Thursday, March 18, 2010

Zoo News Digest 17th - 18th March 2010 (Zoo News 657)

Zoo News Digest 17th - 18th March 2010 (Zoo News 657)

Dear Colleagues,

I find the idea of Dubai Zoo cutting their food budget by 20% somewhat disturbing. Usually when a zoo moves towards a cost cutting exercise it runs along the lines of laying off some staff, reduction of overtime, shelving planned developments but reducing the amount of food? The same food at 20% cheaper from another supplier perhaps but reduction of amount? You cannot base a percentage reduction on a lesser number of animals. It is the species which matter.

Why am I not surprised to learn that the Dingo is the World's oldest dog breed? Always liked dingos. Very few, if any, in the UK today. There was a time that practically every collection had a small group. Visitors liked them too. Maybe we will see a return.

Perhaps I should have worded my remarks on the Iranian crocodiles slightly differently. I was not questioning the presence of a small endangered population of Muggers but the quality of the 'documentary'.

A change in location since yesterday. Much improved internet connection. Sadly glitching though and I have had to re-enter info two or three times.

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Dubai zoo faces 20% cut in food budget for 2010

More than 950 animals at the Dubai Zoo may have to make do with a 20 per cent cut in their food budget this year, XPRESS has learnt.

Sources at Dubai Municipality said this year's budget is Dh840,000, a sharp fall from Dh1.1 million in 2009.

"This is the first budget cut [for the zoo], but I think we can manage," a Dubai Municipality official said. XPRESS contacted the budget office at Dubai Municipality, but there was no official comment forthcoming.

The current number of animals is down nearly 14 per cent from about 1,100 animals reported early last year.


Dr Al Syed Ahmad, Programme Director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), earlier said overcrowding in cages and keeping different species together were "a matter of concern". He also said that zoo authorities would have to consider shifting some animals to similar facilities in the neighbouring emirates until a bigger facility was ready. A master plan for a new zoo in Mushrif Park was abandoned in 2003.

The municipality in November 2005 had announced

Dingo found to be one of the world's oldest dog breeds

Australia’s iconic dingo has been found to be one of the oldest breeds of dogs in the world.

An international study examining the domestication of the dog from its wild wolf ancestry has found the dingo and its relation, the rare New Guinea singing dog, bear the closest genetic similarity to wolves of all the breeds tested.

The research, analysed at Cornell University and UCLA in the US and published in the science journal Nature, confirms widely held theories about the dingo's history.

A group of scientists from around the world tested 48,000 different sites of DNA from the dog genome on 1,000 dogs from 85 different breeds, as well as hundreds of

Zion denies selling 'Killer Tiger' parts

The management of Whangarei-based Zion Wildlife Gardens have denied claims they sold body parts of the tiger that killed handler Dalu Mncube last year.

Mr Mncube was attacked by a 260kg rare white royal bengal tiger called Abu as he cleaned its enclosure last May.

Allegations surfaced this week on social networking site Facebook that Zion's owner - Patricia Busch, mother of the Whangarei park's founder and TV's Lionman Craig Busch - had sold Abu's body parts for "megabucks", the Northern Advocate reported.

Zion responded by posting up a notification on their website denying the allegations.

"The management of Zion are concerned about certain allegations concerning Abu's corpse," the statement reads.

"The day that Abu was buried was a very sad day for the management, staff and friends of the park. Abu was buried at the park as per the statutory protocols, once the authorities had completed their investigations.

"We can only wonder at the motive as to why there are individuals with malicious comments about our friend Abu."

A spokesperson for Zion said that these allegations would be referred to the park's legal advisers.

Charges over Mr Mncube's death have been adjourned. The Department of Labour laid two charges against Zion Wildlife Services for "failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety o

Workers of Zoo with 13 Dead Tigers Gets Paid after 18-month Delay

Workers of the zoo where 13 Siberian tigers died over the last three months in northeast China's Liaoning Province, finally got paid after an 18-month delay, said zoo workers.

A total of 13 Siberian tigers have died over a span of three months in Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo including 11 which died of malnutrition and another two were shot dead while mauling a zoo worker in November 2009, said Liu Xiaoqiang, vice chief of the Shenyang Wild Animal Protection Station.

