Friday, August 28, 2009

Zoo News Digest 24th - 27th August 2009 (Zoo News 615)

Zoo News Digest 24th - 27th August 2009 (Zoo News 615)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleagues,

The Loch Ness Monster spotted by Google Earth. Wonderful. I like it. Curious to see how such a beast could be explained by a creationist. Creationism in zoos today seems to be stirring up controversy on both sides of the Atlantic. Personally I have always favoured the Darwinist side of the argument and became even more convinced after reading 'Coral'. Brilliant book and fun to read.

The Elephants recently arriving in Parc Paradiso are apparantly captive bred and from Taman Safari. I greatly suspected that may be the case but was curious because I did not see any news item mentioning this. Usually such a move would generate publicity at both ends. I then thought there must be some sort of animal exchange taking place and I then I would probably have had something to say. Last time I commented on an exchange of this nature (Thailand) I was taken to task. At the end of the day it turned out I was right. You only have to check on the apalling record of Chiang Mai Night Safari.

A couple of weeks ago I covered the story about the Tiger Temple being granted permission to operate as a zoo. I still believe this is a terrible idea and remain surprised that there was not more of a fuss made in the local press. Maybe it has got something to do with the fact that they already have Lions, a Bear, a Leopard as well as 36 Tigers! So much for all this holier than thou rubbish about saving a few orphaned animals. There really does seem to be fear to criticise because there are monks involved. It struck me that there may be similar reason why the horrible Sri Racha Tiger Zoo gets away with what it does. At some point in the distant past they had a Royal visit. Lots of photographs were taken and these hang all over place lending credence to what is going on there.

The title of the first link is attention grabbing...but it is meant to be of course. I am looking forward to learning about Mercedes settling into her new home and I hope that she gets a companion too. Breeding is probably out of the question, but then, who knows?

A marmoset in the living room? I have been trying to put myself into a non zoo families way of thinking. You look up and there is a tiny monkey on the curtain rail. I just don't know. Mind you it could have been a Yak behind the sofa! (see links)

The story about the Cebu City Zoo I find a bit confusing. I have been to Cebu City twice and the first time was to specifically visit the zoo. I was assured by several and backed up by newspaper links that the place had closed and the remaining animals moved elsewhere. I went to the 'elsewhere' which turned out to be a glorified Childrens Playground with cages based around the 'Evil Philippine Dog Cage' design. One of the worst zoos I have visited ever. I was assured it was better than where they were before.

Hogle Zoo won't release the elephant birth video. Good luck to them. It is their right not too. It really does seem to me that the animal rights people are trying to find something to complain about. Miserable bunch of know nothings.

I am delighted to see more and more collections are becoming involved with International Vulture Awareness Day and that some of the press are now picking up on it. I think it is very sad that some very prominent collections are conspicious by there absence. Perhaps it is because they think it is going to cost them something. It is now getting nearly 3000 hits on Google which is a lot more than a couple of weeks ago. Check out It won't take two minutes of your time to get involved.

On a non zoo issue. If you just want to relax for a few minutes. Read this story aloud to yourself and then read it to your kids... Lavendar Lane Well we all have to relax sometimes.

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On with the links:

Fears for UK's polar bear cubs
IN HER article on The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland plan to move polar bear Mercedes from Edinburgh Zoo to the Highland Wildlife Park (News, 16 August), Hilary Duncanson stated that Mercedes had produced two cubs.I think this is an error and Mercedes actually gave birth to several more cubs. Many readers will remember the media frenzy which surrounded Minty, the cute cub which was hired out to promote a certain brand of confectionery. When Minty outgrew the cute and cuddly image, the Zoo shipped him off to an antiquated enclosure in Antwerp Zoo where I filmed him exhibiting the stereotypical behaviour displayed by most captive polar bears. Minty died not long after. I believe other cubs were sent from Edinburgh to other foreign zoos including Japanese bear parks.Edinburgh Zoo is to be congratulated for providing Mercedes with good retirement quarters at the Highland Wildlife Park. I hope she will be the last polar bear in Britain to be used to produce

