Saturday, May 8, 2010

Zoo News Digest 1st - 8th May 2010 (Zoo News 668)

Zoo News Digest 1st - 8th May 2010 (Zoo News 668)

Dear Colleagues,

I was saddened to learn of the passing of  Devra Kleiman. She made immense contribution to the Zoo world and it will be lacking without her. Although I never had the good fortune to meet Devra I looked upon her as a friend. She was a long time reader and supporter of my ZooNews Digest and a fan of my journal and travels. Please forward my condolences onto her family and friends. 

One good thing which came out of the UK election was that the bigot Angela Smith lost her parliamentary seat. I don't doubt it had a lot to do with her blinkered point of view.

It makes me cringe with embarassment when I read quotes from within the zoo world which state "Siberian white Tiger is facing extinction". In this case I refer to the Abu Dhabi Wildlife Centre (ADWC) which in one fell swoop demonstrates (to me at least) that they have not got a clue what they are talking about. They may well be doing good work but when I read rubbish like that I find it difficult to give it credibility.

Take a look at the photos on the Rhino escape at Jacksonville Zoo as they are worth a view. I was rather hoping that someone may have taken a video but I cannot find one. I daresay one may appear yet.

Lots of interesting links. Please read on.

Looking for a job?  Several new vacancies posted in recent days. Take a look at:
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Please post in comments below if you feel so inclined.

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On with links:

As bats die in Connecticut, mosquitoes go uneaten
Once, homeowners were quick to shoo bats out of attics and barns, freaked out by the nocturnal creature with a spooky rap. But now many are trying to coax bats back, erecting little houses to encourage their presence.
Bats have long been misunderstood and understudied, said David Bobbin, of Preston, who builds custom bat houses.
But now that bats are dying in record numbers in Connecticut and throughout the Northeast because of a fungus called white nose syndrome, the public is revising its perception and taking a closer look at all the good bats do.
Among their benefits to humans: One little brown bat can eat up to 1,200 mosquitoes an hour. For a state that must watch for mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis, bats are a strong ally.
More than 1 million bats have died nationwide since the outbreak of the deadly fungus. Or as Geraldine

World Migratory Bird Day

Desert Learning Centre aims for 5 Pearl rating
The Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre in Al Ain is aiming for a 5 Pearl rating from Estidama and is scheduled to finish by November 11, 2011, according to its architects.
"The construction contract was awarded in December 2009 to the construction firm Zueblin and work is under way," Talik Chalabi, of Architekten & Partner ZT, told Emirates Business.
The Pearls Rating System is the only green rating system in the world that is a government initiative which will streamline sustainability efforts. The Pearls Rating System integrates with other Abu Dhabi regulatory codes and initiatives for example the building and development codes. 5 Pearl is the highest level of achievement.
"We were part of the six firms invited to a competition in October 2007. There was no infrastructure in this area when the brief was decided. We won the project in August 2008. We are aiming for the 5 Pearl rating based on the 2008 criteria from Estidama since the current one is very strict and we designed the building much before the new criteria. But the client had given us the green light to introduce all new ideas to make the building achieve high standards of sustainability."
The project is located within the Al Ain Zoo, which is meant to include a safari park and it is at the interface between the existing zoo and the extension. "They had an idea of the themes that they will exhibit like geology, the scarcity of water, the culture, and flora and fauna," said Chalabi, whose practice is headquartered in Austria and is jointly run with his brother Jaafar Chalabi.
"We were inspired by the landscape of the area and the beauty of the site. It is a savannah like landscape and has a very beautiful mountain range, which is the beginning of the plateau that extends to Oman. Al Ain has a beautiful mountain called Jebel Hafeet and a ridge of this mountain acts as the natural boundary to the safari park," he said. "So when we were given the brief about the themes of the desert, we took the inspiration from the landscape and decided that the concept will be based on a loop - a concept used in some museums

Devra G. Kleiman dies at 67; helped create field of conservation biology
Devra G. Kleiman, 67, a biologist whose groundbreaking research on giant pandas and South American monkeys showed how zoos can play a critical role in preserving endangered species, died April 29 at George Washington University Hospital. She had cancer.
In a career spanning more than 40 years, much of it at the National Zoo, Dr. Kleiman helped create and define the new field of conservation biology.
She was perhaps best known for spearheading an unprecedented international effort to save golden lion tamarins -- small, reddish-orange monkeys that live in Brazil's Atlantic coastal forests -- from extinction.
In the early 1970s, Dr. Kleiman responded to an alarm sounded by Brazilian biologist Adelmar Coimbra Filho. Golden lion tamarins were in trouble; research showed there were only several hundred of the animals remaining in the wild and fewer than 75 in captivity. Dr. Kleiman and Coimbra helped persuade officials at more than a dozen zoos not to sell their golden lion tamarins for profit. Instead, the zoos would lend the animals to one another for breeding. Eventually they gave up title altogether, ceding ownership to the Brazilian government. Dr. Kleiman played monkey matchmaker, using genetic data to determine which animals should mate to create strong offspring.
Those offspring were reintroduced to Brazil, where Dr. Kleiman and Coimbra helped preserve and restore wide swaths of the animals' habitat. Today, about 1,600 golden li

