Saturday, February 13, 2010

Zoo News Digest 11th - 13th February 2010 (Zoo News 649)

Zoo News Digest 11th - 13th February 2010 (Zoo News 649)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleagues,

Does your zoo censor its Blog or webpage comments? I do. I censor this blog and any of the numerous articles I have written on HubPages. I delete every comment which uses bad language or is abusive. Constructive criticism is fine. I ignore the majority of anonymous comments. I remove every pointless 'Duhh' remark or one that has absolutely nothing to do with the subject at hand. Some comments I let through but don't add to. Blogs and Hubs are not really a place for a lengthy discussion. I rarely respond to repetition as it is obvious that they have not read what they are commenting on. The most important thing though is that I make the effort to read what people have to say. If it is important enough to make them press a few computer keys then I should oblige by reading what it is. I think about what has been said. I sometimes sleep on the remark.
It has been suggested to me recently that there are a number of zoos who ruthlessly censor their blog comments leaving nothing but a series of glowing epistles giving lie to the opinion that theirs is the best zoo in the world. So criticisms about the state of the toilets, prices in the restaurant, politeness of the staff and poor standards of animal husbandry are deleted without a second thought. In a way I can understand this. What zoo wants or needs such critiques available to potential customers? However the zoo staff know what has been said. They know that the things which are wrong are still wrong in spite of repetitive invisible complaint. A comment in a blog should be looked upon as a marriage of a suggestion and a complaint. It needs thought, investigation and acting upon. I don't believe that any thinking zoo visitor would believe a 'clean' comment board.

I note that the lions have arrived in the Yorkshire Wildlife Park at long last. I am delighted that they have at eventually escaped the hell hole which was their home. I don't doubt they will live a comfortable life in the UK. I have had some months to think over my original comments on the move to England. In spite of reading what others have had to say on the matter I have not changed my mind. I must admit though that I was very surprised to learn these past few days that the zoo in Romania is not closing down and that they are still keeping lions. I believe something is very wrong here. Okay I can appreciate that the remaining animals have a good deal more room but if this was a 'rescue' then all the lions should have been removed. As it is, it sounds much more like irresponsibly bred surplus being dumped on the first willing taker.

I am always interested in stories about Al Ain Zoo and genuinely wish the very best for them. Today the story talks about massive expansion. I don't doubt that this must refer to facilities rather than area. On my last visit there just a few years ago the actual hectare area of the zoo proper was very much visibly reduced since the early 1980's.

Tigers are getting a lot of press right now but then we are just about to enter the Year of the Tiger. I would like to think it would mean that in 2010 that their future may be become assured but somehow I think not. Tiger farms apart there definitely needs to be more international regulation on keeping tigers and all animals. I am sick to death of reading about places which have a breeding programme. Someone needs to explain that breeding an animal once, twice, three times and more is not a programme. It is merely breeding. At the same time talking about releasing to the wild is so often not part of conservation but is merely a way of dumping surplus.

It would appear that the Born Free Foundation is behind the closure of the Three Owls Bird Sanctuary. If they are then I think they should be open about it. They do have this habit of burying their heads when a little flak begins to fly. In essence I don't disagree with them. If wild animals are on public display then zoo licencing legislation comes into play and if an exception is made it just opens the doors for every other place, which may not be as well intentioned. I do think though that it may be possible to come up with a solution which is not as punishing to the purse as they suggest.

I have read a couple of unnecessary derogatory remarks about the Tokyo Zoo escape drill. As humerous as it may appear such practise drills are absolutely essential to ensure safety. It is not so much about how the drill appears as staff working in unison to a practised plan and knowing that the equipment is to hand and is working. I am all for it. Such regular drills are essential in all zoos everywhere.

I was interested to read about the impending birth of Nurse Sharks at the Blue Planet Aquarium. Wonderful news if it comes off. The idea of being able to supply sharks directly to other aquariums rather than taking them from the wild is at last starting to take shape.

I actually feel a little like celebrating today as I have at long last been given a date for my hospital appointment. Upon reflection though it is probably better to wait till afterwards.
Then again there is the possibility that one appointment may lead to another and then another. I don't relish it.
Please post in comments below if you feel so inclined.

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Hope, the Harpy Eagle Spotted in Belmopan

The Harpy Eagle is the most majestic bird of prey in the America’s and since 2003 there has been an effort to repopulate the Central American isthmus with the spectacular bird. A number of the eagles have been introduced at the vast and expansive Rio Bravo – but these things have a mind of their own – and one of them has left Rio Bravo – and headed southeast to Belmopan. Sharon Matola of the Belize Zoo today sounded a warning not to harm this bird if it is seen in the valley of peace of Belmopan areas.

Jacqueline Godwin Reporting,

It was on December fourteenth that we last heard about Hope, the Harpy Eagle when it was set free in the Rio Bravo Reserve. The objective is to help in the restoration of a healthy population

Massive expansion for Al Ain wildlife park

From a simple zoo to a major reserve is the story of the Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort in the rich emirates of Abu Dhabi. Recently, the Al Ain wildlife park was in the news after two extremely rare white lions arrived at the park. The park is currently under massive expansion mode for which a master plan has been put in place.

