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Monterey Aquarium: Pink alert on global warming
When people think about pink flamingos, they might think about kitschy lamps, hideous lawn ornaments, a John Waters movie or "Miami Vice." They probably do not think about the world's changing climate.
Its impact on these tropical wading birds and other creatures, however, is the focus of a new exhibition at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. "Hot Pink Flamingos: Stories of Hope in a Changing Sea" also features green sea turtles, Magellanic penguins, a coral reef, spotted jellies, scarlet and white ibises, roseate spoonbills and cattle egrets - current or potential casualties of the global climate crisis.
"This is certainly a different sort of topic for us," said Jeff Doyle, exhibition and graphic production manager at the aquarium. "Theme-wise, it's a little deeper. It's not so straightforward as 'here are some fish in a tank,' and it's a challenge to find ways to present it."
Faced with an issue that is significant but soporific, urgent but mind-numbing in its complexities, the creators of the exhibition knew they had to make it fun and engaging. One answer: a flatulent plastic cow that wears a gas mask to avoid smelling the methane it produces - with full sound effects - when it belches, breaks wind or evacuates. Although methane is a climate-changing gas, it also can be used to produce biomass energy. Still, it's not a good thing on the whole, and the fiberglass ruminant makes that clear.
"Buurp! I can't believe I'm saying this, but what the world needs now is less methane - and that means fewer cows," it declares. Nearby, a woman in a 1950s-style poster asks, "Is my cheeseburger causing global warming?"
"It was hard to come up with visuals," said Chuck Saltsman, the aquarium's film and video production manager. "Sea horses are so easy, and jellies are a no-brainer. But this is a message exhibit, and you want to approach it in an original fashion."
A sense of lightness helps offset the heavy subject matter, said senior exhibit developer Jenny Sayre Ramberg.
"You could fill a whole gallery with the scientific papers and survey data that we looked at," Ramberg said. "Most people are not aware of the connection between climate change and the oceans. They think about land-based impacts, about Hurricane Katrina and the Arctic and polar bears."
Planned for 2 years
The 7,000-square-foot exhibition cost $3.5 million and required two years of planning and six months of construction, which wrapped up just before the preview for donors on Thursday. Running until late 2012, "Hot Pink Flamingos" takes visitors through six galleries to illustrate how humans' use of fossil fuels creates carbon pollution that dramatically affects the oceans.
"We usually come up with the animals first and develop the stories later," said David Cripe, the aquarium's special exhibits coordinator. "This time was the reverse. And we had to find animals that were impacted, and iconic enough for people to care about. Not a tiny crab where someone could say, 'So what?' This is the most taxonomically diverse exhibit we've ever done. We go from corals and jellies to reptiles and several different groups of birds."
The six Chilean flamingos came from the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Shy and skittish animals that will never be mistaken for rocket scientists, they honked loudly and clustered in a holding area when The Chronicle visited two weeks before opening day. They would soon be entering their new habitat, a mangrove mudflat designed to avoid drop-offs and trip hazards, lest the stars of the show plunge off the deep end or stumble over some object they might fail to notice.
"These are very long-legged birds that have very small brains," Cripe said. "And they are sort of clumsy and bumbling."
Inside a building in the nearby town of Marina, the flamingos' future housemates zipped back and forth in the air and strutted around on the ground.
Aimee Greenebaum, associate curator of birds, said the spoonbills are highly social and curious, and love to play with people's shoes and swish their beaks through the water. Their companions, by contrast, are a little more cautious. The cattle egrets gobble up insects, the ibises poke around and investigate, and the lone bittern is roadrun
Two Kruger Park rhino poachers to serve 10 years behind bars
Two rhino poachers, Joao Mdlovu and Berlito Mdlovu who were arrested on the Nwanetsi section of Kruger National Park in January 2010 for rhino poaching activities were both found guilty for the possession of a illegal firearms namely a G3 fully automatic fire arm and a .375 hunting rifle.
Both accused offered a plea of guilty in the Nelspruit Regional Court for the possession of the illegal weapons. They were both sentenced to 10 years imprisonment without the option of a fine on Tuesday, 23rd March 2010.
Joao Mdlovu is still undergoing court proceedings, together with Phanuel Mnisi, for the illegal hunting of rhino in the KNP in 2009.
