Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Zoo News Digest 1st - 8th June 2010 (Zoo News 672)

Zoo News Digest 1st - 8th June 2010 (Zoo News 672)

Dear Colleagues,  

Apologies for the delay in getting this out. My girlfriend (Mia Isaan) lost her baby over the weekend. The past few days have been an emotional rollercoaster of hormones, weeping and pain the like of which I have not experienced in a long time. Though I have made efforts to work and put my mind to other things I have faced an awful internet connection as well.

I am then putting this digest out with some of the items I had hoped to include omitted. Hopefully I will get these out in a few days.

It was unusual this week to be accused of being 'animal rights'. To begin with I was insulted even to be thought of associated with such scatty nonentities but then I thought further. All professional zoo staff are 'animal rights' in a way. We strive to ensure that our animals enjoy their rights to 'The Five Freedoms' and if we don't then we are not professional zoo people at all and would be better off mining or building shopping malls. Certainly we should not be working in a zoo.
Yes, I am outspoken. I am speaking out against that which I percieve to be wrong. I respect the fact that others will have a different opinion to myself. I am more than happy to see it in the comments section of this blog on the proviso it is not anonymous and is not littered with cuss words.

Whereas I am delighted to learn that there are nearly double the number of West African Chimpanzees than were previously thought I wondered about the public perception of such a story. It is news, it is newsworthy but does it really put the right message. It is not so very long ago that we saw a similiar story related to Gorillas. So Joe Public is told time and again about rare/threatened/doomed to extinction and then all of a sudden there are far more than believed. It would be so easy to think that everything was okay when we know it isn't.

I see obsession has hit the news once again. It had scarcely gone away.

I note that Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort has just aquired a couple of Caracals from the Yemen. Beautiful cats and amongst my favourites. I recollect with some fondness the famous 'Gigi' though our relationship was short and sweet. Still no mention from Al Ain, or for that matter Giza about the Orangutans. A thought sprang into my head the other night and wondered if the zoo worlds reaction would be any different if Al Ain had gifted their single female Gorilla to Giza. Whereas Giza would be very far down any list I could complile of places that the Gorilla 'Lady' should be sent....she should really be sent somewhere else. Yes, I know it would be traumatic for her but as things stand there is not a zoo in the world would send a Gorilla to Al Ain. So the best thing for her would be that she should be sent to join a group of Gorillas or one of the single males elsewhere.
The decision as to where she should be sent should rest with in this case with the official Gorilla Studbook holders and coordinators. Any move or proposed move for any managed species always should rest with those in the know. I would be interested to learn if the International Orangutan Studbook or anyone associated with it was ever consulted or knew of the Orangutans being sent to Giza. Such a move would never have been allowed by any European or Australasian Zoo.

Those of you who are familiar with my article Craig Busch and the Zion Wildlife Gardens may possibly be interested that a new angle has presented itself. So far there is nothing on the internet but the article in the June 14th 2010 of Woman's Day there is an article by Craig Busch's sister. This is going to get the Craig Busch Facebook Fan page jumping up and down and spitting blood. The hardcore fan base cannot and will not believe a word against Craig. Take a look it actually makes disturbing reading. Try and get hold of a copy of Woman's Day and hear the story from someone who actually knows the guy and does not just fantasise about him. Or read the story HERE

I renew my appeal to collections holding tigers. Please read Tiger Temple Plans Expansion if you have not already done so. I will name every zoo which puts up signage warning about the Tiger Temple.

Thank you to those few people who sent donations this week. Always appreciated and very much needed.

Please post in blog comments below if you feel so inclined.... sorry though I will not approve anonymous comments.

Looking for a job?  Several new vacancies posted in recent days. Take a look at:
Got one to advertise? email me. 

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On with links:

Scent of a solenodon: On the trail of a living fossil
Scientists are in the Dominican Republic in an attempt to save one of the world's most strange and ancient mammals - the Hispaniolan solenodon.
This creature has been around since the time of the dinosaurs, and is the only mammal that can inject venom through its teeth.
But the solenodon is now under threat - and the researchers want to start finding out how many creatures there are, where they live and in what kinds of habitats in order to begin conservation.
However, to do this, they first need to track them down, which is tricky - at one time, naturalists said you would be more likely to see a ghost than a solenodon.
, Dr Joe Nunez-Mino, a member of the Last Survivors team and a researcher with Durrell Wildlife Conservation

