Saturday, July 10, 2010

Zoo News Digest 3rd - 10th July 2010 (Zoo News 677)

Zoo News Digest 3rd - 10th July 2010 (Zoo News 677)

Dear Colleagues,

It has been a bit of a disastrous week. My laptop gave up the ghost and I was without it for a week. As if this was not bad enough my handheld also died. The laptop is now back and appears as good as before....though the repair bill was way over and above what I expected or could afford.
On the health front I eventually attended my redesignated hospital appointment only to be told that they were now going to discuss doing a scan. They will let me know in a week.

I did manage to get to Chester for a day to catch up with Olivia. That was great because I get to see her so rarely these days. She treated me to a 'meat fest' in a restaurant down by the river. Scarcely able to move afterwards we lumbered around to look at the Rhino Mania exhibits which are dotted all over the City and beyond. They are excellent and worth a trip to Chester to see nothing else. They are in a similar vein to the Elephant Parade which has just finished in London. The Rhinos however are more of an art project and pay only a token nod towards raising money for conservation. Whatever. As long as they get people thinking about Rhinos then they are on the right track.

Many of the newspaper stories which appear online have space at the end for 'Readers Comments'. In essence this is a good idea as, like this blog, it allows people to have their say. I have until recently frequently added my own comments. It has taken time however for me to realise that this was/is largely a waste of time. The only comments that get approved for publication are of the 'aye' or 'naye' variety. Anything which points out the misinformation presented in the newspaper story does not get through. It would seem, as I have so long believed, that newspapers are more interested in selling a story than presenting the truth. We would all do well to never forget that.

Lucknow Zoo are swapping their tigers around. Good idea if the aim is to prevent inbreeding as they say. Clearly someone has got a little mixed up though with trying to produce more ‘albino’ (sic) tigers.

The false killer whale leaping from its tank at the Churaumi Aquarium must have been a shock for all concerned. To have the anti-zoo fraternity to suggest that this was a ‘suicide bid’ or a break for freedom is nothing short of ridiculous. It does however give great insight into the minds of such people. They really are on a different planet.

I never thought that I would ever come to the defence of Paris Hilton. She apparently sent a message out to say she had spotted a tiger whilst on Safari in Africa. The thing is, she could have done. We have the Chinese Tigers re-wilding there….we have the white tigers in the “wild” there and who knows what there is in the canned hunting reserves. Tigers are a real possibility.

Pittsburgh Zoo is out to save the endangered mullet. I hope they fail. Though I always kept my opinion to myself because several friends and colleagues sported this hilarious hairstyle I really do think that it should be allowed to die out.

I thought the story about the recovery of the Dublin Zoo Penguin ‘Kelli’ to be of more than average interest. Microchips really seem to have advanced since I last slipped one under the skin of a Penguin. Now apparently they can track stolen animals by following the chip. This is amazing! One wonders though why one would want to fit an animal with something so sophisticated or expensive. No dog or cat need ever go missing again.

I am still very concerned about Don Redfox and hope that he continues to recover without complications.

A Wildlife Park worker has had a near miss at the ‘Out of Africa Wildlife Park’. A big surprise? No way. This place really is an accident waiting to happen. I have no problem with the staff who I am sure are dedicated and love their animals BUT all this hands on is completely unnecessary. If a collection wants to go down this road then they should call themselves a circus and not even mention the conservation word. The genuine conservation zoos of the world don’t want to be tarred with the same brush of criticism when someone is eventually killed or fatally injured because it will happen! Does anyone know if they declaw their cats there?

The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS) in Miami, Florida has once again got itself a prominent place in the press. As usual some excellent photos accompanied by clever text. It is a real pity that this place does nothing at all for conservation. All it does is commercial.

I was delighted to read about “Al Ain’s global effort to save wildlife”. They really do seem to be on the right track now. Back in the 70’s and 80’s Al Ain was in a position to make contribution conservation then. Sadly they could not due to one upmanship amongst the Sheikhs. More was considered as success as was bigger. So Al Ain had vast herds of Antelope and expanded further and further into the desert. The thought of moving animals on was completely out of the question. The collection has actually grown smaller in recent years.

Whereas Al Ain is now making the right moves there are a number of other collections not so very far away which are still on the ‘more is success, bigger is better’ slope. I still cannot figure out why Al Ain sent those Orangutans to the hopelessly inadequate conditions at Giza Zoo. Still not a word from either collection. Are they hiding something?

The planned meeting "INAUGURAL MALAYSIAN NGO COALITION TO TACKLE ZOO ANIMAL WELFARE ISSUES" is a great idea except for one thing. It does not appear to have zoo people involved. This is ridiculous. Zoos should police themselves. They should close the bad zoos. So left in the hands of the NGO's ALL zoos, even the good ones will be picked at by the bunny huggers, bleeding hearts and the rose tinted glass brigade. Get your act together Malaysia. Get the zoos on board before it is too late. These people (with a few exceptions) neither care nor understand conservation.