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Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association Honors Long-Time Supporter Betty White at 40th Annual Beastly Ball
Sir Elton John, Jay Leno, Alex Trebek and Jamie Lee Curtis are among the Co-Chairs for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association's (GLAZA) 40th Annual Beastly Ball honoring long-time supporter Betty White on Saturday, June 19, 2010, 6 p.m., under the stars at the Zoo. NCIS star Pauley Perrette serves as the evening's MC. White, the entertainment industry icon, is a long-time GLAZA Trustee and was named “Ambassador to the Animals of the City of Los Angeles” by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2006.
Known as "one of L.A.'s biggest and most popular fund-raisers" (FOX News) and "one of the best parties in Los Angeles" (KCAL TV News), the Beastly Ball is presented by GLAZA, which for more than four decades has successfully supported the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife. As a major cultural and entertainment resource for Southern California, the Zoo is a place of beauty and inspiration and a catalyst for discovery of the natural world for children of all ages. GLAZA funds Los Angeles Zoo exhibits, plant and animal species conservation, capital projects, and education and community outreach programs. GLAZA currently has

Feeding the Animals at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Mike Maslanka, head nutritionist at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, talks about what it takes to feed 2000 animals from 400 different species 365 days a year. Each one receives a diet specially designed by National Zoo nutritionists that not only meets their nutrient needs but also encourages them to employ their natural feeding behaviors. The Zoo’s commissary is one of the world’s largest zoo commissaries and is about half an acre in size. In all, 13 people make up the Zoos nutrition team. Two members of the team are certified nutritionists. Of all 220 zoo members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Ibises dumping their eggs teach us a lesson on biodiversity
The fact that a pair of Japanese crested ibises -- which had been released into nature after being raised at a conservation center -- dumped all three of their eggs from their nest has shown that nature never works as people expect.
Many people have apparently been disappointed because it would have been the first time in 34 years for an ibis chick to be hatched in the wild.
However, Japanese crested ibises have their own reasons for dumping their eggs. Experts say ibises can dump their eggs if they are infertile, or if they are fertile but not growing steadily. Since the ibises concerned are still young, experts pointed to the possibility that the eggs were infertile.
This year is designated by the United Nations as the International Year for Biodiversity. In October, the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity will be held in Nagoya. Under the circumstances, biodiversity has drawn attention from the public, and the Japanese crested ibis has emerged as a symbol of biodiversity.
The government's national strategy for biodiversity also calls for efforts to reintegrate Japanese crested ibises into nature. Japanese-born ibises became extinct when the last remaining bird died in 2003, and the Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center on Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture -- set up by the Environment Ministry -- have artificially bred the birds using ibises borrowed from China.
A diverse ecosystem supported by the long history of evolution is indispensable for water circulation and soil formation, and also serves to prevent natural disasters. It also brings about a wide variety of food and helps develop diverse pharmaceutical products. Above all, diverse nature is beautiful.
Japanese crested ibises draw attention from


Tenth meeting

Nagoya, Japan, 18-29 October 2010

Russia Seeks to Reestablish Asiatic Cheetah in its Southern Caspian Regions
Russian and Iranian ecologists plan to revive extinct species of Caspian Tiger and Asiatic Cheetahs in their respective regions. Last week, a group of Russian ecologists headed by the country’s deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Sergey Donskoy, arrived in Tehran.
The Russian team would cooperate with Iranian counterparts for ways to revive these majestic cat species that went extinct by the end of the last century, Iran’s English language Press TV reported.
Earlier Russian scientists requested delivery of Asiatic Cheetahs to Russia for their revival program. In Russia, Cheetahs were at one time numerous in southern regions but went extinct over 50 years ago. Cheetah is an atypical member of the cat family (Felidae) that is unique in its speed, while lacking climbing abilities.
The species is the only living member of the genus Acinonyx. It is the fastest land animal, reaching speeds between 112 and 120 km/h (70 and 75 mph) in short bursts covering distances up to 460 m (1,500 ft), and has the ability to accelerate from 0 to 103 km/h (64 mph) in three seconds, faster than most supercars. Recent studies confirm the cheetah's status as the fastest land animal. [1] There are only 50 to 60 remaining Asiatic Cheetas in central

Zoo Animals: Behaviour, Management and Welfare
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Zoo Animals: Behaviour, Management and Welfare addresses the key questions surrounding the keeping of zoo animals, and reveals how we can apply our ever-growing understanding of animal behaviour to ensure zoo animals are managed as effectively as possible.

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Lucknow Zoo sends elephants to wildlife parks
The Lucknow Zoo Sunday pulled out its two elephants and sent them to two wildlife parks of the state, an official said.
This follows an order of the Central Zoo Authority banning elephants in zoos of the country.
While one of the elephants was shifted to Dudhwa National Park in Lakhimpur district, about 250 km from here, the other was sent to Katarniya Ghat Wildlife Park in Bahraich district, about 160 km from here.
According to a spokesman of the state wildlife department, the pachyderms were dispatched along with their mahouts on trucks Sunday afternoon.
“I know kids visiting the zoo will miss the elephants, who always draw children in very large numbers, but then it cannot be helped,” the official said.
Keeping elephants in private captivity has already been banned