Leopards die after rescue from deposed leader's zoo
Two rare snow leopards which belonged to Kyrgyzstan's ousted president have died from starvation, it has been revealed.
The endangered cats, among an array of rare animals found in Kurmanbek Bakiyev's secret private zoo after he was forced to flee the country, perished after not being fed for almost a month. Authorities are now trying to find homes for the other zoo animals.
Mr Bakiyev was ousted after riots in early April left over 80 dead, and a new provisional government took over. Kyrgyz special forces later found the private zoo at Mr Bakiyev's family compound near Jalalabad in the south of the country.
But, for unclear reasons, it took nearly a month before they were transferred to a wildlife protection centre in the town of Karakol, a four-hour drive away. There are no public zoos in Kyrgyzstan.
"It's difficult to say how they were fed before the events in April, but in the last month they have gone hungry," said Saltanat Seitova, from the Karakol sanctuary. "The herbivores were fine, but the carnivores suffered

Australian zoo uses Facebook to find monkeys
An Australian zoo has posted an urgent plea on its Facebook page for help in returning eight stolen endangered monkeys, so small they could fit in a handbag or the palm of your hand.
Symbio Wildlife Park, south of Sydney, said thieves broke into the park on Sunday night and stole a breeding pair of Cotton top Tamarins, their two babies, and four Pygmy marmosets.
"These animals are part of international breeding programmes and are crucial to the survival of the species, there are only 300 Cotton top Tamarins left in the wild, so time is running out," said the zoo's Facebook message.
"These animals need specialised housing and diet to survive, if they are not returned home safely, they may not survive, the whole team at Symbio are extremely worried," it said.
"If you have any information, or know someone who

High price paid for long horned rhino
ALMOST R400 000 was paid for a particularly long horned white rhino at the annual Eastern Cape Parks’ game auction near Grahamstown on Saturday.
But, the chances of this impressive female living to a ripe old age appear slim thanks to the obscene amounts of money trophy hunters are prepared to pay to shoot a white rhino with a one metre-long horn.
While the world reels under the weight of a recession, some serious chunks of change were flying around in the bush at Thomas Baines as everybody, from hunt operators to butchers and even conservationists, got in on the act.
Eastern Cape Parks scientific services head Dr Dave Balfour told the Dispatch the animals with the most impressive attributes often fetched top dollar among hunters while animals like the 200 black wildebeest that sold for R900 each to a single buyer would “probably end up as biltong in six weeks’ time”.
“Generally the bigger horns are for hu

SLeone endangered chimp numbers double: survey
Sierra Leone has 4,000 endangered west African chimpanzees, twice the number previously thought according to results of a national survey released in the capital Freetown on Tuesday.
Terry Brncic, who led the field research for the study carried out by the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, told journalists the last survey conducted in 1980 had estimated the chimp population to be between 1,500 and 2,500.
"The current survey has determined that almost half of these chimps are surviving in highly threatened and marginal habitats outside of the country's protected forest reserves," she said.
"These results confirm that Sierra Leone still hosts a significant population of the endangered Western Chimpanzee, making the country the second after Guinea" in terms of chimp populations.
The 230,000 US dollar survey, carried out between January 2009 and May 2010, is the first nationwide study ever taken in the west African nation concerning the most endangered of Africa's four chimpanzee subspecies.
While these results provide encouraging news the

Giant anteater born in Isle of Wight zoo
A giant anteater has been born in an Isle of Wight zoo.
The 1.5kg (3.3lb) baby, born at Amazon World, Sandown, is believed to be the first in the UK and only the sixth to be born in Europe this year.
The zoo says there are only 104 giant anteaters in captivity in the whole continent.
The creatures are classed as near threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list, which monitors endangered animals.
Rachel Patrick, head zoo keeper at Amazon World, said: "We are very happy that both mum

City Manager Takes Issue With Latest Zoo Citations
Topeka City Manager Norton Bonaparte takes issue with the latest citations from the USDA against the Topeka Zoo.
The USDA cited the zoo Tuesday with two violations. They stem from two recent vandalism incidents where a bobcat was released and a golf cart was stolen through a hole cut in the fence.
Bonaparte says the USDA contends the zoo's fence wasn't adequate, however, he says the agency never before pointed out any problems with the fence. That's despite the zoo falling