The news of the dead tigers was broken by zoo workers who stopped working last Wednesday to demand their salary after 18 months of not being paid.

"A total of 11 tigers were starved to death. We haven't been paid for 18 months and we are starving too," said a zoo worker.

The shocking news about the zoo has drawn worldwide attention. The workers were paid on Sunday by the management committee of Shenyang City's Qipanshan Development

Temburong Zoo Falls Under LegCo Spotlight

Funds should be allocated to revive the neglected Temburong Mini Zoo located in Batang Duri as it has the potential to become a tourist attraction, suggested State Legislative Council (LegCo) member Dato Paduka Hj Idris Hj Abas at yesterday's LegCo session.

"If I'm not mistaken, two years ago I raised this issue with regards to the state of the zoo, whereby its animals have been left unattended and their lives threatened," stressed Dato Hj Idris.

He added that the area, open to tourists, could one day be visited by WWF (World Wildlife Fund) officials. "As such, it would be of benefit to rebuild the zoo that can fulfil international Wildlife standards and become a tourist attraction," he added.

Minister of Development Pehin Orang Kaya Hannah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdullah Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar said that the park falls under the pur• view of the Department of En. vironment, Parks and Recreation and assured that the matter will be looked into.

Dato Hj Idris also brought tc attention the Labu immigratior post

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City zoo could be better with some fresh ideas

Given the recent criticism our zoo has endured as to the care of their solitary elephant, I was disappointed, but not surprised, by Friday's article on a further incident at the Valley Zoo.

While dealing with the escape and subsequent death of an addax, the reporter failed to mention that this species is currently listed as critically endangered worldwide. As such, I would hope that care would reflect its value.

Instead, we have a gate left open and the statement that the staff has been briefed on proper gate-locking procedure. Surely this would have been dealt with previously in staff training? Alberta ranch and farm kids learn this as a matter of course by the time they are 10 or 12.

I work as a wildlife biologist and am pro-zoo, or to put it more correctly, pro "good" zoo. A good zoo should have as its primary aims conservation and education. Both these laudatory goals are under question for our zoo given its present state.

I realize that the current situation has been to some extent brought about by long-term funding problems and likely by some unfortunate choices made by previous directors. However there is little excuse for some of the ongoing problems.

These range from things such as very poor signage to seriously substandard caging for many of the animals. Wild animals in captivity should be able to engage in, if not all, at least a reasonable array of their signature behavioural and social traits. A creature

Rights group files complaint over Woodland Park Zoo elephant breeding

An animal rights organization, In Defense of Animals (IDA), has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture charging that Woodland Park Zoo's elephant breeding program violates the federal Animal Welfare Act.

The complaint, filed Wednesday, comes after the zoo announced it had artificially inseminated its elephant Chai.

"It is grossly irresponsible for the Woodland Park Zoo to continue breeding elephants, knowing that any infant born there faces a high risk of disease and death," said Catherine Doyle, IDA campaign director, in a release. "IDA is calling on the USDA to stop the reckless breeding of elephants in herpes-affected zoos."

Chai — whose popular 6-year-old calf, Hansa, died in 2007 from an elephant herpes virus — was inseminated last Wednesday and again on Thursday after she showed signs of ovulating, said Nancy Hawkes, the zoo's general curator. Chai was artificially inseminated after Hansa's death and miscarried in 2008.

Chai is one of three female elephants living in the zoo's 1-acre enclosure. Controversy has swirled for years about the elephants' lack of space and their living conditions in captivity. After Hansa's death, animal advocates called for the zoo to stop breeding elephants.

But zoo officials said last week they remain

Zoo reveals everything, warts and all

On Tuesday morning, Jolayne Davidson Gardner bundled up her baby daughter and drove in to Calgary from her home just west of Nanton.

Her husband Cam didn't share her excitement over her 16-month-old's first trip to the zoo.

"He told me a gorilla had escaped, and maybe it wasn't such a good idea to go today," said the first-time mom with a smile. "He thought it might be better if I postponed it."

