Sunday, January 31, 2010

Zoo News Digest 26th - 29th January 2010 (Zoo News 643)

Zoo News Digest 26th - 29th January 2010 (Zoo News 643)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleagues,

I would have no problem at attending a meeting in a vegetarian restaurant. I would even eat in one at a push. Equally I would even attend a church, a mosque, a synogogue if invited. I would not change my thoughts on God, creation or meat eating as a result but I might actually learn something. I am open minded enough to know that there is another side to every story. Not so Angela Smith. Talk about narrow minded. Not that I am an especially political creature but I certainly would not give her consideration in any election.

I note that someone was actually arrested for stealing a penguin from a zoo. The jokes and urban myths about such an event may now actually gain some substance.

The rumble about recession continues. It is somewhat refreshing then to learn that Knowsley Safari Park has had its best year in 35 years. It will have been helped by stories of Baboons and suitcases and Baboons and hot potatoes. The press really seem to love those sort of stories and, obviously, the readers too.

It is worrying to learn that the Indonesian Goverment are planning to plant even more oil palms ...21 million hectares!!!! At the same time they talk about renting tigers and releasing them back to the wild. What wild? Meanwhile here we are talking about helping the planet with our biofuels and we are actually destroying it and every day we are doing it faster than before. Too much talk and not enough action.

I was interested to learn of the death of the 80 year old Andean Condor. I must admit to being a bit surprised too. I know that these birds are very long lived. It is not so long ago that two Condors died in Italy. These had been presented to Rome Zoo by Benito Mussolini. I thought they were the oldest at the time though the exact age escapes my memory just now. Did 'Thaao' ever breed I wonder. Andean Condors present a bit of a problem in captivity. There are a number of aging wild caught birds of which very few have ever bred. Of the breeding birds very few have ever reared a chick (in fact parent reared Andean Condors are as rare as Condors teeth). Hand reared birds are in general too imprinted to breed and are quite difficult to mix together. It is refreshing however that captive bred birds have been reintroduced to the wild.

The new 'Lion Country' series on ITV is refreshingly different unlike the ridiculous and uninformed 'Lion Man' series which is still being shown in places. I hope that people watch 'Lion Country' and learn and see where the 'Lion Man' was so very very wrong.

The Chimp Cam programme shot in Edinbugh Zoo was another one worth a watch. Not exciting but definitely interesting.

I am delighted to learn that the Northern White Rhinos in Kenya have been de-horned if perhaps just a little sorry that it should be necessary. I am keeping my fingers crossed that in Spring that spring is in the air. It is surprising what a bit of romancing in a warm climate can do for the libido.

I hope Gordon Brown is not so bogged down that he does not give the Barrier Reef plan some serious consideration. We are in a position to do something now. Tomorrow may be too late.

I am only too aware of the sort of damage and angry chimpanzee is capable of inflicting but the photograph of the victim seeking a face transplant gave me rather a shock. I hope she finds what she is looking for. At present she is probably the worlds best example for not keeping a chimp, or any primate for that matter as a household pet. Let primates be primates and live with their own kind.

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Details of re-wilding South China Tigers written into book

Shortly before the arrival of the Chinese Year of Tiger on February 14, Chinese readers are greeted Wednesday by a work journal recording details of re-wilding the endangered South China Tigers in a South Africa wildlife reserve.

The book, titled "South China Tiger Journal," covers seven years of a training process that helps prepare the once captive tigers, also known as Chinese Tigers, to go back into the wild.

It contains stories of each step of the re-wilding process, from independent predation of chickens to wild antelopes. Anecdotes such as the tigers getting stabbed by porcupines were also included.

Li Quan, principal author of the book, said at the launch ceremony that the book intended to both entertain and educate readers with details of the training process and knowledge of the nature.

In doing this, Li said she hoped the book could raise public awareness of saving the tigers and motivate more people into action.

The South China Tigers, one of the six living tiger sub-species, are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as one of the ten extremely endangered species. There are only about 70 Chinese Tigers living in captivity in zoos across China.

In the past decade, several animal-conversation teams from in and outside China searched for wild South China Tigers in their original habitats, but found no definitive evidence of their existence.

The re-wilding program aims to establish a conservation model for South China Tigers by creating a pilot reserve in China where the re-wilded tigers could be reintroduced.

The South Africa program is part of a larger scheme, Reintroduction of the Chinese Tigers into the Chinese Wild, which is co-operated by the charitable

Baloo the black bear and his best friends the Bengal tiger and a lion called Leo

Baloo, an American black bear is a brave bear indeed because he shares a pen with Shere Khan a Bengal tiger and a lion called Leo at an animal rehabilitation centre.

The unlikely pals were seized as cubs in 2001 following the arrest of a drug dealer who had kept the cubs as a status symbol.

The trio have been enthralling visitors at Noah’s Ark Zoo in Georgia, USA, as they lark around together.

Bosses at the centre where the animals were taken soon realised that the three predators were friendly with each other and decided not to split them up.

Diane Smith, assistant director at Noah’s Ark Zoo in Georgia, USA, explained: “We could have separated them, but since they came as

Fishing cat beaten to death

A fishing cat that fled from Rajshahi Central Zoo a week ago due to negligence of the authority was beaten to death at Haragram Sheikhpara area in the city yesterday.

Fazlul Haque Bhulu of the area, his son Hikmat along with their dog chased the cat after he saw it near his house after Fazr prayers.

Minutes later, the dog grabbed the cat's neck while Bhulu, Hikmat and other villagers beat it to death, said witnesses.

The villagers declined to return the cat's carcass to the zoo authority.

The cat managed its way out through a hole in the wired cage at the zoo last Wednesday, said Abul Kalam Azad, caretaker of the zoo. “We did not notice the hole beforehand,” he said.

