Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Zoo News Digest 23rd - 24th March 2010 (Zoo News 659)

Zoo News Digest 23rd - 24th March 2010 (Zoo News 659)

Dear Colleagues,

There seems to be an almighty fuss being made over the disposal of a dead giraffe. I can appreciate how some may feel about the loss of a much loved animal (me included) but at the end of the day, dead is dead, and disposal of the body should be reviewed with realism rather than fantasy. Providing the letter of the law is followed I see no problem with a cadaver going into landfill.

The escape of the Tigers in Gran Canaria was extremely sad. It is now being put down to an employee 'pressing the wrong button'. It sounds very mechanised to me. Initial reports suggested that seven tigers escaped and three shot and four recaptured. Today the story has changed and states that only three escaped and all three were shot and killed.

I find the news of the tiger being poisoned in Bannerghatta Zoo extremely disturbing. What is it with some people? Over the years I have come across some really terrible examples of what people will give to animals in zoos. I recollect razor blades being given to monkeys on three occassions, dozens of paracetemols, knives and of course the usual lit cigarettes. Zoo staff should always be wary. If it looks like somebody is up to no good it usually means that is exactly what they are about. Please take a look at the half wits in the video with the tiger below. Such behaviour is nonsensical unless you are drunk. They were of course and so should never have been allowed in the zoo in first place.

I note that Noah's Ark Zoo Farm has come through a zoo inspection and been cleared of allegations. That should be an end to it. The UK zoo inspectors do not take their duties lightly. If they say that things are ok, then they are.

The 'Rainforest Life' has finally opened in London Zoo. It was this that I wanted to visit when I was in London a couple of weeks ago, Sadly I got no replies to my emails.

The photograph of 'Spider Woman' is attention grabbing and I recollect some years ago a colleague doing a similar pose for a newspaper. That said as soon as I saw this shot I was reminded of a young man nearly blinded by a tarantula recently. Hairy spiders should be kept well away from faces. In times gone by tarantula hairs were used in itching powder and are by far the most dangerous defence used by these creatures.

Looking for a job?  Several new vacancies posted in recent days.

Please post in comments below if you feel so inclined.

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Elephant Sanctuary supporters are upset at co-founder's ouster
Elephant haven in Hohenwald offers no explanation of the board's action
Supporters of an elephant sanctuary in Lewis County are threatening to withhold donations after learning that one of the co-founders of the refuge has been fired.
Carol Buckley co-founded The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee 15 years ago with Scott Blais. Buckley served as executive director and chief executive officer while the nonprofit group grew to include 2,700 acres in Hohenwald, where 15 elephants roam, including Tarra, a female Asian elephant who was the first resident.
The sanctuary takes in elephants that have been retired from zoos or circuses, or rescued from abusive situations. The elephants at the sanctuary are not trained or forced to entertain but encouraged to live a more normal herd life.
Buckley said she was terminated on March 17, after being placed on administrative leave nearly four months ago. The sanctuary released a statement the same day Buckley was fired, but offered no explanation as to why the organization's board of directors decided to dismiss her.
Bill Schaffner, president of the sanctuary and a member of the board, said issues involving employees will remain confidential. Schaffner said all decisions were made with the elephants' best interest in mind.
Buckley, who declined to speak with a reporter, has posted statements on her Web site, She wrote that the board instructed her not to communicate with employees, donors or the media when she was placed on leave in November.
"As you can probably imagine I never thought that this could happen at my beloved sanctuary that I envisioned, co-founded and built," Buckley wrote. "I had hoped through mediation or some reasonable action the board would have found a solution."
Buckley wrote that some sanctuary employees complained that they were intimidated by her management style. Buckley said she was removed as CEO, president and a board member on Jan. 19.
Buckley's termination and the sanctuary's reluctance to explain the board's decision could lead to a drop in donations. The sanctuary is supported by a network of animal lovers across the globe. Many of those supporters said on Buckley's Web site and on a Facebook page put up by her supporters that they are standing behind her and won't be writing checks to the sanctuary unless they're given a reason she was fired.

Diggers move in to build the lions' lair
A giant digger has been drafted in to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park at Branton to create what bosses at the attraction expect to be a unique facility.
The JCB has been used for lifting and moving huge rocks around the site to create what will be called The Lion Country.
Operations director at the park, Neville Williams, said work on the enclosure had been delayed by the cold winter, and was now likely to be completed by early May. It had originally been hoped it would be ready by Easter.
He said the enclosure would be surrounded by banked walkways which allow visitors to look down into the cage. There will also be a bridge over the lions' home.
The three prides of lions will be kept apart by lakes.
Mr Williams said: "We think the way people will be able to see the whole of the Lion Country will be unique in the UK.
"We have seen great improvements in the condition of the lions. A lot of their sores they had when they arrived have cleared up and they're on a good red meat and supplements diet. The vets are delighted with their progress.
"They are getting vocal now which is a good sign that they are settling in. I never tire of hearing the lions roar."
He added when work

