Monday, January 15, 2018

Zoo News Digest 15th January 2018 (ZooNews 979)

Zoo News Digest 15th January 2018  (ZooNews 979)

 



Peter Dickinson

elvinhow@gmail.com

 

Dear Colleague,


Penguins on a British beach? Fake news? Seemingly not. I will be very interested to learn more of this story. It surely must be a deliberate introduction. There is the suggestion they were stowaways on a container ship. I reckon this is highly unlikely...have you seen how high those ships are? Isolated penguins do turn up huge distances from their home waters but a group?
Of course sightings of penguins around the British coast are not unusual. I have followed up on at least a dozen of these in years gone by. Invariably they turn out to be Guillemots.

Lots of interest follows. 


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Did You Know?
ZooNews Digest has over 73,000 Followers on Facebook( and over 73,000 likes) and has a weekly reach often exceeding over 350,000 people? That ZooNews Digest has subscribers in over 823 Zoos in 154+ countries? That the subscriber list for the mail out reads like a 'Zoos Who's Who?'
If you are a subscriber to the email version then you probably knew this already. You would also know that ZooNews Digest pre-dates any of the others. It was there before FaceBook. It was there shortly after the internet became popular and was a 'Blog' before the word had been invented. ZooNews Digest reaches zoo people.

I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos,
not DYSFUNCTIONAL zoos.
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Wasted Millions of Animal Rights Group Exposed
This is a re-post of an article by the Animal Activist Watch – be aware NOT to DONATE your hard earned money to organisations that use emotions to solicit funds for their own gain.

Hollywood’s famous Sunset Boulevard is the focal point of a new hard-hitting campaign which exposes how PETA is raking in millions but brutally killing thousands of pets in the name of animal rights.

A giant billboard on the iconic route depicts a cartoon of the Grim Reaper wielding a scythe and looming over defenceless puppies accompanied by the wording: “72% kill rate for pets.”

More than two million motorists and pedestrians will see the graphic image which exposes PETA’s hypocrisy over the holiday season and New Year.

The billboard is a stark reference to PETA’s appalling record for putting to sleep stray and rescued animals because it believes animals should not to be kept as pets.

The portrayal of PETA as the Grim Reaper and not Guardian Angel in the home of the world’s biggest stars is a bitter blow to PETA which openly courts celebrities to further its aims.

It was erected by AnimalActivistWatch.com, a new team of





Why Chinese demand for ‘red ivory’ dooms helmeted hornbill bird to extinction unless poaching can be stopped
The international trade in illegal wildlife parts has another victim. Over the past five years, there has been an explosion in demand for the “red ivory” of an Asian bird – the helmeted hornbill.

Helmeted hornbill products sell for three to five times the price of elephant ivory. Their value has triggered a boom in poaching, sending the bird plunging towards extinction. Although it has been listed in Appendix 1 of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species in Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) since the 1970s – which means the trade is illegal – the helmeted hornbill is much sought after on the black market, and Post Magazine has discovered that Hong Kong plays a key role in the unfolding tragedy.

The helmeted hornbill lives in remnant pockets of low­land rainforest in Indonesia, Malaysia, southern Thailand and the sou





Why We Should Rethink How We Talk About “Alien” Species
The USDA’s “tick riders,” as they are called, are tasked with keeping infected cattle from straying deeper into Texas, where the deadly fever poses a serious threat to the beef industry. Whenever they find a stray or infected cow, they track it down and dip it in pesticide to kill the ticks and prevent them from spreading. Yet despite their best efforts, the tick riders’ challenge has recently increased, as more and more of the hardy ticks find their way across the border.

A large part of the problem is that cattle fever ticks also have another host: Nilgai antelope, a species native to India that was imported to North America in the 1930s as an exotic target for game hunters. These antelope, like the ticks themselves, and the pathogen






Five penguins set up home on Felixstowe beach
A group of penguins has set up home on Felixstowe beach, the first to ever settle naturally in the UK, it has emerged.

The five Magellanic penguins – all adults and apparently healthy – have been spotted over recent days on the pebbled beach close to the Spa Pavilion.

Experts say the flightless seabirds normally live in South America, and they are curious about how they came to be splashing around on the Suffolk coast.

It is likely they hitched a ride on a container ship from the Falkland Islands to Felixstowe Port, which arrived last week – and liked it so much they decided to stick around.

“From the photographs we have seen, the group seem healthy and happy enough,” said zoologist William Spence, from Cambridge University.

He added: “It’s certainly nice and cold at the moment, so they are quite at home in the conditions, and are likely to be finding ple





Don’t Believe the Hype: Giant Pandas Are Still Endangered
In September 2016 the International Union for the Conservation of Nature made a huge announcement: the giant panda, previously listed as an endangered species, had been downgraded from endangered to vulnerable. This news, covered by media around the world, was based in part on 2015 data presented by the Chinese State Forestry Administration that panda populations had risen to an estimated 1,864 wild individuals. While this action was lauded as an example of bringing a conservation icon back from the brink of extinction, we argue that the downlisting was premature and ill-advised.

Giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) now occupy only small fragments of their historic range, fragments left in the wake of human population expansion, attendant land-use change and road construction. Other threats include natural disasters such as earthquakes and landslides and ongoing climatic change, which is shifting the range of pandas’ preferred bamboo species, accelerating the flowering and aging of bamboo and simultaneously enhancing outbreaks of herbivoro





Leopard escapes from private zoo in Cornwall and 'lives in a barn'
A leopard escaped from a private zoo in Cornwall just after Christmas, police have confirmed.

The animal was recaptured following reports that sheep had been killed in the area.


Cornwall Live reports that the wild cat, which is usually kept at a private property in Great Treverran, near Par, ran off in late December.

A "weather incident" is reported to have been blamed for its vanishing act.

The clouded leopard is apparently kept as part of a private collection also including other interesting animals.





The 'private zoo' in Cornwall that a leopard has escaped from
This is the enclosure on a Cornwall estate where neighbours claims leopards and flamingos are living at a man's 'private zoo'.

Parents in the area say they are scared for their children's safety after one of the leopards escaped last month - and apparently began living in a barn on a farm a mile away.


The authorities have confirmed the animals are being kept properly, with all the correct licenses in place.

Neighbours named Todd Dalton, who famously won a legal battle to keep meat-eating animals in his London garden 12 years ago, as the man who keeps the animals.

Police confirmed the escaped leopard was recaptured after vanishing from Great Treverran, near Par, on Boxing Day.




‘Not your typical zoo’
When does a “pet lover” commit animal cruelty? When they start to think it is “cool” to buy nondomesticated wildlife for a pet, keep them in a cage or tie them to a tree with a chain, or worse, dispose of them later on.

So-called hobbyists, or lovers of special pets, risk being slapped with fines or jail time for violation of Republic Act 9147, or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, especially if their pets, most probably undocumented wildlife, sustained serious injuries.





RSPCA ends probe at 'improved' South Lakes Safari Zoo
The RSPCA has closed an investigation into a troubled zoo where hundreds of animals and a keeper died.

In 2013, keeper Sarah McClay was killed by a tiger at South Lakes Safari Zoo and last year a council report revealed 486 animals had died in four years.

In a statement the charity said its decision was based on changes to the zoo's management and better conditions.

The Zoo's website said it had "made changes" for the better and continued to improve.





Inside the cruel world of illegal chimp trading: How apes are stolen to order, crammed into crates then smuggled across the world to satisfy the whims of the ignorant and wealthy
The crate flown in from Istanbul was filled with exotic creatures for collectors: tantalus and patas monkeys, golden and ring-necked pheasants, scores of parrots and several dozen pigeons.

The cargo quickly cleared customs and quarantine checks –thanks to a £4,400 bribe, say investigators – and was collected by a pair of local bird dealers in Kathmandu.

Little did they know they were being observed by a special squad of Nepalese police investigating a major international wildlife smuggling ring.

For also inside the crate – stuffed into a secretive middle section – were two infant chimpanzees, cowering in fear after being ripped from their slaughtered families in an African forest.

The traumatised animals had been transported thousands of miles from their native lands and were at risk of dying of suffocation. They could barely be detected hidden among the more humdrum birds and monkeys.

For these terrified chimps, barely a year old, suffering severe dehydration and shedding body weight inside their grim





Plans for renowned bird conservation centre revealed
Plans for a world-renowned conservation and breeding centre for endangered birds have been revealed.

Birds Gardens Scotland has submitted proposals for a 200 square foot visitor centre made from straw and lime morter at its site in Oxton, near Lauder.,

The building - which is part-financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Scottish Borders LEADER 2014 – 2020 Programme and Scottish & Southern Energy - will provide a classroom, conference facilities, a resource area, library, coffee shop, and outdoor play area.





African Lions: Born Free? No, Born Captive to Be Killed
South African lion farmer Tienie Bamberger could not escape the blow to business from America’s ban on hunters importing trophies from captive lions. “The effect of the ban showed immediately, of course, from the moment the first hunter canceled a hunt,” says Bamberger, who runs Warthog Safaris. “I would say that roughly 80 percent of my clients were Americans, at least of those hunters coming to hunt lions.”

Bamberge says the number of foreigners booking lion hunts drastically declined and the business “shrank significantly” as many of his American clients—who make up 80 percent of his business—stayed away.

“It’s just our American clients, many of whom have become cherished friends, who are denied the opportunity to stalk and hunt the apex predator of the African continent,” says Bamberger.

But the hunting world is fraught with confusion these days.

In November, Trump reversed an Obama-era ban on Americans importing elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia. A barrage of criticism followed and the Trump boys’ own dabbling in trophy hunting came under the spotlight, with critics, including celebrities, recirculating photos of the president’s sons posing with elephant and leopard

  



Barrow MP wins support for life-time ban on failed zoo directors
BARROW and Furness MP, John Woodcock, has today (January 10) taken part in a first meeting of a new inquiry into deaths and cruelty in zoos.

