Earliest evidence of pet tortoise in Britain
Researchers have found the earliest archaeological evidence of a tortoise being kept as a family pet in Britain, at a castle in Staffordshire.
The find, which is reported in the journal Post Medieval Archaeology, dates to the late 19th Century.
The researchers say that, at this time, attitudes to keeping family pets "began to change".
"A fondness for pets was more regularly expressed in literature," the researchers wrote in their article.
There has been evidence of turtles and terrapins in domestic situations dating back to the 17th Century - but it was believed that these animals were used for food.
The discovery of a 130-year-old tortoise leg bone at Stafford Castle, amongst the remains of
Patna zoo on world rhino map
The Sanjay Gandhi Park came into the limelight due to high breeding of rhinos.
Ten years after the Sanjay Gandhi Zoological Park came into existence in Patna in 1969, a pair of rhino (Rhinocerous unicornis) - Kancha and Kanchi - was brought here from Guwahati. Three years later, or to be more precise - in 1982 - another rhino, Raju, was captured from Bettiah on Indo-Nepal border, and brought to the zoo.
Though the warm climate of Patna is not conducive for housing rhinos, Raju and Kanchi mated successfully and gave birth to a baby rhino after a long gestation period of 18 months. The year 1983 proved to be a turning point for the zoological park, as four more rhinos were born in successive years.
Three decades down the line, the Sanjay Gandhi Zoological Park here has six male and as many female rhinos. Today the zoo has second largest population of rhinos in the world.
“So far as the population of rhinos is concerned, the Patna zoo tops the list in India, and is second in the world after San Diego, (in US)” the zoo director Abhay Kumar told Deccan Herald, while dwelling at length on how there was a difference
Activists, businesses work to save orangutan
Why should we protect the orangutan? It is a frequently asked question when lay-people, including businesspeople, discuss the need to protect orangutans, Asia’s only great ape, which is greatly endangered.
People have also often raised the question that foreign countries could bar exports of palm oil products from Indonesia due to the loss of the orangutan. Conservationist Meirini Sucahyo from the Indonesian Orangutan Forum said the presence of orangutans reflected the health of a rainforest. “Orangutans play a crucial role in stabilizing forests,” she said. “They are effective seed dispersers; they open the forest canopy to let sunlight get to soil.”
“Humans need forests. Forests need orangutans, so we need orangutans.”
She said saving orangutans meant a myriad of other species living in rainforest could also be saved.
“I dream that the orangutan can be used as symbol to combat global warming in Indonesia,” she said.
The international community has acknowledged the role of forests in tackling climate change due to its ability to absorb huge amounts of greenhouse gas em
Barbary lion cubs born at animal park
Wednesday was a special day at Living Treasures Wild Animal Park, which welcomed the birth of a second litter of cubs to Barbary lions June and Cash.
This birth is special because Barbary lions, which are closely related to the more common African lions, have been extinct in the wild since 1922.
Barbary lions, also known as Atlas lions, were once native to the Atlas Mountains of North Africa but are now found only in a handful of zoos around the world, according to a release from the Lawrence County Tourist
ONLINE EXCLUSIVE - Attack on Toledo keeper rekindles debate on zoo elephants
The Toledo Zoo's star elephant, "Baby Louie," isn't quite so cute these days.
Since the 7-year-old African pachyderm attacked and critically injured his trainer, Don RedFox, on July 1, zoo employees have been keeping their distance, attending to him only from behind a protective barrier.
Zoo officials and experts have been puzzling over the attack, trying to understand why it happened.
"I think it was just a fluke at this particular time," Alan Roocroft, an international expert on elephants, said last week after an initial assessment of the issue. He said it didn't appear that the 4,000-pound animal intended to seriously harm RedFox, who had worked with the animal since its birth.
Although it may never be clear what motivated the attack, it has added fire to a debate among elephant experts, zoo administrators, and animal-rights activists about the suitability of keeping elephants in captive settings, particularly in cold climates such as Toledo's. It also has prompted demands from activists that the zoo review its elephant-handling methods.
A shifting landscape
Clearly, not all zoos have had an easy time keeping elephants. Over the last two decades, 18 zoos across the country have either closed their elephant exhibits or decided to phase them out, according to a list compiled by the California-based group In Defense of Animals. Reasons cited include lack of space or money to expand the exhibits, concerns about climate, and difficulties keeping the animals healthy. The zoos include the Alaska Zoo, the Bronx Zoo in New York, Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo, the Detroit Zoo, and the Philadelphia Zoo.
The Detroit Zoo is thought to be the first to close its elephant exhibit voluntarily and on purely ethical grounds. In 2005, the zoo sent its two Asian elephants, Winky, 51, and Wanda, 45, to an animal sanctuary in California. Executive Director Ron Kagan said the decision was made after years of trying to improve the elephants' environment and handling methods at the zoo, all of which failed.
"We finally said that, with every improvement we make, whether with space or protocol, none of those things seemed to ultimately lead to elephants thriving," Kagan explained. "We just said, if they're not going to thrive, we're not going to keep them."
He said the elephants at the zoo suffered from ailments common among elephants in captivity.
Those include foot and skin problems, psychological issues related to stress, such as pacing and swaying, reproductive problems, and short life spans.
The director linked those problems to lack of space for the animals compared with their habitat in the wild at the Detroit Zoo the elephant exhibit was 1.5 acres to restraints on social interaction with other elephants while in captivity and to chilly winters, which can lead to elephants spending a lot of time indoors.
"Captivity for a lot of animals presents challenges, just as certain captive situations present challenges for humans," Kagan said. "The issue is how you cope. Some cope well and others don't cope so well."
A question of stress
Although opinions on elephant behavior and coping skills vary among professionals, some experts believe space restrictions can lead to mental stress and even aggression.