Croc, 140, dies at Australia Zoo
MOST people would consider living until you’re 140 a pretty big achievement – especially if you’re blind and have been shot twice.
It was an amazing feat for one of Australia Zoo’s oldest and most colourful residents, Mr Freshie; a freshwater croc who died on Tuesday.
The old reptile, who was estimated to be between 120- and 140-years-old, had called the Sunshine Coast zoo home for decades.
He was caught in North Queensland almost 40 years ago by Steve Irwin and his dad, Bob.
The pair travelled to Moorehead River to rescue a severely wounded male croc.
Mr Freshie, “a harmless reptile”, had been shot twice – once in the tail and once in his left eye, leaving him blind and badly injured.
As they prepared to rescue Mr Freshie, the Irwin duo discovered he was no ordinary croc. A local tribe of Aborigines considered the reptile sacred

Dismembered giraffe tossed in dumpster
Mayor wants answers by end of week
The way the Rio Grande Zoo disposed of the body of a beloved giraffe broke the law and outraged the mayor of Albuquerque.
A zoo staff member tossed the dismembered body of Kashka, a giraffe who was euthanized last week after a debilitating leg injury, into a dumpster on zoo property.
A garbage truck eventually took the dumpster containing the deceased giraffe to a local landfill.
Zoo animals are sent to the landfill when they die, but Albuquerque's Cultural Services Director Betty Rivera said the way Kashka was handled is shocking.
Rivera oversees Albuquerque's Rio Grande Zoo.
"It is totally inappropriate and something that should outrage everyone," Rivera said.
She said Kashka was dismembered so the zoo veterinarian could perform a necropsy, which is a standard practice.
"When the vet was complete, the director of the zoo instructed the persons at the zoo to take the

Educational visit to Sea Turtle Management and Conservation Centre
Some 158 students along with five teachers from Pusat Tingkatan Enam Katok made an educational visit to the Sea Turtle Management and Conservation Centre in Serasa, Muara yesterday as part of their school holiday activity.
The group, led by Cikgu Faezah Sa Bali, was welcomed by Haji Sh Al- Idrus bin Sh Hj Nikman and Awg Hariel Haji Simpol at the centre.
During the visit, the students were briefed on the biology of sea turtles and their habitats, as well as on the exploitation of sea turtle eggs and on the decreasing sea turtles population. Among the sea turtles that can be found at the centre are Olive Ridley turtles, Green turtles, Hawksbill

Illegal bush-meat, wildlife trafficking at alarming levels
Viet Nam's ecosystem was seriously threatened by the widespread consumption of wild meat and trafficking of wildlife, experts said at a recent conference.
Urgent action was needed on several fronts to prevent this destruction of the nation's wildlife and their habitat, they said.
They called for strengthened, more effective public awareness campaigns against hunting and trafficking in wild animals and for the inclusion of this subject in the school curriculum, especially in rural areas.
Tom Osbon of the Viet Nam-based Wildlife Management Office stressed the need to legalise multi-sectoral co-operation in preventing, discovering and punishing forest violations

Hunt for rarest gorillas in Africa

The Cross River Gorillas, the rarest gorillas in the world, live along the border of Nigeria and Cameroon.
CNN travels into the remote jungle to try to get a glimpse of the critically endangered primate and see what is being done to protect the few remaining.
They searched one of west Africa's last rainforest for its last remaining gorillas. Eco-guard Joseph Njama says it's a rare sign that there are actually any gorillas left here. He's an ex-poacher, now turned guardians for the gorillas.
They only see them maybe twice a year. The difficult terrain of these mountains has helped keep the gorillas out of sight and hidden

Killing by whale result of human disrespect
Kudos to John Crisp for his very insightful March 4 column "Why did Tilikum kill?" which says that "we kill animals casually, by the billions, but when an animal kills one of us, we take notice."
He points out how in Tilikum's case, humans captured this whale, disrespecting the fact that it was not designed to live in confinement, let alone be trained for our viewing pleasure. Tilikum recently attacked and killed his trainer - a tragic loss - but we have learned nothing from this most recent incident as the show will continue to go on at SeaWorld Orlando.
We see examples of our disrespect toward animals every day but don't give it a second thought. A beaver at our local zoo pitifully claws the glass of his tank enclosure, desperately trying to get out. Dogs languish as they are tied to chains and exposed to the elements or enclosed in crates for hours on end.
Lobsters at the grocery store aren't fed so their tanks stay clean. They begin to starve while they wait to be purchased so we can drop them into boiling water while they are still alive. Is life from any of their perspectives a consideration of ours?
If we even give it any thought at all, at the end of the day it's selfishly about what we humans need and want or find convenient. We abuse and extort the gift of nature we have been so generously given, forgetting

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Customer Review -
This is wonderfully edited 3 volume set which is one of the best and most complete series on reptiles available. Even when compared to veterinary texts, which often only focus in on one aspect of biology, the Ackerman, et. al stands heads and shoulders above them as a resource tool. Having purchased this set two years ago, I only have one regret and that is having not bought this sooner. Being an amateur herpetologists for the past twenty-two years, I find this to be a resource that is always helpful.

Volume One - Biology of Reptiles = This is a great overview of the biology and physiology of the world's reptiles. This volume focuses mainly on the more "popular" reptiles seen in captivity, but most of this data can be applied to other species as well. The anatomical charts and dissection photos are also very useful in knowing the locations of important structures (very helpful for Vol.3) and anatomical landmarks.

