Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Zoo News Digest 6th - 9th December 2009 (Zoo News 634)

Zoo News Digest 6th - 9th December 2009 (Zoo News 634)


Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleagues,

I am back in the UK for a while. Looking for any short term (legal) work that, ideally, would provide accommodation too. Anything considered.

You may recollect that a few months ago I pointed you to the website of the Crocodile Zoo near Frankfurt in Europe where you could go swimming with Alligators. Daft I called it then and my thinking has not changed since. Now we have cage diving with Crocodiles in Crocosaurus Cove. I do think that they could have come up with a better name than the 'Cage of Death' though. Tacky title. Besides I don't think we should be trying to scare zoo visitors.

Lots of interesting links today.

Please post in comments below if you feel so inclined.

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On with links:

Oil Palm Based Biofuel More Harmful Than Fossil Fuels: Researcher
The programme to develop palm oil as a non-polluting biofuel is a "myth" to justify expansion of oil palm plantations in Indonesia, a researcher from Sriwijaya University Julian Junaidi said.
"The burning of palm oil-based biofuel might not generate enviromment-damaging gas, and the process of turning palm oil into biofuel was much more harmful than the use of fossil fuels," Indonesia's Antara news agency reported, citing Julian as saying. Speaking at a dissussion on biofuel organized by the Indonesian Forum for the Evironment (Walhi) here Monday, he said the burning of one tonne of premium gasoline would cause 3.1 tonnes of carbon dioxyde (C02) to escape into the atmosphere.
However, the process of turning one tonne of palm oil into biofuel would produce 33 tonnes of CO2. These facts showed that the use of palm-oil-based biofuel would contribute enormously to global warming, he said.
"Tragically, most of the activity to turn palm oil into biofuel is taking place in developing countries, where the oil palm plantations are located," Julian said. Apart from damaging the environment, he said, the program to develop biofuel from palm oil was also causing land disputes in the community. "The drive to expand oil palm plantations has already led to hundreds of land disputes because the expansion was done not on no- man's land but on people's farm land," he said. "Oil palm is not a renewable energy source. The price people have to pay for palm-oil-based biofuel is too high. Millions of hectares of forests are being cut down for a crop that eventually only contributes to

Baby hippo found dead at Night Safari park
Staff at the Chiang Mai Night Safari Zoo yesterday located the body of a one-month-old baby hippopotamus that went missing a week ago.
The baby hippo disappeared from a nursing pen on November 30, although news of its disappearance only emerged on the weekend.
Zoo officials with sniffer dogs finally found the female hippo in a ditch during a search of its vast compound.
Veterinarians will perform an autopsy on the animal to determine the exact cause of its death. Initial examination suggested it may have starved to death after getting stuck in the ditch.
"It might have got down there for some water but

Zoo to reopen in 2010 with safari-like theme
The Zoo Northwest Florida has been saved.
The 25-year-old preserve is now owned by the Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge, Va., said Terry Whitman, The Zoo’s director of operations.
Whitman expects to be back open in early 2010.
Virginia Safari Park is a privately owned drive-through animal encounter park with more than 500 free-roaming animals. The park opened in 2000.
Virginia Safari Park owner Eric Mogensen

Woman arrested for keeping zoo in condo
Bears and leopard cats can be found in the wild or in zoos, but what about in a condominum in the city?
That is what enforcement officers from the Selangor Wildlife Department discovered when they raided a unit in Desa Pandan, Kuala Lumpur last Friday.
They arrested a 25-year-old woman who had been keeping a baby honey bear, a leopard cat and a slow loris in individual

Panda's trip to China leaves giant hole in US city
It was freezing and snowing hard Saturday afternoon, but 4-year-old giant panda Tai Shan didn't mind. He nimbly climbed onto a treetop and chewed his bamboo leaves.
Nearby, a dozen men and women, including an elderly woman in a wheelchair, held cameras and zoomed in on the animal. They were members of a fan club called Panda Unlimited, who come every weekend to snap shots and take videos of their icon. On Saturday, however, their collective mood was clearly somber.
The Smithsonian National Zoological Park had announced on Friday that Tai Shan would be sent to China early next year as stipulated in an agreement between the zoo and the Chinese

Team finishes inspection of Topeka Zoo
A three-member team from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums has finished its review of the Topeka Zoo.
The group examined numerous records and interviewed staff members at all levels before completing the 2-day inspection Friday.
City manager Norton Bonaparte had sought the review after federal inspections faulted the zoo for lax veterinary care and inadequate record keeping in the deaths of animals.
Now that the review is complete, city spo

Creation Kingdom Zoo boasts animals from six continents
The Snowflake community in Scott County, Va., may seem like an unconventional place to spot a white Bengal tiger cub. But that cub’s there — along with a whole host of other animals representing six different continents.
Creation Kingdom Zoo officially opened its doors to the public in September and has already seen thousands of visitors.
“This venture just began with a real love for animals and a realization that many folks in the community don’t have access to things such as this like you would see in larger areas,” said Denise Meyers, public relations