On taking any legal action, Forhad Uddin, veterinary surgeon of the zoo, told The Daily Star they could not say anything until they got the cat's body. “In fact, the forest department is responsible for this.”

Afzal Hossain, officer-in-charge of Rajpara police station, said he heard the news but could not manage time

Hillwalkers out of step with landowner over wild animals

WALKERS and mountaineers could deal a blow to a Highland landowner's plans to keep wild boar and elk on his land.

Councillors will be asked next week to renew a licence for 17 wild boar and two European elk held in enclosures at the Alladale Estate in Sutherland.

A previous licence under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act was granted in 2007, but Highland Council access officer Matt Dent has lodged an objection on the grounds it would be contrary to the Land Reform Act 2003, which established a right to roam.

Mr Dent received a complaint from a hillwalker who tried to descend from the surrounding hills and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCoS) has also raised doubts over access.

Despite the concerns, Chris Ratter, the council's area environmental health manager, recommends the licence is granted.

However, it has highlighted growing unrest at plans for Alladale, where estate owner Paul Lister is creating a wilderness reserve. He announced recently he is to apply for

Pet shop manager arrested for stealing penguin from zoo

A pet shop manager was arrested Wednesday for allegedly stealing a penguin from a zoo here, police said.

Akira Honda, 24, the manager of a pet shop in Fukuoka, was arrested on suspicion of theft.

Honda is accused of stealing a Humboldt penguin -- worth about 400,000 yen -- from the Nagasaki Bio Park in Saikai at around 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The suspect has

Safari park's pride in visitors

Visitor numbers at Knowsley Safari Park are at their highest for 35 years.

Park bosses are delighted with the increase, which comes despite the recession and poor summer weather.

Thee were more than 530,000 visitors during 2009 – an increase of 7,000.

General manager David Ross: "Throughout 2009 we had to cope with very mixed weather including, of course, the forecast 'barbecue summer' that turned out to be a monsoon most of the time.

"When you also take into account all the economic doom and gloom that's been around, plus high fuel prices, it was a real achievement to see visitor figures rise to a level that we haven't seen for the best part of four

SE Asian tigers 'extinct within 15 years'

A top level conference on tiger conservation has begun in Thailand with a warning that the animals could be locally extinct within 15 years.

Government ministers from 13 countries with native tiger populations are meeting for the first time and say tiger numbers are in crisis.

Earlier this week the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released a report warning that tigers could be locally extinct in the Greater Mekong region within 12 years.

The report blamed habitat loss and poaching for tiger body parts, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

The WWF estimates that combined numbers in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam have fallen to just 350.

Thailand's environment minister says countries

World Bank wants tiger farms shut

China and other Asian nations should shut privately run tiger farms as they are inhumane and fuel demand for the endangered big cat's bones and skin, the World Bank said Thursday.

The call came as governments from 13 countries where tigers exist in the wild met in Thailand to discuss their conservation and how to boost tiger numbers.

Tiger farms are found principally in China, as well as Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. Owners claim rearing the cats in captivity will help reduce the illegal trade in tiger parts which are used in traditional medicine, but environmentalists

Zoo finding its way back to business

The hoots and chirps of howler monkeys bantering with gibbons blended with the roar and back-up warning signal of a bulldozer widening a moat at the zoo in Gulf Breeze.

Despite the commotion, the zoo was eerily devoid of human creatures as new zoo director Glenn Goodman and zoo founder Pat Quinn toured the grounds to assess the work needed to reopen the zoo.

Formerly known as The Zoo of Northwest Florida, the 25-year-old facility closed last August because of financial problems precipitated by damage from Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and Hurricane Dennis the next year.

Eric Mogensen bought it from the local owner, Animal Park Inc., in December. The new owner also owns Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge, Va., and Reston Zoo near Washington, D.C.

"Our main objective is to get the zoo open by mid-February. We want to get the people back," Goodman, 47, said as he surveyed the empty primate island from a pedestrian

Zoo mates falling prey to pollution

It was in the run-up to the Bakrid festival when the city zoo lost six black bucks last November within five days. The veterinary doctors at the zoo were surprised that the animals had died due to foot and mouth disease, which is caused by a virus that had been eradicated from Andhra Pradesh many years ago. And that's when they realised how the virus had gained entry into the zoo: illegal slaughter houses that had mushroomed around the zoo unchecked had brought cattle and sheep from neighbouring states for the festival. Officials said the epidemic was contained and thus other animals saved.

Nevertheless, of the 24 animal deaths at the Nehru Zoological Park in the last one year, 18 have died in the last three months alone. Two animals, a fox and a mouse deer, died last week. But these deaths were not due to the virus. The fox was found dead in his burrow with maggot wounds and the mouse deer died due to a rare urine retention illness.

Clearly, there are more factors leading to deaths in the zoo than just the deadly virus. When founded in 1965, the 300-acre zoo was located on the city outskirts and its animals lived in mint fresh environs. If slaughter houses around it are making unwanted donations of the foot and mouth disease virus that travels into zoo at the

Zoo upsets redheads

An Australian zoo has dropped an ad campaign offering free visits to people with ginger hair to highlight the plight of orang-utans.

Adelaide Zoo ran advertisements offering "free Zoo entry for all rangas" during the school holidays, reports the Adverstiser.

"Ranga" - an abbreviation of orang-utan - is a common nickname in Australia for redheads.

"We seem to be getting quite a bit of a negative reaction to that request," said Zoos SA's director of conservation programs

Albino animals: Some are too Cute!

Indonesia: Government proposes 21 million hectares of plantations to meet climate targets

There are two realities in the forestry sector in Indonesia. In one, the forests continue to be destroyed, peatswamps are drained, forests are logged, burned and replaced by industrial tree plantations. Indigenous Peoples' and local communities' rights are bulldozed along with the forests. Meanwhile, in the other reality, trees are planted, forests are restored and greenhouse gas emissions will soon become a thing of the past.

