Thursday, June 18, 2009

ZooNews Digest 17th - 22nd June 2009 (Zoo News 602)

ZooNews Digest 17th - 22nd June 2009 (Zoo News 602)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleagues,

Returned to Thailand from the Philippines just a couple of days ago. It is a long story but I feel emotionally exhausted.
I took the opportunity, when it wasn't raining heavily, to re-visit a couple of animal collections and hope to have some hub pages ready in a few days time.

I was looking through The Forbes List of the best zoos in the world. I am not really in a position to be critical because I have only visited four out of the 15 listed and some of those not since 1970. I reckon everyone would have their own list. The amateurs look for and at different aspects of zoos than do zoo professionals. Out of those I have visited over the past few years that have ticked the right boxes for me, are:

There are other good and excellent ones of course, and many many many worse and bad zoos. The point is that none of these appear on Forbes list.

I was fascinated to read of the frogs taking up homes in elephant dung. Isn't nature wonderful? Some think they have a shitty life whereas others really do.

Visit my webpages at:

Latest Published are:

White Lion Breeding Is Not Conservation

and (not zoo related, but could be educational) Short Time Hotels

Hubpages are brilliant, quick to create webpages which can earn you a small passive income from day one.
Read my "Quick Guide to Hub Construction." I truly believe it will be worth your while.

This Weeks Books of Interest to the Zoo Professional

On with the links:

£50k appeal for Mercedes the polar bear to move home

AN APPEAL has been launched to raise £50,000 to pay for the UK's only polar bear to move to a better home.The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) hopes to transfer Mercedes the polar bear from Edinburgh Zoo to a larger enclosure at the Highland Wildlife Park in Kingussie, near Inverness. However, RZSS, the charity that runs both

Tigers burn bright with new cubs

Three rare Amur tiger cubs born at the Highland Wildlife Park, near Kingussie, have been given their first public showing.The litter are the offspring of two adults transported from Edinburgh Zoo last October. The pair named Yuri and Sasha have previously reared six cubs. About 500 are thought to remain in the wild and the park owners - the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland - said the species remains under threat. The cubs were born in May, but are only now being shown to the public. Amur tigers, also known as Siberian tigers, live

Oregon Zoo Shows Off Plans For New Elephant Area

The Oregon Zoo gave a tour of its elephant facilities Tuesday, to show its plans for a new enclosure. Kristian Foden-Vencil reports.Voters passed a $125 million bond measure for the zoo last fall. The money will be spent on everything from a new enclosure for polar bears to improved veterinary facilities. $30 million is earmarked to increase the elephant enclosure from three acres to six acres. Zoo deputy director, Mike Keele, says the bull elephants will also get a 200 acre

Iowa zoo says 35-year-old monkey sets age record

The Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines says a 35-year-old snow monkey known as "Baldy" is the oldest female ever with a confirmed birth date. The monkey, officially a Japanese macaque, was born June 16, 1974, at the Texas Snow Monkey Sanctuary, then moved to the Minnesota Zoo. She came to the Blank Park Zoo in 1985. The zoo's animal curator, Jeff Dier, says snow monkeys usually live 20 to 25 years. They are threatened in their homeland due to deforestation and the loss of habitat Baldy remains healthy and an active member of the anim,0,1562724.story

Riverbanks Zoo Takes Extra Precautions After Gorilla Escaped

Extra precautions were taken at Riverbanks Zoo, this weekend, after a gorilla briefly got out of his habitat, Friday, and into the public area of the park.Zoo staff inspected all mammal habitats before the park opened, Saturday, and removed any underbrush or landscaping that they thought were too close to an exhibit.Meanwhile, the gorillas remain in their barn while the outdoor habitat undergoes a thorough inspection.They should be allowed back into their yard, later this week…don’t worry though…the gorillas each have their own playroom in the 3,000 square-foot barn and are getting extra food until they can go back

Geri Halliwell adopts white lion cubs - Singer sponsors animals at Paradise Wildlife Park

Geri Halliwell has adopted a pair of white lion cubs.The former Spice Girl saw the animals at Paradise Wildlife Park near her home in Hertfordshire.Geri goes to the park quite a lot and fell in love with them so she decided she must have them,’ a source tells the Sunday People.‘She will receive an adoption certificate

Could the orang-utan be our closest relative?

