Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Zoo News Digest 10th - 16th March 2010 (Zoo News 656)

Zoo News Digest 10th - 16th March 2010 (Zoo News 656)

Dear Colleagues,

On the road these past few days. My internet connection has been slow to useless. It does not let me off the research though just makes it much harder to accomplish. Very frustrating.

I had planned to visit a large zoo in a certain big English city this week, and as my financial situation is so difficult I sent off three emails to three people working there asking of the possibility of a gratis ticket. I did not even get a reply. I begin to wonder if I am persona non grata. If so then it must be something I said. C'est la vie.

All quiet on the killer whale front this week and actually quite quiet generally. Nothing that has taken the presses fancy too much apart from the unfortunate tigers starving to death in China. I did put out news of this as I found it on the blog. The links are to be seen below.

I note that Noah's Ark Zoo Farm is planning to get elephants. Good luck to them. Whereas I don't share their views on evolution or care for their circus connections I would like to think that neither of these would affect their ability to keep elephants especially as the accomodation would have to be approved and they would have to hire and bring in experienced elephant keepers from elsewhere. Without either they would not have a chance.

I watched the video of the Iranian Crocodile with interest. I think it is a load of rubbish. Watch and see what you think.

Things are getting just a bit hot in Thailand once again and this time they are moving some of the animals in the zoo. As a country close to my heart I am hoping that the whole affair does not become worse.

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On with links:

Zookeeper suspended after gorilla's near-escape

A Calgary zookeeper has been suspended after a gorilla nearly escaped his enclosure.

Shortly before the zoo opened Monday morning, a seven-year-old male gorilla jumped about three metres from a pile of accumulated snow and ice onto the top of the glass perimeter screen that separates the primates from the public.

"There was some sort of accumulation of snow and ice in the moat of his enclosure," said zoo spokeswoman Laurie Herron. "He managed to use that as a bit of a jumping board and was able to reach the top of the glass enclosure."

The animal's keeper was supposed to have checked the enclosure's yard to ensure it was safe to let the two gorillas outside. That wasn't done, Herron said.

A zoo staff member then walked around the corner by the gorilla exhibit and came face-to-face with Shana sitting atop the glass.

"The gorilla was every bit as startled as the staff member and jumped right back into the enclosure," said


9 rare crested ibises killed in animal attack at breeding center

The Ministry of the Environment has announced nine Japanese crested ibises were killed at the Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center on Niigata Prefecture's Sado Island after being attacked by at least one marten.

The Japanese Crested Ibis, referred to as "toki" in Japan, is a designated special national treasure. According to the ministry, at least one marten entered a large cage for 11 ibises scheduled to be released into the wild in autumn this year, attacking most of them. Experts confirmed the culprit was a marten based on footprints left in the cage, where it is believed the animal remains.

Two male birds born in 2009 and seven female birds born between 2004 and 2008 were reportedly killed. At around 8 a.m. on Wednesday, a center employee noticed that ibises were not


Attacks on rare birds at Japanese conservation center cause concern

A marten was caught in a cage for breeding ibises on Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture, in Japan last year in February, but no measures were taken to reinforce the cages protecting the rare birds, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The revelation comes just days after a marten, a small weasel-like carnivore, sneaked into a neighboring pen and killed nine Japanese crested ibises. Ibises are long-legged wading birds that usually feed in groups.

Several holes were detected in the enclosure's wire mesh after last year's intrusion, but they were repaired and no further steps were taken.

A total of 203 openings, including those found Friday, had been detected in the wire mesh of the cage in which the birds were attacked. Observers have noted that if measures had been taken


Calls for end to killing of wild animals for food

Pelawan assemblyman Vincent Goh called on the locals to stop killing anteaters and other wildlife to maintain the ecological balance of the environment

Speaking to The Borneo Post yesterday, he said he was saddened to read the story of the weeping pangolin and its offspring which were caught and almost ended in the cooking pot.

He praised the woman reporter for being kind enough to buy the mammals for release into the wild.

“This is what we should do. Not only should we learn to love and protect our wildlife, but we ought to pass on such affection to our children,î he said.

“Wildlife in Sarawak is protected by law, and if merciless killing and poaching of pangolins continue, what would happen if there are too many ants and termites?”

He said nature had a purpose and wildlife had their roles in maintaining ecological balance in the forest.

“When there are too few pangolins and too many ants and termites, people will turn to insecticide to kill


Orangutans have 'caller ID'

The calls of male orangutans contain information about the apes' identity and the context of the call, researchers say.

An international team of researchers, led by Carel van Schaik of the University of Zurich, tracked the behaviour and calls of three male orangutans on a nature reserve in Borneo's Indonesian region.

While all orangutans have a wide variety of calls, only sexually mature male orangutans with enlarged cheek pads, or flanges, can make long-distance calls through the jungle.

Brigitte Spillmann of the University of Zurich described the calls as "a series of long, booming pulses and grumbles, which can be heard


Collins Zoo responds to Humane Society complaints

Collins Zoo workers said Monday a complaint filed against them by the Humane Society of the United States is inappropriate, and they are defending the facility.