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Asian elephants at Chester Zoo get a new-look home
CHESTER Zoo’s seven elephants had plenty to shout about as they took their first steps out onto their new paddock.
The herd of Asian elephants trumpeted their approval as they explored their newly made-over outdoor enclosure.
More than 2,000 tonnes of sand have been added to the paddock, which has also had something of a makeover with rocks and logs used to create terraces.
Upright logs for scratching and pushing have been added and the sand will give the elephants a perfect

Denmark opens Northern Europe's largest aquarium
Northern Europe's biggest aquarium has opened in Denmark on the north coast of Jutland.
Located in Hirtshals, the brand new Oceanarium contains some 4.5 million litres of water and more than 3000 fish, aiming to give visitors an insight into life in and around the North Sea.
You can spot the likes of catfish, playful seals and sunfish al in their natural environment, and you can get up close and personal with fish by putting your hands directly on the seabed and even touching some of them in special touch pools.
The attraction's 'Expedition

Dentist treats Devon zoo tigers (VIDEO)
A dentist used to taking care of human teeth has had a special appointment - operating on two tigers at a Devon zoo.
Dr Peter Kertesz, who has a surgery in central London, treated the tigers for broken canines at Dartmoor Zoological Park near Plymouth.
They were put to sleep in the moated tiger

Big cats to test wife-swapping at Lucknow zoo
Straight from zoo stables this time is a sad saga, also slightly morally lax, of wife-swapping. Two tiger-wives will exchange their husbands in between. While one of the two will live-in and start a family with the other's man (as expectations go), the second one will have to abstain and only give moral support, if the need be.
This after Lucknow zoo made it official that Shishir and Ipshita, Royal Bengal tigers, are separating after two years of togetherness. And accompanying them in the agony are their ‘albino' neighbours from tiger house, Sona and Aryan, who too will be calling it quits after eight years of relationship. The families are falling apart all because they could not go the family way.
After the monsoon months, Ipshita will move in with albino male Aryan and Sona, albino female, will occupy Ipshita's enclosure right beside Shishir. If the pairs are willing to go separate ways is still not known. It will be clear only after the new pairing is done. If they take to each other willingly nothing like it, feels zoo administration.
"We have a potential male white tiger, already nine years old. There is no harm in trying the new pairing," said Renu Singh, zoo director. Indeed, zoo has not been lucky when

Dudley Zoo threatens legal action to secure funds
THE chief executive of Dudley Zoo has pledged to fight through the courts to get £5.4 million pledged to a huge revamp.
Peter Suddock said he would take legal action to get the doomed regional development agency Advantage West Midlands to pay up.
The agency is being axed by the new coalition Government as part of a massive package of cuts – but uncertainty still surrounds projects that the body signed up for. Funding is under threat for major initiatives like the extension of Stourbridge College and the Manufacturing Advisory

Donated Cambodian elephants to be flown to S.Korea
Two elephants donated by Cambodia will be flown to South Korea Thursday to swell the country's depleted ranks of the endangered species, a zoo official said.
A South Korean air force cargo plane has left for Cambodia to collect a 20-year-old bull and a 27-year-old cow elephant after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen approved the donation, the Seoul Children's Grand Park official said on condition of anonymity.
They will join a 36-year-old bull elephant called Taesan, who has been leading a lonely life at the park zoo since his mate died of colitis 14 years ago.
There are hopes the female will become pregnant from

Israel female hippopotamus sent from Mykolayiv zoo to Kharkiv
Lucy, a female hippopotamus gifted by the Zoological Center Tel Aviv Ramat Gan, has been sent from south-Ukrainian city of Mykolayiv to eastern Kharkiv.
The Israel zoo presented - within the framework of the International Program on Species Conservation and Breeding - two female hippopotamuses Lucy and Ricky to the Mykolayiv zoo in November last year. One of the animals intended for the Kharkiv zoo.
It was very precious gift, Volodymyr Topchy, director of the Mykolayiv zoo, said. Right by now, male hippopotamus Kazymyr felt sad and lonely, since his female partner had passed away. And

Dolphin leaps from tank 'in escape bid'
Shocking video has emerged of the moment an aquarium dolphin leapt out of its tank in a seemingly desperate attempt to escape captivity.
The dolphin, from the Churaumi Aquarium in Okinawa, Japan, made the dive onto the floor outside its tank during a performance, the Daily Mail

In Congo forest, bushmeat trade threatens Pygmies
They emerge from the stillness of the rainforest like a lost tribe of prehistoric warriors forgotten by time - a barefoot band of Mbuti Pygmies wielding iron-tipped spears.
The men come first, cloaked head to toe in coiled hunting nets shaved from the liana vine. Then the women, lugging hand-woven baskets filled with the same bloodstained antelope their ancestors survived on for thousands of years.
And waiting anxiously in the middle of their smoke-filled hunting camp: a horde of village traders who've come to buy as much bushmeat as the Mbuti can bring.
Time has long stood still in the innermost reaches of northeast Congo's Ituri Forest - a remote and crepuscular world without electricity or cell phones that's so isolated, the Pygmies living here have never heard of Barack Obama or the Internet or the war in Afghanistan. But the future is coming, on a tidal wave of demand for game meat that's pushing an army of tall Bantu traders ever deeper into Africa's primordial vine-slung jungles.
It's a demand so voracious, experts warn it could drive some of Africa's last hunter-gatherers to eradicate the very wildlife that sustains them, and with it, their own forest-dwelling existence.
Over the last few decades, that existence has been vanishing at astonishing rates across the continent, as forests are ripped apart amid soaring population growth

