Thursday, August 20, 2009

Zoo News Digest 17th - 20th August 2009 (Zoo News 613)

Zoo News Digest 17th - 2oth August 2009 (Zoo News 613)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleagues,

I don't know whether you are reading the comments posted on the Zoo News Digest blog but there are some interesting points being made. The most recent in relation to the Tiger Temple. I was disturbed to learn that three people were actually arrested a couple of days ago in relation to making their opinions known on this awful place being given permission to become a 'zoo'. I suppose it is just a matter of time before there is a knock on my door.

International Vulture Awareness Day is now well less than a month away. If you keep vultures...or even if you don't you should be making an effort to draw peoples attention to this very important group of birds. The list of participating collections (as against conservation groups) is still LESS than 20 zoos/birdparks/animal collections worldwide. No doubt some are busy with plans and press releases before they sign up. Here is the list of present participants: CLICK ON THE LINKS...SEE WHAT THEY ARE DOING

Africam Safari Zoo, Mexico
African Raptor Expedition, Kenya
Albuquerque Biological Park, United States
American Falconry Conservancy, United States
Association of Zoos and Aquariums Raptor Taxon Advisory Group, United States
Österreichischer Falknerbund / Austrian Falconry Association, Austria
Banham Zoo, United Kingdom
Belgian Federation for Falconry "", Belgium
Bird Conservation Nepal, Nepal
Bird Explorers, Thailand
BirdLife South Africa, South Africa
Birds Bangladesh, Bangladesh
Birds of Prey Working Group, Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa, Netherlands
Bronx Zoo, United States
Brookgreen Gardens, United States
Bulgarian Association for Conservation of Birds of Prey, Bulgaria
Bulgarian Association for Conservation of Birds of Prey - The Falconers' Association, Bulgaria
Busch Gardens Tampa, United States
Cape Falconry Club, South Africa
Carolina Raptor Center, United States
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, United States
Cotswold Falconry Centre, United Kingdom
Deutscher Falkenorden e.V., Germany
Dhartee Development Society (DDS), Pakistan
Disney's Animal Kingdom, United States
Eaglewatch, Netherlands
Edinburgh Zoo, United Kingdom
El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Mexico
Elite Falconry Belgium, Belgium
Falconry Uk Birds of Prey Centre, United Kingdom
Federation "BURKUTSHI", Kazakhstan
Free State Falconry Club, South Africa
Fund " JOLCHORO ", Kyrgyzstan
Fundación Bioandina Argentina, Argentina
FWFF-Macedonia, Macedonia: the former Yugoslav Republic of
Gauntlet Birds of Prey Eagle and Vulture Park, United Kingdom
GlobalBirdTrekkers, South Africa
Great Lakes Falconers Association, United States
Hungarian Falconers Club, Hungary
International Association for Falconry and the Conservation of Birds of Prey, Belgium
Israel Nature & Parks Authority, Israel
JARAK - Association for Protection and Conservation of Birds of Prey, Macedonia: the former Yugoslav Republic of
Limpopo Falconry Club, South Africa
Mpumalanga Falconry Club, South Africa
National College, India
National Falconers Club of Turkmenistan, Turkmenistan
Olympic Vulture Study, United States
Raptor Working Group, Kenya
Research-Educational Centre for the Protection of Nature, Croatia
Slovenska zveza za sokolarstvo in zaščito ptic ujed, Slovenia
Society for Wild Animals "Falcon", Poland
South African Falconry Association, South Africa
South Lakes Wild Animal Park, United Kingdom
Studiegroep Behoud Valkerij(vzw), Belgium
Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, United States
The Center for Birds of Prey, United States
The Hawk Conservancy Trust, United Kingdom
Valkerij Ardanwen, Belgium
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, United States
Vulcha Helpas, South Africa
Vulture Programme, South Africa
Wildlife science and conservation center of Mongolia, Mongolia
Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, WA, United States
WWF - Pakistan, Pakistan
Zoologická zahrada Liberec, Czech Republic

So "Lion Man" Craig Busch is considering leaving New Zealand. I greatly suspect that if he does it means he has wrapped up some lucrative TV deal somewhere else. It will be a couple of years before he will be able to do any 'Lion Whispering' though because he cannot play 'safely' with cats he has not reared. No magic gifts in the animal world.