After conducting a 28-day undercover investigation at the Collins Zoo, The HSUS filed the complaint against the zoo with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks alleging significant welfare and safety violations of state laws which governs the possession of wild animals considered inherently dangerous to humans.

"It's very sad to me to see these animals living in these conditions and suffering this way," said Humane Society Animal Cruelty Director Adam Parascandola. "A number of the larger cats in particular the cougars and the lion appear to be very underweight"

From enclosures not meeting law requirements and deprived living conditions, Parascandola said the State Department needs to intervene, and soon.

Tammy Daley, a volunteer at the zoo for 20 years, said the complaint is misguided. She added, the animals are well cared for, and many of them were pets others w


Extinct giant bird DNA recovered from fossil eggs

If you want to read an extinct bird's genome, you've got to crack a few eggs. That's how DNA has been isolated in a 19,000-year-old emu eggshell – the first time such a feat has been pulled off.

Big extinct birds such as the giant moa, thunderbirds and elephant birds all left eggshells behind them. But the hunt for ancient DNA in the shells has bagged nothing until now.

Charlotte Oskam and Michael Bunce of Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia, who isolated the DNA, say researchers (including themselves) were using techniques designed to extract DNA from bone, not eggshells. They even threw out the most DNA-hardy bits of eggshell.

Oskam and Bunce successfully isolated mitochondrial DNA from the eggshells of several extinct megafauna, including the giant moa of New Zealand and a 19,000-year-old emu from Australia. They also got DNA from the egg of the elephant


First Condor Egg in 100 Years Found

The conservation of the California condor has been riddled with challenges, but for the first time in over a century, a condor egg has been laid in central California. Biologists at Pinnacles National Monument confirmed the news after hiking to the site on Friday.

This is big news for the bird species whose numbers had dropped to only 22 in 1982 and was consequently placed on a captive-breeding program. The US Fish and Wildlife Service estimates a total of 600 condors roamed the wild in 1890, but as human population increased condor population did the opposite. Occasional sport shooting, declines in food sources and poisoning were some of the causes of death leading to the establishment of the California Condor Recovery Program in 1975.

By 1987, the last wild condor had been transported to the San Diego Wild Animal Park and captive breeding began. Unanticipated success built the population up to 63 in 1992 when the program began to reintroduce the birds back to their habitats. By April 2000, 62 of the 157 condors were once again in the wild, soaring above California and Arizona’s terrain.

Despite impressive progress, run-ins with power lines and lead poisoning were serious issues for concern. Last May, two condors were recaptured due to illness symptoms and were found to have been shot. In addition to wounds,


Steve's on the trail of some slippery customers

AN animal keeper at West Midland Safari Park will head to Papua New Guinea – on the hunt for the third most venomous snake in the world.

Steve Slater will fly out for a three-week field expedition today to find, catch and milk the venom from wild Papuan taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus canni) for the Australian venom research unit Snakebite project.

Although the park already houses two of the snakes, it will be the first time Mr Slater, a senior keeper, will be catching the wild snakes, which are responsible for 400 deaths a year in Papua New Guinea.

Mr Slater said: “It is a once in a lifetime experience and I am


The white lions of Entabeni

South Africa is home to a small number of rare white lions, Abbie Eastwood visits the beautiful animals and explores the Entabeni wildlife reserve on horseback.

It is rare enough to spot a lioness with three young cubs at the best of times, but when a game ranger stumbled across a family of lions in South Africa's Timbavati Reserve he knew by the whiteness of their fur that he was witnessing something rather special.

White lions first came to public attention in the 1970s in Chris McBride’s book The White Lions of Timbavati, when he recounted this first sighting by a ranger. But, sadly, with as few as 30 white lions left there is now little choice but to keep them in captivity. The reason being is that distinct colouring gives them away to their prey and makes them a prized kill for trophy hunters. But Arrie, the lion handler at legends Golf & Safari Resort in the far north of South Africa, has different ideas.

Three white lions and two young cubs are currently being housed at the resort’s Wildlife and Cultural Centre, but not for long. It was a rare enough to come face to face with these beautiful creatures but the knowledge that this will the first pride to be reintroduced to into the wild of the 22,000 hectare Entabeni private game reserve makes any visit here a real privilege.

As we arrived to meet Arrie at the enclosure, we were immediately stuck by the beauty of these beasts, their


Understanding Asian Bears


Untamed ambition: Alligator wrestlers set to compete

Until now, alligator wrestling might have been considered a poor career choice. The pay is not steady, the travel is exhausting, and the occupational hazards are apparent.

Now a group of alligator wrestlers says it wants to change all that, except for the hazardous part, which they say isn't so scary at all, by forming the Freestyle Alligator Wrestling Competitions -- a professional organization, with annual meets, that promotes the activity as a legitimate sport.

To help get the point across -- and to promote an alligator wrestling competition at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino near Hollywood this weekend -- James Holt dove into a pool with an eight-foot-long alligator on Tuesday afternoon.

Holt, who said he is six-feet-one tall and weighs 350 pounds, made the point that size does not give him an advantage. Mental acuteness does.