Not only was Davidson Gardner at the zoo on Tuesday afternoon, when I met her and baby Hazel, it was right in front of the gorilla enclosure at the zoo's Destination Africa. The bad news of the night before had clearly done little to dissuade parents and kids from converging on one of the zoo's most popular exhibits: the overwhelming hoards of baby strollers in the labyrinth-like building housing the zoo's star mammal attractions was like something out of a science fiction movie.

When I heard the news late Monday that Shana, a seven-year-old male gorilla, had nearly escaped from his enclosure early Monday morning, I caught myself gasping out loud over such a prospect. Last summer, I had the pleasure of meeting the Bronx Zoo transplant's roommates, when invited to help head gorilla zookeeper Garth Irvine feed spoonfuls of yogurt through the fortified bars of a cage.

We fed the likes of Kakinga, the brooding alpha male of the gang.

You don't need to see the blinding white teeth of a 450-pound gorilla from a foot away, though, to understand the power and potential destruction that one liberated from its cage could have on humans. Neither do the people who run the Calgary Zoo: on Monday morning, they alerted the media first thing, with a press release and interview availability with Cathy Gaviller, the zoo's director of conservation and research. After explaining the incident -- which included Shana coming face-to-face with a surprised zookeeper -- Gaviller assured the public that an experienced zookeeper had been suspended, but not for how long or whether it was with or without pay.

The proactive move is part of the zoo's new face after a few turbulent years, which saw the deaths of two elephants, four gorillas, a hippo (which died in transit en route to the zoo by truck), 41 stingrays and, most recently, the escape of two non-poisonous snakes that slithered into an open drain inadvertently left open by a zookeeper.

Along with working to be more open and transparent with the public, the zoo's management also recently initiated an outside review by the Canadian and American associations of zoos and aquariums. On Tuesday, I spoke with Gaviller about the zoo's new public face, and find that she is indeed more than forthcoming about its challenges over the past few years, and the zoo's determination to

Agency could strip B.C. zoo of accreditation

The organization that sets standards for animal care at zoos across Canada says it may strip a B.C. facility of its accreditation if allegations of animal neglect against it are proven.

The British Columbia SPCA forwarded criminal and animal abuse charges to Crown counsel against the Mountain View Conservation Centre in Fort Langley, B.C., this week when a giraffe at the facility died after being sedated for an emergency hoof-trimming procedure.

A probe into the private zoo began in November 2009 after a group of ex-employees and volunteers contacted the SPCA with allegations the centre failed to properly care for dozens of injured and dying animals – in some cases euthanizing them in an inhumane way.

Bill Peters, the national director of the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, says his organization is taking the allegations against Mountain View very seriously and will take "whatever action is necessary" if it is found one of their accredited facilities does not comply with its code of ethics and standards for animal care -- heralded as among the toughest in the world for zoos and aquariums.

"We keep tabs on things going on at our institutions," he told in a telephone interview from Ottawa. "Often we just get a report from the facility if there are concerns. But if it's more than

Endangered pheasants from UK to join Darjeeling Zoo

Brightly coloured Crimson Horned and Crimson Bellied pheasants will soon be seen in West Bengal's Darjeeling zoo with steps being taken to bring the winged birds from UK.

"Paradise Wildlife Park in UK has agreed to give us four Satyr Tragopan (two male and female each) and eight (4:4) Temminick Tragopan, both endangered pheasants," A K Jha, director, Darjeeling Zoo which is also known as Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park told PTI.

Veterinary protocol has been already prepared from both sides in this regard. They will soon join our collection of 80 pheasants, he says.

Satyr Tragopan also known as the Crimson Horned Pheasant and Temminck's Tragopan also called Crimson-bellied Tragopan have been identified for the purpose of breeding under the

Zoo to help grow snake population in Lake County

The Lake County Forest Preserve District will be assisting another slithering critter this season.

Biologists will be counting smooth green snakes on forest preserve property, and hope to capture pregnant females, as part of a two-year program to boost their numbers in the wild.

"It's not quite on the threatened or endangered list but there is a definite decline," explained Gary Glowacki, a wildlife biologist with the forest preserve district.