Volume Two - The Husbandry of Reptiles = WOW! This volume is worth the price of admission alone - I have not seen anything as thorough as this for the captive care of any reptile species let alone an entire phyla. Housing, diet, breeding, light spectrums (species specific), hibernation - its all in here and in detail.

Volume Three - The Healthcare of Reptiles = This is the volume that sold me on the entire set. This covers many ailments and pathogens that can affect reptile species. Symptoms, preventive measures, and medications (with dosages) are plotted out in charts and diagrams; color photos of pathological conditions and treatment are given; dietary supplements; surgical and necropsy protocols and procedures are also included.

All three volumes are filled with full color photographs and plenty of charts and text.
Review by - Jason R Blalack

Like her 'Crocodile Hunter' father, Bindi Irwin works to helps wildlife
Bindi Irwin walked out of the private panda enclosure at the National Zoo with a look of amazement. "I've never heard a panda speak before!" she gushed. "It was amaaaaaazing."
Indeed, pandas don't speak very often (it sounds like a sheep bleating), so maybe they wanted to impress a kid who has seen just about everything when it comes to wildlife. Bindi is the 11-year-old daughter of the late Steve Irwin, the Australian wildlife expert and television personality known as the "Crocodile Hunter."
From an early age, Bindi appeared with her father in stage and television shows and performed as both a singer and dancer in a variety of kid-focused productions. But since his death in 2006, she has become a star in her own right, hosting her own wildlife show, creating various fashion and doll lines and starring in a feature film, "Free Willy: Escape From Pirate's Cove," which comes out today on DVD.
Bindi and several family members, including mother Terri and brother Robert, 6, came to Washington to promote the movie, so a stop at the zoo made sense. As a devoted conservationist, Bindi wanted to see the pandas, among the most endangered species in the world, up close.
"I want to carry on in my dad's footsteps," she said. "Everything that I do is really about getting the conservation message out." She said she understands that she can teach other kids that they can make a difference. She wanted to make the "Free Willy" movie in part because her character will not take no for an answer when it comes to securing th

Polar bear exhibit renovation at San Diego Zoo
The shrinking Arctic ice cap has prompted the San Diego Zoo to renovate its popular polar bear exhibit with global warming messages.
The Polar Bear Plunge will reopen Friday after the zoo spent $1 million to add more backyard space and displays supporting cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions. Zoo officials say they are on the leading edge of a movement by American zoos to highlight the impact of climate change on animals.
Biologist Megan Owen of the zoo's Institute for Conservation Research says they have a responsibility to share their knowledge with the 3 million people who visit each year.
The San Diego Zoo has three polar b

Are Aquariums Getting Too Lifelike?
On the reefs in the Florida Keys, plenty of snorkelers and scuba divers take in the sights, and others fish with spear guns for sport. But a small third group collects blue-legged hermit crabs, peppermint shrimp and other invertebrates, not for food or fun, but for the aquarium trade.
There are an estimated 700,000 saltwater home aquariums in the United States, and tropical fish with a bit of rock and a plastic Diver Dan are no longer enough to satisfy the keepers of many of these miniature oceans. The fish are still there, but as technology and technique have improved, the aquariums are now often small-scale reef ecosystems, with living coral and “live” rock brimming with anemones, shrimp, sea urchins, crabs and snails.
The result has been a growing market for these and other reef invertebrates, many of which are supplied by about 165 licensed collectors in Florida. Those involved in the Florida fishery, which is concentrated in the Keys, say that it is sustainable and more closely managed than many others, with no new licenses permitted and daily limits on many species.
But scientists argue that the collecting poses a threat to the very ecosystems aquarium hobbyists aim to replicate. Aside from the long-recognized ecological impact of the trade in live coral itself, these researchers say the demand for invertebrates — creatures that often serve the same cleaning and pest-control roles in a tank that they do in nature — is such that the fishery may be unsustainable.
“We may be increasing the catch up to a point where you push something over the edge,” said Andrew Rhyne, a marine biologist with Roger Williams University and the New England Aquarium who has studied the Florida invertebrate fishery. “The question is, where is that edge?”
If a species is overharvested to the point where its numbers decline dramatically, Dr. Rhyne and others say, there can be a cascading effect in the ecosystem. Without invertebrate grazers and herbivores, for example, a reef may be overrun with algae.
Jessica McCawley, a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, disagrees that the fishery is threatened. She helped update the regulations last year, and said: “These collectors are a special type of fisherman. They’re very concerned about the environment and the sustainability of the fishery. And they came to us and said, ‘Can you put some regulations on us?’ ”
Collectors also say that scientists don’t have the experience they do in seeing these invertebrates go through regular cycles of bust and boom.
Pete Kehoe, who has been collecting marine life near Key West for 35 years, recalled that after Hurricane Ike in 2008, he found one reef that had been scoured clean of blue-legged hermit crabs, which are valued in reef tanks because they eat detritus, helping to keep the coral clean. “You couldn’t find a shell on that reef,” he said.
But two years later, he said, the crabs have recovered, and then some. “The other day we were on that reef and someone said, ‘Have you ever seen so many blue-legged hermit crabs in your life?’ ” Mr. Kehoe said.
While acknowledging that some collectors are aware of the dangers of overfishing, Dr. Rhyne said there had been little scientific study of the blue-legged crabs and the hundreds of other species that are collected, including the 15 that make up about 90 percent of the catch. For example, with certain snails it is not known how long it takes for them to start to reproduce. If it is more than a year, then harvesting many of them from the same location year after year could be disastrous. There are many species that are probably not a concern, Dr. Rhyne said, but he added, “I don’t think anyone can use the word ‘sustainable’ when they don’t know enough about the animals.”
What is not in dispute is that the fishery has changed in the past two decades, coinciding with the rise in popularity of reef tanks. These aquariums include home or office tanks of a few gallons to several hundred gallons or more, and attractions like the 20,000-gallon coral reef tank at Atlantis Marine World in Riverhead, N.Y., considered one of the finest anywhere.
Jeff Turner, owner of Reef Aquaria Design of Coconut Creek, Fla., which builds and maintains large reef aquariums in homes, offices, hospitals and other institutions, says these are not mere decorations, but “an educational window into the sea.” The hobbyists and professional aquarists who undertake these projects, he said, “are concerned about the marine environment.”
The popularity of the tanks is reflected in a study of Florida fishery data by Dr. Rhyne, Michael Tlusty, director of the New England Aquarium, and others. As the researchers detailed in a paper earlier this year in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, the number of organisms collected from 1994