MD Zoo Creates Cookbook For Man And Beast
It's no monkey business; a Maryland zoo has created a successful cookbook.
The book is called "Recipes from the Salisbury Zoo: Culinary Delights for Man and Beast." Zoo docent Chip Foster led its creation.
Recipes came from friends and supporters of the zoo and range from Hallelujah Halibut to Cranberry Scones. In addition to almost 200 recipes the book includes animal photos and animal diet and behavior facts. For example, at the zoo, sweet potatoes and apples go to the sloth; the spider monkeys

Short on funds, Zoo Atlanta pandas still likely to stay
About $240,000 short of the fund-raising goal in the panda-promoting Give So They Stay campaign, Zoo Atlanta president and CEO Dennis Kelly said it’s unlikely that the zoo’s famous pandas are going anywhere.
The Zoo is making one last push with a fund-raising membership offer of $99 for two adults and up to four children, who don’t have to live in the same

Expedition to track down rhinos
A 50-member expedition will comb the Pulong Tau national park in northern Sarawak for the Sumatran rhinoceros, last seen over 50 years ago.
The team comprising personnel from the Sarawak Forest Department, WWF Malaysia and timber company Samling Sdn Bhd will begin the 10-day search on Monday.
"The last reported sightings of the animal were at Sungai Adang, Long Seridan and Batu Lawi in the Upper Limbang area in the 1950s," state Forest Deparment director Datuk Len Talif Salleh told reporters after the launch of the expedition at the Samajaya Forest Park yesterday.
"We are not sure whether there are any rhinos still roaming in Pulong Tau, though footprints were found near the foot of Gunong Batu Lawi in 1996," he said.
But since then, he said, no follow-up studies have been done.
A recent picture thought to be of a rhinoceros taken by a camera trap near Batu Lawi last year was too grainy because of the

How to Make a Croc Look Cuddly: Paint It Like a Panda
Bears From China Are a Hit in Thailand, Prompting Makeovers of Local Animals
For aquarium worker Kamla Maneegan, painting baby crocodiles to look like crowd-pleasing giant pandas is more than just a job -- it's a point of national pride.
Ever since a pair of pandas on loan from China gave birth to a cub in May, Thailand has gone ga-ga for the black-and-white bears.
One television network broadcasts 24-hour coverage of the cub, Lin Ping, on its "Panda Channel" as she chows down on bamboo shoots, plays with tires and nuzzles her mother. Street vendors and fashion designers have incorporated panda motifs into their work, and the country's top zoologist has taken to wearing a panda costume for TV interviews. Panda fever appeared to reach a fresh peak in October, when two armed men held up a gas station in Bangkok and made off with two stuffed pandas -- leaving the cash register untouched.
The pandas are part of China's efforts to step up trade and political ties in Southeast Asia. In 2003, it rented a pair of pandas to Thailand's Chiang Mai Zoo for $300,000 a year -- a sharp discount from the $1 million a year China typically charges zoos in the U.S.
The birth of Lin Ping this year was a cash bonanza for the zoo. It was also an achievement for Thai zoologists – Thailand is now one of a handful of countries, including Mexico, Japan and the U.S., to have successfully bred a panda cub outside China. "It's like winning the lottery," says Sophon Dumnui, director-general of Thailand's Zoological Park Association, this time wearing a suit and tie rather than his panda outfit.
Visitors to the zoo doubled to 1.2 million the first year the pandas were there, he says, bringing in an average of $2.7 million a year, including souvenirs. The arrival of Lin Ping in July brought additional revenue of $1.5 million in just six months.
It's all too much for some Thais, though. They worry that amid all this pandemonium Thailand is forgetting its own endangered species, especially the elephant and the crocodile. Their response: If you can't beat the panda-huggers, join them, preferably with the help of a couple of jars of black and white paint.
At several sites across the country, commercial aquariums and animal parks are painting their animals in panda colors to keep up visitor numbers in the face of tougher competition -- as well as educate people about the threats elephants and crocodiles face in the wild.
Mr. Kamla, a 25-year-old crocodile-handler, fielded a barrage of questions from schoolchildren recently at Buengchawark Underwater Sea Paradise as he and a colleague painted a three-month-old Siamese crocodile in panda colors.
"They're an endangered species, too, like the panda, so we hope some of our knowledge will trickle down," Mr. Kamla says.
Prasit Vejprasit, an administrator at the aquarium, says busloads of schoolchildren -- the mainstay of the aquarium's business -- continue coming to the site, a couple of hours' travel northwest of Bangkok, encouraged in large part by the panda-colored crocs. He says teachers often call to confirm the aquarium is still painting crocodiles before