Lion-bone wine latest threat to survival of Africa's big cats
To most of us the mere thought of sipping a concoction in which animal bones soaked for a lengthy period is revolting. Yet, even in these supposedly enlightened times, the clamor for so-called tiger-bone wine in China is such that brewers are importing lion bones from South Africa as a legally obtainable and cheaper substitute.
The growing trade has environmentalists worried.
At the moment merchants are mostly getting their supplies under government permit from hunting farms on which captive-bred lions are released to be shot as trophies--itself a rather grotesque business.(South Africa snared in "abhorrent and repulsive" lion hunting schemes)
One of the concerns, however, is that as the trade grows, it could lead to already endangered lion populations in the wild getting poached for their bones.
Another worry is that it could serve as further encouragement to the commercial lion-breeding industry which the government is trying to curb, not least because of the bad image it creates of a country that has tourism, particularly nature tourism, as its fastest growing industry.
The trend adds to an already grim picture in which animal species in South Africa are under threat from poachers cashing in on enduring primitive beliefs that the physical attributes of animals can be acquired by ingesting

Paris Hilton spots 'tiger' ... on safari in South Africa
Paris Hilton found herself the subject of ridicule this week after she enthusiastically tweeted about spotting tigers while on safari in South Africa.
The American socialite, who has been in the country for the past week to watch the World Cup and take in the sights, wrote from safari: "So many amazing animals here – Elephants, Tigers, Zebras, Cheetahs, Rhinos, Hippos, etc. So awesome!"
While elephants, zebras, cheetahs, rhinos and hippopotami are in plentiful supply in South Africa, tigers – which are

Pittsburgh Zoo Works To Save Endangered Hairstyle
Fashion trends come and go and hairstyles do to. Today, at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium they are trying to bring back the mullet.
Anyone with a mullet saved $5 on the price of admission and there were more prizes given out as well.
There's something memorable about the mullet.
"Hairstyles come in and out, but I don't think that one is going to come back in anytime soon. Although there was that one kid, I forget his name, on 'American Idol.' He had that mullet, the red-haired kid," Kristina Tooley said.
Jaromir Jagr sported it to stardom with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and some still call it the hockey helmet.
Yet these days, the hair-do of the

Stay Cool In The Zoo

Pair arrested in theft of zoo's camels, tiger
Police have made two arrests in the recent theft of a pair of camels and a Bengal tiger from the Bowmanville, Ont., zoo, and say more arrests are expected.
Police said an investigation showed the truck and trailer with the three animals had been in a barn in Saint-Edmond-de-Grantham, northeast of Montreal. Officers moved in with a search warrant Tuesday and arrested two men, ages 23 and 44.
The truck and trailer were snatched from a motel parking

Old age mutant Brummie
ANGLER Steve Bellion was shell-shocked last night - after catching a giant TURTLE.
Steve, 23, was fishing for carp when he hooked the 57lb monster in a lake near Birmingham.
He was amazed when he got it on the bank and it was identified as an 80-year-old alligator snapping turtle, from south-eastern USA.
Tales had abounded for a decade of a vicious creature biting through anglers' lines and attacking ducks.
Steve said: "It was hissing and snapping and could easily have taken your hand off."
The ancient female is believed to have been a pet which grew too big and was released into Earlswood Reservoir.
British Waterways sta

Clouded Leopard Cubs

Dublin Zoo relieved over return of stolen penguin
Kelli the penguin's back home in Dublin Zoo after pranksters snatched the bird and abandoned her on a city sidewalk.
Dublin Zoo condemned Thursday's theft as no joke, because the 10-year-old Humboldt penguin could have been injured during her abduction or crushed by a vehicle.
Zoo officials said police tracked down Kelli using a signal from a microchip planted on the bird. She got the medical all-clear and was returned to her penguin partner, Mick.
Police said the thieves climbed over a security fence into an enclosure housing about a dozen Humboldt penguins and picked Kelli for reasons unknown.
Dublin Zoo has been targeted by annoying pranks

Tracking Microchip and Penguin Kelli Recovered
Microchip and penguin Kelli was recovered by using a tracking device. Kelli, the penguin, phoned home with the microchip tracking device and was found just hours later. It's the latest technology that involved a microchip that found a penguin named Kelli.
Police in the Dublin said the penguin was stolen from a city zoo. It was then tracked by using the microchip and located on a city street. Investigators said the penguin was taken from the Dublin Zoo by

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Product Description

A passion for wildlife and conservation led John Knowles OBE to found his own latter-day Ark - the Marwell Zoological Park. His autobiography tells the fascinating story of how a childhood collector of stick insects became a successful farmer and poultry breeder, and went on to achieve his ambition to own a zoo.

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.

