Sunday, August 23, 2009

Zoo News Digest 21st - 23rd August 2009 (Zoo News 614)

Zoo News Digest 21st - 23rd August 2009 (Zoo News 614)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleagues,

Did you know that ZooNews Digest is the longest established zoo related group on the internet? In its earliest days it was a newsletter to friends within the zoo world. Later it was mailed out using Pegasus. As the membership grew it moved across to egroups and eventually onto Yahoo Groups in January 2000. The membership has hovered around five thousand mark for several years. Some zoos place the ZooNews Digest onto their intranet systems. Other staff pass it on to individuals who have read it for years without officially subscribing. The very private mailing list reads like a 'Who's Who' of the zoo world. Zoo News Digest reaches 630+ zoos in 80+ different countries every week.

The working 'arm' of Zoo News Digest is the Zoo Biology Group. This is restricted to professional zoo staff. In its own right this has a little under two thousand five hundred members, more than any similar group, and can call on an accumulated zoo expertise of more than 20,000 years.

The murder and butchering of a zoo tiger is a nasty development in the illegal trade in tigers. Why bother to sweat it out with hit and miss in the jungle if all you need to do is sneak into your local zoo? I do hope that zoos everywhere are going to beef up their security systems. I hope too that the full weight of investigation is thrown onto this case. This is poaching out of a goldfish bowl. Poachers of this sort are no respecters of human life either. They need to be caught. Tigers today...what next tomorrow?

I note that a pair of Sumatran Elephants have gone to Parc Paradisio in Belgium. I am pleased. The article does not mention if an Indonesian animal collection was involved in the transfer or where the elephants actually came from. It is always the unknowns that bother me.

The strike by staff in Pretoria National Zoo continues. I don't like zoo strikes because I know it is something I could never do. Funnily enough though I indirectly owe my zoo career to a strike. The first zoo I applied to was Flamingo Park Zoo back in 1968. There had been a very recent strike and several staff had been fired. They were desperate, hired me and threw me in the deep end. I have loved the work from day one. I recollect all the bitterness surrounding the strike at Windsor Safari Park and knew several who were involved. I was not sympathetic...but then it did not concern me (other than worrying about the animals) because I did not work there. Then there was Al Ain Zoo. The strike was only recently over when I started there. The Keepers had not been paid for four months!! Two days into their strike they sent the army in to beat them into submission...but they paid them too.

The Komodo Dragon saga rumbles on. They are still talking about 'genetic purification' whatever it means because I still do not know. As I learn though more I find myself swaying in the favour of Bali Marine and Safari Park. The animals they were to take were already located on an island that was not part of their natural range (having been deliberately put there just to increase tourism? Am I wrong? Please enlighten me). Arguments could be put forward to remove all the Dragons from the island because of damage they could, and likely have, do/done to the endemic fauna. Then there is the statement that the Dragons would not breed outside of their natural environment. Duhh?!

It was kindly pointed out to me that I am not aware of all the facts on the controversy surrounding the Willie Davenport elephant saga. All sorts of issues involved. I was bothered last week when I saw they planned to take one of his three elephants. Now I see they plan to take two and leave him with one. Now that bothers me. I don't like seeing elephants on their own.

The Chiang Mai Panda cub was on the first page of the Bangkok Post today. This time in the arms of Her Royal Highness Princess Srirasm and HRH Prince Dhipankara Rasmijoti. Glad to see all look well. Has that cub ever met its mother?

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Sumatran tiger killed in zoo, body taken away
Thieves killed a female Sumatran tiger (phantera tigris Sumatrae) at the Taman Rimba Zoo here early on Saturday and took the animal`s body.Jambi police chief Adjunct Commissioner Posma Lubis said the thieves killed Shela, the tiger, and took away its body at around 3am leaving the animal`s intestines.The police were still investigating the case and searching those that had stolen the animal weighing 125 kilograms.He said five people had been questioned as witnesses including the head of the city`s animal hunsbandry service, Hanif Lubis, the head of the zoo, Adrianis and zoo keepers Widodo, M Nasir and Madikwan.Mudikwan was the first who knew about the theft. Mudikwan was about to enter into the cage to clean it when he saw blood, intestines and slices of meat in the cage.The rest of the body was gone, believably taken by the thieves

Sumatran elephants on loan in Belgium
The government has sent a pair of Sumatran elephants to Belgium to enliven the Indonesian Park in Parc Paradisio in the European country.Male elephant Valentino, 5 years old, and his partner Ani, 4, have become a center of attraction since their arrival on Aug. 17, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry said. Indonesian Ambassador to Belgium Nadjib Riphat Kesoema received the elephants, which were resettled under a breeding loan program signed by the two countries.The elephants are a special gift for diplomatic ties between Belgium and Indonesia which have lasted 60 years. It’s the first breeding loan program we have ever had in Europe,” Nadjib said. The Indonesia Park, which occupies 6.2 hectares of land,