Occasionally, these two realities collide. In December 2009, Cornelis, the Governor of West Kalimantan, was giving a speech about the government's "One Man, One Tree" campaign, but was repeatedly interrupted by the noise of logging trucks loaded with newly logged timber on the nearby Trans-Kalimantan highway. "I'm making a speech about the tree-planting movement and a truck carrying piles of timber passes by," the Jakarta Globe reported him as saying. "If we ask the drivers, I don't think they will have permits," he added. After four trucks had interrupted him, Cornelis asked the police to stop any more logging trucks for driving past. Just until he finished his speech.

In September 2009, Indonesia's President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, told a G-20 summit in the USA that Indonesia "will change the status of our forests from that of a net emitter sector to a net sink sector by 2030." He also announced that Indonesia

Cats and dogs in the animal cruelty law

The mainland media is buzzing with reports about a draft law on the prevention of cruelty to animals.

Judging from the critical response the draft is already generating online and in the print media, the law will not be an easy one to pass. Originally titled "Animal Protection Law," the present title was adopted after the drafters received feedback from people who felt that talk of "animal protection" and "animal welfare" was hard to accept: "They felt that it was more important right now to protect the people's welfare," said Chang Jiwen, director of the Social Law Research Department at CASS.

Article nine of the draft law was the most eye-catching part:

This reporter learned that the Cruelty to Animals law (draft for expert feedback) states that for individuals, the illegal consumption or sale of the meat of dogs or cats may result in a fine of up to 5,000 yuan, up to 15 days in prison, and a signed statement of repentance; companies or organizations can be fined between 10,000 and 500,000 yuan. Supervision will be undertaken by public security agencies, which will set up a uniform hotline and assign responsibilities to other departments.

Following the Chongqing Evening News' lead, most news outlets ran their reports under headlines like "Dog meat eaters will face up to 15 days in jail." Driven by the framing on news portals, the section on cats and dogs attracted the most animated discussion online.

Some commentators questioned whether people in northeast China, where dog meat is part of ethnic Korean cuisine, and in Guangdong, where dogs and cats are eaten for their purported medicinal properties, will submit to the

Condor nearly 80 years old dies in Connecticut zoo

A Connecticut zoo says an Andean condor believed to be the oldest one living in captivity has died at nearly 80 years old.

Thaao (TAY'-oh) arrived at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport in 1993 after living most of his life at the Pittsburgh Zoo. He was the only endangered animal at the zoo to be born in the wild.

A necropsy proved inconclusive.

The zoo says an Andean condor lives to about 50. The zoo believes Thaao was one of the original animals to have been tracked using a breed registry, a list of the known individual animals in a breed.

Biologists estimate that there are only a few thousand Andean condors in the wild.

Zoo director Gregg Dancho says

Crocodile zoo would be top attraction

AFTER an eight-year love of crocodiles, Shaun Foggett is keen to share this with the rest of the country.

He wants to open the UK’s first crocodile zoo in West Oxfordshire.

These types of reptile parks are usually seen across the Atlantic in the USA and other far-off shores.

So imagine the number of tourists that will be drawn to the district if the unusual park does go ahead?

West Oxfordshire relies on tourism to bring in extra capital, with the main draw being the beautiful setting and proximity to the Cotswolds.

It has its fair share of museums, parks, and historic houses, but a crocodile zoo is a completely unique pull.

Those curious about these rarely seen animals or who share Mr Foggett’s passion for the reptiles will swarm to the zoo.

As he points out, most animal parks have just one or two crocodiles or alligators.

He is also keen to dispel

ITV’s Lion Country puts the spotlight on Real Gap’s efforts to save Africa’s endangered lions!

The Lion population in Africa has dwindled by almost 90% in the last 30 years, in a fascinating new series, ITV pays a visit to Lion Country and explores the work that conservationists and Real Gap volunteers are doing to halt the decline….

Once hailed as the king of the jungle, Africa’s most iconic animal has made its way onto the endangered species list with alarming rapidity. In just 30 years, Africa’s lions have dwindled in numbers from an impressive 200,000 to an estimated 23,000, a drop of almost 90%. In an effort to highlight the plight of these incredible animals and prevent further decline in numbers, leading conservationist David Youldon has joined forces with ITV to make the fantastic new series, Lion Country.*

AZA finds communication, management structure Topeka Zoo's weakest points in review

Rare Kenya rhinos de-horned to frustrate poachers

Four extremely rare Northern White rhinos recently transferred to Kenya from a Czech zoo have been dehorned to protect them from poachers, a conservation group said Tuesday.

"With the increase of poaching in Kenya, we are simply not taking any chances," Elodie Sampere from the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, which is overseeing the animals' acclimatisation told AFP.

"Without a horn, these rhinos are of no value to poachers," she said.

The rhinos, two males and two females, are among only eight members of a very rare sub-species of white rhinos known to be alive worldwide and were transferred back to Kenya with the hope they would reproduce.

Kenyan wildlife rangers earlier this month arrested 12 men from an illicit game trade syndicate suspected of killing a 10-year-old white rhino and hacking off its horns.

The east African country, which has the world's third largest rhino population -- around 600 black and 300 white rhinos -- suffered its

Conservationists urge Gordon Brown to create 'Britain's Great Barrier Reef' 

This week the 10,000th person joined a campaign to create the Earth's biggest marine protected area in the Chagos archipelago

A coalition of conservationists is calling on the British public to urge Gordon Brown to create "Britain's Great Barrier Reef" by designating its territory in the Indian Ocean as the biggest protected marine area on Earth.

The Chagos archipelago (map here), part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, is a group of 55 tropical islands over half a million square kilometres of Indian Ocean that have belonged to Britain since they were captured from France in 1814 during the Napoleonic Wars. The islands include Diego Garcia, the site of a controversial joint British-American military base.

