Monday, August 31, 2009

Zoo News Digest 28th - 31st August 2009 (Zoo News 616)

Zoo News Digest 28th - 31st August 2009 (Zoo News 616)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleagues,

I have to apologise. I get a lot of email. Hundreds of bits of correspondence every week. What I do not get round to dealing with immediately I tend to 'drag and drop' into a designated folder and get round to it later. Today I discovered that a huge quantity of what has been sent to me in the past 12 months has, by some mystical method, dropped into a folder that I never use. It holds past correspondence of a personal nature. This 'missing' mail has included dozens of bits and pieces sent for inclusion in the the digest. So...sorry that is why you have never seen them. Once again I apologise. I will check the other folder daily from now on.

Okay, hands up. Who among you has not had four animals die in your zoo during the past three years? Animals die. People die. The one thing that we are all certain about is that we are all going to die. Sadly animals cannot tell us when they are sick or where or when it hurts. We do our best to know by learning all we can about our animals, their ways, their characteristics but sometimes it is not enough. It is part of their natural biology, the 'law of the jungle' to hide disability and pain. We know too it is not in their interests to stress them out for intrusive examination as that very stress may cause the very problems we were concerned about. What am I talking about? I am talking about Topeka Zoo and the stress that staff are being put under by having their professionalism, caring and dedication questioned.
Now 63 animals in one year is a bit different. Depending on the size of the zoo of course, the species involved that might need investigating.

Docents disappearing. How very sad. A new name. For why? Reading between the lines I see another problem here which someone seems unable to deal with. Talk about using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

I am delighted to read of the success of the Condor release programme in Colombia. Birds increased from 15 to 150. That really is a success story. The Andean Condor has a special place in my heart. I was the EEP for the species for a number of years, compiled the studbook and did most of the groundwork on the Management Guidelines (not sure where that is up to). Data collection was as interesting as it was frustrating and any breeding within Europe, noteworthy.

The problem with the European Captive Population was not so much the breeding but breeding from captive bred birds. It just did not happen. Just about every single captive bred bird in Europe was Hand Reared and Hand Reared birds, it would seem, never successfully bred and certainly never reared their own chicks. In fact to my knowledge, since 1900 or so up till a few years ago when I stopped with the studbook only once ever had a hand reared pair successfully bred. I know of only one other instance since and if there are more you can probably count them on one hand. The two cases I know of, the chicks did not survive. I could foresee a very gloomy future for the Andean Condor population in Europe. As the older wild caught birds (some were very old) died out there would be no viable younger birds to replace them. The prospect of obtaining further birds from the wild was unrealistic and to contribute to any release programme in the wild with hand reared birds was simply out of the question. Hand reared birds did not breed in captivity successfully so to release them into a wild population would be detrimental to dangerous. I am, as I said, delighted with the success in Colombia. I hope Europe catches up soon.

I share the grief of those in Auckland over the tragic loss of their elephant. It must be very sad. I have been in a similar position a time or two. Why oh why can the anti's just keep their damn noses out? They always like to kick people whilst they are down. They seem to take positive pleasure out of it. The anti-zoo brigade I have decided do not like animals, they certainly know nothing about them and they don't like people either.

'Save the Lions'....sorry. I appreciate and understand the thoughts and emotions but let us be realistic about this. These 14 lions in a Romanion Zoo would be far better euthanased than brought to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. As a commercial exercise yes, it will be a whizz, and is sure to bring in thousands of visitors to see the 'saved' animals and make a lot of money. But they are being saved for what? They should never be bred. They are of zero value to any conservation programme. All they are going to do is take up space that could be productively used for a something else. True enough there is an opportunity to educate but on its own that is not enough and certainly not a reason to bring these animals to the UK. Euthanasia is not cruel, unkind or painful. It is a realistic consideration and something applied to thousands of homeless cats and dogs in the UK each year. It make me very angry when I see newspapers using emotional rubbish using words like SHOT (their capitals) and 'execution'. What absolute crap. The kindest option....really....really is to put the animals peacefully to sleep where they are. Not that my thoughts on the matter make a remotest bit of difference but I think that The Yorkshire Wildlife Park should step back from this deal and think for a moment. Is this conservation? Is it?

Whilst we are venturing into the world of sop and sentiment please read the link 'Centre helps traumatised big cats'. This is the Abu Dhabi Wildlife Centre. Yet another 'do as I say, not as I do' collection which only exists to pander to its eccentric and uniformed management.

Despite the efforts of the centre to educate the public about keeping wild animals as pets, the practice continues.
Some people think that they can keep these animals as pets but later they realise how difficult it is, Barcellos said.

