Monday, June 15, 2009

ZooNews Digest 12th - 16th June 2009 (Zoo News 601)

ZooNews Digest 12th - 16th June 2009 (Zoo News 601)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleagues,

I wonder just what is happening at the South Lakes Wild Animal Park? One week it is expand expand expand and the next David is going to retire and move off to France. None of it is new however. Check back. All these stories have run before. Actually I don't think David could retire unless someone tied him down and gagged him. I recollect when he moved off to Mareeba in Australia leaving the reins of South Lakes in my hands...he didn't. Every day staff would phone him and let him know of changes I had made and the next day they changed back. Very very frustrating. I don't doubt that exactly the same situation will exist regardless of who takes the reins in future. He is a workaholic. Well, it is his park and I am sure he cannot let go. I sympathise with the stress resulting from the knife attack. If he really wants to recover though he should really let go of the reins completely and go and rest.

In the second link it states "Shabrina said conservation centres were different from zoos and visitors could learn more about efforts to breed or conserve various". It is rubbish of course. Other than the name there really is no difference between a good zoo a conservation centre and, for that matter a wild animal park. I really don't understand how people cannot get to grips with this fact. Read 'Is it a Zoo'

So the Night Zoo Launched at Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort. That is really going to sow confusion amongst the ignorant. I can just imagine the conversations..."So which do you like better Night Zoos or Night Safaris?" As I said difference at all. Actually I am sure that it will be very good and would love the chance to visit. So too, no doubt, would Mark Craig who put in so much hard work to make this dream become a reality. Such a pity he was not allowed to see it reach fruition. Clash of personalities no doubt, so frequent around the Zoo world.

ZooNews Digest was amongst the first to publish a short obituary for Steve Irwin. I recollect something of what I said. He truly had done more to promote zoos than anyone else in the previous ten years. It has to be said however there was a negative side to the TV programmes and shows. Crocodiles are low maintenance animals. Except under very rare circumstances it remains an indisputable fact that daily entering of enclosures is totally unnecessary. Risk taking of any sort should not take place without a risk assessment and any risk assessment I did on entering enclosures with crocodiles would mean it would not normally take place. The same applies to large cats, Lions, Tigers or whatever. There is no need to go into enclosures with them. It is unnecessary. No doubt there are those who would disagree with me. I am quite prepared to listen to the argument. If you disagree and you are a Zoo Professional then please put forward your argument on Zoo Biology.

And no. No I am not frightened, anybody who knows me will vouch for that. The Zoo world has changed. I have been in the profession for long enough to have done all the stupid things that I see or hear about people doing today. Sorry folks but it is not clever or brave or NECESSARY! And why do I mention Steve Irwin? well because the next link says that he was Tim Mullany's inspiration and here Tim makes daft statements like "When trying to help wildlife, you have to put your body at risk". No you do not Mr Mullany. It may make good TV but it is not necessary.

So now we have Naples Zoo jumping on the White Tiger bandwagon. Okay it is there already so why don't they take the opportunity to tell the truth. White Tigers are NOT rare and certainly not unique (which means one of a kind). They are genetic aberrations created by man that play no role whatsoever in conservation. Yes, they are pretty...the ones that are not born deformed by the inbreeding which creates them. Good Zoos ... zoos concerned about conservation of Tigers should not waste space, time or money on keeping these freaks. So? Educate? Go ahead... tell the public the truth for heavens sake. Read 'White Tiger Breeding is Not Conservation'

Sorry to learn of the elephant tragedy in Toronto. My genuine sympathies.

I note there is a strike in Dehiwela Zoo. I hope it is settled soon. Never had any real sympathy for zoo strikers. I always wonder how far someone has to be pushed. Zoo workers are so often taken advantage of though. It is a fact.

SA possibly to ban canned hunts. A move in the right direction but pointless unless it is an International ban. I can imagine big exports of living animals being proposed. The big bucks are not going to give up their perverted jollies in a hurry. And no...I am not against hunting per se. Canned hunts though are macabre.