The archipelago boasts the world's largest coral atoll and the world's cleanest, most pristine waters, that are home to at least 220 coral species and more than 1,000 species of fish. The underwater landscape of 6,000m deep trenches, oceanic ridges and sea mounts, is also a refuge and breeding ground for large

Zoo under fire

City councilor wants to place blame for giraffe deaths

City Councilor Bill Christiansen said Tuesday that he expects someone to be held accountable for the second giraffe who died at the Tulsa Zoo.

"We pay a lot of money to people out there to make sure the zoo is handled properly and the animals are cared for," Christiansen said during a council committee meeting. "I think it's really quite embarrassing to the city of Tulsa to have two giraffes die in such a short period of time."

A 9-year-old female giraffe named Amira died at the zoo Jan. 10. The cause of death was determined to be hypothermia.

In December, another female giraffe, 5-year-old Amali, died at the zoo from a neck injury she suffered in October while being transported to Tulsa from the Wilds zoo near Cumberland, Ohio.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums is conducting a focused inspection of the Tulsa Zoo and its policies, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investigating both deaths.

Councilor G.T. Bynum said he had heard from many constituents who thought the council

CPRE raise serious concerns over Zoo's biodome

GREEN Belt campaigners have hit out at zoo bosses’ plans for a £225 million ‘Eden Project of the North’.

The Cheshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) say they are ‘seriously concerned’ about the planning application from Chester Zoo to build the ‘Heart of Africa’ Biodome up to the edge of the A41 from Flag Lane North to the Backford Dip.

The charity said it fears that the development, part of the zoo’s Natural Vision project, would have a ‘very significant impact’ on the Chester Green Belt.

Phase one of the project, which has been submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council, is costed at £80m and the full plan will cost more than £225m.

The biodome will be a third larger in size than world-renowned Eden Project tropical dome in Cornwall, 180

First-ever Sand Cat Kittens Produced by In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer at the Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort

The Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort (AWPR) announced the first-ever birth of 2 Sand cat kittens following an in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer procedure at its facilities in Al Ain. The success of the program marks an important step forward in its efforts to conserve this threatened cat species and other arid land carnivores such as the Arabian leopard.

In October AWPR initiated Project Sand Cat in partnership with the US-based University of Illinois and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden– both world leaders in endangered species research. Fresh sperm and eggs collected from male and female Sand cats were fertilized in an incubator to produce 50 embryos. Twenty-one of those embryos were transferred into 4 host cats, one of which recorded a successful pregnancy. The remaining 29 embryos were frozen and transported to the Cincinnati Zoo for similar trials.

“No Sand cat kitten has ever been born as a result of in-vitro fertilization and embryo transfer.

Thailand Clouded Leopard Breeding Project

This program, based at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo, was developed by a consortium consisting of the Thailand Zoological Parks Organization (ZPO), Khao Kheow Open Zoo, Nashville Zoo, Smithsonian's National Zoological Park, and the Clouded Leopard SSP. This coalition of international partners is working together to develop a viable self-sustaining clouded leopard breeding program in Thailand. Khao Kheow Zoo, in Chonburi, Thailand, serves as the project's first breeding center, housing pairs of clouded leopards originating from the five zoos within the ZPO. Some of the cubs that result will be exported to the United States to serve as new founders to the SSP population in an effort to improve that population's genetics and demographics.

An essential component of the project is the placement of a full-time coordinator from the United States in Thailand. The coordinator, Rick Pasarro, oversees the project and performs critical duties such as developing proper husbandry techniques, training Thai zookeepers, improving enclosures, assisting in veterinary care, and maintaining records. Experienced clouded leopard managers from Smithsonian National Zoo, the Nashville Zoo, and Point Defiance Zoo &

Crane migration adds $10.33 million to local economy, UNL study says

In another few weeks, the spring crane migration will begin to descend on Central Nebraska.

With it will come crowds of human visitors, bringing an infusion of money to the area -- about $10.33 million last spring, according to a recent University of Nebraska-Lincoln study.

The study focused primarily on the Rowe Sanctuary near Gibbon, estimating the center contributed $2.08 million to the local economy during last spring's crane migration season.

Rowe's director, Bill Taddicken, said both numbers were impressive indicators of just how central crane viewing is to this part of the state.

"I think it's a really big number to show the effects of one nonprofit on the local economy," Taddicken said.

The study, which was published in the fall by UNL's Bureau of Business Research and announced Monday, was conducted by two UNL economics professors, Rick Edwards and Eric Thompson.

Thompson said he and Edwards had been studying a cheetah conservation center in the southwestern African nation of Namibia and thought it might to be interesting to carry that examination over to conservation-related tourism in Nebraska.

They gave out surveys to visitors at Rowe and Fort Kearny State Historical Park south of Kearney on several days last spring, asking them why they came, where they were from and how much they planned on spending.

They used those surveys, along with more information from the Platte River Whooping Crane Maintenance Trust and what is now the Nebraska Nature and Visitor Center (formerly Crane Meadows), to determine an

Tiger adoption

The government’s proposal to offer rare Sumatran tigers for adoption by wealthy citizens is a giant step backwards in enforcement of wildlife protection laws (protected wildlife cannot be traded or kept, National Law No.5 1990).

Darori, Director General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation, is quoted as saying “there are many orders from rich people who want them, who feel if they own a tiger they are a big shot” and also says “And because these people are rich, they will definitely give them good food.”

There is no correlation between being a rich and giving good food to animals. Real “big shots” would establish and support tiger sanctuaries and rehabilitation programs focused on releasing tigers back into the wild, not keeping them in cages at their homes for the perceived

Turtles in trouble

FOR turtle conservationist Dr Chan Eng Heng, the Integrated Shrimp Aquaculture Park (i-SHARP) is bad news for the survival of two critically endangered terrapins.

