Thursday, November 5, 2009

Zoo News Digest 1st - 5th November 2009 (Zoo News 628)

Zoo News Digest 1st - 5th November 2009 (Zoo News 628)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleagues,

Firstly my thanks to the eight people who clicked the donate button on this page so far this month. I nearly have enough to pay my rent for November now. Just the other essentials to worry about.

If you have never donated before it is quick, easy, efficient and safe. Check out the button to your right.

The story about the guy refusing to go the zoo for sn x-ray was a bit different. Sad that pride should be the cause of his demise. I really cannot see why there should be a problem unless there are other factors at play.

The photograph of the bald spectacled bear is highly unusual and it will be interesting to see what the final outcome is. I recollect seeing a similar situation in a young lion where the causal factor was eggs in the diet. Maybe it is an allergy thing.

It is interesting to see how well the Hippos have been breeding in Israel. The one thing which surprised me was that they managed to find homes for them. They do seem to breed so very well everywhere. Remaining on the same story, I note that the animals were sent to a variety of zoos (it does not state which) but I would like to think that these collections had been checked out first. I am thinking of Vietnam really. There are not a lot of zoos there and I have visited all but Dai Nam so I cannot really speak for there but of the others only Ho Chi Minh is in a position to care. Turkey? I never got to Ankara but of the other zoos only Bursa could care properly.

Philippines Lizards heading towards extinction. I am not in the least surprised. When you see the amount of poverty there is in the country then the big surprise is that they were not extinct long ago. The recent typhoons will not help especially as so many people are still affected by those from years ago which destroyed houses and spoiled crops. People have to live. Only a very few years ago Philippine lizards used to be the only meat my Filipina 'wife's' family ever got to eat along with jungle herbs and crushed sweetcorn (they could not afford rice). She said the lizards tasted good "just like adobo chicken". Happily things have improved in their lives but for many the situation remains dire.

People make do. My Thai 'wife' was eating rat the night before last. I haven't a clue where she caught it but it was very quickly chopped up and in a spicy Isaan stew. You really don't see too many rats in Thailand.

Please post in comments below if you feel so inclined.

This blog has readers from 93 countries: Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote D’Ivoire, Coatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Eire, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao, Latvia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montserrat, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Wales, Zambia.

The ZooNews Digest continues to be read more often by more staff in more zoos than any other publication.

Please consider advertising on this blog as I need the money but understand.... I am of stubborn principle and will not advertise products or services that I disagree with no matter how much you pay me.

Please feel free to use the comment section at the end of this Zoo News Digest.

Is your meeting/conference/symposium listed here?
If not why not? ZooNews Digest is read by more zoo people than any other similar publication. I will advertise up till the event.

Visit my webpages at:

My Latest Hubs are:

Royal Elephant National Museum in Bangkok Thailand

Using Royalty Free Photographs to Illustrate Hubpages

Banjarnegara zoo

Why not try writing on HubPages?

Write about what you know about or are interested in. You can post on line. Free to join and yet you can earn money continually. A passive income. Not much to begin with but it mounts up. It pays me enough to buy a cup of coffee every day...well nearly every day.

Read how with my "Quick Guide to Hub Construction." I truly believe it will be worth your while.

Please visit the Zoo Professionals Book Store for more if you are looking for books for yourself or as gifts.

On with links:

UCSC: Scientists propose 'genome zoo' of 10,000 vertebrate species
The University of California-Santa Cruz could someday house the world's largest zoo — holding not live animals, but the genetic codes of 10,000 different creatures, many of them exotic or extinct.
This ambitious quest, led by some of the nation's top geneticists and unveiled Wednesday morning, would cost $50 million and take a lifetime to achieve.
But the computer-based conservatory — called the Genome 10K Project — would transform biology, building a digital record of molecular triumphs and stumbles across 500 million years of evolutionary history.
Although currently just an unfunded proposal, the global database could eventually help humans by unraveling biological mysteries, such as why we live only eight decades while other creatures, such

Sloth bear dies after surgery
Male is third National Zoo animal to die in a month
The National Zoo's oldest male sloth bear, Merlin, died Wednesday after surgery to repair a partially twisted spleen. It was the zoo's third animal death in a month.
Zoo officials said Merlin had a history of gastric volvulus, or a twisted stomach. He had surgery after a routine physical Monday and initially seemed fine, officials said. But he had difficulty recovering from the anesthesia and began vomiting

