Friday, January 8, 2010

Zoo News Digest 31st December 2009 - 8th January 2010 (Zoo News 639)

Zoo News Digest 31st December 2009 - 8th January 2010 (Zoo News 639)

Peter Dickinson

                                Photo By:

Dear Colleagues,

A little late getting this out. Where I have been located these past few days the internet connection was so poor that it was taking me the best part of an hour to just post one item on the blog.

The whole of the UK has been, and still is, badly affected by snow. I do wonder at times like these how zoos are coping. The snow is one thing and the ice is another. There was a couple of items in the newspaper where it stated that for some firms 100% of staff did not turn up to work. This could never happen in a zoo...or could it?

Back in the early 80's we had some really terrible winters in North Wales. At that time I was working in the Welsh Mountain Zoo. Many of the main roads were impassable and no vehicle could get up the hill to the zoo. I do not recollect any member of staff not making it into work though. Some were a little late, even by a couple of hours...but they made it. One keeper walked several miles up the Conwy Valley. Another keeper borrowed a tractor and came in over a progression of fields before walking the last half mile. This dedication in the staff was not simply because they were caring for animals but because of team spirit. They did not want other members of staff to shoulder someone elses workload especially in difficult circumstances. They were only too aware of how difficult things were for a small staff in frozen conditions. Locks frozen solid. Water troughs frozen and requiring the ice broken several times a day as well as sledging water down to refill. Frozen hoses, extra heating, slippery paths. It is a different world. It is worth mentioning that keepers on scheduled days off also came in unasked to help out.

Not unique I am sure. I recollect reading (a long time ago) in Animal Keepers' Forum of the wintry trials of those in North American Zoos during the winter. Much longer snows there and the risk of animal escapes due to drifting snow.

I note that the Dalton keepers were out on a bird rescue mission. Anyone like to hazard a guess to the identity of the bird in the photograph?

My comments on Al Ain Zoo obtaining white lions got a response from the collection itself (read the comment). It would seem that, as usual, the press got it wrong and that Al Ain has no intention of breeding from these animals and that they are simply being used to draw attention to the plight of Lions as a whole. This is of course the same argument put forward by some holders of White Tigers.

I see that Santiago Zoo is now plugging its endangered white tiger cubs and the Sierra Safari Zoo are celebrating the arrival of a Liger. What a waste of space. Do these places really believe that they have something special?
The article on the Humane Society makes a fascinating read. It is lengthy but it it is worth your time. Consider it alongside the fact that they are asking for details of the giraffe deaths in Mountain View Conservation Centre.

My lack of reliable internet has meant that I did not get as far as I had hoped with moving the Mail Out version of zoo news digest onto a subscriber only basis. Rest assured that it will happen and soon. You can learn more by clicking HERE

Delighted to see that the Vietnamese are intending to clean up the Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi. I spent several days walking round this lake trying to spot one of the gigantic turtles. I did not see a thing apart from the huge monted specimen in the lakeside museum.

Dolphin...human rights? Much as I like them. I don't think so.

Please post in comments below if you feel so inclined.

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On with links:

Police train vultures to find human remains

German police are testing the use of vultures to seek out human corpses in a unique project aimed at dramatically speeding up criminal investigations.

A bird expert at a wildlife park in northern Germany is training Sherlock, a five-year old turkey vulture, to locate fabric containing the scent of dead people.

The scheme was commissioned by the Lower Saxony police force after a senior officer, Rainer Herrmann, watched a BBC wildlife documentary about the extraordinary sense of smell of turkey vultures, which are indigenous to the Americas. The programme

Chances with wolves

Businessmen are being taught how to take bolder risks by studying wolves at a German wildlife park. The courses show how alpha males in the wild keep their packs in order using leadership, sex, food and co-operation. Organisers at the Wildpark Schorfheide resort say the skills can easily be transferred to the business world. "Wolf packs are a lot less violent and bullying than many workplaces. "Pack leaders

Please bear with us: Como Zoo upgrades exhibit

When it opens in a half-year, the Polar Bear Odyssey will be a bigger and better place for bears and humans than its previous version, zoo officials say.

Talk about comforts for creatures.

Native plantings, saltwater pools and rocky outcroppings await Buzz and Neil, the Como Zoo's twin polar bears who have been hanging out in Detroit while their home is renovated.

The not-yet-open Polar Bear Odyssey exhibit is quite an upgrade from their former concrete-laden home.

It's about six months from opening, but major construction is complete. Already, the facility has been getting rave reviews from polar bear preservationists and advocacy groups.

Zoo curator John Dee said the attention to details and efforts to provide an enjoyable experience for both human and animal puts Como in a position to welcome new bears, rescued cubs and breeding bear couples.

In total, it's about a $15 million project. About $10 million has come from the state and city. Como Friends, the nonprofit that contributes to programs and projects at the St. Paul zoo and conservatory, will help raise the remaining $5.2 million in private money.

The exhibit is four times the size of the old one and is intended to mimic a Hudson Bay ecosystem.

There are two outside exhibit areas, which meet at an indoor structure with a maze of concrete holding pens and training areas.

An indoor room provides views of all three areas through thick glass. There will be various interactive education stations, and visitors will be able to watch zookeepers do training exercises with the bears.