Pregnant elephant at St. Louis Zoo loses baby
An pregnant elephant at the St. Louis Zoo lost her baby overnight, the zoo said today.
The pregnant Asian elephant, Ellie, had been 36 weeks into a 22-month pregnancy, the zoo said. She was due in late summer of 2011.
The zoo had been closely monitoring Ellie since Monday because of changes in her hormone levels and other medical signs, but found she had lost the baby overnight when staff checked on her this morning.
The zoo isn't sure why Ellie lost the baby.
"We are sad about this loss," said Martha Fischer, curator of mammals at the zoo. "Ellie's health appears to be quite normal. She has received regular prenatal checkups, including physical exams, blood tests and ultrasounds. She has also been on a prenatal diet and exercise 

Injured zookeeper violated protocol

Manager entered Louie's enclosure alone, officials say
A Toledo Zoo keeper who was badly injured by a young elephant this week violated zoo protocol by entering the animal's enclosure alone, zoo officials said Friday.
Elephant manager Donald RedFox was knocked to the ground Thursday by Louie the elephant after he approached the animal with carrots while its back was turned, the Zoo's deputy director, Ron Fricke, said.
Video footage shows Louie appeared to have been startled, but it's not clear why he knocked down Mr. RedFox, who has worked with Louie since his birth, Mr. Fricke said.
Zoo protocol specifies that keepers should always enter an animal's enclosure with another member of staff, the deputy director said. However, zoo officials had not been able to

Toledo Zoo creates inquiry team after elephant attack
The Toledo Zoo will assemble an inquiry team to review the recent incident in which Elephant Manager Don RedFox was injured by African elephant Louie.
Zoo leaders also said in a news conference Friday that Redfox is showing signs of improvement. According to Dr. Anne Baker, the Zoo's Executive Director, "The entire staff of The Toledo Zoo is united in their best wishes for Don and his family, and our thoughts and prayers are with him as he makes what we hope is a full and speedy recovery."
The Zoo does have a videotape of the incident, and officials say they'll release it Saturday afternoon.
Louie remains on exhibit, along with his mother, Renee, and Twiggy. At this time Louie is being cared for in what's called protected contact, in which the elephant is cared for by keepers working outside the exhibit. Zoo leaders say Louie has been trained in this management system.
The names of those serving on the inquiry team were listed in a news release by the Zoo:
Toledo, Ohio—The Toledo Zoo will assemble an inquiry team to review the recent incident in which Elephant Manager Don RedFox was injured during an interaction with seven-year-old male African elephant Louie. The team will be chaired

Expert reviews video of Ohio elephant attack
An expert says he doesn't believe an elephant who pushed a trainer at the Toledo Zoo intended to hurt anyone, based on a review of videotape from the attack.
Alan Roocroft, an internationally recognized elephant expert, said Saturday the footage shows the elephant going into a crouching position after the attack, like an animal waiting for a response.
Roocroft looked at the video at the request of zoo officials, who are investigating Thursday's incident. Officials said elephant manager Don RedFox entered the cage alone, against zoo protocol, carrying carrots. Roocroft said it appears the 7-year-old African elephant became startled.
The 53-year-old RedFox was taken to a hospital with broken ribs, a wrist injury and abrasions.
Zoo officials have not yet spoken to RedFox

Toledo Zoo continues elephant attack investigation
The Toledo Zoo is still investigating an elephant attack that sent a trainer to the hospital last week. Don Redfox suffered broken ribs and other injuries when Louie the elephant pushed him.
The zoo decided not to release surveillance video of the incident after getting a letter from Redfox's attorney, but an animal expert saw the video and says it looks like Louie was startled but didn't

Zoo trainer's lungs punctured in elephant attack
Doctors say a trainer attacked by an elephant at Ohio's Toledo Zoo suffered life-threatening lung injuries and is on a ventilator.
However, doctors at the University of Toledo Medical Center say they expect 53-year-old Don RedFox to recover fully from last week's encounter with an elephant named Louie.
Dr. Kris Brickman, the emergency department director, said Tuesday that RedFox is likely to remain hospitalized for weeks and that complications are possible.
Brickman says RedFox is in critical but stable condition with fractured

Zookeeper unfairly portrayed
Apparently Louie, the African elephant at the Toledo Zoo, acted instinctively when he was startled and harmed elephant manager Don RedFox (“Zoo elephant hurts keeper during attack,” July 2). It would probably be a good assumption that Mr. RedFox knew this might happen someday.
It's shameful that media have been quick to report that Mr. RedFox broke protocol when he entered Louie's area.
They have chosen to portray Mr. Redfox as reckless in his profession, despite his commitment to allowing the elephants

Zookeeper on ventilator after elephant attack, officials at hospital say
As legal debate continued Tuesday over the release of a video showing an elephant knocking down a Toledo Zoo keeper, hospital officials said for the first time that the animal keeper suffered life-threatening injuries and is on a ventilator.
Donald RedFox, 53, of Swanton Township was injured Thursday by 7-year-old African elephant Louie in the animal's enclosure at the zoo and remained in critical condition Tuesday at the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio.
Dr. Kris Brickman, medical director of the hospital's emergency department, said Mr. RedFox suffered multiple rib fractures in the attack and punctures to both his lungs. He is now attached to a ventilator and is under sedation. Dr. Brickman said Mr. RedFox is unconscious but emphasized that he is not in a coma.
Dr. Brickman said Mr. RedFox's condition is improving slowly, but predicted Mr. RedFox could be in the hospital for many weeks. He said complications are possible.
"His injuries are substantial. It's going to be a long road," Dr. Brickman said. "He is clearly not out of the woods."
The incident was recorded on video, which the zoo had planned to release until receiving a letter on Saturday from Mr. RedFox's attorney claiming the animal keeper's privacy would be "irreparably harmed" if the video were released.
Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge Linda Jennings Tuesday granted the attorney's request for a temporary restraining order and set a July 20 date for a hearing on a permanent injunction.
Attorney Scott Ciolek filed a notice of appearance on behalf of The Blade Tuesday to inform the court that the newspaper hopes to intervene in the case. Mr. Ciolek said he will file such a motion Wednesday as well as one asking the judge to reconsider her decision.
"In this case, we're talking about an audio/video recording of zoo employees acting within the scope of their employment," Mr. Ciolek said. "What we have to do is lay out the law and demonstrate to the judge that facts that would make it a privacy issue are not present here."
According to the motion filed on behalf of the elephant manager and his wife, Wanda, the surveillance video

