Monday, December 14, 2009

Zoo News Digest 10th - 14th December 2009 (Zoo News 635)

Zoo News Digest 10th - 14th December 2009 (Zoo News 635)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleagues,

Vultures are really having a rough time of it right now. Just when we think we have one problem partially solved then another raises its ugly head. This really does make it all the more important for zoos that do have vultures to pair them up and breed. Pairings should be of presently captive animals and if that means that a zoo has to move out of the species then so be it. Pointless hanging on to a single bird. Common sense really but you would be surprised how many will jealously hang onto to single animals instead of addressing conservation seriously. It ought to be a crime.

Sticking with the subject of conservation I would like to see all zoos (and Aquariums in particular) to have a sign on each exhibit giving details of the animals origins i.e. Captive born (and where) or if they are wild born. Some zoos do this already, but aquariums? It is important that we let visitors know where animals have come from. I am sick and tired of this general public presumption that animals have been taken from the wild. If it was...then say so.

The article entitled "Wildlife activists against unique night safari plan" is so badly researched I am surprised it was printed. Glaring errors!

There is some speculation at present as to who will be charged as responsible as to death of Dalu Mncube in Zion Wildlife Gardens. All a matter of interpretation of course and similar cases are not that unusual. I don't personally believe that there is ever a reason for anyone to go in an enclosure with a big cat. There should be trap off facilities. If going in with big cats becomes routine for whatever reason then it becomes acceptable but it never makes it right. It is always an accident waiting to happen.

I am in two minds over the return of the Northern White Rhino to Africa. I do hope that the move is a success though and that all goes to plan.

The ability to freeze coral successfully is tremendous news.

Sorry to learn of the death of Hobbit. My condolences to the staff.

The Dochodo Zoo Island projects sounds (and looks) absolutely fantastic. I am going to follow the project with more than a little interest. I am excited about visiting even although I never will.

It has not been my best of weeks. I remain almost penniless in the UK and extremely cold with it. Apart from writing and researching I have been wandering around charity shops looking for warm clothes to wear. To warm up I will go into WH Smiths or the library and read magazines. Did you know that the majority of magazines retail between £3 and £4 today? Bed is warm as well. I dreamt last night that someone stole my shoes. It was a vivid dream and as I only have a single pair of shoes I woke in a panic. My shoes were still there. It may have something to do with actually wearing shoes. This past 14 months I haven't worn any.

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New drug threat to Asian vultures
A veterinary pain drug can be lethal to vultures that eat the carcasses of treated livestock, say scientists.
Ketoprofen is an anti-inflammatory that is used in India to treat cattle.
It had been proposed as a replacement for diclofenac, which scientists say brought some species of Asian vulture to the brink of extinction.
A study published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters says it causes the birds to suffer acute kidney failure within days of exposure.
This is the same toxic effect caused when vultures feed on the carcasses of animals treated with diclofenac.
Researchers had thought that ketoprofen would be less harmful because it metabolised faster by cows, and converted within hours into a form that is not dangerous to vultures.
But an international team of scientists that carried out safety tests on the drug, found that doses administered to cattle in India were sufficient to kill the birds.
Richard Cuthbert from the

$500,000 fine possible for Dalu death
Zion Wildlife Gardens faces fines of up to $500,000 if it is found guilty of charges laid by the Department of Labour.
The department revealed charges had been laid under sections six and 16 of the health and Safety in Employment Act following the death of big-cat handler Dalu Mncube.
A 260kg rare white royal Bengal tiger called Abu attacked Mr Mncube as he cleaned its enclosure last May.
The Department had six months from the date the incident was reported to bring a prosecution.
But the Department was remaining tight-lipped about when those charged would appear in court or even which court they would appear in.
Mr Mncube died in May this year when he was mauled by a white tiger while cleaning out the cat's enclosure.
The two charges each carry a maximum fine of $250,000 each. There is a charge of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees while at work and a second charge of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that no hazard

Pandas go on show for zoo visitors
Adelaide Zoo's giant pandas are finally going on display to the public today but despite all the publicity, tickets for the early weeks have not sold out.
People wanting to see Wang Wang and Funi in their $8 million enclosure were warned of a need to book tickets in advance but there are still some available on the zoo's website.
The pandas were officially welcomed to Adelaide on Sunday and the Chinese Ambassador Zhang Junsai is optimistic they will mate.
"The name of Funi means lucky girl and Wang Wang means net net. Who