``The hardest part is making sure you're in the right frame of mind,'' he said. ``You gotta be in the moment.''


Then he pointed out that the alligator's body is made up of more than 50 percent muscle, while guessing his body is probably closer to 15 percent muscle.

``That alligator is a lot stronger than I am,'' Holt said.

Minutes later, Holt dove head first into the pool, still wearing his green cargo shorts and yellow button-down shirt.

The alligator, lying at the bottom of the pool, hardly budged.

Holt, 31, waded slowly toward the gator, explaining that he always approaches one face first. Then he jabbed at the water, and grabbed the reptile by a flap of skin under its jaw. The gator splashed around, rolled free of Holt's grip and sidled away to a corner of the pool.

Holt then approached the gator from behind, grabbing it by the tail. The gator didn't react as Holt pulled it toward him and slowly slid his hand under its jaw, where he once again grabbed the flap of skin, then the top of the gator's mouth, and pried it open.

Holt poked his head into the gator's mouth, and then pulled out.


After a few more tricks, Holt broke down the art of alligator wrangling and anticipating the reptile's sudden movements.

``You have to feel the body,'' Holt said, ``and feel when they're going to explode.''

He urged gentle handling -- ``The gator won't feel you as a threat,'' he said -- and anticipated great potential for professional alligator wrestling.

``This is going to be a sport that hopefully goes to a global level,'' he said.

Holt's worldwide aspirations begin with this weekend's competition, the first one sanctioned under the FAWC.

Organizers expect at least 10 alligator wrestlers, though registration closes Thursday, and prospective wrestlers must demonstrate experience handling gators. Wrestlers will compete for more than $10,000 in prizes, including a $5,000 first-prize pot.

Wrestlers will compete in 10-minute timed events and be judged in six


The Pointlessness of Alligator Wrestling

Poachers wipe out park's elephants

Poachers "wiped out" the entire elephant herd in Sierra Leone's only wildlife park, managers said Thursday after police said they had arrested a gang of 10 poachers.

"It is likely that the elephant population is wiped out," Ibrahim Bangura, senior superintendent of the Agriculture Ministry's Conservation and Wildlife Management Unit.

The six elephants were shot and "crudely butchered, their bodies slashed with sword marks and their tusks virtually wrenched from their skins," said


Zoo plans to introduce elephants

A privately-owned zoo in North Somerset says it wants to bring elephants to the Wraxall-based attraction.

Noah's Ark Zoo Farm has applied to planers for permission to build an elephant house and outdoor enclosure.

It comes months after the farm was banned from membership of the British and Irish Association of Zoos (BIAZA).

The zoo was subsequently inspected but the results of this have not yet been made public. It denies any wrong-doing and says it expects to be cleared.

'Detailed information'

Jo Penny from Bristol Animal Rights Collective (BARC) says they believe the zoo should not take on something as large or as specialised as elephants.

"Other zoo keepers and people from other zoos are saying 'we don't think this is a good idea for them to get elephants'," Ms Penny added.

In a statement Noah's Ark Farm said it had always been its long-term aim to provide a spacious, modern enclosure for elephants.

"We will of course provide detailed information and discuss our plans... and conduct this project in line with all of the required legislation and with close consultation


Gundo, Iranian crocodile in Sistan


Siberian tiger parts not used for liquor: zoo manager

The 11 Siberian tigers which have died in the last three months have been frozen by the zoo in northeast China's Liaoning Province, the zoo manager claimed Monday.

A total of 11 Siberian tigers died of malnutrition over a span of three months at Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo in the provincial capital.

"After each tiger died, we invited vets and experts from Shenyang Agricultural University to conduct an autopsy and report the results to the animal protection authorities," said Wu Xi, manager of the zoo.

"The tiger meat, skins and bones are kept in storage freezers," Wu said.

But a zoo worker who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the tiger bones were used to make tiger-bone liquor, and said "the liquor was used to serve important guests. Only the boss has the key."

Officials with the Shenyang Wild Animal Protection Station and the experts who ran the autopsies on the tigers told Xinhua that none of them took part in dealing with the tigers parts.

It is illegal to sell tiger parts in China, as stipulated in the Wild


Two Fined in Lincoln Park Zoo Bear Attack

The woman whose hand was bit by a bear at a Manitowoc zoo and her boyfriend have been fined for violating the zoo's rules. Tracy Weiler and Lawrence Bosworth reportedly went past barriers at the Lincoln Park Zoo and tried to feed two Asiatic black bears. The two will pay fines of


Zoo artificially inseminates elephant

Elephant management staff at Woodland Park Zoo and a visiting veterinarian performed an artificial insemination procedure on Chai, the zoo’s 31-year-old Asian elephant, this week.

The procedure was carried out at the recommendation of the Elephant Taxon Advisory Group of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums with the assistance of Dr. Dennis Schmitt, an expert in elephant medical and reproductive management and the reproductive advisor for that group.