I don't know Craig Busch in the same way that I don't know Willie Davenport but I do think there is some malice in the woman trying to take one of his elephants off him. Why one. Sounds a bit nasty to me.

So a minister went in with some tiger cubs at Maharajbagh zoo. Read the story. So he broke the law (complete violation of rules ..sic) and the police investigated and so he didn't break the law (Huh?). All a bit of a non story really except why were they hand rearing the cubs in the first place and why were they letting every tom, dick and petty politician into the cage? Its wrong but probably a damn sight safer than what is going on in the Tiger Temple in Thailand.

The story of the Chicago Woman suing Brookfield Zoo makes me want to laugh and cry at one and the same time. It is so stupid that it verges on the ridiculous. I hope the case is thrown out and she is forced to pay costs.

The fires are burning in Borneo once again. Big Time. Last time it was like this I was in Singapore. I would smell the smoke from there.

Many thanks for the donations to the Digest recieved this week. It is appreciated and keeps the wolves from the door till at least the end of the month.

Visit my webpages at:

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The Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi Thailand

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Dallas Zoo turned over to private zoological society
The Dallas City Council voted unanimously this morning to hand the Dallas Zoo's management, employees and animals over to the Dallas Zoological Society.The privatization of the zoo will take effect OCt. 1 and is expected to save the city some $1.5 million this year and tens of millions in coming years. According to backers of the plan, the privatization will also open the door for increased donations to the southern Dallas attraction.Council members Dave Neumann and Angela Hunt voiced some concern about the speed with which the city pushed the plan forward.They also sought information about the city's continued oversight of the zoo and the public's access to zoo records, particularly as they relate to animal welfare.Overall, though, the council agreed

New shoes help treat zoo elephant
A four-tonne elephant from Devon has been given a new set of hand-made shoes to ease the pain in her feet.Gay, an Asian Elephant who lives at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, suffered from foot abscesses and needed the shoes for protection. Gay's keepers had to draw around each foot to provide a pattern for the Australian company to work from when designing and making the shoes. Each of the boots cost £250 and

Central Zoo Authority asks zoos to step up security
The Central Zoo Authority of India (CZA) asked zoos across the country to heighten security in the wake of the theft of eight rare Brazilian monkeys from the Alipore Zoological Garden here on August 8.“We have issued a circular to all zoos in the country to beef up security and submit a report after reviewing security measures,” Dr. B. K. Gupta, Evaluation and Monitoring officer of the CZA told The Hindu over telephone from New Delhi on Wednesday.There have been security lapses

Lion Man: I'll Quit NZ
"Lion Man" Craig Busch will consider quitting New Zealand if he fails to regain control of Zion Wildlife Gardens. Busch star of the worldwide TV sensation, The Lion Man is battling his mother Patricia for the Northland big cats park.Asked if he would move overseas if he lost the dispute, Busch, who has a global following (the show is screened in more than 100 countries), said: "You can never say never, but hopefully, it won't come to that".He was "overwhelmed" by the support he had received from fans around the world as he continued his legal wrangle.More than 20,000 people have signed up to his Facebook page (NZ Lion Man Craig Busch). Fans have organised fundraising fairs and sponsored walks.Busch said he was desperately missing his "family" Zion's lions and tigers which he had raised from cubs."It is hard to put into words how I feel but I miss them every day. They are my family part of me. Not only do I believe I am essential to their wellbeing, they are equally essential to mine," he said. "These cats are both my life's work and my life."Patricia Busch moved into Zion in July, 2006. She raised a loan to repay Craig's company and personal debt, and in return was given power of attorney and sole