Dr David Mabunda, Chief Executive of South African National Parks said: “SANParks is leading the way against rhino poaching and has been mandated by the Minister of Environment to co-ordinate other conservation agencies
Kenya Wildlife Service Set for Rhino Census in Tsavo Sanctuary
The Kenya Wildlife Service plans to conduct a census at the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary in the vast Tsavo West National. The count, to be carried out between July and October, aims to ascertain the numbers and distribution of the rhino population.The number of black rhinos at the sanctuary has been steadily rising since 1992 when the first count was conducted. At that time, the area had an estimated number of 17 black rhinos. However, during last year’s count the number had risen to 60. This accounts to nearly 10 per cent of the total black rhino population in the country. Currently, there are around 610 black and about 320 white rhinos in Kenya. Despite the devastating drought that hit the country for the better part of last year, no single rhino death was reported at the sanctuary. Mr Benson Okita, the KWS Senior Scientist in charge of the Rhino Programme, predicts a slight delay in birth numbers attributed to the prolonged drought. “However, we still expect this year round the numbers to go up again,” he says. Massive conservation efforts by the KWS and other wildlife stakeholders are finally starting to give results as black rhino numbers are on the rise after years of decline from poaching and habitat loss.
The dry months of July through to October are selected as this is the time that all the natural watering points dry up, leaving only the artificial water holes that the rhinos can drink from. The exercise is carried out at night during clear full moon sightings when the rhinos
"This is the only up-to-date and comprehensive manual on the problems of and the solutions to keeping and handling wild mammals outside their natural environment. . . . [A] magnificent manual."—Harry Miller, Times Higher Education Supplement
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 is no place for elephants.
But some say the hostility toward the zoo is unwarranted. Ward 38 councillor
22 citations issued; zoo animals seized
Collins Zoo volunteer Dionne Dufour seemed a bit anxious as she led a group of media around the zoo grounds.
But she continued to speak in a loving voice about the variety of animals in cages scattered throughout the fenced enclosure.
"He is not usually like this," Dufour said as she watched Brother, a large tiger, growl and charge at the front of his cage.
"He's just been aggravated with all of the people who have been in here this morning and the bad energy and stuff," said Dufour, a Collins Zoo volunteer of several years.
The negative energy Dufour spoke of was the result of a surprise investigation by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks on Wednesday morning.
About 20 state wildlife agents swarmed upon the zoo and seized several
Brentford's Tropical Zoo faces race against clock
THE OWNER of a zoo in Brentford has just two months to raise £300,000 or some of his animals will face "euthanasia".
The lives of hundreds of creatures at The Tropical Zoo hang in the balance as fund-raising chiefs work to gather a cool £1.5 million to see the attraction moved to another place.
Co-founder Tony Purdy said his zoo has been forced out of the Syon Park site to make way for a new hotel. He told The Chronicle: "All the animals here have been rescued and came to us because nobody wants them, it's going to be very difficult for us to find homes for the animals.
"Euthanasia might be the only option for a number of the animals here. It is difficult and expensive to move some of them so we could have a problem that way. I don't want to look at it like that though, I want to keep looking at the positive side."
Despite being found a new site to occupy by the London Borough of Hounslow, time is running out for the organisation to gather the much needed funds. It has been
Secret of Assam Zoo's turnaround success
The Assam State Zoo with its whopping 1200 odd animal species, including rare ones such as emus and black panthers, has over the years become a tourist favourite while also witnessing manifold increase in revenues.
From a humble start in 1957, the Assam State Zoo and Botanical Gardens (ASZBG), located in the heart of Guwahati has crossed many hurdles from being one of the worst managed zoos with a serious fund crunch to one that can boast of a series of successes in breeding rare and endangered animals.
In year 2009-10 the zoo's earnings rose to a record Rs 60 lakh as over 5,24,598 Indian tourists and 166 foreigners visited the
Univ. of California, Davis. Features extensive tables, continent-specific division of amphibians, birds, reptiles, and mammals arranged by order, family, and genus. Topics include conservation efforts, diseases in free-ranging populations, and management of animals maintained in captivity. Includes an appendix on drug dosages used in avian medicine. Abundant halftone illustrations.
KL's great apes: Creating an orang utan sanctuary in the city
Submitted by pekwan on Friday, March 26th, 2010
ape sanctuaryDatuk Seri Douglas Uggah EmbasLocalMinister of Natural Resources and Environment
Government ended weeks of speculation on such a move
The government ended weeks of speculation on the setting up of an ape sanctuary in the city, by confirming that plans are afoot.
“Yes, it will be one-of-its-kind in the region and a semi-artificially created centre for the great apes, or orang utan,” said Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas, in a phone interview with The Malay Mail.
He said a committee had been set up to carry out a feasibility study and it will take some time as there are many factors to take into account.
