aren’t easy to find in your neck of the woods. Most of us will never get the opportunity to go on a safari to see a wild tiger in person, much less bottle feed one. Let’s face it, tigers in the wild are pretty dangerous, as well as extremely endangered. Some species of tiger are so threatened that it’s a rarity to find them in the wild at all. Which makes a trip to T.I.G.E.R.S Preservation Station and Safari in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina seem like the perfect trip for a tiger enthusiast!

Not only can you get up close and personal with adorable tiger cubs, you can see rare white tigers and even ligers too. Posing for picture packages helps you to commemorate the experience and the proceeds go toward the Rare Species Fund, a non-profit set up by T.I.G.E.R.S for conservation. That sounds awesome! For the animal lover, this would seem like a spectacular opportunity.

If we look closer, however, it isn’t entirely the wholesome and altruistic venture it leads patrons to believe that it is. For the average consumer, it would seem like spending a couple of hours with a rare tiger while contributing to an establishment that does conservation work would be helping animals. The fact is, the animals at T.I.G.E.R.S are bred solely for profit and some of them are so unsuitable for reintroduction to the wild th


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