Ranging from about 14 to 26 inches in length, the smooth green snake is the distinct bright green color of healthy grass and has a white belly tinged with yellow. Small populations have been found in a few scattered

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Mystery of dead zebras to be answered at Hogle Zoo Thursday

The mystery of two zebras who died under puzzling circumstances last January at Hogle Zoo may finally be solved Thursday morning when the zoo holds a news conference to announce its findings.

One of the zebras, Taji, was found dead the morning of Jan. 26, and the second zebra, Monty, showed signs of distress and was euthanized the afternoon of Jan. 27.

The results of toxicology and pathology tests could be announced Thursday to shed light on the untimely deaths of the animals.

Nancy Carpenter, the zoo's associate director of animal health, had said last January the two zebras were mature, but not old. She said both animals had suffered nosebleeds and possibly blunt force trauma.

"Very suspicious and odd" was how she described the mysterious deaths.

Well-known for their bright stripes, these two male Grevy's zebras were the zoo's only such animals. They first went on display at Hogle Zoo in 1998. They came to Utah from Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas

Elephant symbolises Chester's links to its zoo

A HEAVY-WEIGHT new arrival has charged its way into Chester- in the form of a three foot bronze elephant calf symbolising the links between the UK’s largest Zoo and the city.

The sculpture, a gift on behalf of Chester Zoo and similar to that at its own main entrance, has now taken up residence on Werburgh Street, close to the Barclays Bank.

It is hoped that the one-metre tall statue, created by Hampshire-based sculptress Annette Yarrow, will encourage city tourists to venture to the zoo.

Alasdair McNee, corporate director for Chester Zoo, said: “We are delighted to unveil the latest

Pandas have dung well

Adelaide Zoo’s giant pandas Wang Wang and Funi are proving they are more than just pretty faces.

The pair are unknowingly helping their extended Chinese relatives by donating their droppings for “Panda Poo and Friends” an organic compost on sale in almost 200 shops across SA.

Part proceeds will support international giant panda breeding programs and help Adelaide Zoo to grow special bamboo for Wang Wang and Funi.

The compost was unveiled last week by 11-year-old Sheidow Park student Jordan Steed, who won a national all-ages competition to design the artwork for the front of the bag.

Wang Wang and Funi the only giant pandas in Australia are producing between 70 and 100kg of poo per panda per week.

Combined with other zoo droppings, it’s estimated they initially will produce

Flamingos Fooled Into Fornicating

Spring usually means the birth of new animals at the Fort Worth Zoo, and flamingos are right on time. Lesser flamingo chicks are arriving one after the other, at least nine, so far.

The zoo has hatched and hand-reared 59 lesser flamingo chicks since 2002, and learned some things along the way. For example, wild flamingos breed in colonies with thousands of birds. The zoo's breeding group has only 18 to 20 birds. So, to get them to breed, zookeepers had to get creative.

"Mirrors on the walls create the illusion that the flamingos are members of a much larger group," said said Remecka Owens, public relations manager for the Fort Worth Zoo.

The younglings are fragile little things, weighing about 1.75 to 2.6 ounces at birth. The zoo puts them in an incubator-type container for the first 24 hours so their down is dry and fluffy.

The bird's first food is its own yolk followed by two-hour feedings of formula beginning 24 hours later. In many cases, it's the zoo's bird curator Katy Unger taking the chicks home to

Like humans, gorillas too cajole bored pals to continue a game

Gorillas, just like humans, have the tendency to keep bored friends into a game

by cajoling or even by deliberately losing if need arises, a new study found.

The above tendency indicates that gorillas may have "theory of mind" - the capacity to attribute mental states to others, said Richard Byrne and Joanne Tanner of St Andrews University in the UK, who videotaped gorillas at San Francisco Zoo.

Other than engaging with a toy and another gorilla, the animals seemed aware of how their playmate was interacting with the toy.

"The gorillas could encourage their playmates when they were losing interest, or self-handicap if there was a danger of winning the game," New Scientist quoted Byrne as saying.

This is the first time animals have been observed following a playmate's interaction with a third object - a skill picked up by humans at 9 months old.