Steve Irwin's dad has heart attack
The father of the late Steve Irwin is reportedly recovering after suffering a heart attack.
Bob Irwin, who is married to Judy, was flown by the Royal Flying Doctor Service to Brisbane's Holy Spirit Northside Hospital, where he is currently in a specialist cardiac care unit.
Judy told AAP: "He suffered a large heart attack but is currently stable in ICU. We would appreciate respect for our privacy so that Bob may make a full and speedy recovery." She also thanked the health professionals for "the wonderful care provided".
Bob's daughter-in-law Terri released a statement reading: "It has been a worrying time, but Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin and the

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Product Description

This handbook presents an up-to-date review of the ecology and behavior of ungulates inhabiting eastern Europe and northern and central Asia, a vast area covering one sixth of the Earth. It provides detailed descriptions of 26 ungulate species focusing on quantitative data and condensing presentations of the autecology of the species, in order to facilitate comparisons between species, including data from several areas. Each species description includes data on geographical range and variability of body measurements over its range; preferred biotopes and evaluations of limiting factors of the abiotic environment; descriptions of social and territorial behavior; feeding features including lists of used plants; parameters of breeding in different parts of the range; factors of mortality with information on predators, diseases and parasites; and dynamics of numbers and harvesting in all parts of the range.

Twilight: New Moon hit with wolves
A group of wolves were given a “preview” of The Twilight Saga: New Moon, as part of a bizarre publicity stunt to promote the film's release to DVD.
In what appears to have taken the phenomenon’s publicity to new low, the animals at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire watched the film on a 16sqm screen at the weekend in one of the country's only wolf enclosures.
Ian Turner, the park’s deputy head warden said: “We've certainly never had a request like this before, so we were very intrigued to find out how the wolves would react to seeing their counterparts on screen.
“While they weren't so interested in the romance - the scenes of the wolves certainly got their attention and prompted a series of howls as the film went on.”
Martin Gough, a spokesman for Film company E1 Entertainment, who were behind the stunt, said in a statement: “Whilst we're used to deafening screams for Robert Pattinson, it's a nice change to hear howls of a

Zoo officials respond to pelican deaths
Two pelicans have died at the Santa Barbara Zoo; one on Sunday, March 14, and the other on Monday, March 15, 2010. Questions have been raised about whether the deaths were related to West Nile Virus.
"We don't know if it is West Nile Virus that caused the deaths of these two pelicans," commented Alan Varsik, Assistant Zoo Director. "It will be three weeks before we have the results of the pathology, so we can't say definitively if it was West Nile Virus.
"Anytime any animal dies at the Zoo it undergoes a complete necropsy and we take any possible causes into consideration . We test for everything and West Nile is just one of the possible causes we test for," said Nancy McToldridge, Zoo Director.
The two birds were vaccinated for West Nile Virus during their 30-day quarantine, which every animal undergoes upon arrival at the zoo. The birds were received in fall 2008 from Santa Barbara's Wildlife Care Network; they had been rehabilitated but could be re-released into the wild. West Nile Virus vaccinations are repeated every year for all the Zoo's birds.
"Should it be West Nile Virus," added Varsik, "we will be in contact with the local Public Health Department who monitors such cases and they will respond as they see fit."
"Pelicans have been found to succumb to West Nile Virus," comments Dominic Travis, Lincoln Park Zoo Epidemiologist, who has been studying West Nile Virus.
The Santa Barbara Zoo began vaccinating its bird population against West Nile Virus in 2003 as the disease made its way west across the country. It is now widespread. The immunization does not prevent the birds from contracting the virus, but has proved to greatly cut down on avian fatalities related to the virus. The West Nile Virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.
The Zoo is in regular contact and cooperates with the local Mosquito and Vector Management District who conducts research in the Zoo vicinity and works in mosquito abatement. No mosquitoes with West Nile Virus have been found as of March 19, 2010. Monitoring will conti