Calgary alderman attacks zoo criticism after animal deaths
The city needs to fight back against negative publicity directed at the Calgary Zoo, one alderman said.
"I've had it up to my teeth with these special-interest groups targeting and trashing the reputation of the Calgary Zoo," Ald. Diane Colley-Urquhart said yesterday.
"We can't turn this into another tar sands issue where these people get way, way ahead of the communications plan and everyone remains silent and don't stand up for the zoo. We need to put a stop to it."
Zoocheck Canada has been critical of the facility in recent years following several animal deaths and other incidents.
In 2007, a hippo died after being improperly transported by truck from the U.S., then in May 2008, 41 cownose stingrays died due to a lack of oxygen in their tanks.
A baby elephant died of a viral infection in November 2008, and in June

Ministry permits rhinos' transport from Czech zoo to Africa
The Czech Environment Ministry has issued a CITES permit necessary for the controversial transport of four rare northern white rhinos from the zoo in Dvur Kralove to Africa, ministry spokeswoman Petra Roubickova said.
The rhinos will fly to Kenya on December 19. They should find a new home in the Kenyan Ol Pejeta Conservancy reserve.
The zoo representatives will take over the permit at the ministry this afternoon, Roubickova added.
Zoo director Dana Holeckova said the CITES permit was the last obstacle to the rhinos' transport. Not even the current severe frosts will prevent it as the body of the lorries for the animals' transport will be heated, she added.
The Safari Archa 2007 civic association stands up against the rhinos' transport calling it nonsensical. It plans to stage a protest meeting in Hradec Kralove, east Bohemia, on December 16.
The rhinos' transport has been planned for over one year as an attempt at salvation of this rare species.
Only a few last northern white rhinos

Connecticut scientist leads the way in freezing coral to give it life later
Corals have been around for hundreds of millions of years, but threats to their immediate future preoccupy marine biologist Mary Hagedorn, who spent her childhood summers exploring the Old Saybrook shoreline and is now pioneering the science of applying human fertility techniques to coral.
According to Hagedorn, corals could be gone from the world's oceans in 25 years if there is no intervention.
A senior scientist at the Smithsonian Institution, Hagedorn has spent years honing the cryopreserving process - freezing at very low temperatures - for coral sperm, eggs, embryos and now polyps - the tiny beginnings of reefs.
Coral reefs help protect coastlines from storms and erosion, provide food for millions

Sun lamps for zoo animals
Vienna zoo chiefs have managed to guarantee animals continue to delight the crowds as temperatures plunge to minus 15 degrees - by installing sun lamps.
Animals like these Banded Mongoose had refused to come out but after installing sunlamps to give the animals summer temperatures they have been seen delighting the crowds as they jostle for a place in the sun.
Until last week the zoo in the Austrian capital had continued to enjoy unusually warm temperatures

Hobbit the gorilla dies
A gorilla which lived at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria for 21 years, died following diabetes-related complications, the zoo said on Sunday.
"The zoo is mourning the death of Hobbit, its beloved resident gorilla for 21 years," said managing director Clifford Nxomani in a statement.
The 30-year-old gorilla, diagnosed with type two diabetes, suffered complications including kidney and eyesight damage.
Hobbit had received daily insulin injections since 2007.
"Since his diagnosis he became subdued, and in recent months was mostly out of the public eye."
Hobbit's compromised kidneys resulted in

Six years after donation harpy eagles sanctuary still to be built
Six years after funds were provided by the Odense Municipality of Denmark to build a giant aviary for the harpy eagles at the Georgetown Zoo, Chairman of the National Parks Commission John Caesar says that an ambitious design and the global downturn were among the reasons the project has not gotten underway.
On April 11, 2003 Mayor of the city of Odense and Chairman of its zoo, Anker Boye, officially handed over US$30,000 towards the building of a giant cage at the back of the National Zoological Park near to where the old elephant cages were located.
The donation by the Odense Zoo was part of an ongoing sister-zoo relationship that it has with the Georgetown Zoo based on an agreement signed with the National Parks Commission in November 2001.
The design of the cage was expected to facilitate trees in the vicinity of the proposed construction area being incorporated into the architecture. This would have allowed for the aviary to carry