John joined Labour’s backbench animal welfare committee to launch a review into how zoos are regulated and inspected following severe shortcomings in inspection practices exposed by the tragedies at South Lakeland Safari Zoo and other establishments across the country.

At the first session of the inquiry, MPs heard evidence from campaigners pushing to create a new national office for zoo welfare to replace the regulatory system which is currently managed by individual local authorities like Barrow council.

The inquiry will also consider the prospect of imposing a lifetime ban on individuals who held senior management positions in regimes that allow cruelty and neglect to occur. Currently, only the named license holder faces future restrictions if a zoo is found to be failing in its animal welfare and safety obligations.

Following today's meeting, Mr Woodcock said a strong case had been made for





In defence of zoos
Oftentimes, zoos and aquariums are perceived as businesses that capture and exploit animals for personal gain. But if you look closer into the actions taken by these institutions, you will find that zoos and aquariums can be extremely beneficial in their conservation efforts and public education, as well as providing excellent care to their animals.

First of all, it should be emphasized that not all zoos are created equal. Yes, there are zoos that have very little credibility and low standards of animal care. But these aren’t the zoos I’m focusing on right now. The institutions that I’m talking about are the 214 zoos and aquariums across the United States that have an accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. This accreditation means that the institution provides top quality animal care, emphasizes education, and funds conservation and research efforts to benefit wild species.

When you walk into a zoo or aquarium, a large percentage of the animals you see can’t be released into the wild. Whether it be that they were born under human care, imprinted on humans, have injuries or don’t have the necessary survival skills to succeed in the wild, they are deemed by the federal government as non-releasable. They






Primate Problem Solving and Reintroduction: A Conversation with Dr. Ben Beck, Retired Associate Director and General Curator of the Smithsonian National Zoo
For decades, Dr. Benjamin Beck has been one of the leading authorities on animal behavior in zoos, particularly of primates. “Animal behavior research produces fundamental understanding of, for example, feeding behavior and of social systems and social behavior,” he stated. “Two examples in the social realm come to mind. In the 60s and early 70s, golden lion tamarins were kept in zoos like macaques, in multimale/multifemale groups. The results were disastrous: fighting, lethal wounding and poor reproductive success. Devra Kleiman discovered that golden lion tamarins were monogamous and should be kept as adult pairs and their offspring. When implemented, this insight led to a rapid growth in the zoo population, which of course provided individuals for the later golden lion tamarin reintroduction to Brazil, one of the finest examples of zoo conservation efforts.”





Captive orca Lolita can stay at Miami aquarium: U.S. appeals court
By a 3-0 vote, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Miami rejected claims by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and others that keeping Lolita in captivity violated the federal Endangered Species Act.

“The evidence, construed in the light most favorable to PETA, does not support the conclusion that the conditions of her captivity pose a threat of serious harm to Lolita,” the court said.

Friday’s decision upheld a lower court ruling. The lawsuit began in July 2015, two months after the National Marine Fisheries Service recognized wha
  




Swedish zoo kills nine healthy lion cubs over six years
A zoo in Sweden has put down nine healthy lion cubs since 2012 because they could not afford to keep them.

Borås Djurpark resorts to the controversial practice if the animals cannot be moved to other zoos or if they are rejected by their group.

The zoo’s CEO Bo Kjellson told Swedish broadcaster SVT: “I think they were killed after two years."

“At that time we had tried to sell or relocate them to other zoos for a long time but unfortunately there were no zoos that could receive them, and when the aggressions became too big in the group we had to remove some animals. And then it had to be them.”

Of the thirteen cubs born in three litters at the zoo since 2012, only two have survived. Two of them died of natural causes, but the rest were put down.

Borås Zoo was founded in 1962. It looks after 600 an



The Good Zoo and Euthanasia




New hope for critically endangered Myanmar snub-nosed monkey
Scientists and conservation teams from Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Dali University and the German Primate Center just published a comprehensive conservation status review of one of the world's most threatened primate species, the critically endangered Myanmar snub-nosed monkey (also known affectionately as the 'snubby' by scientists, and as the black snub-nosed monkey in China), Rhinopithecus strykeri.

The species was discovered in Myanmar in 2010 by Ngwe Lwin, a local scientist working for FFI. The following year, scientists in China confirmed that these primates are also found in the neighbouring forests of Yunnan province. In 2012, research by FFI and partners led to the species being formally designated as critically endangered due to its small population size and threats from hunting and habitat loss.

Eight years after its discovery, the conservation status review sought to uncover how the species is faring. The report confirms that while the status of the snub-nosed monkey remains critical due to its fragmented, small population and ongoing threats, positive actions by communities,





The latest on the fight to save Sumatran rhino Iman
In the Asia Pacific, the news continues to be grim on the island of Borneo, where experts from one country’s wildlife department are desperately trying to save the life of an extraordinarily rare, critically endangered animal – one of only nine in captivity anywhere in the world; we’ve followed her story for weeks and have an update.