Tad Taube Donates $1 million to SF Zoo
"Polly" got more than a cracker on Friday at the ZooFest Wild About Parrots fundraiser out at the San Francisco Zoo.
In fact, "Polly" and her pals now have many, multiple crackers upon which to munch thanks to a surprise million dollar donation by longtime Zoo supporters, Tad Taube and his wife, Dianne Taube, and Jeff Farber of the Koret Foundation, for reconstruction of the Zoo's South American Aviary, a building that houses parrots, amphibians and primates and was originally built during the Great Depression.
This generosity was immediately followed by another spontaneous check from Anthony Cernak and the Hugh and Eila Korpi Family Trust of Sonoma to house rescued Squirrel monkeys to the tune of ... $250K!
Lafayette, a baby American alligator, and Zoo Education staffer Amy Gaffan
Holy banana

Deshmukh blows his top, slams zoo officials
Minster for food and civil supplies and consumer protection Anil Deshmukh on Tuesday gave some food for thought to the beleaguered Maharajbagh Zoo authorities by asking them to run the zoo as per the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) norms.
Deshmukh's visit was fuelled by a series of animal deaths in the recent past due to alleged negligence of the Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV), which runs the zoo. On April 26, TOI had highlighted how the 110-year-old zoo was going to the dogs.
The minister reached the zoo around 10 am and spent around 50 minutes examining the enclosures and facilities for animals. He also inquired about the animal welfare. Deshmukh, who is the first minister to officially come forward for the development of the zoo, is aware of the CZA norms and the problems grappling the zoo. His poser to authorities on whether the zoo was being run as per the CZA guidelines puzzled officials.
"When were the green nets and rain guns installed?" Deshmukh asked PRO, Prof Ram Gawande when he was near the peacock and tiger enclosures. Gawande replied, "Eight days ago."
Deshmukh then snubbed him saying, "Why can't these works be done before the onset of summer. Animals are dying due to the heat and you are taking it casually." When

Animal-rights groups, city spar over Edmonton elephant
A lawyer fighting to release Lucy the elephant from Edmonton's Valley Zoo said this week authorities are not looking out for her well-being, while the city said animal-rights groups have no standing in the court application to have the elephant sent to a sanctuary.
Onlookers packed a room in Court of Queen's Bench on Tuesday while lawyers sparred over the 34-year-old Asian elephant that resides at the city zoo.
Animal-rights groups want the judge to issue a declaratory judgment that Lucy is in distress, deprived of adequate shelter and space, or that she is in pain and suffering — all conditions not permitted by Alberta's Animal Protection Act.
They claim Edmonton's climate is unsuitable for an

Bowmanville elephant helps scientists
An elephant resident of the Bowmanville Zoo has helped scientists in their quest to understand how Siberian mammoths were able to adapt to their frigid surroundings.
A New York Times article reports on the efforts of a University of Manitoba team of scientists looking into how a once tropical species adapted to the Arctic.
In order to proceed with their research, the team needed the blood of an elephant, and they found that getting the necessary permits for obtaining wild elephant blood was too cumbersome.
Enter the Bowmanville Zoo's elephant Caesar, who made the necessary

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Hand–Rearing Birds will provide the reader with a guide to the best methods of hand rearing all major species of birds. The book is broken into two sections. The first section covers standard hand raising methods and equipment, while the second provides individual chapters devoted to many major avian species. This book will be an invaluable reference for shelter veterinarians, zoo veterinarians, avian veterinarians, aviculturists, bird enthusiasts, and conservationists alike.

BUZZ Blog: Former Duluth zoo director gets new job
Mike Janis, former director of the Lake Superior Zoo, has just been tapped to lead the Mill Mountain Zoo in Raonoke, Va., according to the Roanoke Times.
Janis served more than 10 years as the director of Duluth's zoo. The local zoo lost its accreditation from the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums several months after he left Duluth to take a job in Binghamton, N.Y. Duluth has yet to regain that certification, although this remains an oft-repeated goal.
At the time of his departure, Janis expressed frustration with funding cuts to the Duluth zoo. He also was angered by what he viewed as subsequent efforts to make him a scapegoat for the Lake Superior Zoo's loss of accreditation later that year. He personally faulted Mayor Herb Bergson's administration for cutting funding and making it impossible to properly maintain the operation.
Janis said he had repeatedly warned Bergson and Carl Seehus, the city's parks and recreation director, that continued underfunding was putting the zoo's certification at risk. But both Bergson and Seehus said they were unaware that the zoo was in danger of losing its certification.
At any rate, Janis went on to lead the Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park in Binghamton, N.Y., where he was publicly credited with helping that facility become reaccredited. Apparently the zoo lost its accreditation prior to Janis' arrival there. The Press &

Caller tune for homesick jumbos
This is taking trunk calls to a new level. Two young elephants, who were born in a Dooars sanctuary and gifted to Japan's Okinawa Zoo, are hooked on the mobile phone. When they get restless or stubborn, only the voices of their mahouts — who are back home in Bengal — calm them.
Mahouts Dinabandhu Burman and Kharka Bahadur Biswakarma are the only parents Devi and Rahul have known since birth in Holong in Jaldapara. Now aged nine and seven, they understand instructions in Bengali — or the unique voice commands mahouts have known for generations — but are yet to pick up Japanese.
Biswakarma and Korke Bahadur had camped in Okinawa for six months after the elephants were transported from India in December 2007. The trouble started after the duo returned to India. At times, the giant beasts got depressed or proved difficult to control. No amount of food or cajoling would work. Then, the Japanese handlers fell back on technology. They called up the mahouts on mobile phones and put them on speaker mode. It settled them down quickly.
"The bond between a mahout and an elephant is very strong. Elephants are very intelligent and have a long memory. They never forget the mahouts who took care of them," said a forest official. Dinabandhu sings folk songs to the elephants, shouts instructions over phone