Then take a look on YouTube. Why is she playing with big cats? How does that figure?

The centre promotes the conservation and....

So why keep White Lions? Where does that fit in anywhere?

Meanwhile, two Siberian Tigers have been donated to the centre for a breeding programme.

Oh..oh...good. And exactly which breeding programme are we referring too? Please tell more. Just where are any resulting progeny to be sent too?

Cheetahs, white tigers and Bengal tigers are the other prominent endangered species at the centre.

White Tigers?! Endangered? Ohmygosh. I despair. The Abu Dhabi Wildlife Centre is a collection built up on a lack of knowledge and really has no need to least in its present state. Radical change is needed.

Yes I am being controversial and no doubt many will disagree with me but just as many will. I say as I see it. In the meantime I will continue to upset everyone in the zoo world but...I remain pro zoo and I give a damn. You can add your comments at the end of this post if you feel so inclined.

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Desperate Situation in Madagascar

Zoo docents fading from landscape
Jack Gelfond laid a hand across the two little metal elephants on the pocket of his safari shirt."It hurts me," he said. We were standing outside the Lincoln Park Zoo. He looked like he might cry. "This really hurts me."Almost every Tuesday for 14 years, since he retired as a nationally celebrated salesman, Gelfond, a robust 78, has put on his safari shirt and headed to his docent's job.Tuesday after Tuesday, with a vaudevillian verve, he has told visitors the length of a giraffe's tongue (18 inches) and the size of a polar bear's baby (the palm of his hand). Nothing makes him happier than persuading a scared kid to pet a snake.Then one August day, he and the 200 or so other docents learned news that felt to many like a shot in the heart: The 38-year-old docent program would vanish on Oct. 31. After a winter hiatus, the zoo would return with a volunteer program. But the new jobs would be narrower, more boring and less free-spirited (Gelfond's view) or (in the zoo's view) more specialized, professionalized and helpful to visitors.The new volunteers, for example, won't get to roam around during their free hour chatting with zoo guests. Fewer will get to handle animals. More will stand at information carts.They won't even be called docents. They'll be -- Gelfond shuddered -- "ambassadors." And they'll have to apply for the new jobs."I have to be re-interviewed," he said. "After 14 years. Fill out a form. Like a new employee."The Lincoln Park Zoo is one of only three free major zoos in the country. It sits in the heart of Chicago's wealthiest neighborhood yet throbs with people from every cranny of the city. The docents in their safari shirts, many of them elderly, are as much a part of the landscape as the zebras. Gelfond is far from the only one who is stunned and distressed."We understand that institutions have to change, make calculated upgrades," said Kathy Jordan, 68, who on Friday was drafting a letter to management on behalf of a couple dozen docents. "But we don't think the senior staff is understanding the emotional effect of this on us."For 13 years, through the deaths of her parents, through her cancer and her husband's illness, one thing has been a constant comfort: her Tuesdays as a docent."The docent corps has been like family," she said.The zoo is trying to keep up with the times. As one zoo document puts it, "the antiquated volunteer utilization model ... does not enhance the zoo's strategic initiatives and often,0,4390070.column