In Malaysian Borneo, since mid-December, wildlife officials have struggled to save the life of Iman the Sumatran Rhino. Iman is one of two of the critically endangered animals living at a wildlife reserve under the care of the nonprofit Borneo Rhino Alliance and Malaysia’s Sabah Wildlife Department. Captured in the wild in 2014, she has suffered from medical complications relating to a uterine tumor. The tumor burst, causing heavy bleeding from her uterus starting December 14. Iman initially refused to come into her indoor night quarters, remaining in her preferred space, a mud wallow, where she refused food and treatment for da





ARTIS Griffon vultures return to the wild
Today two young griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) from ARTIS will be sent to Sardinia where they will be released into the wild later this year. The birds hatched in ARTIS in April and May of last year. One of the chicks was raised by a pair of male griffon vultures. The other griffon vulture is the offspring of two vultures in Spain that were wounded in the wild and subsequently housed in ARTIS after their initi

  



LAWSUIT SEEKS TO UNCOVER WHY GOVERNMENT IS ALLOWING SEAWORLD TO HIDE ORCA NECROPSIES
The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) filed a lawsuit this week against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) related to the agencies’ refusal to enforce requirements for SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment (SeaWorld) to submit necropsy results of three SeaWorld orcas who died last year.

Specifically, AWI is suing NOAA/NMFS for failing to respond to its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents on the agencies’ decision. The agencies claim that an obligation under pre-1994 public display permits to provide necropsy results and clinical histories (complete veterinary records) is no longer in effect due to 1994 changes in the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), but have offered no legal justification for the claim.

The three deceased whales (Tilikum, who was featured in the documentary Blackfish; Kyara, Tilikum’s granddaughter, who was just 3 months old at the time of her death; and Kasatka, who, along with Tilikum, was one of the last remaining wild-caught whales at SeaWorld) were the subject of MMPA public display permits issued prior to 199

  



China's ban on ivory trade comes into force
China has long been one of the world's biggest markets for ivory, but as of 2018 all trade in ivory and ivory products in the country is illegal.

The move is being hailed as a major development in efforts to protect the world's elephant population.

Wildlife campaigners believe 30,000 African elephants are killed by poachers every year.

State media said there had already been a 65% decline in the price of raw ivory over the past year.

There had also been an 80% decline in seizure





Cumbria Zoo Company faces being 'struck off' by Companies House
THE company behind Dalton zoo faces being struck off after bosses failed to submit legal documents on time.

A compulsory strike off notice has been issued against Cumbria Zoo Company Limited after the firm failed to submit its confirmation statement by the deadline of October 25 of last year.

Documents registered with Companies House also reveal three directors of the private limited company - Yasmin Walker, Katherine Black and Jayne Birkett, have all resigned from their positions in the last three months.

Five directors remain - Kim Banks, majority-shareholder and chief executive Karen Brewer, Anna Gillard, Stewart Lambert and Adam Steel.

Chief executive Karen Brewer said t




The Answer On Your Animals Failure
Working in the position I have today at Kolmårdens Zoo I visit every department once a week to help with their behavioural challenges. The departments we have are, Kolosseum, Apehouse, South Amerika, Birds of Prey, Carnivore, Hoofstock, Marine World and the Petting Zoo. Quite some departments to talk about many different topics. All departments have their own level of growth in the animal training topic. All with their own ideas and achievements.

At the kolosseum they use more and more choice and control with their elephants. While at the birds of prey department they get creative with recalls and stations. Slowly together we change the way we work with our animals. But there is one thing all departments have in common… communication issues!

Many challenges we have are based on poor communication. If we narrow down the unwanted behaviour an animal shows 9 out of 10 times somebody in the team has been reinforcing it one way or another and didn’t communicate this to the team. Could





10 Worst Zoos for Elephants 2017
2017 was a landmark year of progress for captive elephants in North America. The infamous Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus called it quits, Illinois and New York State passed prohibitions on the use of elephants for entertainment, and New York City banned the use of all wild animals in circuses. In the U.S. and Canada, more than 100 jurisdictions now have partial or full bans on wild animals used in performances. At least 44 zoos around the world have closed their elephant exhibitions, including 29 in the U.S. And now, the first ever lawsuit on behalf of captive elephants has been filed, arguing for their legal personhood. Globally, over 40 countries have legislated against the use of wild animals in circuses and similar forms of entertainment.

Perceptions about elephants, and the times, are truly changing. But while public awareness of the cruelty of exhibiting elephants for entertainment is increasing, elephants in zoos are suffering under the radar. Most zoos are trying to cling to respectability by misleading the public with conservation lies. Zoo tickets fund a c





Study examines obesity and reproductive status of zoo elephants
With low birth rates, the sustainability of a zoo African elephant population is in question. A new study from University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers reveals that there is no relationship between how fat a zoo African elephant is and her reproductive cycling status.

While obesity has been linked to abnormal ovarian cycles in other large mammals, the new findings suggest there is not an association between body fat and reproductive cycling in zoo elephants.