However, with dogs, cats, lions and bears "the animal

Threatened animal species require captivity to survive

Upon finding the article “Trainer death highlights animal captivity issues,” I was pleasantly surprised as I have been very interested in this issue.

However, after starting to read, I became aware of its bias and its incomplete representation of some facts.

First, it is hard and maybe impossible at this point to return Tilikum to the wild.

His teeth have become very worn down, he spends a lot of time surface resting (a hazardous practice in the wild), and the cost would be great without guarantees of survival.

As SeaWorld has one of the largest tanks capable of holding him, where else could he go?

I agree that there is a problem with keeping wild animals in captivity and especially using them as entertainment.

Those problems are numerous and strongly publicized when accidents and neglect occur.

Personally, I know that animals, and especially intelligent predators, need to do something in captivity.

Activity and jobs that require some degree of thought from the animal are needed to keep them happier and much less bored.

They cannot simply just sit in captivity. Another issue that I would like to bring up is that captivity (cruel as it is) has become necessary.

You’re right in this quote: “How much are zoo spectators learning while

The economics of zoo Pandas

Zoo begins breeding program for rare animals

Their habitats are shrinking, and their numbers are already greatly reduced. The survival of endangered species such as orangutans and Malayan tigers could depend on breeding efforts half a world away, in places such as Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

The zoo - which sent two endangered addaxes to a preserve in Africa in 2007 - has received permission from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to begin breeding its two tigers and three of its four orangutans.

Officials say participation in breeding programs gives credibility to Fresno Chaffee Zoo, which less than three years ago was in jeopardy of losing its accreditation with the national association because of inadequate housing for some animals and political infighting among

When Calgary Zoo loses its 'celebrities'

When Calgary Zoo president Clement Lanthier announced in December that he had commissioned an independent review of the zoo's practices, he was already under fire from angry animal rights groups, local reporters and distressed citizens over a string of high-profile accidental animal deaths.

"To continue their support for this institution, our community needs answers -- no more accusations, no more allegations, no more irresponsible criticisms -- but documented facts that will give them good reason to maintain their confidence in us," Mr. Lanthier said.

A week earlier, a capybara that had arrived at the zoo only a few months before had been crushed to death by a hydraulic door closed improperly by an employee, who was subsequently suspended for two days without pay.

But if Mr. Lanthier hoped that announcing the review would take some heat off his organization, he was wrong. Things have only gotten worse.

In January, local reporters confronted the zoo with an anonymous tip, allegedly from someone on staff, that two mule deer had died in recent

Duke's secret in the forest

Tucked away in Duke Forest is the largest and most diverse collection of lemurs outside their native Madagascar.

The Duke Lemur Center is home to 213 of the prosimian primates. There is the aye-aye, the big-eared silly-looking creature with a bushy tail. There is also the ring-tailed lemur, perhaps the most recognizable, which raises its grey-and-black-striped tail in the air as it walks through grass. The center houses more than 20 species of lemurs -- gentle, endangered animals whose only natural habitat is the African island.

While open to the public, the center doesn't have the set-up it would like to serve large groups of visitors, so it's in the running for a $50,000 Pepsi Refresh Project grant.

The grant would help the center become more friendly to tours, providing, among other improvements, a new path.

The more people that visit the center, the more people that learn about lemurs and the more people who appreciate lemurs, the more people who might want to help them, said Keith Morris, the center's education program manager. The Duke Lemur Center is funded by Duke University, the National Science Foundation and private

Python parts and pangolins seized in raid

The Department of Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) has confiscated over 26,000 pieces of python gall bladders, 35,000 pieces of python skins, and three pangolins in two operations in Kedah and Perak.

In the first raid at a business premises in Kulim last week, the officers found the python bile and dried pieces of python skin in sacks and zinc boxes.

“This is the biggest seizure of python bile we have ever had,” Perhilitan law and enforcement division director Saharudin Anan told a press conference at the department’s headquarters here yesterday.

“We are investigating how the owner of the shop, a man in his 40s, obtained these parts,” he said.

The python bile is believed to be sold between RM500 and RM800 per kg while the python skins is said to be worth between RM50 and RM80 per piece.