In 2004, she pioneered research and conservation work on the river terrapin (Batagur affinis) and painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) populations in Sungai Setiu.

Upon her retirement from University of Malaysia Terengganu early this year, the marine reptile scientist set up the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) to continue efforts to augment the low nesting by restocking the population.

This is done by purchasing terrapin eggs from villagers, incubating them and releasing the hatchlings into the river. Thanks to Chan’s project, which has gained international recognition and financial support, the terrapin population has a chance to recover

Abused chimp gets new lease on life

AVMA Supports Proposal Calling For More Wildlife and Zoo Veterinarians

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) today announced its support of newly-introduced federal legislation that will help bolster the nation's supply of veterinarians specializing in the care of wildlife and zoo animals.

The Wildlife and Zoological Veterinary Medicine Enhancement Act, introduced January 21 by U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., will fill a critical need in protecting the country's animals, environment and its people.

"This is absolutely needed," said AVMA Chief Executive Officer W. Ron DeHaven, DVM. "If passed, this legislation will strengthen curriculum in our veterinary schools. It will create opportunities for our veterinary graduates to work in the areas in which they have studied, and it will protect both animals and people."

The bipartisan legislation aims to build the country's cadre of wildlife and zoo veterinarians on several fronts. It will create new funded positions for specialized veterinarians in both clinical and research settings. It will help reduce the amount of educational debt veterinary students amass during their education. It will help veterinary schools develop curriculum specializing in health management of wildlife in their natural habitat and in captivity. And it

Chimp Victim Seeking Face, Hand Transplant

However Hospital Known for Doing 1st U.S. Face Transplant Says It Can't Help Woman Who Was Mauled by Chimp, Attorney Says

The hospital known for doing the United States' first face transplant has told the family of a woman mauled by a chimpanzee a year ago said that it can't perform a face and hand transplant for her, a family attorney said Monday.

Charla Nash's family is looking into alternative facilities after the Cleveland Clinic said it could not do both transplants, attorney Bill Monaco told The Associated Press on Monday. He said the transplants have to be done simultaneously and come from the same donor.

The 200-pound chimpanzee went berserk in February after its owner asked Nash to help lure it back into her house. The animal ripped off Nash's hands, nose, lips and eyelids.

Telephone messages left Monday with the hospital were not immediately returned.

The clinic does not believe it has the capability to do the hand transplant surgery, Monaco said. He said it has not ruled out the possibility of

Human rights argued for chimp

Mekong tiger population plunges to 'crisis point': WWF

Governments must act decisively to prevent the extinction of tigers in Southeast Asia's Greater Mekong region, where numbers have plunged more than 70 percent in 12 years, the WWF said Tuesday.

The wild tiger population across Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam has dropped from an estimated 1,200 in 1998 -- the last Year of Tiger -- to around 350 today, according to the conservation group.

The report was released ahead of a landmark three-day conference on tiger conservation, which will be attended in the Thai resort town of Hua Hin from Wednesday by ministers from 13 Asian tiger range countries.

It said the regional decline was reflected in the global wild tiger population, which is at an all-time low of 3,200, down from an estimated 20,000 in the 1980s and 100,000 a century ago.

"Today, wild tiger populations are at a crisis point," the WWF said, ahead of the start of the Year

Out and About: Ragunan Zoo: A gem in careless hands

The history of Jakarta’s zoos began with Raden Saleh, a prominent Indonesian painter in the 19th century.

He donated around 10 hectares of his land for the establishment of its first zoo at Taman Ismail Marzuki, Central Jakarta.

About a century later, the zoo was relocated to a 140-hectares of land in Ragunan, South Jakarta.

It was officially opened Jun. 22, 1966, managed by the city administration.

Today with an entrance fee of only Rp 4,500 (47 US cents), Ragunan Zoo has become an affordable recreational site for families.

Yet there have been complaints from visitors about the cleanliness and security of the area.

They report there is littering and some visitors complain about pickpockets.

People may also not agree with animals’ living conditions.

For example, kangaroos are situated in compounds unlike their natural habitats.

Singapore Zoo has better environments for their animals such as spacious areas that are similar to their natural habitats.

However, Ragunan Zoo also has the Schmutzer Primate Center, one of the largest of such centers in the world.

The 13-hectare special enclosure houses various primates, including gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans.

The center was named after the late Pauline Antoinette Schmutzer, who donated her estate to the center.

But if this center is better managed, perhaps the Ragunan Zoo may attract more visitors.

People believe zoo management should pay more attention to facilities such as food stalls, tour buses, signs, walkways and toilets.

Toilets, for example, are poorly managed even though visitors are required to pay around Rp 1,000 (10 US cents) to use them.

Looking at how our neighboring countries running zoos such as

Proposal may ban feeding of ducks in parks

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd has introduced legislation that would amend to park code to crack down on behavior at the zoo, but the legislation appears to do something more than just that.

“It shall be unlawful for any person to feed, or offer food or any substance to any animal in any park which is wild by nature and not customarily domesticated in the city and country of San Francisco,” a provision in the proposed legislation says.

It seems the legislation would ban duck feeding in San Francisco parks. In 2007, the Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin successfully passed legislation prohibiting the feeding of the famed wild parrots of Telegraph Hill.

That legislation initially proposed the prohibition of the feeding of all birds in all parks, but Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier objected because she said families should be able to feed ducks in Golden Gate Park. So the provision was removed and specified no feeding of the parrots.

During Monday’s Board Supervisors City Operations and

Taiwan opposition says pandas a waste of money

Two pandas donated to Taiwan by China have failed to attract the expected number of visitors to Taipei Zoo, anti-Beijing opposition politicians said yesterday, calling them a waste of money. The Taipei city government had forecast six million visitors in 2009, but the actual number was little more than half that.