Nursery for the endangered: Audubon Society offers prime habitat for vulnerable fish
“We have razorback suckers using our pond right now,” said an excited Bob Wilson, president of the local Grand Valley Audubon Society. So, why is a bird guy so interested in endangered fish? It’s because part of the property the Audubon Society controls is prime habitat for endangered fish. It’s located along the Colorado River adjacent to the Connected Lakes section of the James M. Robb Colorado River State Park and in 2004, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife

The photographers were ready, the stage was set, but the model had a case of nerves. Chulo, a senior grey fox, would not be bribed, coaxed or cajoled onto the black cloth at the end of his pen.Photographers Joel D. Sartore and Malora L.C. Rogers waited patiently for several minutes as Chulo dawdled in the corner, eyeing the lights, the tripods and the mysterious visitors with suspicion. After snatching up a few nearby treats, he seemed to make up his mind. Like a finicky star, he went back to his greenroom: a wooden box filled with straw in an off-exhibit pen at the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park.The shoot was a bust.Fortunately, not all the day's models were so sensitive; this was a one-day affair. Mr. Sartore, Lincoln, Neb., is a contributing photographer for National Geographic, and Malora, Norwood, Mass., a 16-year-old wildlife-photographer-in-training. She was getting a lesson Thursday from one of the pros thanks to the

With the Backing of the USDA, One Lady Seeks to Remove One Man's Elephant that he's Loved and Owned for Over 25 Years.Willie Davenport, an animal exhibitor, has 3 female elephants: Boo (52 yrs. old), Jewel (45 yrs. old), and Tina (42 yrs. old). The problem Davenport is having is with Jewel and a lady named Denise Sofranko. Sofranko wants to take Jewel away from Davenport and put her in an "elephant sanctuary". Davenport is a 3rd generation animal exhibitor. "Denise Sofranko drove my dad out of business in 1997 and now she's coming for me... It's personal", Davenport told "Elephants at her sanctuary die frequently" he says. "The last one that died just a couple of weeks ago laid on its side immobile for 3 weeks until if slowly and painfully passed away". According to Davenport, Sofranco's elephant sanctuary is in Tennessee and Sofranco has the backing of the United States Department of Agriculture. So why is Sofranco so bent on getting Jewel whose

Zoo Escape game -- Just for fun
With everything else Single Moms have to do, sometimes taking a minute out of your day for a laugh can be just what the doctor ordered. Zoo Escape is a fun game you can play with your kids. The object of the game is to get Milton the Penguin out of the zoo without being seen.Zoo Escape is another game

The Zoo closes
Cathy Larimer felt like crying when she saw the sign: “Come say goodbye to the Zoo.”Larimer and her daughter were among the dozens of visitors who braved the rain to visit The Zoo Northwest Florida on Sunday, a day that could be its swan song.The financially troubled facility is closed and will shut its doors to the public permanently unless Santa Rosa and Escambia counties give $125,000 each by Friday.
“I hope someone gives them the money, because this is a wonderful place,” said Larimer, gazing at a nearby albino peacock. “Just driving here and seeing that sign made me want to cry. It will be a shame if the zoo closes forever.”It was a sentiment echoed by visitors and staff alike.Terry Whitman, director of operations and maintenance, started at the zoo 25 years ago as a volunteer. On Sunday, he was busy with preparations for Tropical Storm Claudette, even as visitors strolled through the animal exhibits. “Today is a sad day for all of us,” said Whitman, watching as staffers moved several parrot cages indoors. “We’re hoping this is a temporary closing and that the public will make their protests heard.”Although about half of the zoo's 38 employees will be laid off during the closure, he said the zoo’s primary concern was the safety of its inhabitants.“No matter what happens, we will take care of these animals,” Whitman. “They