In the second raid, the Wildlife Crime Unit (WCU) officers found the three pangolins and a piece of pangolin scale at a home

Monkey World founder Jim Cronin died three years ago

“I WISH he could have been there.” Today, Monkey World Dr Alison Cronin is in Vietnam releasing two gibbons onto a 40-acre island sanctuary.

If all goes well, this will be the half-way house to their eventual and complete return to the wild of the rainforest.

‘One of the greatest sadnesses is that Jim is not here to share it’

The project has been seven years in the making and there could not be a more appropriate or poignant day for the release to take place.

It was Alison’s husband, Monkey World founder Jim Cronin, who started the Vietnam initiative.

And today is the third anniversary

China zoo shut amid tiger parts harvest allegation

A zoo in northeastern China has been shut after a spate of Siberian tiger deaths as reports Wednesday said dozens of the dead animals may have been used to make a virility tonic.

China's forestry ministry has ordered the zoo in the city of Shenyang to suspend operations and urged the local government to step up a probe into the deaths of 13 of the endangered tigers, the state-run Global Times reported.

Authorities are investigating whether the Shenyang Forest Wildlife Zoo in Liaoning province was harvesting tiger parts to produce ingredients for the lucrative traditional Chinese medicine market, the Beijing News said.

The problems at the zoo have thrown a spotlight in the current Year of the Tiger on the 6,000 captive tigers held in the nation's zoos and breeding farms.

In the 1980s, China set up tiger farms to try to preserve the big cats, intending to release some into the wild, but conservation groups say many farms harvest ingredients for traditional medicine.

The Beijing News quoted an unnamed zoo official saying between 40 and 50 tigers may have died at the privately operated zoo since 2000 and that it was an "open secret" that the zoo was producing tiger-bone liquor.

Tiger parts, such as penises and bones, have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to increase sexual potency or treat certain illnesses.

Troubles at the zoo first came to light in November last year when two hungry tigers were shot and killed as they mauled a zoo worker, who survived.

Since then, 11 more tigers have died at the financially strapped zoo due to malnutrition and poor conditions, press reports have said.

Large vats of tiger-bone liquor have been produced at the zoo since 2005 and were given to high-level officials of the provincial forestry, parks, and police bureaux, the Beijing News reported.

China banned all trade in tiger bones and relat

Calgary Zoo employee suspended after near-escape of young gorilla

An experienced Calgary zoo keeper has been suspended after a gorilla nearly escaped from its pen after it leaped from a pile of ice in his yard, pulled himself onto a glass fence and sat perched on the ledge.

Officials say the incident happened before 8 a.m. and the zoo hadn’t yet opened so there was no danger to the public.

The seven-year-old male — named Shana — jumped back into the yard when it was noticed.

“A staff member spotted him and I think the gorilla was more startled than the staff member,” said Cathy Gaviller, the zoo’s director of conservation and research. “He immediately leapt back into his enclosure and the whole thing was over before it began.”

Zoo keepers were immediately alerted, and Shana was brought indoors. Within two hours, a team began work on removing the pile of ice.

Gaviller said it’s unlikely the “mischievous” gorilla, who arrived from the Bronx Zoo last spring, would have strayed very

Park operators to blame for tiger deaths

A park operator's mismanagement is responsible for the starvation of 11 tigers at Shenyang Wildlife Park. Because of financial distress, the park's director allocated the funds meant to feed the tigers for other purposes.

The abnormal death of tigers in Shenyang is not the first such case and will not be the last. A manchurian tiger was killed in Three Gorges Forest Wild Animal World in Yichang, Hubei province at the end of 2007 after 7 tigers had already died there. Of the seven tigers that died, three starved to death, and the remaining four died in fights or of diseases. Cu Guozhong, chief expert from the Wild Animal Protection Research Institution under the Chinese Academy of Forestry, said that investments in wildlife parks have exploded in China, and there are over 80 wildlife parks across the country. Some cities may have over three such parks and Wuhan once had as many as seven large-scale animal parks. Data shows that there are only ten similar wildlife parks in all of the U.S.

Most of these private-run wildlife parks merely seek profits, and forget the original purpose of a wildlife park in vicious competition. They are not interested in protecting the animals or carrying out scientific research. What they want

Endangered species dilemma: Protect whales or salmon they eat?