Outside, a visitor looking at one side of the outdoor spaces will see a flat area similar to the tundra -- it's

Bengal tigers 'adopted' by 18,000

They would not make the cuddliest pets but tigers are the most popular species for adoption, a wildlife charity has disclosed.

In the last year 18,000 people in the UK have adopted Bengal tigers under a WWF scheme which lets people sponsor an endangered animal.

The money helps protect the big cats, whose numbers have plummeted by around 95% to 4,000 in the past 100 years, according to the charity.

Polar bears were the second most popular, with 17,000 people adopting one in the past year.

And about 7,000 people adopt pandas, of which, as few as 1,600 remain in the wild. WWF uses the money to help increase the area of habitat under legal protection and creating corridors to link isolated pandas.

Eight thousand people adopt orang-utans, whose numbers have fallen by between 30 and 50% in the last decade. And 3,000 decided to help protect the amur leopard, of which fewer than 35 survive in the wild.

They are found in Primorsky Krai, in the Russian Far East, but their habitat is being destroyed by logging and farming companies clearing the land and forest fires.

In the past year 64,000 people in the UK adopted animals through WWF, raising around £6 million for the charity.

Animal lovers can also adopt dolphins, elephants, rhinos,

Dalton zoo workers brave weather to rescue bird from the cold

ZOO workers braved the weather to rescue a bedraggled bird stranded in a neighbouring field.

The alarm had been raised by a woman who was out walking her dog along the side of the road in Dalton.

Staff scrambled a team together and took the bird to the comfort of South Lakes Wild Animal Park.

Park marketing manager Karen Brewer said the woman had seen the wild bird, which she believed was in a distressed condition and thought it may have an ibis, which could have escaped.

Ms Brewer said: “The bird was soggy

Truth About The Humane Society of the United States

Despite the words “humane society” on its letterhead, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is not affiliated with your local animal shelter. Despite the omnipresent dogs and cats in its fundraising materials, it’s not an organization that runs spay/neuter programs or takes in stray, neglected, and abused pets. And despite the common image of animal protection agencies as cash-strapped organizations dedicated to animal welfare, HSUS has become the wealthiest animal rights organization on earth.

HSUS is big, rich, and powerful, a “humane society” in name only. And while most local animal shelters are under-funded and unsung, HSUS has accumulated $113 million in assets and built a recognizable brand by capitalizing on the confusion its very name provokes. This misdirection results in an irony of which most animal lovers are unaware: HSUS raises enough money to finance animal shelters in every single state, with money to spare, yet it doesn’t operate a single one anywhere.

Instead, HSUS spends millions on programs that seek to economically cripple meat and dairy producers; eliminate the use of animals in biomedical research labs; phase out pet breeding, zoos, and circus animal acts; and demonize hunters as crazed lunatics. HSUS spends $2 million each year on travel expenses alone, just keeping its multi-national agenda going.

HSUS president Wayne Pacelle described some of his goals in 2004 for The Washington Post: “We will see the end of wild animals in circus acts … [and we’re] phasing out animals used in research. Hunting? I think you will see a steady decline in numbers.” More recently, in a June 2005 interview, Pacelle told Satya magazine that HSUS is working on “a guide to vegetarian eating, to really make the case for it.” A strict vegan himself, Pacelle added: “Reducing meat consumption can be a tremendous benefit to animals.”

Shortly after Pacelle joined HSUS in 1994, he told Animal People (an inside-the-movement watchdog newspaper) that his goal was to build “a National Rifle Association of the animal rights movement.” And now, as the organization’s leader, he’s in a position to back up his rhetoric with action. In 2005 Pacelle announced the formation of a new “Animal Protection Litigation Section” within HSUS, dedicated to “the process of researching, preparing, and prosecuting animal protection lawsuits in state and federal court.”

HSUS’s current goals have little to do with animal shelters. The group has taken aim at the traditional morning meal of bacon and eggs with a tasteless “Breakfast of Cruelty” campaign. Its newspaper op-eds demand that consumers “help make this a more humane world [by] reducing our consumption of meat and egg products.” Since its inception, HSUS has tried to limit the choices of American consumers, opposing dog breeding, conventional livestock and poultry farming, rodeos, circuses, horse racing, marine aquariums, and fur trapping.

A True Multinational Corporation

HSUS is a multinational conglomerate with ten regional offices in the United States and a special Hollywood Office that promotes and monitors the media’s coverage of animal-rights issues. It includes a huge web of organizations, affiliates, and subsidiaries. Some are nonprofit, tax-exempt “charities,” while others are for-profit taxable corporations, which don’t have to divulge anything about their financial dealings.

This unusually complex structure means that HSUS can hide expenses where the public would never think to look. For instance, one HSUS-affiliated organization called the HSUS Wildlife Land Trust collected $21.1 million between 1998 and 2003. During the same period, it spent $15.7 million on fundraising expenses, most of which directly benefited HSUS. This arrangement allowed HSUS to bury millions in direct-mail and other fundraising costs in its affiliate’s budget, giving the public (and charity watchdog groups) the false impression that its own fundraising costs were relatively low.