Clarke shares zoo stories
Former director signs copies of his book, 'Hey Mister - Your Alligator's Loose!'From a gorilla for an office secretary to a bikini-clad patron in the rain forest, former Topeka Zoo director Gary Clarke has a lot of stories to share.That's probably why his new book is more than 400 pages long. The thick hardcover book is full of photographs and written descriptions of all Clarke experienced in his 26 years at the zoo, such as the story the title comes from, "Hey, Mister - Your Alligator's Loose!""I was just fascinated by all of his experiences, like when the alligator got lose on the plane," said B. Jean Taylor, who attended a reading and book-signing by Clarke on Sunday at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. "He's just such a personable man, and he was always willing to share a story."Clarke personally accounted dozens of tales included in the book for the more than 100 people who attended Sunday's event. The crowd laughed, sang and whooped along with Clarke as he reminisced about a somersaulting giraffe or a dignified elephant named Casey.And did you hear the one about the rock star koala on loan from the San Diego Zoo?"A rock star may request eight pizzas and a six pack after a show, but there are a lot of pizza parlors around. We had to provide fresh cut eucalyptus leaves flown in twice a week from San Diego," Clarke told the library patrons. "It never occurred to me to tell San Diego we didn't have the wherewithal to house the koala. After all, we were the World Famous Topeka Zoo."Clarke's book, which retails for $29.95, can be purchased at the library or at Lloyd Zimmer's Books and Maps, 117 S.W. 6th. For those who missed Clarke's reading and signing at the library, a second will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday at Zimmer's shop.Be warned, though. For all the stories he shares, Clark doesn't give away all the endings

Minister enters tiger cage in zoo
Guardian minister of Nagpur district Balasaheb Thorat on Saturday entered the cage where three tiger cubs are kept. He, accompanied by local Congress leaders and actively encouraged by zoo officials, petted a cub in full view of media and other visitors. This is in complete violation of Central Zoo Authority (CZA) rules and endangers the life of wild animals by causing them trauma and increasing risk of infection. Only authorised and trained personnel can enter the cages under controlled conditions. Section 38J of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, states that no person shall tease or cause disturbance to the animals in a zoo. Conservationists say minister's act amounts to teasing. Talking to TOI, Thorat denied teasing the cubs. "I went to the zoo with the good intention to see how it could be developed. I am being falsely implicated." However, this was not the only violation that Maharajbagh zoo officials have allowed. In the last fortnight, a string of VIP visitors have been allowed to get close to animals, particularly tiger cubs. Nagpur West MLA Devendra Fadnavis even fed the cubs milk from a bottle. Before that, NIT chairman Sanjay Mukherjee and city police chief Pravin Dixit were allowed to cross the security perimeter and go close to the cage, a dangerous act for animals as well as visitors. Thorat, who was in the city for Independence Day function on Saturday, came to the zoo at about 1 pm on Saturday and spent about 25 minutes. He was accompanied by city Congress chief Jaiprakash Gupta, associate dean of agriculture college & zoo controller M M Damke, officer-incharge of the zoo Dr S S Bawaskar and 15 others. Thorat had a glimpse of deer and peacock enclosures and then headed to see the three tiger cubs. Although Thorat was initially hesitant to enter the cage, it is learnt that zoo officials encouraged him to have a closer look and opened the gates for him. This happened in front of Damke, the zoo controller. Two cubs were pushed in the attached enclosure while one stayed put. The minister along with Gupta and Dr Bawaskar went inside and also had a photo session with the lone cub that looked visibly terrified. Being a public holiday, the zoo had thousands visitors who watched the drama. Later, a delighted Thorat lauded the Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV) for managing the zoo so well despite the fact that it was not the mandate of PDKV. Thorat said he would look into the matter of PDKV not spending even the gate money from the zoo for its upkeep and adding facilities. "I have sought the d

Zoogate: PDKV, police clean chit to Thorat
Expectedly, the Maharajbagh Zoo authorities on Wednesday gave a clean chit to agriculture minister Balasaheb Thorat who had entered the cage of tigers. Sitabuldi police also prima facie found no violation by the minister. In his reply to Central Zoo Authority, zoo controller MM Damke said that as per Section 4 of Maharashtra Agriculture Rules 1983, Thorat is pro-chancellor