When it comes to dinner, Puget Sound's killer whales show no respect for international boundaries. It's long been known that their favorite meal is Chinook salmon.

However, using new genetic tests on the orcas' feces, and fish tissue and scales taken from the waters near where the whales are feasting, scientists say that as much as 90 percent of the Chinook they eat are from Canada's Fraser River.

Though the dietary habits of killer whales may not seem like a big deal, the orcas and various salmon species are protected on both sides of the border. Efforts to revive endangered species that share the same ecosystem can become intertwined.

"It is fascinating the whales specialize in a particular species, and the species they focus on is one of the rarer ones and in some case protected," said Michael Ford, the director of the conservation biology division at the National Marine Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. "Recovery of the whales could be dependent on the recovery of salmon. It is all related."

Ford was among a group of U.S. and Canadian scientists who published the results of their study in the recent edition of the journal Endangered Species Research.

The problem of killer whales nibbling on declining salmon runs isn't just an international one. Federal scientists say that Puget Sound killer whales may also be taking their toll on endangered salmon from California.

Though their numbers fluctuate, about 90 killer whales make up the southern resident population that swims the inland waters of Washington state and British Columbia from south Puget Sound to the Strait of Georgia. From late spring to early fall, the whales stay

Year of the Tiger billed as last stand against extinction

The Year of the Tiger has been billed as the big cat's best chance to escape extinction, but activists say poaching and government inaction are undermining a campaign to double the number of wild tigers.

Just 3,200 tigers are believed to survive in the jungles of Asia and the forests of Russia's Far East, down from an estimated 100,000 a century ago, and that number is still declining.

Butchered for traditional medicine, deprived of their habitat and killed for encroaching on villages -- the onslaught has already seen three sub-species wiped out and the South China tiger has not been sighted for decades.

Conservationists are seizing on the Year of the Tiger to secure the funding and political will needed to protect wild populations and suppress demand for tiger products from the major markets of China and Vietnam.

The unprecedented focus includes a summit on tiger conservation in Russia in September, and the UN wildlife trade body's talks in Doha this month which will consider a resolution condemning tiger farming.

A ban on trade in tiger parts was implemented in 1975, marking one of the first initiatives under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

But CITES chief Willem Wijnstekers admitted in Doha this week that efforts to save the tiger had "failed miserably" and the great cat was walking ever closer to extinction.

"2010 is the Chinese Year of the Tiger and the International Year of Biodiversity. This must be the year in which we reverse the trend. If we don't, it will be to our everlasting shame," he said.

The spotlight on the charismatic species has bolstered the hopes of activists who have

Proposed Law Bans Starving Animals after Tiger Incident

An amendment to a proposed national law against the abuse of animals will ban Chinese zoos from starving animals, following an incident involving the deaths of 11 Siberian tigers at a zoo in northeast China's city of Shenyang.

Chang Jiwen, an expert with China's Academy of Social Sciences and the chief drafter of the law, said the item was included in response to media reports of the tigers' starvation.

A ban on killing animals in the presence of minors has also been added, the Beijing News reported.

Items on criminal liability for abusing animals and bans on organizing animal fights and animal massacres remain in the law, said Chang.

The proposed law gives flexibility on eating cats and dogs according to ethnic and local customs, as the original item aroused heated disputes among the public.

China's proposed animal protection law was released for

Animals deserve to run wild, not to be cooped up in cages

Last month, at the Sea World amusement park in Florida, a whale grabbed a trainer and pulled her underwater. By the time rescuers arrived, Dawn Brancheau was dead.

The death of the trainer is a tragedy, and one can only have sympathy for her family.

But the incident raises broader questions: was the attack deliberate? Did the whale, an orca named Tilikum and nicknamed Tilly, act out of stress at being held captive in a sterile concrete tank? Was he tired of being forced to perform to amuse the crowds? Is it right to keep such large animals in close confinement?