Calgary Zoo a place of co-ordinated caring
I'd guess there must be a lot of people who dream of working at the Calgary Zoo. Imagine cuddling up to a koala bear, feeding the flamingos or even perhaps hosing down a hippo. But there's a lot more to it than looking after the front end of an animal.
Being a zookeeper is indeed a great career, but also hard work with a huge amount of responsibility, and the job can be quite physically demanding.
Michelle Poisson, senior manager human resources, says she currently does have an entry position posted that could mature into zookeeper status - but the starter job is a zoo labourer.
The applicant will probably have some experience working with animals in either a veterinary clinic, animal shelter or perhaps within our national parks and probably has some animal-related degree, but it could take a lot of on-the- job experience and training and waiting for a senior position to come open before a person is able to specialize in a particular area and be promoted to a keeper's role,
Zookeepers - like the zoo's groundskeepers - are City of Calgary staff, and tend to stay in their jobs for a long time. There are few other jobs in this city requiring their talents, and they love the job they do working for one of the top zoos in the country.
A good example is keeper Les Stegenga. He has been with the zoo for 21 years working with most animals except elephants, and has been enjoying looking after gorillas exclusively for the past seven.
But there are many other jobs at our zoo where

Tiger, lion and bear form unusual friendship
Baloo the bear, Leo the Lion and Shere Khan the tiger have the most unusual and unlikely friendship between them.
Rescued eight years ago during a police drugs raid in Atlanta, Georgia, the three friends were only cubs at the time and barely two months old.
They had been kept as status symbol pets by the drug barons.
Delivered to the Noah's Ark animal rescue centre in Locust Grove, Georgia, the decision was made to keep the youngsters together.
"We could have separated them, but since they came as a kind of family, the zoo decided to keep them together," said Diane Smith, assistant director of the Noah's Ark zoo.
"To our knowledge, this is the only place where you'll find this combination of animals together, they are our BLT, (bear, lion and tiger).
Living with the zoo's founders for the past eight years, Shere Khan, Baloo and Leo have now moved to a purpose

AIDS May Date Back to Ancient Tiger
Researchers find signs of feline DNA in virus
Early roots of the virus that causes AIDS might be found in a tiger that lived thousands or millions of years ago, new research suggests.
It appears the virus took on a bit of a tiger's genetic material, scientists say, and a remnant of that cat remains in the virus to this day. That tiger, in fact, may have bitten a monkey, setting off an evolution of the virus that ultimately led to its infection of humans.
The finding shouldn't lead to any immediate breakthroughs in AIDS treatment, experts say. But it does provide more insight into how the virus works.
"Unless you really understand how these viruses work, the exact step-by-step chemical process, then you can't really rationally design a new clever kind of therapy that may be effective against the virus," explained study co-author Robert Bambara, chairman of the University of Rochester's

Zoo upgrade ordered or sea lions will be left high and dry
THE future of one of Edinburgh Zoo's oldest attractions could be put at risk unless urgent repairs are carried out.
Bosses at the tourist attraction have been told that they have to either revamp the sea lion facilities or get rid of the animals altogether.
They have also been told to upgrade some facilities used by big cats when they are not on show to the public amid health and safety fears
The repairs are among a series of upgrades that the city council has ordered the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) to complete in order to get its licence renewed in 2012.
Inspectors indicated that a lot of repair work had been put on hold while the company tried to resolve financial issues, which included its plans to build housing on part of the site.
In relation to sea lions, inspectors said: "The accommodation and water management for the sea lions must be brought up to modern standards, so as to include facilities for separation, isolation and restraint of the animals, and a high standard of water

Campaign to bring Dalton Zoo boss' attacker back to Furness
ZOO boss David Gill has blasted a campaign to bring home the man jailed for attacking him.
Richard Creary broke into Mr Gill’s home in Dalton in August 2007 and stabbed him in the neck with a Stanley knife, narrowly missing an artery.
Creary was jailed for five years in January 2008 after pleading guilty to aggravated burglary.
The court heard how the 40-year-old was consumed by jealousy after Mr Gill formed a relationship with his estranged wife Alison.
The former rugby player from Dalton is due out of jail early next year but could be banned from setting foot in his home town.
So far more than 600 people have joined the Facebook campaign, ‘Welcome Richard Creary Back to Dalton’, including Mr Gill’s sons Matty and Ben, daughter Amy and brother Colin.
Mr Gill, owner of South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Dalton, describes the Facebook group as “sickening”.
But Creary’s dad John says the internet group has been simply set up to show the strength of feeling in the community to get his son where he belongs and is not intended as a personal attack on Mr Gill.
The 70-year-old of Market Place, Dalton, said that on his release from Haverigg prison on February 16, his son is likely to have to live for the next two-and-