Mercedes appeal has crate expectations
THE PUBLIC Appeal to build a new enclosure for Mercedes the polar bear at the Highland Wildlife Park is continuing, with £27,000 still to find.The appeal, launched by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) in June, is two thirds of the way towards finding the £75,000 required. There has been fantastic public support, with the highest individual donation being £10,000, and work has already begun on her enclosure.Zoe Mobey, donor development manager for RZSS, said: "I'd like to thank the public for all their support so far."Meanwhile, Mercedes has also been preparing for her journey to the Highland Wildlife Park. Her transport crate was placed in front of her enclosure a couple of months ago and, since then, keepers have been working with her every day to ensure the move goes as smoothly as possible.Alison Maclean, head keeper

EDITORIAL Plight of the jumbos
The various projects to help the elephants of Bangkok have finally begun to take shape. Thanks to public donations, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has been able to purchase a 30-year-old, partially blind animal. Instead of begging for food in the dangerous capital city, Pang Bua Kham will get a home at the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang. The rescue of this elephant is a heart-warming story, and a project that

White rhinoceros dies in HCMC zoo
The 38-month-old female rhinoceros, also known as a square-lipped rhinoceros, died of Anaplasma ovis, a disease caused by a parasitic bacterium of ruminants that affects white blood cells. The female was brought to HCMC in December 2007 along with

One giant step for jumbo: Amputee elephant Motola is fitted with state-of-the-art artificial leg (Peter's Note: Interesting Photos)
One small step for Motola the elephant, a giant leap for the world's injured animals. Motola lost her foot and most of her left leg when she walked over a landmine ten years ago. But yesterday, she stepped out happily - if a little tentatively - after being fitted with a state-of-the-art artificial limb.

Gorillas at the Columbus Zoo
The Gorillas have one of the most personal exhibits at the zoo. Placards with each gorilla’s name and photo will keep older kids guessing on who is who. This exhibit has both an outdoor and indoor environment, so if viewing is crowded outside, just keep walking to see the gorilla’s behind glass inside. Try to find the first gorilla born in captivity, and also the oldest gorilla in captivity.The gorillas are a great opportunity to talk to kids about how animals care for their young just as people do, noting the similarities between gorilla relationships and our own. These ties help connect kids to animals and understand that animals need love and attention just like we do.There are many exhibits that are worth a glance and quick run-through, but the gorilla area is one that will keep you lingering. Try to stop by around 11:30 or 2:00, when zookeepers will be interacting with the gorillas. If you can’t visit around this time, corner

Cadbury sweet with Auckland Zoo
Cadbury is sweet with the Auckland Zoo again.The zoo says it is delighted at Cadbury New Zealand's decision to remove palm oil from its dairy milk chocolate range, and commends the company for listening to its customers.The firm started using palm oil recently as part of a cost-cutting exercise which also saw the 150g and 250g bars shed about 20 per cent of their weight.But it obviously didn't expect such a public outcry.Environmentalists called for a boycott over concerns palm oil production damaged rainforests. Auckland Zoo pulled Cadbury's products from its shelves because diminishing rainforests threatened orang-utans and Green MP Sue Kedgley urged shoppers to send a message through their selection.Cadbury New Zealand managing director Matthew Oldham said the decision to bring back the old

Zoo society members resign
Roughly 20 people were laid off last week when Animal Park, Inc., took back control over The ZOO Northwest Florida. Executive director Danyelle Lantz, who is employed under the Gulf Coast Zoological Society, resigned, later requesting API pay her for training purposes during the week the zoo would be closed, which was not honored. "We’re going to close the zoo for this week and just keep the necessary people here to feed and take care of the animals,” said Pat Quinn, co-founder of API. "Our first priority now is the animals." That decision saves API about $80,000 a month in payroll. “They never asked us to take a pay cut,” said Terry Whitman, building director at The ZOO. Whitman had been working at the zoo since it began 25 years ago. “And I would have (taken a pay cut), too, if they had asked. I could have easily gone and taken a job elsewhere, but this is where we live. I love this community and I love