Until 1995 HSUS also controlled the Humane Society of Canada (HSC), which Irwin had founded four years earlier. But Irwin, who claimed to live in Canada when he set up HSC, turned out to be ineligible to run a Canadian charity (He actually lived in Maryland). Irwin’s Canadian passport was ultimately revoked and he was replaced as HSC’s executive director.

The new leader later hauled HSUS into court to answer charges that Irwin had transferred over $1 million to HSUS from the Canadian group. HSUS claimed it was to pay for HSC’s fundraising, but didn’t provide the group with the required documentation to back up the expenses. In January 1997 a Canadian judge ordered HSUS to return the money, writing: “I cannot imagine a more glaring conflict of interest or a more egregious breach of fiduciary duty. It demonstrates an overweening arrogance of a type seldom seen.”

From Animal Welfare to Animal Rights

There is an enormous difference between animal “welfare” organizations, which work for the humane treatment of animals, and animal “rights” organizations, which aim to completely end the use and ownership of animals. The former have been around for centuries; the latter emerged in the 1980s, with the rise of the radical People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

The Humane Society of the United States began as an animal welfare organization. Originally called the National Humane Society, it was established in 1954 as a spin-off of the American Humane Association (AHA). Its founders wanted a slightly more radical group — the

Polar Bears Changing Habitat in Response to Sea Ice Conditions

A long-term study showing the changes in habitat associations of polar bears in response to sea ice conditions in the southern Beaufort Sea has implications for polar bear management in Alaska.

Karyn Rode, a polar bear biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Anchorage, Alaska and one of the study's authors, says data collected between 1979 and 2005 show that polar bears in the region are occurring more frequently on land and in open water and less frequently on ice during the fall. This means there are increased chances for human/bear interaction. The paper was published in the December issue of Arctic -- the journal of the Arctic Institute of North America.

Polar bears were observed over the 27-year period by U.S. government Minerals Management Services staff as part of the fall bowhead whale aerial survey conducted annually in the southern Beaufort Sea. Ice conditions were also recorded.

Data showed that as ice conditions changed, bears were being found on different habitats. Between 1979 and 1987, 12% of bear sightings were associated with no ice. Between 1997 and 2005 however, 90% of bear sightings were associated with no ice.

"When bears were seen, they were more often seen in open water and on land than on sea ice. At the same time, changes were observed in ice, suggesting that these

Chilean zoo unveils white tigers

Santiago Zoo presented five endangered white tiger cubs to the public on Wednesday. The cubs underwent their first medical tests in front of journalists and excited visitors

Pair of rare birds raising chick at Tampa zoo

A pair of rare birds at Lowry Park Zoo is doing something no other pair has done in North America.

They're raising a chick.

The African shoebill storks became parents on Christmas Day when the chick started to break through its shell. It was a textbook hatching, taking about 24 hours to fully emerge. The parents, who spent nine months learning how to build a nest and who accidentally crushed another egg in October, have been natural caregivers.

"We are amazed at how by-the-book they've been," aviary assistant curator Julie Tomita said. "They know when to do everything and how to do everything."

Lowry Park Zoo is only the second wildlife establishment in the world to have a successful live birth of this large bird. Most of the data about them comes from field studies in Africa. Now researchers are watching this new family from dawn to dusk.

"We'll definitely be publishing and we'll do presentations at our industry conferences," Dr. Larry Killmar, the zoo's director of collections, said. "We're not sitting in the middle of a swamp using long-distance binoculars; we're pretty close and able to document the frequency of feeding, the amount of food and that will again help the other holders of other birds in captivity."

There have already been a few surprises. Experts thought the incubation period for the egg was between

Group to zoo: 'Don't close the Night Exhibit!'

The Woodland Park Zoo is pretty sure it's going to close its popular Night Exhibit. And nearly 5,000 members of a local Facebook group are pretty sure they don't like it.

"I'm not seeing this as enemies of the zoo. These are people who are friends, who are wishing us well," zoo spokesman David Schaefer said. "Nobody's happy about it here. People like the exhibit."

The closure, which was recommended in November, is expected to save the zoo $300,000 in operating expenses and is part of its 2010 budget. In 2009, the zoo instituted unpaid furloughs for senior staff and suspended its contribution to employee retirement plans to cut costs in tough times.

"We didn't want to do that again," Schaefer

High seas high jinks

The serious maritime incident in Antarctic waters yesterday, in which a Japanese whaling vessel collided with a vessel from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, has once again fanned the flames of controversy over Japanese whaling.

It has also thrown a spotlight on the reckless tactics of the Sea Shepherd, the heavy handed Japanese response to their antics, and above all to what can be done not only to prevent these dangerous encounters but also to bring Japanese whaling to an end.

Mercifully, no one was injured when the Japanese vessel, the Shonan Maru 2, sliced clean through the bow of the Ady Gil, Sea Shepherd's trimaran, a vessel which is registered in New Zealand. However it could easily have been a major maritime disaster involving significant loss of life, and marine pollution, well within Australia's Maritime Search and Rescue Region.

Greg Hunt, the opposition's environment spokesman, has called on the Australian government to send a ship such as the Oceanic Viking customs vessel to intervene. But the government cannot

Falcon resurges

Nearly 100 peregrine falcons have established themselves as top predators in Ontario.