Elephants are grey areas in Toronto Zoo's future
Will officials make elephants a vanishing breed?
Pandas or pachyderms?
That should be the question for the Toronto Zoo Board, according to one of its outspoken members.
For animal rights activists, though, it should be neither.
Councillor Paul Ainslie says given the recent deaths of two elephants at the zoo in the last six months, attention to the herd -- and the more than 500 other species at the attraction -- should trump a costly plan to bring two pandas to the zoo.
While the zoo board is attempting to raise $250 million over the next decade to fund an ambitious renovation plan, a panda exhibit could ultimately cost an additional $19 million over the life of the decade-long lease of the animals from China.
Without raising additional funds for the pandas, zoo officials have already told the board they would have to sacrifice other exhibits, including potentially beavers, to fund it.
Meanwhile, the Toronto Zoo now has only three female African elephants -- the minimum number allowed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, of which the Toronto Zoo is an accredited member. Elephants are social creatures which need to be part of a herd.
Four elephants, ranging in ages from 38 to 41, have died at the Toronto Zoo in the past four years. Of the remaining elephants, Toka is 39, and Iringa is 40. They're nearing the end of the life expectancy for elephants in captivity, which is about 20 years shy of those in the wild.
"We're going to have to move money around to get another elephant or two to maintain that exhibit," Ainslie said. "I think our priority should be maintaining what we have .... There's no point in ignoring

Progress Killed Britain’s Wolves, But It Could Save Our Tigers
It is said that Britain’s last wolf was shot in the Heathrow Marshes, the site of Heathrow Airport, in 1746. Probably somewhere around the ruin of the Roman temple of Diana which now lies below Runway One. The shooting was called progress, as was the interment of the Roman ruins.
That early progress was followed by the Industrial Revolution and the building of an empire that all led to the creation of a great welfare state, one of many in the developed world. Welfare states, where poverty is virtually unknown, where the homeless can be accommodated in million-dollar mansions , the sick don’t need to worry about hospital bills and education is free for all.
Modern equivalents of Britain’s wolf are the Sumatran tiger, the orangutan, the babi rusa in Sulawesi and other critically endangered species all threatened by habitat loss as forests are destroyed. Unfortunately for them, they do not live in a developed welfare state.
What’s the prognosis for the Sumatran tiger and the others in the wild? Grim, I guess, but let’s have a look at why.
This week and next the world’s attention will be focused on climate change summit in Copenhagen. One of the issues on the agenda will be the loss of tropical forests globally. This is seen as important in the climate change debate because not only does forest destruction feed massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but it also destroys the permanent carbon sink which

Tiger Tiger Burning Bright
Some fear the striped wonder may soon vanish from India, its last stronghold on the planet. But there is fresh hope that may not be the case
The Bandipur National Park is a long narrow tiger reserve. Twenty-five thousand families share its 180 km border with wild animals. One lakh twenty five thousand villagers depend on the forest for survival. Over 50,000 cattle use the jungle for fodder. Each family cut around 8 kilograms of fuel-wood from the forest each day. That’s almost 2.5 tonnes of firewood per family per year. It was taking a huge toll on the park. But forest guards looked the other way. Most of them are locals and knew the villagers had no other option. As villagers cut into the forest, its rightful inhabitants came out. Elephants, wild pigs and deer raided fields to satiate hunger. And where its prey went, the tiger followed. “One village near the Bhadra National Park had 17 buffaloes killed by a tiger. The villagers killed it. You can’t blame them for protecting their livestock,” says M.D. Madhusudan, director, National Conservation Foundation (NCF).
Similar conflicts took place in Bandipur. In response, the forest department fenced off some farmers’ lands and then dug huge trenches so that wild animals couldn’t cross over into the fields. They installed a couple of bore wells too.
The villagers that populate the outskirts live on the margins of society with no resources to turn to. Their cattle are the main source of livelihood. The trenches that kept out wild animals also kept their cattle from the forest. So within a couple of weeks, all the trenches had been filled and the fencing was taken down for other uses. On their part, the forest department saw the villagers as ungrateful people who did not want to improve their livelihood. They threw up their hands in exasperation and the tiger population in the country dipped dramatically to 1,411 in 2006. All the good work done through the Seventies and Eighties to boost the tiger population to 4,200 had come to a naught.
Circa 2007
The NCF took up the gauntlet and approached the relatively better of farmers first. It offered to install electric fences for their farms. About 100 families agreed. So the NCF went ahead and spent Rs. 8 lakh to fence off eighty acres of land. In return for this, each of the families was asked to contribute Rs. 1,500 to build a corpus to be used in the future. They also have a pay for maintaining the fence and employ

Japanese zoo donates 6 giant salamanders to Smithsonian
Six rare and highly protected Japanese giant salamanders bred and raised at the Asa Zoological Park in Hiroshima City will be sent Monday to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, officials of the two zoos said Friday.
The huge amphibians—two 19-year-old females