Sri Lankan elephant at National Zoo celebrated during Asian Elephant Day
That I am not in favor of zoos or captive breeding is no secret. I have talked about that here and on "Focus Earth with Bob Woodruff." (Age of Extinction: August 22, 2009)So when a reader directs my attention to an article in the Washington Post about the celebration of Asian Elephant Day, I trek to a newsstand and pay the premium out-of-state price for the paper. I am immediately saddend by the photograph---albeit skillfully and brilliantly composed by Post photographer Ricky Carioti--of a 7-year-old elephant named Kandula, who was born at the zoo. (Not the photo shown above and no link on the Post site, so far.) Kandula's situation is the kind that I find particularly distressing. He was born in captivity; he will die in captivity, never knowing the life his DNA promised. The Washington Post article by staff writer Michael S. Rosenwald cheerfully describes the glee of children visiting the zoo and the pride of the Sri Lankan dignitaries in attendance and explains the well-documented importance of elephants to the Sri Lankan culture. Kandula is the son of an orphaned elephant given to the National Zoo in 1976. A nice sanctuary

Zoo comparison - Cleveland vs. Columbus
Clearly, living in Columbus can spoil even the most ardent animal-lover for other zoos. Our zoo is ranked the best in the nation, and it is constantly expanding and improving on its offerings. We should recognize, however, that there are many other fine zoos to visit should we find ourselves outside the Columbus region, including several great zoos right here in Ohio. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is most assuredly one of those.As the name implies, the Cleveland Zoo is part of the Cleveland Metroparks system. Much like our own beloved Metro Parks, this system offers a wide variety of hiking, education, and other offerings in natural settings. The association between the Cleveland Metro Parks and the zoo has benefits for both the zoo and the other parks, and it has

Canadian helps found Afghan wildlife preserve
Guns and hand grenades have nearly wiped out many large animals and fish in Afghanistan. But Canadian wildlife biologist Chris Shank has helped found the country's first national park, providing safe haven to those creatures left behind after so many have become collateral damage in a country decimated by decades of war. Band-e-Amir holds rare attributes for a national park: exotic animals here have been frequently shot, marine life gets blown up by fishermen who carry explosives instead of fishing gear, and the path into the park bypasses landmines. In the midst sits a jewel of a region with rugged peaks and clear blue lakes in the Hindu Kush mountains of the central Bamiyan province. It was inaugurated last April near the site where 1,500-year-old Buddha statues were reduced to rubble by the Taliban in 2001. Its creation is a small victory, 30 years in the making, for the Alberta-based researcher who first saw its potential in the mid 1970s while working with a team of researchers from the United Nations. Since 2006, after signing with the U.S. Wildlife Conservation Society to oversee environmental projects in Afghanistan, he's been spending at least four months a year there championing ventures like Band-e-Amir. "It's a symbolic hurdle," Shank admits. "This

FDLE probe into ex-zoo boss will 'die on the vine,' his attorney says
An attorney for Lex Salisbury said today that the former president of Lowry Park Zoo won't be charged with any crimes after a city audit revealed he took supplies and animals to help start his private exotic-animal park.The Florida Department of Law Enforcement hasn't even interviewed Salisbury, attorney Robert McKee said today."That's not going anywhere," McKee said of the investigation. "It will die on the vine."A FDLE spokeswoman said Friday the agency continues to investigate Salisbury's actions.McKee made the comment today after he released a statement from Salisbury about a financial settlement with his former employer."I believe that the final resolution of this dispute supports the absence of any wrongdoing on my part," Salisbury said in the statement.City auditors were determined to "get Lex" rather