“This insemination comes at the recommendation of the world’s leading experts on elephant health and breeding and is a continuation of Woodland Park Zoo’s longstanding commitment to preserving this endangered species,” Dr. Nancy Hawkes, the


Zoo moves animals for rally

Cages lie close to UDD route, food stockpiled

Dusit Zoo has relocated more than a dozen animals amid fears that areas around the zoo could be disrupted by red shirt rallies

Fourteen of the 2,000 animals have been moved to zoos in Nakhon Ratchasima and Songkhla since Monday. They included three elephants, two cranes, six red kangaroos and three wallabies.

Elephants and anteaters were moved to Khao Khiew Zoo in Chon Buri last April for the same reason.

Dusit Zoo director Kanchai Saenwong yesterday said the 14 animals were the first to be moved because their cages were close to Uthong Nai Road, which runs between the zoo and the parliament. The zoo will relocate more animals


Aardvark born in UK

The only successful aardvark breeding group in the UK has added to its numbers with the arrival of a new baby, Colchester Zoo said today

The pink and wrinkly youngster, who was born on February 27, is the fourth offspring for mother Oq and father Adela, and the fifth born at the zoo.

The mother, who would separate from her mate during new births in the wild, has been moved with her baby to the zoo's new rearing burrow, which is being used for the first time in a bid to boost breeding success.

The burrow is away from visitors to give the new arrival, who has not yet been named, peace and privacy, but CCTV gives members of the public at the zoo a peek at the progress of the little aardvark.

Keepers said mother and baby will be in the rearing burrow for another month, before being moved back to be with the


China's elephants jostle for a little room

The country only has 300 wild elephants left, squashed into a patchwork of ever-smaller spaces. A wildlife park, and programs to help villagers view them more kindly, may help stave off extinction.

The love between man and elephant does not come easily.

Just ask villagers in this tropical swath of southwestern China, where pachyderms gobble up crops, rampage through greenhouses, and have been known to knock laundry off clotheslines.

When angry, elephants can turn deadly. In 2008, a woman was trampled to death in her food kiosk in a tourist park here called Wild Elephant Valley. A few months later at the same park, an elephant critically injured a U.S. tourist trying to take pictures.

In a nearby village in 2001, another apparently camera-shy elephant killed a Chinese television cameraman who was investigating complaints about crop destruction.

Yet there is little doubt who has the upper hand in the competition for Chinese land: There are 1.3 billion humans compared with 300 wild elephants.


Potential CITES trade ban for rare salamander underscores wildlife e-commerce

A little-known Iranian salamander is poised to become the first example of a species requiring international government protection because of e-commerce – a major threat to endangered wildlife that authorities are struggling to address.

The Kaiser’s spotted newt, found only in Iran, is considered Critically Endangered and is believed to number fewer than 1,000 mature wild individuals. The amphibian is being proposed for an Appendix I listing during a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Endangered Fauna


Local gov't funds zoo following Siberian tiger death

The Shenyang Municipal Government in northeast China has allocated 7 million yuan($1.03 mln) to assist a local zoo in protecting animals after 11 Siberian tigers were reported to have died of malnutrition there due to lack of funds.

Zhang Jinghui, secretary-general of the Shenyang Municipal Government, said on Sunday that 5 million yuan would be spent on the protection of animals in the Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo in the capital of Liaoning Province.

The rest of the fund would be used to facilitate its management and operation, he said.

The municipal government had established three work teams to save and treat the animals, probe the reason behind the massive tiger death and take over part of the zoo management, according to the official.

Local animal protection officials said Thursday a total of 11 Siberian tigers, an engendered species with its worldwide population stand between 350 to 450, died of malnutrition in the zoo over the past 3 months.

The zoo, which is mainly privately owned with the


Private company to give zoo a facelift

Work on the installation of stylish and decorative sign-boards has started at the Kanpur zoological park to lend it a new, improved look. It is in this very regard that the Kanpur zoo authorities have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a private entity which will be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of these better quality sign-boards.

Made out of aluminium, these display boards will be specifically meant to highlight the scientific description of animals that are kept in various enclosures. It is through this manner that more than hundred-odd sign-boards will be replaced by new ones.

It is for the very first time that the project at the Kanpur zoo is being taken up under the public-private partnership (PPP) model wherein the zoo authorities


Albatross crash-lands in fierce storm

A massive albatross is recovering at Wellington Zoo after crash-landing in last Friday's storm.

The female northern royal albatross - with a massive wingspan of more than 3m -was found injured in a Wainuiomata yard after the brief but powerful


Animals imprisoned in Georgetown zoo

facilities deplorable, health practices not observed

In her natural habitat the lioness is among the strongest and fastest of predators. Running as she hunts for food in the rolling grasslands of Africa keeps her healthy. At the Zoological Park in Georgetown she lies in a cage with just enough space to pace a bit.

She is the only lioness there – at least the only one visible to the public – and she has no mate. Hour after hour she snoozes on the concrete floor of her small cage. She might get up to stretch occasionally, maybe move through the cage’s rear opening which leads to her private quarters for when she’s not on display, but most of the time she just lies there.

Smaller cousins of the lioness are housed in similar cages. They too seem low on energy and lazily open an eye when the occasional visitor bangs the rail or calls out to them. Bare bones remain in some cages left over from the animals’ last meal. What would these predators say if they could talk?