Pat Derby, a founder of the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary in San Andreas, Calif., which took in the Detroit Zoo's duo among others, said she's seen a positive transformation in the behavior of zoo and circus elephants after they arrive at her 2,300-acre sanctuary.
"Elephants are so intelligent and they're so complex, they're just bored to tears in most zoos," said Derby, who has not visited the Toledo Zoo. "The effect of space and freedom of choice is huge it's miraculous."
Nevertheless, Anne Baker, executive director of the Toledo Zoo, strongly rejected the notion that Louie or the other two elephants at the zoo could be under stress. She said the elephants whose exhibit is 0.7 acre and will be expanded to just over 1 acre in 2012 receive plenty of stimulation and exercise and show no signs of mental stress. All of the elephants can go outdoors in the winter unless the ground is slippery, Baker said. "There's good evidence that elephants have a lot more problems with heat than they do with cold," the director said.
Baker said she thinks Louie's behavior was most likely the result of hormonal fluctuations as the young elephant approaches
Amazon river dolphins being slaughtered for bait
The bright pink color gives them a striking appearance in the muddy jungle waters. That Amazon river dolphins are also gentle and curious makes them easy targets for nets and harpoons as they swim fearlessly up to fishing boats.
Now, their carcasses are showing up in record numbers on riverbanks, their flesh torn away for fishing bait, causing researchers to warn of a growing threat to a species that has already disappeared in other parts of the world.
"The population of the river dolphins will collapse if these fishermen are not stopped from killing them," said Vera da Silva, the top aquatic mammals expert at the government's Institute of Amazonian Research. "We've been studying an area of 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) for 17 years, and of late the population is dropping 7 percent each year."
That translates to about 1,500 dolphins killed annually in the part of the Mamiraua Reserve of the western Amazon where da Silva studies the mammals.
Da Silva said researchers first began finding dolphin carcasses along riverbanks around the year 2000. They were obviously killed by
Screw cap wine blamed for loss of forest in new campaign to revive traditional cork
The fashion for screw cap wines among the middle classes is destroying forests and could lead to the extinction of one of world's rarest wildcats, ecologists claim.
It used to be unthinkable to start a dinner party without a satisfying ‘pop’ of the cork.
But the popularity of ‘New World’ wines from Australia or America and the convenience of opening a picnic bottle without a corkscrew led to a rise in the popularity of screw caps.
Now cork suppliers and environmentalists are fighting back claiming the move is threatening the two million hectares of forest across Portugal, Spain, North Africa and Italy which are sustained through industry management.
The area includes the Montada forest which is considered one of the 'biodiversity hot spots' of the world where some of the world's most endangered animals live including the Iberian lynx.
In just 0.1 hectare of
Africa's national parks failing to conserve large mammals, study shows
Populations of zebra, buffalo and lion have fallen by an average of 59% since 1970, according to research
Africa's extensive network of national parks is failing to stem the decline of large mammals, according to a new study that highlights biodiversity loss across the continent.
Populations of large mammals such as zebra, buffalo and lion have declined by an average of 59% since 1970, according to the research, which collated data from parks including popular tourist safari destinations such as the Masai Mara in Kenya and the Serengeti in Tanzania.
The study warns that urgent efforts are needed to better protect the animals and secure the future of the parks, which draw millions of tourists each year and provide much-needed income.
Ian Cragie, a conservation scientist at the University of Cambridge who led the study, said: "Although the results indicate that African national parks have generally failed to maintain their populations of large mammals, the situation outside the parks is undoubtedly worse. Many species like rhino are practically extinct outside national parks."
The team of scientists, including experts from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the United Nations environment programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge, compiled population records of 69 key species, including lion, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra and buffalo, inside 78 protected areas across Africa from 1970 to 2005. More than half the records came from aerial surveys, the most accurate but also the most expensive way to monitor.
The results show an average decline of 59%, though the results varied significantly from region to region. Eleven parks in west Africa were the hardest hit, with a decline of 85%. Mammal species populations across 43 protected areas in east Africa fell by more than half, while those in 35 reserves in southern Africa showed
Tiger conservation discussed in Bali, Indonesia
Officials from 13 countries are meeting in Bali, Indonesia, to agree on ways to try to double the number of tigers in the world.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) conservation group has warned that a lack of global action could kill off the endangered species.
Hunting and a loss of habitat had cut numbers to about 3,200 tigers - the lowest ever.
The Bali Tiger Forum is a precursor to a planned global summit in December.
There is a particular focus on China, where a huge demand for tiger parts fopr consumption has fuelled a drop in numbers.
Conservationists are concerned about the proliferation of Chinese tiger farms, where 5,000 tigers are kept in captivity - they say this spurs the trade in tiger parts, and demand for illegally caught wild tigers.
Representatives from China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Russia and Thailand
Dr Bivash Pandav, landscape co-ordinator for the WWF tiger network initiative in Nepal, said political
Europe's oldest elephant dies at Stuttgart zoo
Stuttgart's Wilhelma zoo on Monday was mourning the death of Vilja, the oldest elephant in Europe, after the 61-year-old cow passed away this weekend
The extraordinary long-living pachyderm collapsed suddenly and subsequently fell into a ditch within its enclosure, officials at the zoo said.
“We are very sad but we are glad that Vilja did not suffer,” said Wilhelma director Dieter Jauch.
A wrinkly and clever lady, the Indian elephant was long a crowd favourite. She arrived in Stuttgart in 1952 and was the first mammal at the zoo.
Visitors are said to have seen Vilja collapse on Saturday when her front legs suddenly gave way and she fell.
Zookeeper Volker Scholl said that there had been no signs of any illness or particular weakness in the days before her death.
He said she had naturally aged and slowed down, but lately she was very fit and active. On Saturday morning, she
Environmentalists to set up trust fund to save dolphins
Eight wildlife conservation and environmental protection organizations from central Changhua County announced yesterday the establishment of an environmental trust fund to purchase a vast wetland to save the Taiwan Sousa, also known as the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinesis), living along Taiwan's west coast.