Large-nosed Proboscis monkey faces challenge from loggers, farmers
Students in Rachel Zabel's fourth-grade class at Hawthorn Elementary North in Vernon Hills asked: "Where does the Proboscis monkey live, and why does he have such a big nose?"
A proboscis is a large appendage that protrudes from the face. Mosquitoes have them, elephants have them and so do Proboscis monkeys.
The male Proboscises have huge noses, flat and oval-shaped and so long that their nose extends below their mouths. Female Proboscis monkeys also have large noses, but not quite as large as males.
The entire population of Proboscis monkeys lives in the forests of Borneo, a large island in Southeast Asia. The countries of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei share the island. Proboscis monkeys have some unusual traits. Unlike many primates, they are terrific swimmers. The males are twice the size of females.
"The males vocalize. The larger nose adds to the tone of the vocalization, a 'key-honk' sound

Dying away
The use in animals of an anti-inflammatory drug meant for humans threatens with extinction three species of Gyps vultures in India.
FOR the three endangered species of Gyps vultures in India, 2009 was a year of mild optimism. Hornbill, the magazine of The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), reported that the first-ever captive-bred nestlings of the Slender-billed vulture (Gyps tenuirostris) had “fledged successfully”; that three pairs of Oriental White-rumped vultures (Gyps bengalensis) had bred successfully; and that two White-rumped vulture nestlings born in 2007-08 were also doing well. Apart from all this heartening activity at the Society’s Vulture Conservation Breeding Centres in Pinjore, Haryana, and Rajabhatkhawa, West Bengal, there was the good news that another centre would soon become operational in Rani, Assam, and that land for a fourth centre had been acquired in Madhya Pradesh.
India is home to nine species of vultures, of which five belong to the genus Gyps. Three Gyps vultures – Gyps tenuirostris, Gyps bengalensis and the Long-billed Gyps indicus – are resident species and face the threat of extinction. The Himalayan griffon, Gyps himalayensis, and the Eurasian griffon, Gyps fulvus, are

Elephant case sets 'dangerous' precedent
City lawyer says animal rights groups have no legal standing
A lawyer fighting to release Lucy from the Valley Zoo says authorities are not protecting the elephant's well-being, while the city says animal-rights groups have no standing in their case to have the elephant sent to a sanctuary.
Onlookers packed a room in Court of Queen's Bench on Tuesday while lawyers sparred over the 34-year-old Asian elephant that resides at the city zoo.
City lawyer Steven Phipps argued the whole case should be tossed out. The groups bringing forward the legal action did not go through the right channels and have no standing to do so, he said.
There are regulatory bodies such as the Edmonton Humane Society to investigate and take action if Lucy is not properly cared for, Phipps argued. He said the case could set a "dangerous" precedent if allowed to proceed.
"It would be quite dramatic if all of a sudden any citizen could bring a civil action alleging a person had contravened a piece of legislation and only have to prove it on a balance of probabilities in civil court. It would completely undermine the criminal regulatory system," he said outside court.
But prominent Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby said bodies such as the local Humane Society and the province have done nothing to help Lucy, despite recommendations from an elephant expert who says her indoor enclosure is inadequate.
"We're saying no, you don't have to beg each and every agency or official who could help you, if you can show it's likely that no one else would bring an application to save Lucy," Ruby said outside court. "We have a regulatory body that's done nothing, that knows the facts ... there's an expert report saying this enclosure

Exit white tigress, enter chinkaras at Delhi Zoo
Delhi Zoo would soon bid farewell to one of its rare inmates, a white tigress which is moving to Gwalior Zoo in exchange for two pairs of chinkaras being brought in to help avoid excess inbreeding among the resident antelopes.
Currently, the capital's zoo has three pairs of endangered chinkara (Gazella bennettii) but the animals are at risk from inbreeding, which makes it mandatory to borrow animals from other zoos to maintain the genetic diversity of offspring, says Delhi Zoo officials.
"The two pairs of Chinkara are being brought from Gwalior to reduce inbreeding and slow down the loss of vigour as the existing animals have inbreeded for two to three generations. But the continued inbreeding results in terminal lack of vigour and probable extinction as the gene pool contracts, fertility decreases, abnormalities increase and mortality rates rise," says Anand Krishna, currently in-charge of Delhi Zoo.
Line-breeding is still a form of inbreeding i.e. breeding within a family line and includes between two cousins, aunt and nephew, niece and uncle as well as between grandparent and grandchild.
However, on the other hand, too much outcrossing is also not

Forget Mice, Elephants Are Terrified By Bees
Lore has it that elephants are afraid of mice, but scientists have now discovered that elephants are truly afraid of bees — and that the pachyderms even sound an alarm when they encounter them. The researchers hope this discovery can help save farmers' crops from elephants.
And they hope it will save elephants too.
Conflict between humans and elephants in countries like Kenya occur often. A single hungry elephant can wipe out a family's crops overnight. Farmers will huddle by fires all night during the harvest season. When an elephant nears, the farmers spring up with flaming sticks while their children bang on pots and pans. Not all fields can be guarded, and sometimes the elephants aren't frightened off.
Farmers sometimes kill elephants for raiding their crops. Rampaging elephants have also killed people, and they are then hunted down by park rangers.
The discovery that elephants emit low-frequency alarm calls around bees could help lessen these conflicts, said Lucy King, a researcher into animal behavior whose paper on elephants alarm calls was published in a journal of the Public Library of Science last week.
Farmers could make "bee fences" by stringing up hives on poles around ten meters

