Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Zoo News Digest 5th - 7th April 2010 (Zoo News 663)

Zoo News Digest 5th - 7th April 2010 (Zoo News 663)

Dear Colleagues,

So some imbecile (Trever Wearmouth), has an altercation with a tiger in a zoo in the middle of the night and doesn't even get a rap on the knuckles for trespassing. There is definitely something wrong there. Can you imagine the flak the zoo would have to fend off if the half wit had been killed or injured? What sort of message does this send out to other idiots who might have the same idea?

The article 'Identifying X, Y and zoo' struck a chord as it is something I am very familiar with. In my travels I have discovered that as a foreigner I am expected to pay a higher entrance fee to many of the zoos I visit. I don't object because generally speaking I am seemingly better off financially (not actually true) than the general population. Whereas I do understand the thinking behind such policies I cannot doubt the huge explosion of indignation if the boot were on the other foot and such a practice was to be implemented in over PC Britain.

Wild dogs in Terengg­a­nu? Sounds interesting. I will be interested to learn more. Are they suggesting these are feral? which case they should be removed or Australian domestics which have somehow changed into something else. Weird.

Cheetahs born on Bani Yas. Again another of these stories I would like to know a lot more about and better still actually see what is going on there. Back in the 1970's I was involved with taking some of the very first animals to the island and wondered at the time how things would develop. I had the opportunity to wander alone along the beaches and across the island and spotted plants and reptiles I had not seen on the mainland. I visited the day after a cave in, in the hills and saw the first discovery of one of the salt 'mines', a thing of incredible beauty. I wish I had had a camera. I took the first Giraffe to the island (though doubt they survived) and had my one and only one to one meeting with HRH Shaikh Zayed. It really would be interesting to see how things are now.

I am delighted that life for Laksmi has returned to normal and that she is no longer chained up. I don't know the animal or the enclosure but feel sure that the zoo must have had reasons for carrying out the actions they did. The last thing they need is 'experts' of the likes of PAWS (which PAWS is that?) and Celina Jaitly (and just who is she?) sticking their noses in.

I thought the idea of shrouding the Lion enclosure in Port Lympne was a brillant one. Such a simple idea and yet so effective.

Glad to learn that the wolf escape at the Highland Wildlife Park was quickly put right. We all learn by these things and in this case the situation was more of a very realistic drill.

So the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo is Israels Number one tourist attraction and Ramat Gan Safari is number two. Strange (or perhaps not) because these are the two places I would visit first too. I have never been to Israel though I have often wanted to. Closest I got was Cyprus where short trips across the water were available quite cheaply. Then I discovered that the stamp in my passport would prevent me entering any Gulf country and so I never went. Things have changed of course and some places are now more realistic. I know the people are. Traveling through Asia I have met up with Israelis and Arabs traveling together on at least five occasions.

The stepping down of Professor Gordon McGregor Reid from Chester Zoo will herald a big change. I will not be alone in wondering who his replacement will be. Whatever. Good luck Gordon!

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

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On with links:

Charge dropped in late-night zoo visit
One of two men who had an after-hours encounter with a Siberian tiger at the Calgary Zoo this fall no longer faces a trespassing charge.
Trever Wearmouth, 27, had his charge under the Petty Trespass Act dropped when he made his first appearance Monday in provincial traffic court.
No reason for the decision was given.
Wearmouth's co-accused, Thomas Bryce-Hart, also 27, still faces the same charge of entering onto land without permission.
A warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to show up for his first appearance Monday.
According to the tickets, issued shortly after the Oct. 5 incident, a voluntary $287 payment could have been

Chhatbir zoo gets a new member, a mixed-breed tiger cub
Making the tiger-breeding programme a success after a period of three years, a mixed-breed cub was born at the Chhatbir Zoological Park.
The gender of a one-day-old baby tiger has not yet been ascertained as its mother, a seven-year-old yellow tigress, has not yet fully removed the placenta from the baby’s body, which visibly lacks white genes. Fathered by a four-year-old white Royal Bengal tiger Lucky, the new cub was born on wee hours of Saturday.
The newborn cub’s mother Chorni has accepted her baby and began feeding it. The zoo officials have heaved a sigh of relief and are quite optimistic of its survival. Last year, the same tigress had conceived but had a miscarriage.
No one, except a zookeeper, is allowed to enter the enclosure to avoid any irritation to the mother. Even the father was kept out of the den, said zoo Field Director Tushar Kanti Behra.