Scientists work to repopulate Colombia's skies with condors
Andean condors were once hunted to near extinction. Now teams feed and track the giant carrion-eaters, brought from U.S. zoos, and have increased their numbers tenfold. Tourism also benefits.Reporting from Sogamoso, Colombia - In ancient times, they were revered as messengers of the gods. Later, they proudly soared on the Colombian coat of arms. But at this moment, two young condors just wanted their dinner.And so it was that peasant "condor keepers" this month placed a cow fetus on a desolate rain-swept cliff here in the Colombian Andes, the weekly ration for Iraka and Ogonta, two females released this year in a repopulation program sponsored by the San Diego Zoo.Donated by a local slaughterhouse, the carcasses are the ideal diet for the monumental birds -- "good-quality rotting food," as the zoo's Alan Lieberman described it.The Andean condors are the latest of 70 birds released in Colombia since 1989 after being hatched and raised in 20 U.S. zoos, most often at the San Diego Zoo. The reintroduction program has helped push Colombia's condor population to about 150 birds, said Orlando Feliciano, a Bogota-based veterinarian who has worked with the San Diego Zoo on the project since its inception. In the mid-1980s, condors in Colombia numbered no more than 15, he said.For centuries condors were killed by people who either thought, mistakenly, that the carrion birds attacked their livestock or that their feathers or bones had magical or medicinal power."They were virtually extinct, as they are today in Venezuela," Feliciano said.The condors have an impressive survival rate here: About 70% are thought to live through the yearlong reintroduction into the wild before being forced to "make a living on their own," Lieberman said. That success reflects in part the environmental consciousness of towns such as this one, not to mention the residents' realization that the birds can be a tourist boon. Located about 110 miles northeast of Bogota, the capital, Sogamoso is on the edge of the 100,000-acre Siscunsi Regional Nature Park that the state of Boyaca established expressly for the condors.When Iraka wandered to a town 30 miles from here this month and perched, disoriented, looking for food, locals knew to call authorities here to capture the bird and take it back to the Siscunsi park.Eleven local farmers, including Victor Rios, have been named "condor keepers." Outfitted with uniforms, binoculars and hand-held antennas that detect signals emitted from radio transmitters attached to the condors' wings, he monitors the birds' movements as best he can. "They are such majestic animals you can't help but be fascinated," said Rios, who also is paid a small monthly stipend. The condors imported to Colombia were all hatched by pairs of Andean condors in zoos in San Diego, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Denver and elsewhere.Once the birds are 3 to 4 years old, they are turned over to the San Diego Zoo, which outfits them with radio transmitters to track them and then ships them to Colombia, where biologists in five Andean regions called "repopulation nuclei" take over. The apparent success of the costly program, which parallels a program for the California condor, bespeaks the financial and personnel commitment of the U.S. zoos, particularly San Diego's, that underwrite most of the costs.The raising, transportation and outfitting of each condor with an implanted radio costs "thousands of dollars" per bird, said Michael Mace, San Diego Zoo's curator of birds."We do it because we can, as stewards of the planet, and mindful of our responsibility to take care of the ecosystem and the wildlife within it," said Lieberman, who directs the San Diego Zoo's field programs and who has long conducted field research in Colombia.The two condors released in February brought to 11 the total set free in Boyaca state since 2004. (Two have died, one killed by a hunter, another electrocuted on a high-voltage power line.) The state environment office, Corpoboyaca, and a local nongovernmental organization known as Fundetropico educate local schoolchildren and peasants that, contrary to common belief, condors do not kill livestock or pose a threat to humans, but eat only carrion.Over the centuries, such misconceptions caused a relentless hunting down of the animals that once ranged across South America. The education programs tout the condors' role in cleaning up the environment and their cultural significance. "Condors are the emblem of Colombia, a symbol for all South America," Feliciano said."We teach the mythic value of the condor, how pre-Columbians saw them as a medium of the gods," said Olga Lucia Nunez, a biologist with Fundetropico here, adding that the birds that silently glide for hours with 10-foot wingspans inspire awe. "Condors stand for peace and respect. They are messengers from the sun."Locals who just a few years ago had never seen a condor now relish their sightings and say the establishment of the park has been a boon to the economy. This isolated part of Colombia now sees up to 200 condor-seeking tourists a month.Standing up for condors can pay dividends, said local store,0,2229454.story

Humanists accuse West Country zoo of pushing creationist agenda
Noah's Ark farm denies allegations, saying it promotes debate between science and religion over evolutionA secular group was today demanding that tourism groups stop promoting what it calls a "creationist" zoo, that questions the traditional view of evolution.The Noah's Ark zoo farm, in Wraxall, near Bristol, was accused by the British Humanist Association (BHA) of misleading tens of thousands of annual visitors and "threatening public understanding".The zoo, however, rejected the BHA's claims that it is not open about its interest in creationism, the belief that all life was created by God, and said that it wanted to promote a debate about Darwinism and 6000 BC creationism (also known as young Earth creationism), both of which it said on its website were "flawed" and "extreme in their own rights".The BHA has written to the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums , North Somerset council, Visit Britain and the tourism group South West England, asking them to remove Noah's Ark from their material.The BHA said the zoo farm, run by husband and wife Anthony and Christina Bush, seeks to discredit scientific facts such as radio carbon dating, the fossil record and the speed

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Three astounding women scientists have in recent years penetrated the jungles of Africa and Borneo to observe, nurture, and defend humanity’s closest cousins. Jane Goodall has worked with the chimpanzees of Gombe for nearly 50 years; Diane Fossey died in 1985 defending the mountain gorillas of Rwanda; and Biruté Galdikas lives in intimate proximity to the orangutans of Borneo. All three began their work as protégées of the great Anglo-African archeologist Louis Leakey, and each spent years in the field, allowing the apes to become their familiars—and ultimately waging battles to save them from extinction in the wild.