That's nearly 100 more than in the 1970s when the bird was deemed "extirpated" -- or "locally extinct" -- in this province.

Officials promoting the bird's recovery are guardedly optimistic that the fleet flyer is back to stay. However, they continue to monitor ongoing threats.

"They've turned the corner," Kyle Holloway, an educator with the Canadian Peregrine Foundation, said yesterday. "But being the top predator, there could be a lot of issues for them. One is flame retardant. That's something we have to be aware of. Just because we've brought them back doesn't mean we can't knock them down again."

Rehabilitators are highly conscious of man-made contaminants because it was one such chemical -- the insecticide DDT -- that extirpated peregrines in Ontario in the first place.

DDT prevented female peregrines and other raptors from transferring calcium to their eggshells. Eggs became brittle as a result and were crushed during incubation. DDT was such a problem because it persists in the environment long after it is sprayed.

"If I went around the room and took tissue samples, I would find trace amounts of DDT in each and everyone of you," Holloway said during a presentation to students at Elgin Avenue Public School in Simcoe. "A lot of other countries still use DDT on their fruits and vegetables. That's why it is very important that you wash really well all the fruits and vegetables that you eat."

The flame retardant PBDE, which is commonly used in furniture

Frog mum adopts tadpoles at Chester Zoo

A MUM with a difference is entering the New Year at Chester Zoo by achieving a world-first with her patenting skills.

One of the zoo’s Mountain Chickens - which is actually a huge frog - has taken on a new role as an adopted mum to a nest of abandoned tadpoles that ‘arrived’ at her door.

The new mum’s role came when Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (formerly Jersey Zoo) found that they had a foam nest of Mountain Chicken tadpoles which had been abandoned by their uncharacteristically non-maternal mother.

Despite the best efforts of the Herpetological staff at Durrell, the female would not feed the tadpoles and they became starved and weak.

Fortunately for them, Chester Zoo had

Safari Park Sends Young Male Elephants Abroad (nice Photo)

In this handout file photo, issued December 27 , 2009 baby African elephant Bakbuki is bottle-fed as his mother stands by on February 1, 2006 at the Ramat Gan Safari Park in central Israel. Bakbuki, now four-and-a-half years old, is one of two young males who are being sent to a zoo in Hungary to join a solitary elephant there. The Safari Park said they need to transfer the two males at this time as they are

Humane Society wants details about death of two giraffes at Mountain View Conservation Centre

Both died during cold snap in December

Questions are being raised about the deaths of two giraffes last month at the Mountain View Conservation Centre in Langley. The Vancouver Humane Society is looking for answers.

Gillian--a three year old giraffe--and a six week old giraffe died within days of each other in early December during a cold snap. Peter Fricker from the Vancouver Humane Society believes we should know by now what killed the animals. "It's been over a month now since they went for necropsies, and what we would like to know what the results of those necropsies showed and what the cause of death of the giraffes was."

The Conservation Centre says so far their investigations have found no obvious cause of death and more tests will be needed to find out. It says it could be weeks before those results are available. The Centre says it's just as curious as everyone else about what killed their giraffes because they want to keep

Zoo Gets New Liger

The Sierra Safari Zoo has a new baby liger. The liger is an 8-month-old girl and was donated so the non-profit zoo could “grow and flourish.”

Tuttle's safari park adds new tiger, center

Tiger Safari, an interactive exotic animal park in Tuttle, continues to expand with more exhibits and animals coming in 2010.

Park director Bill Meadows’ dream of building the park started more than a decade ago. Meadows opened the park in 2003 and has continued adding animals and buildings to the 45-acre zoo.

"It’s really coming together,” he said.

A welcome center and banquet hall were completed last month. Construction is wrapping up on a new education center and bed and breakfast, scheduled for completion in February.

Meadows also recently added to his animal collection. He acquired a snow tiger named Ajhi this fall.

The tiger, a 1-year-old male, has been acclimating to his new surroundings for the past few weeks


Phuket, Thailand: A second baby white handed gibbon has been born in the

Khao Phra Theaw Non-hunting Area just days after the Payu family added

another member to their clan..

Not to be outdone by fellow forest member Dao, who gave birth to a baby a

few days before Christmas, Kip from the Hope family decided to give the

Gibbon Rehabilitation project staff and volunteers an extra reason to

celebrate the New Year, by delivering a baby boy on December 30.

Staff members were both surprised and pleased to make their second baby

discovery while they were en route to feeding the newly-released Jita family

and to observe the progress Dao was making with her new baby, named Newbe.

This is the fifth baby to be born to the Hope family, and a truly remarkable

success story for the GRP.

The Project now have a lot of work on their hands in order to look after

these new family members in the forest and to keep observing the Jita group

to ensure their release in the forest is a success, therefore it's all hands

on deck.

They are calling on anyone who might be able to give up their time for a few

weeks to help volunteer at the project during this very special time.

The new baby is the brother to Thong, Hope and Toffee. It is the sixth baby

to be born in the wild since the first family was released back in 2002.