Conservation programme of CZA
The Central Zoo Authority’s conservation programme is under implementation as per Government’s laid down guidelines and is not lagging behind.70 species of endangered wild animals have been selected for conservation breeding in zoos of which following species have been covered so far:-

Koalas in Australia dying from AIDS, habitat loss
On the operating table lies a sick koala. He's just been brought in by a driver who found the animal sitting in the middle of a busy road. Veterinarian Claude Lacasse determines the koala has not been hit by a car but she immediately detects one serious problem facing many of the marsupials: Chlamydia, a disease which can lead to a very slow and painful death for koalas living in the wild.
Koalas generate almost US$1 billion for the Australian economy, thanks to tourists who come to see this national icon. But these cuddly creatures are under serious threat from infectious disease and habitat loss and some scientists believe they

NTCA asks MP to keep tiger in enclosure for acclimatisation
Fearing that the strong "homing instinct" of a male striped cat, which has strayed out of the Panna Tiger Reserve of Madhya Pradesh, will lead it to trouble, the Centre has asked the state to capture and keep it in an enclosure till it acclimatises to its new home.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in an advisory issued to the state government sought immediate tranquilising of the two-and-half-year-old tiger to be kept inside the enclosure till it is able to make its own kills before being released in forests of the reserve.
Worried about its fate, the NTCA officials have pointed out that the tiger, by straying as far as 150 km from his habitat to Damoh forest division is exhibiting strong homing instinct and could risk its life by walking into poachers or

Giant panda's genome code reveals its carnivorous side
The complete genetic sequence of the giant panda has revealed the iconic Chinese bear's carnivorous side, by finding that the animal has all the genes
required to digest meat, but not its staple food, bamboo.
According to a report in Nature News, an international team of scientists sequenced a three-year-old female panda called Jingjing, who was also a mascot of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and found that she lacks any recognizable genes for cellulases - enzymes that break down the plant material cellulose. "The panda's bamboo diet may be dictated by its gut bacteria rather than by its own genetic composition," said Wang Jun, deputy director of the Beijing Genomics
Institute in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, who led the sequencing project.
The researchers also discovered that the T1R1 gene, which encodes a key receptor for the savoury or 'umami' flavour of meat, has become an inactive 'pseudogene' due to two mutations.
"This may explain why the panda diet is primarily herbivorous even though it is classified as a carnivore," said Wang.
The research shows that pandas have about 21,000 genes packed into 21 pairs of chromosomes, including one pair of sex chromosomes.
Of all the mammals that have been sequenced, pandas are most similar to dogs - with 80 percent

Seahorses make new home at Bristol aquarium
A colony of the world's largest species of seahorse has a new home in Bristol.
The Australian pot-belly or big-belly seahorses can grow to more than 30cm in length and are the latest arrivals to the city's Blue Reef Aquarium.
Their new home is a giant 3,000-litre acrylic display, complete with sea grasses and an underwater viewing window at its centre.
Spokesman for the aquarium Dan de Castro said: "Seahorses are always among the most popular displays with visitors and the pot-bellies are certain to be a big attraction. As well as being one of the most impressive seahorse species, pot-bellies are also well known for the fact that they form

Wildlife activists against unique night safari plan
Protests against night safari at Bannerghatta to begin this week; activists say proposal will harm habitats
The much talked about night safari proposal at Bannerghatta, the first of its kind in India, has hit a roadblock in the shape of wildlife activists.
The activists have planned to protest against the project with an online signature campaign besides a series of demonstrations starting this week.
The Bannerghatta night safari, to be implemented on over 115 hectares at a cost of about Rs 178 crore, will affect the existing habitat of species rarely found in India, believe wildlife enthusiasts who are taking on the authorities.
"We don't want the night safari here in Bannerghatta," said Manjunath N, president, Nature and Wildlife Conservation Committee, Bannerghatta. "It will affect existing rare species here and also residents in the village around. Hence