Council OKs $70,000 to buy 17 animals for El Paso Zoo
The El Paso Zoo will get 17 more animals for its new Africa exhibit.
The City Council voted 8-0 Tuesday to spend $70,000 to buy the animals from Safari West Inc. of Santa Rosa, Calif. The price also includes medical exams for the animals and shipping them here.
The zoo will spend admittance fees to buy six zebras, two greater kudus, five Thomson's gazelles, two ostriches and two East African crowned cranes.
The animals will have to be put in a 30-day quarantine

You can't take the wild out of the tiger
My daughters were young teenagers when we visited the Mirage Hotel Zoo in Las Vegas and saw a white tiger dozing off in his garden.
"Oh, look,"I said. "That's the tiger who ate his trainer."
I referred to an attack four years earlier when a 380-pound white tiger clamped his jaws around the throat of trainer Roy Horn in front of a horrified audience watching the famed Siegfried and Roy magic show at the Mirage Theater.
"The tiger didn't eat him," interrupted another zoo visitor eavesdropping on my remark. "It was trying to save him. And the trainer is still alive."
Of course, I had exaggerated to make a point. Roy Horn was still alive, but crippled and brain-damaged for life after the performing tiger, Montecore, dragged his master like a rag doll 30 feet offstage. The tiger released his fangs only when a stagehand sprayed the big cat with a fire extinguisher and used the tank to bash the beast over the head.
To me, the stranger's remark reflected the assumption by animal lovers around the world that tigers can be cuddly pets, always faithful to their masters, and that their jungle instincts are bred out of them in captivity.
You don't have to be a zoologist to recognize that as nonsense.
Tigers are genetically programmed to attack and kill. Over the past five years in the US, tigers privately owned as pets have killed nine people.
In my US neighborhood, we have feral cats tiptoeing around in search of mice, chipmunks and an occasional bluebird for dessert. To an outsider, they might appear as docile as house cats, which they were before they got lost or were abandoned.
But if you get too close now, they arch their backs and bare their fangs with a hissing sound that can make your blood run cold. The stray cats have the same survival instinct as their larger relatives in the forest.
Yet the belief persists that caged tigers cannot fend for themselves if they are released back to the wild.
"Back to the wild?" a friend challenged me after I wrote recently that China's zoo tigers should be uncaged and returned to their natural

Two expert commissions to study cause of elephant's death in Kyiv zoo
The cause of death of Boy the elephant, an animal kept at Kyiv Zoo, will be studied by two commissions of experts formed by Kyiv City State Administration.
"Two commissions will be set up at Kyiv City State Administration - the first will consist of experts who will directly study the cause of the elephant's death. Permission has been received to include in the commission two experts from Mykolaiv Zoo, the other two from Kharkiv Zoo, and one expert will come from Moscow. The second commission will be created after the [May 9] holidays, and it will include representatives of public organizations and zoo experts, including Yalta Zoo Director Oleh Zubkov," Head of the Council of Experts Public Organization Andriy Kapustin said at a press conference at the Interfax-Ukraine news agency on Thursday.
He also said that his organization and other animal rights groups had proposed that Deputy Head of Kyiv City State Administration Ihor Dobrutsky suspend Kyiv Zoo Director Svitlana Berzina from her post until the official investigation is conducted, and expel "all those linked to the zoo and Berzina" from the existing commission. In addition, animal rights groups proposed inviting a foreign expert to head the Kyiv Zoo for at least a year, "so as to avoid clan fights," and create a board of trustees.
Kapustin said that according to Dobrutsky, the official "submitted a report to [Kyiv Mayor Leonid] Chernovetsky proposing that Berzina be dismissed from her post in order to conduct an official investigation."
He also emphasized that a pathological and morphological

Mammoth blood does not betoken a cloned beast
A MEMBER of the research team that resurrected the blood protein haemoglobin using DNA from the 43,000-year-old bones of a woolly mammoth from Siberia has rejected speculation that the study takes scientists a step closer to cloning an extinct animal.
Alan Cooper, director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA at the University of Adelaide, told the HES it was technically infeasible to bring an extinct species back to life.
And even if it were possible it would be a waste of money.
Professor Cooper and colleagues made headlines worldwide this week when they published their research in Nature Genetics.
The team, led by Kevin Campbell of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, wanted to find out how a species with roots in equatorial Africa evolved to tolerate the harsh Arctic conditions.
ACAD geneticist Jeremy Austin amplified, or made multiple copies of, DNA from the mammoth, focusing on two genes involved in the protein structure of haemoglobin, which transports oxygen to the cells.
He worked in the hi-tech ACAD clean facility, one of only three such laboratories in the world, on a sample of only about 100 thousandths