Daniella Chusyd, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Nutrition Sciences, recently published new research in Obesity highlighting data she and her team collected from zoo African elephants. Chusyd and colleagues quantified, for the first time, total fat mass in African elephants. Rather than a direct measure of





Former Zoo employee files lawsuit, says CEO called women ‘hens’
It might not be unusual at a zoo to talk about a cat fight or even hens.

But this complaint filed by a former employee claims the zoo CEO wasn't talking about animals when he used those words.

"When you look at the complaint the things you see, there does appear to be some animosity between both parties," said attorney Claiborne Ferguson.

Ferguson, who is not involved in the gender discrimination lawsuit filed by former Memphis Zoo employee Dr. Kimberly Terrell, said these kinds of lawsuits can be hard to prove.

Terrell even tweeted about her lawsuit filed in federal court last month. The tweet featured a photo of Memphis Zoo CEO Chuck Brady the man she says discriminated and retaliated against her.

A conservation biologist, Terrell was hired by the Zoo in August 2015 as Director of Research and Conservation.

In the complaint, Terrell said she





Saving Tigers: A Conversation with Dr. Tara Harris, Vice President for Conservation at the Minnesota Zoo
The Minnesota Zoo has long been known in the zoo field for its immense conservation work with tigers. In fact, it is where the Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP) was started. Today, the SSP is run by Dr. Tarra Harris, the Minnesota Zoo’s Vice President for Conservation. She started the Tiger SSP’s Tiger Conservation Campaign to raise awareness for the plight of the felines and funding for on-the-ground projects to save them. Additionally, Harris has increased the zoo’s involvement in the conservation of native Minnesota species. This is her story.


  


The case for (and against) the tiger living on LSU’s campus
Visitors unfamiliar with a Louisiana icon are often shocked to hear there’s a gargantuan cat roaming just outside the Louisiana State University student parking lot. But supporters (and most locals, it seems) view the presence of Mike the Tiger not as nefarious captivity, but rather a charitable model for endangered species conservation.

Over the years, the university has sparked debate for declining to name any of its buildings after Civil War Union General William T. Sherman, the first head of the school. But newer questions have arisen over its feline mascot. Since 1937,  seven Bengal tigers, all so far named “Mike,” have inhabited a sanctuary just yards between the school's football stadium and basketball stadium.





Coral is Dying Globally. But We Can Save Some Reefs From Total Destruction.
At the current restoration rate, it would take 550 years to remove the Staghorn coral, which peppers the coasts of Florida, the Bahamas, the Caribbean Islands and the Great Barrier Reef, from the list of endangered species. “What we are trying to achieve is to dramatically scale up restoration if we are going to get anywhere,” Scott Graves, director of the Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation, told Futurism.

To do so, the team is importing a technique developed in the U.K. by Jamie Craggs, a researcher at the Horniman Museum in London, who has been studying how to artificially boost the natural spawning cycle of corals by reproducing specific climatic conditions in the lab. Corals naturally reproduce once a year when a fine balance of water temperature, lunar cycle and





Woburn Safari Park fire: Thirteen patas monkeys killed
Thirteen monkeys have died in a fire at Woburn Safari Park.

The roof of the patas monkey house, within the African Forest drive-through enclosure, collapsed as a result of the blaze.

Fire crews arrived at 02:37 GMT to find the outbuilding "well alight", and spent two hours extinguishing the flames.

"Devastatingly", the park said, none of the animals could be saved despite the efforts of staff and crews.

In a statement, the park said all the ot





PETA calls for ban on caged animals following Woburn Safari Park blaze
A leading charity has reiterated its call for a ban on animals being kept in cages following this morning’s fire at Woburn Safari Park, which killed 13 monkeys. PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation, is a UK-based charity dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals. It made the call following the blaze which broke out in the patas monkey house in the the park’s African Forest drive-through area. PETA director Elisa Allen said: “The second fatal British zoo fire in two weeks shows that caging animals results in





EAZA Group on Zoo Animal Contraception
We are the EAZA Group on Zoo Animal Contraception, a group formed to gather knowledge on the use of contraception in captive wildlife within Europe.

We are an active part of the European zoo community, producing contraceptive guidelines  for individual institutions, as well as working with breeding programme coordinators and studbook keepers.

What is animal contraception?

Prior to the introduction of contraception, zoos had three main options when it came to managing populations: separate males and females, struggle to care for animals exceeding available resources, transfer animals to new institutions, or in some cases, cull unwanted young. The advancements of contraception now provide another tool for the management of captive populations as well as a baseline for managing free-living wildlife. 

Contraception allows animal managers to maintain sustainable population numbers while minimizing inbreeding within family groups. They can be applied therapeutically, preventing certain behaviours such as excessive egg laying or feather plucking in birds. In primates, contraception can also be used to mediate undesirable sexual behaviours and to manage escalated aggression in large social groups.