Zoo industry needs reform: observers
Although a recession and several controversial animal deaths this year weren't enough to stop Canadians from visiting zoos in increasing numbers, some observers say the industry needs to learn how to stay relevant in a society growing more skeptical about keeping animals in captivity.
In the last 50 years, some zoos have attempted to shift away from menagerie-style venues where parents take their children to gawk at caged tigers and giraffes to almost museum-style exhibits that encourage animal lovers to learn and interact with different species.
Yet, some critics say the industry is not doing enough, is taking too long to implement change and putting animal welfare at risk.
Those concerns have been fuelled by a wave of incidents at zoos across Canada that have left animals dead or threatened. Most recently, the Calgary Zoo president announced an independent review of its animal operations following the suspension of an employee over the death of a female capybara, a species of giant rodent.
It was killed after getting caught in a hydraulic door.
Industry watchdog Zoocheck Canada said the attempts

Zoo's future an enigma
Amid controversy, what lies ahead is a major question
Even in the context of past troubles, the Topeka Zoo's current situation appears unique.
The embattled director has retired. The veterinarian is no longer employed. The zoo awaits the findings of a rare outside review. And over the facility hangs the prospect of more administrative changes.
A reputation in duress, a future in limbo.
What are the ramifications of the now widely known controversy? More scrutiny from zoo watchdog groups, for one. A possible reduction in donations, as well, though the zoo's private partnership group disputes this.
From the depths could rise a better zoo, others say, a zoo adaptive to any past ailments. Or, as city spokesman David Bevens said last month, "Our hope is that we'll have a much better zoo at the end of the review."
To get there, the zoo will have to get past a slew of recent missteps.
Inspection reports by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in August and September faulted the zoo for its care and record-keeping related to the deaths of 11 animals from 2006 to present. City manager Norton Bonaparte then called for an outside review by officials from the Association

Sharks at Madrid Zoo enjoy their own nativity scene
The belén created in the shark tank every year is a tradition which began in 1995
Staff at Madrid zoo took to the water this Saturday to continue a tradition which began in 1995 of creating an underwater nativity scene in one of the zoo’s aquariums. The figures for the belén are placed in the tank which is home to the zoo’s 12 sharks, and the task is seen as a rite of passage for the new divers who are taken on to the team.
It took the team of two some 40 minutes to place this year’s nine figures and the stars which surround them, before

Calgary Zoo to bring in outside inspectors
The Calgary Zoo is calling in outside experts to examine operations at the troubled facility while insisting a series of embarrassing animal deaths are not a sign of systemic trouble.
Zoo president Clément Lanthier lashed out at critics as he announced two North American zoo accreditation bodies will name inspectors from a roster of former zookeepers, curators and veterinarians.
Dr. Lanthier insisted critics are “linking together a series of unrelated incidents in an effort to establish some kind of pattern” after a spate of sudden animal deaths and other bizarre incidents at the zoo.
“No matter how unsubstantiated or unfair, criticism can raise doubt in people's minds,” Dr. Lanthier said.
However, Peter Karsten, a retired long-time head of the Calgary Zoo, says it is dealing with a hangover from a philosophical shift in the 2000s that emphasized entertainment and profitability.
Former CEO Alex Graham, a onetime head of the Alberta Wheat Pool, broke fundraising records and proposed an ambitious expansion, including a plan to install whales at the zoo, some 1,000 kilometres from the nearest ocean. He left in 2007 after eight years in charge. He was replaced by Dr. Lanthier, a veterinarian.
“Alex Graham had some grandiose ideas, ideas that create an enormously complex zoo world,

Irish wild boar makes a comeback
The Irish wild boar - which died out hundreds of years ago - is back on the rampage.
Conservation authority, Biodiversity Ireland, has reported a number of sightings of boar in their old stomping grounds over the past year.
One 396lb boar was shot near a school playground in Tipperary this year, according to a report in the Irish Times.
Some lovers of wildlife argue that