“I don’t want to set a time-frame as we have to give the committee the leverage to come up with the best solution,” said Douglas.
“We want to be absolutely sure the orang utan can survive and breed in an artificially-created sanctuary.”
Asked if it would be set up in Kepong at the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), as speculated by the media, he said the ministry was looking for a more suitable place.
“Kepong is too close to the city to be an ape sanctuary, really. Besides, FRIM is about forests and plants and not animals.
"Nevertheless, the location will be near the city so as to attract tourists but conducive and protective enough as a sanctuary for apes," he added.
On whether it would be similar to the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, which is just 20km from Kuching or the Sepilok orang utan sanctuary near Sandakan in Sabah, Douglas said that in Sabah, there was no threat of tigers to the apes.
“Here in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, the sanctuary is going to be different as we have to take into account a lot of factors," he said.
In a recent news report, FRIM director-general Datuk Dr. Abd Latif Mohmod denied a Tourism Ministry statement that the institute had requested the setting up of an orang utan sanctuary.
“Orang utan conservation comes under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan). We are a forest research centre focusing on flora,” Dr Abd Latif had said.
The Tourism Ministry had recently announced that an orang utan sanctuary in Kuala Lumpur would be a big success and it would leave a lasting impression on visitors, in line with the government’s intention to make eco-tourism a more prominent sector.
Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr. James Dawos Mamit told the Press on Monday
Photos: Tehran Zoo - Interesting!
Rodeo bull goes head-to-head with zoo dolphins in a study of balance
Now a study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has contradicted a leading theory, which held that the animals moved their heads so vigorously that they had to have smaller, less responsive balance organs to avoid overwhelming their senses.
Working with a Midwestern zoo and a local rancher, the researchers, led by Timothy E. Hullar, MD, a Washington University ear, nose and throat specialist at Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals, directly measured the head movements of dolphins and compared them with those of a closely related land animal — a rodeo bull. Cattle have much larger balance organs than dolphins, yet the tests showed that both species had similar head motions.
The findings will be published in the April issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology. Hullar says the results deepen our understanding of the role of balance systems, including those of people.
Much of an animal's or person's balance is controlled by the semicircular canals located in the inner ear. Even though a bottlenose dolphin is about 8 feet long, its semicircular canals are as tiny as those of the average mouse, an animal that could comfortably ride on the tip of the dolphin's nose.
"About 35 million years ago, the ancestors of whales and dolphins went from a terrestrial habitat to an aquatic habitat," says
Indonesian zoo welcomes birth of 25 Komodo dragons
An Indonesian zoo is welcoming the births of 25 endangered Komodo dragons, hatched after eight months in incubators.
Veterinarian Rahmat Suharta says the eggs, from three giant female lizards, hatched at the Surabaya Zoo in East Java over the past week.
He said Thursday that the babies, weighing between 2.8 ounces (80 grams) and 4.2 ounces (120 grams), brought to 69 the number of the giant lizards at the zoo, one of the largest in Southeast Asia. Eleven more eggs are expected to hatch in coming weeks.
Komodo dragons can be found in the wild primarily
This exceptional coverage is a 'must purchase' for any library serious about primates: over 500 color photos and 16 illustrations are packed into a fine title which illustrates the diversity of primates in a field guide reference. This gorgeous collection is unparalleled and deserves a place in any serious science library. -- Midwest Book Review
Tigers cause a splash in zoo's pool
A 47-stone tiger playing with inflatable toys is a common sight at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park, in Camp Verde, Arizona.
For 30 minutes every day a pair of the zoo's six Bengal and Siberian tigers take to the 50 foot pool for fun and games.
Aston Powell, who works with the animals, said the activities bring variation to their lives in captivity.
She said: "It might look crazy from the outside, but these tigers love what they are doing as it comes naturally.
"To be honest if a 47 stone tiger doesn't want to play like this, there's not much we could do to make him.
"Our keepers are very experienced and they have the utmost respect for the power of the big cats and safety is paramount.
"Tiger Splash began in 1993 when the park purchased a SiberianTiger cub, Genesis
Okapi, Okapi Wildlife Reserve, Congo
Big debut at Budapest Zoo
Six Aldabra Giant Tortoises went on display from Thursday at the Budapest Zoo where they had been living since last year but not yet shown to the public.
The six tortoises are estimated to be aged between 10 and 15 years and they are currently sized like two medicine balls, the zoo said. They are housed in the recently opened building for venomous animals, even though they are not a venomous
Is Chinese Economic Demand Killing Africa's Gorillas?