Run in conjunction with the Wild Animal Rescue Foundation of Thailand, the

Gibbon Rehabilitation Project is the only one of its kind releasing

ex-captive gibbons into the forest of Phuket.

Phuket’s original wild white-handed gibbon population was poached to

extinction around 30 years ago.


Media Enquiries: May Ampika

Al Areen upgrade

TWO new attractions worth BD300,000 at Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve in Sakhir will officially open to the public next month.

They are due to be opened by Southern Governor and Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife president Shaikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

They were originally due to open for National Day on December 16, but could not be completed in time, said reserve director Dr Adel Al Awadhi.

The attractions include an Arabian wild animals complex, costing BD200,000, and a BD100,000 aviary.

"We were planning to open both sections on National Day, but due to some incomplete work, we had to delay it until February," said Dr Al Awadhi.

"We earlier thought to open them in January, but then a lot of holidays came up and we had to postpone the opening.

"The other reason is that Shaikh Abdulla is out of Bahrain and we are waiting for him to come back.

"All the animals and birds are already in the park and we are just waiting for the opening of these sections to transfer them."

The walk-through aviary has been partially open, with visitors able to see some of the birds from the outside.

Park guiding tourism head Sager Khamis said visitors as well as the staff were anxiously waiting to see the new sections.

"We have been receiving calls from people asking about these attractions every day, as they are anxious to know about the opening day," said Mr Khamis.

"But as the date is still to be fixed, we can't tell them anything except that the sections will open soon. The construction work is already completed, but we are waiting for the final touches and they will be ready to open."

He said people could call him on 39642882.

The wild animals complex will house leopards, foxes, wolves and hyenas.

Mr Faraj said the animals had been brought in from Africa

Cricketers to be roped in for conservation of wildlife

The former skipper of the Indian cricket team Anil Kumble said he would rope in the services of the Indian cricket team in activities concerning wildlife conservation.

He was interacting with presspersons on the sidelines of a function organised by the Mysore zoo here on Sunday.

Mr. Kumble said there were many cricketers in the present team as also other stalwarts who were passionate about wildlife and he would request them to join hands with him in wildlife conservation activities. Mr. Kumble said he recently visited the Bandipur National Park and apprised himself of the situation and would soon submit a report about his observation on the prevailing scenario. He called for an end to man-animal conflict and suggested creating greater awareness among the people in the villages adjoining the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. He said there is no use blaming animals for the conflict as expanding human landscape had encroached into the wildlife territory. He said the Wildlife Board

Endangered turtles sold in Agartala market

If you thought turtles, elephants, mynahs or parakeets, were endangered and protected under Wildlife Protection Act, then think again.

In the popular fish market of Agartala, the capital city of Tripura, where the authentic Bangladesh hilsa arrives, a regular supply of endangered turtles are also smuggled in.

The illegal sale of turtles is rather common but what is more shocking is the revised taxation on market commodities issued by the Agartala Municipal Council which legitimises the sale of protected animals.

According to an official circular, turtles and birds like parrot and maina have been taxed at Rs 1.50 per shop. What is even more bizzare is that elephants are listed at Rs 9 and Rs 5.50 depending on their size.

"Turtles are protected by Wildlife Protection Act in India, and it is a Schedule One animal," said Prof J P Roychoudhury, a wildlife activist.

Occasionally they are intercepted and seized but generally they make it to the market and are sold openly which is against the law.

Ironically when NDTV approached the Tripura Forest Department

Bear Has Learned To Open Truck Doors Using Handle (Video)

Kenya Breaks Ranks with Tanzania on Ivory Trade

Kenya will campaign for a total ban on ivory trade at an international meeting on wildlife conservation scheduled for March, as its herds of elephants continue to be endangered by poaching.

The position is likely to anger Tanzania which is pushing for a new trading window to allow it to sell its ivory stockpile to fund conservation measures. Other countries likely to team up with Tanzania include Zambia, which has put up a similar petition while previous beneficiaries; Botswana, Namibia, south Africa and Zimbabwe are quiet.

Since the drive to save the African elephant picked up in 1980s, Kenya has been playing a lead role in calling for a total ban and dramatised its wish by burning its stockpile worth millions of shillings in the Nairobi National Park.

The Qatar Conference is the 15th such meeting of the parties that have signed the Convention on International Traded in International Species (CITES). “We oppose any trade in endangered species especially elephant and rhino tasks,” said Julius Kipng’etich, the Director of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

He said the opening up of a small window could lead to increased poaching in the region. But while the country has remained firm that it will oppose the lifting of the ban imposed in 2007, Zambia and Tanzania have asked for an exemption to the 1989 ban on ivory trade, which was put in place to protect the African elephant and rhino, whose population was decreasing due to increased poaching.

But Kenya argues that giving a window to make such sales would

Dolphins deserve human status, say scientists

Can dolphins be upgraded to human status? Think about it before saying no. “Many dolphin brains are larger than our own and second in mass only to the human brain when corrected for body size,” said Lori Marino, a zoologist at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, who has used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to map the brains of dolphin species and compare them with those of primates. Hence, it is an injustice done towards such intelligent creatures if they are kept in captivity or killed.

Studies show that dolphins are so clever that they can think about future. They even have distinct personalities and a strong sense of self. Amazingly, they can identify themselves in the mirrors too.