Circus Trainer Mauled During Dinner Show
An animal trainer who had raised tigers by hand was attacked and seriously injured by his own big cats on Tuesday night. The man stumbled during a performance and lost control of the animals. The show director said the tigers just wanted to 'play.'
A circus show ended in a near tragedy on Tuesday after a group of tigers mauled their own trainer.
The animal tamer was attacked and seriously injured by his own tigers during a "dinner circus" show in Hamburg's Hagenbeck Zoo.
Around 150 guests had just started their four-course meal when the 28-year-old Christian W. stumbled and lost control of five Bengali tigers.
Three of the animals then jumped on their trainer. The big cats bit into his head and upper body, and he lost part of his left hand. Some of the circus team managed to push the animals into a corner using water jets and fire extinguishers, and then got them back in their cage within seconds.
Two doctors who happened to be in the audience treated the man and the hall was evacuated. Two of the guests were treated for shock at the scene.
Christian W. had raised two of the tigers by hand but it is not yet clear if they were among the three who attacked him.
The director of the show, Stefan Pagels, described the incident as a "tragic accident." In a written statement he said that it had not been a "malicious attack." "An accident is unfortunately always possible in cases of special performances, whether it be animals

Coker retires as zoo director
City to open intensified review of procedures following animal deaths
The retirement of embattled Topeka Zoo director Mike Coker on Tuesday followed the city's recent discovery of documents confirming problems with the hippo pool's boiler.
Coker, 54, has been enveloped in a controversy over inadequate veterinary care and insufficient record keeping related to the deaths of 11 animals between 2006 and 2009, including the fatal seizure of a hippo after she was found in 108-degree water.
The circumstances of, and the lack of transparency around, that hippo's death were fully uncovered by city administrators only days before Coker's retirement, said city spokesman David Bevens.
The zoo purchased a new thermostat and mixing valve for the boiler one day after a hippo was discovered in 108-degree water in October 2006, a work order obtained by The Topeka Capital-Journal shows.
Coker and zoo business manager Dennis Maxim signed off on the purchases.
The document contradicts numerous statements by Coker that the boiler system connected to the pool was working properly.
The Topeka Capital-Journal in May received numerous maintenance records for the hippo pool's boiler in response to a Kansas Open Records Act request, but the pertinent documents weren't released to the newspaper at that time.
Asked if there was a cover up, Bevens said, "It is under review."
Facing criticism
The city also will conduct its own internal top-down review that could result in other administrative changes, Bevens said.
"The next step is to dig even deeper operationally and see what we can do to improve the zoo," he said.
Revelations in the recently released maintenance records are the latest zoo problems that first came to light in an August report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Capital-Journal reported Aug. 28 that the inspection cited the zoo for regulatory noncompliance connected to animal deaths. Among its finding were that a hippo died after staff found it in 108-degree water and that a leopard died after being administered medicine later found to be fatal.
A follow-up inspection in September by the USDA showed a Pallas Cat and a rabbit had died after being infested with maggots. It also cited the zoo for three bats dying when they fell into the alligator pool in the tropical rain forest exhibit.
On Oct. 22, the day the newspaper reported on the September inspection, city manager Norton Bonaparte called for an outside review of the zoo and confirmed veterinarian Shirley Llizo no longer worked there. The three-member review team from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums concluded its two-day walk-through on Friday. Its report will be released in January.
Coker's statements
Criticism of the zoo's animal care had plagued Coker for months before the city last week conducted its own investigation into documents surrounding the hippo pool's boiler, Bevens said.
In three separate interviews in August and October, Coker told The Capital-Journal he didn't believe there were any malfunctions with the hippo pool's boiler system at the time of the hippo's death on Oct. 25, 2006.
"Don't know what went wrong," he said in one interview this year. "We don't find anything mechanical in the records that that was an issue either before or after (the hippo's death)."
Records released Tuesday, however, show a maintenance worker on Oct. 26, 2006, ordered a new thermometer and a valve that helps mix hot and cold water. Four days later, workers from McElroy's Inc., a heating and cooling company installed the new equipment. In total, the zoo paid $1,035 for parts and labor.
On Tuesday, Bevens said Coker signed off on the payment. Coker wasn't taking media requests.
More documents
The city says any withholding of boiler maintenance records to The Capital-Journal was inadvertent.
Months before publication of the USDA's inspection reports, the newspaper requested documents surrounding any work done on the boiler. It received nine pages but none around the date of the hippo's death.
Bevens said a zoo staffer, on the employee's own initiative, called McElroy's last week and got a copy of an invoice regarding a valve repair. City administration conducted further research and discovered the May record request was fulfilled by searching a common vendor number used for McElroy's, he said.
The pertinent maintenance repairs, however, were documented with a vendor number used two times in the past five years. Bevens said