Cebu Provincial Capitol asserts ownership of lot occupied by zoo
The Cebu Provincial Government has reasserted its ownership of the property currently occupied by the Cebu City Zoo and warned the Cebu City Government against signing a Memorandum of Agreement intended for further zoo development.In a letter addressed to Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, Provincial Legal Officer Marino Martinquilla said the Province of Cebu is the rightful owner of the 70,000 square meter lot occupied by the Cebu City Zoo and the City of Cebu “has no right or authority to enter into a memorandum of agreementwith Robert Yupangco or any other person involving the same.”The property is adjacent to the Boy Scouts of the Philippines Cebu Council campsite at Capitol Hills, Cebu City. The Boy Scouts lot, marked 1298, was donated by the Province of Cebu, through a Deed of Donation in 1963, but the portion that is

Brno zoo wants to save pond tortoise population
The zoological garden in Brno, south Moravia, wants to attempt at renewing the population of the European pond tortoise (Emys orbicularis), the only original tortoise species living in the wild in the Czech Republic, the daily Lidove noviny (LN) reported Monday.The pond tortoise was widely spread on Czech territory until the end of the 18th century, but now the species is on the verge of extinction and it is almost impossible to observe it in the wild, LN writes.It adds that in the past the pond tortoise was also quite commonly served as a dish."Unlike the beasts of prey whose return to our mountains is not enthusiastically welcomed by everyone, no one should mind the harmless tortoises," Brno zoo director Martin Hovorka told LN, explaining why the zoo has chosen this endangered species.The Brno zoo is not breeding the pond tortoise itself, but it plans to get the suitable animals from the Viennese zoological garden and then multiply them for a later


Cincinnati Zoo Cheetah Prepared to Set Speed Record
The Cincinnati Zoo’s eight-year-old female cheetah Sarah is preparing to set the world record for all land mammals on Wednesday, September 9 at the Zoo’s Regional Cheetah Breeding Facility in Clermont County. The 100 meter run was originally scheduled to run at the Kentucky Speedway, but the Zoo’s Cat Ambassador trainers decided to go for the “home field advantage” and move the run to Sarah’s training facility. “Sarah is very comfortable at the Mast Farm,” said Cathryn Hilker, Founder of the Cincinnati Zoo’s Cat Ambassador Program. “When Sarah’s not running in the Cheetah Encounter at the Zoo during the summer, she runs at the Farm and does extremely well there. We are very grateful to the Kentucky Speedway for giving us the opportunity to run at their track, but

Bamboo-Loving Giant Pandas Can Warp a Zoo Nutritionist's Worldview
From the moment he wakes up in the morning until the moment he falls asleep at night, Mike Maslanka has one thing on his mind: bamboo. Bamboo, bamboo, bamboo bamboobamboobamboobam. This is what happens when you are responsible for making sure the three most famous animals in Washington -- Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and Tai Shan, the National Zoo's giant pandas -- don't starve. As the zoo's senior animal nutritionist, Mike is responsible for feeding all 2,000 animals at the zoo, but, let's face it, the pandas are the stars. Since bamboo is pretty much all a panda eats -- about 60 pounds of the stuff each day, every day -- bamboo has become Mike's obsession. And so yesterday morning Mike, a wiry 37-year-old, met a crew from the zoo's Bamboo Procurement Team in a bamboo grove in Montgomery County. Three days a week, sometimes more, they cut bamboo. Letters stuck on the front of the crew's truck said it all: "The bamboo never stops." Last year, for reasons that weren't entirely clear at first, the stands of bamboo the zoo maintains at its Front Royal, Va., conservation center stopped growing. Desperate, the zoo did something it had never done before: put out a call for help. Hundreds of people responded, including the contractor building the Intercounty Connector. Several large stands were found along the route, including this one near Layhill Road. Lots of people may hate the ICC, but it's putting bamboo on the table. Armed with loppers and wearing hard hats, Mike and his crew, Bernard Graham and