Dolphins are cultural animals. It means that they pick new behaviour very quickly. Teach a dolphin to tail-walk and leave it in the wild. After sometime you can see the rest of the members in the school tail-walking. Unbelievable? It is true.

Dolphins are capable of solving difficult problems, while those living in the wild co-operate in ways that imply complex social structures and a high level of emotional sophistication. Their intelligence is evident from the way they round up fish and feed on them.

Marino and her colleagues found was that the cerebral cortex and neocortex of bottlenose dolphins were so large that “the anatomical ratios that assess cognitive capacity place it second only to the human brain.” They also found that the brain cortex of dolphins such as the bottlenose had the same convoluted folds that are strongly link

Is violent protest wrong?The collision between whalers and an anti-whaling boat reveals the biggest problem with violent protest: it breeds more violence

How far can you go, in pursuit of a campaign goal? Is violence ever acceptable? The collision between the anti-whaling Sea Shepherd boat and the Japanese whalers this week was the fault – both parties claim – of the other side. Did it make life better for whales – the ostensible focus of the Sea Shepherd campaign? Those two sentences, pretty much, sum up the problem with violence.

The accepted position is that violent tactics are, de facto, wrong. The only people who are legally allowed to use violence in our society are the police, the army, and, very occasionally, us in self-defence. It is not acceptable, we all believe, that the World Wildlife Fund, say, should stand at the frontiers of jungles and bash over the head anyone who tries to nick a baboon.

But somewhere between rattling a tin on the high street and beating people up to stop them doing things there is a surprisingly wide grey area, and for the last century activists have been exploring that area. They've tried civil disobedience, non-violent passive resistance, boycotts, sit-ins, die-ins, blockades, and of course direct action. They've explored right up to, and sometimes over, the difficult-to-define line that differentiates violence from non-violence.

This, in fact, is part of the problem. In a thought-provoking book by anarchist Peter Gelderloos, he describes a workshop he ran where he read out a list of tactics and asked the participants to walk to one spot if they considered the action violent, and to another if they considered it non-violent. "The actions included such things as buying clothes made in a sweatshop, eating meat, a wolf killing a deer, killing someone who is about to detonate a bomb in a crowd and so on. "Almost never," he wrote, "was there perfect agreement between the

Iran, Russia hope to revive extinct big cats

Iranian and Russian ecologists have announced ambitious plans to return Caspian Tigers as well as Asiatic cheetahs, which disappeared some half a century ago in their countries, to the wild.

A delegation of Russian ecologists headed by Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation Sergey Donskoy arrived in Tehran a week ago to discuss avenues to reestablish the wild cats.

During the meeting, the Iranian ecologists shed light on the prospect of repopulating the jungles in northern Iran with extraordinary Caspian Tiger, which became extinct over 40 years ago.

This is while through modern genetic analysis it has been discovered the Caspian Tiger and the Siberian Tiger, still in existence, are separated by only one letter of genetic code. The Caspian Tiger can be reestablished by using their relative, the Siberian Tiger.

Russian and international conservation groups banned hunting of tiger in 1947, but it was too late for the Caspian Tiger to make a recovery. Poaching and contributing factors wiped out the majestic cat. Conservation efforts, however, did help to protect and stabilize the Siberian Tiger. Fortunately, the subspecies commingling in the distant past will allow the Caspian Tiger to once again take its rightful place in the family tree of tigers.

The Russian ecologist asked for Iranian assistance in revival of Asiatic cheetahs in the northern Caucasus region.

Described as powerful and graceful hunters, cheetahs are the world's fastest animal and easy to train. Cheetahs were trained by ancient Persian kings, who used them to hunt gazelles.

Recognizing the cats' precarious situation, Iran's Department of Environment has worked§ionid=3510212

Rajasthan to set up tiger conservation foundation

The Rajasthan Government will set up a Tiger Conservation Foundation (TCF) for preserving Sariska Wild Life Sanctuary near Alwar and the Ranthambhore National Park (RNP) in Sawaimadhopur.

The state cabinet today decided that the foundation would be represented by the government, forest department, NGOs and wildlife experts, an official spokesman said here.

The TCF would lay emphasis on conservation of biodiversity and strengthening of infrastructure and supply of water to acquatic flora.

The cabinet also approved amendment to the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

For introducing mediclaim policy-2009 for accredited journalists, the Rajasthan Patrakar and Sahityakar Kalyan

The Missing Lynx - Trailer on YouTube

Vietnam to buy German technology to clean up Hanoi turtle lake

Hanoi officials said Thursday that they are to invest in a German sludge-removal system to clean up the city's famous Hoan Kiem turtle lake.

The city had been running a pilot project since November.

'After the pilot run, the dredged area became deeper and cleaner while doing no harm to turtles,' said Professor Ha Dinh Duc, the project's chairman. 'That is why we decided to buy this technology.'

Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake at the heart of the old city is stagnant, thick with green algae, choked with sludge and full of fish and crabs. It is also a historical treasure and the heart of Vietnamese nationalism.

But most importantly, the lake is home to Vietnam's most famous turtle. The turtle might be the last of a unique species, Rafetus leloii, or belong to another critically endangered species, Rafetus swinhoei, of which

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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


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.