Monkeying Around at Jakarta's Schmutzer Primate Center
The zoo keepers who take care of the apes and monkeys at Ragunan Zoo have a problem: Their wives get jealous of the time they spend caring for their charges. “All I can say to her is that it’s my responsibility to look after these animals,” said Dwi Suprihadi, who has worked at the zoo since 1994, transferring to the Schmutzer Primate Center when it opened in 2002.
Dwi and 22 other zoo keepers are tasked with keeping the center’s primates healthy and happy.
Zoo keeper Namin, who has worked at the zoo for seven years, said taking care of monkeys was like taking care of babies. “Primates are like humans and need love and care,” he said.
Namin said that primates, especially the apes, also feel emotions like anger, sadness, even jealousy. Sometimes, he added, the older primates get angry or jealous if he gives food to the younger ones first. “For that reason, a zoo keeper has to remember each primate’s character traits,” he said.
The center is named after a Dutch woman, Pauline Schmutzer, a painter who lived in Wonorejo, East Java. Schmutzer proposed the idea of opening the first primate center in Indonesia. She also donated much of her wealth to make such an undertaking possible.
Schmutzer, an active member of The Gibbon Foundation, an organization that campaigns to preserve endangered animals in Indonesia, died in 1998, four years before she saw her dream become a reality.
The center, which opened in August of 2002, occupies 13 hectares of the zoo’s 140-hectare facility at Ragunan and proudly claims to be best primate center in Southeast Asia, citing its size and the fact that it is the only center in the region to host gorillas.
Aburizal, 25, and his friends recently visited the center for the first time.
“I was shocked to see that the primate center was this good,” he said, adding that he had expected it to be similar to other tourist attractions in Jakarta, by which he meant poorly maintained.
He said he also was surprised by the size of the gorillas.
“They look kind of scary, but it looks like they’re actually quite nice animals.”
The Schmutzer Primate Center has six species of primates: orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, macaques, gibbons and leaf monkeys.
Dwi said that over the past seven years, the center’s staff members have worked hard to create facilities that resemble the natural habitats of the primates in an attempt to create the best possible enclosed environment for the animals.
“In some of the enclosures, natural food is grown so that the primates can feel like they are living in the real jungle,” he said.
Visitors to the Schmutzer Primate Center are prohibited from bringing food or drinks with them.
If you happen to be carrying even a bottle of mineral water, you have to store it inside one of the lockers provided at the entrance gate. The idea behind these strict measures is to make sure that visitors aren’t tempted to feed the primates.
“We strictly implement this policy because we monitor the diets of all the primates very carefully,” Dwi said.
He added, however, that there were still some visitors who would badger the animals.
“Some visitors like to make funny sounds or throw things at them. The gorillas don’t like that, they can get stressed,” Dwi said.
For that reason, the zoo keepers are always encouraged to conduct routine patrols during busy hours.
Of all the primates at the Schmutzer Primate Center, it is the gorillas that receive the most attention from the visitors.
Namin said the center was proud to be the only place in Southeast Asia that kept gorillas. Currently, there are three male gorillas at the Schmutzer Primate Center.
The gorillas were donated in 2002 by the United Kingdom’s Howllets Wild Animal Park.
They are low-land gorillas originally from African countries such as Congo and Gabon.
The three gorillas are named Kumbo, Kihi and Komu . All weigh about 170 kilograms. Both Kumbo and Kihi were born in 1995, while Komu was born in 1997.
“Gorillas can live up to 40 to 50 years. These gorillas that we have can grow up to 200 kilograms,” Dwi said.
Due to their size, and the influence of such Hollywood films as “King Kong,” there is a general misconception among the public that the largest of the primates are killing machines.
“That’s not true,” Dwi said.
He explained that a gorilla was highly unlikely to attack unless provoked. “That’s why we sometimes refer to them as gentle giants,” he said.
However, Dwi emphasized that gorillas were still considered wild animals and even the zoo keepers had to be careful not to make direct contact with them.
Rusdi Indradewa, 25, another visitor to the ceneter, said he had suffered from a phobia of monkeys for a long time and that he had come to the Schmutzer Primate Center to overcome this fear. He said he had never liked monkeys and that just being around them left him shaking.
“Those gorillas look so big and scary,” Rusdi said. But he was surprised to find out that gorillas only ate fruit and vegetables.
“I have to say that it wasn’t easy, especially being so close to those big and scary gorillas. It took me an hour to work up the nerve to go inside the complex,” he said.