Zookeeper's heroism noted: David Hodge rescued injured toddler following 2009 zoo train accident
Maj. David Hodge, a head keeper at the Louisville Zoo, was about to leave work on June 1, 2009, when a call came that the zoo train had derailed and flipped on its side.
Hodge and a group of employees rushed to the scene, where Hodge noticed a toddler who was bleeding profusely from a head wound. He stopped the bleeding and pulled the child from the train to safety.
For his "heroic act," Hodge recently received the Certificate of Recognition for Lifesaving from the Civil Air Patrol Indiana Wing.
Cmdr. Col. Richard Griffith traveled from the wing's Indianapolis headquarters

Dalton Zoo expansion plans move forward
ZOO boss David Gill is roaring ahead with his planned £3.6m scheme to treble the size of South Lakes Wild Animal Park.
Mr Gill first sounded out Barrow Borough Council last September about the possible expansion of the animal park.
Now Mr Gill, who was not available for comment yesterday, has now formally submitted his plans to the borough council.
The application is expected to go before the council’s planning committee next month.
Mr Gill wants to build new and extended animal enclosures – including an elephant house.
A new access road, utilising the U6097, which runs past Melton Terrace, would be built off Ulverston Road.
The car park would be extended from 440 to 620 spaces while a new entrance building would also be erected.
This building would house park admissions, offices, storage facilities, a new gift shop, warehouse

Stolen monkeys found dumped in cage at Sydney park
SEVEN of eight rare monkeys stolen from a zoo south of Sydney were found by police, some dumped in a cage in a park and some left with a vet.
Four pygmy marmosets and four cotton top tamarins - two of them babies - were swiped by thieves who broke into Symbio Wildlife Park at Helensburgh late on May 29 or early on May 30.
It was feared they would be smuggled overseas but police tracked the car believed used in the theft to a home in Parramatta, then raided several homes.
"As a result of information received" the police discovered

Two caracals from Yemen move to Al Ain zoo
A pair of caracals from Yemen is calling the Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort (AWPR) home after the family that owned them asked the zoo for help.
The park custom-built new lodgings for the 18-month-old brother and sister, who had been raised by the family in their home since birth.
As the animals grew larger, the family contacted staff at the park to see if they would step in.
“When the family found that the caracals had reached an age that they could no longer accommodate their needs, they had to find a solution,” said Farshid Mehrdadfar, AWPR’s animal collection manager. “They had heard about our work with Arabian peninsula animals and contacted us.”
AWPR veterinarians and staff flew to Yemen to see the caracals and perform medical checks on the pair, and arranged for the medical certificates required by both Yemen and the UAE for the transfer. A member of the family in Yemen travelled to Al Ain to see the animals’ new enclosure, spending a week helping as the caracals adjusted to their new home.
Although the cats are less wild than their counterparts roaming deserts, they are not as domesticated as pet cat

Zoo saves monkeys from euthanasia
Twenty monkeys who spent their lives undergoing behavioral testing at Stanford University are about to learn what normal monkey life is at the San Francisco Zoo.
The squirrel monkeys are among a group of 59 that needed homes after Stanford lost grant money and asked the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which accredits zoos for their commitment to wildlife, to help find them homes.
Now, the 3- to 5-pound monkeys are nearing the end of their mandatory quarantine before they can join the other animals at the zoo.
"They were in a research facility where they do not allow anything that can’t be sterilized and didn’t have any natural elements," -primates curator Corinne MacDonald said. "We’re slowly introducing them to natural things. They’re loving it."
The entire group has been spread out among at least six other zoos.
"Part of it is capacity. We want to make sure we have appropriate habitats and natural social groupings," zoo association

Leopard transferred to national rescue station
A five-year-old leopard, listed in Vietnam's Red Book of critically endangered species, was transferred to Cat Tien National Park in Dong Nai Province on Monday, after having lived in a protected area at the Cu Chi Rescue Centre for two years.
In late 2008, the Forest Protection Division in Vinh Long Province rescued the animal from a private household, where it was being illegally kept. It was later sent to the centre's Wildlife Rescue Station for rehabilitation, according to Nguyen Chuong, deputy director of the centre.
Chuong said the rescue station for large cats in Cat Tien National Park offered better facilities for rehabilitation of leopards before they are released into the wild.
In late 2006, the Forest Protection Division in HCM City set up the rescue station with financial and technical assistance from the HCM City-based nonprofit organization Wildlife at Risk (WAR).
The station, the first of its kind in southern Vietnam