Perhaps the worst misfortune to befall the world's gorillas is that they live in some of the most resource-rich and lawless parts of the planet. Their forest homes in Africa are rich in timber, gold, diamonds and coltan, the mineral used in electronics like cell phones, and the scramble to get at those minerals has been joined by ragtag militias, national armies, multinationals and governments alike.
That means it is an unusually bad time to be a gorilla. A new U.N. report warns that most of the remaining gorillas in Africa could go extinct within 10 to 15 years in the Greater Congo Basin, the swath of forest and savanna that stretches from Africa's Atlantic coast across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Rwanda and Uganda in the east.
(See pictures of species near extinction.)
The races for timber, gold and coltan are largely to blame for habitat loss, said the report. Militias sell their goods to middlemen and corporations that ignore the destruction caused by the resource trade, and they must be held accountable for the loss of biodiversity in the region. "Companies involved, also multinationals, have shown little or no concern regarding the origins of the resources obtained," says the report, co-authored by the U.N. Environment Program and Interpol. Militia groups that control mining in parts of Congo keep afloat with "an influx of arms in exchange for minerals and timber through neighboring countries, including the continued involvement of corrupt officials and subsidiaries of many multinational companies."
Along with habitat loss, the apes face threats from human population growth and a surge in the bush-meat trade — locals and organized traders killing wildlife to eat
Edinburgh Zoo poo proves a gardener's delight
GARDENERS around Scotland's capital have discovered a secret ingredient to give their vegetables a boost – dung from zebras, camels, warthogs and rhinoceros at Edinburgh Zoo.
The powerful manure is becoming increasingly popular for use on allotments across Edinburgh, and the zoo is keen to put the dung to good use.
It is also being used by the zoo itself to grow cabbages, carrots, lettuces and green beans to feed the chimps, and is spread on the herbaceous borders to make them flourish for visitors.
The zoo, with the help of a student on a work placement, devised a technique to collect and store the dung to avoid sending it to landfill – which costs £50 a tonne.
It is dumped on a concrete pad which was built by the army and turns into a rich manure after about a year.
When the zoo discovered it had a
Monkeys taking over as London Zoo allows visitors and primates to interact
Out of the steamy jungle canopy leapt a small South American monkey, which paused for a moment before darting off in the direction of Euston Road.
The monkey is one of the inhabitants of London Zoo’s indoor rainforest, the country’s fullest re-creation of an Amazonian ecosystem.
From Saturday, thousands of visitors will join the monkeys in the “bio-dome” where humans and primates interact freely, with no bars or glass in the way — a model for the rest of the zoo’s exhibits.
The monkey, dashing between our legs, did not seem too concerned. “As you can see, the Golden Headed Lion Tamarins are really not bothered by crowds,” said Tony Dobbs, senior keeper of
Three Owls - the 'Born Free' email
In July 2009 an animal welfare and conservation charity, 'Born Free', sent an email to Rochdale Borough Council that started a chain of events that culminated in the sudden closure of the Three Owls Bird Sanctuary.
With the permission of Born Free, Rochdale Online can now reveal the content of the original email and an explanation by Born Free of their reasoning.
While we naturally understand the great concern over the closure of Three Owls Bird Sanctuary, we must reiterate that we regard this as a matter for the Trustees of the Sanctuary and for Rochdale Council. However, as there is an ongoing desire to see the original correspondence from the Born Free Foundation to Rochdale Council regarding Three Owls, it is reproduced here in its entirety:
“Dear Sir or Madam,
I am contacting you from the Born Free Foundation, the international animal welfare and conservation charity.
It has come to my attention that the premises known as Three Owls Bird
'Miscommunication' led to giraffe remains in trash
Albuquerque city officials blamed miscommunication for the remains of a Rio Grande Zoo giraffe being placed in a trash bin.
A memo Friday from a city official to Mayor Richard Berry said it was not an act of insubordination or disrespect but appears to be the result of unfortunate miscommunication between the zoo manager and an employee.
Berry ordered an investigation after learning about the remains of 16-year-old Kashka. The giraffe was euthanized at the zoo last week after a debilitating leg injury.
The zoo said large animals are dismembered before necropsy, with remains then going to the landfill for burial in a special area set aside for animals.
The report by Betty Rivera, director of the city department that oversees the zoo, said an employee told a manager no dump truck was available
Sad Blow For Gorillas at London Zoo
Zurich Zoo Concerns for Masoala National Park
Tiger Horror Story - Watch This Video
We May Lose Our Gorillas
And The Zoo Will Have Dinosaurs Too!