Pittsburgh mutt nursing wild dogs at city zoo
A mutt from a city animal shelter is acting as a surrogate mother for nine African painted dogs born at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.
Dr. Stephanie James, the zoo's director of veterinary service, says the only other litter of wild dogs to be hand-raised in captivity was in the United Kingdom. The Pittsburgh zoo staff had to intervene in raising its pups because their mother died of a ruptured uterus shortly after delivering the litter last month.
Zoo officials found a mixed-breed mutt who recently

Bonaparte Says Topeka Zoo Review Will Start Soon
Topeka City Manager Norton Bonaparte says the American Zoo and Aquarium Association agreed to his request do an independent review of the Topeka Zoo.
It comes after recent inspections cited questionable care in several animal deaths.
At a news conference Wednesday, Bonaparte says it will be underway quickly. He says AZA representatives are expected in Topeka in a couple weeks.
Performance Management Coordinator Dennis Taylor is heading

507-Pound Man Dies After Refusing to Go to Zoo for X-Ray
A German man, who weighed 507 pounds and was too heavy to receive an X-ray at a clinic, has died of unknown causes, Agence France-Presse reported.
Thomas Lessman was told to go to the zoo for an X-ray because he was too heavy for machines designed for humans.
Complaining he was feeling ill and frequently losing consciousness, Lessmann, 51, went to a clinic in Eppendorf, near Hamburg, Germany He was referred to the nearby Hagenbeck Zoo for an X-ray, but refused to get one there.
"It sounded like they were trying to wind,2933,571571,00.html

Exclusive: £1m treasure hunter is safari park keeper
SAFARI park keeper David Booth was yesterday revealed as the man who found a £1million golden treasure trove.
Amateur treasure hunter David now stands to make a fortune from his discovery of four stunning 2000-year-old gold neckbands.
The trove, exclusively revealed in the Record yesterday, is thought to be Scotland's most valuable treasure ever.
David, 35, the assistant manager at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling, is legally required to hand over his amazing metal-detector find to the authorities.
But it has become custom in Scotland for finders to receive a "reward" equal to the value

Hormone that affects finger length key to social behavior
The hormones, called androgens, are important in the development of masculine characteristics such as aggression and strength. It is also thought that prenatal androgens affect finger length during development in the womb. High levels of androgens, such as testosterone, increase the length of the fourth finger in comparison to the second finger. Scientists used finger ratios as an indicator of the levels of exposure to the hormone and compared this data with social behaviour in primate groups.
The team found that Old World monkeys, such as baboons and rhesus macaques, have a longer fourth finger in comparison to the second finger, which suggests that they have been exposed to high levels of prenatal androgens. These species tend to be highly competitive and promiscuous, which suggests that exposure to a lot of androgens before birth could be linked to the expression of this behaviour.
Other species, such as gibbons and many New World species, have digit ratios that suggest low levels of prenatal androgen exposure. These species were monogamous and less competitive than Old World monkeys.
The results show that Great Apes, such as orang-utans and chimpanzees, expressed a different finger ratio. The analysis suggests that early androgen exposure is lower in this groups compared to Old World monkeys. Lower androgen levels could help explain why Great Apes show high levels of male cooperation and tolerance.
Emma Nelson, from the University of Liverpool's School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, explains: "It is thought that prenatal androgens affect the genes responsible for the development of fingers, toes and the reproductive system. High

Man acquitted in zoo grizzly-grotto incident
A jury acquitted a mentally troubled man Tuesday of charges that he unlawfully disturbed two bears when he went into the San Francisco Zoo's grizzly grotto.
Kenneth Herron, 21, had been accused of trespassing and disturbing dangerous animals in the Sept. 26 incident, in which he sneaked into the home of two 6-year-old, 500-pound female grizzlies at closing time. One bear sniffed his shoe but fled after zoo officials fired a warning shot.
The acquittal came a day after Superior Court Judge Wallace Douglass tossed out the misdemeanor trespassing charge, ruling that Herron's brief stay in the

Bizarre baldness strikes female spectacled bears in Leipzig zoo
It's a tough time to be a spectacled bear at the zoo in Leipzig, Germany -- at least, it's a tough time to be a female spectacled bear. Veterinarians are struggling to determine why the zoo's female spectacled bears have suddenly lost nearly all their fur, which is typically shaggy for both females and males of their species. There has been speculation that a genetic defect could be responsible, but beyond the obvious hair loss and its accompanying itchiness, no other symptoms have been noted in the affected bears.
The U.K.'s Daily Mail reports that zoogoers have turned out in droves to see the bizarre, as-yet-unexplained sight of the balding bears. Dolores, above, and Lolita, another female, have retained tufts of fur around their faces and chests. Meanwhile, according to the Sun, keepers have contacted a number of other zoos worldwide to ask for advice on the bizarre malady.
Spectacled bears are native to South America and are sometimes