"Since the pandas have failed to attract visitors, it's

Tigers and pigs in baby mix-up?

It looks as if there has been a little confusion among just which babies belong to which mother.

An eight-year-old tiger Sai Mai looks after three adoptive piglets in a Thai zoo - while in a different enclosure a sow suckles two tiger cubs as well as her piglets.

The Sriracha tiger zoo employs a unique accelerate the growth of tiger cubs by raising them partly on pig milk - suckled direct from sows by the cubs themselves.

Tiger are facing extiction across much of

Tigers in focus

Bangladesh is stepping up conservation efforts for the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger under an action plan that includes a new census of the Sundarban big cats, which like other tiger populations around the world face tremendous threats from poaching and habitat loss.

According to the last census in 2004, the Sundarbans—the largest unbroken mangrove forest in the world stretching 6,000 square kilometres along the coast of Bangladesh—is home to around 440 Royal Bengals, one of the last significant tiger populations in the wild.

"Our tigers have to be protected for conservation of biodiversity in the Sundarbans and Bangladesh as a whole," state minister for forests Hassan Mahmud said on Monday as he inaugurated a Tiger Immobilization Training Programme at Bon Bhaban, the forest department headquarters in the capital.

The forest department, under its Bangladesh Tiger Action Plan (BTAP) 2009-2017, is jointly running the first ever immobilisation training with Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh (WTB) to ensure safe tranquillising procedures.

The training will help foresters save tigers intruding into human localities where either humans or the tigers are too often killed, said officials.

Mahmud also said 33 forest staff had already received training, for

Zoo report finds fear, dishonesty

City requested AZA inspection after series of C-J stories highlighted problems at facility

Seven weeks after a top-to-bottom inspection of the Topeka Zoo, its findings released Monday point to a lack of trust in management and misleading statements from senior staff members.

The city, in a news release Monday, said the report from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums could lead to the re-evaluation of the zoo's accreditation during the AZA's mid-year meeting March 3.

The harshest assessments in the report were reserved for management.

"A feeling of fear, intimidation, and lack of trust in management" exists at the zoo, and communications from the director and senior staff were "not completely true," it said.

"Making misleading statements to staff and the public is unacceptable and damages the institution both internally and externally," said the six-page report compiled by three zoo inspectors from similar facilities across the United States.

The AZA serves as an accrediting body for zoos and aquariums and ensures that accredited facilities meet higher standards of animal care than are required by law. The Topeka Zoo was stripped of its AZA accreditation in a 2001 move that left it unable to borrow or loan animals to other zoos or to receive other benefits. The zoo got its accreditation back in 2003 and was re-accredited for five years in 2007.

The team the AZA sent to Topeka from Dec. 2 to 4 conducted not an accreditation review but a "focused inspection."

The city said in a news release Monday that in light of the AZA's findings, it was anticipated the AZA could re-evaluate its accreditation of the Topeka Zoo during its mid-year meeting March 3 at Virginia Beach, Va.

City manager Norton Bonaparte said he had asked interim zoo director Dennis Taylor to review the findings of that inspection and provide him a response by Feb. 8. The city has

Activists against tiger adoption program

Environmental activists have strongly criticized the government’s plan to allow Sumatran tigers to be adopted by wealthy citizens and the private sector.

The activists said the adoption plan, which they suspected as being politically motivated, was not the best solution to save the animal and could escalate poaching.

The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) Sumatra region campaign manager, Mukri Friatna, said that in line with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s first 100-day program, all the ministers in the new cabinet were trying to improve their image.

“That’s the political motive behind the tiger adoption program. We want to emphasize that Walhi opposes the plan since it is the wrong way to save the tiger,” he said.

“If we wish to save the Sumatran tiger, the government should be serious in stopping illegal logging and poaching, not issuing tiger adoption permits.”

On the sidelines of the National Nature Conservation Day event at the presidential palace in Jakarta on Jan. 22, Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said his office was studying plans to issue tiger adoption licenses to wealthy Indonesian citizens and corporations.

Zulkifli said the ministry has so far been successful in protecting the Bali starling, which was earlier on the verge of extinction, by allowing residents to help breed the bird through a program.

In the program, the bird breeders are later obliged to hand over one of three hatchlings to be later released to their original habitat.

A similar method will be used to save the Sumatran tiger.

Under the plan, to be able to adopt the rare and protected animals, the adoptive parents must pay US$100,000 or Rp 950 million as collateral.

They must also provide enclosures and prepare an area spanning 60,000 square meters and sign an agreement that the tigers remain as state property and their condition and presence can be monitored by the state at any moment.

The tiger adoption program will follow the Sumatran tiger conservation program at the Tambling Nature Wildlife Conservation (TNWC) in the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (TNBBS) in West Lampung.

In the last two years, TNWC had released four tigers from

Endangered animals get new lease of life in Singapore

Sporting spiked hair and silver earrings, Samuel Tay hardly looks like a typical midwife.

The 25-year-old zookeeper beams with quiet pride as he watches over his "babies" -- row upon row of snakes bred for Singapore's popular zoo.

"These are my kids. Why do I need kids when I have so many already?" he told AFP, gesturing to tanks where newborn reptiles, including some from highly endangered species, receive tender loving care.

From jaguars and chimpanzees to Komodo dragons and manatees, heavily urbanised Singapore is gaining a reputation as a successful nursery for some of the world's rarest animals.

With a breeding programme for 315 species, around one in six of which are threatened, the Singapore Zoo is seeing a steady stream of locally born additions to its collection, currently numbering more than 2,500 animals.

Tay, a zoologist by training, is one of Singapore's frontline warriors in the battle against animal extinction, and visitors from around the world

Angela Smith rules out attending a meeting at London Zoo

Third sector minister will not be present at the annual Compact meeting next week because she is a patron of the Captive Animals' Protection Society

Third sector minister Angela Smith, a strong supporter of animal rights, has ruled out attending the annual Compact meeting next Monday on the grounds that it is being held at London Zoo.