Animal contraception is not only used in zoos, but has also been applied in animals in reserves and in the wild. For exmaple in managing aggression in bull elephants going th





A Human, Welfare Case!
With the last days of the year in my mind something popped up what I wanted to share through my blog. I’ve been talking with my brother and other close friends about this particular thought what I find very interesting. At the moment im with my family in Malmedy. A nice village in the Ardenne of Belgium close to the German border with beautiful nature and stunning views. Yesterday I did a 15km hike in the hills of the Ardenne what was beautiful on its own. Not just the walk, the nature and the fresh air but also the company that I had. I was just with my brother. We walked for around 4 to 5 hours so plenty to talk about.

Both of us find psychological motivation very interesting, him in people and sales and me with animals. We came to a point that every book we read every piece of knowledge we try to gather to extend our knowledge is not completely based on facts. Many are thoughts based on test done on an x amount of people or animals. This gives me the focus of what if you fall outside the general audience that does not respond too a typical way being tested in the psychological books. We came to a point in our talk that we both agreed in that people want to have an answer on anything. Of course, it’s understandable, but is it? I mean why do we want to know everything all the time? You know what wanting to know everything is actually ok but accepting that we can’t know or do everything is the main issue we humans have developed. Same is accountable for the degree of agree to disagree but this might be a topic for another day.





The 10 Best Biology Books Of 2017





Polar bear cub in Berlin Tierpark zoo dies after 26 days
Officials at Berlin's Tierpark zoo said that the young polar bear, which was born in December, was found dead when the zoo re-opened on Tuesday.

The cub had appeared to be healthy when it was last seen with its mother on New Year's Eve and appeared to have died of natural causes, the zoo said.

The zoo in the German capital had been closed between New Year's Eve on Sunday and Tuesday.

Born to an eight-year-old polar bear called Tonja, the cub had not yet been named and was only 26 days old when it died.

The zoo said in a statement that staff found the cub's lifeless body on a surveillance camera when they ch





A view on the new zoo
When news broke last month that Thailand's oldest zoo, Dusit Zoo, will be relocated from its present location in inner Bangkok to a new home in Pathum Thani province, it sent shock waves through the hearts...





The Landscape and Biodiversity of the American Southwest: A Conversation with Craig Ivanyi, Executive Director of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
  Since 2010, Craig Ivanyi has been Director of the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, a zoo that focuses exclusively on animals from the Sonoran Desert region. However, it is much more than a zoo and represents the region in a holistic way. “The blessing and curse of the Desert Museum is that it’s a combination of many things- zoo, aquarium, art museum, aquatic arena, botanical garden, natural history museum and research institute,” Ivanyi remarked. The Desert Museum is one of the most well-respected zoological institutions in the world and Ivanyi has kept it cutting edge and innovative. Here is his story.





Panther rips out man’s throat in private Moscow zoo
A man, said to be an animal keeper, fell victim to a horrific attack in a private Moscow zoo, as a panther ripped his throat open and escaped from its cage. The owner of the predator has reportedly refused to euthanize it.
The attack took place in a village near Istra in Moscow on Tuesday, the Russian Investigative Committee said. The man’s body was found with deep wounds in a cage where wild animals were being kept.





Cheetah gives birth to record-making litter at Saint Louis Zoo
The Saint Louis Zoo announced Wednesday that a cheetah named Bingwa gave birth to a litter of eight cubs — twice the size of an average litter — on Nov. 26.

The first few months of a cheetah cub’s life is critical, according to a release from zoo officials. Bingwa, who is four years old, and all eight of her cubs have been closely monitored and are all reported to be healthy.





German activists to sue Attica zoo over dolphin display
A German animal rights group said on Wednesday that it plans to file a lawsuit against the Attica Zoological Park in Spata, east of Athens, over its alleged “criminal” treatment of dolphins.

ProWal’s managing director, Andreas Morlok, said on the group’s Facebook page that the dolphins are forced to perform unnatural acts like jumping over cement walls outside their pool, while their accommodation facilities are lacking.

The privately-owned zoo issued a statement dismissing the claims made by Morlok and accused him of “systematic misinformation.”

It said that the aim of ProWal, “





Omaha zoo scientist works to save the black-footed cat, one of the world's smallest felines
An Omaha zoo scientist is among a dozen or so in the world striving to protect one of Earth’s smallest cats.

You won’t find these scrappy, 4-pound kitties emblazoning conservation posters, like an elephant or a lion. You won’t even see them on display — the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium moved the species from its home near Red Barn Park to an off-exhibit space in the Desert Dome years ago.

Only about 45 of these cats are in American zoos, and only 15 females are considered quality candidates for breeding. The captive population has suffered from a high incidence of kidney disease, and the wild population is declining, now classified as “vulnerable,” one step closer to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “endangered” designation.

In the fight against extinction, the black-footed cat goes relatively unnoticed. But Dr. Jason Herrick, th





Employment rights and pay for interns





Why I pity Britain’s latest polar bear cub to be born in captivity
icture the scene. Every weekday, between 9am and sunset or 7pm, whichever is the earlier, people stand in solid blocks. More often than not, they seem to be staring at nothing. Then somebody shouts, “She’s getting up!” The throng presses forward. “And there’s the baby!” Whereupon one hears that curious, thin shriek that also happens when the bride appears at a film star’s wedding.