Baby echidnas make first appearance at Perth Zoo
TWO baby echidnas born at Perth Zoo have today made their first public appearance.
Echidnas are notoriously difficult to breed and only 13 have been born in captivity in Australia.
The newest additions, which were inspected and weighed by keepers this morning, have been named Moa and,21598,26304409-2761,00.html

Sir Bani Yas Island welcomes over 25,000 guests in its first year of operations
...The 41-square-kilometre park reflects a continuous wildlife rehabilitation and conservation initiative, providing an authentic environment for wild animals to roam freely and enjoy their natural habitat. As the largest breeding project in Arabia, the park is home to over 5,000 animals belonging to 23 species of animals of which some are indigenous to the Arabian Peninsula. These include the Arabian Oryx, Sand Gazelle and Mountain Gazelle, as well as other free-roaming predators and scavengers such as the cheetah and hyena which visitors might spot on game drives....

Israel Operates on Wounded Jordanian Eagle
A Jordanian citizen who struck an eagle with his truck, brought the bird to the Israeli border last week because he thought that Israelis would know how to treat it. The bird was taken to bird-watching center in Eilat, from which it was transferred to the wild-animal hospital of the Safari Park in Ramat Gan and the National Parks and Nature Authority.
It was discovered that the bird had been shot at some point in its life in addition to the truck incident

Hippos crowd Israel zoo
Israel is dealing with a unique problem - what to do with a surplus of hippos.
Israel's zoo has had a baby boom in the hippo department.
A high birthrate has boosted the hippo population to 40 - far more than the average zoo could handle.
Zookeepers say they reached a point where they could find nothing to do with so many of them.
So in recent months, 14 hippos have been shipped by air or sea to zoos in Russia, Turkey, Vietnam, even Kazakhstan.
They say Israel is suddenly the world's top

Footpath could be moved to make way for wildlife park
DEVELOPERS behind plans for the country’s first National Wildlife Conservation Park (NWCP) have applied for permission to move a public right of way.
Last year Bristol Zoo submitted a detail planning application for the NWCP, which is planned to be built at the Hollywood Tower Estate at Compton Greenfield, near Almondsbury.
The plans included a number of ecosystems including Congo and Sumatra rainforest, Georgia wetlands, Tanzania savannah, Nepal grasslands, China montane forest, Costa Rica

BBC man killed by elephant 'saved kids'
A British tour guide trampled to death by an elephant last week threw himself in front the charging animal to save the lives of three children, a report claims.
Former army officer Anton Turner was filming a documentary for the BBC when he was attacked by the elephant at Tanzania's largest safari park, the Selous Game Reserve, on Friday.
According to Mr Turner's business partner, the outdoor expert died when he spotted the animal running towards three children from Britain who were travelling with the television crew.
"Anton knew the ropes better than

India faces health threats as vultures vanish
In the Holy scriptures of the Hindus, Jatayu the vulture tried to rescue Lord Ram’s wife, Sita from the evil clutches of the demon Ravan.
Unfortunately for the valiant vulture, Ravan sliced off its wings and the bird bled to death but not before he had told Ram where Sita was and the lord was able to rescue her, setting the stage for celebrating India’s biggest festival, the burning of Ravan’s effigy during the festival

New zoo policy needed
IT is high time the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry took a real hard look at the more than 30 animal establishments be they zoos, mini-zoos, aviaries, bird parks or crocodile farms existing in almost every state in Malaysia. The Housing and Local Government Ministry too should adopt a similar approach as some state zoos fall under its management.
Both these ministries need to see the real zoo situation for themselves instead of focusing on just one major problematic and mismanaged zoo. Before thinking of transforming the National Zoo into a “world-class zoo,” priorities should be placed on the many such establishments where conditions are mediocre.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) has received a number of complaints from visitors regarding the incarceration of wildlife in small cages, dirty exhibits, and bored, listless and lethargic animals.
Understandably many of our zoos are only for people, not the animals. Some zoos spend thousands of ringgit building unsuitable enclosures and acquire exotic animals which are expensive to maintain.
There is obviously a lack of expert planning and management of zoos and a total lack of understanding of the particular needs of the animals in a zoo. Animals often end in suffering and death. Keeping wildlife captive in zoos only fosters the emergence of abnormal behavioural patterns.
In zoos, animals become mere spectacles and commercial commodities. In the case of petting zoos, animals are kept in small corralled areas where curious children harass them.
There are many examples of situations where humans come into close “hands-on” contact with animals kept specifically for human-animal interactions. Handling and feeding of animals by visitors are seldom supervised or controlled. The animals are not chosen for their suitability for handling, and many are subjected to suffering, distress or excessive disturbance. This is sheer cruelty!
There is an occurring incident where a tiger is forced