Prize For Protected Parrots
Orana Wildlife Park's new walk-through Kea habitat was judged the winner of an Exhibit Design Award (small scale category - under $500,000) at the regional Zoo and Aquarium Association's annual awards ceremony last week. The prestigious Exhibit Design category recognises 'outstanding achievement in animal housing and exhibit design.'
Native Fauna Head Keeper, Tara Atkinson, is delighted to receive the award: "We are very proud of our Kea aviary as it enhances the wellbeing of our birds whilst offering an immersive encounter for visitors. It is extremely gratifying to receive an award, judged by our industry peers, that recognises high standards in animal care."
The 352 square metre aviary was designed to showcase the intelligence and uniqueness of Kea whilst highlighting the fact that the birds are endangered. Visitors traverse a board walk through the aviary and then exit via an alpine themed musterer's hut.
"There are numerous benefits of the habitat. In terms of animal management, we are seeing natural behaviours that were not evident in the past. For example the birds enjoy stretching their wings in flight, landing hard on the veranda roof then running along it just

Ex-Lowry Park Zoo director Lex Salisbury opens Giraffe Ranch attraction in Pasco
A setting right out of Africa. Only it's northeast Pasco.
That's how Lex Salisbury describes his ranch north of Dade City, which he is marketing as a giraffe attraction that visitors can tour for $59 each. The former Lowry Park Zoo director — who resigned in 2008 amid a controversy over transferring animals between the zoo, his Safari Wild venture in Polk County and his northeast Pasco ranch — has now christened his homestead Giraffe Ranch, ready and open for business.
"Have you ever fed a giraffe? Have you ever smelled their grassy breath? These are memories that will last you a lifetime," said a Web site devoted to Giraffe Ranch, at 38650 Mickler Road.
Visitors will board a four-wheel drive, safari-style vehicle

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Product Review-
This is a fantastic collection of enrichment ideas, recipes for snacks, foraging mix's and directions on making toys to keep primates busy. I love the color pictures of the monkeys using the enrichment toys.The space to add my own recipes is so convenient, and the schedule page for treat feeding is a big help for my busy days.. This is a wonderful 70 pages packed full of ideas. This is great book for the beginning primate owner and one that has had primates over 20 years will still get fresh ideas from it too...

Review by - Karline Elder

Councillor proposes zoo replace real elephants with interactive displays
Fourth elephant death in four years prompts concerns
The Toronto Zoo should replace its live elephant habitat with an interactive display that has everything to satisfy a visitor's curiosity about elephants - except the elephants themselves, according to zoo board member Glenn De Baeremaeker.
"I've been convinced - that in terms of the compassionate care of elephants, they shouldn't be here," said Ward 38 Scarborough Centre Councillor De Baeremaeker.
"Their requirements to live a balanced and healthy life just can't be met at the zoo - even a zoo as large as the Toronto Zoo. Where they walk dozens of kilometres in the wild, here they have to walk in a circle. In some ways, it's the equivalent of keeping a human locked up in a bathtub."
De Baeremaeker

Beef will be supplied to zoo animals
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Tuesday allayed apprehensions by authorities over getting supply of beef to zoo animals in the wake of ban on cow slaughter, for which a Bill was passed by the state Legislative Assembly last week.
A group of citizens and activists have been opposing the ban of cow slaughter. A delegation led by MLA Roshan Baig of the Congress on Tuesday called upon the Karnataka governor H R Bharadwaj and urged him not to give his consent to the Bill.
Addressing presspersons here, the Chief Minister said government would take steps to ensure adequate supply of beef to zoo animals. “I will not allow animals to suffer. I will soon convene a meeting of officials to find a solution”, Mr Yeddyurappa said.
Mr Yeddyurappa said the Government has decided to develop a plot of the present Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) in the City as a garden for the benefit of the public. The Karnataka High Court on Monday gave a ruling

New Elephant Arrives at Woburn in time to celebrate the Safari Park’s 40th Birthday
A 32 year old Asian elephant arrives at Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire from the Netherlands.
It is said that good things come in small packages, but the reverse was true today when Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire took delivery of a fifteen tonne package, two months ahead of its 40th Birthday!
Inside the ten tonne crate, which arrived at the park from Emmen Zoo in the Netherlands this morning, was Yu Zin a five tonne, female Asian elephant.
Born 32 years ago, she joins three other Asian elephants that have lived at the Park for over a decade. Coincidentally it is thirteen years to the day since Woburn’s other elephants, male Raja, and females Damini and Chandrika arrived in Bedfordshire from India in 1997.
Now that she has arrived, it is hoped that Yu Zin, who has already given birth to three sons, will kick-start Woburn’s elephant breeding programme. The gestation period for an elephant is two years, so although the pitter, patter of tiny elephant feet is some way off, Woburn Safari Park is eagerly looking forward to the day when a baby is born.
Dr Jake Veasey, Head of Animals and Conservation at Woburn Safari Park commented; “We’re delighted to welcome Yu Zin today and we’re pleased that her arrival went smoothly. She’s now settling into her new home here at Woburn and over the next few weeks, we’ll be watching her closely to see how she and our other three elephants interact. We’re hoping that she will become the matriarch of our herd and with her previous breeding experience will encourage our other t