Work on Gorakhpur zoo likely to begin from next year
Things have started moving on the first zoo of eastern UP. The budget for Gorakhpur zoo is expected to be sanctioned within a week or so and the work on it likely to begin by next year.
The budget proposal, demanding between Rs 10-15 crore for the current financial year, has been sent to the state government. "It is a big project of the forest department and will take some time to complete", said Vikas Verma, chief conservator, Gorakhpur.
After Central Zoo Authority's (CZA) nod in January, the Gorakhpur zoo was up for another test -- clearance from the Supreme Court. The apex court wanted to review the plan for the Gorakhpur zoo out of a wish that it should be perfect in all respects of basic infrastructure, budget, designing and other needed paraphernalia. The apex court's nod came in October last.
The USP of Gorakhpur zoo will be its size and the modern design. It will come up on an area of 212 acres outsizing the two existing zoos of the state, in Lucknow and Kanpur. Kanpur zoo has an area of about

Organisations Unite in Parliament on Primate Welfare
On the 10th of December 2009, a petition with over 30,000 signatures against the keeping of primates as pets in the UK will be formally presented at 10 Downing Street; coinciding with a special event at the Houses of Parliament on the same day which will highlight the issues facing primates kept in captivity. Primate welfare specialists from the UK charity, Wild Futures, have been working in conjunction with the RSPCA and other high-profile animal welfare and conservation organisations to ensure that the Primate Code is passed by Parliament prior to its dissolution. The code aims to restrict the private ownership of primates to “specialist keepers” and Wild Futures and the RSPCA hope that it is a step towards ending the primate pet trade.
Despite the private keeping of primates being illegal in the majority of the animal’s native countries, it is still legal in the UK and is largely unregulated, despite overwhelming evidence showing that primates suffer immensely if kept in domestic situations. The public consultation period for the Primate Code, which will act as stringent guidelines for those responsible for the enforcement of appropriate standards, as well as in legal proceedings, ended on the 30th of November and those involved in its creation hope to see it incorporated by April next year.
Says Rachel Hevesi, Primate Consultant from Wild Futures:
“The passing of the Primate Code is just the first step in ensuring that the cruel practice of keeping monkeys as pets is made illegal in the UK. 30,000 people, including 300 experts in the field of primate welfare and conservation have offered their support to our petition and we hope that this, coupled with concrete evidence available on the negative effects of keeping primates in captivity, will make our MPs sit up and listen .”
The event on the 10th of December will be attended by 10 animal welfare and conservation NGOs, amongst others, and will be a forum for interested parties to highlight

Zoo invites public to watch operations
Wellington Zoo opened its new multi-million dollar animal hospital and invited the public into a theatre at the facility where they can watch the operations.
The hi-tech facility, dubbed The Nest, means animals needing a patch-up will not have to make the often dangerous journey out of town for treatment.
The first patient to be operated upon on Wednesday was Tahi the kiwi.
It was a simple micro-chipping for the native bird but the $6 million facility is capable of much more.
Veterinary Science Manager Dr Francois Lampen says it is the state of the art surgery on par with human surgery and sterility standards. Insects are quickly blown out of the theatre

Zoo must fix big cats risk
ZOO bosses have been ordered to make urgent repairs - over fears staff could be attacked by JAGUARS.
Council inspectors warned Edinburgh Zoo that its enclosures need vital work to ensure employee safety.
If the upgrades are not completed the attraction risks losing its licence in 2012.
The enclosures for both the jaguars and sealions were said to be inadequate by officials. Their report said jaguar pens needed work "to ensure staff safety, hygiene and animal welfare are not compromised".
Sealions could be moved to another facility if improvements are not made.
Inspectors said: "Accommodation and water management must be brought up to standard." Royal Zoological Society of Scotland chief David Windmill said: "This has been resolved."
A council spokesman added: "The zoo indicated the conditions can

Rescued animals crowd Dubai Zoo
Breeding programmes affected as 90% of animals at facility were confiscated
Dubai: Up to 90 per cent of the species at Dubai Zoo have been rescued from illegal animal trade after being confiscated at entry points to the UAE from smugglers or ignorant travellers, Gulf News has learnt.
The overcrowding inside the zoo due to the large number of animals collected from traffickers in endangered species, has resulted in a near-total halt in breeding certain animals such as wolves and crocodiles.
Dr Reza Khan, a wildlife specialist at Dubai Zoo said he would like to be able to refuse animals from being placed in the zoo, but doing so could result in the release of wild and potentially dangerous creatures in neighbourhood parks once they are unwanted by their owners.
"This year we received 13 baboons. They are all juveniles in the same age group but only one was donated to the zoo, all the others were confiscated," said Dr Khan. "Except for the giraffes and some smaller animals, 90 per cent of the animals you see in Dubai zoo are confiscated by law enforcement authorities," he added. Space is limited inside the zoo with pens taking up three acres.