Volunteers called in as zoo strike intensifies
Volunteers have been called in to assist at the Pretoria National Zoo to ensure the animals are being properly cared for as National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) affiliated workers continued their strike over a wage dispute.Striking Pretoria Zoo workers threw rubbish at the entrance to the National Zoological Gardens as the Nehawu strike intensifies. Tshwane University of Technology Nature Conservation students are amongst volunteers assisting the zoo while the strike continues. Managing director of the Zoo, Clifford Nxomani, says they will take steps against striking workers who intimidate or endanger visitors. Zoo management has assured the public that despite the strike, all animals are being properly cared for. Visitors, including thousands

Gorilla Returns To Pen After Escaping Enclosure At Denver Zoo
The Primate Escaped To A Private AreaA gorilla returned to its enclosure after escaping it for a few minutes on Thursday afternoon at the Denver Zoo.A zookeeper spotted the primate in a private, behind-the-scenes area at the primate house, zoo officials said. Charlie, the 12-year-old gorilla, was spotted in the back of the outside enclosure area.The zookeeper opened the door to Charlie's

Alipore zoo theft: Animal handler holds key, say cops Kolkata:
Sleuths investigating the theft of eight common marmosets from the Alipore zoo earlier this month are convinced that a former handler was involved in the crime. Police are now in the process of zeroing in on the handler. "After the earlier attempt (in March), zoo employees rescued a marmoset that was left behind by the accused after being chased. Interestingly, the monkey remained calm even as the miscreant tried to smuggle it out. This behaviour indicated that the accused was an expert handler of monkeys," an officer said. On August 9, too, none of the eight marmosets that were stolen created a ruckus. This effectively confirms what police have been suspecting all alongthat an insider is involved in the racket. Meanwhile, chief secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti, home secretary Ardhendu Sen and city police chief Gautam Mohan Chakrabarti visited the zoo on Thursday morning and took stock of the security mechanism there. They also announced an award of Rs 50,000 for providing information on the stolen monkeys. The city police have informed Interpol about the thefts through CBI as they suspect the animals could be smuggled

Councilor backs local govt to maintain komodo dragons
The local legislative assembly has thrown its weight behind a call for the forestry ministry to reconsider a plan to relocate 10 komodo dragons from their habitat to a Bali safari park for genetic purification."The genetic purification should constantly be conducted in Komodo Island which serves as the habitat of the prehistoric animal species. I fear the komodo dragons will not breed in other location than their habitat," Chief of East Nusa Tenggara Legislative Assembly (DPRD) Melkianus Adoe said here on Thursday.He was responding to the local government`s stance to constantly coordinate with the forestry minister to have the plan reconsidered. It was for the forestry minister to handle all problems related to komodo dragons. But it would be better if there was coordination among provincial governments through the internal minister, Adoe said.He said the presence of komodo dragons in East Nusa Tenggara also had a significant impact on the local tourism. Hence, it would be better if they were not moved to the safari park in Bali."I hope the process of selecting and appointing the Komodo national park as one of New Seven Wonders of Nature will soon materialize. I think we need

London's former mayor to wed at the zoo
Are wildlife-influenced nuptials a new wedding planning trend in the UK? Earlier this month, Monkey World in Dorset announced it would let people tie the knot near its chimpanzee enclosure.And now London's former mayor, Ken Livingstone, has revealed he will be saying his vows at the London Zoo.He and long-time love Emma Beal have chosen a location near the Mappin Pavillion, which houses wallabies and emus.Livingston told the London Evening Standard he chose the zoo because it would help entertain his five children who might otherwise get restless during the ceremony."A wedding can be quite boring for young kids," he said. "But they can go and look at the animals. I know the place - I just

Lowry Park Zoo, Salisbury reach settlement
A city audit late last year found that Lowry Park Zoo's former president took more than $200,000 in animals and supplies to help start his private exotic-animal park.Today, the zoo announced a legal settlement that calls for its former chief executive, Lex Salisbury, to pay the zoo about $2,200. Salisbury will return all zoo property and barns still on his property.The agreement marks the end of the zoo's ties to its former leader who lured big-name donors, powerful allies and is widely credited with transforming one of the nation's worst facilities to one of the best."I think it's fair," said Bob Rasmussen

Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo and former president Lex Salisbury negotiate a financial settlement
The Lowry Park Zoo and its former president Lex Salisbury officially cut ties Friday, resolving the outstanding financial claims laid out in a city of Tampa audit that concluded Salisbury used zoo animals, materials and employees for his personal enrichment.In the December audit, Salisbury's tab exceeded $200,000. But after this final agreement, Salisbury will have to pay only $2,212.Why the steep difference?Salisbury had his own claims, too.In December, after the St. Petersburg Times investigated transfers of assets Salisbury made between

A local nature reserve is one of three charities calling for action to prevent the world's rarest duck from becoming extinct.There are thought to be just 19 Madagascar pochards left in the world, living on a small remote lake on the island, and only six of those are female.The lake was visited last month by staff from Slimbridge's Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (Durrell) and The Peregrine Fund. The charities planned to set up a breeding programme for the ducks, but were alarmed to find dwindling numbers because none of the 11 birds born last year had survived.They are now trying to take emergency action before the species dies out.Nigel Jarrett, WWT's aviculture manager was one of the staff who made the trip. He said: "With possibly only six females, the total population of Madagascar pochard might well number just six pairs, and with no successful fledglings from the 2008 season the need to establish

Passing Perceptions
An interseting take on zoo photography

Keepers patrol shops to save animals
People power has forced Cadbury to take palm oil out of its chocolate - but campaigners say that's just a start. Environment reporter Eloise Gibson gets some advice from Auckland Zoo.Zookeepers have taken to trawling the aisles of supermarkets, writing down ingredients in a bid to save the animals they look after.Auckland Zoo staff believe that, without intervention, creatures such as the Sumatran tiger will be gone in the wild within 12 years.Their "orang-utan-friendly shopping list" is to help save the rainforest where tigers, orang-utans and small-clawed otters like those found at the zoo live.After a customer outcry caused Cadbury to pull palm oil from its products this week, they hope public pressure will trim it from breakfast cereals, baby wipes, pet

Company fingered for killed animals
A private security company tasked with safeguarding East London Zoo's inmates might have to pay for animals killed under its watch, the Daily Dispatch said on Friday.This follows incidents when the zoo lost animals, valued at R82 500, on four occasions between October 2008 and May 2009.A report tabled to the Buffalo City municipality's mayoral committee on Thursday recommends that the security company be held responsible.In October 2008 stray dogs managed to get into the zoo and killed three Blue Duikers and three

Owner reaches agreement over three elephants
He can keep 1, but must give up 2 others Willie Davenport will keep Boo — a 9,000-pound elephant who has performed in circuses with his family since the 1960s — but he had to relinquish two other elephants to end his fight Thursday with federal authorities over permitting and care of the gentle giants.“I am sad. This is not just my loss, but East Texas is losing their elephants. They have touched a lot of people,” said Davenport, who was surrounded by 70 neighbors who came to show support when authorities arrived to collect the two elephants. Davenport lives in a trailer 50 feet from a pasture and barn where the elephants romp in Leggett, a town of 500 off Highway 59 north of Houston. Under an agreement with federal officials, Davenport, 24, will pay a $3,000 fine in exchange for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife dropping complaints against him for failing to have proper purchasing permits for his Asian elephants, Jewel and Tina. The U.S. government requires such permits because elephants are at risk of extinction worldwide and can no longer be imported from India like Boo was 40 years ago.Davenport said he purchased Jewel and Tina for $150,000 from a retiring elephant trainer in Florida three years ago. While he had obtained a United States Department of Agriculture exhibitor's license and state permit, Davenport said he was unaware he needed the $40 purchasing permit.In addition, USDA inspectors had filed documents to seize Jewel because of “chronic weight loss” and inadequate veterinary care.Davenport denies any improper treatment of his elephants, saying he fed

Zoogate: CZA top boss arrives in city
Central Zoo Authority (CZA) member secretary B R Sharma is expected to visit the Maharajbagh zoo on Saturday to investigate the entry of Maharashtra agriculture minister Balasaheb Thorat into the tiger cage last week.Sharma is also expected to meet state’s principal chief conservator of forests for wildlife A K Joshi. Sharma told TOI that the report sent by Maharajbagh zoo controller had reached his office, but denied he had rejected it. "I’m expected in Nagpur on Saturday but everything will depend on the weather in Delhi, which is right now unfriendly. If weather improves I will visit Nagpur or I will come next week." The TOI on Thursday had reported that the zoo officials and police had given a clean chit to Thorat for entering into the cage of tiger on August 15. The zoo officials have played safe by citing agriculture university rules to protect Thorat. Sharma’s visit seems to be the result of Jairam Ramesh, minister of environment and forest, taking serious note of the incident and asking the CZA to submit a report. If found guilty, Thorat faces six months jail term or fine of Rs 2000 or both. He was filmed last week stroking a tiger cub in the zoo as his armed security guards and the