Butterfly Conservation Center - Toledo Zoo

Agency says frequent zoo violators on tight leash
A push in recent years by the federal government for more frequent enforcement of zoos with repeat violations has resulted in a rash of inspections at the Topeka Zoo at a rate far greater than the state's other facilities, say the zoo's director and animal advocacy groups.
In total, the U.S. Department of Agriculture since 2007 has inspected the Topeka Zoo seven times, resulting in 33 citations for noncompliance. In that same period, the USDA conducted 32 inspections of the state's nine other zoos, resulting in 37 citations for noncompliance.
Catherine Doyle, campaign director of In Defense of Animals, said she listened in on a USDA teleconference in May in which federal officials told stakeholders they wanted to improve consistency and aggressiveness of inspections.
"The bottom line was that they were stepping up enforcement," she said.
Past and ongoing audits by the USDA's inspector general appear to have prompted at least some of the changes.
A 2005 audit about the animal care division's inspection and enforcement activities dealt mainly with a need to follow up inspections with further investigation. But it also recommended the agency "conduct more frequent reviews of facilities identified as repeat violators."
Just this May, another internal audit about dog breeders highlighted the need for more consistency in inspections, a push that some say has seeped into the inspection process for animal exhibitors, such as zoos.
Now, the USDA's inspector general is currently auditing the agency to evaluate whether it "has controls to safeguard both the animals and members of the public" who visit zoos, said inspector general spokesman Paul Feeney.
"Because of these audits, they are beefing up their inspections," said Don Elroy, an official with the animal rights group Stop Animal Exploitation Now!
USDA spokesman David Sacks said any shift in inspection policy is "not the start of a focus on animal welfare here at USDA but rather an improvement to our current processes."
Topeka Zoo director Brendan Wiley said he has no problem with the evolution of inspection procedures. But the facility is having to learn as it goes.
In past years, there were grades to the noncompliant items, from those violations that don't affect animals to the ones that could harm them, he said. Now, Wiley said the scale is more black and white, a violation or not.
"The standards haven't changed from 10 years ago, but how that standard is interpreted may be different," he said. "And there isn't a guide that tells you how these standards are evaluated, only what the standards are."
That has resulted in some recent citations drawing

Wildlife park worker escapes mauling by tiger
A wildlife park worker narrowly escaped a mauling after slipping during a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a giant Bengal white tiger.
The scene was captured during a daily tiger splash event at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park, in Arizona, USA.
Jeff Harwell pretends to be the prey during a daily routine with the cats, where they chase an inflatable toy being held by him.
The tigers are so excited about capturing and popping the toy they do not harm the park workers.
The workers then jump into a pool with the tiger at the end of the game.
However, Mr Harwell slipped over on the wet grass and found himself between the two-year-old white tiger called Chalet and his inflatable toy.
He quickly managed to throw the toy into the pool and the tiger jumped

I wanna be like you-hoo-hoo: Reunion of girl and orang-utan sealed with a hug
The last time Emily Bland met Rishi the orang-utan, they were both still at the crawling stage.
So when the pair were reunited two years later, there was a whole new world of play to explore.
The three-year-olds spent a blissful afternoon climbing, swinging from rings and tyres, pedalling around on a plastic tricycle and sometimes pausing for a hug in scenes reminiscent of the 'I Wanna Be Like You' sequence in the Disney film

Massacre of endangered rhino continues
The massacre of South Africa's endangered rhino population continues with the discovery of two more mutilated carcasses in the North West and Limpopo.
This brings the total number of rhinos killed for their horns to 117 according to anti-poaching investigators, though SA National Parks has put the figure at.
A butchered rhino cow was discovered on Thursday morning in the Borakalalo National Game Park in North West when members of the anti-poaching

$42 million zoo exhibit to provide a slice of Africa in Hermann Park
Right now, the six-plus acres that will comprise Houston Zoo's $42 million "African Forest" look a lot like Houston in July. Got mud? Yes. Standing water? Yep. Sweating workers and heavy machinery a-slog in paradise? You betcha.
Come December, though, Phase 1 of the finished project, promoters say, will be a slice of Africa in the heart of Hermann Park — alive with chimpanzees, giraffes, rhinos and cheetahs. Visitors sauntering along the exhibit's half-mile trail will be immersed in a near-natural setting that marks a dramatic departure from the traditional animals-in-cages zoo experience.
The exhibit's first permanent residents - 10 chimpanzees from northern California - will arrive at a zoo quarantine facility next week. Zoo officials, who Wednesday led reporters on a "hard hat tour" of the 65-percent complete exhibit, said the chimps will be the first housed at the zoo in more than two