Identifying X, Y and zoo
You know your visit to the zoo fell below expectations when the most exciting episode of the trip happened right outside the entry point. As my friends and i took the tickets and waited in line to enter, the level of enthusiasm was at an all-time high. In my 25 years, i had only been to the zoo once, and that was about 12 years ago back home in Kerala. My fellow zoo-goers had similar stories as well that dated back a decade or so.
My two friends who were ahead of me flashed their tickets and were immediately granted entrance into the magical world of the zoo. I too flashed my ticket and assumed i would be given smooth entry. However, the ticket-checker guy stuck out his hand and looked straight into my face and said, "Aap kaunse desh se ho?" Granted being from Kerala and having been in Delhi for only about two years, my Hindi was still mediocre. But i knew enough to comprehend what the question meant. Now, if you thought it was weird saying the words "I'm from India" outside India, imagine having to say it inside India to another Indian.
Not convinced with my answer, the ticket-checker demanded ID proof that i was from India. Sure, the combination of my shaved head, goatee beard, half-pants and, how should i put it, tanned complexion may have bamboozled him but i found it amusing that my nationality mattered while visiting the zoo. Was the white tiger going to object to being viewed by a non-Indian? Was the chimp going to say: "Hey, this guy isn't desi. I'm going back to my cave"?
At this point, my north Indian friends stepped in and explained in Hindi that i was from Kerala and not some equatorial country. This ticket-checker was, however, committed to the cause of disproving my racial roots. He said, "Kyunki yeh South Africa ke lagte hain." He apparently believed Indians were either fair or brown but never mocha. Now, besides bordering on being racist, i found this remark to be a tad dim-witted. If i were indeed from South Africa, the home of all kinds of exotic animals, why on earth would i leave all that and come to this particular zoo where most animals looked half-dead and incredibly lethargic? I mean, i could count the number of feathers on the poor wreck of an emu that i later saw inside the zoo.
At last, the ticket-checker gave in and i was granted entrance. One of my embarrassed north Indian friends pointed out that tickets for foreigners were more expensive, which was what caused the ticket-checker to interrogate me about my race. To be honest, it sounded more bizarre that a South African adult would have to pay more money to see the same monkeys and bears that an Indian adult gets to see for about 10 bucks. Then why not up the rates for movies, food at restaurants and lodging in hotels as well? One rate for Indians, and one rate for non-Indians.
So, clearly the opening act at the zoo was a tough one for the zoo animals to try and match. The one incident, however, that came close was the unmistakeably bovine-looking beast i saw in the midst of a dozen Sambar deer (which at first i tho

Wild dogs roam jungle in Terengganu
The Terengg­a­nu govern­­­­ment has requested the National Park and Wildlife Department to conduct research on a pack of wild dogs discovered at a secondary jungle along the borders of Terengganu and Kelantan in Besut.
“We hope the department gathers more facts about this species. Probably it could be the only pack of wild dogs in the country,” Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said said after receiving a gift in the form of a pair of tigers presented by the Malacca Zoo to the Kemaman Recreational Park and Mini Zoo at Bukit Takar here, on Friday.
The Malayan Tigers (panther tigris jacksoni) were bred at the Malacca Zoo before they were handed over to the Kemaman Municipal Council. The tigers are a two-year-old male weighing about 70kg and fondly known as Chiko and its female companion Courtney, a seven-year-old that weighs about 100kg.
Ahmad said the state government would support researchers who wished to carry out studies on the wild dogs.
The dogs were spotted by villagers in Keruak, Besut when they went in search of their missing livestock some time