Dubai Aquarium offers new ‘cage experience’
Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo at The Dubai Mall has unveiled a fresh new experience that offers visitors the opportunity to have close encounters with the 33,000 aquatic animals.
Described as the ‘Cage Experience,’ the new initiative complements the Shark Dives and Glass Bottom Boat Rides that are hugely popular among visitors.
Essentially, visitors can now jump straight into the 10 million litre tank without the hassle of diving equipment or air tanks. This will particularly appeal to those who do not want to undertake full-fledged diving but can feel the same thrills in a safe cage setting.
The Cage Experience users only have to put on snorkelling gear, dive into the secure cage in the aquarium, and watch over 70 different marine species including some 400 sharks and rays

Clicker training aquarium fish
Clicker training isn't just for dogs and horses - it works for all species - even aquarium fish!
In her book, "Reaching the Animal Mind" Karen Pryor describes teaching a fish to swim through a hoop using clicker training principles of positive reinforcement and operant conditioning.
The fish she trained was a cichlid, commonly called an oscar. She purchased the oscar at a local aquarium store. She picked this particular species for her subject because they are fearless, they have a good appetite, and they grow quickly. This species of fish does not mind living alone as opposed to the type of social fish that lives in schools. For these reasons she felt the oscar was a good candidate for clicker training.
It is fascinating to read Karen's account. She never glosses over mistakes but instead uses them as teaching tools. For instance, since the oscar could not hear http://www.examiner.com/x-7431-Clicker-Training-Examiner~y2009m12d3-Clicker-training-aquarium-fish



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.


Campaign Against Canned Hunting

Nearly ten years ago, when we published our book "For the Love of Wildlife," we warned that it was just a matter of time before the canned hunting industry connected with the infamous Chinese tiger bone business. Genetically similar lion bones would serve the same purpose for Chinese traditional medicine as the corpses of tigers. Of all the countries of the world, China is the biggest destination for illegal wildlife. Like a wildlife vacuum cleaner, it empties the forests of Asia. Now it is the turn of the African lion to suffer a similar fate.

Canned hunting breeders and Chinese traditional medicine practitioners will grow rich, while Africa's lion population, already in grim straits, grows poorer.

On Tuesday, 1st December 2009, the permit committee of the Department of Environment, Tourism and Economic Affairs, Free State Province decided to approve the permits for the exportation of lion bones to one Cobus van der Westhuizen.

The Free State is one of the worst provinces in SA for captive lion breeding. Lions are bred in South Africa in enclosures, just as a pig farmer breeds pigs in crates, for slaughter. The difference between raising pigs and raising lions is that the lion abattoir has been turned into a lucrative 'sport,' colloquially called 'canned lion hunting.'

Various spin-offs from this grisly trade have already been successfully established, including cub-petting, walking with young lions, and the promotion in USA of lion meat consumption.

As you may know, we have serious problems in SA regarding conservation of biodiversity, due partly to a well-orchestrated campaign against any civilized notion of animal welfare, and partly to dysfunctionality in many areas of conservation - especially in some provinces. Now, with the approval of the permit, our worst fears and imaginings have been realized. The door to the huge market for “tiger bone” in Asia has been opened. Furthermore, the demand for free-ranging lion bone is much higher than that for captive lions and we fear the worst for our African lion populations. Big money is involved, and we all know what that means.

The Marchig Trust excepted, animal welfare organisations worldwide have not taken any meaningful steps to publicise the plight of African lions, or to persuade their own governments to change their policies of abject compliance with the canned hunting fraternity.

This is not only a South African problem. Remember, the lions may be African, but the hunters are American and European. Without their dollars and Euros, this dreadful trade will wither and die. With the eyes of the world on Copenhagen, now would be a good time for a co-ordinated international campaign to get the import of wildlife body parts banned in USA and Europe.


First, check out our website, http://www.cannedlion.org/ Educate your tourism associations about the evils of China's wildlife trade. Ben Davies' book "Black Market' is an excellent expose of the trade in Asia of endangered species. Selective,ethical tourism is a useful tool for changing government policies.

If you are an effective Animal Welfare organisation, make this one of your 2010 projects. We can help you with photos, accurate information and even video footage. If you wish, you could liaise with us on press releases, conferences, publicity drives etc.

If you are a concerned individual, send letters of protest, copying the above, to your national tourism associations, your conservation officials, your MPs and also to the SA email addresses below:



www.zoolex.org in November 2009

~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~

Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!



The rain forest house at Zoo Schönbrunn in Austria aims at showing visitors a cross-section of a mountain slope in Borneo's rainforest, including the Asian rainforest's link to the ocean in the form of a simulated mangrove swamp.


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 another tropical
exhibit at Randers in Denmark.

Zoo Tropical Randers Regnskov - América Tropical:



A ZooLex workshop will be held at Zoo Salzburg in Austria from March 25
to 26, 2010. Workshop program:

Information and registration:



We are pleased to introduce a new ZooLex editor:

Lee Ehmke, Director and CEO, Minnesota Zoo
Apple Valley, Minnesota, United States of America

The quality of ZooLex publications is ensured by our editorial board
whose members edit and comment on all newsletters, gallery presentations
and papers prior to publication and dissemination. We wish to thank all
our editors for this valuable support.