Private zoo being investigated for animal abuse
For two decades, the Mountain View Conservation and Breeding Centre in B.C.'s Lower Mainland has safeguarded endangered species from around the globe, its 250 acres built as a refuge from a harsh nature that had pushed some animals to the brink of extinction.
But that refuge, founded in 1986 by Gordon Blankstein, is under investigation by the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, with the private zoo facing a battery of allegations that it has mistreated and abused the rare species under its care – including assertions that zoo staff have killed ailing animals using box-cutters and hammers.
In an interview, Mr. Blankstein said all of the allegations are false, and that the accusations come from former, disgruntled employees, who have lodged other complaints with municipal, fire, environmental and workplace safety officials.
The investigation began two weeks ago, when the advocacy group Zoocheck sent the B.C. SPCA material it

Dochodo Zoo Island is an Eden at Sea
It sounds like the plot of the movie Jurassic Park (minus the dinosaurs), but JDS Architects’ have created an incredible plan for a zoo located on the South Korean island of Dochodo. The island could, according to the architecture firm, be a “case study to define a tourist region based on sustainable development only, where natures and structures function in equilibrium, symbiotically feeding one another"
According to JDS, the zoo’s landscape of natural peaks and valleys is ideal for zoo development. The flat valleys could host animals, while more mountainous areas could be protected and treated as nature reserves. All transportation, energy sources and

Charge dropped in late-night zoo visit
One of two men who had an after-hours encounter with a Siberian tiger at the Calgary Zoo this fall no longer faces a trespassing charge.
Trever Wearmouth, 27, had his charge under the Petty Trespass Act dropped when he made his first appearance Monday in provincial traffic court.
No reason for the decision was given.
Wearmouth's co-accused, Thomas Bryce-Hart, also 27, still faces the same charge of entering onto land without permission.
A warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to show up for his first appearance Monday.
According to the tickets, issued shortly after

TRAFFIC helps to board up major wildlife market
a large billboard strategically placed along a main thoroughfare at Bangkok’s Chatuchak market is warning buyers not to buy illegal wildlife.
TRAFFIC, WWF and key partners in the region helped design the billboard which is on prominent display at one of Southeast Asia’s largest and best known wildlife markets.
But with a wide variety of native and exotic plants and animals on offer, uninformed consumers often buy species that have been illegally taken from the wild.
“We hope that consumers will stop, take note, and think twice about purchasing illegal wildlife,” said Chris Shepherd, TRAFFIC’s Acting Regional Director for Southeast Asia.
“At the very least, consumers should be contacting the Wildlife Hotline if they are in doubt.”
Some retailers have openly acknowledged to TRAFFIC staff that many of the species they sell have been illegally obtained and even offer advice on h

Upping the lions' share
Detroit Zoo aims to give cats more space by tearing out moat, erecting glass
With a 2-10 record, the Detroit Lions may be in dire need of an overhaul, but it's the lions at the Detroit Zoo who are expected to receive a makeover next year -- if officials raise $1 million for a new habitat.
As early as the spring, zoo officials are to start a fund-raising effort that would pay for replacing a 2,500-square-foot dry moat barrier with a glass wall. The change could nearly double the 3,500-square-foot habitat space where six lions sleep and roam and give zoo visitors a closer view.
"The dry moat keeps the lions at least 30 to 40 feet away from visitors, but the new barrier of glass would allow the lions, if they chose to, to be within inches of a guest," said Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the zoo in Royal Oak.
It also would give the lions more flat space to explore, lounge and wrestle one another, officials

Handicapped Sea Lion Thrives At Denver Zoo
Sea Lion Missing Rear Flippers
In many ways, Bismarck is like the other four sea lions at the Denver Zoo. He is playful and inquisitive, limber and acrobatic. But Bismarck is also a little bit different. He is missing his rear flippers.
Found orphaned by a pier at Newport Beach, Calif., Bismarck was brought to the Denver Zoo on a chartered plane on July 28. He was rescued in March by the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.
“Bismarck is a great example of overcoming a disability – something we’re very happy to talk about

Sea Turtles were released into the ocean at Cape Panwa by Royal Thai Navy in tribute to HM the King.
583 sea turtles were released into the sea in front of the Third Naval Area Command headquarters at Cape Panwa in Phuket on December 5th as part of the activity in honor of HM the King in celebration of his 82nd birthday anniversary. The activity was held by the Third Naval Area Command, headed by its Commander Vice Admiral Chumnum Aadvongse. The sea turtles were from the Navy’s Sea Turtle Conservation centre at the Phang-Nga naval base. After the mothers came up to lay eggs at Koh Hooyong near Similan Island, they nursed the babies for six months before releasing back to the sea. This way increases the survival rate of baby turtles.