Cheetah Cubs Born on Sir Bani Yas Island
As its mission of wildlife and nature conservation continues to evolve, Sir Bani Yas Island, part of Abu Dhabi’s Desert Islands destination, welcomed four cheetah cubs as a result of a successful breeding programme. As the cheetah is classified by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as extinct in the UAE, and vulnerable worldwide, the births are of particular significance to the continuation of the species globally and locally. Following the birth of the first ever hyena cubs in the wild in the UAE, this is yet another success for Sir Bani Yas Island in protecting and re-introducing previously extinct animals.
The cheetahs on Sir Bani Yas Island are from captive bred populations. The mother and father of the cubs, Safira and Gabriel were raised in His Excellency Sheikh Butti Al Maktoum’s Wildlife Centre, and the Sharjah Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife, respectively. The cheetahs were brought to the island as part of TDIC’s conservation efforts which include breeding, re-wilding, releasing into the Arabian Wildlife Park to become an integral part of the natural population control for hoofed species on the island.
“As wildlife and nature conservation are part of our mandate, TDIC takes the responsibility of preserving the environment of the Western Region very seriously, and this is one of Sir Bani Yas Island’s main objectives,” said Lee Tabler, Chief Executive Officer of TDIC. “Through this and similar programmes we hope to continue to support Abu Dhabi in its quest to become an international tourism hub, while maintaining respect for the local heritage and environment.”
The Sir Bani Yas Island conservation team spends a great deal of time and effort into putting animals that are brought to the island from captive populations through a re-wilding programme and ensuring that the animals are trained to hunt and be self-sufficient before they are released into the Arabian Wildlife Park. Once they are released, the conservation team is removed completely from the animals’ day-to-day activities, and the cheetahs, Safira and Gabriel, are a telling example of what can be achieved through re-wilding as they hunt and fend for themselves without human interference.
“The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi is spearheading action to protect the rich wildlife of Abu Dhabi and its habitats, particularly endangered species, for the benefit of the country’s sustainable development and our future generations. And so, we regard these cheetah births as a landmark accomplishment for Abu Dhabi especially as this announcement comes soon after the births of the previously extinct striped hyenas on Sir Bani Yas Island,” said H.E Majid Al Mansouri, Secretary General of EAD.”
Survival rates for cheetah cubs are very low both in the wild and captivity, and according to the conservation team, Safira, the cubs’ mother, is doing an impressive job of taking care of her cubs, even though she was raised by humans. She has not yet moved the cubs from their original birth place in a small cave in the mountains, which is known because Safira is fitted with a radio collar and can be tracked and monitored by the conservation team on the island.
Visitors to the island will soon be able to see the mother and her cubs venturing into the 4,100-hectare Arabian Wildlife Park, which is the only of its kind in the region bringing guests closer to nature by taking them through guided tours and educating them

Care to adopt a hippo or rhino?
Byculla zoo officials say the proposed adoption scheme will reduce the burden of maintenance on the management. At present, the zoo houses around 194 mammals, including a lioness, a rhino (Shiva, who has been famously lonely for years), two sloth bears, four hippos and black bucks, around 497 birds and 47 species of reptiles, including the endangered gharial.
Several zoos like the Mysore zoo, the Mohindra Chaudhary Zoological Park in Punjab, Aadumalleshwar Mini Zoo in Karnataka, Lucknow zoo and Bhopal zoo are running similar programmes to offset increasing costs of maintenance of the animals and their enclosures.
In fact, the scheme at Mysore zoo is very successful and patrons include Karnataka CM B S Yeddyurappa, who is said to have adopted a Royal Bengal Tiger for a fee of Rs 90,000 for one year. At the Mysore zoo, adoption fees vary from Rs 500 for a small bird to Rs 1.5 lakh for a big animal like an elephant.
Officials are hoping that a successful scheme will invite more public participation in Byculla zoo, which is one of the oldest in the country but has a history of being in the news for all the wrong reasons. Animal activists also hold that it is not the best in terms of animal care, hygiene and security.
Recently, 56-year-old elephant Laxmi killed a drug addict, who illegally broke into her enclosure. Last year, a five-year-old male hippopotamus, Shakti, died in the zoo due to respiratory failure. In 2006, 12 black bucks and a horned antelope died in a stampede after three stray dogs entered their enclosure. The worst story is the death of Guru, a hippo who died in 1998 after falling into the ditch near its enclosure.
“We are confident that the adoption scheme will help us create