Vulture missing from Settle is found in Brighton
A VULTURE named Dumb that went missing from a Settle falconry centre more than two weeks ago has been found on the south coast of England. The bird was located in Brighton on Monday after being blown off course during a display at the Yorkshire Dales Falconry and Conservation Centre on July 18. Dumb was found resting in a tree being harassed by the local seagulls – local accounts on previous days imply a similar treatment by crows. He was tempted from his perch after five hours by falconers from Huxley’s Birds of Prey Centre, who waited patiently after offering him dead chicks. “It’s the most incredible

The Zoo executive director resigns
Danielle Lantz, executive director of The Zoo Northwest Florida, has resigned.She announced her decision in an e-mail dated Friday, according to Joanne Curtin, a member of the Gulf Coast Zoological Society.The e-mail said “after today” Lantz would not be associated with the zoo “in any capacity,” Curtin said.No consideration will be given to replacing Lantz until the zoological society and others who serve as administrators at the not-for-profit business learn Wednesday whether public funds will be spent to keep The Zoo alive, Curtin said.The Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council is scheduled to decide whether to contribute $125,000 to The Zoo and if it does vote to do so the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners will vote Thursday on whether it will match the TDC funding.Jay Gould, another Zoological Society member, was not optimistic the funding would come through

Science Center plans to breed maned wolves
Nena and Luna, the leggy, auburn-haired beauties of the Natural Science Center, are leaving town.The sisters — a pair of female maned wolves — have been a popular attraction since their arrival at the center a year and a half ago. But Eury, the anteater that lives with them, won’t be alone for long. A new pair of maned wolves will be on exhibit sometime this fall. Their names aren’t yet known, but it’s hoped they will like each other enough to mate.Nena and Luna will return to their birthplace, the Smithsonian’s Conservation Research Center in Front Royal, Va. Their time at the Natural Science Center showed that the AZA accredited institution could successfully house maned wolves. The Association of Zoos & Aquarium’s

Woman suing Brookfield Zoo after fall at dolphin exhibit
You’d expect this sort of business from monkeys.But shouldn’t dolphins know better?A Chicago woman is suing Brookfield Zoo, claiming -- among other things -- that bottle-nosed dolphins there deliberately splashed water on her during a visit to the zoo in August 2008.In a suit filed this week in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Allecyn Edwards, claims she slipped and injured herself, blaming zoo keepers who “recklessly and willfully trained and encouraged the dolphins to throw water at the spectators in the stands, making the floor wet and slippery.”Edwards is seeking in excess of $50,000 for her injuries. Edwards did not return calls, and when her husband answered the door to the couple’s home Wednesday, he told a reporter to call his wife’s lawyer. The attorney, Edward G. Proctor Jr., did not return repeated calls to his Chicago office Wednesday.“I cannot really comment because litigation is pending,” said Sondra Katzen, a Brookfied Zoo spokesman.The suit claims the zoo also failed to provide: warnings,brookfield-zoo-lawsuit-dolphin-081909.article

Doors close permanently at ZOO
Sadly, even a packed conference room of teary-eyed supporters couldn’t sway the members of the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council, which voted unanimously to not fund The ZOO Northwest Florida the $125,000 it needed to maintain operations through the winter. Instead, TDC member Jack Sanborn made a motion to support the zoo when “someone of leadership” shows the board a plan. “I think that’s what we need to see here,” said Ira Mae Bruce, TDC member. “There needs to a plan and I don’t even know who’s in charge anymore.”Bruce referred to the for-profit organization, Animal Park Incorporated’s takeover of the zoo last Friday, from non-profit Gulf Coast Zoological Society. ZOO founder Pat Quinn addressed the board with his concern about there not being any leadership in the government aspect of the community – one reason there might not be much community support. “The people are looking for sustainability, and how can the zoo sustain itself without government and county support,” he said. “TDCs all over the country help fund their zoological parks.” Even though the TDC can statutorily fund zoological parks, Santa Rosa County Commissioner Gordin Goodin still expressed concern over the TDC setting a possible precedent with its funding The ZOO. “I think you’re going to open yourself up to a lot of requests for