What Should Animal Rights People Think of Zoos?
I am in San Diego, CA, a legendary city named after majestic sea creatures. I’ve enjoyed some of the great sights, but I would have been remiss not to visit the “World Famous” San Diego Zoo. I did so with some hesitation (and with a certain singer in my head). I was previously under the impression that the San Diego Zoo was more like a wildlife safari, where the people are in the cage moving in the environment.
I was disappointed to find out that it is not.
The Wild Animal Park of which I was thinking is a totally different place. The zoo is a rather nice zoo. It emphasises its conservation of endangered and threatened species. Zoos, however, are a contentious issue for many in the animal rights world. The question is whether animal exploitation is acceptable when the purpose is to bring the animals closer to humans.
That’s a simplistic way of phrasing it, since circuses also bring animals closer to people, but are not something to celebrate. Yet many view the boredom and enclosed lives of animals in zoos just as poorly, arguing that media sources such as documentaries bring animals to life in a way that does not cause them suffering.
I’m very torn on the issue. On the one hand, I see the similarities between zoos and circuses. Animals are captive in both, and the motivation behind the original zoos of the Victorian age was to display the “great beasts” of the “Dark Continent” and beyond for spectacle.
Certainly there are a number of zoos that do not keep their animals in excellent conditions, and most zoos in the United States cannot provide any where near the range that any of the animals enjoy in the wild. Also, modern recording equipment seen in Life and Planet Earth can bring high definition footage into living rooms in dynamic fashion without interfering with an animal’s life.
On the other hand, animals in zoos do not need the same ranges that they do in the wild if survival is not at issue. Food is provided, as is shelter, and all natural predators are removed. Are the animals bored? I believe that despite the toys that are provided them, many are.
But think of it this way. If you were given the option of living in an apartment with one or two weight machines, or maybe a book, and all of your dietary and medical needs were met, or you were out on the plains left to make your own weapons and tools and told to survive a la “The

Thrown to the lions: China mulls animal cruelty law
At a wildlife park outside Beijing a dozen lions battle over a live chicken thrown into their enclosure by a tourist—who has paid four dollars for the privilege.
A siren wails and three four-wheel-drive vehicles race into action, screeching to a halt just shy of the animals to separate them and restore harmony to the caged pride—until the next feeding.
“It was scary,” says one visitor, standing at a viewing point above the enclosure.
“Yes, but it was thrilling too, lots of fun,” adds her friend, part of a group touring the Badaling park.
Throwing live animals to the lions is a popular attraction. For 60 dollars, visitors can feed them a bleating goat.
Ethically questionable practices such as this, seen at zoos around China, have contributed to the government producing the nation's first draft animal protection law.
“Animals in most of the nation's zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums are a serious concern,” said Peter Li, a China specialist for Humane Society International, a US-based animal group.
Li, who this month took part in the first zoo directors' workshop in Beijing aimed at addressing problems in China, added that most zoos were “decades behind the more progressive standards of zoos in industrialised nations.” China has been plagued by a series of scandals that has thrown the spotlight on poor conditions in many of the nation's wildlife parks.
In recent months, 11 endangered Siberian tigers starved to death at a cash-strapped park in the northeastern province of Liaoning where they were fed chicken bones, and two others were shot after they mauled a worker.
Allegations that the zoo had harvested parts of the dead animals to make lucrative virility tonics caused an outcry, even in a nation where illegal trade in animal parts thrives due to their perceived medicinal benefits.
In nearby Heilongjiang province, authorities also uncovered a mass grave of animals -- including lions, tigers and leopards—that died of illness and malnutrition at a wildlife park, state media reported in March.
“That hit the headlines and shocked a lot of Chinese but it's the tip of an iceberg,” said Paul Littlefair, who oversees the international programmes of UK-based Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), with a focus on East Asia.
“A lot of animals are generally malnourished and may slowly deteriorate over a period of time and be subject to health issues that there is little veterinary support for.” While the live feedings at Badaling have attracted controversy, zoos in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have improved conditions over the past decade.
According to Littlefair, the Beijing Zoo has opened a much larger elephant enclosure and otters that used to live on concrete now enjoy a natural environment with waterfalls.
The zoo denied to AFP recent reports that it was serving meat from zoo animals at its cafe.
But Littlefair admitted most zoos were still “stagnating.”Xie Zhong, vice secretary general of the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens, said that private ownership of wildlife parks was partly to blame.
“We have repeatedly emphasised that zoos should be for the public good, the government must manage them,” Xie said.
“Private owners take all the money... they give their workers very little money and the cash they invest in animals only just keeps them alive—their aim is profit.”Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, added animals were often exposed to abuse by the public.
“People often shout at, throw objects and feed garbage to animals,” she said, citing the example of a university student who poured acid into the bear pit at Beijing Zoo in 2002, injuring several of the animals.
According to Gabriel, there have been small improvements, with some establishments removing signs such as “bear gall bladder is good for medicine and tiger skins are good for rugs.”But experts say that laws governing the treatment of animals in captivity are badly needed.
A draft animal protection law is currently being discussed, but is not expected to come into force for several years.
The draft includes a clause prohibiting the feeding of live prey and another stipulating that an establishment where animals are suffering due to lack of funds will be fined if it does not report its situation to the government.
Li says increased public awareness is key to the fight for animal rights.
“Compared with their parents' or grandparents' generations whose