CITES Gives Enforcement of Tiger Trade Ban Top Priority
Countries could begin treating illegal trade in tiger parts as seriously as they treat arms and drug trafficking under a deal reached Monday at the triennial meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES.
The UK-brokered agreement, the result of negotiations between the European Union and the tiger range countries India and China, provides for increased intelligence sharing against criminal networks that smuggle big cat parts, and builds on recent training provided by the international police force INTERPOL.
Parties to the CITES treaty agreed to develop a database to help monitor the illegal trade in tiger, leopard and snow leopard parts.
Although all commercial tiger trade has been banned by CITES since 1987, wild tiger populations have

Free Laxmi, the elephant
The killing of a man by an elephant at Byculla zoo last Sunday draws attention to the unbearable stress felt by large animals kept in close confinement. It also begs the question what influence it has on children when they see animals kept in cruel conditions.
To see the 55-year-old elephant, Laxmi, chained inside her enclosure on a lazy weekday afternoon shouldn’t surprise you. We’ve unfortunately come to accept such practices at our zoos.
But even the most indifferent visitor would be concerned if he knew what PAWS volunteer Sunish Subramanium observed on his daily trips to the zoo after Laxmi killed a man last Sunday. He visited the zoo at different hours in the day and didn’t see Laxmi free from the chains. Deputy municipal commissioner Chandrasekhar Rokade believes that she should be freed gradually from her chains. “But that sounds like they are punishing her for killing the man who was not supposed to have been in her unmanned enclosure,” says Subramanium.
More than the perceived injustice of it, however, the incident draws attention to the unbearable stress on large animals like Laxmi kept in close confinement in zoos like the one at Byculla. It also begs the question what sort of amusement or ‘education’ it is for children to see animals kept in such cruel conditions.
Throughout the 30 minutes we spent observing Laxmi, she couldn’t stop head-nodding — a stereotypy also found in humans with mental retardation. Experts say 40 per cent of captive elephants exhibit this behaviour due to boredom and stress.
Nilesh Bhanage, founder of Plants and Animals Welfare Society (PAWS), Thane, is surprised that people still haven’t joined the dots. “Is the city shocked that a social animal like an elephant killed a man? Just look around our zoos at the way these animals are displayed for our amusement.”
According to a report by PAWS that studied elephants in the Mumbai, Pune andAurangabad zoos, Laxmi was born in captivity in a circus, before she was brought to the Byculla zoo 16 years ago. One can imagine the trauma she must have undergone in being forced to learn tricks and perform. Add to that the lack of access to sufficient water, mud and walking space in the zoo, and you can understand why so many zoo elephants die prematurely, says Bhanage, who authored the research paper.
But are these also reasons enough to drive a zoo animal, with no history of violence, to wrap its trunk around a man and bash his head against a wall?
The answer is yes, according to conservationists who have closely worked with animals. “Over time, the frustration of being in such close

Seized koalas set to return
The owner of the Waterways Wildlife Park in Gunnedah says koalas seized from the park in early February by the RSPCA are to be returned.
The 60-day holding period within which the RSPCA is legally allowed to keep the animals ended yesterday.
Local politicians are calling for an Upper House inquiry into the seizure, which was filmed by reality TV show RSPCA Animal Rescue.
Nancy Small says she cannot wait for the§ion=news