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This Weeks Books of Interest to the Zoo Professional

On with the links:

I WANT OUT- David Gill

A VICIOUS stabbing in his own home has haunted zoo boss David Gill for the past two years. Now the South Lakes Wild Animal Park chief is planning to leave the zoo and town behind and start a new life. PLANS to expand Dalton zoo could be scrapped, owner David Gill has confirmed. Mr Gill told the Evening Mail that he is “at a crossroads” in his life and is considering other options, including moving to France. The abrupt u-turn comes just a fortnight after he announced plans for a £3.6m expansion, which would involve acquiring land surrounding the zoo and introducing new breeds including elephants and tigers. The entrepreneur, who built up the park from his own private collection, listed a number of reasons why he’d quit the helm. But he stressed that South Lakes Wild Animal Park will not close. Seeking to allay the fears for his 100 employees, Mr Gill said he’s looking to stand down from his role as director and transfer responsibility to his management team. He said: “I’m at a crossroads and I don’t know what to do. At this moment in time I’m thinking of giving it all up. “Not giving the whole thing up, but giving up the pressure and saying to my staff, somehow or other, you’ve got to take on the mantle and run it and develop it and I will act as an adviser.” Mr Gill said health concerns, bureaucracy and personal reasons have put doubts over his future at Dalton zoo. He has been in hospital through stress and says he’s still traumatised after being stabbed in his Dalton home in 2007. The 48-year-old said: “I’m not content because the more successful I’ve been the more difficult it is to hold family life together and hold things together at home. I don’t enjoy living in Dalton any more. “My life has not been the same since the day I got stabbed. “I would never have dreamed that would happen in my own house with my son next to me. “It ruins your outlook on life. You

MB sees world-class status for conservation centre

The Perak government wants to transform the wildlife centre here -- currently the habitat of pheasants, deer and seladang -- into a world-class conservation centre. Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said he would discuss the possibility of enlarging the area with the help of the Department of Environment."It's now used for breeding but I see that there is great potential for the centre because only 20ha of the 2,900ha of the forest reserve has been developed." On average, the centre has recorded less than 200 visitors every month, with only 2,180 people visiting last year.National Parks and Wildlife Department state director Shabrina Shariff said yesterday it would take up to five years to upgrade the centre, adding they were not ready for eco-tourism yet. She said visitors should be careful not to disturb the animals, especially the seladang. While walk-in tourists are allowed into the premises, visitors should give a week's notice to the department for wildlife officers to make time to give a tour.Besides breeding deer and seladang, the centre has a few hornbills and 82 pheasants. Shabrina said conservation centres were different from zoos and visitors could learn more about efforts to breed or conserve various species.The Sungkai Wildlife Conservation Centre is 15km

Magical Night Zoo Launched at Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort

See the animals in a whole new light and beat the heat. The Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort (AWPR) is preparing for the Night Zoo, which launches on June 12th. Open from Saturday to Thursday 4pm-10pm and Fridays 10am-10pm, the Night Zoo creates a magical nighttime experience. Exhibits are lit with spotlights to reveal the beasts lurking in the shadows. Preparing for the night zoo is no easy task. Animals have been slowly acclimatized behind the scenes to ensure that they are wide awake for their nocturnal visitors. Animal feeding schedules and staff working hours have been re-arranged and exhibit lighting installed and tested. To celebrate the launch of the Night Zoo and to encourage the local community and supporters of the zoo to join in, Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort will be organizing a range of family activities and

Crikey! Tim Mullany is WA's Steve Irwin

TIM Mullany runs a wildlife park, loves playing with dangerous creatures and is banned from wearing khaki to his wedding by his animal-loving fiancee.He humbly plays down comparisons to the late wildlife crusader Steve Irwin, saying no one can ever replace his childhood hero, but is continuing Irwin's legacy. The straight-talking 22-year-old, who owns and manages Marapana Wildlife Park in Baldivis with his partner Beth Sheehan, will make a hands-on, Irwin-style documentary in WA next year. ``Steve had a natural ability to keep people interested and educate them about conservation at the same time,'' Mr Mullany said. ``Our plan is to do exactly that and get the cameras right up in the animals' faces, catching all the action. It'll be me and some mates on a road trip, all the way from Esperance to Kununurra. And we'll spend 4-6 weeks driving and filming every bit of wildlife we come across. ``I do like the dangerous animals, the crocs and venomous snakes. I think it's the element of risk and that they're misunderstood.'' In true wildlife warrior fashion, Mr Mullany isn't afraid to put his body on the line when rescuing animals from homes and has the battle scars to prove it. ``When trying to help wildlife, you have to put your body at risk,'' he said. ``I've been in hospital with stitches, broken ribs -- these things happen.'' Mr Mullany's dream came true at the age,27574,25620626-2761,00.html

Rare white Bengal tiger joins lions and bears at Naples zoo

As the black bears took center stage making their Naples Zoo debut, another creature quietly came on display without all the fanfare.A rare white Bengal tiger will be showcased at the zoo through Labor Day.The four-year-old tiger arrived from a private animal owner north of Ocala. He is being displayed in the Malaysian tiger enclosure next to the bear exhibit. The two Malaysian tigers are off display for the summer, spending the next three months in a behind-the-scenes area.This week the zoo began a daily meet-the-keeper program at the white tiger cage. During this program guests can watch the tiger eat chunks of red meat, splash in a pool to cool off and ask the keeper questions.Heidi Hauch is one of the zookeepers in the program. She said she wants guests to learn more about this rare addition to the zoo."These are very rare," she said. "A lot of people think they are Siberian because they are white, but they are not. White tigers don't live very long in the wild because they don't camouflage well. They kind