The monkeys are housed together in cages. They are not as lonely as the cats and perhaps because of this they seem in slightly better spirits. A lone monkey – it is not clear whether it escaped from the zoo’s caged set – jumps from cage roof to cage roof. It stops and carries out its version


Chinese medicine societies reject tiger bones ahead of CITES

WWF and TRAFFIC welcome a World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS) statement urging its members not to use tiger bone or any other parts from endangered wildlife.

The statement was made at a symposium Friday in Beijing and notes that some of the claimed medicinal benefits of tiger bone have no basis. The use of tiger bones was removed from the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) pharmacopeia in 1993, when China first introduced a domestic ban on tiger trade.

“Tiger conservation has become a political issue in the world. Therefore, it’s necessary for the traditional Chinese medicine industry to support the conservation of endangered species, including tigers,” said Huang Jianyin, deputy secretary of WFCMS.

Illegal trade in Asian big cat products is a key issue at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Conference of Parties meeting at Doha, Qatar. China is among the 175 countries that are signatories


Zoo crocodile moves to London looking for love

A RARE crocodile from Dudley Zoo has moved to London in search of love as part of an international breeding programme.

Stani, a female African Dwarf Crocodile, will join fellow crocs at London Aquarium.

She will be paired with a male dwarf crocodile, who is being transferred to London from Twycross Zoo.

Weymouth Sealife Centre, which owns the London Aquarium, has organised the transfers in the hope of widening the gene pool and breeding more of the endangered species in captivity.

Stani was born at Bristol Zoo in 1997 and came to Dudley as a tiny hatchling but has never bred.

She is the largest of three African Dwarf Crocodile, living at the Castle


Jambi Officials Plan to Investigate After Tiger Mauls Villager in National Park

Local officials will investigate a tiger attack in Jambi province in which a villager was severely injured last week, an official said on Sunday.

Ishak, 37, has been receiving intensive treatment at Raden Mattaher Hospital in Jambi city after being mauled by a Sumatran tiger on Wednesday morning. He suffered severe injuries to his legs and neck.

Ishak and three of his friends were wandering in Berbak National Park, five kilometers from their village, to collect agarwood, according to his friends.

Based on his friends’ testimony, the tiger attacked while Ishak was asleep and it tried to drag him into the forest by his leg. His friends manage to save him but his legs were badly injured.

“We’re still trying to find out exactly what went on out there because it seemed a bit out of the ordinary that tigers could have just jumped and attacked like that,” said Didy Wurdjanto, the head of the Jambi Natural


Pig Adopts Tiger Cubs

A sow adopted three tiger cubs abandoned by their biological mother at the Xiangjiang Safari Park in Guangdong province, China


Pigs and Dogs and Tigers

Lemurs and meerkats for Dehiwala Zoo

The Dehiwala Zoo has received a pair of Ring-tailed Lemurs and a pair of Meerkats. The animals were delivered under an international animal exchange programme. In exchange, Sri Lanka has given two pairs of Giant Squirrels and a male Rusty-Spotted Cat to Britain’s Rare Species Conservation Centre.

The Dehiwala Zoo was to receive a second pair of Ring-tailed Lemurs, but the animals had to be held back due to ill-health, shortly before they were due to be shipped to Sri Lanka.

Lemurs are primates indigenous to the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar. The newly arrived Meerkats will join the Dehiwala Zoo’s established Meerkat family. Meerkats are desert animals that live in burrows.

This is the second shipment


Gujarat Govt identifies area in Rajkot for lion conservation

Gujarat government has identified an area near Wankaner in Rajkot district for relocation of lions from Gir National Park, even as it is fighting a battle in Supreme Court against Centre’s proposal of their trans-location to Madhya Pradesh.

The area near Wankaner is the second area identified by the state government after Bardo Dungar in the Porbandar district for the lion gene pool project, to guard against the threat of a possibility of an epidemic which can wipe out the entire population of lions in Gir.

Gir is the last abode of Asiatic lions where in the census held in 2005 their number was 359. The Gujarat forest department would conduct fresh census later this month.

“We have identified vast area of land near Wankaner for conservation of lions,” state forest minister Mangubhai Patel told the state Assembly recently.

The state government said they have identified


Lord Bath announces retirement from Longleat safari park busine

The most colourful and exotic creature in the menagerie at Longleat safari park has decided it is time for a rest.

The Marquess of Bath has announced his retirement from the family business at the age of 78 and handed over to his son.

Bath was nicknamed the Loins of Longleat after he confessed to having had 74 “wifelets” in addition to the woman he married.

He now intends to devote himself to his memoirs and watching his son Ceawlin, Viscount Weymouth, guide the £157 million enterprise which includes the safari park, Longleat House and the Ched


Support 'withdrawn', zoo in a spot

The well-being of animals at Alipore zoo is at stake with the Centre virtually withdrawing budgetary support to the zoo. The step was taken after the authorities failed to meet the December 31, 2009, deadline to begin shifting of the zoo from the posh south Kolkata locality to Bhagwanpur in Sonarpur, South 24-Parganas.