According to Hoda Ayache, an official of Al Ain Wildlife park and resort, "The expansion will [be] done in two phases. Among the plans include [a] resort hotel, conservation and breeding center, Arabian safari encampment, Asian safari encampment, residential safari lodge, African residential components, besides Arabian, African, and asian wildlife safari."

She said, "Among the expansion is also the Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre, which will also serve to raise awareness of sustainable living in a desert environment. Aside from the natural habitats, the wildlife

Animal welfare officers probe Gunnedah park

Animal welfare inspectors have been sent to the Waterways Wildlife Park in Gunnedah, after last week's seizure of eight koalas by the RSPCA.

The New South Wales Government has asked for a report to be prepared on the conditions of animals at the park.

Orange-based inspectors for the Department of Industry and Investment - the enforcement agency that licenses, controls and sets standards for zoos and fauna parks - have been§ion=news

At Granby Zoo, the patients can be wild

A red-crowned crane is being gently wrangled out of a temporary holding cell and walked down a hallway toward the clinic at Granby Zoo by two animal keepers.

One has a hand grasped around the bird’s spear-like beak, guiding the crane along the hallway, while the other keeper holds the bird tight, trying to prevent the two-metre wings from flapping and possibly getting damaged against the corridor walls. All three seem to be part of a delicate dance as they shuffle down the corridor, heralded by the crane’s trumpeting “kar-r-r-o-o-o-o” calls.

At the clinic the bird is anaesthetized, then laid out on a gurney. “It’s OK, baby,” says the 39-year-old veterinarian, as she gently feels the lump on the bird’s neck.

When Marie-Josée Limoges was seven years old, bats were her favourite animal. “Little girls usually like ponies and dolls,” but not Limoges: “I’m attracted to the unusual.”

Now, as the head veterinarian at the zoo, she is living her dream, treating the resident menagerie of 200 species – over 1,000

Seahorse breeding success at Anglesey sea zoo

Native seahorses have been successfully bred in captivity at a site better known as a tourist location on Anglesey.

The Anglesey Sea Zoo's latest owner, Dylan Evans, said he wanted to put more emphasis on conservation of native species at the Menai Strait attraction.

Mr Evans said the visitor side of the business was essential to fund this area of the zoo's work.

Seahorses are often sold as souvenirs or used as alternative medicines.

"Historically the zoo has bred some seahorses, and we thought we'd give the native

Bolstered zoo breeds due soon for view

SHANGHAI'S two zoos are preparing to introduce new animal breeds before the 2010 World Expo opens in May. Some of the new animals, including four alpacas, will meet the public this week at the Shanghai Zoo.

Zoo officials said the alpacas are expected to receive a warm welcome. The animal is the model for the popular "grass mud horse," an Internet meme widely used by Netizens in China to vent their anger. In Chinese, the pronunciation for "grass mud horse" is same as a vulgar curse but with different tones.

"Some newborn animals will also meet local visitors, along with the newly introduced ones," said Pan Xiuwen, an official with the zoo.

Twin South China Tiger cubs, born on January 29, will meet the public on May 1 along with six tigers born in the second half of last year.

The twins, named "Shi Shi" and "Bo Bo," were the first tiger cubs born in the zoo this year. In Chinese, "Shibo" is the pronunciation for "World Expo." The cubs, both female, now

Challenge grant issued to help move tigers

Arthur Benjamin is founder and president of American Dog Rescue but has decided to help out a couple of cats.

Benjamin heard about the plight of two tigers that have been left at a closed zoo, Lookout Mountain Wild Animal Park in Mentone. Other animals from the zoo have been relocated to Tigers for Tomorrow at Untamed Mountain.

While the two tigers aren’t canines, they fit the animal welfare mission of American Dog Rescue. Moved by their situation, ADR has issued a $10,000 challenge grant to raise $30,000 so the tigers can be relocated to a new home at Tigers for Tomorrow at Untamed Mountain.

To help Tigers for Tomorrow match the funds

Charges urged against zoo

Animal cruelty investigators have recommended that charges be laid against the Mountain View Conservation Centre following the death of an adult giraffe there.

Jerome, a nine-year-old male, died Feb. 5 after being sedated for a hoof-trimming procedure.

The SPCA is alleging the Fort Langley centre caused unnecessary pain and suffering to the animal, contrary to both the criminal code and provincial Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

In particular, the SPCA said the facility failed to adequately care for the giraffe because it did not have a special hoof-trimming stall on the property.

Instead, staff was forced to sedate the animal -- a dangerous option for giraffes with a 35 per cent chance of death, according to a veterinarian who was called in to conduct the procedure.

"This is just unacceptable," said Marcie Moriarty, head of the B.C. SPCA's cruelty investigations department. "This type of

China's Tiger Farms Spark a Standoff

Economists Propose Legalizing Sale of Some Animal Parts, as Poachers and Shrinking Habitat Thin Ranks in the Wild

The Year of the Tiger starts Sunday. But China's dwindling population of wild tigers faces an uphill battle in making it through the next 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac.

With international attention focusing on the tigers' plight—including an international summit to be hosted in the fall by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin—a pair of economists are proposing a market-based preservation solution that has riled some conservationists.