THESE days, we tend to accept without question that humans are "the third chimpanzee". The term, coined by author Jared Diamond, refers to the notion that our closest relatives are the two chimpanzee species - the common chimp and the bonobo. But could we actually be "the second orang" - more closely related to orang-utans than chimps?That is the controversial claim made this week by Jeffrey Schwartz of the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania and John Grehan of the Buffalo Museum of Science in New York (Journal of Biogeography, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2009.02141.x, in press)The idea flies in the face of mainstream scientific opinion, not least a wealth of DNA evidence pointing to our close relationship to chimps. Schwartz and Grehan do not deny the similarity between human and chimp genomes, but argue that the DNA evidence is problematic and that traditional taxonomy unequivocally tells us that our closest living relatives are

An unfortunate Orangutan in Malabon Zoo. I will publish a hub on this collection in a few days. - Peter

Do feed the animals: Zoo promotes interaction

Five-year-old Josh Ghigo stared wide-eyed at the towering giraffe a few feet away. The giraffe batted her long eyelashes and stretched her neck over the railing as she zeroed in on the leaf of lettuce Josh held in his left hand. The boy put his arm straight out and winced as the giraffe bent down and slurped the lettuce from his flattened palm with her 18-inch, blue

Knife-wielding gorilla photos overblown: Calgary Zoo

The Calgary Zoo is dismissing photos taken by a visitor that appear to show a female Western Lowland gorilla holding a knife menacingly toward a troop mate.Some visitors were alarmed on Tuesday morning when Barika, the dominant female, picked up a knife that had been accidentally left by a zookeeper during his regular cleaning duties of the outdoor exhibit.Heike Scheffler took photos as she watched the brief situation unfold with her husband, Joe, as well as several students, teachers and parents.Barika picked up the knife by

Panda love calls could help conservation efforts

When a female giant panda's thoughts briefly turn to love each year, her ears perk up. The solitary animals can discern the love calls of different suitors, new research suggests.Hear the bleat of a male panda looking for loveThis skill could help females, who are fertile only two or three days out of the year, decide which males to mate with, says Ben Charlton, a biologist at Zoo Atlanta, who led the new study. Gaining a better

Namibia Center Aims To Conserve Dying Cheetah Population

Volunteers at a conservation center in Namibia are working to protect endangered cheetahs, which are often killed by farmers because they are deemed threatening.Namibia is home to the largest population of the world’s fastest land animal. Volunteers at the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) are working to reverse recent downward population trends.Leigh Whelpton, a CCF volunteer, told AFP of three cheetah cubs that were brought to the center by a farmer who had killed their mother."The farmer who killed it, noticed movement in the stomach of the cheetah, cut it open and found three perfectly shaped cubs in the womb, alive," she said.The cubs now live at the center, but they will never be able to survive in the wild because

First-ever International Day of Action For Elephants in Zoos is Saturday

In Defense of Animals and Animal Connection of TX are inviting the public to the First-Ever International Day of Action for Elephants In Zoos to be held at the Dallas Zoo Saturday, June 20, 2009 from 10:30 AM to noon (by the big by the giraffe statue.)Here's your chance to take action for elephants by attending a local rally as part of a bigger global event.The objective is to bring mammoth attention to the plight of elephants in zoos and

Prague Zoo Ranked as the 7th World’s Best Zoo

I hadn’t been to the Prague Zoo for a few years and didn’t remember it as anything special. It was badly damaged in the 2002 flood and when I was there a year or two later, there was lots of reconstruction and new construction going on. Lots of promise in the air, but a pretty bare place at the moment. When I recently revisited, I was surprised not only by how different the zoo looked and felt, but mainly by the modestly displayed sign listing the top world zoos selected by Forbes Traveler Magazine in November 2007. The Prague Zoo was highlighted at line 7.What an unbelievable achievement for the small, even intimate ‘garden’ that was hit so hard by disaster only seven

Elephant-size loopholes sustain Thai ivory trade

Legal loopholes and insufficient law enforcement mean that Thailand continues to harbour the largest illegal ivory market in Asia, says a new report from the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.The report also raises concerns that legal provisions governing trade in domesticated elephants are providing cover for illegal trade in wild-caught, highly-endangered Asian elephants from both Thailand and neighbouring Myanmar.TRAFFIC’s survey documented over 26,000 worked ivory products for sale in local markets, with many more retail outlets dealing in ivory products than were observed during market surveys carried out

Public get behind Zion Lion park

Less than a month ago the controversial and cash strapped Zion Wildlife Park seemed to have been dealt a final knockout blow after the fatal mauling of a keeper.It is fair to say the in-fighting at Zion had not endeared it the local community.But now with the future of the park in crisism, the nearby township of Kamo is rallying to try and keep the park open and the lions fed.Michael Holland with a community

Zoo might cut hours, staff to bridge deficit

The San Francisco Zoo is considering layoffs and reducing park hours to try to make up a $2.2 million revenue shortfall.The fatal tiger mauling of a 17-year-old on Christmas Day 2007 has had a ripple effect that caused donors to pull back and visitors to stay home, and led the zoo to spend on safety upgrades. It's a triple whammy in one of the worst recessions on record.The zoo is projecting a $17 million