They presented a petition to the Ministry of the Interior with signatures from more than 30,000 people supporting the cause.
This is the first ever campaign in Taiwan launched by environmentalists to purchase state land to be reserved for the endangered animals in the form of an environmental trust.
The organizers also held a rally in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei to urge the government to respect the people's wish to safeguard the rare dolphins, commonly known as “white dolphins” for local people.
Under the plan, they will raise about NT$160 million to purchase a tract of 200 hectares of wetland near the estuarine waters of the Choshui River in
Governmental commission to investigate Kiev Zoo deaths
Numerous deaths of animals in the Kiev Zoo raised strong concern from the Ukrainian Ministry of Environmental Protection and forced it to create a special commission to investigate the case.
A female gaur buffalo, a bison, an Amur tiger, an Asian black bear, a zebra, an armadillo and 13 large birds have died since January 2010 and an endangered Mongolian wild horse, a Przewalski horse, vanished.
On April 26, the Kiev Zoo's symbol, an elephant by the name of Boy died. Local media reported that the animal was allegedly poisoned.
"The commission will examine in detail the zoo's collection, and the living conditions for the animals...Additional investigations will be held if necessary," a statement issued by the Environmental Protection Ministry on Monday said.
Experts say the zoo is in a miserable state, but the zoo's management does not see any fault in the bad treatment of the
How Long Can a Rhino’s Horn Grow?
The horn on a rhinoceros is very different from that of a sheep or antelope. A rhino’s horn is not attached to the skull. Rhino horn is made of compressed keratin fibers, the same material that is found in fingernails and hair! Some people believe that rhino horn has powerful medicinal uses, ranging from stopping nosebleeds and headaches to curing diphtheria and food poisoning, but there is no scientific evidence that this is true. The use of rhino horn for medical purposes has been illegal since 1993. Trade continues, however, and is driving the illegal poaching of endangered rhinos. Asian rhino horns are more highly prized than African horns; consumers believe that their smaller size means that they are more concentrated, and therefore more potent. One repeated misconception is that rhinoceros horn in powdered form is used as an aphrodisiac in traditional Chinese medicine. It is, in fact, generally prescribed for fevers and convulsions. The horns are also valued as dagger handles in Middle Eastern countries like Yemen, where they are known as “jambiyas.”
To prevent poaching in certain areas, rhinos have been tranquilized and their horns removed. Many rhino range states have stockpiles of rhino horn, which needs to be carefully managed.
The African and the Asian rhinoceroses have some distinct characteristics. Morphologically, one obvious difference is that both African varieties have two horns in tandem, while the Sumatran rhino has two horns, but one typically is a stub, and the other two Asian types, Greater one-horned and Javan rhinos, have a single horn. Behaviorally
New man in charge of Clifton Zoo says, 'Wildlife park will go ahead in five years'
THE new man in charge of Clifton Zoo has revealed he hopes a giant wildlife park in South Gloucestershire will still open within next five years, even though fund-raising efforts have been delayed by the recession.
The £60 million park near Cribbs Causeway was originally due to open in 2012 but Dr Bryan Carroll, who will formally take control of the zoo in September, says fundraising has been delayed.
The current deputy director is replacing Jo Gipps and will take charge of the ambitious plans to open the huge park close to junction 17 of the M4.
The 136-acre site is already owned by the zoo and planning permission
Siberian tiger threatened by mystery disease
Conservationists say an epidemic is destroying the big cats' ability to hunt and turning them into potential man-eaters
A mystery disease is driving the Siberian tiger to the edge of extinction and has led to the last animal tagged by conservationists being shot dead in the far east of Russia because of the danger it posed to people.
The 10-year-old tigress, known to researchers as Galya, is the fourth animal that has had a radio collar attached to it for tracking to die in the past 10 months. All had been in contact with a male tiger suspected of carrying an unidentified disease that impaired the ability to hunt. "We may be witnessing an epidemic in the Amur tiger population," said Dr Dale Miquelle, the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) Russia director.
Galya had recently abandoned a three-week-old litter of cubs and come into the town of Terney looking for an easy meal. Following a series of all-night vigils by researchers, attempts to scare the tigress away failed. She was reported to the Primorsky
Thirteen countries meet for tiger summit
Representatives from 13 countries have gathered in Bali to develop a plan to preserve their tiger populations from extinction due to massive habitat destruction and illegal trading.
The three-day Pre-Tiger Summit Partners Dialogue Meeting, which was opened Monday by Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan, is a preparatory meeting in advance of a heads of government meeting to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia, in September.
“It is alarming that only six of the nine tiger sub-species in the world still exist. In Indonesia, only Sumatran tigers are left. The other two sub-species in Indonesia have become extinct,” Zulkifli said in his opening remarks.
Participants will jointly formulate a draft Global Tiger Recovery Plan which will propose a plan to double the world’s tiger population by 2022, according to a representative.
The summit will also draft a declaration for the heads of government meeting, which will be attended by Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Zulkifli said that Indonesia still lacked monitoring on the ground
Tiger population 'falls to lowest level since records began'
Tiger numbers are at lowest level since records began, with conservationists warning that the world has 12 years to save the species
The WWF announced today that the wild tiger population has now fallen as low as 3,200, down from an estimated 100,000 in 1900.
The big cat, which is native to southern and eastern Asia, could soon become extinct unless urgent action is taken to prevent hunting and loss of habitat, the charity’s experts warned.
The WWF is calling on governments in countries where tigers are still found – including China, India and Bangladesh – to fulfil their commitment to double tiger numbers by 2022.
It has also urged Britons to put pressure on “tiger nations” by signing a new online petition saying they do not want to live in a world without the animals.
Diane Walkington, head of species at WWF-UK, said: "Without joined-up, global action right now, we are in serious danger of losing the species forever in many parts of Asia.