To curtail demand for poached animals, the economists suggest legalizing the sale of bones from some farm-bred tigers. In China, the bones are in high demand for use in traditional medicines such as rheumatism cures. Richard Damania, the World Bank's lead environmental economist in South Asia, estimates that tiger parts, including claws, skin and bones, can fetch up to $70,000 on the black market.

Such sales have been illegal in China since 1993, when Beijing joined a ban on international trade in tiger products. Before then, many tiger farms fed a demand for bones; after the ban, poachers and habitat destruction thinned China's ranks of wild tigers down to a few dozen. China today has about 6,000 tigers bred in captivity; world-wide, there are around 3,500 tigers in the wild, down from 100,000 a century ago.

"No matter what you do, the economic models show this," said G. Cornelis van Kooten, a professor at the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, who studies conservation economics. "If you have these farmed tigers and you let them out into the marketplace, you could save the wild tigers."

In a paper last year , Mr. van Kooten and his co-author, Brant Abbott, proposed granting exclusive rights to a few of China's tiger farms to sell the animals' bones for medicine. The sales would help the farms fight poaching and smuggling,

Civil society groups, media rally behind tiger activist

Civil society groups and the media in Goa have rallied behind noted wildlife activist and journalist Rajendra Kerkar who was recently branded ‘abettor’ by the Goa forest department in a tiger poaching incident in February last year.

A month after the tiger was poached, Kerkar had reported in a leading national English daily about the incident, along with a photograph of the snared-and-shot tiger in the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary of North Goa, 60 km from here.

In its investigation documents, the forest department has reasoned that Kerkar’s failure to inform the authorities about the origin of the controversial photos made him an abettor to the crime.

Arvind Bhatikar, a former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer and the editor of a local cable news channel Prudent Media, said that the charge against Kerkar was “an attempt by the state government to bludgeon activists and journalists in Goa into submission”.

“The harassment of Kerkar by the forest department should serve as a lesson to all of us. An attempt will be made to bludgeon activists and journalists in Goa who oppose the government into submission,” Bhatikar told IANS Friday after attending a public meeting in Panaji held in Kerkar’s support.

Claude Alvares, a nationally renowned green campaigner, said that the state government wanted to cover up the tiger killing at the behest of the highly influential mining industry in Goa.

“The implication of a tiger reserve in Goa is difficult to accept for everyone, especially to the mining lobby,” Alvares said, adding that establishing the presence of a tiger in Goa had made a good case for a tiger reserve in the state.

This, Alvares said, would serve as a death knell for dozens of iron and manganese ore mines, which are located in the dense Sahyadri forests, that make up Goa’s hinterland.

Alvares, the co-founder of Goa Foundation, an NGO dealing in environment and civic rights issues, charged that the state forest department, especially Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) Shashi Kumar, was acting on behalf of the state’s Rs 4,000 crore mining industry.

“Dr Shashi Kumar is not interested in sustaining the forest. He is interested in sustaining mining,” Alvares said, adding that Kerkar was being specifically targeted to cow down the campaign for a tiger reserve in Goa.

Ramesh Gauns, an anti mining activist and a part of Goa mining affected people (GOAMAP), said that there were nearly 81 mining leases in Sattari, the region where the tiger was trapped and shot dead.

“One of the reasons why the forest department is not interested in pursuing the tiger poaching case is because if the Sattari area is declared a tiger reserve, mining companies will have to bid good bye to the 81 mining leases there,” Gauns said.

It is not just NGOs alone who have come out publicly in support of Kerkar. Several leading vernacular and English language newspaper have devoted above-the-fold front page spreads to the Tiger-Kerkar-abettor story this week.

In its editorial dated Feb 11, Herald, a local daily, has called it unfortunate that a whistleblower had

World Bank Faces Tiger Trap in Burma

As the World Bank embarks on its latest foray to protect Asian forests that are home to wild tigers, one of the continent’s iconic predators, a visible trap looms in military-ruled Burma.

The challenge for the Bank stems from a need to find a balance between its new interest as a conservationist – through its Global Tiger Initiative (GTI) – and a policy that shackles the Washington DC-based international financial institution from being directly involved, including doling out financial aid, to the South-east Asian nation.

The GTI, which the Bank unveiled in June 2008, has identified a raft of measures to help the 13 Asian countries where the last of the estimated 3,200 wild tigers roam. This includes direct investments to preserve and expand the prevailing habitats of the endangered predator, which numbered about 100,000 a century ago.

The importance of Burma, or Myanmar, as it is also known, in this unique environmental drive is not lost on conservationists. The country is home to the world’s largest tiger reserve among the 13 tiger range nations, which include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.

What is more, the Bank’s efforts to tiptoe around the trap of being prevented from working in Burma will be in the spotlight this year due to the world’s first tiger summit to be held in Vladivostok in September. Robert Zoellick, the Bank’s president, is billed to co-chair the summit with the host nation’s prime minister, Vladmir Putin.

"We in the World Bank do not have the mandate to fund projects in Myanmar," admitted Keshav Varma, leader of the GTI. "But we can provide technical assistance through United Nations

Fallow deer available to restock herd

If the Deer Park in Waterford is allowed to expire, it won't be because there are no female fallow deer available to serve as replacements.