Number of Asiatic Lion rises in Gir National Park
Officials have declared the final results of the count of total numbers of Asiatic Lions in the Gir National Park/forest  which was taken up in two phases between April 24 and April 27 2010. According to the survey, at present there are 411 lions in this forest, indicating a healthy growth rate of 13%. In the year 2005, the growth rate was just 7%. This increase in growth rate can be mainly attributed to decades of conservation work by the forest department of Gujrat.
The Saurashtra region of Gujarat is the only abode of Asiatic lions today. They once roamed across the entire southwest Asia and were great tourist attraction. However due to an increase in hunting and natural deaths in the late 1960s, only about 180 of these had survived in Gir National Park. “The lion census in three districts of Junagadh, Amreli, Bhavnagar and some parts of Porbandar has been counted to 162 mature females, 97 mature males and 152 cubs. The number of female and young lions is quiet encouraging and the male to female ratio is a very good indicator for future prospects of these animals”, said Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi.
A lot of planning was done prior to the beginning of the counting process. According to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Mr. R.V. Asari, the lion habitat in the four districts of Saurashtra had been mapped and divided into seven regions which were further divided into 28 zones and 100 sub-zones to make the counting process easy and foolproof. “It is understood

Animal keeper Ralph Aversa is the leader of the pack at the Bronx Zoo
He's the real lion king.
Animal keeper Ralph Aversa knows the new triplet cubs at the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo better than anyone.
He's one of the few humans to have held the baby lions in his arms, and he can tell them apart at a glance.
The boy cub is lighter in color and has a bigger head than his sisters. The girls are no less distinct.
"She's really loud," he chuckled, describing girl cub No. 1, which yelps, purrs and growls almost nonstop. "We call her the little chatterer."
Daily News readers have until midnight Saturday night to submit names for the personality-packed trio.
Aversa has worked at the zoo for 24 years, but for most of that time, there were no lion cubs.
Then M'wasi and Sukari had a single cub, Moxie, in November 2008.
Aversa realized Sukari was pregnant again when she put on weight and didn't go into heat. He sensed she was nearly ready to give birth when she refused her food and shunned the company of M'wasi and Moxie the night of Jan. 26.
The kindhearted keeper worried about the lioness all night and rushed back to the zoo in the morning.
"I was here at the crack of dawn," he said, "just to make sure she was all right."
Not only was she all right — she had

Archie the Rhino Wanders Out of Barn To Zoo Service Road
A wayward rhinoceros caused quite a stir at the Jacksonville Zoo on Thursday morning. Archie the Rhino got out his barn somehow and it took 30 workers to get him back.
Pictures provided by zoo officials show a line of employees using a rope to pull the 5,000 pound white rhino back to his barn.
Zoo officials are investigating how the animal got out around 6 a.m. He was found wandering down a zoo service road by a zookeeper.
"When they came across him, he was actually calmly eating alfalfa in the barn," said Delfi Messinger, Director of Animal Programs at Jacksonville Zoo.
Messinger was one of about 30 people who pulled Archie back.
She said under the supervision of three veterinarians, Archie was hit on the shoulder with a tranquilizer dart gun. A rope was then tied around his horn.
She said it took about six hours to coax him down the road.
"He was in the Twilight Zone. He really wasn't aware of his surroundings," said Messinger.
Archie was not allowed to be viewed by the public on Thursday. Zoo officials

Shanti and Baby Baylor Doing Fine at the Houston Zoo
After a pregnancy lasting almost 23 months, Shanti, a 19-year-old Asian elephant, delivered a healthy 348-pound male calf Tuesday morning at the Houston Zoo’s McNair Asian Elephant Habitat. The calf has been named Baylor by the Zoo’s elephant care team in recognition of the unprecedented and ongoing advances made by Baylor College of Medicine’s research team to significantly reduce the threat of a potentially lethal elephant herpes virus.
Shanti began exhibiting signs of labor around 10:30 Monday night. Attended by the Houston Zoo’s elephant care team and assisted by the Zoo’s veterinary staff, Shanti delivered the baby at 9:32 a.m. on Tuesday, May 4. “After months of preparation and tender loving care, the delivery was actually quick and easy for Shanti,” said Large Mammal Curator Daryl Hoffman. “The keepers helped Baylor get to his feet and he was standing on his own within about 2 hours after his birth,” added Hoffman.
“Baylor started nursing at 12:05 p.m. Tuesday,” said Hoffman. “This little elephant has a very good appetite. In

Fresh release of beavers into wild in five-year Scottish trial
A new breeding pair of beavers has been released into the wild as part of the Scottish Beaver Trial.
The five-year scheme, the first reintroduction of a native mammal in the UK, has been running since May 29 last year, when 11 animals in three families were released on to lochs in Knapdale forest in Argyll.
The Scottish Beaver Trial aims to assess the impact beavers have on their environment and how well they settle in. It is a partnership project between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, run under licence from the ­Scottish Government on Forestry Commission land. Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is co-ordinating the scientific monitoring of the trial.
Two of the original beaver ­families are thriving. In the third family, the adult male has had to be returned to captivity because of an underlying health condition, while the adult female and their kit are unaccounted for and are feared dead.
The new pair, released on Tuesday, was previously at the Highland Wildlife Park. The animals were originally trapped in Norway and then quarantined for six months before being transferred to the park. In preparation for their arrival in Knapdale, two artificial lodges were built to give them temporary shelter until they can build their own. The trial team are hopeful that they will go on to breed in the coming years.
A two-month consultation period with local residents

Seal sanctuary moves to new Wexford base
FINGAL has been dealt a major blow with the news the Irish Seal Sanctuary (ISS) has relocated to Wexford, following years of fruitless negotiations with the local authority over a new home. For more than two decades, the organisation worked