The 12th issue of the Journal of Threatened Taxa is online at

Journal of Threatened Taxa

December 2009
Vol. 1
No. 12
Pages 581-632
Date of Publication

26 December 2009

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


Effect of food quality and availability on rainforest rodents of Sri Lanka

-- Pamoda B. Ratnaweera & Mayuri R. Wijesinghe, Pp. 581-588.

Non-volant small mammals of the Western Ghats of Coorg District, southern India

-- Sanjay Molur & Mewa Singh, Pp. 589-608.

Biological aspects of sea snakes caught incidentally by commercial

trawlers off Goa, west coast of India

-- Vinay P. Padate, Lalita V. Baragi & Chandrashekher U. Rivonker, Pp. 609-616.

Plant parasitic nematodes associated with Indian Pennywort Centella

asiatica (L.) Urban in Manipur

-- N. Romabati Devi, Pp. 617-618.

Description of a new species of the genus Indiopius Fischer

(Hymenoptera: Braconidae) from India

-- Ahmad Samiuddin, Zubair Ahmad & Mohammad Shamim, Pp. 619-620.

Description of male Orthochirus krishnai (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from

India, with comments on its taxonomic status

-- Amod M. Zambre & D.B. Bastawade, Pp. 621-623.

Rediscovery of Vosmer's Writhing Skink Lygosoma vosmaerii (Gray,

1839) (Reptilia: Scincidae) with a note on its taxonomy

-- M. Seetharamaraju, R. Sreekar, C. Srinivasulu, Bhargavi

Srinivasulu, Harpreet Kaur & P. Venkateshwarlu, Pp. 624-626.

Some observations on vultures in Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh

-- Aniruddha Majumder, Santanu Basu, K. Sankar & Qamar Quresh, Pp. 627-628.

Avifaunal diversity in the University Campus of Kurukshetra, Haryana

-- Sanjeev K. Gupta, Parmesh Kumar & Manoj Kumar Malik, Pp. 629-632.

Thanking you,

Sanjay Molur

Founder Editor, Journal of Threatened Taxa

Wildlife Information & Liaison Development / Zoo Outreach Organisation

9-A Lal Bahadur Colony, Gopal Nagar, Peelamedu, PB 1683, Coimbatore,

Tamil Nadu 641004, India

Ph: +91 422 2568906 (Direct), 2561743, 2561087, Fx: +91 422 2563269








TEL:+91 422 256 1087 FAX:+91 422 256 3269 HAND PHONE: +91 98 422 22774

Alternate mail: or



Enrichment workshop with Dr. David Shepherdson at the Odense Zoo - Denmark

Dear Colleagues,

We are please to announce the following workshop:

A 3-day workshop on environmental enrichment with international speakers such as Dr. David Shepherdson

April 22nd - 25th 2010

Early bird 31.01.2010

Please email us or visit for more details on the programme, speakers and accomodation.

Please feel free to forward this email to anyone you think might be


Kind regards,



Sabrina Brando



Behaviour and training workshop with Tim Sullivan at the Chester Zoo

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce the following workshop:

A 4-day workshop on advanced animal training with international speakers such as Tim Sullivan.

June 4th - 7th 2010

Early bird 28.02.2010

Please contact us or visit for more information on the programme, speakers and accommodation.

Please forward this to anyone you might think is interested. Thank you.

Kind regards,



Sabrina Brando



Banish your phobia this New Year

People with a fear of snakes can help banish their phobia this New Year, as places are still available on Bristol Zoo’s snake phobia course.

‘Confronting your fear of snakes’ will be held on Thursday, January 21 – the first course of its kind at the Zoo in over two years.

Run by the Zoo’s education team, the course aims to help people with snake phobias overcome their anxiety through a combination of education, discussion and relaxation.

Mary Ison, a local counsellor, hypnotherapist and phobia expert, conducts the sessions, which also include an optional meeting with spiders or snakes at the end of the evening. The snakes that participants have the chance to meet are used in the Zoo’s education sessions for school groups, so are calm and relaxed around people.

Simon Garrett, Head of Learning at the Zoo, said: “Many people find snakes fascinating creatures, but for others they are simply terrifying and can seriously affect their lives. At Bristol Zoo Gardens we have responded to the demand for people wanting to get over their fears by offering courses to help them do so.”

He added: “These highly successful seminars are small and personal, with participants enjoying a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. They include a variety of approaches, since different people benefit from different 'therapies', and nobody is asked to do anything that they don't want to do.”

‘Confronting your fear of snakes’ will be held in the Zoo’s Conservation Education Centre and costs £85 per person, including refreshments. Places are limited to nine people so please book early to avoid disappointment.

To book a place on the course, call Bristol Zoo Garden’s bookings line on 974 7369, or email  For more information please visit


Request for Assistance: Evolutionary Biology of Mammalian Milks and Placentation Study

Dear Bear Researchers,

This is a call for research collaboration to obtain milk, embryos or uterine wash samples from bears for a study on the evolutionary biology of mammalian milks and placentation.