Mike Maziarz of Rockwood, president of Ontario Venison, says there are breeders in the province who sell English fallow deer. Fallow deer are also kept at the Toronto Zoo and Marineland in Niagara Falls. As well, leads for locating fallow deer are available through the diversified livestock branch of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture & Food.

Maziarz expressed sympathy Wednesday for the plight of the Deer Park. Since Christmas, wild dog or coyotes have breached the compound several times. By Feb. 1, all the females were dead. All that remain are a dozen males. The future of the herd, which was established in 1942, is now in doubt.

"I've lost a whole year's worth of elk calves to coyotes," Maziarz said. "That was in 2008. I lost 20 calves. And we aren't covered under the Livestock, Poultry and Honeybee Act, so there is no compensation for that."

The Waterford Public Utilities Commission brought in fallow deer in 1942 to control weeds and grass in the area of the Waterford well field. The deer are prolific and have been self-sustaining. They have long been a popular attraction with local families and tourists alike.

Tuesday, Norfolk council directed staff to prepare a report on what it will take to replenish the herd. Availability will be a key consideration because English fallow deer hail from Europe and

Group that shut down bird sanctuary revealed

Born Free has been revealed as the animal rights group whose complaint led to the closure of Three Owls Bird Sanctuary.

The council has refused to name the organisation which made the complaint, but a source has confirmed it came from the Born Free Foundation.

As a result council officers found that Three Owls was breaching zoo licensing legislation, giving the sanctuary 28 days to make changes to the way it is run.

Trustees then decided it wasn't possible to meet the requirements and pulled the plug on the charity, which has been operating for almost 50 years..

Sanctuary manager Nigel Fowler slammed the charity's actions.

He said: "The idea that a charity can shut another charity is shameful. This is a national charity and they are quite likely to lose a lot of support over this.

"They should have approached trustees first and found out more about us."

On its website the Born Free Foundation, whose celebrity supporters include rock star Bryan Adams and actress Joanna Lumley, says its aim is to stop animals enduring 'appalling lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care at spacious sanctuaries'.

Its Zoo Check programme aims to prevent captive animal suffering and phase out zoos that keep animals captive for entertainment.

An online petition has now been launched on the Three Owls website to call for changes to zoo licensing regulation, which classed the sanctuary as a zoo because it was open to visitors for guided tours and it displayed wild birds to the public.

Peter Rowlinson, head of planning and regulation for Rochdale Council, told Tuesday night's Norden Community Association meeting that more sanctuaries across the UK could be closed by the organisation, which he also refused to name.

He said St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in Buckinghamshire and another bird sanctuary in south Wales have been placed

Gujarat opposes shifting Gir lions to Madhya Pradesh

The Gujarat government Thursday came out against the central and Madhya Pradesh governments’ plan to shift Asiatic lions from Gir region to Kuno-Palpur sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh to save them extinction.

“The government of India’s opinion that the protected area of Gir faces great threats is not based on adequate reason, rational and factual evidence,” said a Gujarat government affidavit submitted to the bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice C.K. Prasad.

“In the case of wildlife conservation in Gir, the lion population has progressively grown as a result of the state government’s commitment and its conservation efforts,” the affidavit said, adding that “there is no rationale to propose translocation of lions from Gir to Kuno”.

Opposing the plan for shifting lions, the Gujarat government warned that “any artificial tinkering with the complex natural eco-system and socio cultural traditions that support conservation of Asiatic lion in Gir region, that too against the will and the opinion of local people, can never be a remedy unless the entire phenomena is properly understood”.

Filing the affidavit on behalf of the Gujarat government, the state’s Principal Chief Conservator Forests (Wildlife) B.N. Srivastava also sought to dismiss the central government’s fear that Gir region might be facing a threat

Honolulu Zoo Director Resigns

City Begins Search For Facility's New Leader

The Honolulu Zoo director resigned after about a year on the job, city officials announced on Wednesday.

Stephen Walker cited personal reasons, officials said. Walker came to Honolulu from the Oklahoma Zoo.

"We thank him for helping to guide the zoo through an exciting time, and we wish him well," city Enterprise Services Director Sidney Quintal said.

The city will begin a search for a new zoo boss in Hawaii and around the country, officials said.

The zoo's assistant director Tommy Higashino

Kenya rounds up zebras for starving lions

Kenyan wildlife officials are ferrying thousands of zebras and wildebeest to a park in the country's south to feed starving lions and hyenas, and prevent a conflict with humans.

The animals will be hauled from four locations to restock Amboseli National Park's population, which lost 80 percent of its herbivores in a recent drought, said Kentice Tikolo, spokeswoman for the Kenya Wildlife Service.

"It was the worst drought in 26 years," Tikolo said. "The Amboseli ecosystem was severely affected. ... Lots of herbivores died, carnivores don't have anything to feed on, and have been attacking neighboring livestock."

The imbalance has sparked a row with villagers who lost animals in the drought and have threatened to kill lions and hyenas preying on remaining livestock.

Should the zebras be brought in to help the lions?

"There are only 2,000 lions left nationwide, and we are concerned because the numbers are dropping," the spokeswoman said.

"Maasais are getting angry and threatening to spear them -- the human versus wildlife conflict is getting out of hand -- and our carnivores are already greatly endangered."