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Glacier National Park grizzly deaths
Two grizzlies at Montana's Glacier National Park were killed by park officials last week — one, unfortunately, unintentionally.Glacier National Park issued a press release today clarifying that the death of a male grizzly bear cub on Aug. 17 was attributed to a tranquilizer dart injection it received at the time its 17-year-old mother was being "humanely dispatched" (National Park-speak for "killed") for becoming too habituated to humans. A second cub, a female, was captured and will be transferred to the Bronx Zoo. Shown below is park officials transferring the cub to a larger trap.

Avian malaria takes toll on zoo penguins
A penguin problem as popped up at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo. Two of them have died over the past few weeks while several others are sick, and it appears a type of malaria is to blame.Ever since the new exhibit at the zoo opened in May with 20 Humboldt penguins, it's been a hit. The little animals that stand about a foot and a half tall love to entertain, and families who pass by can't get enough."They just move a lot, so they have a lot of action," said Courtney Shamek of Bonney Lake. "A lot of the other exhibits, the animals are kinda stationary. Here, they like to move. It's more exciting."But two penguins have died this month -- the latest death just a few days ago by a suspected case of avian malaria, which might have also contributed to the first penguin's death."We're all pretty emotionally drained, including our vet staff and our penguin keepers in particular," said animal curator Mark Myers. "(It's) an amazing amount of time to monitor each bird in the colony."Zoo officials say the penguins are very susceptible to diseases or viruses that are spread by mosquitoes, such as avian

Girl gorillas go ape for French pinup hunk
You don't want to monkey around on a blind date, especially if your friends are also taking an interest in the same dark, handsome stranger.So when three female gorillas at London Zoo heard that they would soon be visited by a brooding French hunk -- well, they went a bit bananas.The latest development in Anglo-French relations sees Yeboah, a 20-stone 12-year-old, leave his current home at La Boissiere Du Dore Zoo, Pays de la Loire, northwest France and head for the British capital by the end of the year.There he will be greeted by gorilla trio Zaire, Effie and Mjukuu, who were given posters of their prospective boyfriend for the first time Thursday.One female gorilla shrieked in delight, while another wedged the poster

Zoo's Huge Loss
Mourners will be able to farewell Auckland Zoo’s elephant Kashin when she is laid to rest in the grounds. New Zealand Centre for Conservation manager Craig Pritchard confirmed yesterday that Kashin, who died on Monday evening, would be buried at the zoo, her home of 36 years.The zoo was closed yesterday as a mark of respect for Kashin and to give staff a chance to mourn.“Obviously she’s captured the hearts of all the staff as well as all of Auckland and all New Zealanders,” says Mr Pritchard.The decision to euthanase 40-year-old Kashin was made on Monday after her health deteriorated badly over the weekend.Kashin had suffered from chronic arthritis and foot abscesses for years and had recently developed skin infections over her body that were not healing.Mr Pritchard says while staff were grieving, they had also been prepared for the inevitable after

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A comprehensive book intended for anyone maintaining bats in captivity. It comprises 44 papers by 22 contributing authors. Bats in Captivity is the only book of its kind, detailing the care of captive bats worldwide. This volume, Biological and Medical Aspects, includes a drug formulary, information on public health, anatomy and physiology, controlling reproduction, parasitology, and veterinary medicine and surgery, plus many other related subjects.

Red tape means new elephant years away
Any replacement for Auckland Zoo favourite Kashin will come from established Asian elephant breeding programmes under way in Europe.But a new addition to the zoo's elephant colony - which since Kashin's death on Monday stands at one - is likely to be at least two years away.Zoo director Jonathan Wilcken yesterday said regulations did not allow for the importing of new elephants, and the zoo would have to wait for Biosecurity New Zealand to approve new quarantine standards.He said a female would be the ideal partner for Burma in the

Activists oppose Auckland zoo's elephant plan
Animals rights activists are opposing plans to increase elephant numbers at the Auckland Zoo following Kashin's death. The 40-year-old Asian elephant was put down last Monday because of her deteriorating health. She was suffering from arthritis, foot abscesses and skin infections.Auckland Zoo director Jonathan Wilcken said the zoo hoped to replace Kashin in the next six to 12 months and had long-term plans to extend the elephant area."We want to establish a much larger breeding herd of elephants that replicates a natural social structure for elephants," he said.The zoo would work with the European Elephant Breeding Programme to secure suitable breeding elephants.However, Saving Animals From Exploitation (SAFE) campaign director Hans Kriek strongly opposed the plan.He quoted recent research which showed most elephants died considerably earlier in zoos than they would in the wild."Kashin is a perfect example. Her problems – arthritis and feet problems – are very common in captive elephants," he said."That's one of the main reasons they have to be euthanased – they just don't cope."If the zoo was acting in remaining elephant Burma's best interests, they would relocate her to an open range zoo where she could have the company of her own kind.The zoo could the use the space opened up by the