Port Lympne’s Wildcats get a Different Perspective with New Walkways (Great Photos)
Port Lympne’s Scottish Wildcats have been given a chance to see the park from a different point of view with the construction of special raised walkways.
Better View for Visitors
The raised walkways, enclosed in a mesh tunnel, extend from the cats’ enclosures and travel around an area of the park before returning to the enclosure once more. The innovative system allows the cats to wander around a much larger territory. As well as allowing the cats to explore much more of the park, the walkways also afford visitors a better view of the often shy and elusive animals as they travel around the walkways and sit out in new vantage points. The walkways were funded by contributions from a campaign run by Your Cat Magazine

Al Ain’s global effort to save wildlife
Perched atop a rocky bed, a majestic white lion lay overlooking her mini-kingdom. The rare feline and her brother were flown in from South Africa and transported to the AWPR a few months ago, away from extinction.
Gene diversity, as Farshid Mehrdadfar, (Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort) AWPR’s animal collection manager, puts it, is a dream the resort hopes to fulfill in the near future.
Following the success of the resort’s ‘Sand Cat Project’ (in collaboration with US-based University of Illinois and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden) where the use of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) helped conceive a kitten from a surrogate mother, has given hope to park officials to introduce species to quality DNA strains for better means of survival.
“It (in-vitro fertilization and embryo transfer) furthers the gene diversity of species within captive population by infusing founder samples (semen from US, Europe, etc.). It could help with the overall approach of collection management and the long term sustainability of mean kinship and survivability of the species in wildlife parks and zoological facilities by lessening the number of animals captured from the wild and focusing on sample collection from the wild animals,” said Mehrdadfar.
He added that it would connect wildlife parks and zoos in a global network to share ideas and samples.
“If we can exchange animals within zoological facilities we can preserve many endangered species,” he said, adding that the resort works in close collaboration with international conservation groups around the world. Organisations include the Northern Rangelands Trust and the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya, the Sambora Wildlife Reserve in South Africa, The San Diego Zoological Society in the US.
The AWPR is home to more than 4,000 animals comprising over 160 species. The animals are acquired at different parts of the year giving enough time§ion=theuae

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Kuala Lumpur, 7 July 2010 – Six Malaysian NGOs signed a Memorandum of Understanding yesterday to establish “myZOO”- a Malaysian NGO coalition dedicated to tackling zoo animal welfare issues. Two international organisations, ACRES (Animal Concerns Research and Education Society) and the World Society for The Protection of Animals (WSPA), will play advisory roles in the coalition.

A 2009 survey conducted by ACRES into the welfare standards at thirty-nine zoos in Peninsular Malaysia revealed that the majority of the zoos failed to meet acceptable standards for the well-being of the animals. In 2010, a follow up survey of ten of these zoos revealed that welfare standards remained unchanged, or had in fact worsened in some zoos.

“There have been increasing numbers of reports of cruelty to zoo animal and members of the public have also been actively voicing their concerns. It is our responsibility to end this cruelty and take positive action” said Dr. Kavita Kaur, spokesperson for myZOO.

Green Wings, Malaysian Animal Welfare Society, Sahabat Alam Malaysia, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Johor, SPCA Penang, SPCA Selangor are the founding members of “myZOO” whose Vision is “A future where all zoo animals experience optimal welfare in Malaysia”. Its Mission is “To encourage all stakeholders to prioritise zoo animal welfare and strive towards achieving optimal standards”

“The establishment of this coalition is timely as Parliament just started debating the Wildlife Conservation Bill 2010. This enactment of this law is pivotal for the welfare of zoo animals. The seven Malaysian NGOs and their members are fully supportive of the Bill and are confident that the passing of this Bill will signal our country’s strong commitment toward the protection of animals” said Mr. Ahmad Kamal Bin Mohd Ali, protem Chairman of myZOO and Council Member of Sahabat Alam Malaysia.

The MOU was signed at the 2nd Malaysia Zoo Animal Welfare Roundtable Discussions from 5th – 6th July and witnessed by Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN) and Senator Dr. S. Ramakrishnan.

“The formation of myZOO is the first humble step on a very big mission to relieve and prevent suffering of zoo animals in Malaysia” said Senator Dr. S. Ramakrishnan.

myZOO will begin work immediately and initially focus on making improvements at the ten Malaysian zoos covered in the above survey. myZOO will also create awareness on the importance of zoo animal welfare amongst the community, so that everyone can play an active role. Through partnerships with PERHILITAN and other relevant authorities and organisations, myZOO aim to make a positive difference for zoo animals in Malaysia.

Dr. Kavita Kaur
Hp: 012 262 3091


Nominations are now open for the 2012 Indianapolis Prize



July 2010

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Journal of Threatened Taxa

July 2010

Vol. 2
No. 7
Pages 1001-1076
Date of Publication 05 July 2010

ISSN 0974-7907 (online)
0974-7893 (print)

Monograph ISBN 978-81-902319-0-9 (online)
978-81-902319-1-3 (print)


A key to the bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera) of South Asia
-- C. Srinivasulu, Paul A. Racey & Shahrouk Mistry, Pp. 1001-1076

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Celebrating Plants and the Planet:

A search for signs of intelligent life of Earth has met with success: plants.

If we are not making the best decisions as a species, let's turn to another for ideas! This month's links at (NEWS/Botanical News) spotlight how much the botanical kingdom has to offer:

· It is no surprise that plants respond to environmental stimuli. But scientists have discovered that plants weigh options and make tough choices.