About 4,000 zebras and 3,000 wildebeest will be transferred to Amboseli. The zebras will go first. The wildebeest will follow, after calving season, Tikolo said. Once at Amboseli, they're expected to breed and sustain the lions over the long term.

Shipping the animals from Soysambu Conservancy in the Rift Valley and three other nearby locations will cost about $ 1.4 million, according to Tikolo.

The animals are herded into a funnel-shape enclosure using helicopters and loaded into trucks to Amboseli

Zoo concerned elephants could fall in moat

The exhibit for the elephants at the Sedgwick County Zoo is about to get a new look — and some visitors may not like it.

It's a safety issue for the aging elephants, the zoo says.

Work began this week to replace the moat in the exhibit with an 8-foot-tall post and cable fence.

Stephanie and Cinda, the two South African bush elephants, are close to 40 years old. Zoo officials are concerned that the elephants, who like to stretch their trunks out for treats and grass on the other side, could lose their balance and fall into the moat.

"With each passing day and year this balancing act becomes more nerve-racking for our zookeepers," said Mark Reed, director of the Sedgwick County Zoo. "All it would take is one misstep and we could have a dangerous

Tokyo Zoo Safe from Escaped Tigers, Still at Risk of Irony

Inbreeding threatens survival of China tigers

As Chinese people are embracing the arrival of the Year of Tiger on Saturday, zoologists are worried about the survival of South China Tigers as the endangered species are facing a serious problem of inbreeding.

No traces of the tigers have been found in the last decade, they said.

The number of captive South China tigers (Panthera tigris amoyenesis) rose to 92 in 2009 from 60 in 2007 but all the tigers were the offsprings of six wild South China tigers which were caught more than 40 years ago, said Deng Xuejian, a professor with the Department of Biology of Hunan Normal University, based in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province.

"The inbreeding may lead to genetic freaks, low survival rates and

London Zoo to open rainforest experience

A living rainforest containing tropical plants and exotic animals will open at ZSL London Zoo next month (27 March).

Rainforest Life will emulate the sights, smells and sounds of a real-life rainforest within the confines of the north London zoo's Clore Rainforest Lookout exhibit.

Visitors will be able to wander freely around the experience, which will have no glass or bars separating them from array of exotic species living amongst the

Los Angeles orders study on privatizing city's zoo

Last fall, the 121-year-old Dallas Zoo embarked on a bold plan to run more efficiently and save the city money: It went private.

Since then, Texas' largest zoo has saved the city millions in operating costs while generating a windfall of hefty donations.

"We think it's working quite well," said Susan Eckert, spokeswoman for the city-owned facility now operated by the nonprofit Dallas Zoological Society. "It's been seamless.

"Our goal is that people not notice the difference."

The Los Angeles Zoo is now poised to follow the lead of Dallas and other large U.S. cities that have turned their menageries over to private management.

This week, the Los Angeles City Council ordered a feasibility study on ways to transform the city zoo into a public-private partnership. The study may take a year.

If approved, the financially strapped city would sign over operations

Lowry Park Zoo assists in Key Largo wood rat repopulation

With some help from Lowry Park Zoo, a species of rat has returned to its native habitat after being pushed to the brink of extinction more than 25 years ago.

Seven Key Largo wood rats born in captivity were released at Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge last week, officials said. Seven more will be taken to the refuge on Feb. 22.

Some of the rats were raised in captivity at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo. The zoo started its breeding program in 2002 after researchers determined that fewer than 90 wood rats remained in the Key Largo area. Disney's Animal Kingdom started its own breeding program in 2005.

The rodents' natural habitat is the tropical hardwood hammock forests from Key Largo south to Tavernier. The

Melbourne Zoo Shows Off Its Newest Star!

And now after all the chaos and confusion over the Australian immigration changes, we thought you’d appreciate something a little lighter for the weekend!

Meet Baby, the latest addition to Melbourne Zoo. The tiny baby Asian elephant, weighing a not so tiny 137 kilograms, was born on January 16 but has only just made her first public appearance. And then mum and ‘aunty’ were right by her side as she tottered out to the meet the public.

Baby is making the headlines as she is the first female calf to be born in captivity in Australia and the first through artificial insemination, so she’s already become the zoo’s star attraction!

Baby is still being fed by her mother Dokkoon and probably won’t go onto solids until she’s around three months old. Keepers decided to keep her out of the limelight

More Tigers in Captivity Than in the Wild

Sunday will mark the Chinese New Year — the Year of the Tiger — but U.S. conservation officials say the world’s tiger population is in crisis.

The World Wildlife Fund says more tigers are now kept in captivity in the United States than are alive in the wild. The conservation organization said as few as 3,200 tigers exist in the wild in Asia where they are threatened by poaching, habitat loss, illegal trafficking and the conversion of forests for infrastructure and plantations.

Three tiger sub-species have become extinct since the 1940s and a fourth one, the South China tiger, hasn’t been seen in the wild in 25 years, the WWF said.

That situation has prompted the organization to start a campaign supporting the goal of doubling wild tiger numbers

Romanian zoo sends 13 lions to Britain

Thirteen lions living in squalid conditions at a Romanian zoo are being flown to a new life at Britain's Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

"This is the biggest lion rescue operation carried out in Europe to my knowledge," said Daiana Ghender, director of Oradea zoo in north-western Romania.