Tears flow as subjects hail His Majesty (Photo of Elephants from
Grand ceremony honours coronation
A glimpse of His Majesty the King waving his hand as he left Siriraj Hospital for the Grand Palace yesterday cheered Thais waiting to greet him on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of his coronation.
A crowd packed the hospital compound early yesterday eager for a glimpse of the King, who, together with Her Majesty the Queen and other members of the royal family, were scheduled to preside over a ceremony marking Coronation Day at the palace.
As the King's motorcade arrived at the gate of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, lines of people shouted "Long live the King" to welcome him. He responded by waving to them.
The brief greeting was enough to move many spectators, who burst into tears.
Such scenes are common when Thais are given the

Topeka Zoo examines security after break-in
This is the second time in a year that someone has managed to release "Johnson" the bobcat from his exhibit in the Topeka Zoo, and city and zoo staff are now looking for ways to improve security.
The Topeka Police Department patrols the zoo and tells us the facility and the exhibits in it are secure, but what the city believes to be vandals still managed to cut the perimeter fence and reach the enclosure in which the bobcat is located.
The Interim Topeka Zoo Director, Dennis Taylor, tells 27 News the zoo is taking a closer look at what can be done to prevent this from happening in the future, but acknowledges that no place is completely safe from crime. Taylor also let us know further

The Sixth Rhino: A Taxonomic Re-Assessment of the Critically Endangered Northern White Rhinoceros
The two forms of white rhinoceros; northern and southern, have had contrasting conservation histories. The Northern form, once fairly numerous is now critically endangered, while the southern form has recovered from a few individuals to a population of a few thousand. Since their last taxonomic assessment over three decades ago, new material and analytical techniques have become available, necessitating a review of available information and re-assessment of the taxonomy.
Dental morphology and cranial anatomy clearly diagnosed the southern and northern forms. The differentiation was well supported by dental metrics, cranial growth and craniometry, and corresponded with differences in post-cranial skeleton, external measurements and external features. No distinctive differences were found in the limited descriptions of their behavior and ecology. Fossil history indicated the antiquity of the genus, dating back at least to early Pliocene and evolution

Report on the Death of Dawn Brancheau (43 page investigation)

128 animals die in Kanpur zoo
Despite death of 128 animals since last year, the authority of Kanpur zoo was treating the incidents as normal.
A female elephant died in the zoo yesterday taking the toll to 128 since April last year.
But, the zoo authority refuses to take responsibility for the deaths.
The elephant named 'Champa', who died yesterday, had been suffering from a disease "Pododerma" and the zoo doctors had been treating her, Zoo director K Praveen Rao told PTI.
Asked about reasons for deaths of the animals, Rao said most of it were due to natural causes.
In January 2010, 27 animals died due to extreme cold, among which on a single day alone 17 cocktail birds had perished.
The zoo director denied report of negligence

Zoo to use animal manure to create green energy
Asks for bids to construct a biogas facility to create gas which can be burned and lower heating costs
The Toronto Zoo has taken a major step towards turning poop from its elephants, giraffes and hundreds of other animals into clean electricity and emission-free heat.
Canada’s largest zoo put out a request for bids Monday to construct an on-site anaerobic digester facility that uses special microbes to convert manure, animal bedding, as well as grease and organic waste from zoo restaurants into biogas.
The gas, which is rich in methane, can then be burned to generate green power for the grid and heat that can be used by the zoo to offset its own use of natural gas. The zoo currently spends about $1 million a year on natural gas to heat its animal exhibits and other areas.
“We do produce a considerable amount of waste, but I prefer to call it fuel,” said Dave Ireland, who heads up conservation programs for the zoo, which is also the third-largest public zoo in the world.
“If we can decrease the necessity for coal-fired and other fossil fuel power plants, then we’re cleaning up the air and indirectly fulfilling the zoo’s (conservation) mission.”
He said about 45 companies have already approached the zoo with an interest in developing the biogas plant. Many are from Europe

ASA saves polar bear ad from extinction
An emotive TV ad for the World Wildlife Fund, featuring "threatened" polar bears in their shrinking Arctic habitat, has been cleared by the advertising watchdog, despite claims it was "misleading" and "exaggerated the plight" of the animals.

Britain's rarest insect reintroduced
A rare flightless cricket is being reintroduced to areas of newly created heathland in a bid to bring the insect "back from the brink" of extinction.
The field cricket, Gryllus campestris, is the rarest cricket species in Britain and had suffered steep declines because of the disappearance of the heathland habitat it needs to survive.
By the early 1990s the insect was teetering on the edge of extinction in the UK, with just one remaining colony of 100

Aged Dancing Bear Dies in Bulgarian Park
One of the oldest inhabitants of the Bulgarian readjustment park for dancing bears near the southwestern town of Belitsa has died.
Milena, aged 30-35 years, the Serbian dancing bear that was brought to the park in 2009 has died in her sleep, reported Friday , the Four Paws Association – one of the founders of the readjustment park.
Friday morning, during the routine rounds of the park’s carers, the body of Milena was found, explains Dimitar Ivanov, manager of the Belitsa Readjustment Park for Dancing bears located on the outskirts of the Rila Mountain.
According to Dimitrov, the animal was very old and had not been very active in the last days.
“Unfortunately,” concedes the park’s manager “No matter how well we take care of the animals, the years they have spend in captivity take a toll on them. However, we’re happy we managed to save Milena from her painful life in chains