First polar bear cub born in the UK for 25 years at Scottish park
 Read more
This could well become reality in a couple of months when a fluffy white child star makes their public debut at the Highland Wildlife Park. But it’s actually the Observer’s 1950 report of the crowds that thronged for Brumas, the first baby polar bear successfully reared in Britain. Brumas inspired such passion that London Zoo’s annual attendance rose from one million to three million. Celebrated in books, postcards and toys, she died aged just nine, about half the average life expectancy in the wild.

If the currently nameless cub tucked in its private den in Scotland could open its gorgeous dark eyes, it might want to look away now: the life of an extravagantly adored baby polar bear is unlikely to be l





The Pride of Chicago: A Conversation with Kevin Bell, President and CEO of the Lincoln Park Zoo
For the past twenty five years, Kevin Bell has served as President and CEO of the Lincoln Park Zoo, a 35-acre free zoo located in urban Chicago. Bell's vision and leadership has been credited with revitalizing the zoo and making it a leader in research, animal welfare, education and conservation. He has also been a leader in the broader zoo profession by serving as Chair of the Board of the Directors of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and on the Council for the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Here is his story.      





Man climbs into lions’ den, lives to tell about it
Indore resident Kailash Verma's resolve to carry out a "divine command" led to high drama in Indore zoo on Thursday afternoon. The 38-year-old got into the lions' den "to teach them a lesson" — and came out without a scratch.
But for the macabre possibility of what-could-have-been, Verma's day turned out to be bizarre, even clownish — but a heart-stopping one for zoo staff. He leisurely munched on snacks in the lion den as foresters chewed their nails in agony.
Verma, who lives in Veer Sawarkar Nagar, arrived at Kamla Nehru





Elephant calves exported from Zimbabwe as China bans ivory trade
China is reportedly importing more than 30 wild-caught elephant calves from Zimbabwe following its decision to ban the sale of ivory.

According to a Zimbabwean government official who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, 31 wild elephants recently captured in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe have been air-freighted abroad.

The shipment was confirmed by the Zimbabwean Conservation Task Force.

The official said the elephants are between the ages of 3 and 6, adding that two of them were particularly fragile.

“One female calf is struggling to stand and has open sores on her body. She has been weak since she was captured.

"Another elephant, noticeably small, is quiet and reserved. When approached by other elephants, she moves away. She is suffering from trauma and is possibly being bullied,” the official said.

The elephants were captured from Hwange on August 8 and footage of the operation was secretly released to





Environmental crusaders risk their lives to save Philippine paradise
ata gives hand signals for his men to drop to the rainforest floor as the searing whine of a chainsaw fades, their mission to save a critically endangered piece of paradise in the Philippines suddenly on hold.

Former paramilitary leader Efren “Tata” Balladares has been leading the other flip flop-wearing environmental crusaders up and down the steep mountains of Palawan island for the past 15 hours in the hunt for illegal loggers.

One of them is nursing a swollen left arm that was broken a few days earlier when he fell during a reconnaissance trip. He has yet to see a doctor and it is just wrapped in a bandage.

Having slept overnight for just 30 minutes on a forest track, they should be exhausted from the hike. They could also be forgiven for being frozen with fear: team members have been murdered to stop their operations and others bear scars from the razored teeth of the chainsaws they seek to confiscate.

But with their targets so close, just a shor





A Day in the Life of a Cheetah Conservation Station Keeper
Some of the most endangered species on the planet can be found at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s Cheetah Conservation Station. Get a glimpse behind-the-scenes at a day in the life of keepers who work with animals, ranging from the graceful dama gazelle to the speedy cheetah, from assistant curator Gil Myers.





Fears captive breeding hastening extinction of western ground parrot
Plans to save a critically endangered parrot from extinction are under scrutiny following the ­revelation that most birds caught in the wild for a captive-breeding program are dying in aviaries.

Eight of 12 western ground parrots captured in Cape Arid National Park in Western Australia for the program have died.

Attempts to breed the species in aviaries at Perth Zoo have ­failed, with no successful hatchings over four nesting seasons.

Captive-breeding programs are a key strategy to try to bring endangered species in Australia back from the brink of extinction. Birds are caught with the intention of breeding them in aviaries so offspring can be liberated to boost wild populations.

The fate of the Perth Zoo program and failed attempts to rejuvenate another endangered species — the orange-bellied parrot in Tasmania — have cast a shadow over the plans, with indications that in some cases captive-breeding may be hastening instead of preventing extinction.

Just 140 western ground parrots survive in the wild. Almost 10 per cent of the population has been caught in nets for the Perth Zoo program, which began in 2014. Six of the eight dead parrots succumbed to respiratory ­infections. One died of injuries ­sustained during capture and ­another was e





For bonobos, it pays to have powerful allies
Never trust anyone who is rude to a waiter, advice columnists say. For most people, acting nasty is a big turnoff.


But while humans generally prefer individuals who are nice to others, a Duke University study finds bonobos are more attracted to jerks.

The researchers were surprised by the findings because these African apes—our closest relatives in the animal kingdom along with chimpanzees—have been shown to be less aggressive than chimps.