Lions withdrawn from public view to highlight numbers decline
Lions at an animal visitor attraction were withdrawn from full public view to highlight the decline in population numbers worldwide over the past 50 years.
The animals at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent were "shrouded" with tarpaulins around their enclosures for 90 per cent of the day, to represent the 90 per cent fall in their numbers.
Experts believe there may now be fewer than 20,000 African lions left in the wild, prompting a nationwide campaign by charity Lion Aid called Where Have All The Lions Gone?
Animal director Adrian Harland, who is leading the campaign at Port Lympne, said: "We want to force the public to consider a future when they will no longer be able to see lions.
"Animals like tigers and pandas receive a lot of media attention but if lions decline at the current rate they will be in danger of being lost forever.
"The lions have been very curious about all the attention today, but we hope that a small inconvenience on their part will

Visitors flee as wolf escapes enclosure at wildlife park
Park chiefs are trying to remove visitors from a public area at Highland Wildlife Park in Kingussie.
A wolf has escaped from its enclosure at a wildlife park in Inverness-shire.
The animal is still in Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig, Kingussie, but is running free in a public area.
Members of the public are seeking cover at the restaurant, according to reports.
The park is home to the European Grey Wolf, Canis lupus lupus, which hunt in packs.
On its website the parks says the animals are highly intelligent, adding: "Our wolves are fed a va

Wolf escapes at Highland Wildlife Park
A wolf that escaped from her enclosure at a wildlife reserve in the Highlands has been recaptured.
The female escaped at the Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig at about 1600 BST.
The animal walked into an empty enclosure before being shot with a tranquiliser gun at 1700 BST.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Zoological Society, who owns the park, said visitors were kept away from the

Czech zoo first in Europe to breed Chaco tortoise
The Zlín zoo has become the first in Europe to manage to breed the endangered Chaco tortoise, Pavel Shromazdil, from the zoo, told CTK Friday.
One young tortoise has already hatched and the keepers take care of another three fertilised eggs in hope of new arrivals.
In Europe Chaco tortoises are kept only by the Zlín zoo and the zoos in Barcelona and Gdansk, Shromazdil said.
The species' original habitat are Chacos, the semi-deserts in Argentina and Paraguay. In the wild these tortoises' population has been devastated by illegal traders in animals and by poachers who catch them for meat. They are also endangered by cattle grazing on the plains.
The Zlín zoo has kept Chaco tortoises since 2007. The tortoises

Endangered Asiatic lions of Gujarat's Sasan Gir relocated to another zoo
The Asiatic lions of the Sasan Gir Lion Sanctuary in Gujarat's Junagadh district have been relocated to a newly built sanctuary in Rajkot.
The newly built enclosure is called the Pradyuman Park Zoo.
The Rajkot Municipal Corporation is planning to further expand the zoo by getting exotic animals from different parts of the world. Eco-friendly battery-run vehicles will also be introduced inside the zoo to keep it pollution-free.
"The zoo will soon be expanded. There will be separate wings for Australian animals, African animals, birds and monkeys too. And little by little, this zoo will grow to be the best natural enclosure in whole of Gujarat and India," said Sandhya Vyas, Mayor of Rajkot.
In addition to lions, visitors can also see several big cats like tigers and panthers, as well as crocodiles, rhinos and other exotic animals at the Pradyuman Park Zoo. The animals here,endangered-asiatic-lions-gujarat-sasan-gir-relocated-zoo.html

Busy Easter in Lakes but Zoo visitors fall to a 12-year low
South Lakes Wild Animal Park owner David Gill is concerned by the attraction’s lowest Easter visitor figures since 1998 and believes they are proof the recession is far from over.
Mr Gill said the downward trend has been noticeable for several months and thinks rising petrol prices are partly to blame.
He said: “I can honestly say it’s the worst Easter we’ve had in 12 years. It’s been absolutely desperate, frightening to be honest.
“Most people on average drive one-and-a-half to two hours to get here.
“About £5 has been put on their journey from last year, so that’s £5 extra to come and that’s without even getting in.
“We haven’t put our prices up for three years. “The prices are the same but staffing and costs are going up tremendously.
“Our business relies on people driving