Vandals try to release animals in Wis. zoo
Vandals tried to release the animals at the Irvine Park Zoo in Chippewa Falls by cutting locks and prying open fences, prompting officials to close the park to vehicle traffic on Wednesday. Chippewa Falls Parks and Recreation Director William Faherty says the overnight release of the animals was intentional. As of Wednesday afternoon, most of them were back in the enclosures. A porcupine and two other,0,6145561.story

Baby elephant makes his debut
A zoo has officially presented its first elephant calf born after artificial insemination.The so-far unnamed male calf was born at Twycross Zoo, Leicestershire, on August 6 but raised concerns when he became ill last week. Today the zoo said its new addition was back to normal and back to feeding mainly from his mother Noorjahan.Standing just over a metre tall, the calf weighs just over 100kg (nearly

$85.88 million bump
Here's the take-home message on the economic impact of the Henry Doorly Zoo:When the community comes together to make something great, the economy benefits, said Eric Thompson, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln economics professor.Thompson is the author of a study on the zoo's economic impact in Omaha, which he said was $85.88 million in 2008.He attributed much of that to the zoo's unique attractions.“This is a lesson in life in general,” Thompson said. “Do

U.K. Zoo Explores Vertical Farming for a New Angle on Animal Feed
A zoo in the United Kingdom has come up with a novel approach to locally sourcing some of its food for animals and dealing with the challenge of limited space: vertical farming. The Paignton Zoo in South Devon, working with Valcent Products (Eu) Limited and its VertiCrop farming system, has just finished planting its first crop of lettuce. According to Valcent, the Paignton VertiCrop project is capable of producing 11,000 heads of lettuce every four weeks or so. The idea is to plant the greens so that the zoo can harvest fresh vegetables daily for the animals that eat them. Eventually the farm will have vertical plots of red chard, mizuna, mixed leaves, various herbs, edible flowers, wheat grass and barley. The grow area at the zoo sits in a specially

Zookeeper Richard Barnes has a wildly exciting career
Richard Barnes enjoys nothing more than stopping for a chat with his favourite cats and giving them a pat and a friendly scratch on their tummies.But these aren’t ordinary household tabbies he gets close to, but lions and tigers at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent, where Richard is the head of large carnivores.“I’m quite loud and like to talk,“ he says, “and it’s a good thing to do around carnivores because it means they are used to my voice and I never surprise them or creep up on them.“They are very affectionate and, like all cats, love a good scratch. I’m never afraid of them, you aren’t in danger as long as you treat them with respect

Brazil's military offers flight for stranded penguins
Penguins stranded on beaches in Rio de Janeiro will be flown to Antarctica, a Brazilian military official said Monday.The flightless birds trek between continents by riding ice floes that melt near Brazil's shores.In previous winters, the birds were rescued by biologists and sent to zoos.This time, more than 100 birds will be able to hitch a ride to Brazil's most southerly region when Brazil's air force flies equipment to an Antarctic naval base next month, a spokesman for the force said.The navy will then take the birds closer to their home in the Antarctic.Scientists who've banded thousands of penguins and attached satellite transmitters to others have found more birds tend to die during cold-water years.For example, Argentine penguins follow their sardine, anchovy

Tasmanian devils face new peril: inbreeding
RESEARCH shows the devil facial tumour disease decimating the Tasmanian devil is causing the species to become inbred, potentially hastening its extinction.Genetics researcher Shelly Lachish yesterday told The Australian genetic testing of samples from devils taken before DFTD broke out and compared with testing after DFTD took hold showed increased inbreeding. There has been an estimated 70 per cent decline in the numbers of the carnivorous marsupial since DFTD was first noticed in 1996; the disease wipes out 95 per cent of affected populations. "We did pre (DFTD) and post (DFTD) tests and basically there were elevated levels of a measure of inbreeding. In addition, we also found a trend towards increased,25197,25954890-30417,00.html