Wildlife centre in Abu Dhabi sets up breeding loan scheme
As part of the loan agreement, as soon as the Arabian leapords mate, 50 per cent of their cubs will return to the ADWC, where further breeding will continue.
The Abu Dhabi Wildlife Centre (ADWC) has established a loan scheme which provides breeding stock to other centres across the UAE, to save critically endangered animals, whose numbers have dwindled to mere hundreds in the wild.
To protect their animals' rare and unique existence the ADWC has started its initiative, by sending their only male Arabian leopard, to a centre located in Sharjah, where the leopard will be introduced to females of his kind.
As part of the loan agreement, as soon as the Arabian leapords mate, 50 per cent of their cubs will return to the ADWC, where further breeding will continue.
According to Ronel Barcellos, Manager of the ADWC, there are only 280 Arabian leopards left in the world.
"Our aim is to protect the habitat of these rare animals, through various conservation programmes. We won't stop breeding till we reach our hundreds. Once the numbers come up, I'd like to encourage other centres across the UAE, to work with us, and help introduce a new bloodline to these rare big cats," she said.
The centre, which consists of over 100 different animals, out of which 50 per cent are endangered, is currently working with international centres on exchanging endangered animals, with the aim of increasing their population numbers globally.
Also rare due to poaching and habitat loss, an estimated 200 to 400 Siberian White Tigers are currently now living in the wild. "Tiger products are thoughts to have powerful medical properties and are sold in the majority of East Asian countries, that's why the Siberian white Tiger is facing extinction," said the ADWC manager.
The only two Siberian White Tigers at the centre

Director of Kyiv zoo keeps her post
Director of Kyiv zoo Svitlana Berzina denied information about her suspension. "I was not suspended from post, as some media reported. This is not true"- said Berzina to Segodnya newspaper. Deputy mayor of Kyiv Ihor Dobruckiy confirmed that no such decision was taken yet. "The comission which investigates death of elephant Boy is still working. We are not to take any actions until the investigation is over. If the comission decides Berzina should be suspended, she

Blog Posts:

Look to the right within the blog 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.


EARAZA Zoos 2009

Being a list of collections and their inventories


Invertebrates in Education and Conservation Conference
July 27 - August 1, 2010


Zoos in India -- from 1800 to now


Celebrating Plants and the Planet:

Forget lions, tigers, stallions or whatever wild animal you use as a motivating icon. Plants have them all beat. This month's links at  (NEWS/Botanical News) showcase plants that "get the job done," "go the extra mile," and never babble Motivational Speaker-talk:

· Plants that find a toehold on sheer rock are not simply fortunate… It turns out they created that toehold! New research reveals their secret helper. It's a symbiosis story.

· How does a plant live where there is no rain? It irrigates itself.

· Lichens represent an ancient collaboration between fungi and bacteria. Well, maybe it is less collaboration than a case of lichen domesticating bacteria for the purpose.

· A South African daisy that depends on a specific fly for pollination has evolved a complex mimicry to lure the insect to the flower.

· Well, I have to add some interesting story about animals, so here's one: what African primate has been newly discovered to rely on a diet of bamboo?

Now that you have resolved to look to plants for life lessons and inspiration, why not consider crop art?

Dallas Zoo opens "Giants Of The Savanna" at the end of the month…which I am certainly looking forward to. I'll be speaking to donors and members the preceding weekend about the flora and their stories as well as the design.

Please share these stories with associates, staff, docents and -- most importantly -- visitors! You can even follow on Twitter:

Zoo Horticulture

Consulting & Design
Greening design teams since 1987


6.00pm, 11 May 2010 



I am not a fan of Bull Fighting but this video which was posted on YouTube shows the skill of a Horse that really must be seen to be appreciated. It really is worth watching.


May 2010


In This Issue

Big Cats in the Big City

Camera Trap Snaps First Photo of Rare Spotted Leopard in Malaysia

Advertising with the Best: Google

Eight Hooves Lead to Countless Lessons for Conservation

Cycling the Corridor for Cats

Cold and Distant, but Full of Hope

Huffington Post: The Lioness

Start out on this video and link to website

Panthera's 15 second video spot on the CBS Challenge Board in Times Square has gone live today! For the next 73 days, the video will roll every hour from 6am to midnight to highlight the precarious state of the world's wild cats and to call the world to action to save the last remaining tigers, lions, jaguars and snow leopards.
If you are a New Yorker, we invite you to come see our video on the big screen,
located at 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues.


Wildlife Middle East News Vol 4 Issue 4

March 2010

PDFs can be downloaded from:

Vol 4 Issue 4 Contents


Kuwait turtle nesting season 2009: Low and challenging

Foundation for the protection of the Arabian leopard in Yemen

Confirmed eradication of house crow from Socotra Island, Republic of Yemen.

Sand cat, one of the truly amazing cats

Preventative medicine programmes for hoofstock in the Middle East

Artificial wetland biodiversity in desert countries, example of Wadi Ham Dam in Fujairah emirate, UAE- a call for a proper national monitoring of UAE wetlands and waterbirds

News and reviews

conference on biodiversity conservation in the Arabian peninsula

an illustrated checklist of the flora of Qatar

News and reviews

Better buildings, enhanced water-, energy- and waste management in Arab urban ecosystems – globally applicable.

Request for photographs of the rock hyrax in the Middle East


Zoo Conferences, Meetings, Courses and Symposia
click HERE



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Wishing you a wonderful week,

Peter Dickinson


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