And to see the latest Video please click HERE
March 2010 - Vol. 2 - No. 3
Date of Publication 26 March 2010
ISSN 0974-7907 (online)
An updated and annotated list of Indian lizards (Reptilia: Sauria) based on a review of distribution records and checklists of Indian reptiles
-- P. Dilip Venugopal, Pp. 725-738
Past and present status of the Indian Tiger in northern West Bengal, India: an overview
-- Jayanta Kumar Mallick, Pp. 739-752
Road kill of animals by highway traffic in the tropical forests of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, southern India
-- N. Baskaran & D. Boominathan, Pp. 753-759
Foliicolous fungi from the Achankovil forests in Kollam District of Kerala State, India
-- V.B. Hosagoudar, P.J. Robin & B. Shivaraju, Pp. 760-761
Ohcratoxin producing Aspergillus spp. isolated from tropical soils in Sarawak, Malaysia
-- Jaya Seelan Sathiya Seelan & Sepiah Muid, Pp. 762-765
A unique patch of timberline ecotone with three species of Lady’s slipper orchids in Garhwal Himalaya, India
-- Ishwari D. Rai, Bhupendra S. Adhikari & Gopal S. Rawat, Pp. 766-769
Description of a new species of the genus Bitomus Szepligeti (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) from India
-- Ahmad Samiuddin, Zubair Ahmad & Mohammad Shamim, Pp. 770-772
Two new Indian gall midges of the genus Contarinia Rondani (Cecidomyiidae: Diptera) reared from Amaranthaceae & Poaceae
-- M.S. Siddiqui, K.A. Ahad Najam, & V.D. Deshpande, Pp. 773-777
Aquatic Hemiptera of Gauhati University, Guwahati, Assam, India
-- Rabindra Hazarika & Mrigendra M. Goswami, Pp. 778-782
First record of Liocheles nigripes Pocock, 1897 (Scorpiones: Hemiscorpiidae) from Andhra Pradesh with a checklist of scorpions of the state
-- S.M. Maqsood Javed, Zeeshan A. Mirza, Rajesh V. Sanap & Farida Tampal, Pp. 783-785
On a record of Puntius gelius (Hamilton, 1822) (Teleostei: Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae) from Tamil Nadu
-- J.D. Marcus Knight, Pp. 786-787
Reinstatement of IUCN / SSC South Asian Invertebrate Specialist Group, P. 788
Founder Editor, Journal of Threatened Taxa
Wildlife Information & Liaison Development / Zoo Outreach Organisation
9-A Lal Bahadur Colony, Gopal Nagar, Peelamedu, PB 1683, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 641004, India
Ph: +91 422 2568906 (Direct), 2561743, 2561087, Fx: +91 422 2563269
http://www.zoosprint.org/ , http://www.zooreach.org/ , http://www.southasiantaxa.org/ , http://www.pterocount.org/ , http://www.southasianprimatenetwork.org/ , http://www.threatenedtaxa.org/
April vacation week activities focus on all things shark; guests can have close encounters at the new shark touch pool
MYSTIC, Conn. (March 18, 2010) – See sharks of all shapes and sizes (including some you may not even realize are sharks!) during Shark Week at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration from April 14 to 20. Among the April vacation week activities is the chance to touch live sharks at the new “Shark Encounters…A Shark Touch Tank” exhibit.
Opening on April 1, the shallow touch tank provides guests the opportunity to reach in and touch docile white-spotted bamboo and coral cat sharks as they swim by, while learning about conservation of all shark species. The pool houses six sharks, all one to three feet in length.
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, kids will learn about shark adaptations, diets, myths and conservation through interactive cart activities, games, presentations and crafts. Guests will be able to smell common scents as a shark would, participate in a shark scavenger hunt to learn about the various species at the aquarium, get an up-close look at shark teeth, fins and jaws, and play games to learn shark facts versus myths and threats sharks face in the wild.
WHEN: Wednesday, April 14 to Tuesday, April 20
Activities take place at scheduled times between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day
WHERE: Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration
55 Coogan Blvd. , Mystic , CT 06355
COST: Free with aquarium admission: Adults $26, seniors $23, kids (ages 3 to 17) $19, free for children 2 and under
For more information, call (860) 572-5955 or visit http://www.mysticaquarium.org/
We are starting to collect articles for the 2010 Gorilla Gazette. Thanks very much to all those who contributed to the 2009 issue.
For submission please send the following:
- article in single-space text in Word
- photos separate from text
- photo caption and photographer credit
- graphs separate from text
- author's name, contact information for author
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Editor, Gorilla Gazette
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