Experts Form Global Alliance for Amphibian Survival
A new coalition of organizations, the Amphibian Survival Alliance, is being established in an attempt to conserve the world's vanishing frogs, toads and salamanders. Threats to these species are numerous - a deadly fungus, habitat loss, pollution, pesticides and climate change. The alliance came together at the first Amphibian Mini Summit at the Zoological Society of London last week. The group includes amphibian specialists working in the wild as well as those in zoos, aquariums and botanical gardens."If we want to stop the amphibian extinction crisis, we have to protect the areas where amphibians are threatened by habitat destruction," says Claude Gascon, co-chair of the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group. "One of the reasons amphibians are in such dire straits is because many species are only found in single sites and are therefore much more susceptible to habitat loss."Blue poison dart frog found in southern Suri

Brazilian zoo investigated over dying animals
Sixty-three animals, including a lion, two giraffes and two hippos, have mysteriously died at zoo in Goiania in last year aloneBrazilian authorities are investigating a series of mysterious deaths at a zoo in the city of Goiania after 63 animals died this year alone.The latest casualty was Kim, a former circus giraffe, whose limp corpse was winched from its enclosure on Tuesday. The cause of death is unknown.Another giraffe, 17-year-old Tico, died in June. Both animals were seized from a circus troupe last year after allegations of mistreatment.Goiania's zoo, which houses about 600 animals, closed its gates on 21 July after the deaths of 47 animals, including a lion, a jaguar, two hippos, an ant-eater and a caiman.But the death toll has continued to rise and reports in the Brazilian media now suggest environmental police are examining the possibility of poisoning. Following Kim's death, the local public prosecutor called for a full investigation

Mammal database identifies species destined for trouble
What would happen to polar bears if people built towns in the deep Arctic? Or to tiger populations, if India's grasslands turned to desert?A new database that allows users to explore the factors that predispose different mammalian species to extinction – from human encroachment to slow reproductive rate – could be useful in planning conservation schemes, its developers say. Anyone can access the online system, YouTHERIA, which allows users to manipulate parameters including habitat ecology, litter size and diet, and test their own hypotheses.It relies on a vast database of all known and recently extinct mammals, called PanTHERIA, which lists details of the species' ecology, behaviour, diet, geographical range and habitat, based on more than two decades of published research. The database also records the extent to which each of the 5000-odd species

Rare monkeys stolen from Kolkata Zoo rescued
Seven of the eight rare monkeys stolen from Kolkata Zoo three weeks ago have been tracked down by the Chhattisgarh police in Durg and are being brought back to the city over the weekend. One of the eight has died.Raju Das, who is holding additional charge of Kolkata Zoological Gardens, told The Hindu on Saturday that a team of officials from the zoo accompanied by police officers has left for Durg and would bring back the animals by Monday after examining them. “We will quarantine the animals for some time after which they will be back on display,” he said.Kolkata Zoo was the only zoological garden in the country, other than Mysore Zoo, to have this exotic species of monkeys who are just about the size of a big country rat. The sensational theft had stirred up a storm which caught in its gust the then Director of the zoo, Subir Chowdhury, who was suspended within 24 hours of the incident even as investigations were launched to probe any administrative lapses.The Police Superintendent of Durg, Deepanshu

'Cyber-traffic' endangering primates in Cameroon
Advertisements on the Internet to woo buyers into taking "playful primates" from Cameroon into their homes have become one of the primary means of further threatening already endangered species.Such sales would be illegal, since dealing in primates is forbidden in the central African country. In the past three years, however, the Internet has led to a flourishing trade in endangered species, according to an environmental activist in the front line.Ofir Drori directs a small non-governmental organisation, the Last Great Ape Organization (Laga-Cameroon), which works in conjunction with the Cameroonian ministry of forestry and wildlife to try to stem the lucrative trade in beasts both dead and alive."Kiki is ready for a new family. He has gentle and charming manners. Kiki is handsome and playful," reads an advertisement on the Internet to sell a chimpanzee from Cameroon.The ad says that the chimpanzee comes with "veterinary health documents, a "permit" from CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of