USA visitor flies in to meet Dudley Zoo tapirs
A WORLD-renowned expert on tapirs travelled almost 5,000 miles to meet Dudley Zoo's tapir family.
Sheryl Todd is president and founder of the Tapir Preservation Fund based in Oregon in the USA, and has raised two young tapir herself, so was delighted to meet Dudley Zoo's Meena, Chico and baby Ronnie.
During her trip, Sheryl also chatted to chief executive Peter Suddock and keeper Laura Robbins.
Sheryl said: "In researching tapirs around the world, I came across the Dudley Zoo website and I couldn't wait to see it in the flesh. It is a beautiful zoo ­ I love it.
"The tapirs here are in wonderful condition and seem very happy, curious and friendly. It is lovely to get so close to them, particularly the baby."
Peter Suddock said:

White Oak Conservation Center in Nassau County Breeds Gerenuk
Dwindling in numbers worldwide, a species of antelope has received some first-in-the-world good news from right here on the First Coast.
Gerenuk, an antelope whose name derives from the Somali word for "giraffe neck," have been successfully artificially inseminated at the White Oak Conservation Center.
Dr. Linda Penfold from White Oak said she and her team have spent over a decade working on artificial insemination, and tried it on six gerenuk. To their surprise and delight, four of the females got pregnant.
Gerenuk are native to east Africa, and their population has been decimated by drought in recent years.
Twenty-seven of the animals call White Oak home. The four youngsters

Widowed emperor penguin moving to Taipei for mates
The widowed emperor penguin in the National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium (NMOMBA) in Pingtung will be moved to Taipei Zoo at the end of March, so that the penguin can mate with other emperor penguins in the Taipei Zoo.
NMOMBA originally had a pair of emperor penguins. Since the female penguin died two years ago, the male penguin became the zoo's sole emperor penguin and has been living with the other penguin species in the zoo.
In the mating season last year, seeing all the other penguins mating and laying eggs, the penguin found an egg-shaped stone and incubated it. People at the NMOMBA do not want the penguin to bear loneliness any longer. They have decided to send their only emperor penguin to the Taipei Zoo so that it can have some company.
Li Jan-Jung, spokesperson of NMOMBA, said since the female emperor penguin died, they had wanted to import another mate for the male penguin from Russia. After the H1N1 outbreak, however, there were many more restrictions on importing birds. Knowing that the Taipei Zoo is very experienced in penguins, and that they already have some emperor penguins, they have decided to move the penguin there.
The future offspring of the male emperor penguin will be divided by the two zoos. The first one will stay at Taipei Zoo, the second one will go to NMOMBA.
Emperor penguin is the tallest and heaviest of the living penguin species and is endemic to Antarctica. They are serially monogamous. They stay faithful

Celina Jaitly asks Zoo authority to transfer elephants
Actress and animal activist Celina Jaitly has written a letter to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) asking the agency to transfer the two elephants, Laxmi and Anarkali, from the Byculla Zoo to a sanctuary.
Jaitly also asked the CZA to expedite the relocation of all captive elephants who are currently used in Indian zoos and circuses.
The plea by the Bollywood actress comes after Laxmi killed a zoo visitor here last week.
Elephants who are incarcerated and kept shackled in chains often become frustrated and angry and sometimes lash

Taiwan sends indigenous goats, spotted deer to mainland
Taiwan will send a pair of indigenous goats and a pair of spotted deer to the Chinese mainland as early as June, after the mainland gifted a pair of pandas in December 2008.
The animals, aged from three to five, had already been selected from the Taipei Zoo, and currently were in isolation for quarantine inspections, local media reported.
After crossing the Taiwan Strait, the animals would live in Liugongdao National Forest Park in Weihai of Shandong Province in the eastern part of the Chinese mainland.
Although both the indigenous goats and the spotted deer could adapt to different environments quite easily, Taipei Zoo director Jason Yeh said it might take a while for them to get used to the weather in Shandong
According to Yeh, the indigenous goats would