To make ends meet, the zoo authorities have now been forced to double visitors' entry fee.

The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) had directed Alipore zoo authorities to shift 17 species of animals to its new location by the deadline. Others were to follow later. For now, though, there is no question of shifting as the


11 Malnourished Siberian Tigers Die at Chinese Zoo

In a horrific case that highlights the possibility of poor animal care and neglect, 11 Siberian Tiger deaths occurred over the past 3 months at China’s Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo.

Reporters blame the deaths on starvation and poor living conditions, claiming the endangered big cats were fed nothing but chicken bones and confined to small, metal cages. Zoo officials state otherwise, blaming the deaths on unspecified diseases. One thing is clear: the animals are under-fed and kept in poor conditions.

A zoo staff member, who would only reveal her last name to be Wang, acknowledged that the zoo is having financial problems. Feeding tigers alone cost nearly $1,320 (9,000 yuan) per day—that’s half the food allowance received from the local government and it has to provide care for all of the zoo animals


China investigating zoo over dead tigers

Authorities are investigating a Chinese zoo where three dozen animals including 13 rare Siberian tigers died recently, amid charges it was harvesting their parts, state media said Monday.

The probe of the zoo in the northeastern city of Shenyang will look at whether the animal parts were being used as ingredients in Chinese medicine and other products, Xinhua news agency said.

China banned the international trade in tiger bones and related products in 1993, and is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which also bars such trade.

But such transactions exist as many tiger parts, such as penises and bones, are commonly believed to increase sexual potency or cure certain illnesses.

Xinhua quoted a manager at the Shenyang Forest Wildlife Zoo as saying that the carcasses of the dead tigers, 11 of which starved


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Amur Tigers Starve To Death In China

The Elephant Calf Was Born Alive

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


Follow up on the Painted Dog Story forwarded by Rick Murphy

Peter et al,

I just received this follow up from Dr. Gregory Rasmussen, Director Painted Dog Conservation.

Rick Murphy

Follow up from Painted Dog Conservation on dogs being taken from the wild.

The recent investigation film concerning the international trade in painted dogs raised many points, though as often is the case, there is some background history that I feel needs coming to light. Furthermore Mike Bester (MB) raises some important facts that can pave the way for better understanding of the issue. At this point I wish to stress that this communication is neither condemning nor condoning MB but simply a viewpoint based on the important issues he raises.

Background to the trafficking.

Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) (www.painteddog. org) is based in Hwange Zimbabwe and is dedicated to the conservation of the species. The work undertaken targets research, medical intervention in packs that are injured, rehabilitation to the wild where necessary, education and community development for the better of conservation. The project works nationally in Zimbabwe with my research on Painted Dogs starting 22 years ago.

In 2003 we received a report stating that a large litter of pups (approx. 12) had been dug out of a den in the Lowveldt region of Zimbabwe. Intensive follow up on this finally tracked the pups down, however only two were left and both had rickets. These dogs were taken to the PDC rehabilitation facility where they miraculously survived, however were left with joint deformations that precluded them from being release candidates.

The PDC rehabilitation facility has two functions.

1/ It provides for all Painted dogs that legitimately could not survive in the wild either in short or long term.

2/ All dogs that are deemed “fit” enough to be released into the wild will be released. This decision was made on the basis that PDC would develop strategies and methods to facilitate release into the wild, and that all fit individuals would be part of such a programme.

A couple of years later we had another report that not only had another litter of eight had been dug up but that it had been smuggled across the border at Messina and was being held at a butchery there. It was this event that prompted a team of journalists to follow up on the missing dogs. The information regarding the dogs trafficked from Zimbabwe was transmitted to all the institutions known to be housing painted dogs as well as the ‘Wild Dog Action Group” (WAG), which functions to monitor and coordinate painted dog conservation and research efforts in South Africa. Eighteen months later I received a tip off that these Zimbabwean dogs were at de Wildt, however now only three remained. Contact with de Wildt confirmed this, and at this juncture it was decided by the Zimbabwean authorities that the dogs should be repatriated. Only two were flown back to Zimbabwe to the PDC rehabilitation facility as de Wildt informed us that the third one died shortly before we collected the dogs. The two dogs were eventually rehabilitated back to the wild by using an Island on Lake Kariba as a half way house whilst they learnt to hunt and bond as a functional pack before being release into the wild (see documentary Animal planet Nature conservation Films).

Shortly after this I received word that litter of 7 pups had been found in Bulawayo and collected by a wildlife orphanage. PDC received four of the pups, however at this juncture PDC was prevented from recovering the whole litter. When two-three years old these dogs were also released using the Island on lake Kariba. DNA testing of these dogs later confirmed that their origin was the Lowveldt region of Zimbabwe. Furthermore personal communication with an ex rancher in the region confirmed that dogs were being dug out of dens at the request of South African dealers and that the money paid per pup was considerable. Finally with wildlife crime being difficult to detect, with perhaps even a 5% success rate being high, intercepting three litters is strong indication that the problem is of huge proportion and it is therefore probable some 50 litters have left Zimbabwe.