Gorilla injures 1 during brief escape at SC zoo

A 390-pound gorilla grabbed some low-hanging bamboo to scale a wall at a South Carolina zoo Friday, escaping his enclosure and tackling a worker before returning to his pen about five minutes later.The gorilla at Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens ran into a pizza-stand employee who curled up and played dead to try to avoid further injuries, officials said. The man, who works for Aramark Corp., was taken to a hospital and released a short time later with cuts and bruises.Zoo executive director Satch Krantz said the worker heard a strange sound, saw the gorilla outside the enclosure and turned to run."Then the gorilla did what gorillas do," he said.The animal quickly closed the 30-foot gap between them and knocked the worker down. Two minutes later, the gorilla went over another wall and back into his enclosure."By then, the gorilla realized he was probably somewhere he shouldn't have been and wanted to go home," Krantz said.The culprit is believed to be a 16-year-old western

San Francisco Zoo opens up lion and tiger house, but won't show off feedings

The San Francisco Zoo has reopened its Lion House to the public for the first time in about two years, zoo officials announced today. The Lion House, home to Siberian and Sumatran tigers, African lions and snow leopards, opened Thursday afternoon and will remain open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for public viewing, according to the zoo. Zoo Executive Director Tanya Peterson said the opening was to commemorate the zoo's 80th anniversary this year, and because of its popularity with visitors. "The Zoo's mission is to connect people with wildlife, and the Lion House provides visitors with that personal connection with these majestic animals," Peterson said. Public big cat feedings will remain closed to the public

Rare Micronesian kingfisher hatches at Lincoln Park Zoo

A Guam Micronesian kingfisher, one of the world's most endangered birds, hatched June 2 at Lincoln Park Zoo's birdhouse, becoming one of fewer than 100 individuals of the species still alive.The zoo, which announced the hatchling Friday, has seven of the surviving birds: the new chick and three breeding pairs. All surviving members of the species now live in captivity.The kingfishers had been a common bird on Guam until the late 1940s, when poisonous brown tree snakes arrived as stowaways on lumber boats,0,2094011.story

The last line of defence for wildlife

The Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team have been battling the illegal wildlife trade for eight years - and with huge success. Experts say they are a model for other conservation initiatives. ON a Thursday morning last month, workers at restaurants near Thmor Roung Waterfall in Koh Kong province relaxed in hammocks as they waited for the lunch crowd to trickle in. Late in the morning, two vehicles containing five military police officers and two Forestry Administration (FA) officials suddenly arrived on the scene, and restaurant owners were informed that their establishments would be searched for illegal wildlife products. The team was part of a government task force known as the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT). Run by the FA with support and training from the conservation NGO Wildlife Alliance, the 12-member WRRT works to stop the illegal trade that conservationists say is decimating the Kingdom's wildlife population.A search of four restaurants recovered five kilograms of wild boar meat and the carcass of a marbled cat. Referring to the boar meat, Heng Kimchhay of the FA said its texture, as well as the lack of fat directly underneath the skin, were clues that it was not from a domestic pig. After interviewing restaurant owners and drafting

Zoo owner in court on drink drive charge (one I missed earlier)

THE owner of Dartmoor Zoological Park in Sparkwell has been charged with drink- driving.Benjamin Mee, aged 44, of Sparkwell, Plymouth, is charged with driving in a public place while being almost twice the legal limit.The offence is alleged to have happened on March 11 at the Tesco car park in Ivybridge.Mee, director of Dartmoor Zoological Park, was not required to appear before the court in Torquay yester

Elephant Dead At Toronto Zoo, Knocked Over By Another Animal

A beloved elephant has died, the Toronto Zoo announced on Sunday.It's the second elephant to die at the zoo in nine months. Tessa, who was born in the wild but taken in by the institution in 1974, was knocked over by a more dominant member of the herd.Despite the best efforts by staff, she was not able to stand back up on her own. She was 39 years old.A zoo keeper saw the unexpected attack on Saturday and staff quickly sprang into action. Heavy equipment and a sling were used, and employees kept the elephant comfortable with water and food, but it was too late.Tessa died during rescue efforts."There was too much weight on her organs," marketing director Shanna Young explained. Elephants, like people, form strong social networks, the zoo outlined