The venue was agreed jointly last September in consultation with the Office of the Third Sector, but OTS officials did not consult Smith at the time and were not aware of the potential problem until more recently.

Smith, a patron of the Captive Animals' Protection Society, will go instead to Cardiff next Monday to address the annual conference of the Social Enterprise Coalition, Voice10, which continues on Tuesday.

Smith's Cabinet Office colleague Dawn Butler, minister for young citizens and youth engagement, will take her place at the annual meeting on the Compact, the agreement that regulates relations between the voluntary and public sectors.

The Compact meeting is an annual opportunity for assessing progress on the Compact, which was

Drug lord's hippo gets a check-up

A hippo that once belonged to cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar has found a new home at a zoo in New Mexico.

This happy hippo getting his dental check-up once belonged to Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.

Escobar had so much money – at one point he supplied 80 per cent of the world's cocaine – that he could afford to have exotic animals shipped to his Hacienda Napoles from around the world.

He already had a fleet of luxury cars, a bullfighting ring and a dinosaur theme park – so why not a menagerie of exotic animals?

When the narcobaron was killed in a rooftop shootout in Medellin, there were some 20 hippos at his ranch, which was taken over by Colombian authorities, but they had little idea of how

Latvian Zoo adopts threatened seals

S.J. reluctantly takes back control of zoo expansion funds

Boosters run out of money midway through $5M project

The unfinished construction project in Micke Grove Zoo landed back in the county's lap Tuesday with the approval of an agreement with the group of zoo boosters who had started the East End expansion project but ran out of money before it was completed.

The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors didn't consider whether to put the rest of the project out to bid at its meeting Tuesday. But during discussion of the new agreement with the Micke Grove Zoological Society, which gives expansion funding decisions back to the county, some members of the board voiced reluctance to pay the $3 million it would take to complete the zoo project in a year they would have to bridge a wide budget gap.

"Sometimes you have to put a fence around (it) and wait for things to get better," Supervisor Steve Bestolarides said.

There's a fence around the East End expansion area right now. Structures have been built, including buildings that would house snow leopards and Asian small-clawed otters when the animals are not out in front of zoo visitors. Those viewing areas are not built.

In all, the Zoological Society said it paid $2 million, completing about 40 percent of the project, according to the county. The county Parks and Recreation Department has set aside money that could be used to finish the project, but shifting it to the zoo project would take an action by the Board of Supervisors, county officials said.

That money is part of the county's general fund and could be spent elsewhere. Which would be a possibility, as the county is facing a general fund shortfall of $54 million that could result in hundreds of layoffs of county employees.

"We can't have these little surprises ... when we're trying to put together the pieces of this budget puzzle," Supervisor Larry Ruhstaller said.

Since 2005, the Zoological Society has funded construction of the zoo's veterinarian clinic and education

Utah zoo's staff investigating sudden deaths of 2 zebras

Officials at Utah's Hogle Zoo say they've launched an investigation into the deaths of two Grevy's zebras.

Officials said Thursday that zookeepers found the first animal, Taji, dead in his exhibit area Tuesday. A necropsy conducted that day identified no obvious cause of death.

Staff found the second zebra, Monty, in distress and began treatment Wednesday. He was later euthanized.

Associate Director of Animal Health Dr. Nancy Carpenter says staff is now consulting with other veterinary experts to determine what caused the deaths. The U.S. Department,0,5803322.story

Utah zoo investigating deaths of 2 zebras Utah News, KUTV

Washington and Tai Shan prepare for departure (Nice Photos - Peter)

Stray yak mauled to death by tigers (Not Nice Photos - Peter)

A herd of free-range yaks from Yancheng Wild Zoo in Changzhou, Jiangsu Province were suddenly frightened and ran on January 28, 2010. One yak strayed from the group and jumped into the tiger area, where the tigers immediately attacked the drowning yak. Although

Zoo director leaves Ross Park

Mike Janis, who’s headed the Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park since 2006, is no longer with the zoo, officials confirmed today.

“We wish him all the best,” said Joanne Aloi, the zoo’s executive board president. She could provide no further details of Janis’ departure, she said, because it was a personnel matter.

A search committee is in place and looking for the facility’s next director, she said.

During Janis’ tenure, the zoo regained its accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The 134-year-old facility lost it in 2005 due to turmoil over its previous leadership and finances. Since 2006, the zoo has raised more than half a million dollars

Phila. Zoo goes to the rescue of cobra bite victim

A Maryland woman who was bitten by an exotic cobra over the weekend may owe her life to the quick action of snake specialists at the Philadelphia Zoo.

The woman walked into a Baltimore clinic Sunday night reporting she had been in a shopping center parking lot when she bent down to pick up what she thought was a stick.

The "stick," a two-foot monocled cobra, sank a fang into one of her fingers, said Elisa Armacost, spokeswoman for the Baltimore Fire Department.

The woman, who has not been identified by name, bagged the offending snake and took it along with her to the clinic, Armacost said. Clinic staffers called the fire department.

"They were looking for guidance on what to do with the snake," Armacost said.

Medics took the woman to Johns Hopkins University Hospital as fire department personnel began a frantic search for a source of antivenin, Armacost said.

One of the calls reached Jason Bell, assistant curator

How Kansas City Zoo protects the animals in winter

Her name is Lola, but, as the song goes, she’s no showgirl.

She’s a warthog like Timon’s sidekick Pumbaa in “The Lion King” — ugly tusks and all.

She is a little on the prissy side. She doesn’t like broccoli. And she doesn’t like cold weather, either, so don’t ask her to go out when it’s colder than 45 degrees.

Which means that this bitter January, Lola — like the other African animals at the Kansas City Zoo — has spent a good deal of time inside.