In the documentary, Peter Singer makes it clear that the word “captive bred” can be misleading, as captive bred animals from wild stock in my opinion are as illegitimate and illegal as the wild parents from which they stemmed. Consequently whilst I in no way refute the statement by MB that “ALL the dogs which I exported were captive bred in well known institutions with traceable histories.” it is a fact (as highlighted in the studbook) that some of the captive bred progeny in South Africa that MB received may well have been from wild parents, and thus the trade in captive animals is impinging on the wild population.

Furthermore another valid point is raised by MB when with respect to a CITES listing, whilst he agrees that Painted dogs should be CITES listed, he follows on with “However it should also be noted that there is a huge captive population in South Africa and many other zoos worldwide. Sadly many of these colonies are genetically inbred and are of little conservation value.” Here MB gets to the root of the problem namely that there IS a need to get new bloodlines and thus validating the reason that Zimbabwe was targeted. He also makes the valid point that dogs from South Africa now have genetically little to offer the captive population in terms of new bloodlines.

Regarding the export of dogs to China and other collections, the question is raised as to inspection of facilities and minimum standards. As a personal comment I would like to suggest that such facilities are approved by independent bodies such as the American Zoo Association AZA, European Association of Zoos and Aquaria EAZA, or where responsible zoo bodies do not exist, the Society for Protection of Animals (SPCA). As this is public domain, as MB has clearly stated his openness and willingness “to furnish them with information relating to my exporting of dogs”, I would also like to know to which facilities in China the “approximately 50 dogs “ mentioned by MB were sent.

Finally from the standpoint as Director of a hands on organisation at the frontline of Painted Dog Conservation I would like those that read this to think of not only the damage done to the wild population but whilst some individuals make money off of the species, the cost these events impose on PDC is high. With regard to the dogs themselves it is a fact that of the 27 pups dug out of the wild 16 died as a direct consequence of the removal, one died due to management related anesthesia, three died in a captive facility whilst efforts by PDC to retrieve them for rehabilitation were underway, two cannot be returned to the wild, thus leaving a total of FIVE rehabilitatable survivors out of 28 pups. A huge contrast with the usual 80-85% pup survival rate observed in the wild by Painted Dog Conservation.

Finally there is the inevitable issue of COST. Over the ten year period PDC has conservatively spent hundreds of thousands of US$ to counter the trade, care for the dogs either permanently or until they can be rehabilitated, and then the final cost of rehabilitation and follow up monitoring to ensure the rehabilitation is as successful as possible. Whilst we are extremely grateful to a number of Zoos and Zoo associations that contribute substantially to reduce this burden, these donations in no way match the cost of countering the trade of pups being dug from the wild.

May I take this opportunity to thank all those that have supported Painted Dog Conservation over the years and at this point hope that we can collectively and collaboratively work towards both insitu and exsitu conservation without impinging on the wild population.

Dr Gregory Rasmussen,

IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist group

Director Painted Dog Conservation




Volume 49, number 2, of the Laboratory Primate Newsletter
see: http://brown.edu/primate

Articles and Notes

Statistics on Primate Importation into the United States in 2009, by

S. McGreal ......1

To Squeeze or Not to Squeeze? A Discussion on LAREF, September, 2009 ......3

News, Information, and Announcements

Resources Wanted and Available... ...2

"Cryptozoology" ; PASA Primates

Travelers' Health Notes......4

Imported Case of Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever; Malaria Surveillance United States, 2007

Planned 2010 Revision of Directory of Graduate Programs in Primatology and Primate Research.... ..5

Announcements from Publications. .....5

The Enrichment Record E-Zine; Journal of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Health

Captive Care Grants Available Great Britain..... .5

Workshop Announcements. .....6

Advanced Primate Training & Enrichment Workshop; Enrichment Extravaganza; C.L. Davis, DVM Foundation Workshop; Environmental Enrichment Workshop Denmark; CALAS Symposium; Gorilla Workshop 2010; Association of Primate Veterinarians

News Briefs...... 7

New Legislative Animal Protection Caucus Formed; Rwanda: NGO to

Fund Reforestation Project; New Director for Lemur Conservation

Foundation; Child Bitten by Snow Monkey in Carencro, Louisiana; Gorilla Briefly Escapes Dallas Zoo Enclosure; World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week; ASP Election Results

Educational Opportunities ......9

Laboratory Animal Science Management Courses; Biosafety and Biosecurity Training Course

Research Opportunities ......9

Summer in Borneo; Field Assistant for Monkey Project in Costa Rica; New World Primate Resident Intern

Information Requested or Available... ...11

Young Orangutan Weight and Height; More Interesting Websites

World Wildlife Fund's Most Threatened Species in 2010......11

Animal Specialist Travel Awards -- AALAS Meeting..... .12

Meeting Announcements. .....28


Recent Books and Articles . . . 13

Judith E. Schrier, Editor Phone: 401-863-2511

Laboratory Primate Newsletter FAX: 401-863-1300

Box 1853, Brown University e-mail: primate@brown.edu

Providence, RI 02912 brown.edu/primate


Report From:



King of Bahrein Zoo, Ghamadan Natural Park

Twenty minutes outside Amman, just East of the Airport Road.