Rare animals are being 'eaten to extinction'
Rare animals, including chimpanzees and gorillas, are being hunted into extinction because of record levels of demand for bush meat, according to a new study.
Research in the Congo Basin in Africa found more than three million tonnes of 'bush meat' is being extracted from the area every year, the equivalent of butchering 740,000 bull elephants.
Most of the animals are small antelopes like blue duiker or rodents like the porcupine but larger mammals like monkeys and even gorillas are also taken.
The study published in Mammal Review found the rate of hunting is higher than ever because of malnutrition in the area and is calling for more funding to help the local community find alternative sources of food.
Meat from wild animals or 'bush meat' is one of the most important sources

Toronto Zoo elephant program draws criticism
The Toronto Zoo is facing heavy criticism for the December death of matriarch elephant Tara, the fourth elephant fatality in four years.
In Defense of Animals, a California-based watchdog, recently rated the Toronto Zoo number two among the Top Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants in North America.
The Toronto Zoo made the Top Ten list because of “deadly” conditions for these animals, including the lack of space and cold climate that has produced four death, the group said.
"This is the highest mortality rate for any zoo in North America in the last four years,” said Catherine Doyle, elephant campaigner for the group.
Meanwhile, an elephant expert from Sweden, Dr. Joyce Poole, is urging city council to shut down the elephant program entirely.
In a letter sent on behalf of the group Elephant Voices, Poole pressed council to send the three remaining elephants to a sanctuary, arguing Toronto

World's first amphibious insects discovered
The world's first amphibious insects have been discovered by scientists.
The tiny caterpillars belong to the moth genus Hyposmocoma which includes an enormously diverse group of at least 350 species found only on Hawaii.
Entomologist Professor Daniel Rubinoff and colleagues observed larvae feeding and breathing in streams and on dry rocks - a newly discovered phenomenon.
Many insects can withstand extreme conditions in a dormant state, but never before has one been known to survive an entire life cycle above and below the water's surface.
The team sequenced the caterpillars' genes and say their versatility represent an example of parallel evolution - a rare event in which unrelated organisms develop similar characteristics simply by living in the same place.
And they believe it has occurred three separate times during Hyposmocoma's history beginning six million years ago before the current islands existed.
Prof Rubinoff, of Hawaii University, said similar patterns

African wild dog kills himself in bizarre accident
(This post contains some quite gory photos… As American TV likes to say: “Viewer discretion is advised”!)
Anyone who has been following this blog for long will have realized that one of the major threats to the survival of wild dogs is human-related, namely when the dogs get caught in snares set by poachers (see the last post). Almost 80% of recorded adult mortality in our population is due to snaring.
Nonetheless, wild dogs do occasionally die from natural causes as well, i.e predation of pups by lions, fatal injuries sustained while hunting, contraction of certain diseases and infrequent natural accidents. Here is one such example of the latter – an incredibly sad and unusual thing to witness.
On Saturday evening, Rueben found the Star Pack and confirmed all individuals were there. On Sunday morning, when he re-located the pack in order to show some safari clients, he found one of the adult male dogs, dead from impaling himself

Wii technology used to study sharks' mating habits
Scientists are using the same basic devices that make your Wii work to study sharks while mating.
Mote Marine Laboratory scientists attached motion detectors to the fins of nurse sharks, and the devices then tracked the sharks' movements. The detectors picked up every tail twitch and flick, details researchers did not know about before the two-week study.
Scientists have monitored shark movements for years with satellite trackers and hydrophones, but that research revealed only where they traveled.
"We've gotten very good in the past 10 to 20 years figuring out where sharks go. We don't know much about what they do," said Nick Whitney, a scientist at Mote's Center for Shark Research and lead author of the study published in the Endangered Species Research journal.
The project tracked four female

Man attacked by Tiger in Zoo Sibiu
Not unexpected really as he ignored the barriers and actually stuck his leg into the enclosure. He and a number of friends had arrived at the zoo drunk. Initially they spent time annoying the monkeys before moving on to the tigers. If it had not been for the assistance of his friends the incident would have been more serious.

Even in China's animal kingdom there are the haves and have nots
Meng Meng enjoys one of the most expensive luxury apartments in Beijing, with maintenance costs alone running over a million yuan each year. She has her own kitchen staff, VIP valet service, air conditioning and an ornamental garden where she is often seen frolicking with her friends and nibbling on bamboo shoots for lunch, with oranges and honey for dessert.
Meng Meng is pampered at government expense because she is a giant panda, the hug-gable creature that has unofficially replaced the dragon as the emblem of China.
Meanwhile, in China's frigid northeast, far from the Beijing Zoo, three more of China's national treasures are clinging to life in a Siberian tiger cage, being fed intravenously in a wildlife park where 11 rare tigers recently starved to death.
In China's wilderness, Siberian tigers eat up to 40 pounds of raw meat a day from fresh kills of wild hogs and Tibetan antelope. At the Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo in the capital of Liaoning Province, the world's biggest cats were fed only chicken bones.
The income gap between China's rich and poor is once again at the heart of the problem, with the profit motive extending even to the animal