Going, going, gone? Two Philippine lizards near extinction
They are choice food and rare pets in the Philippines, and could soon become dead reptiles crawling - the equivalents of Sean Penn in the 1995 film, “Dead Man Walking," waiting for the end, not by lethal injection, but through direct extinction.
The first “death row" candidate, the Panay monitor lizard (scientific name: Varanus mabitang) was recently added by the Switzerland-based International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on its list of threatened species.
These lizards, commonly called “mabitang" that are endemic to Panay Island, sleep in tropical lowland rainforest trees and consume lots

Aquarium Releases Fifth Tagged Great White Shark Back Into Ocean
Staff at the Monterey Bay Aquarium released a young great white shark back into the wild early Wednesday morning, sending her into the Pacific Ocean with two tracking tags to communicate her whereabouts and other data that will help biologists better manage this threatened species.
The female shark - the aquarium only names animals when necessary for training or feeding purposes - is the fifth great white to be temporarily exhibited at the institution.
She was released shortly after sunrise near the southern tip of Monterey Bay, according to spokesman Ken Peterson. To start this process, staff members waited at the surface of the aquarium's Outer Bay exhibit with a net he described as "an oversized version of what you use to catch butterflies."
After a few attempts, the 5-foot-5-inch long shark was secured in the net and quickly transferred to "what amounts to a gurney filled with oxygenated sea water," Peterson said. Following some measurements, her next



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



Gorilla Workshop 2010
12 - 15 May 2010
Oklahoma City Zoo
More details see:


Vulture Restaurant Diclofenac Free Feeding Palace at Nagarparkar
DDS has initiated a project titled Vulture Restaurant (Feeding Place) at Nagarparkar funded by the UNDP –GEF Small Grant Program. The project was developed after conducting a survey in October, 2008 throughout Sindh province to find the existence of Vulture, found in Nagarparkar. The supported project is started from February, 2009. The project is aimed at:
• To conserve a viable population of Gyps bengalensis in a safe and secure environment.
• To provide regular feeding to the Vulture population.
• Monitoring of wild populations
• Lobbying for the complete removal of diclofenac from the environment and.
To build staff capacity for the eventual release of captive-bred vultures.
It is expected at the end of project implementation that
• 50% reduction in the use of diclofenac in the animals in all U/Cs of taluka Nagarparkar in one year’s period and information enhanced to 5000 local community people in Taluka Nagarparkar.
The unprecedented decline of Gyps vultures in South Asia since the 1990s has seen the introduction of a range of conservation initiatives. Significant among these has been the establishment of conservation breeding


Jill's Blog - Witnessing the worst of humanity
Well worth a read:

The Chengdu Bear Rescue Facilty must be the best in the world and second to none for trying to keep the animals content. There are some excellent photos here. (Some pretty sad ones too)


Get Bear Smart eNews


One Woman. Ten Years. Hundreds of Lives Saved.


Misguided Palm Oil Campaigns Won’t Help Orang-Utan
“Misguided campaigns by the Melbourne and Auckland Zoos and activists lack understanding of why forest and orang-utans are being lost. It isn’t palm oil it’s poverty”, said Tim Wilson, Director of the Intellectual Property and Free Trade Unit at the Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne, Australia today.


1st Conservation Medicine Symposium - Chile

On November 30th and December 1st, we are organizing The first Conservation Medicine Simposium in Chile. This concept is a very new concept for Chile, but it is completely necesary since in Chile we have and extremely high endemism!

We also have 3 zoos, which are very good, but need to use some conservation medicine in their exhibits. For example, are zoos are plagued (sorry if it sounds harsh!) with cats! They go in and out of the other animals enclosures! I believe I don't have to mention how many diseases could be transmitted between cats and the rest of the animals!! We have very important guest speakers like: Andrew Cunningham, Alonso Aguirre and Marcela Uhart.