Orang-utans 'like looking back at zoo visitors'
Orang-utans in zoos may enjoy watching us as much as we enjoy watching them, scientists believe.
Researchers found that the apes appear to be stimulated by the sight of humans outside their enclosures.
A study of orang-utan behaviour suggests that just like many of us they regard "people watching" as a pleasurable way to spend an afternoon.
The discovery was made after experiments with five orang-utans at Australia's Melbourne Zoo. In the tests, the viewing window onto their enclosure was either left completely open or half covered.
This gave the apes the option of hiding behind the concealed part of the window if they wanted to protect their privacy.
But far from avoiding the prying eyes of the public, they preferred to sit in full view looking back at the humans.
Figures compiled by the University of Melbourne showed that they spent four times longer watching people than

Big Cats Obsess Over Calvin Klein's 'Obsession for Men'
A Certain Animal Magnetism Makes the Fragrance a Hit With Zoos
To wine and dine Sasha, a 450-pound Siberian tiger at the Bronx Zoo, try serving beef and rabbit. To lure him for a snack, whip out the frozen treats his zookeepers call "bloodcicles." But to really get his olfactory engines running, you need the secret weapon: Calvin Klein's Obsession for Men.

Ragunan to have four new animal species
The Ragunan Zoo in South Jakarta will have four new animals in its collection by the end of this year as a part of a cooperation program with a European zoo launched earlier this year.
The zoo’s public relations head Wahyudi Bambang told The Jakarta Post Monday the zoo would get a capuchin monkey, a ring-tailed lemur, a marmoset and an ostrich from Hungary’s Nyireghazi Allatpark Sosto Zoo.
“Last month, we received a male zebra from the zoo and have recently put it together with our female zebras,” he said.
In February, Ragunan lent a pair of Komodo Dragons to the Hungarian

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The 17th issue of the Journal of Threatened Taxa is online at http://www.threatenedtaxa.org/ 


1st Southeast Asian Animal Enrichment & Training Workshop
4 -7 October 2010

Hosted by: Wildlife Reserves Singapore
In partnership with: Active Environments and Shape of Enrichment
Instructors: Gail Laule & Valerie Hare
Chair of Organising Committee: Diana Marlena

Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) is pleased to announce the 1st Southeast Asian Animal Enrichment & Training Workshop. This unique four-day workshop will present an array of topics relating to animal behavioural management with particular emphasis on environmental enrichment, positive reinforcement training techniques and problem-solving processes. The workshop is open to zookeepers, aquarists, managers, supervisors, curators, and veterinarians from the Southeast Asian and Australasian region.

The workshop will be conducted in English and will include both theoretical and practical aspects through discussions, small group projects, demonstrations, and hands-on enrichment and training opportunities with WRS’ diverse animal collection at the Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo. Skills taught will enhance the participants’ ability to manage captive animal behaviour, enhance animal welfare, and improve the management of captive animals.

Participants who complete this workshop will be equipped with the basic knowledge and skills to allow them to apply these animal enrichment and training techniques in their home institutions. The workshop format is designed to maximise learning outcomes for each participant and by addressing specific needs and objectives.

Have fun while you interact, brainstorm and participate!

A registration fee of SGD$520 includes the following:
 All workshop material, including a copy of Don’t Shoot the Dog
 All lunch and tea breaks during the workshop
 Icebreaker and closing banquet
 Transportation between hotel and the workshop venue
 Tote bag and commemorative t-shirt
 A certificate of accomplishment
 A one-year free on-line subscription to The Shape of Enrichment

For further information contact:
Diana Marlena
Singapore Zoo
Tel: +65-6360 8601
Fax: +65-6365 2331
Email: diana@zoo.com.sg

Thank you and we hope to see you in Singapore!

Fanny Lai
Group CEO
Wildlife Reserves Singapore


A Very Generous Offer


Once upon a time (maybe 10 years ago) you had someone offer about 10 years worth of the AZA Publication on your list, for free. As a zookeeper, just starting out, I was so happy to respond to that and receive all that information!!! Well, now it is my chance to pass it on. I have 10 years worth of the AAZK Forum, from February 1999-March 2010, that I am willing to send to someone who promises to make good use of it. All I ask is that they go to a person willing to pass them on when they are done with them (which is what I did with the AZA magazines, way back when), or even to a zoo library where all the staff may make use of it. I checked with the local zoo here, and they already have all of those volumes in their library already, so were not interested. If you could please advertise this in Zoo News Digest, I hope to reach a wider audience... I am located in Indiana, USA, though would be willing to send anywhere depending on postage (the most I can afford is probably $20 US postage). You may give out my email address, kmcmunn@comcast.net  and I just ask that they reply with their situation and intentions for use, and I will choose from the responses I get...

Thank you,



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