New Website Tracks Jellyfish Strandings Around the World
Suppose you're walking along the beach and you see a jellyfish washed up on the sand. Then you see another and then another. It's a jellyfish invasion! What do you do? Who do you call?
If MBARI researcher Steve Haddock has his way, you'll take some photos and maybe a few notes, and send them in to his new Jellywatch website (, to share your discovery with the world. Haddock's new website combines marine biology and social networking to create a resource that both scientists and ocean lovers can appreciate. Visitors can not only post their sightings and photos, they can also compare their sightings with those of beachcombers around the globe.
Comb jellies or ctenophores are another common type of jelly that occasionally wash up on beaches in large numbers. Unlike many jellies, ctenophores do not have stinging cells, but capture prey using sticky tentacles. Image: Jim Rehkopf © 2002 MBARI
The Jellywatch website was created by Haddock and two summer interns, Katherine Elliott and Alison Case. According to Haddock, "People have been talking about jelly bloo

Tiger dies of cyanide poisoning
The most endangered animal in the country, the tiger, now seems to be at threat in captivity too. In a latest, a Siberian tiger was poisoned to death around a week ago, in one of the Bannerghatta Biological Park enclosures. The case surfaced after post-mortem report was out recently. The tiger was killed due to cyanide poisoning.
The zoo authorities filed a complaint with the Bannerghatta police station on Monday evening. They suspect foul play and the hand of caretakers in poisoning the 16-year-old animal. “It has been poisoned as confirmed in the post-mortem report. Four caretakers who were on duty that day have been summoned to court. But as investigations are on, we will not be able to divulge their names. It will take us some time before we can confirm who are the culprits,” sub-inspector K Vishwanath told TOI.
None of the authorities from Bannerghatta Biological Park were available

Another lion found dead in Gir sanctuary
A day after a lion was axed to death, a decomposed carcass of an Asiatic lion was found in Junagadh on Tuesday. The postmortem report, however, stated the big cat died of old age a fortnight ago.
The body was found along Machundri river at Jokhiya, near Gir West, Babariya range, infamous for poaching of six lions by a Madhya Pradesh gang in 2007. Basbariya range deputy conservator of forests Sandeep Kumar said the carcass is of a 14-year-old lion which died of old age 15 days ago.
"All 17 claws and nails were found intact on the body, except one which might have fallen off due to old age," Kumar said. Animal lovers, however, expressed surprise

"Spider woman" defies the odds at Liverpool region aquarium
Plucky Stephanie Wainwright proved she has no fear of spiders... when she came face to face with a huge tarantula.
Stephanie, 24, had her close encounter with a giant Chilean Rose tarantula at an aquarium in Cheshire where it is one of the latest arrivals.
The amazing picture of the six-inch long tarantula on Stephanie's face defies research by psychologists in the USA which shown girls are born with an aversion to spiders.
Aracnophobia is the most common fear among humans and it afflicts fifty per cent of women, compared to just ten per cent of men.
Stephanie, an assistant retail manager at the Blue Planet Aquarium at Ellesmere Port, encountered the spider when it arrived as part of a new exhibit named "Venom".
And although it looks fearsome the Chilean Rose tarantuala

Claims against zoo 'grossly unfair'
ALLEGATIONS of animal cruelty made against Noah's Ark Zoo Farm were 'grossly unfair', according to a team of zoo inspectors.
The Wraxall attraction was inspected by officials acting on behalf of North Somerset Council on March 2, following allegations made by the Captive Animals' Protection Society (CAPS).
CAPS carried out an undercover investigation at Noah's Ark last year and published its findings in October.
This included allegations about the treatment of animals, the zoo's connection with the owner of the Great British Circus and issues surrounding the death of a tiger, Tira, and her cubs.
As a result, North Somerset Council carried out a special inspection.
The resulting report looks into all 16 allegations made by CAPS.
Its conclusion states: "There is no doubt that the animals at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm are generally well cared for, by experienced and dedicated people.
"Allegations of cruelty, on the part of them or of Noah's Ark generally, are in our view grossly unfair."
In relation to allegations made by CAPS, the report concludes that zoo staff do have enough experience to manage big cats, enough visits are made to the zoo by a qualified vet, the zoo does have the necessary drugs to treat and manage tigers and that sufficient care was taken when transporting Tira to the zoo while she was pregnant.
The report also says that the animals used by the Great British Circus are legally held and there is no evidence that their welfare is jeopardised.
The inspectors were satisfied that Noah's Ark complied with regulations ensuring animals are only passed on to responsible people with the facilities and expertise to manage them.
However, the report does also say the inspectors found that there have been some clear failures to comply with appropriate standards relating to modern zoo practice.
One serious failure was that an appropriate post mortem was not carried out on Tira's body after her death.
Another issue covered by the report was the fact tiger cub corpses were stored in a freezer next to animal food - the inspectors said the bodies should have been properly bagged and labelled.
The report states that the causes of the zoo's failures are varied, they are capable of being addressed and that animal welfare was not harmed as a result.
The failings are also not considered serious enough to revoke the attraction's zoo licence.
To ensure such failings do not happen again, seven extra conditions will be added to the licence.
Noah's Ark owner and founder Anthony Bush said: "I am very happy for my dedicated team of staff that this matter is finally concluded.
"Animal rights people have tried everything to tarnish our excellent reputation over the last