Crows eradication programme at Safari delayed
The eradication programme of crows from the Safari Park has been delayed further, as city district government has not appoint air gun shooter so far, it was learnt. Sources in the park administration said that the city district government has failed to resolve the much-awaited issue of the crows who have made life hell for the animals in Safari Park and Karachi Zoological Garden for the past several years. However, now this issue has become more serious as various precious animals are being planned to be brought here, but surprisingly, the authorities concerned did not take any final decision to resolve the issue by appointing air gun shooter in Zoo and Safari Park. They said that flock of crows always keep hovering at Safari Park, causing survival threats to the animals placed in the open cages such as Deer, Zebra, Bucks, Ostriches, Camels and other animals.According to the eyewitnesses, these crows always sit on the backs of the animals, injuring them badly by biting the flesh, causing infectious wounds and holes on their backs. The animals remained helpless in moving them

Escaped monkey moves in to house
A STUNNED family told yesterday of how they discovered a MONKEY in their living room.Gemma Peck, 18, was having her breakfast when boyfriend Colin Hinder spotted something move on top of the curtain rail.He thought it was a pigeon - then looked closer and found it was a tiny marmoset.The monkey - named Kite - had escaped with pal Ponty from Woburn Safari Park, Bucks, two miles away.It is believed that the intrepid pair scaled the 8ft park wall, crossed a busy A

'Creationist' zoo causes dismay
Tourism boards have been urged to stop promoting a North Somerset zoo which presents creationist ideas.The British Humanist Association (BHA) says Noah's Ark Zoo Farm undermines the teaching of science. Signs at the zoo in Wraxhall describe how the "three great people groups" could be descended from the three sons of Bible ark builder Noah. A spokeswoman for the zoo said they viewed the natural world as a product of both God and evolution. Another sign at the zoo says animals hunt and kill food because "man rebelled against

Zoo animals rounded up after High Park escape
Police patrolling Toronto's High Park early Wednesday morning came across some escapees from a local pen: llamas, a wallaby and a yak.The animals had escaped from the small zoo located inside the park after someone cut the chains and broke the locks on the enclosures housing the yak and the wallaby. A large hole was cut in the fence to the area housing the llamas. Both the north and the south gates to the zoo were open and unlocked. Police and zoo workers were able to round up all the animals — four

Cop investigated for feeding gorillas Pop-Tarts
A Minnesota police officer is under investigation after he allegedly snuck into a zoo to feed gorillas Pop-Tarts after hours.Surveillance video reportedly captured two zoo security guards sneaking in several people including the off-duty officer.Zoo officials say its not clear if the gorillas actually ate

Al Ain Wildlife Park launches all night zoo during Ramadan
For the first time in its 40-year history, Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort has launched an all night zoo and has invited people to observe the nocturnal behaviour of animals.The park will open its gates from 9pm to 2am during Ramadan, giving an opportunity to the public to watch a demonstration where penguins are fed. There will be other demonstrations at the Arabian and African mixed exhibits, said an official

Giant Pandas on Verge of Extinction
Giant Pandas in China are on the verge of extinction, the conservation group World Wildlife Fund said today. The problem: increasingly fragmented habitat due to human economic development, Reuters reports. "If the panda cannot mate with those from other habitats, it may face extinction within two to three generations," said Fan Zhiyong, Beijing-based species program director for WWF. "We have to act now." Panda's need lots of room and mature trees to survive. They breed just once

Showcase: Forgotten Elephants
Once the revered symbol of Thai culture, the backbone of industry and the protector of the country’s sovereignty during war, elephants now wander the streets of Bangkok, reduced to providing rides for tourists and helping their owners beg for their next meal.With their drivers — mahouts, they are called — the elephants dodge Bangkok’s chaotic traffic and the feeble attempts of the government and the police to push them out of the city.Many elephants were put out of work when logging became illegal in the 1980s, making it difficult for their owners to feed them. Wild ones have been hunted and driven from their natural habitat. It is estimated that there are now 2,500 domesticated and 1,500 wild elephants in Thailand, down from around 50,000 in 1950.Some of their owners bring them to Bangkok so they can afford to feed and care for the elephants, who are treated like family. Other owners are more mercenary, keeping the beasts in squalid conditions and renting them to the highest bidder for tourist rides.Pollution, traffic and noise make Bangkok inhospitable to elephants. Their presence is a source of controversy. Preservation and environmental organizations try