She went on: "If we lose the tiger, not only do we lose one of the world's top
Tiger Farms: A Ticket To Extinction - WWF
Welcome to the savage and surprising world of Zoo Story, an unprecedented account of the secret life of a zoo and its inhabitants, both animal and human. Based on six years of research, the book follows a handful of unforgettable characters at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo: an alpha chimp with a weakness for blondes, a ferocious tiger who revels in Obsession perfume, and a brilliant but tyrannical CEO known as El Diablo Blanco.
Zoo Story crackles with issues of global urgency: the shadow of extinction, humanity's role in the destruction or survival of other species. More than anything else, though, it's a dramatic and moving true story of seduction and betrayal, exile and loss, and the limits of freedom on an overcrowded planet--all framed inside one zoo reinventing itself for the twenty-first century.
Thomas French, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, chronicles the action with vivid power: Wild elephants soaring above the Atlantic on their way to captivity. Predators circling each other in a lethal mating dance. Primates plotting the overthrow of their king. The sweeping narrative takes the reader from the African savannah to the forests of Panama and deep into the inner workings of a place some describe as a sanctuary and others condemn as a prison. All of it comes to life in the book's four-legged characters. Even animal lovers will be startled by the emotional charge of these creatures' histories, which read as though they were co-written by Dickens and Darwin.
Zoo Story shows us how these remarkable individuals live, how some die, and what their experiences reveal about the human desire to both exalt and control nature.
The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is rejecting an offer of a live-streaming webcam that would allow people to watch the elephants at the International Conservation Center near Fairhope.
“We will continue to work with the news media and the Philadelphia Zoo to provide updates on the elephants at the ICC,” said Connie George, director of marketing and public relations.
The Friends of Philly Zoo Elephants and In Defense of Animals (IDA) had offered to fund a live webcam that would enable the public to view former Philadelphia residents Kallie and Bette any time. The organizations opposed the elephants’ transfer to the Somerset County center.
“Kallie and Bette should be sent to a natural-habitat sanctuary, where they would have a spacious permanent home and the stability that elephants need,” Catherine Doyle, IDA
Lion, wolves and bears draw the crowds at Baghdad pet shop
Sabah Alazawi is doing a roaring trade these days at his Baghdad pet shop -- and not only because he has a lion for sale. Along with dogs, he also offers bears, wolves, monkeys and vultures.
While hundreds of people visit his menagerie daily, most are there because it offers a free alternative to an outing to the zoo, rather than to buy.
But Alazawi, an ex-soldier who has long harboured a passion for wild animals, doesn't mind in the least.
"Children and families are depressed in Iraq. I am proud to give some happiness to these people," he says, as crowds mill around his pet shop in Mashatel street, a leafy thoroughfare in northern Baghdad's Adhamiyah district.
Jutting out on to the pavement are three cages that serve as the homes respectively of two young bears, a lion cub and a pair of baboons.
Another monkey, chained at the leg, hops from one cage to another while two vultures are tied to their perch nearby, completing the strange
Do Animals Commit Suicide? A Scientific Debate
Forty years ago, Richard O'Barry watched Kathy, a dolphin in the 1960s television show Flipper, kill herself. Or so he says. She looked him in the eye, sank to the bottom of a steel tank and stopped breathing. The moment transformed the dolphin trainer into an animal-rights activist for life, and his role in The Cove, the Oscar-winning documentary about the dolphin-meat business in a small town in Japan, has transformed him into a celebrity.
"The suicide was what turned me around," says O'Barry. "The [animal entertainment] industry doesn't want people to think dolphins are capable of suicide, but these are self-aware creatures with a brain larger than a human brain. If life becomes so unbearable, they just don't take the next breath. It's suicide."
Animal suicide may seem absurd, yet the concept is as old as philosophy. Aristotle told a story about a stallion that leaped into an abyss after realizing it was duped into mating with its mother, and the topic was discussed by early Christian theologians and Victorian academics. "The questioning of animal suicide is essentially people looking at what it means to be human," says Duncan Wilson, a medical historian at the University of Manchester and co-author of a study in the March issue of the British journal Endeavour on the history of self-destructive animals. "The people talking about animal suicide today seem to be using it as a way to evoke sympathy for the plight of mistreated and captive animals."
Changes in how humans have interpreted
'Monastic' Malagasy bat mystifies experts
A monastic species of bat is mystifying zoologists.
The bat, known as the sucker-footed bat, lives in Madagascar, and although it has long been known, its ecology is only just being researched.
But new studies of the bat have revealed a curious phenomenon; they have yet to reveal a single female sucker-foot bat, despite having caught or sighted hundreds of males.
No-one knows where the females live, or why they sexually segregate this way.
Details of the monastic bat are published in the Journal of Zoology.
The sucker-footed bat (Myzopoda aurita) is named after the sucker-like structures on the ends
Blind monkey gives birth at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park
Clinging tightly to his mum, this cute little new-born monkey has no idea the beloved parent he relies on is virtually blind.
But, according to keepers at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, it doesn’t matter – proud Tolkien tends to all his needs.
Staff at the park have been amazed at how the "remarkable" nine-year-old parent, who had cataracts, has taken
Drunk takes croc for a Ride
A CROCODILE snapped after a drunk man broke into an animal park — and tried to RIDE him.
The reveller was left with "very nasty lacerations" after the angry 16ft beast turned on him and clamped its jaw around his leg.
The 37-year-old tourist had clambered on to the back of the croc, named Fatso, who retaliated by starting to try and EAT him.
Cops are amazed the man, who has not been named, escaped with such minor injuries.
He told officials that after
Advocate upset at croc reporting
A mental health worker has attacked some sections of the commercial media over the reporting of a crocodile attack on a man in the West Australian town of Broome.