· The International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology has concluded that, "Plants emerge as dynamic and highly sensitive organisms that actively and competitively forage for limited resources, both above and below ground, organisms that accurately compute their circumstances, use sophisticated cost benefit analysis, and that take defined actions to mitigate and control diverse environmental insults." Oh, I like these people.

· Pollinators are in trouble, and that could doom many plant species unless they can develop a fallback plan. Some apparently can.

· Several studies have shown that slime mold can figure out the most efficient transportation system for our major cities.

· One hundred twenty-five million years ago Earth was not friendly to flowering plants. Then those plants re-designed parts of the Earth. Now they rule.

That plants are so adaptable and, well, smart has not eluded the less intelligent humans. Bio-mimicry is at last being recognized as a driving force in "human innovation.

June saw the opening of two more wonderful exhibits. Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC, has undergone a complete make-over, and the Louisville Zoo has opened the next phase of Glacier Run. Find out more at

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


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Cupcake Challenge 2010

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Compassionate Conservation : animal welfare in conservation practice


Abstract submission and early registration deadline: 15th July 2010

The Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) and the Born Free Foundation would like to remind all interested parties of the deadline of 15th July 2010 for abstract submission and early registration for the symposium, Compassionate Conservation : animal welfare in conservation practice, at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, UK, 1-3 Sept 2010

The Symposium will be organized around the following themes:

§ Animal welfare in field conservation

§ Captive animal welfare and conservation

§ Conservation consequences of wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release

§ International trade in live wild animals

The Symposium will bring together scientists and practitioners from a range of disciplines to debate animal welfare issues in conservation, examine potential synergies, look for practical outcomes and promote a dialogue between these two disciplines that are often perceived as mutually exclusive. The Symposium will be of particular interest to academics and graduates in conservation biology, animal welfare and animal ethics, as well as conservation and animal welfare organisations and practitioners.

Details of the call for papers and posters, abstract submission guidelines and associated information can be found at:

Confirmed speakers include:

Marc Bekoff (University of Colorado, USA)

Kate Evans (Elephants for Africa, Botswana)

David Fraser (University of British Columbia, Canada)

Stuart Harrop (University of Kent, UK)

Bidda Jones (RSPCA, Australia)

Ron Kagan (Detroit Zoological Society, USA)

James Kirkwood (UFAW, UK)

David Macdonald (University of Oxford, UK)

Georgia Mason (University of Guelph, Canada)

Ron Swaisgood (Zoological Society of San Diego, USA)

Rudi van Aarde (University of Pretoria, South Africa)

Will Travers (Born Free Foundation, UK)

Registration costs £95 (£80 for students) until 15th July 2010 (late registration after 15th July £110/£95). This fee includes a welcome reception on 1st Sept, two buffet lunches and refreshments. B&B accommodation (£58 pppn) is available at Lady Margaret Hall. We will host a Gala Dinner on 2nd Sept at LMH Dining Hall.

TO REGISTER: Fill out and return attached registration form, or register online at

Registration is available on a first come, first served basis and space is limited, so register early to avoid disappointment.

Any questions or special requirements (eg access, dietary), please contact:  or Chris Draper (email: ; tel: +44(0)1403 240170)


Voluntary opportunity to Join ABWAK Council

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Private Zoo For Sale
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6.00pm, 13 July 2010




IEF is offering financial support in 2011 for in situ and ex situ projects, including protection of wild elephants and their habitats, scientific research, education efforts, and improvements in captive elephant care. Proposals are peer-reviewed by a panel of advisors from field conservation, medicine, research, academia, and elephant management. Funds will be awarded and available January 2011.

Criteria for funding:

Requests for funds should provide adequate information for evaluation of the project and the specific request, including a detailed design/methodology.

Projects that designate local/public education/awareness as a significant program outcome must include an evaluation component.

Projects must begin in the year that they are applying for funding, (but not before funds are to be awarded) and contain a clearly defined beginning and end point.

Funds will not be awarded for elements of a project that will have already occurred before awards are made.

Budget requests that consist primarily of salary will generally not be considered favorably.

Proposals are preferred that meet some or all of the following objectives and criteria:

The proposal should clearly contribute to the in situ or ex situ conservation of African or Asian elephants or their habitats.

Project is part of an established conservation program or is well-suited to become a long term program.

Project has conservation value and measurable impact.

Project is grounded in sound scientific methodology, is logistically feasible, and has a high probability of success.

Project has multi-institutional participation and matching funds.

Project is a new approach for long term elephant and/or habitat conservation.

Project is action-oriented not simply data collection or survey.

Project and Principle Investigator demonstrate a spirit of cooperation with ex situ elephant facilities and other like-minded conservation institutions.

Principal investigators must have a reputation for completing projects, publishing results in an expeditious manner and cooperating with funding agencies in providing reports and educational materials. If awarded funding previously by the IEF, satisfactory performance on previous grant awards is essential.

Projects must meet humane standards of care when animals are involved. Each of these studies must be approved by the appropriate agency at the facility or institution where the study is conducted. 

Examples of some funding priorities are:

Capacity building

Strategies for human elephant conflict mitigation or resolution

Strategies to combat habitat loss

Strategies that identify elephant ranges

Strategies to manage local elephant over-population problems

Strategies to counteract the bushmeat crisis/ivory poaching

Ex Situ elephant management, veterinary and reproduction projects

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