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Topeka Zoo makes changes after USDA inspection
The Topeka Zoo is feeling a hard hit after a report was released from the USDA. The report raised concerns about four animals dying at the zoo in the past three years. Mike Coker, the zoo director, said the zoo is taking the inspection seriously."We're concerned we take it very seriously. We're going to be working with USDA. We are setting up a meeting to sit down with them and look through this," he said.The USDA says a black leopard was given medication for hip dysplasia and died in 2006. The medication was proven detrimental over a long period of time but the information about the meds came out in 2008.The report says a hippo died in October 2006 and it implied the water the hippos were in was too warm.It also stated a 17 day old lion cub died after a fall in June of 2007. Coker told us about the incident."That's when Mom put it up on the shelf in the nursery and Mom was taking care of everything and it was observed kind of tumbling
Centre helps traumatised big cats
The past still haunts two tigers at Abu Dhabi Wildlife Centre (ADWC). They are afraid of entering their small feeding area in the corner of their spacious enclosure. "It seems they fear being caught in a cramped cage again, from where they were rescued. So & they go without food for two or three days, being reluctant to enter the feeding area," Rone'l Barcellos, the manager of the centre told Gulf News. The centre is located near Al Watbha, on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi city. Barcellos is struggling to encourage the tigers to get rid of their "phobia". The centre is planning to increase the space at the tigers' present enclosure. About 75 per cent of the animals at the centre were rescued from illegal captivity, but the comfort of air conditioned rooms and timely food may not be enough for them. Sometimes the centre has to struggle to help the animals get rid of their "shocking experiences in the past" as in the case of the two tigers. Zulu, a six-year-old African lion reached the centre when he was a five-month-old cub. Along with Bolt, a five-month-old cheetah, and other creatures, Zulu belongs to a list of animals rescued from captivity.Despite the efforts of the centre to educate the public about keeping wild animals as pets, the practice continues. Some people think that they can keep these animals as pets but later they realise how difficult it is, Barcellos said. "It is also dangerous," she said. After a while either

Save the lions
Caged in a cramped and rusty Romanian hell-hole these starving big cats face death...unless we help LEANING her emaciated body against the small rusty cage, starving lioness Anetta paws at the bars forlornly as the days count down to her pride's execution. For Anetta and 13 other kings and queens of the jungle - some too weak to stand or even roar - are to be SHOT unless something is done to save them. The squalid, ramshackle Romanian zoo that has been their home all their lives has been condemned as unfit for animals by the European Union. And its director has no money to build proper enclosures to

The Creationist zoo: how humanists are turning into thought police
The British Humanist Association has asked the tourist board to stop promoting the Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Somerset because the zoo “misleads the public by not being open about its Creationist agenda in its promotional activities and by advancing misunderstandings of the natural world”. The secular Stasi, in other words, is at it again.Look: I’m not a creationist. And, as I’ve argued elsewhere, I certainly don’t think creationism should be taught in schools (though I don’t think mentioning it should be considered a criminal offence). But shouldn’t these atheists learn to chill out a bit? The clue is in the name - it’s the “Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm”, not a Richard Dawkins centre of excellence. It doesn’t even promote creationism per se. The Telegraph reports the zoo’s owners, Anthony and Christina Bush, saying:”We are slightly different from popular Creationism and hold a view that the natural world around us is the product of both God and evolution.”Although technically Creationists

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Chimpanzee Behavior encapsulates the fascinating behaviour of wild chimps and discusses the differences observed in different populations across the species, and across the many levels of their social behaviour. It tells the story of why sex competition in a forest chimpanzee population made the females of the group highly social and gave the males a high level of within-group solidarity, making them very xenophobic towards outsiders. Christophe Boesch brings back to the table the debate over ecological pressures and social organization, and the influence they have over issues such as the evolution of warfare, co-operation, altruism and the position of females. Writing for undergraduate and graduate students, he presents insightful views to give readers the background information to understand the struggle for survival of our closest living relative, the chimpanzee, and through this find some keys to the ever-so-intriguing question of what makes us human.

The blackbuck stops here: zoo caught misleading public
TARONGA Western Plains Zoo has been suspended from selling animals after it misled the public about the sale of endangered antelope to a member of the Shooters' Party lobbying for the right to hunt them.Documents obtained under Freedom of Information show the zoo made none of the contractual safeguards it claimed to have implemented to protect the 16 blackbuck antelope from being hunted on Bob McComb's proposed game reserve. Instead, the sale contract stipulated the zoo accepted no responsibility for the animals after they left Dubbo.Internal correspondence shows the animals were sold to Mr McComb for less than half their value and had been bred for the sale after the zoo's population dropped to a historic low. While the zoo maintains that a senior veterinarian inspected Mr McComb's property before the sale, there is no mention of the assessment in the zoo's correspondence and no record of a report being prepared.The minister responsible for the zoo, Carmel Tebbutt, has demanded a report into the zoo's trade of animals after the Herald revealed the antelope sale to Mr McComb. She said it would include ''what further animal welfare protections should be put in place … In the meantime, the zoo has suspended such transactions with private operators."A zoo spokeswoman said: ''The zoo is at its heart dedicated to animal welfare. There is no history of mistreatment of animals that have been transferred from its care … [but] it was incorrectly stated that transaction records included a reference indicating the animals were to be used for breeding purposes only.''The documents also show that Tony English, who was called on to resign from the zoo's ethics committee after the Herald reported the sale