A (six) grand gesture helps Monkey World
How much would you pay for a VIP tour of Monkey World with Dr Alison Cronin as your personal guide?
The chances are not as much as Jim and Michelle Mellor.
The couple from Manchester wrote out a cheque for £6,000 on Saturday after making the winning bid for Lot 107 at a special charity auction.
The event, which included a gala dinner attended by over 300 guests at Poole’s Lighthouse, was in aid of the Jim Cronin Memorial Fund.
“It’s worth every penny to us,” said a delighted Mrs Mellor. “We think Monkey World does amazing work and we really want to support them.”
It was the culmination of an evening that raised tens of thousands of pounds for the memorial fund, established by Alison after the death of Jim Cronin three years ago.
Jim set up Monkey World in Wool to rescue and rehabilitate abused and endangered primates around the world, starting with chimps used by beach photographers in Spain.
Alison told guests: “Jim knew that you could make a difference and Monkey World was his dream.
“He was a voice for those who could not speak for themselves and he saw through the ‘fun face’ of the so-

Biblical Zoo is Israel's No. 1 tourist destination
Some 740,000 visitors enjoyed Jerusalemite animals over past year, Dan & Bradstreet reveals. Ramat Gan Safari ranked second; last year's winner, Masada, down to third place
Israelis' favorite touristy destination is the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, according to Dun's 100 ranking published recently by the Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) company, which provides credit information on businesses and corporations.
Dun's 100 rates the leading and most attractive tourism and recreation destinations for Israelis over the past year, and this is the 30th year it is published.
According to the data, the Biblical Zoo was the most profitable and attractive destinations for Israelis over the past year, with 738,304 visitors – a 7.4% rise compared to 687,647 visitors last year.
The zoo returned to the first place after being beaten by Masada last year and falling to the third place. The site's,7340,L-3870083,00.html

Corals flourishing on our doorstep
IN FUTURE, visitors to Underwater World Singapore may be able to see beautiful corals that it has reared, and learn about the coral reproductive stages without getting wet. It hopes to rear juvenile corals and put these marine animals on display as part of its public-education programme.
Its assistant curator, Mr Roy Yeo, 32, said: "We hope to also be able to raise the public's awareness that Singapore's waters (are) rich in biodiversity and that we should do our part in preserving it."
In the long run, Underwater World Singapore hopes to conduct coral-breeding programmes, re-introduce corals into the wild and play a role in future coral-reef restoration here.
Representatives from Underwater World Singapore, including Mr Yeo, are among 18 scientists and researchers learning coral-rearing and reproduction techniques at a workshop being held in Singapore and South-east Asia for the first time.
The participants come from all over the world, including the Smithsonian Institution in the United States and the Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands.
In the eight-day workshop, which ends today, they went on dive trips off Raffles Lighthouse on Singapore's southern coast to see coral spawning - the release of bundles of egg and sperm into the sea by corals.
They also collected these bundles for

Dallas Zoo unveils Apple iPhone App
Mobile advertising and marketing has gone wild, literally. Today The Dallas Zoo announced the launch of a new iPhone app, making it the first zoo in North Texas to offer an iPhone app, and only the second zoo in the state, to do so. What makes this app different? The Dallas Zoo is the first in the nation to offer an app that provides guests with information both in English and Spanish.
“Guests with phones programmed to default to Spanish will automatically download the app in Spanish,” said Sean Greene, Deputy Director for Education and Interpretation. “We’re proud to offer educational and entertaining tools to our visitors in a way that fits their lifestyle.”
With the Dallas Zoo’s new Giants of the Savanna exhibit opening May 28, 2010, the launch of the iPhone app comes at a perfect time. “The new Dallas Zoo iPhone app can keep guests up to date about

Egg transport new twist in condor recovery
Oregon Zoo bird curator Shawn St. Michael is involved in an elaborate game of transporting soon-to-hatch condor eggs. The zoo is involved in a captive breeding operation designed to help restore wild populations of endangered California condors.
St. Michael recently drove seven hours with a fist-size condor egg so close to hatching that he could hear the tiny bird's beak "tap, tapping" against the shell. He transported the egg to The Peregrine Fund's World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, where it hatched early this week in the company of eager condor "foster parents."
The theory is that it's easier and less stressful to move eggs than to move enormous birds.
In coming weeks, St. Michael plans to transfer two Oregon-laid eggs to the Los Angeles Zoo. Those birds eventually will be released in Southern California