If you want to read more about it, and are interested in coming please go to:


Organization for Reinforcement Contingencies with Animals

The second annual Art and Science of Animal Training conference is in February

or email Katie Tucker at

Announcing the ASZK Des Spittall Scholarship for Keeper Research

Named in honour of the late Des Spittall, a life member of ASZK, the ASZK committee has launched the Des Spittall Scholarship for keeper research. This is open to people who have been a financial member of ASZK for 12 months or more. This is an annual scholarship up to the value of $2,000.

Applications deadline extended until 15 November 2009 for more details


Dear Colleagues,

We are please to announce 2 new workshops for 2010:

Environmental Enrichment Workshop with David Sheperdson and other speakers in collaboration with the Odense Zoo in Denmark.

April 22nd - 25th 2010

Advanced Animal Learning Seminar with Tim Sullivan and other speakers in collaboration with the Chester Zoo in the UK.

June 4th - 7th 2010

More information will be available soon on

Please email me if you are interested in the program(s).

Kind regards,


The Netherlands /


Dear All,

I have been asked to circulate information on the below two events which will take place at ZSL on Tuesday 24 November to mark Nepal Nature Conservation Year in collaboration with the Government of Nepal:

The Nepal Conservation in Crisis seminar (10.30am–3.00pm) will address key conservation issues affecting Nepal’s diverse and highly threatened ecosystems. A range of speakers will share their experiences and achievements in natural resources conservation and the seminar will be chaired by the Minister of Forests and Soil Conservation and Director of National Parks Nepal. Seminar places are free but must be booked in advance. Please see here for full information and please email if you would like to participate.

A separate evening event, Fragile Nepal (6.30–11.00pm), will raise funds for the vital conservation work needed to safeguard this remarkable region and its fragile ecosystems. Full information can be found here and the evening includes a drinks reception, buffet dinner, presentations, Nepali entertainment, and a silent auction. Please email to book your place.

I hope that these will be of interest; please contact Jane directly if you would like to participate in the Nepal Conservation in Crisis seminar or Pippa if you wish to book for the exclusive Fragile Nepal evening event.

Thanks and best wishes,

Joy :-)

Joy Hayward Scientific Meetings Co-ordinator,
NW1 4RY,
Tel: +44 (0)20 7449 6227.
Fax: +44 (0)20 7449 6411.


Howletts and Port Lympne Student Enrichment and Welfare Course in collaboration with AnimalConcepts.
27th – 29th January 2010

Instructors: Sabrina Brando and Mark Kingston Jones

Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks are pleased to announce a course on Enrichment and Welfare to be run by Sabrina Brando and Mark Kingston Jones.

Sabrina runs AnimalConcepts, an international consultancy company specialising in enrichment, behaviour and animal welfare. Sabrina has 17 years experience in the field and collaborates with many facilities, universities and research institutes.

Mark has been involved in the animal welfare field since 2004 and now works at Howletts and Port Lympne as the Enrichment and Research Officer for both parks organising workshops, talks and working with keepers to design and implement enrichment ideas. He has been involved in two ‘The Shape of Enrichment’ workshops, in the UK and Indonesia, and has presented 9 talks on topics relating to animal welfare at conferences, both nationally and internationally.

This course is designed specifically for college and university students (past or present) who do not currently work within a zoo setting but are looking to do so as a career. Over three days students will gain a background in animal welfare and working with different species, as well as providing practical skills in designing, building and testing enrichment within the settings of both Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks, in Kent. Our aim is to provide valuable experience and the addition of useful skills to a would-be keeper’s CV. Please note you must be 18 or over to attend this course.

Lecture topics include: An overview of welfare and enrichment, animal husbandry and learning, choice and control, enclosure design and breaking into the zoo world. Additionally there will be talks and practicals with keepers involving working with carnivores, primates, ungulates, elephant management, getting involved in in-situ conservation, rope splicing and fire hose weaving.

The workshop registration fee of £150 includes:
All workshop materials
Practical sessions
Lunches during the 3 days, as well as drinks and snacks during the scheduled tea breaks.

Information on discounted accommodation is available on request and the number of available places is limited, so please book early.

For further information and to request a booking form please contact:
Kim Guillot at Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks

Final deadline for registration is: 31.12.09


For Zoo Jobs and Related Vacancies please visit:

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


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

Kind Regards,

Wishing you a wonderful week,

Peter Dickinson

Zoo News Digest Blog

ZooNews Digest Webpage

Zoo Vacancies Blog

Hub Pages

Follow me on Twitter at:

No comments:

Post a Comment