This horrid little zoo ranks as one of the worst anywhere.

Visited March 2010.

Entrance fee 0.5JD (about US$0.7)

In a pleasant valley near the Ghamadan Natural Park. Sheep and goats are being herded in the area.

Three long rows of lowest standard menagerie cages. Little thought to safety or hygiene and none to environmental enrichment. The animals standing or lying in mud and dirt. Lots of baby lions and puppies. No supervision of visitors who whacked at the wire netting and shouted to evoke reactions from the inmates.

Two litters of 4 lion cubs, several adult lions, tigers, leopards, wolves, ostriches, a lone alpaca, baboons, geese, Syrian brown bear, zebra, mule, eagles, peacocks, monkeys, doves

Al Hiwan Zoo

Just a few minutes away from the KOB Zoo is another zoo which is unbelievably actually worse than KOB.

Visited March 2010

No entrance fee this day.

Same general area as the first zoo, two rows of menagerie cages arranged in an L-shape.

Lone camel standing in the mud outside. Two dogs in post-coital bind. Ostriches, monkeys, geese, deer, peacocks, guinea fowls, turkeys.

See photos

I was told that there are several similar roadside zoos throughout Jordan. And they say there is a safari park up in the North. I only had half a day in the country so no chance to investigate further. But the two zoos which I did manage to see are a total disgrace and shame on the beautiful country of Jordan.

The one bright note is that next door to the KOB Zoo is The Humane Center for Animal Welfare http://www.hcaw-jordan.com/  I talked to the staff there who know the situation of these zoos and are very concerned about the zoo standards.


WORLD TAPIR DAY - Time to register


Celebrating Plants and the Planet:

There are plants that grab your attention for one reason or another. And then news of some new discovery comes along and your amazement grows deeper. This month's links at http://www.zooplantman.com/  (NEWS/Botanical News) are about love re-born:

· When nocturnal hawkmoths, pollinating wild tobacco, leave voracious caterpillars behind, the plant switches to a friendlier diurnal pollinator: hummingbirds!

· One of my favorite plants - Stinking Hellebore - turns out to also have an absolutely unique mutualistic relationship with yeast. I'm so proud of it.

· Pitcher plants are simply cool (they eat bugs, duh). Turns out in their efforts to protect their bug cache they also produce important anti-fungal chemicals we may benefit from.

· For years certain lawn seeds have been inoculated with fungi that protect the grass from bugs and make better lawns. But these endophytes also harm grazing animals. (Zoos take note!) The unexpected consequence is that when such grasses go wild, they out-compete native species.

· Do ostriches hide their heads to avoid predators? Well, plants do and it works!

You'll have a lot of fun with this website: Weird taxonomic nomenclature! How nerdy can we get? http://www.curioustaxonomy.net/

Please share these stories with associates, staff, docents and -- most importantly -- visitors!



Click HERE to order


Hello Friends,

We're on a roll...With the recent announcement by the US Fish & Wildlife Service to prepare a recovery plan for the jaguar, and public reaction to the tragic death of a jaguar in Arizona earlier in the year, it's time to rally public support to finally restore this magnificent cat as a native species of the U.S.

Come roll along with us...by bicycle this Earth Day week, 15-22 April, 2010.

The Jaguar Bike-A-Thon will go from the Mexican border near Nogales, AZ to Phoenix, where we will present a Citizens' Statement of Support for Jaguar recovery to the US Fish & Wildlife Service at the Arizona State Capitol.

We also invite you to endorse the Citizens' Statement . Just reply with your address (for the purpose of identification only).

Well, we hope you are doing great. Drop us an email anytime.

Spring'n along for wildlife,

Dusti and Tony


PS - Our non-profit organization operates on a shoe-string budget. So donations are most welcomed...send your check to:

Life Net

attn. Dr. Tony Povilitis

6423 South Bascom Trail

Willcox, AZ 85643 USA

AND.....Please also consider volunteering with Life Net in Ecuador! Dusti will be hosting a bird monitoring expedition to Las Tangaras Reserve in the Andes. She is looking for volunteers to donate their time and $1500 to cover their costs in Ecuador to help with bird banding as part of a long term project comparing bird species in different types of tropical forest. Check out the Volunteer page at http://www.lifenetnature.org/ for more information.


ASZK Annual Conference

Adelaide 21-23 May 2010

The Conference will be held at Woodhouse Activity Centre, 37 Spring Gully Road Piccadilly SA. Tours include Adelaide Zoo, Monarto Zoo and Venom Supplies.

Call for papers closes 4 April 2010

Early-bird registrations close 11 April


Donate to help Siglo XXI primate rescue centre in Chile recover from Sunday's earthquake



Liverpool University Animal Conservation Society (LUCAS) - Annual Symposium
Updated Information

Take a look. There are some excellent speakers and interesting talks arranged. Well worth making the effort to attend.


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




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Kind Regards,

Wishing you a wonderful week,

Peter Dickinson

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