Zoo will be 'second to none,' says curator

Expert to focus on animal enrichmentThe Calgary Zoo's newest curator says he plans to increase the focus on animal training and enrichment as he takes on his new role.Giant anteaters and Asian elephants alike fall into Tim Sinclair-Smith's portfolio as curator of Eurasia and behavioural husbandry at the zoo, a post he took up April 20.With a zookeeper father and marine mammal trainer mother, Sinclair-Smith said he was practically born into the business.He has more than two decades of experience working with wild animals in a number of wildlife parks and zoos in Australia, East Africa, and British Columbia.But he said he still has a lot to learn from the Calg

Ad has all the poop on new Columbus Zoo ranking

An Ohio zoo is celebrating a No. 1 ranking with a new commercial all about getting rid of "number 2" — the other kind. A cast including Columbus Zoo celebrity zookeeper Jack Hanna shovels and sweeps animal waste to lyrics such as "Lots of scoopin' all their poopin'" and "No more number 2." It's the zoo's way of promoting its designation as the country's top zoo by USA Travel Guide. The Columbus Zoo is more accustomed to being rated the No. 2 zoo after San Diego's.
The spot closes with the line: "No. 2 is gone. Now we're No. 1."
The ad agency says the commercial

Family could get $500,000 after gorilla attack at zoo

Dallas council members will vote next week on a proposed $500,000 settlement for victims of a 2004 gorilla attack at the city zoo.
Dallas-Fort Worth television station KTVT reported Friday that two families will share the money for injuries they suffered in an attack by a 340-pound western lowland gorilla named Jabari. Attorney Ray Jackson, who represents one of the families, confirmed the settlement amount.
The 13-year-old gorilla was loose for 40 minutes after jumping over a 12-foot wall inside its enclosure. Jabari bit one toddler and two other people before police shot and killed him.
Nine-year-old Rivers Heard still has scars

Uncertain future for thousands of animals

"Canned" lion hunting - the commercial shooting of captive-bred lions for trophies - appears to have been finally canned itself by a Bloemfontein High Court decision.
While last week's decision has been welcomed, questions are being raised as to what will happen to the 4 000 captive-bred lions in South Africa which have now lost their trophy value for commercial hunting, which was anything between $22 000 and $60 000 an animal.
The court action was brought in May, 2007, by the South African Predator Breeders Association and two breeders, Matthys Christiaan Mostert and Deon Cilliers. The three parties sought to overturn legislation promulgated by the for

Flu fears for chimps at Wellington Zoo

There is concern over the threat of swine flu to Wellington Zoo's chimpanzees.
The capital now has 26 confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus, with the national total standing at 100.
Wellington Zoo's conservation and veterinary science manager Katja Geschke says Chimpanzees and great apes are highly susceptible to the normal influenza virus.
"We don't really know at this point around H1N1, if it infects other a

Workers at the only Sri Lankan zoo strike, animals miss lunch

As a result of the unruly human activities, all the creatures in the only zoological garden of Sri Lanka today missed their lunch.
Workers at the Dehiwela Zoo are on strike since this morning over several issues including status of employment, promotions, and salary anomalies.
. M. D. Sarath, Secretary of the Independent Workers' Union of Zoo said that they have commenced this strike to get the immediate attention of authorities over their issues.
The officials of the Zoological Garden have denied the journalists

Chester Zoo's new walk-through aviary opens

THE first outdoor walk-through bird aviary at Chester Zoo has opened its doors.
The aviary – themed around the Tsavo National Park in Kenya where Chester Zoo supports conservation projects – includes a number of new bird species.
Von der Deckens hornbills, White-bellied go away birds, Lilac breasted rollers, Hottentot teals, Weaver birds and Superb starlings are some of the species that have already made their home in the new enclosure, the Tsavo National Park Bird Safari.
Up to 15 different species will eventually be in the Tsavo aviary which al



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



October 20-23, 2009

Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

For Registration please forward before Sept 1st 2009 to Charlie Gray
African Lion Safari, RR#1, Cambridge, Ontario N1R5S2, Canada
FAX: (001) 519- 623-9542


Announcing the ASZK Des Spittall Scholarship for Keeper Research

Named in honour of the late Des Spittall, a life member of ASZK, the ASZK committee has launched the Des Spittall Scholarship for keeper research. This is open to people who have been a financial member of ASZK for 12 months or more. This is an annual scholarship up to the value of $2,000. Applications close 31st October 2009

Please forward ‘Des Spittall Scholarship for Keeper Research’ application to ASZK President no later than 31st of October each year at email


ZooNews Digest is an independent publication, not allied or attached
to any zoological collection. Many thanks.

Kind Regards,

Wishing you a wonderful week,

Peter Dickinson

Editor/Owner ZooNews Digest

Owner/Moderator Zoo Biology

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