The zoo is open year-round, even when Swope Park looks more like an Antarctic outpost than the middle of Kansas City. But because the lions and hippos and cheetahs and

Elephant skull a big headache

When money trouble led collector Jerry Snapp to put his prized possession up for sale, he had no idea what lay ahead.

Jerry Snapp loved Tiffany, and it broke his heart that he had to sell her. Close to 200 pounds, almost 4 feet tall, a foot and a half wide, she was his most beautiful skull.

He picked her up in the spring of '97. He heard about her from a friend and wanted to know where she came from.

"The L.A. Zoo," his friend said.

And how much did she cost?


The next day he rented a truck and headed off to D&D Rendering in Vernon. Tiffany was out back, her head slowly rotting in a gray plastic box, destined for a landfill if a buyer wasn't found. Her three,0,3894107.story

Palawan passes resolution to develop Calauit Safari Park

The Provincial Board of Palawan recently passed a resolution that would enable private sector participation in the master planning, financing, construction and development of the Calauit Safari Park in Busuanga, Palawan.

The resolution hopes that the development of the 3,700 hectares Calauit island into a premier wildlife and game refuge park will boost tourism potentials in the Calamianes Group of Islands particularly in Busuanga town.

The Calauit Island was declared a Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 1578 signed by former President Ferdinand Marcos in 1976. In 1994, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources transferred the management of Calauit to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff. Through Executive Order 772 signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2008, Calauit is now managed by the Provincial Government of Palawan.

The original concept of the Calauit project was for the translocation and propagation of African exotic animals. Now, it is the venue for the preservation and propagation of Palawan endemic species like the Palawan Peacock Pheasant, mouse deer locally known as "pilandok", Calamian deer, Philippine crocodile, bearcat, scaly anteater, Philippine palm civet, porcupine, white-tooth shrew

White Rhino born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is celebrating the birth of a white rhino.

Kendi, an 11-year-old white rhino, gave birth to the female calf Sunday, January 17. This is Kendi’s third baby and the eighth white rhino born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom participates in a white rhino breeding program coordinated by the

From The Blog -

Bristol Zoo appeals for old mobile phones to help protect the future of gorillas in the wild

Woodpecker Against Snake

The Last South China Tiger

Liger in 'London'

China Scraps Plans to Legalise Trade in Tigers

Regional Environmental Enrichment Conference

Parasite infecting Zoo Keepers and Animals

Tiger rears Piglets

'Nonja' the Orangutan Becomes a Photographer

IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group International Workshop On Human-Crocodile Conflict (HCC)

Critical Decline of the US Jaguar


Plus there is even more on the Blog. Scroll down...added to daily. Just the zoo interest stuff



The Zoo Biology Group is concerned with all disciplines involved inthe running of a Zoological Garden. Captive breeding, husbandry,cage design and construction, diets, enrichment, man management,record keeping, etc etc


The 13th issue of the Journal of Threatened Taxa is online at

January 2010 Vol. 2 No. 1 Pages 633-676
Date of Publication 26 January 2010

ISSN 0974-7907 (online)
0974-7893 (print)


The impact of the Krakatoa eruption in 1883 on the population of Rhinoceros sondaicus in Ujung Kulon, with details of rhino observations from 1857 to 1949

-- Nico J. van Strien & Kees Rookmaaker, Pp. 633-638.

Distribution of Hemiphyllodactylus aurantiacus (Beddome, 1870) (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) in Andhra Pradesh, India

-- S.M. Maqsood Javed, K. Thulsi Rao, C. Srinivasulu & Farida Tampal, Pp. 639-643.

Badis dibruensis, a new species (Teleostei: Badidae) from northeastern India

-- Kh. Geetakumari & W. Vishwanath, Pp. 644-647.

First records of Rhicnoda natatrix and Rhicnoda rugosa (Blattodea: Blaberidae) from Nepal and India (Maharashtra) with notes on habitat quality

-- Hasko Nesemann, Ram Devi T. Shah, Deep Narayan Shah & Subodh Sharma, Pp. 648-652.

Elephants - a conservation overview

-- Heidi S. Riddle, Bruce A. Schulte, Ajay A. Desai, Laura van der Meer, Pp. 653-661.

The birds of Araku, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India

-- T. Selva Kumar, Rachna Chandra & P.A. Azeez, Pp. 662-665.

First report of Eutropis innotata (Blanford, 1870) (Reptilia: Scincidae) from Nallamalai Hills, Andhra Pradesh, India

-- K. Thulsi Rao, S.M. Maqsood Javed & C. Srinivasulu, Pp. 666-669.

Sighting of Elymnias panthera (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Satyrinae) in West Bengal, eastern India

-- Arjan Basu Roy, Ujjal Ghosh & Krushnamegh Kunte, Pp. 670-671.

Cephalic chaetotaxy of the last instar larva of a pyralid: Syllepte derogata (Fabricius) (Lepidoptera)

-- H.S. Rose & Deepinderpal Singh, Pp. 672-673.

Further comments on the systematic status of Lygosoma vosmaerii (Gray, 1839)

-- Raju Vyas, P. 674.

Reply to ‘Further comments on the systematic status of Lygosoma vosmaerii (Gray, 1839)’ by Raju Vyas

-- C. Srinivasulu & M. Seetharamaraju, P. 675.

Attention successful grantees of the CEPF Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot, P. 676.


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.


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Wishing you a wonderful week,

Peter Dickinson


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"These are the best days of my life"

1 comment:

  1. Peter this has been a fascinating read. Very much appreciate your informative posts. I hope you are well. I was surprised that a Californian Condor could live so long. 80 years is a very long time for any bird. Amazing. Very heartening to read that China has dropped its plans concerning lifting the ban of the tiger trade. Hope you are keeping well.

    Take good care