Call for temporary ban on zoo animal sales

A TEMPORARY ban on Taronga Western Plains Zoo selling animals should be made permanent, the NSW opposition says, amid concerns animals are being sold for the wrong reasons.State Environment Minister Carmel Tebbutt has demanded a report into the Dubbo zoo's trade of animals after claims it misled the public about the sale of endangered antelope. The antelope were sold to a member of The Shooters' Party lobbying for the right to hunt them. Documents obtained by the NSW Greens under Freedom of Information (FOI) show the zoo made none of the contractual safeguards it claimed to have implemented to protect the 16 blackbuck antelope from being hunted on Bob McComb's proposed game reserve. Instead, the sale contract stipulated the zoo accepted no responsibility for the animals after they left Dubbo. Opposition environment spokeswoman Catherine Cusack said Ms Tebbutt's temporary ban on the sale of animals should be permanent, saying she could not see an instance where the resale of zoo animals could be justified. "I can't think of any good reason for a zoo to be selling animals," she said. "I can think of many, many good reasons why they,25197,26006401-12377,00.html

Endangered crocodiles get a lake to call their own
Local residents had to be persuaded not to hunt and kill the reintroduced reptilesMembers of the world's most threatened crocodile species have been re-introduced into the wild in a scheme that many supporters had feared "could never be done".Fewer than 100 fully grown Philippine crocodiles survive in the wild and the species, Crocodylus mindorensis, is on the brink of extinction. But now conservationists have released 50 juvenile Philippine crocodiles which were raised in captivity into a lake on Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines.Crocodiles have been bred in captivity by the Philippines government since 1987 but no one had dared release any of the creatures until now. Many conservationists said the project would not work because so many of the locals feared and hated the animals that any released crocodiles would be hunted down and slaughtered. It finally went ahead after researchers spent a decade working with local people to convince them to allow the crocodiles to live in peace.The larger and more deadly saltwater crocodile is also found in the Philippines and its presence has contributed to many people's hatred of the reptiles and their eagerness to kill them. Calling someone a crocodile in the local language is regarded as a gross insult.Jan van der Ploeg, of Leiden University in the Netherlands, who helped lead the programme, said: "We had to make sure the threats to the species were addressed and that local people were supportive. People still killed them out of fear, for food or for fun. They would kill them to make sure they wouldn't eat livestock or children."That we were able to bring these animals out of the farm into the wild for the first time is a great step. For a long time it was thought you couldn't reintroduce them because of the rural population of people. Now we have done it."Merlijn van Weerd of the Mabuwaya Foundation, who led the project, said: "Many conservationists had already given it up. So apart from establishing a viable wild population of Philippine crocodiles the reintroduction also shows there is hope for Philippine biodiversity at large."The crocodile, which is only found in the Philippines, is much rarer than the giant panda, the orang-utan or the black rhino, he said. The species used to be common throughout the archipelago but is now restricted to a handful of small islands.Demand for crocodile-skin handbags and shoes during the 1960s and 1970s was a prime factor in the species being driven almost to extinction. Other threats include the use of dynamite by fishermen to kill or stun fish, which often simultaneously kills or maims the crocodiles. But loss of habitat is the single biggest threat, driven by destruction of the rainforests to make way for rice paddies.The young crocodiles that were released into the wild at Lake Dicatian were about 4ft (1.2m) long and when fully grown should reach 10ft. Despite their fearsome armoury of flesh-tearing teeth, the animals only attack people when provoked. Fish, shrimps, snails, rats, and snakes are their main prey but adults will take chickens and dogs if given the opportunity.Lake Dicatian is part of the Northern Sierra Madre National Park which is the crocodile's most important sanctuary. It was chosen for the release in part because no humans live immediately beside it. However, a campsite and observation tower have been built close to the lake in the hope of attracting eco-tourists to the area.Ten of the released crocodiles were fitted



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


Wildlife Alliance

Wildlife Alliance's presentation at the AZA Annual Conference in Portland is on the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of previously-captive leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis) in the Phnom Tamao Protected Forest in Cambodia.

Nick Marx has a poster there, related to his publication on the same topic in the IUCN Cat News for the Cat Specialist Group.