Tilly had been involved in two previous human deaths. In one episode, a trainer fell into the pool and Tilly and two other whales drowned him. In another, a man who appears to have snuck in when the park was closed was found dead in the pool with Tilly. An autopsy showed that he had a bite mark. One of Tilly’s offspring, sold to an amusement park in Spain, has also killed a trainer.

Richard Ellis, a marine conservationist at the American Museum of Natural History, believes that orcas are smart and would not do such a thing purely on impulse. “This was premeditated,” he told the Associated Press.

We will never know exactly what was going on in Tilly’s mind. We do know that he has been in captivity since he was about two years old – he was captured off the coast of Iceland in 1983. Orcas are social mammals, and he would have been living with his mother and other relatives in a pod. It is reasonable to suppose that the sudden separation would have been traumatic.

Moreover, the degree of confinement in an aquarium is extreme, for no tank, no matter how large, can come close to meeting the needs of animals who spend their lives in social

Don’t fence wild animals in

I refer to Peter Singer’s opinion column Animals deserve to run wild, not to be cooped up in cages (March 17). Well said, indeed. Unfortunately as many western countries become more and more aware of these issues, circuses and other commercial operations that exploit animals are finding a new market in the developing world.

While travelling in the region I find commercials and posters for travelling circuses that use animals, and this includes Dubai’s swim-with-dolphins scheme. I hope the animal entertainment industry does not follow in the footsteps of the highly exploitative and unethical tobacco industry, which also targets developing countries as anti-smoking sentiments keep growing in the West.

Maggie O’Neele, Abu Dhabi

From The Blog -

Look to the right and see blog postings. Some of these have not been mailed out by email. Most will have been posted on the Facebook Page however.


Have a break? from Greenpeace UK on Vimeo.

And Now the Good News:

Nestle drops palm oil from Indonesian supplier on Greenpeace report
The world's largest food and beverage company Nestle has cut direct contracts to buy palm oil from Indonesia's largest producer Sinar Mas following a report by conservation group Greenpeace the company drives rainforest destruction.

Swiss-based Nestle followed moves by consumer products firm Unilever (NYSE:UL) , which canceled its $30 million contract with Sinar Mas at the end of last year, and food company Kraft.

''Specifically, Nestle has replaced the Indonesian company Sinar Mas as a supplier of palm oil with another supplier for further shipments,'' Nestle said in a statement late Wednesday.

In a press conference Thursday in Jakarta, however, Greenpeace in Southeast Asia said Nestle has still not done enough because it has not cleaned up its entire supply chain.

''Despite their announcement canceling their direct orders with Sinar Mas, Nestle will still be using palm oil from Sinar Mas in KitKats (chocolate bars) because they'll still be getting it from their other suppliers,'' Bustar Maitar, forest team leader of Greenpeace in Southeast Asia, said.

He also called on Nestle to stop trading with companies within the Sinar Mas Group, including the country's largest pulp and paper company Asia Pulp & Paper.

In their statement, Nestle said it will make sure its suppliers, including U.S.-based global commodities giant Cargill, ''understand our demands for palm oil which is not sourced from suppliers which destroy rainforests.''

Greenpeace claimed it received confidential information saying Cargill was a major customer of Sinar Mas' palm oil exports from Riau Province on Indonesia's Sumatra Island in 2009.

According to Greenpeace, Nestle is a major consumer of palm oil.

In the last three years, its annual use has almost doubled, with 320,


2011 Rhino Keeper Workshop

May 15th-18th, 2011

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

1st Call for papers, Posters and Presentations

Deadline for abstracts: June 1, 2010

Abstracts must include:

-name, address, institution, title of presenter

-Title, topic, objective, methods, results, and conclusion

-Medium (paper, poster, video)

-A/V requirements

-Limit 300 words

-Submit electronically in Word Format

Submit abstracts to

Adam Felts
9990 Riverside Drive
Powell, Ohio 43065


Zoochecks" ideas" for the Toronto Zoo and the Edmonton Zoo Elephants!

Nice Idea except I still believe it needs to include living elephants


International Elephant Foundation


Click HERE to order



The video reached by clicling the top right button in this link
includes some footage on the Japanese Ibis or 'Toki'
You will recall in the lasrt digest the report of so many birds being killed by a predator.


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



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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