Aquarium Director Honored As Coastal Hero
The executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium is getting a special honor.Julie Packard is being named one of nine 2009 California Coastal Heroes by Sunset magazine and the California Coastal Commission.Packard and the other honorees will be profiled in the September issue of Sunset magazine and will receive their awards at the California Coastal Commission's 25th anniversary celebration in San Francisco on Sept. 17.The aquarium will celebrate its 25th anniversary Julie Packard Lauded For Work At Monterey Bay Aquarium

Zoo Won't Release Elephant Birth Video
Animal rights activists have urged a Salt Lake City zoo to release a video of an elephant giving birth, suggesting it shows cruel treatment.The video shows the elephant, Christy, chained by her front legs with two trainers standing nearby at the Hogle Zoo, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.Suzanne Roy, program director for In Defense of Animals, called chaining the elephant "cruel" and "barbaric.""If they think it's an acceptable practice, they should release the video and let people judge for themselves," Roy said.Holly Braithwaite, a zoo spokeswoman, said the video would be misconstrued on its own without a veterinarian explaining what was going on."The birth footage is internal video used for scientific review purposes," she said. "It's not something we chose to publicly release."The board of directors of the Hogle Zoo viewed the video Monday.Zoos have different policies on releasing

Zoo in bad condition
I CONCUR with S.M. Mohd Idris’ view which appeared in The Star on Aug 25 that Zoo Negara should place more emphasis on the welfare of its animals. For years, complaints from disappointed visitors and outraged animal lovers have been met with the official response that once Zoo Negara receives funds, it would be able to upgrade its facilities and improve the living conditions of the animals.Years have passed but the animals are still living in a squalor. Very little effort has been made to truly educate visitors on the animals’ natural history or on animal welfare and wildlife conservation issues.I am of the opinion that improving the quality of life of zoo animals need not be a costly exercise. The management of Zoo Negara could take basic steps such as the following:> All washable substrates should be cleaned and disinfected regularly and rotting food and animal waste must be removed from non-washable substrates as quickly as possible for health, safety and aesthetic purposes.> There should be proper drainage systems in the animal enclosures, and there should not be standing water

£100,000 expansion plans for village's zoo
A SMALL zoo is continuing with plans for expansion.Shaldon Wildlife Trust wants to extend its animal enclosure area and make the site more wheelchair-friendly.The plan is part of a wider vision to make the trust accessible to everyone.An application to build new animal houses, enclosures and pedestrian pathways will go before Teignbridge Council's planning committee on Tuesday.The proposal, which has been recommended for approval, is to extend the animal enclosure area and build new animal housing and pathways.The pathways will link the top of the existing zoo area to a new ramp and access point next to the entrance building for the zoo on Ness Drive, near the tunnel to Ness beach.Boardwalk pathways around the animal enclosure areas will have passing places every 10 metres and seating areas.The buildings in the enclosures

Zoo keepers nurse rare cormorant to health
A RARE chick has come out of quarantine after being nursed into the world by zoo keepers trying to save the endangered species.The bank cormorant at Living Coasts, the coastal zoo in Torquay, is the first of its kind to be hatched in the UK.Ten eggs were collected from nests on Robben Island, off the South African coast near Cape Town, better known as the former prison home of Nelson Mandela, as part of a conservation programme to establish a new species in a zoo environment.The bank cormorant is an endangered



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



The story of a man's obsession with whales, which takes him on a personal, historical and biographical journey -- from his childhood to his fascination with Moby-Dick and his excursions whale-watching. All his life, Philip Hoare has been obsessed by whales, from the gigantic skeletons in London's Natural History Museum to adult encounters with the wild animals themselves. Whales have a mythical quality -- they seem to elide with dark fantasies of sea-serpents and antediluvian monsters that swim in our collective unconscious. In 'Leviathan', Philip Hoare seeks to locate and identify this obsession. What impelled Melville to write 'Moby-Dick'? After his book in 1851, no one saw whales in quite the same way again. This book is an investigation into what we know little about -- dark, shadowy creatures who swim below the depths, only to surface in a spray of spume. More than the story of the whale, it is also the story of our own obsessions.