Info on the AZA conference at

Info on the tour is as follows:

Wildlife Alliance is doing a tour in September featuring Cambodia Wildlife Rescue Specialist Nick Marx. We would be delighted to have some of our social networking friends in attendance!

Straight from the front lines of Asia's wildlife crisis, Nick will discuss the illegal wildlife trade in Southeast Asia and share with us stories about his animal rescue and rehabilitation work in Cambodia. From Asian elephants and Asiatic black bears, to tigers and rare primates, Nick has seen (and rescued) it all.

His pictures and personal stories will showcase his team's tireless efforts to rescue and care for animals victimized by poachers and wildlife traffickers.

Come learn how Wildlife Alliance is providing direct protection to wildlife and forests!

Events are planned for

Portland, Oregon (Sept. 15): Presentation and house party

San Francisco, California (Sept. 17): Presentation and house party

Denver, Colorado (Sept. 23): International Tiger Day Gala hosted by Landry's Downtown Aquarium - contact us for details

New York, NY (Sept. 25): Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project cocktail party

ZooLex in August 2009

~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~

Hello ZooLex Friend,We have worked for your enjoyment!



The lynx exhibit at Lange Erlen Animal Park in Switzerland is a recreation of the habitat in which the animals would naturally be found:

The German original text is here:



Thanks to Eduardo Diaz Garcia we are able to present the Spanish translation of a previously published presentation of a lynx exhibit at Pistoia Zoo. El Bosque del Lince:


We keep working on ZooLex ...The ZooLex Zoo Design Organization is a non-profit organizationregistered in Austria (ZVR-Zahl 933849053). ZooLex runs a professional zoo design website and distributes this newsletter. More information andcontact:


Experts Launch Operation ‘Shining Example'

Zambian President Turns to Munda Wanda Trust and Born Free Foundation to Resolve Primate Problems

In an unprecedented and much to be welcomed move, the President of Zambia, His Excellency Rupiah Banda, has turned to the Munda Wanga Trust and Born Free Foundation to humanely resolve problems involving primates in and around the grounds of State House.

It is estimated that there are approximately 200 primates involved and the President wanted some of them removed, relocated and released humanely back into the wild so turned to the Munda Wanga Trust and Born Free Foundation’s Lunga Luswishi Wildlife Project to ensure this was done professionally.

The Munda Wanga Trust, which has been working closely with the Born
Free Foundation for over five years, and has considerable experience
rehabilitating and reintroducing vervet monkeys and yellow baboons into
the wild, immediately responded to this Presidential request.
“Clearly, the grounds of State House were becoming overcrowded and some
primates were escaping and becoming a nuisance to the Lusaka Golf Course, nearby hotel and local residential properties and embassies in the area. Naturally, we agreed to assist and the operation is underway” said Bill Thomas OBE, Director of the Trust.

So far, 61 primates have been humanely captured and translocated to Munda Wanga where they are being accommodated, medically assessed and cared for. The plan is to release as many as possible into the wild as part of integrated social groups. The primates are prepared for their rehabilitation in a number of ways including predator avoidance training and exposure to naturally occurring fruits and seeds so that they stand the best possible chance of a successful transition to their natural habitat.

“It is obviously incredibly heartening that the President himself has personally taken this humane course of action and that he has turned to the Munda Wanga Trust and Born Free to carry out Operation ‘Shining Example’. It is a significant vote of confidence in our abilities” said Virginia McKenna OBE, founder of the Born Free Foundation.
“However, it has naturally placed a considerable strain on our resources both human and financial and I urge all those who care about the welfare and the future prospects of these animals, to contact us and support us in whatever way they can.”

The Trust estimates that it will cost approximately US$50,000 to see the translocation through to a successful conclusion. They further estimate that it will be necessary to remove approximately 200 primates from the grounds of State House in order to bring the problem under control.

For further details and to support Operation ‘Shining Example‘ please
contact Fred Hengeveld on +260 (0)97 7410302 or email


Snow Leopard Cubs at The Welsh Mountain Zoo

Photo By Nick Jackson


An Elephant in the Room: The Science and Well-Being of Elephants in Captivity

Dear Colleagues,

A new book entitled An Elephant in the Room: The Science and Well-Being of Elephants in Captivity, is available for purchase on line through the kind generosity of Carol Buckley. Orders may be placed at The Elephant Sanctuary'swebsite at

Details concerning ordering and shipping (including international orders) may be found on the web site's gift shop page.

The book sells for $29.95


Enrichment and Training Workshop
5th December 2009
Reaseheath College,
For further information:
Richard Champion on
Sabrina Brando on


Toronto Zoo: Polar Bear Campaign


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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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