The results support the idea that a tendency to avoid individuals who mistreat others is one of the things that make humans different from other species.

Even infants as young as three months old show an ability to distinguish nice guys from creeps, and prefer interacting with people they see helping others over those who are mean, previous studies show.

To find out if our closest relatives share the same social bias, Duke's Brian Hare, an associate professor of evolutionary anthropology, and doctoral student Christopher Krupenye studied adult bonobos at Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In one series of trials, they showed 24 bonobos animated videos of a Pac-Man-like shape as it struggles to climb a hill. Then another cartoon shape enters the scene. Sometimes it's a helpful ch





Southern Africa rhino breeding programme roll-out takes off
The South Africa-based world biggest rhino breeder, Mr John Hume has partnered with a local NGO to implement a Southern Africa Community Rhino Breeding Programme aimed reducing the rhino poaching crisis in the region, working together with Southern African governments and private rhino breeders.

Currently, Southern African rural communities; settled next to national parks and game reserves suffer costs from wildlife human-wildlife conflict with no benefits from rhinos and are inclined to collaborate with poachers to get ‘benefits’ from the rhino.

Therefore, the decision to roll-out the Southern African Community Rhino Breeding Programme is aimed at increasing the rhino population and in the process, create opportunities for rural communities to benefit from rhinos and then stop collaborating with poachers.

This month, the Southern Africa Community Rhino Breeding Programme, the South Africa-based True Green Alliance held a meeting with Mr Hume in which they agreed on a commonly shared approach to introduce the Southern Africa Community Rhino Breeding Programme.

Most rural communities earn their living from cattle farming. The white rhino lives off similar veld as do cattle and can therefore be kept and bred under the same conditions as their cattle. The rural community members are good cattle producers and can therefore prove to be good rhino keepers as well. Therefore, they can breed rhinos by following the breeding programme set up by Mr Hume that uses many similar principles already used for this style of farming. It is hoped that the Southern African Community Rhino Breeding Programme that involves Mr Hume giving free rhino breeding training to Southern Africa rural communities could change the unwanted status quo; whereby the poor rural communities are currently more inclined to work with poachers to get ‘benefits’ from the rhinos as opposed to working with their governments and environmental NGOs to conserve the rhino. This community-poacher relationship is very harmful to the rhino as poachers give villagers small amounts of money that finish quickly and make the villagers wish that poachers return soon to poach again and give them money and in the process more and more rhinos get poached. This sad reality could potentially come to an end if the Southern Africa Community Rhino Breeding Programme gets successfully implemented.

However, the success of the Programme does not only depend o





Ragunan zoo objects to e-ticketing system
Ragunan Zoo management in South Jakarta has complained about a plan to implement an e-ticketing system supported by the JakOne Card, an e-money mobile app from city-owned Bank DKI.

Ragunan head Dina Himawati has particularly objected to a point that requires the zoo to deposit Rp 20 billion (US$1.49 million) to Bank DKI for the implementation of the system.

"We have no idea how the plan works. The money is deposited to the bank, in our account. We feel like the Rp 20 billion is used for the operation of the card, including for top-up funds," Dina said at the City Council building in Central Jakarta as quoted by kompas.com.

Dina said the money was needed by the zoo, particularly in an emergency when the city administration suffered





The Evolution Into a Modern Zoo: A Conversation with Larry Sorel, Director of the Seneca Park Zoo
Opened in 1894, the Seneca Park Zoo is located in Rochester's Seneca Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. For the last twenty years, the zoo has been directed by Larry Sorel. His immense animal knowledge, leadership and cooperation with Monroe County and the Seneca Park Zoological Society has allowed the zoo to flourish and grow. Currently, the zoo is undergoing a major expansion and renovation that will bring species like giraffes, zebras, gorillas and red pandas to the zoo and new habitats for species like orangutans, white rhinos, snow leopards and lemurs. Here is his story.





SeaWorld CEO slams activists who criticized the company for breeding killer whales in captivity
 In 2016, SeaWorld announced it would end its killer-whale-breeding program after years of scrutiny about the theme-park company's treatment of animals. The decision was seen as a necessary refocusing away from SeaWorld's iconic live killer-whale show.

However, according to the CEO, the theme park has the whales necessary to continue a version of what was for decades its most famous attraction. While SeaWorld began phasing it out at some parks in 2016, its "signature killer-whale show" and animal viewings continue at others.

"We will still have the whales for 50 years," CEO Joel Manby said on Monday at the ICR Conference. "They live a long time. This is a decision that is for the immediate. But we get to keep the whales and have the experience yet hav








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About me
After more than 49 years working in private, commercial and National zoos in the capacity of keeper, head keeper and curator Peter Dickinson started to travel. He sold house and all his possessions and hit the road. He has traveled extensively in Turkey, Southern India and much of South East Asia before settling in Thailand. In his travels he has visited well over 200 zoos and many more before 'hitting the road' and writes about these in his blog http://zoonewsdigest.blogspot.com/


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


"These are the best days of my life"






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