Michael Newman survived an attack after breaking into a wildlife park while drunk and trying to sit on the back of a five metre crocodile.
The former chair of the state forensic mental health advisory council, Ken Steel, says he has been appalled by the reporting of the story.
"He's been named called, he's had various derogatory terms ascribed to him because of some of his appearance and sometimes because of the action he took," he said.
"If you go beyond that it is obvious that the man has some sort of problem, he's not in full control of his faculties."
Mr Steel says the media should
Chinese Consume Tigers, Americans Eat Bluefin Tuna: What's the Difference?
Dishes like pangolin stew, shark fin soup, and tiger bone wine may seem like strange dinner choices. But they're actually quite common in China, despite the fact that all these food items include endangered species as their main ingredient. For the most part, they're also illegal. As Andy Revkin reports on the New York Times' Dot Earth blog, Chinese government agencies recently seized 2,000 frozen pangolins, a seriously endangered anteater that's poached illegally for its scales.
A similar situation takes place throughout Africa with the bushmeat trade. Eating species like gorilla and chimpanzee — apes with some pretty low population numbers — is a big part of some African cultures. Revkin puts it best when he comments on the situation in China. "Depletion of such exotica — from scaly, slow-moving mammals to rare turtles to tigers — erodes the basic biological patrimony of the planet for the sake of supplying consumers with an utter indulgence."
Not to sound culturally imperialistic, but I agree with Revkin. Eating endangered species is pretty much the most unsustainable diet a person can embrace. And Revkin and I aren't alone in our assessment: Many Americans are quick to judge
Chinese customs officials seize thousands of dead pangolins
Nearly eight tonnes of endangered anteaters found on ship were destined for the dinner table, authorities say
Chinese authorities have intercepted one of the biggest ever hauls of illegally smuggled pangolins, which were almost certainly destined for the dinner table.
Customs officials in Guangdong boarded a suspect fishing vessel and seized 2,090 frozen pangolin and 92 cases of the endangered anteater's scales on 5 June, according to the conservation group Traffic, who have commended authorities for their work.
Police have arrested the six crew members, including five Chinese nationals who reportedly said they were hired to collect the contraband from south-east Asia and ship it to Xiangzhou port in Guangdong.
The other Malaysian crew member was said to have received instructions by satellite phone on where to rendezvous at sea to pick up the cargo. The smugglers were intercepted as they prepared to offload the nearly eight tonnes of pangolin to another vessel off Gaolan island.
According to wildlife groups, China is the main market for illegally traded exotic species, which are eaten or used in traditional medicine.
Pangolin meat is considered a delicacy and their scales are thought locally to be beneficial to breast-feeding mothers.
As a result of demand, the pangolin populations of China, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have been virtually wiped out. With traders moving further and further south, the animal is declining even in its last habitats in Java, Sumatra and the Malaysian peninsula. It is a similar story for many species of turtle, tortoise, frog and snake.
China's customs officials have often been criticised for turning a blind eye to this trade, which supplies the
Detroit Zoo director climbs water tower
Detroit Zoo Executive Director Ron Kagan wanted to bring attention to the zoo's most powerful landmark -- its water tower -- so he climbed it.
At 11:17 a.m. today, Kagan began his ascent of the 150-foot structure at Woodward Avenue and 10 Mile that is in the midst of a $200,000 makeover. Using a harness and safety clamps in each hand, Kagan reached a walkway at the base of the water tower about 100 feet up, which completed his walk.
He performed a similar climb in 1999 when the tower had completed
Ducks, gorillas living together at Chicago zoo
In literature, some animals don't get along, like the 'Tortoise' and the 'Hare' or the 'Big Bad Wolf' and the 'Three Little Pigs.' However, "The Ducks and the Gorillas" get along just fine in a modern-day fairy tale playing out at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Once upon a time in the Land of Lincoln Park Zoo, a mother mallard duck made her nest and laid her eggs and raised her family right in the middle of the gorilla exhibit. Six gorillas lived there, and all of them were powerful and strong and the kings and queens of their animal world. But mother duck and her ducklings don't seem to be bothered at all by gorilla royalty. In fact, it looks like ducks and gorillas are birds of a feather.
"We had a duck, a mallard, show up last year, and wouldn't you know she's here again. She laid her eggs, and we've got five ducklings and the mother, and they are actually co-existing with the gorillas," said Maureen Leahy, curator
Helpful dog feeds four white tiger cubs at a zoo in China
At a zoo in Taiyuan, China, the birth of quadruplet white tiger cubs on June 20 was an exciting event. Unfortunately, their inexperienced mother couldn't figure out how to nurse them, and the cubs were at risk of dying from lack of food.
Enter a loving dog. Zookeepers found a mother dog who had recently given birth and brought the dog in to nurse the two male and two female cubs.
White tigers are very rare, with only several hundred left in the wild.
Despite the commonly held belief that dogs and cats don't get along, this kind
White tiger cubs born in Indore zoo
The Indore zoo saw the birth of two white tiger cubs on Wednesday. With only 34 white tigers left in the country, the birth of these cubs has ushered new hopes for the dwindling species.
A tigress named Sita that was brought from Aurangabad two years ago gave birth to the cubs. The doctor confirmed that the mother and the cubs are perfectly healthy.
A year ago, the tigress gave birth to three cubs, one of which recently died.
Out of the 34 white tigers in the country, 6 are in
Read more at: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/white-tiger-cubs-born-in-indore-zoo-37468?cp
Levy foundation opposes wolf plan
Are wolves coming to the Leon Levy Preserve in South Salem? Maybe not. The Wolf Conservation Center’s highly-touted new home at the corner of Route 121 and Route 35 has hit a snag, as the Jerome Levy Foundation — which donated a significant amount of the funds to purchase the preserve, and is run by the widow and brother of Leon Levy — has come out against the proposal, but the town seems to be backing up the wolf center.