The lions, aged eight months to 27 years, underwent a check-up by a British veterinary team before being transfered to a lorry for Budapest, from where they will catch a plane to Yorkshire.

Oradea zoo is home to 800 animals and

Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium gives threatened sea turtles a second chance

Two North Carolina loggerheads moved into the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium where they are recovering from the cold snap that has gripped the south and taken a toll on the southern sea turtle population.

More turtles are expected by summertime.

In addition, three members of the zoo's team traveled to Orlando, FL, last month to help rescue workers in a massive effort to save 5,000 green sea turtles that had been paralyzed by the cold. Frigid temperatures in the south are threatening the lives of the turtle population that inhabit the waters from North Carolina to Florida.

Allen McDowell, assistant curator of aquatic life, joined the Pittsburgh staff in January from Disney's Sea Pavilion in Epcot where he had worked for 10 years. He had just arrived in Pittsburgh when he and two other staffers rushed to Florida to assist with the largest green sea turtle rescue effort in the history of the state.

Sea turtles are ectothermic, meaning their bodies adapt to the temperature

Prague zoo's vets accomplish unique surgery on flying-fox

Vets from the Prague zoo have accomplished a unique surgery on a small flying-fox that had suffered an arm fracture, the zoo spokeswoman has told CTK, adding that the winged animal patient seems to be successfully recovering.

The vets planted a needle inside the broken bone that will help it heal quickly. Afterwards they put the arm in splints, the spokeswoman, Jana Ptacinska Jiratova, told CTK.

She said similar operations on flying-foxes are far from usual.

This case therefore offered a unique opportunity for the vets to try an osteosynthesis surgery on this tiny animal.

The period of convalescence is three weeks. In a fortnight the keepers will see how the recovery has progressed.

Small flying-foxes, a species of bat, live in tropical forests

Leo jet: 13 lions moved from run-down Romanian zoo to Yorkshire wildlife park in biggest-ever rescue

Their rusty metal cage was no bigger than 3m by 4m. Its concrete floor was filthy and, but for a makeshift wooden bed shoved into the corner of the enclosure, it was entirely bare.

For the five emaciated lions sharing a squalid pen in a Romanian zoo this was home.

There were three more pens close by, each one as

Pride of lions rescued from Eastern Europe zoo touch down in Britain

A pride of 13 lions rescued from a dilapidated Eastern European zoo have touched down at a British airport on its way to a new life in chilly South Yorkshire.

The organisers of the operations at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park near Doncaster said the attraction will be a welcome relief from the conditions the big cats have endured in Romania.

The converted Boeing 737 carrying the lions touched down at Robin Hood Airport, near Doncaster, at lunchtime and the 13 well packed animals were then carefully loaded on to a specialist £700,000 elephant-carrying lorry borrowed for the day from Woburn

Stranded panda lured to safety with bananas

A hungry, lost wild giant panda prompted a long rescue operation in a village in southwest China after it trapped itself on a mountain cliff.

Villagers in China's Sichuan province discovered the panda stranded on the steep mountain face, too scared to climb down.

The Washington Post reports that villagers did not dare attempt to rescue the animal themselves but rather called animal conservationists and fed the panda bananas while they waited for help.

The panda, thought

The attack on the private zoo in Moscow region

In the village Sokolovo Solnechnogorsk district of Moscow region attacked a private zoo.

As a result of the death of three peacocks, four pheasants, pigeons, ornamental chickens, and ferrets, and six rabbits, the press office of Internal Affairs of Moscow region.

The crime was committed on the night of February 11. Mesh

The Year of the (threatened) Tiger

As we welcome the Year of the Tiger, the new year is not about roaring celebration. It instead calls for more conservation actions.

Among the 13 tiger range countries in the world, Bhutan, which is best known for its conservation policies, is launching postal stamps of tigers as a sign of commitment to the global effort in saving tigers from becoming extinct.

Denominations of Nu 30 and Nu 50 stamps will be launched on February 13, at the clock tower square, along with the unveiling of a tiger mount. The mount, said nature conservation division (NCD) officials, is a reproduction of an old tiger that was rescued from Haa in 2005.

The postal stamps with "Save the Tigers" slogan is a good way of advertising, said the chief forest officer of NCD, Dr Sonam Wangyel Wang. "People use on mail, which go through various offices, countries and reach every part of the country and globe," he said.

Tigers manage the ecosystem and keep it in perfect balance, which is why it is very important to save the tigers, said Dr Sonam Wangyel Wang. "It's at the top of the food chain and controls the composition of the forest ecosystem," he said. He added that tigers are a pride for Asia and an indicator of stress on the environment. "Saving tigers is saving the pride of Asia," he said.

The Year of the Tiger is taken as an opportunity around the globe to create awareness on saving the big cats. "Tigers may become extinct if we wait for the next tiger year," said the coordinator of carnivore conservation program, Lhendup Tharchen.