Tiny red panda has big role in genetic pool
Like any newborn, Sha-lei's days are punctuated by feedings and naps.She snuggles with a blue fleece blanket and a brown stuffed monkey.But unlike human babies, Sha-lei is a critical link to preserving her species--the red panda-- which has an estimated population of 2,500 to 3,000 left in the wild.She's important because her parents are from a zoo in Japan, said Sandy Helliker, an animal technologist and registrar at the Edmonton Valley Zoo."They add genetic diversity to the breeding program, so they can be bred to almost any other animal

Kenya loses 100 lions every year
Kenya's lion population has been dropping by an average 100 lions each year since 2002, the Kenya Wildlife Service announced on Monday, warning that the big cats could be extinct in the next two decades.Cattle herders who kill the lions in retaliation for attacks on their stock have been blamed for much of the decline, the organisation's spokesman Paul Udoto told reporters.Habitat destruction, disease and the

Zoo animals escape the ban
Will animals in Lucknow Zoological Gardens have to go hungry because of the order banning slaughter and sale of meat in the state? Authorities at the Lucknow zoo claim animals can breathe easy. "...The apex court order is not applicable to them. It is for humans," said Dr Utkarsh Shukla, chief veterinary officer. The zoo has a long list of animals who survive only on flesh. Figures show that the zoo has a daily consumption of more than 100 kg of meat and about 50-60 kg of fish. Notably, tigers and lions need a lot of meat. A single carnivore eats at least 10-15 kg of raw mutton every day. All aquatic birds live on fish. Dr Shukla assured that animals will be saved from the crisis. "The meat and fish is supplied to

Giant Iron man plan for Chester Zoo
AN IRON man twice the height of the Angel of the North could soon welcome visitors to Chester.Land near Chester Zoo has been earmarked by bosses at Chester City Management who describe the location as the “ideal” site.If erected the structure will give motorists approaching the city on the M53 and M56 motorways grandstand views of its towering height.Inventor Ed Whalley had originally intended to erect the 39 ton giant at his children’s adventure attraction, the Crocky Trail in Guy Lane, Waverton.But he was refused permission by planners at the council, then Chester City Council and the giant was left lying in a field on its stomach.Chester City Management and Mr Whalley have been looking for a new home for the 130ft tall creation ever since.The prospective spot is in a field close to Fox Covert Lane between junctions 11 and 12 of the M53.Chester City Management's chairman

Growing Coral at Zoo
Michael Henley is trying to grow coral, hoping to replace coral that has been destroyed. "Coral is the best animal in the world," said Henley, who works at the National Zoo. Henley works with elkhorn coral, a hard, antlerlike coral covered with thousands of living polyps. Once a year, just after the first full moon in August, elkhorn corals release bundles of sperm and eggs into the ocean at the same time. "You can set your watch by it," Henley said. Henley goes to Puerto Rico every year to capture thousands of larvae. Last year, one of Henley's larvae made it to the growing-polyp stage



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


Emergency Appeal - Borneo is Burning


Here is a brilliant site which was just referred to on the Zoo Biology Group. I joined up straight away. Having a couple of hiccups but it may sort itself out in a day. Thanks to Antoine Leclerc, DVM for referring to this site.


The Foragers Source is a non-profit group of zoologists dedicated to improving the nutritional care of captive wild animals. The goal of this website is to provide a platform for the exchange of experience and knowledge in order to improve the health and quality of life for captive wild animals throughout the world.

Food for Thought

While the nutritional needs of captive wild animals are very complex, there is limited knowledge on the nutrient composition and potential dangers of specific food sources currently being used in most zoological institutions.

The scientific literature contains some information on these food sources, but many of these articles are found in relatively unknown journals or conference proceedings that are difficult to obtain by most zoo personnel.

Additionally, the fact that seasonal and geographic factors influence the nutritional properties of food sources, makes the task of harvesting them even more daunting.

Improving the Situation

The Foragers Source hopes to improve the state of captive wild animal nutrition by providing zoological professionals access to the following resources:

  • research article archive

  • plant sample datebase

  • plant species identification database
And more.

Take a look at:


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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

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