Councillor hits out at zoo boss U-turn
Councillor Eric Wood, who represents Barrow Island on Barrow Borough Council as well as being a member of the planning committee, said Mr Gill had wrongly blamed the borough council for delays in the planning process.
The Evening Mail revealed last week Mr Gill intends to sell the zoo after his £3.6m expansion plan was delayed until August after the council’s planning committee said it needed more information before it could proceed with the application.
But Cllr Wood said: “The reason he (Mr Gill) can’t move forward at this moment in time is that the Highways Agency have put a stopping order on it, which is nothing to do with Barrow Borough Council.
“We can’t process anything without Highways Agency permission.
“All the flack is directed at the council
Park staff are in mourning as lion cubs die
UPSET staff at one of the borough's biggest tourist attractions are mourning the death of two lion cubs.
The newborns at Yorkshire Wildlife Park tragically died after appearing to be rejected by their mother.
Earlier this year the park in Warning Tongue Lane, Branton, successfully completed a mission to rescue 13 lions from a Romanian zoo and
Police warn of big cat sighting in woodland
POLICE issued a warning yesterday after a large, black cat was spotted in woods in the Highlands.
The animal, which is said to be about the size of a German shepherd dog, was seen by a dog walker at Inshriach, near Kincraig.
Last night Shaun Stevens, a researcher for Big Cats in Britain, said it was not surprising that the cat was seen close to the Highland Wildlife Park, which is home to other large felines.
Mr Stevens, who lives in Campbeltown, Argyll, said: “We do get regular reports of big cats in that area. It’s interesting that it’s also near the wildlife park.
"We got a report from Dartmoor where the owner of the wildlife park was hearing big cat calls outside of his park. When they’re breeding, they smell
Cooperation Urged to Bring Indonesia’s Dwindling Orangutans Back From Brink
Conservationists, wildlife experts and government officials are set to meet today at an international conference in Bali to save the orangutan from extinction.
The International Workshop on Orangutan Conservation, which will run through Friday at the beachside resort town of Sanur, is aimed at stabilizing the habitat and populations of both the Sumatran and Bornean subspecies by 2017, as well as completing a three-year-old rehabilitation program to release previously captive orangutans back into the wild by 2015.
However, the chief of the Borneo Orangutan Survival foundation, Bungaran Saragih, on Wednesday said that very little progress had been made toward either goal.
“First, there are still no visible signs of stabilization of orangutan habitats or their populations,” he said.
“Second, the rehabilitation
Tiger kills man in Indonesia's Aceh province
A tiger mauled a man to death in Aceh province on Indonesia's northern island of Sumatra, state media said Thursday.
The victim, Cut Hasan, 48, is believed to have been attacked Tuesday while herding buffaloes in Pidie district, the state-run Antara news agency
USDA inspector questions Dallas zoo official about zebra death
An inspector from the federal agency overseeing animal welfare paid an unannounced visit to the Dallas Zoo on Tuesday, questioning an official there about the death of a zebra last weekend.
Zoo deputy director Lynn Kramer said he met with a representative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for about a half-hour.
He said they discussed the zebra's death, which occurred Saturday when the animal apparently panicked and broke its neck running into the side of a holding pen.
Kramer said it was unclear what
Former zoo vet to speak out
Former Topeka Zoo veterinarian Shirley Y. Llizo has scheduled a news conference for Friday afternoon, but she and her Overland Park-based attorney wouldn't elaborate on the topic Thursday.
Llizo and former director Mike Coker left the zoo after two critical federal inspection reports cited the zoo for animal deaths and insufficient record keeping.
"At this point in time, as far as I am aware, there is a pending arbitration," said current zoo director Brendan Wiley, so he couldn't speak about the matter.
Llizo's employment ended in October 2009. She had joined the staff as the sole veterinarian in 2006.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture report from late September 2009 faulted the zoo for lax veterinary care and inadequate record keeping related to the deaths of animals in past
Former zoo vet ordered reinstated
An arbitrator has ruled a former Topeka Zoo veterinarian was dismissed for reasons that "lacked just cause" and is to be promptly returned to her position.
The attorney representing veterinarian Shirley Llizo said Friday he expects the city and the zoo to abide by what he said was binding arbitration and restore Llizo to her position in a timely manner.
Whether that will happen anytime soon remains a question.
"I have seen it, and I know it's still under the jurisdiction of an arbitrator," zoo director Brendan Wiley said of the order issued July 8. "We haven't talked about it in great detail yet, but we will do what we're directed to do to be in compliance."
Llizo's employment ended in October 2009. She had joined the staff as the sole veterinarian in 2006.
Llizo was fired after a U.S. Department of Agriculture annual review of the zoo faulted the facility and its vet for keeping expired medications in its pharmacy and emergency medical kit and for a failure to maintain adequate records regarding animal care. In her notice of discharge, Llizo also was told she had provided false information to USDA investigators regarding budget matters and had "demonstrated a lack of professional courtesy" during the survey.
But Kansas City-based arbitrator Mark Berger, after three days of hearings, ruled in a 21-page decision there was no evidence presented that Llizo ever used an expired medication on an animal.
Moreover, he ruled that a computer outage — described as a "catastrophic" failure by the city's information technology department — wiped out two years of records that weren't properly backed up. The crash occurred in May 2009, shortly before the surprise USDA inspection, and
Jeremy Keeling: the monkey man's dark secret
For 50 years, Jeremy Keeling, one of the world's foremost experts on primates, harboured a terrible secret, he tells Cassandra Jardine.
For 50 years, Jeremy Keeling kept his secret. During that time he became one of the foremost experts on primates in the world, but also saw four marriages end in divorce. His relationships were poisoned, like his early life, by the secret he felt he could not talk about, even to a wife.