Dr. Malcolm Kennedy of Glasgow University, Scotland, has been investigating milks of other species from a functional and evolutionary perspective. The focus of these studies is proteins that are important in physiologic functions such as immune protection and micronutrient transport. Dr. Kennedy is commencing a study on giant panda milk, with the aim to elucidate the nature of, and changes in, proteins through the course of lactation. As the panda is a somewhat unusual ursid in its nutritional physiology and in the extraordinarily altricial nature of its young, it would be highly interesting to compare milk of other ursids with that of the panda in the same context. Moreover, given the altricial nature of bears, and that much of lactation for certain species occurs while the mothers are denned, the composition of, and changes in, milk proteins through lactation must be complex and fascinating. To our knowledge, this topic has not been explored.

Dr. Kennedy also studies placentation, with a focus on proteins that may be essential to differentiation signals and nutrition of the embryo. In particular, he and colleagues are characterizing a protein known as uterocalin, which may play a critical role for embryonic support in species with a prolonged pre-implantation period. Given their unique reproductive physiology, this would be highly interesting to investigate in bears, and may help us to understand factors in early pregnancy that regulate reproduction in certain bear species.

The challenge to the research, of course, is that of obtaining samples with minimization of risk to the health and welfare of the bears. For the milk study, it would be ideal to collect a series of samples representative of different stages of lactation. Given the logistical and welfare challenges presented by this and by the placentation research, any samples that can be obtained opportunistically would be welcome.

Please let us know if you or colleagues might be able to assist in obtaining samples from wild or captive bears (any species), and we will be happy to send you a more detailed research proposal.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Please contact both: Malcolm Kennedy,

Kati Loeffler,


The Animal Behavior Management Alliance Conferences

April 25th – April 30th, 2010 in Pittsburgh, PA.

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 30, 2010

Submissions must be mailed electronically via e-mail to:  Faxed copies and snail mail will no longer be accepted. Abstract submission guidelines can be found on the submission form, on the ABMA website: Go to  and choose the Annual Conference tab at the top of the page.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Conference Content Advisory Committee Chair, Emily Insalaco, at  or the 1st Vice President, Nicole Begley, at

Emily Insalaco

Curator of Behavioral Husbandry

Denver Zoo - 2900 E. 23rd Ave. - Denver, CO - 80205

(303) 376-4918 -

Denver Zoo Mission ~ Secure a better world for animals through human understanding.


Dolphin Training Workshop

Save money! The Academy is offering a New Years Special 15% Discount

Register now, discount ends February 15th, 2010

Please visit  and
(ABC Animal Training Fan page) Space is limited.

ABC Dolphin Trainer Academy Workshops

Dates: Basic workshop: May 31 to June 4, 2010

Advanced workshop: June 7 to June 11, 2010

Location: Dolphin Discovery Puerto Aventuras, Mexico

Happy New Year to all my Trainer friends!

We at ABC Dolphin Trainer Academy are excited about 2010 and working hard to prepare for this year's course. We have been listening to your comments and have tweaked the course to be even more informative, interactive and fun.

ABC Dolphin Trainer Academy Basic is a cutting-edge program designed to develop skills needed for a successful career in the dolphin training field. This program is created and taught by professional trainers with extensive experience.

This 5-day training workshop is based on the ABC of Animal Training DVD and study guide learning material. Students will interact with professional trainers during training sessions with dolphins, sea lions, and manatees! Included in the workshop is a Swim with Dolphin experience.

The ABC Dolphin Trainer Academy Advanced is a 5-day workshop where you will be fully involved in dolphin training. You will learn advanced training techniques and have the opportunity to apply them as you assist professional marine mammal trainers.

Our highly experienced and qualified teaching staff will guide you through complex techniques and show you how to get effective results. Emphasis will be put toward husbandry training, the single most important aspect of professional animal care.

Shelley Wood

ABC Training Systems


February 2010

The HSBC India BirdRAces are slowly expanding and rising in popularity. For the current season, we have the following BirdRAces schedule in place for different parts of the country.

Specific announcements regarding individual cities will be made at a later date, with details on who to contact for registrations. Look forward to whole-hearted participation everywhere.

Learn More by Visiting HERE


ZSL Science and Conservation Events 2009-2010



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


Association of Zoos & Aquariums 2010 Mid Year Meeting


2010 Animal Behavior Management Alliance (ABMA) Annual Conferences

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

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

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

First Call for Papers

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

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

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

Regular Submission deadline: January 15, 2010

All authors notified by: February 28, 2010

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

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


BVZS Spring meeting 2010. Theme "Preventative Medicine"

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

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

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

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

Further details about the Hotel can be found here

For latest details including a call for papers click HERE

Registration form can be downloaded here

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


Join Zoo News Digest Facebook Page


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

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

Please check on
for the latest information and programs.

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

Please contact us if you have any further questions.

Kind regards,




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

Instructors: Sabrina Brando and Mark Kingston Jones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final deadline for registration is: 31.12.09


For Zoo Jobs and Related Vacancies please visit:

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


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

Kind Regards,

Wishing you a wonderful week,

Peter Dickinson


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

Skype: peter.dickinson48

Mailing address:
Suite 201,
Gateway House,
78 Northgate Street,
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"These are the best days of my life"

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