Freezing Highland weather gives Polar Bear the shivers
BRITAIN’S only Polar Bear has stunned her zookeepers by hiding from a fresh flurry of snow.
Edinburgh Zoo’s former favourite attraction – Mercedes the polar bear – was shifted north to the Highland Wildlife Park to roam in a colder habitat to match her native Canada.
She was expected to lap up the white stuff like every other Polar Bear on earth.
Families were poised with cameras expecting Christmas card-style picture opportunities.
But when Scotland’s first snow came to Kingussie, the freezing conditions proved too much for Mercedes, and she hid in

Eight more dolphins flown off to Malaysia
THE government yesterday chuckled as it mutely shied away with $2.2 million and watches nine harmless bottlenose dolphins left our shores for Malaysia.
The nine dolphins left at about 10am on a chattered flight which arrived on Wednesday afternoon.
Six of the nine dolphins were exported by the Solomon Islands Marine Export Limited while three from the Solomon Islands Marine Wildlife Park.
Director of the Solomon Islands Marine Export Limited Robert Satu confirmed he had exported six bottlenose dolphins in the shipment.
While Mr Satu refused to disclose the name of the company that bought the dolphins, airport officials revealed that the shipment was heading for Malaysia.
Mr Satu said the government earned $1.5 million through tax from the six dolphins and more than $700,000 from Wildlife Park’s three dolphins.
"There is nothing to hide because this is a legal activity and the government earned that much money in just a day from the export,” he said.
He said the 25 per cent tax was huge money that no company in the country would pay to the government at once like they did.
He said the Ministries of Fisheries and Environment received $10,000 and $50,000 respectively as well from the export.
The government has allowed an export of up to 100 dolphins a year – a move

Killer elephant hunted in Nepal
Wildlife guards in southern Nepal hunted Wednesday for a wild elephant that has killed 11 people over the past two weeks.
The elephant has killed people in three districts about 320 kilometres south of the capital, Kathmandu.
District Forest Officer Yadav Dhital said searchers have been unable to find any traces of the animal.
Dhital said local residents are scared of the animal, which keeps disappearing into the jungle. He said villagers have been using firecrackers, drums and smoke to scare the elephant away.
One person killed had tried to worship

Caged Bear Attacks Woman During Watering

No decision to free all captive elephants: Govt
The government has not taken any decision to free all captive elephants to wild, the Rajya Sabha was told on Monday.
However, a decision to rehabilitate captive elephants only from zoos to the wild has been taken, Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena, who is currently holding the charge of Environment Ministry, said in a written reply.
“The Central government has not decided to free all elephants to wild for their safety and free movement.
“The government has taken a decision to rehabilitate captive elephants only from zoos to elephant camps or rehabilitation centres

Edinburgh Zoo reindeer given pioneering surgery
A reindeer at Edinburgh Zoo has undergone pioneering keyhole surgery to remove one of his testicles.
Specialist instruments were used to extract the teste, which had been lodged in the abdomen of Eskimo the reindeer since his birth.
It is believed the abnormal testicle was affecting his testosterone flow and may have developed into a tumour.
Eskimo had been

National Zoo gets new director
Wayne Clough, secretary of the Smithsonian, announced that Dennis Kelly has been selected as the new director of the National Zoo. Kelly will take over February 15. John Berry, the last director, left the zoo to become the director of the Office of Personnel Management.
Kelly is unknown to me but he does come to town after a six-year stint as president and CEO of Zoo Atlanta. I am a big fan of Zoo Atlanta but much of that may have to do with space. Not something D.C. has any extra of.