AUGUST 2009 Vol. 1 No. 8 Pages 401-444
Date of Publication 26 August 2009 (online and print)

Contents Pp. 401-444
PDF (225Kb)

Composition, abundance and ecology of phytoplankton communities of Loktak Lake, Manipur, India
--B.K. Sharma, Pp.401-410
Abstract HTML PDF (209Kb)

Microcrustacea (Crustacea: Branchiopoda) of Deepor Beel, Assam, India: richness, abundance and ecology
--B.K. Sharma & Sumita Sharma, Pp.411-418
Abstract HTML PDF (243Kb)

First report of Colletotrichum spp. causing diseases on Capsicum spp. In Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia
--Ha Kwan Yun, Abdul Hamid Ahmad, Sepiah Muid & Jaya Seelan Sathiya Seelan, Pp.419-424
Abstract HTML PDF (749Kb)

Redescription of siluroid Catfish Pterocryptis barakensis Vishwanath & Nebeshwar (Siluriformes: Siluridae)
--W. Vishwanath & K. Nebeshwar, Pp.425-428
Abstract HTML PDF (557Kb)

Nesting behaviour of the Baya Weaver bird, Ploceus philippinus (Ploceidae) and the life-cycle of the Plains Cupid butterfly, Chilades pandava (Lycaenidae) with the red-listed Cycas sphaerica and C. beddomei (Cycadaceae)
--A.J. Solomon Raju, Pp.429-433
Abstract HTML PDF (401Kb)

Two new Asteridiella species from Tamil Nadu, India
--V.B. Hosagoudar, K. Ravikumar & G.R. Archana, Pp.434-436
Abstract HTML PDF (430Kb)

Additions to fungi of India
--V.B. Hosagoudar & G.R. Archana, Pp.437-438
Abstract HTML PDF (247Kb)

First record of Eubroncus from India (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea: Mymaridae), with description of a new species
--Mohammad Hayat & F.R. Khan, Pp.439-440
Abstract HTML PDF (191Kb)

An insight into the ethnozoology of Panch Pargana area of Jharkand, India
--Bandana Kumari & Sudhanshu Kumar, Pp.441-443
Abstract HTML PDF (251Kb)

A note on occurrence of Ehrlichia infection in a Langur (Semnopithecus sp.) from Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
--B.S. Baviskar, P.J. Gawande, A.K. Jayraw, D.K. Maske & S.S. Raut, P.444
Abstract HTML PDF (123Kb)


The old ones are always the best ones. This has been sent to me several times over the past two weeks so I thought I should incude for those who have never heard the story.

A well-planned retirement

Outside the Bristol Zoo, in England, there is a parking lot for 150 cars and 8 coaches, or buses.

It was manned by a very pleasant attendant with a ticket machine charging cars 1 pound (about $1.40) and coaches 5 (about $7).

This parking attendant worked there solid for all of 25 years. Then, one day, he just didn't turn up for work.

"Oh well", said Bristol Zoo Management - "we'd better phone up the City Council and get them to send a new parking attendant..."

"Err ... no", said the Council, "that parking lot is your responsibility."

"Err ... no", said Bristol Zoo Management, "the attendant was employed by the City Council, wasn't he?"

"Err ... NO!" insisted the Council.

Sitting in his villa somewhere on the coast of Spain, is a bloke who had been taking the parking lot fees, estimated at 400 pounds (about $560) per day at Bristol Zoo for the last 25 years. Assuming 7 days a week, this amounts to just over 3.6 million pounds ($7 million).

And no one even knows his name.


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Peter Dickinson

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