His friend, Jim Cronin, with whom he set up the only ape rescue centre in the world, knew that Jeremy was dragging around a huge psychological burden. But it was only three years ago that Keeling, shortly after his 50th birthday, took a deep breath and spat it out. "I was sexually abused by my mother," he told
John's story unfolds against the backdrop of a rapidly changing post-war world where rising populations and increasing demands on natural resources place huge pressure on wildlife. Recognising that captive breeding populations may be the only way to save many species, he established several successful herds at Marwell. The roan antelope, reintroduced to Swaziland, Scimitar horned oryx and the famous Przewalski's wild horse, are among the animals that have benefited from John's efforts.
His account describes how Marwell developed from small beginnings, with all the planning, financial and operational headaches that entailed. He tells of the necessary balancing act between conservation of the animals and the historic Marwell Hall; the need to make the enterprise pay; and how, because of his determination that Marwell should itself be safe, he formed a charitable Trust to which he gave the entire zoo.
Throughout this book, John's 'can-do' attitude to tackling one of Planet Earth's greatest challenges shines through and, as he now enjoys a well-earned retirement, John Knowles can be justly proud of what Marwell has achieved.
Emerging from obscurity, ten previously unnamed British species are now enjoying some long-awaited limelight as the results of the competition to give them popular names were announced today (Saturday 17 July).
The Queen’s executioner, sea piglet and witches’ whiskers were previously only known as Megapenthes lugens, Arrhis phylonyx and Usnea florida, respectively. They now join the ranks of the more familiar shepherd’s purse, swallowtail and foxglove, now having popular names that describe their characteristics.
Thousands of people submitted entries in response to the Name a Species competition organised by Natural England, The Guardian and The Oxford University Museum of Natural History. The competition invited the public to give popular names to ten species of British beetle, bees, jellyfish, shrimps and lichens, all of which are endangered and all of which have until now been listed only in Latin.
The competition follows the earlier publication by Natural England of Lost life - a report that showed that 430 species have become extinct in England in the last 200 years – and the subsequent call by George Monbiot, author and Guardian comment writer, for a competition to enable
Packing the trunk: how to get an elephant to the UAE
How do you buy an elephant? And once you have bought your elephant, how do you pack up your pachyderm and get it home?
These are not questions that trouble most of us, but they could soon be asked by the Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort.
Officials at the zoo say they are looking at the logistics involved in obtaining an elephant after receiving numerous requests from visitors.
According to Dr Michael Maunder, the chief collection, conservation and education officer of the park, “our visitor surveys tell us that our guests want to see elephants.”
The zoo’s African mixed exhibit already
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.
http://www.zoolex.org/ in July 2010
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Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!
NEW EXHIBIT PRESENTATION
Eagle Canyon at Oregon Zoo is an exhibit complex featuring a forest habitat in the Northwest of the United States of America. Bald eagles and salmon are the focus of the education program about healthy watersheds and native wild animals.
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION OF FRESH ZOO ANIMAL FOOD
Kevin Frediani, Curator Plants and Gardens at Paignton Zoo, presented a new system for vertical gardening at the 2010 conference of the EAZA Horticulture Group (EZG) in Budapest. A pilot project of the VertiCrop system by the company Valcent (EU) Ltd. was installed at Paignton Zoo in 2009 to grow fresh leaf crops for zoo animals. The aim is to provide an economical regular supply of fresh green leaves with improved nutritional value for the zoo's animals.
FREDIANI, Kevin (2010) Crop Production. Feeding time at the zoo. The Horticulturist, April 2010, pp 12-15. Institute of Horticulture. Enfield, United Kingdom of Great Britain.
We keep working on ZooLex ...
The ZooLex Zoo Design Organization is a non-profit organization registered in Austria (ZVR-Zahl 933849053). ZooLex runs a professional zoo design website and distributes this newsletter. More information and contact: http://www.zoolex.org/about.html
We want to thank the family of the late Heidi Frohring for their generous donation of $1,000.00 from the W.O. and G.L. Frohring Foundation to the Tapir Preservation Fund (TPF). This donation has allowed TPF's perpetual Heidi Frohring Memorial Fund to enact the current call for proposals, which will result in the award of $1,000.00 to a tapir conservation project selected by TPF in September. We expect the successful outcome of this call for proposals to become a model for future fundraising and grants by TPF, and we look forward to receiving your proposals.
Every Friday in August, ZSL London Zoo will open its doors after hours to give you a Friday night out with a difference.
Make it a truly special night out by treating yourself to a picnic by celebrity chef Angela Hartnett.
Zoo Lates tickets will be active from 5pm.
Last admission time is 8pm.
Family Saver discount is not available on these tickets.
Over the last couple of months cee4life has uncovered more of the ongoing debacle, illegal and inhumane practices of the Tiger Temple, Thailand.
Through the dedication and bravery of a group of people, who will remain anonymous for now, the secretive and illegal behind the scenes practices of the Tiger Temple continues.
Throughout 2009 and 2010, the Tiger Temple has worked on building a new facilty in Pattaya initially to be called Tiger Paradise. This place is targeted to hold 100 tigers. This information was uncovered by cee4life in early 2010.
Over the last 6months the Tiger Temple has continued to pour the 'donations' from the public, and a vast amount of the revenue from the Tiger Temple Kanchanaburi, into the 2nd location.
This has been, as always, without the TT Kanchanaburi being finished. When I say that it is not finished I mean the following:
* The tigers remain locked inside their cement cages (as seen in photographs)
* There is no enrichment
* Their diet continues to be lacking in every element, (nutritional and vitamin) needed for a captive carnivore
* The tigers continue to suffer from various preventable illnesses and injuries, with absolutely NO correct veterinary care being given. An example of this a below
Weya: Weya has suffered from a treatable and preventable haematoma and agonising painful growth, which consistently fills with puss, on the side of his body for months. This haematoma can be treated correctly with anti-biotics and other medical treatments, left untreated this is potentially life threatening, causes absolute agony to Weya, and if the Tiger Temple continues to hold their track record so far, Weya will live like this until death from illness or trade.