Thai Navy Launches Sea Turtle Conservation Program

In Thailand...The navy is protecting thousands of baby sea turtles from being killed by humans before they can swim out to sea.When the sun sets at Khram Island, dozens of mature green sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs.The isolated island, 30 kilometers from the busy tourist beach town of Pattaya, is the largest nesting site of sea turtles in the Gulf of Thailand.A green turtle has to mate with at least five partners before nesting.But once that happens a turtle can carry up to 170 eggs throughout the year, always returning to the island

Binder Park Zoo named one of America's best zoos

Michigan's very own Binder Park Zoo was recently recognized as being “One of America's Best Zoos” in a book titled America's Best Zoos by authors Allen W. Nyhuis and Jon Wassner. The book features 60 of America's top zoos. Binder Park Zoo was selected based on their “diverse animal collection, excellent exhibits, special programs for visitors, and knowledgeable and committed staff.” In addition to this recognition Binder Park Zoo's award winning exhibit Wild Africa was credited as one of the top 25 exhibits in the nation! Come meet author Jon Wassner at the Zoo on

Calgary Zoo defends itself after gorilla finds knife in enclosure

We love gorillas from afar but certainly wouldn't want to run into one in a dark alley. How much more terrifying would it be, then, to encounter a gorilla wielding a knife?It sounds crazy, but just such an event happened this week at the Calgary Zooin the Canadian province of Alberta. A female western lowland gorilla named Barika apparently found a paring knife that had been left in the enclosure by a keeper who'd been cutting hoses and ropes. "He dropped it," zoo spokesperson Laurie Herron told the Calgary Herald. "One of the other keepers or a volunteer came and told him that the gorillas

Details unveiled for zoo makeover

A new Arctic exhibit, primate enclosure and horse barn will join a new polar bear enclosure as part of the redevelopment of Assiniboine Park Zoo.The Assiniboine Park Conservancy announced a long-term zoo revitalization plan that will include new exhibits and enclosures as well as a new main entrance along Corydon AvenueThe centrepiece of the new zoo will be the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre, which will encompass both an exhibit and and environmental education centre.The centre plans to coordinate a rescue program for orphaned bears, which may include temporary placement in Winnipeg.Right now, Assiniboine Park Zoo can not house polar bears because its existing enclosure does not meet Manitoba Conservation

Wildlife Rescue in Cambodia (Video)

Where animal traders run wild

Kuwait carried out its first animal confiscation last month, seven years after signing up to an international convention to clamp down on the trade in endangered species, a move hailed by conservationists as an important step towards stemming a growing tide of animals trafficked into the Gulf state. The animal, a Eurasian brown bear, was seized from a home in Kabed, on the outskirts of Kuwait City, by officials from the government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the police after a tip-off from K’s Path (the Kuwait Society for the Protection of Animals and their Habitat). K’s Path, a non-governmental organisation, had mounted an “undercover investigation” to monitor and photograph the bear after receiving calls from the public that the animal was on sale for 2,000 Kuwaiti dinar (Dh25,500), said John Peaveler, the managing director of K’s Path. The bear was chained by the neck to the inside of a tiny, sun-exposed cage and fed on rice and meagre amounts of water, their website said.The society took their

Johor, Pahang Transit To Smuggle Exotic Animals

Unscrupulous syndicates are using Johor and Pahang as transit to smuggle exotic animals to a neighbouring country for lucrative gains.In revealing the modus operandi of the syndicates, Wildlife and National Parks Department's deputy director of laws and enforcement Celescoriano Razond said they would store the exotic animals in several isolated areas in the two states before smuggling them to a neighbouring country via land or water.He said this in a press conference at the department's district office here Friday.While Razond refused to reveal the intended

Group demonstrates against treatment of elephants at Toronto Zoo

A week after an elephant died at the Toronto Zoo, a small group of people stood outside the zoo on Saturday demonstrating against what they said was a mammoth problem.About half a dozen people held signs reading "elephants suffer in zoos" and handed out pamphlets to people driving into the facility as they denounced the treatment of animals in captivity.Security prevented protesters from entering the grounds."Elephants are dying prematurely in zoos. They're only living to about half of the age they should," said Jamie Rivet from In Defence of Animals.He said the death of an elephant at the zoo last week would not have happened if the animal lived in the wild.Tessa, a 40-year-old elephant, died after being shoved by a dominant member of her group looking to steal food."Elephants that are kept in zoo enclosures can become abnormally aggressive or hostile," said Rivet, who added elephants also suffer from