Activists miffed by Maharajbagh Zoo authorities' report
The nature-lovers and animal rights' activists of Nagpur took a strong exception over the report of Maharajbagh Zoo authorities and the city police that gave a clean chit to the Maharashtra Agriculture minister Balasaheb Thorat for the entry of the enclosure of tiger in the zoo on August 15.The minister, along with the city Congress president Jaiprakash Gupta, entered into the tiger cage and allegedly teased and patted an eight-month old tiger cub that was brought from Chandrapur forests when its mother had abandoned the cub.Responding to an explanation, sought by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), the Maharajbagh Zoo authorities defended the minister for his act, saying that he (the minister) has every right to enter the zoo as he is also the pro vice-chancellor of the Punjabrao Agriculture University which runs the zoo. The Maharajbagh Zoo authority sent its clarification on Friday.Kishore Rithe, president of Satpuda Foundation, an NGO that works for the conservation and protection of the big cats in the region, strongly condemned the Maharajbagh Zoo authorities for its attempt to protect the minister. The acts of the minister and his associates were purely against the Wildlife Protection Act and they should

Noah's Ark Zoo Farm baby tiger dies
The baby tiger born at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall has died.Anthony Bush, the owner of the zoo, said he was very sad to announce the death of their baby tiger, Tumkur.It comes soon after the tiger cub's mother Tira also died.Mr Bush said three keepers had worked around the clock to try to save the cub, after its mother, who was dying of an incurable cat disease Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), abandoned it soon after giving birth on July 29.But the baby Bengal tiger died at 4am this morning.He said: "The chances of its survival were always very small, but with the sort of dedication shown by only the best zoo keepers they decided to do what they could."There were many ups and downs of concern during the three short weeks of little Tumkur's life, when medical aid was provided several times in the night."He seemed to be



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



Volume XXIV, Number 9
September 2009

Cover - including contents, publication information and other cover material
PDF ( 373Kb )

Complete Magazine, Pp. 1-24
PDF ( 1221Kb )

All Species are not Equal—Conservation Breeding Guidelines - Part IV, Editorial by Sally Walker AArk process for prioritising conservation activities and implementing ex situ programmes for Amphibians, by AArk experts
Pp. 1-10
PDF ( 103Kb )

Third Generation Conservation: Accommodating Wildlife in Our Daily Lives
-- Jon Coe, Pp. 11-13
PDF ( 163Kb )

The Work of Jon Coe - Bibliography
Pp. 13-14
PDF ( 25Kb )

Ex-situ Wildlife Conservation and Zoos in India
-- B.R. Sharma, P. 15
PDF ( 19Kb )

-- Sally Walker, P. 16
PDF ( 17Kb )

Wildlife Week 2009 Education Material Available
P. 17
PDF ( 19Kb )

Education Reports by ZOO Educators all over India
Pp. 18-24
PDF ( 563Kb )


Zoo Biology

Volume 28 Issue 4 (July/August 2009)

Research Articles

Diet composition, food intake, body condition, and fecal consistency in captive tapirs (Tapirus spp.) in UK collections (p 279-291)Marcus Clauss, Tamsin Wilkins, Andy Hartley, Jean-Michel Hatt

Variation in visitor perceptions of a polar bear enclosure based on the presence of natural vs. un-natural enrichment items (p 292-306)Debra Kutska

Biochemical and physiological observations in meerkats (Suricata suricatta) at two zoos during a dietary transition to a diet designed for insectivores (p 307-318)Lori D. Gutzmann, H. Karl Hill, Elizabeth A. Koutsos

Intake and digestion of horned guan Oreophasis derbianus diets measured in three Mexican zoos (p 319-330)Gretel Tovar, Juan Cornejo, Michael Macek, Ellen S. Dierenfeld

Husbandry Reports

Enhancing captive breeding in giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca): maintaining lactation when cubs are rejected, and understanding variation in milk collection and associated factors (p 331-342)Rongping Wei, Guiquan Zhang, Feng Yin, Hemin Zhang, Dingzhen Liu

Captive reproduction of the Jamaican iguana (Cyclura collei) (p 343-349)Richard A. Searcy, Lynne M. Villers, Richard D. Reams, John E. Wyatt III, Jon Pilarski

Book Reviews

Wildlife contraception: issues, methods and applications (p 350-351)Mark D. Stetter


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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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