By Sonam Pelden

Although Bhutan's wildlife habitat is better as compared to other countries, NCD officials said that Bhutan's tiger conservation efforts took off quite late. "We're in the last leg of the conservation process and much is left to be done," said an NCD official. He said that other countries had pockets

Tiger Farms in China Feed Thirst for Parts

The crowd-pleasing Year of the Tiger, which begins Sunday, could be a lousy year for the estimated 3,200 tigers that still roam the world’s diminishing forests.

With as few as 20 in the wild in China, the country’s tigers are a few gun blasts away from extinction, and in India poachers are making quick work of the tiger population, the world’s largest. The number there, around 1,400, is about half that of a decade ago and a fraction of the 100,000 that roamed the subcontinent in the early 20th century.

Shrinking habitat remains a daunting challenge, but conservationists say the biggest threat to Asia’s largest predator is the Chinese appetite for tiger parts. Despite a government ban on the trade since 1993, there is a robust market for tiger bones, traditionally prized for their healing and aphrodisiac qualities, and tiger skins, which have become cherished trophies among China’s nouveau riche.

With pelts selling for $20,000 and a single paw worth as much as $1,000, the value of a dead tiger has never been higher, say those who investigate the trade. Last month the Indian government announced a surge in killings of tigers by poachers, with 88 found dead in 2009, double the previous year. Because figures are based on carcasses found on reserves or tiger parts seized at border crossings, conservationists say the true number is far higher.

“All of the demand for tiger parts is coming from China,” said Belinda Wright, executive director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India. “Unless the Chinese change their attitude, the tiger has no future on this earth.”

Although conservationists say India must do a better job of policing its 37 tiger reserves, they insist that the Chinese government has not done all it can to quell the domestic market for illicit tiger parts. Anti-trafficking efforts are haphazard, experts say; China bans

Year of no concern for the tiger?

I am disheartened at how Singapore is celebrating the Year of the Tiger.

Instead of highlighting how threatened the tiger is as a species, there are actions and pictures showing a complete disregard for their well-being.

The Singapore Zoo is showing its training methods by placing the tiger in a small cage so that people can walk past and take pictures of them.

On the cover of a local magazine, a celebrity is draped in a tiger skin.

Why can't we celebrate this beautiful and threatened animal

What a zoo: a human resources seminar with animals

On the face of it, the invitation was pretty typical — an offer to spend an afternoon learning about new human resources regulations. But not many seminars promise to end with an interactive zoo experience.

At a time when it's harder than ever to pry busy clients away from their desks to attend a business-time get-together, one Houston consulting firm went beyond the typical doughnuts and coffee and gave its clients the chance to come nose to nose with a porcupine.

BenefitSpecialists hosted its clients at the offices of one of its own clients — the Houston Zoo.

“When I look for a venue for a seminar, I'm looking for three things: I want it to have great food, a comfortable venue and it has to be an experience people will remember,” chief innovation officer Christopher Fisher said.

He knows people's time is valuable, and he's hoping that when they leave they say to themselves: “Wow, this was great. I'm glad we took time out of our day to do this.”

Half of the session focused on new human resources regulations revolving around post-layoff health insurance continuation (COBRA), health care privacy (HIPAA) and family and medical leave (FMLA). Then attendees heard two hours on the new government noticing require-ments for that alphabet soup of employment laws.

After the last slide, a golf cart pulled up, and in came the animals and zookeepers. Cameras flashed as all the human resource managers, accountants and financial officers gathered around to ogle Luna the baby alligator, Lucky the chinchilla and Trixie the 18-pound Flemish giant rabbit.

“It was a draw,” said Carole Cook, chief financial officer of Industrial Equipment Co., a wholesale distributor with 41 employees. “I wanted the information but I also wanted to see the animals.”

So did Pat Ham, an accountant with Integrated Mortgage Solutions in Houston whose

Where is Norman Buwalda's tiger?

The "pet" tiger who killed its owner in Ontario last month has disappeared along with the other exotic cats believed to have been on the deceased's property.

Southwold Township's CAO, Donna Ethier, says they don't know what became of the animals as "the family has not been in communication with the Township with respect to this matter."

Inspectors for the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who discovered the animals were missing, have been unsuccessful in reaching those in charge of Buwalda's estate.

A rumour that the tiger and two lions were moved from Buwalda's property to a zoo in Seagrave, Ontario, has been denied by the facility's owner.

"I'm guessing they either were moved into a worse situation or euthanized," Zoocheck Canada's campaign director, Julie Woodyer, told the London Free Press, adding that "euthanasia is perhaps preferable to a lifetime in a small, substandard facility."

In Ontario, each municipality is responsible for enacting its own by-law to regulate the care and control of exotic animals. Although the Township of Southwold passed such a by-law

Zoo Installing Fences to Protect Elephants


Zoo puts on the ritz -- and thereby hangs a tail

Heading the guest list for last night's annual Society Ball put on by the Staten Island Zoological Society was an exotic Amur tiger.

And right on his tail were a record-breaking 455 two-legged attendees -- among them the borough's elite -- who turned out at the Excelsior Grand in New Dorp to pay homage to one of the borough's most beloved institutions.

"You are part of the history of the Staten Island Zoo because this is the largest function the Zoo has ever had," Event Chairman Ralph Lamberti crowed.


Baby tiger Noah pulled a crowd, with cooing admirers gathering round to snap photos.