New species of giant lizard discovered on Philippines’ Luzon Island
A species of giant lizard has been discovered in the forests of the northern Philippines. The 2 metre-long Varanus bitatawa was found by University of Kansas students during an expedition last summer to the heavily populated and largely deforested Luzon Island.
DNA testing has placed the fruit-eating species in the Komodo dragon family.
The discovery was described as an “unprecedented surprise” by scientists documenting the find in the Royal Society’s Biology Letters journal, even though indigenous communities were well aware of the lizard’s existence and have long eaten its meat as part of their diet. It went undiscovered by scientists partly owing to its tendency to hide in trees and partly because comparatively few studies of amphibians and reptiles have been conducted in the

Chester Zoo director announces he plans to step down
AFTER 15 years at the helm steering Chester Zoo to becoming one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions, the director general has announced he is stepping down.
Professor Gordon McGregor Reid plans to leave his position later this year and return to academic work and research.
Tony Williams, chairman of the zoo’s trustees, said: “Gordon feels it is the right time for him to make this move and I know that, as a professional biologist, he is very keen to fulfil his passion for zoological research, field conservation and university teaching.
“Gordon has done a sterling job for the Society. He has seen us through some very challenging times and has transformed the Zoo into the UK’s number one wildlife attraction of choice.”
Prof McGregor Reid, 62, has enjoyed a distinguished decade and a half running the zoo, which has grown from “comparatively small beginnings in the 1930s” to become the second most visited leisure attraction in the UK.
He started out as a researcher at the British

New Zoo Rules In Effect
Last week, the zoo experienced the worst case scenario.
25,000 packed in at one time.
Many were high school students who may have come looking for trouble.
That didn't stop Turner from coming and she's is glad to hear the zoo has made some changes, "It sounds like they got it under control. what i heard, they put some new policies in place where it wouldn't be a problem."
Beginning today anyone 16 or under who comes to the zoo must be accompanied by an adult who is at least 21.
The zoo is also limiting the number of people allowed in at one time to 10,000.
Also, the zoo will no longer offer free Tuesdays to patrons during the month of March when many schools are on spring break.
Brian Carter is with the Memphis Zoo, "we later found out it was because they were sending text messages and word of mouth that the zoo was the place,0,3733240.story

Unchained, gentle and playful: elephants have overcome trauma, say zoo officials
Laxmi, the elephant that killed a trespasser in the Byculla zoo, and her companion Anarkali are now free of their chains, calm as ever, playful with their mahout, and seemingly unmindful of the visitors whose numbers have multiplied since her uncharacteristic behaviour 10 days ago
Laxmi, 53, and Anarkali, 46, both appeared to be in high spirits on Monday, wandering close to the moat and allowing a satisfactory view to the public. Occasionally, they sprayed mud on their backs, as elephants commonly do in summer, trumpeted, and locked trunks with each other.
For the past week, Anarkali and Laxmi have been roaming free inside their enclosure and both have been very well behaved, their mahout said. “Last weekend, a large crowd came to see them but they were calm,” he said, standing between

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"EU Asia-Link Project on "Managing the Health and Reproduction of Elephant Populations in Asia"

The Symposium on " Health and Reproduction of Asian Elephants"

May 31st – June 2nd, 2010.

The Imperial Maeping hotel, Chiang Mai, Thailand

We invite researchers from around the world to present conservation projects and research results on population management, health, nutrition, reproduction and behavior. On behalf of the EU-Asia Link Elephant Project and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University we would like to invite you to participate in the International Symposium on “Health and Reproductive of Elephant Population in Asia” between 31st May 2010 to 2nd June 2010 at The Imperial Maeping Hotel, Chiang Mai. The symposium will organize in full three days long and composed seven main sessions, which are......Learn more HERE



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