Dr Somchai Visasmongchai, the so-called Tiger Temple Vet, has again been asked repeatedly by cee4life to apply urgent veterinary care to Weya. The repeated response from TT is 'all is good, tigers are good, be happy'.
Do they really think that anyone will accept this vulga and disgraceful ignorance any more.
So the treatment for Weya has been this - for some unknown reason Dr Visasmongchai has decided that the haematoma and growth can be treated by laying wooden floor boards over the cement cell.
Dont ask me why....
So the floor boards are laid, this sends Weya into a frenzy, as Weya has never seen wooden floor boards or any other type of 'thing' inside his cement cell for his entire life.
The end result is that Weya is currently dying due to the inability of the TT to care in anyway for the tigers.
The second venue in Pattaya is being run by the sinister Rod Gonzales. A thug, who thrives on threatening peoples lives, particularly volunteers who say too much eg: Volunteer 'stop hurting the tigers', Gonzales 'You may disappear tonight'.
It is rare that I have met people who are able to carry out the dangerous and emotional ravaging work that must be done in order to bring the truth of animal situations out to the public. But last year, I did meet a person like that. As I am unable to be in Thailand constantly, there was obviously information and evidence that I could not find out, and the need for a truthworthy and 'nerves of steel' assistant was vital.
This was achieved in 2009.
The Abbot of TT Kanchanaburi always planned to build the tiger numbers up to 300. The particular number '300' , the Abbot says that this is because the Thai Government will then give them grants. There was a school of thought amongst some conservation groups that this figure was so the TT could out-do the other heinous wildlife trade venue, Sri Racha Zoo. This is false. However, I cant help but think, knowing the arrogance of the Abbot, it would give him a sick kick if he were able to 'out-do' Sri Racha.
Anyway, so the TT set to task to build the Pattaya venue, and they did. Less than 2 months ago, cee4life became aware of the possibility of a number of tigers from the Kanchanaburi site, to be moved to the Pattaya site. And it is legal for the Temple to do that as they obtained a 'zoo' licence in June 2009.
However, after witnessing conversations and clandestine meetings at TT, Kanchanaburi, cee4life became aware that TT planned to trade a few of the fiesty or hard to handle tigers from TT Kanchanaburi on the way to the Pattaya site.
On receiving this information a few months ago, I asked for assistance but was unable to get it.( I will elaborate on that in the future.)
Cee4life stepped in and informed the TT that every single tiger was known inside the temple, that each tiger was identified by the tiger stripe ID and that if any tiger disappears it will be known, and reported. As the temple is a recognised zoo now, and as each of the tigers have had DNA taken, identifying any that disappeared would be a simple process, and the TT would be answerable.
So the Temple stopped and rethought how they would get tigers to Pattaya. And guess what, they just went back to their tried and true method of buying tigers.
And they have.
The tigers that are currently at the Pattaya site are not from TT Kanchanaburi, but have been bought via trade.
Photographs of the new site and tigers are being obtained as we speak and will be available on the website www.cee4life.org in the near future. (website will go live shortly)
I was privy to a conversation when Gonzales and the Abbot had a falling out. The Abbot kicked out Gonzales, confiscated his car and computer and sent him packing to Pattaya. The revengeful nature of Gonzales then showed its head with Gonzales stating 'I am going to copy right the name Tiger Temple 2 and call Pattaya TT2, and I am going to take all the tourists and money from the Abbot to get him' Whether he will do that or not is yet to be seen.
So I can report that the in-house greed of TT is over-flowing into all areas now. At the end of the day, it is the tigers that are cee4life only concern.
So everyone, you are watching the beginnings of another tiger farm, for greed, for money, NOT for conservation.
Alot of people want to know why I say that the tigers are of no use to conservation. Here is the reason.
For tigers to be vital to conservation, the tiger must be pure bred. None of the tigers inside the Tiger Temple 1 or 2, are pure bred. They are cross bred, inbred and hybrid, not one is pure bred.
The Temple is not a place of conservation, it is a place of tiger exploitation, and trade for greed, for money.
But they are still majestic tigers, and although they may not be ideal tiger specimens to some, they are treasured to me.
The TT will not listen to any professional, conservationist, animal lover, or even there long time donators.
However, all of this is now being addressed officially by cee4life and I will tell you everything once a confirmed decision has been made.
cee4life will never give up on the tigers of the tiger temple, never.
This is just a brief outline of the current situation, and obviously there is alot more to it than just this. When www.cee4life.org goes live on the net, more information will be added for your knowledge and education.
Please inform all you know of the 2nd Pattaya venue, called Tiger Paradise/Tiger Temple 2 and ask them not to go, for the sake of these beautiful creatures.
And lastly, I can assure you that myself and cee4life will continue to fight to save the lives of all of these tigers, until the end.
Are you ready for the Cupcake Challenge?
Palm Oil Power Station
ABWAK is holding its 2 day Annual Symposium at Port Lympne Wild Animal and Safari Park on the 05th and 06th March 2011. This year the symposium will focus on the modern zoo keeper and the latest techniques being employed in zoos in the UK and Ireland.
This is an opportunity for animal keepers to share their knowledge with other keepers in a friendly environment. We are inviting oral presentations on subjects ranging from new husbandry techniques, enclosure design, innovative environmental enrichment and new ideas in animal diets. Preference will be given to zoo keepers working in the UK and Ireland, but we also encourage students and other zoo professionals as well.
Presentations would normally be no longer than 20 minutes, with time for questions. A brief outline/abstract of your presentation should be submitted and you will be informed if your presentation has been accepted.
The outline/abstract should include:
• A/V equipment required
• Summary of presentation (no more than 300 words).
Deadline is 31st October 2010.
Please submit abstracts to Ross Snipp, firstname.lastname@example.org
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