And while handlers Marie Tilton and Lee Huntsman kept the 9-month-old on a tight leash, the only thing that separated the public from the 180-pound carnivore was a velvet

Zoologist urges council to end zoo's elephant program

Animal rights group enlists leading expert on elephant behaviour in attempt to remove pachyderms from Toronto Zoo

An animal rights group has brought in a leading expert on elephant behaviour in its attempt to remove the pachyderms from the Toronto Zoo.

Joyce Poole, who has studied these animals for three decades, urged city councillors to end the zoo's elephant program. In a letter sent on behalf of Zoocheck Canada, Dr. Poole said the health of these animals is at risk because of Toronto's cold climate and the fact that they remain confined indoors for long stretches.

Her plea comes as animal rights groups and supporters of the Toronto Zoo duke it out over the living conditions at the elephant exhibit following the death in November of matriarch

Aquarium for Times Square tower

As if Times Square wasn't enough of a zoo, just wait for its newest neighbour: a giant aquarium in a new office building.

Toronto-based Aquarium Development Corp has signed a preliminary agreement to lease the first seven floors of 11 Times Square on the corner of Eighth Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan, three people familiar with the matter said.

The aquarium would be the first tenant in the 40-story, 1.1 million square foot building.

Its neighbours would include the Port Authority Bus Terminal and The New York Times building.

If it makes a firm deal and signs the lease, the Aquarium company's lease would last 25 years, one of these people said.

A lease could be signed soon and the aquarium

Celebrate Chinese year of the tiger at Highland Wildlife Park

group of oriental animals focus for a range of events

AS CELEBRATIONS begin to mark the Chinese New Year, a group of oriental animals are getting on with life unaware of what all the fuss is about.

Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie is home to two rare Amur tigers, a species native to China, and since this is the Chinese year of the tiger, several themed events are planned this weekend.

The park’s adult tigers and their three offspring, born in May last year, will be the focus for a range of events which will reflect traditional celebrations. There will also be interactive displays with information about China, its culture and its tigers.

Douglas Richardson, animal collection manager at the park, said: “Within the past 80 years, three subspecies of tiger became extinct and a further subspecies can only be seen in some zoos as it no longer exists

Marine experts on standby for potential shark birth at the Blue Planet Aquarium at Cheshire Oaks

MARINE experts at the Blue Planet Aquarium are on alert this Valentine’s weekend for the potential birth of more than 20 tropical sharks.

A giant three-metre-long nurse shark, named Sundance, is nearing the end of her six-month pregnancy in the aquarium’s giant 3.8 million-litre Caribbean Reef display.

The zoological team has been monitoring Sundance closely since she was observed mating last year.

Blue Planet’s exhibits manager Tom Cornwell said: “Although we can’t be 100% certain that she is pregnant the fact that she has definitely changed shape over recent months leads us to believe she may well be.

“Nurse sharks are ovoviviparous – which

Mouse deer breeding centre set up in zoo

As part of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) initiative towards conservation of endangered wild animal species, a Mouse Deer Breeding Centre has been set up at the Nehru Zoological Park here and the new building is scheduled to be inaugurated shortly.

According to the zoo officials, the project was taken up at a cost of around Rs. 24 lakh and work on the centre has been completed. “The structure is ready and we are looking at its inauguration next week or fortnight,” said zoo director K. Bhoopal Reddy.

The zoo presently has two male and five female mouse deer, known as ‘Jarini Pandi’ in Telugu and literally meaning a deer and a mouse. Figuring in the endangered species list, the species also referred to as ‘Spotted Indian Chevrotain’ are small secretive ones with primitive features now found only in parts of Africa and South-East Asia

Tokyo zoo to receive pair of pandas from China

Tokyo's Ueno Zoo is expected to receive a pair of giant pandas from China early next year, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara said unveiling a plan that would mark return of the popular animals to the country's oldest zoo about three years after death of the zoo's last panda.

Ishihara yesterday said that the Chinese side has agreed in principle to lease two pandas for USD 950,000 a year, money that Tokyo expects to be used for the preservation of wild animals in China. The zoo

Colchester: New medical centre - for zoo animals

A STATE-of-the-art medical centre is set to be built - for the animals at Colchester Zoo.

Plans are in the pipeline for a new centre which would provide better health care and emergency facilities for the hundreds of animals at the award-winning zoo.

The current centre was introduced in the early 1980s and has expanded over the years to create a workable space.

But as the zoo has grown, more sophisticated medical facilities are needed.

Now it is hoped work will start on the new medical centre towards the end of the year.

It will be sited near the current

Task force set for elephant conservation

The Government has set up a Task Force for more effective conservation and management of elephants in India. The eleven-member task force to be headed by Prof. Mahesh Rangarajan of Delhi University will device an institutional framework for project elephant that was launched in 1992 with the objective to protect the elephants. The panel will recommend appropriate changes in the existing wild lifle protection act and examine the issues relating to elephant reserves and human-elephant conflict. The committee will also suggest steps for training and certification of Mahouts, the veterinarian care of the elephants, creation of rescue centres and monitoring of captive animals. AIR correspondent reports that

From The Blog -

The Second Howletts and Port Lympne Student Environmental Enrichment Course

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Ukranian Zoo Abandons Animals

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



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