We keep working on ZooLex ...

The ZooLex Zoo Design Organization is a non-profit organization
registered in Austria (ZVR-Zahl 933849053). ZooLex runs a professional
zoo design website and distributes this newsletter. More information and
contact: http://www.zoolex.org/about.html


I keep going on about T.I.G.E.R.S. the so called 'The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species'. Doc Antle and his team are the masters of publicity and cutie cutie (stick my fingers down my throat) publicity. I just wish they would move over to the right side of the fence and actually do something for conservation.
If you take a look at their clever and rather impressive website http://www.tigerfriends.com/ you could believe that they are actually doing something. I have not gone through it with a fine tooth comb but clicking on Thailand I note that they have sent Tigers to Thailand. I ask you just what is the point? And "four colour variations"....Aaaagh! Then there is the other donations they are making. I suppose my question is 'how much good makes the unacceptable crap acceptable?'
Take a look at this video HERE


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 http://www.theabma.org/ and find the conference 2010 page to click on the registration link.

All conference details can be found at www.theabma.org. 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 nicole.begley@aviary.org 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: einsalaco@denverzoo.org Faxed copies and snail mail will no longer be accepted. Abstract submission guidelines can be found on the submission form at www.theabma.org.

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 einsalaco@denverzoo.org


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. http://www.englishriviera.co.uk/site/accommodation/online-booking


FYI - two new PhD positions at Manchester being made available to UK and other EU nationals. Both will provide fees and stipend subject to eligibility. Please circulate this email announcement to all interested parties.

Effects of UV-B and dietary supplementation on fitness and behaviour of frogs in ex situ conservation (CASE studentship)

The first PhD is a joint studentship between the University of Manchester and Chester Zoo. This project will examine field populations of Agalychnis morelletti to determine natural diets and their nutrient composition. Complimentary studies in the lab with the species, and also Dendrobates auratus, will examine how to optimise lighting, especially UV-B, for ex-situ conservation populations. Results will feed directly into captive management programs at Chester Zoo and will be disseminated globally through the Amphibian Ark network.


Environmental impacts on model and threatened frogs

The second PhD project on offer will examine the effects of environmental factors, including climate change effects, on development and fitness of model amphibians (Hyperolius argus) and ex-situ populations of endangered and threatened tropical frogs. A major goal of this research is to determine the optimum captive management conditions. The majority of the project work will take place at the University of Manchester , but fieldwork in the tropics may be required. This position is BBSRC funded.



From the Marine Turtle Newsletter - http://www.seaturtle.org/mtn/

Duke University Marine Lab 2010 Summer Course: The Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles
Dates: Summer Term II: 12 July - 13 August 2010
Course limit: 20 students (undergraduates, graduate students, professionals)
Application deadline (for Global Fellowship): 15 February 2010
Application deadline (for Tuition Scholarship): 1 April 2010
Application deadline (no funding support): 14 June 2010

Description: BIO125L/ENV 227L. The essential biology of sea turtles (evolution, anatomy, physiology, behavior, life history, population dynamics) and their conservation needs, with an emphasis on the role turtles play in marine ecosystem structure and function. Basic ecological concepts are integrated with related topics including the conservation and management of endangered species, the contributions of technology to the management of migratory marine species, the role of research in national and international law and policy, and the veterinary aspects of conservation. The course includes laboratory and field experience with the animals and with their habitat requirements. Instructor: TBA

As part of Summer Term II Integrated Marine Conservation Program, a core course BIO 109/ENV 209 (Conservation Biology & Policy) may be taken with The Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles. Students are encouraged (but not required) to take both courses. Approximately ten Global Fellowships in Marine Conservation will be awarded on a competitive basis to international students, especially those from developing countries, and will fully cover travel expenses, room and board, and tuition for both BIO 109/ENV 209 Conservation Biology and Policy plus one elective course subject to availability. Electives include: Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles; Marine Mammals; Marine Ecology; Marine Invertebrate Zoology; and Independent Research.

Experience the beautiful North Carolina coast! Join students from all over the world in participating in this unique summer session experience. Enrolment is limited, apply early!

For more information: mL_admissions@nicholas.duke.edu

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 http://www.animalconcepts.eu/AnimalConcepts/Events/Events.html
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
Email: intern@totallywild.net

Final deadline for registration is: 31.12.09


For Zoo Jobs and Related Vacancies please visit: http://zoowork.blogspot.com/

For notification of Zoo related Meetings, Conferences, Courses and Symposia go to: http://zoosymposia.blogspot.com/


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

Blog: http://zoonewsdigest.blogspot.com/
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UK: ++ 44 (0)753 474 3377
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Skype: peter.dickinson48

Mailing address:
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"These are the best days of my life"

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