London Zoo has created a walk in jungle named The Rainforest Life
London Zoo has recreated a walk-through tropical wilderness where you can skim treetops among free-running mammals, birds, and insects named The Rainforest Life.
Many of us live in a concrete jungle these days. But how about having a real rainforest right in the middle of your city? London Zoo has done just that by recreating a walk-through tropical wilderness where you can skim treetops among free-running mammals, birds, and insects.
The Rainforest Life exhibit coincides with 2010 being the International Year Of Biodiversity, as people all over the world work to safeguard this irreplaceable wealth of nature.
‘We’ve recreated a section of South American rainforest,’ says Lucy Hawley, second-in-command on the exhibit. ‘We have large trees from the region, low-lying plants and vines wrapped round trunks and branches.
‘Visitors will experience monkeys running over the tops of their heads, birds flying along their pathway and butterflies landing close by. Everywhere you look you’ll see something new.’
The project took seven months to complete and involved digging deep below the zoo floor to accommodate trees up to 7m high. Exotic plants were delivered to the zoo on the London Underground, with keepers temporarily turning the Bakerloo line into a moving garden centre. A walkway was then installed to take visitors around the top of a canopy teeming with wildlife.
While Britain may have enough rainfall to support a rainforest, it certainly doesn’t have the climate.
‘Everything is enclosed in a dome with a special roof to let in UV light,’ explains Hawley. ‘There are also hot-air blowers and a mist sprinkler system to mimic rain and get the humidity right. It might be a bit chilly outside but by the time you get inside you’ll be stripping off.’
Animals running free include red titi monkeys, emperor tamarins, sloths and trumpeter birds, which, as their name suggests, make a right din.
‘Our titi monkeys are particularly sweet because they mate for life. They sing a little love song in the evening

From The Blog -

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


The April 2010 issue of ZOOS' PRINT [Volume XXV, Number 4] is published and the online version is available free on the web at


Please note that if you wish to download the full magazine all at once click on Complete Magazine. If you want to select articles see below and you can click on any article and download it.

Thanking you,
Sanjay Molur, Editor and Sally Walker, Editor Emeritus


PDF 400Kb

Anniversary mail and news-- Sally Walker, B.A. Daniel, R. Rajamani, Mir Gowher Ali Khan, N. Krishna Kumar, Pp. 1-11

PDF 385Kb

A Field note-- Kamal Medhi, P. 12

PDF 213Kb

Living with Elephants in Bhutan-- Sally Walker, Pp. 13-20

PDF 679Kb

Technical Articles-- R. Sreekar, Ashwin Naidu, C. Srinivasulu, K. Senthilkumar, S. Sathasivam, Pathan Nasurallah Khan, Parmod Kumar, K.S. Subramanian, V. Purushothaman, Priya Gawande, Bahar Baviskar, Nikhil Umale, Anjali Gandhe, Pradyuamna Baviskar, Sunil Bawaskar, D.K. Maske, S. Raghavendra, C.G. Kushalappa, Smitha Krishnan, Shonil A. Bhagwat, Pp. 21-27

PDF 317Kb

Education Reports, Pp. 28-35

PDF 695Kb

Announcement, P. 36

PDF 192Kb


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


Easter Eggstravaganza at Bristol Zoo Gardens

Head to Bristol Zoo Gardens this Easter holiday for an eggstra exciting day out.

From Friday, April 2 to Sunday, April 18, visitors can take part in the Zoo’s free Easter trail by solving animal themed riddles to find eggs hidden around the Zoo. Visitors who complete the trail will receive a chocolate egg prize.

The Easter egg trail is suitable for all ages and offers the opportunity to learn about the eggs of different animal species, from frogs and butterflies, to lesser known animals such as the cassowary.

Over the Easter weekend (April 2 to 5) visitors can also meet the Easter bunny who will be visiting the Zoo with her teddy bear friend.

The Zoo’s exciting aerial adventure ropes course, ZooRopia, will be open every day throughout the Easter holidays. The course gives visitors the chance to swing alongside some of the Zoo’s most popular inhabitants – gibbons, gorillas and lemurs.

The Zoo’s Easter events run alongside daily animal talks, Animal Encounters sessions in the Terrace Theatre, face-painting, Amazing Animals displays on the main lawn, and the interactive Zoolympics trail. With so much happening at the Zoo this Easter and more than 450 species of animals to see, there is only one place you need to go this Easter.

Bristol Zoo’s new free park & ride service will begin on Friday, April 2, running from the Portway park & ride site in Shirehampton to Bristol Zoo Gardens. It will run every 20 minutes from 8.40am until 5.55pm, on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. Visitors who use the park & ride service can claim a free drink in the Zoo restaurant.

If you are looking for a chocolate-free Easter gift with a difference, why not adopt one of the Zoo animals? A new range of 12 adoption packages have been launched, which include a presentation gift box containing two tickets to Bristol Zoo, a cuddly toy of your chosen animal, an adoption certificate and a fact-file about your animal. The new adoptions cost £45.

For more information on Bristol Zoo’s Easter Eggstravaganza or the Zoo’s animal adoption packages, visit Bristol Zoo Gardens’ website at  or phone 0117 974 7300.



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