Scientific centre marks launching of the Aquarium upgrade
Scientific centre has marked Monday launching of the upgrading project of the Aquarium Centre through adding new interactive monitors under the sponsorship of Aquarium's director Mujbal Al-Mutawah, it was announced by Al-Mutawah on Monday.
Al-Mutawah said in a press statement that launching this upgrade project aims at keeping up with modern developments, bringing state-of-the-art technology and providing scientific culture for both of children and youth.
He went on to say that it does Kuwait credit that its Aquarium in the first to use interactive screens in the world of such kind , pointing out that carrying out and operating the project will 9 consecutive months in cooperation with specialized team from the centre.
Meanwhile, director of the Centre's information



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


Okay this is NOT zoo related but with the festive season coming up it is worth clicking on the link to make a choice or really original gifts. Most of these you will not find anywhere else! Even if you are not feeling festive you will find gifts with a difference for any occassion.


Singapore Zoo Safari Run 2010
6th February 2010
Singapore Zoo and Night Safari


Rainforest Rescue
Action: Multi-million UN carbon credits for agrofuels threaten climate, forests and people


Association of Zoos & Aquariums 2010 Mid Year Meeting


2010 Animal Behavior Management Alliance (ABMA) Annual Conferences

Join us in Pittsburgh, PA for our 10th Anniversary “Defining a Decade: Animal Management – Past, Present, and Future” to be held April 25-30, 2010. Conference programming includes: Dr. Vint Virga, a Veterinary Behaviorist as keynote speaker, formal presentations, numerous workshops and seminars, a poster session, and site visits to animal facilities.

Registration is OPEN!! Go to and find the conference 2010 page to click on the registration link.

All conference details can be found at The conference will be held at the Hilton Pittsburgh located in downtown Pittsburgh. Mention that you are with the ABMA and receive a special room rate of $119/night. Reservations must be made by March 23, 2010 at 412-391-4600. Contact Nicole Begley at or 412-323-7235 ext 216 with questions.

First Call for Papers

Presentations by attendees are always a highlight of the Animal Behavior Management Alliance Conferences. We are now seeking submissions for the paper and poster sessions. This year’s theme is:

“Defining a Decade: Animal Management - Past Present and Future”

If you have a behavior management accomplishment, case study, project, or similar dialogue you’d like to share with the delegates, especially one that resonates with the theme of the conference, it is time to put together an abstract and submit it!

Regular Submission deadline: January 15, 2010

All authors notified by: February 28, 2010

Submissions must be mailed electronically via e-mail to: Faxed copies and snail mail will no longer be accepted. Abstract submission guidelines can be found on the submission form at

Please keep in mind that not all abstracts will necessarily be accepted for presentation. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Conference Content Advisory Committee Chair, Emily Insalaco, at


The Seahorse Trust, Live Tank Camera
Watch the fascinating world of UK Seahorses live from Devon.


BVZS Spring meeting 2010. Theme "Preventative Medicine"

Venue Torquay and Paignton Zoo. Dates will be April 23rd to April 25th. More information will be posted soon. The Conference Hotel will be the Barcelo Imperial Hotel (Hotel Torquay, Barceló Torquay Imperial Hotel, Southern England)

Accommodation rates are £80.00 per room including breakfast regardless of occupancy.

Rooms can be booked via the hotel website as above website using the “BVG” code in the promotion code on the left hand side of the webpage. Alternatively rooms can be booked via central reservations on 08701 688833 quoting “British Veterinary Group”

60 rooms have been placed on an allocation for delegates Any unconfirmed rooms shall been released 21 days prior to the event, subject to availability.

Further details about the Hotel can be found here

For latest details including a call for papers click HERE

Registration form can be downloaded here

The English Riviera website does offer an online accommodation booking facility for those delegates who wish to book an alternative standard of accommodation.


Join Zoo News Digest Facebook Page

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We have a lot of new events planned for 2009 and 2010, some in collaboration with Chester Zoo, Odense Zoo, Reaseheath College and Howletts & Port Lympne.

Please check on
for the latest information and programs.

There will also be information on upcoming conferences and workshops in the animal field, like the PASA workshop in Kenya later this month.
Please let us know if we are missing one, or if you are organising an event so we can add it to the calendar. Thank you.

Please contact us if you have any further questions.

Kind regards,



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


UK: ++ 44 (0)753 474 3377
Thailand: ++ 66 (0)861 382 450

Skype: peter.dickinson48

Mailing address:
Suite 201,
Gateway House,
78 Northgate Street,
United Kingdom

"These are the best days of my life"

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