Frogs species discovered living in elephant dung

Three different species of frogs have been discovered living in the dung of the Asian elephant in southeastern Sri Lanka. The discovery—the first time anyone has recorded frogs living in elephant droppings—has widespread conservation implications both for frogs and Asian elephants, which are in decline. "I found the frogs fortuitously during a field study about seed dispersal by elephants," Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz, a research fellow from the National University of Singapore, told "I thought it was an interesting phenomenon and commented it with

More than a zoo

When an American journalist asked him “what attracts you personally to the desert?”, TE Lawrence responded: “it’s clean”. Now, the Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort, formerly known as the Al Ain Zoo, is planning to show visitors that there’s much more to enjoy in the desert.This project is not about building a traditional zoo or resort. Rather, it seeks to transform the idea of what a zoo or resort can be. The 900 hectare wildlife park plans to be the only place in the world where visitors can experience life in various deserts around the world, such as the Kalahari or the Sahara. It’s an ambitious attempt that will put Al Ain on the map for the “hottest” zoo in the world. But the vision goes beyond that. By breeding

Visitors flock to see over 135 new aquatic species added to Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is offering fascinating new viewing experiences for visitors with numerous species added on to enhance the diversity of aquatic animals.From over 220 diverse species, visitors can gaze at over 70 species in the main aquarium tank, including Sand Tiger Sharks, Rays and Giant Groupers. There are now over 150 species at the Underwater Zoo such as Caiman Crocodiles, Leafy Seadragons, Humboldt Penguins, Piranhas, Otters, Harbour Seals, Water Rats, Terrapins and

Unnatural Habitats: Rethinking the Modern Zoo



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


American Association of Zoo Keepers, Inc

Animal Keepers' Forum

AKF Table of Contents - June 2009

  • About the Cover/Information for Contributors

  • Scoops & Scuttlebutt

  • From the Executive Director

  • Coming Events

  • ICZ/AAZK Conference 2009 - Update/Info

  • AAZK Announces New Members

  • Care and Management of Geriatric Animals in Zoos (order info)

  • Bowling for Rhinos Reminders for 2009

  • Training Tales (Operant Conditioning 0.3 Ostrich at the N.C. Zoo)

  • New Database to Help Zoos Manage, Find Animals

  • Introduction of a Young Hand-reared Japanese Macaque in a Group

  • The Formation of a Lion Pride at The San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park

  • Book Reviews (Standard and Common Current Scientific Names for N.A. Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles and Crocodilians, 6th edition; and Frogs and Toads of North America)

  • Enrichment Options (Enriching the Days of Our Elephants)

  • 7th Annual Turtle Survival Alliance Symposium

  • Feeling Boxed In? You’re Not Alone

  • Conservation/Legislative Update


Forbes Traveler Magazine’s list of The World’s Best Zoos:

1. Animal Kingdom, Orlando
2. Basel Zoo, Switzerland
3. Beauval Zoo, France
4. Berlin Zoological Garden, Germany
5. Bronx Zoo, New York
6. Chester Zoo, U.K.
7. Prague Zoological Garden, Czech Republic
8. National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
9. San Diego Zoo, California
10. Schönbrunner Zoo, Austria
11. Singapore Zoo
12. Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington DC
13. Taronga and Western Plains Zoo, Sydney
14. Toronto Zoo
15. Ueno Zoological Gardens, Tokyo, Japan


The Tusker Times - June 2009


Genetically Important Breeding SuccessSuccessful hatching of three Spix’s Macaws at AWWP, Qatar


Partners in Conservation A Memorandum of Understanding was officially signed between Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP) and Conservation International (CI) in February 2009.



The July 2009 issue of ZOOS' PRINT [Volume XXIV, Number 7] is published and the online version is available free on the web at:


List of Individual Articles

Cover - including contents, publication information and other cover material

Complete Magazine, Pp. 1-28

All Zoos contributing to Conservation

IUCN Technical Guidelines on the Management of Ex Situ Populations for Conservation, Approved at the 14th Meeting of the Programme Committee of Council, Gland Switzerland, 10 Dec 2002

Article about IUCN SSC ... Technical Guidelines on the Management of Ex Situ Populations for
Conservation, Mike Maunder and Onnie Byers, (2004), Oryx 38: 342-346.

Internal communication and its magical effect

Challenging, interesting, vibrant, fulfilling . . . my three years in Kanpur Zoo

Loss of biodiversity in the face of global warming

Some Short Notes on various species

Education Reports

Zoo Lex - Zoo Zürich Himalayas Exhibit for Siberian Tigers


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


For Zoo Jobs and Related Vacancies please visit

For notification of Zoo related Meetings, Conferences, Courses and Symposia go to:


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

Kind Regards,

Wishing you a wonderful week,

Peter Dickinson

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