Sunday, August 1, 2010

Zoo News Digest 26th - 31st July 2010 (Zoo News 680)

Zoo News Digest 26th - 31st July 2010 (Zoo News 680)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleagues,

I note that Colchester Zoo is the latest zoo to use mirrors to the tactics to get Flamingos to breed. It definitely does work. I did a lot of research on this some years ago (regrettably not written up….always meant to do it ‘later’, which is a big mistake) and discovered some quite surprising things. Lovely birds. I wish Colchester the greatest success.

Please follow up the link Shark Week -- Education or Just Entertainment? as it is a thought provoking read. All of us in the zoo world are educators today. We really do need to be informed….which of course is the main reason which Zoo News Digest was set up all those years ago.

I don’t envy the task of trying to recapture the deer which escaped from Singapore Night Safari (actually I lie…I do envy the task as the logistics of such an exercise are the sort of thing which really appeals to me) as the jungle areas around the Night Safari are both thick and well spread out. Whether it will be any easier to locate the Coati which escaped from Belfast is anybody’s guess. Coati are extremely good at escaping as is apparent from all those running around in Cumbria.

I am delighted to see that some attention is being given to the Dingo. I have always liked them and thought it a pity that they disappeared from British Zoos. At one time every zoo had them but now you would have to travel far to see one. Back in the 60’s they were not that unusual as pets….though I don’t doubt that anyone but the owners knew what was on the lead going walkies.

The return of Red Squirrels to Cornwall is an exciting project. It will not be without tremendous difficulties but if any organisation can make it succeed it is Paradise Park in Hayle. They have done extremely well breeding these lovely little animals over the years and their progeny have contributed immensely to the British Isles captive breeding programme.

The idea of poisoned Rhino horns is different.

My congratulations to Bob Lawrence on his great success. Those of us who choose a zoo career are learning something new every day. It is great that Bob should be rewarded for his work and all the tiring travel too.

The ‘Panda Factory’ article is interesting and has some great photos. Having visited Chengdu I can also say it is a very professional set up. I do feel however that there is just too much interference. A more natural approach would sit happier with me.

Some zoos are understandably getting a little hot under the collar over the The Global Post's list of the 10 Worst Zoos..... well they shouldn't. A list such as this cannot be taken seriously by anyone working in the reputable zoo world. For those of you who missed it, here it is along with my comments: (Note though that whereas the original list appears below that in the link above you will find that Bowmanville Zoo no longer appears....though it still gets mentions in the comments. Has it been removed from the list? It should never have been there in the first place. So their list of ten is now only nine.) It still appears in posts copied from the Global Post. You can read one HERE.

1. Giza Zoo — Egypt

One of the Worlds Worst? I really don't know. It certainly gets a great deal of bad press. It was thrown out of WAZA but it was given membership of PAAZAB. More recently the Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort gifted Orangutans to Giza so perhaps that is an indication that things are improving. Recent info suggests that there is a building renovation rush on at the moment though I am not sure in which area of the zoo.

2. Glkand Zoo — Iraqi Kurdistan

Covered by Global Post in May 2010. See...
I agree. This zoo does seem like it is rightly included on the list.

3. Mumbai Zoo — India

This is the Byculla Zoo. The zoo itself admits that it is short of funding to improve but if it is anything like the zoos I have visited in Sothern India then it certainly would not deserve inclusion in any 'worst zoo' list. It is definitely a zoo which wants to do better. Here they are being condemned to the list by using deceased animals in taxidermy displays. What on earth is wrong with that? There cannot be an education department in a reputable zoo anywhere which does not have some preserved specimens. They will be condemning Natual History Museums next.

4. Kiev Zoo — Ukraine

Why Kiev zoo? Some idiot has poisoned a number of animals of late. This is hardly the fault of Kiev. This is typical 'anti-zoo' tactics of kicking zoo staff whilst they are down. Animal Rights people home in on the grief of zoo staff and try and hurt them some more.

5. San Antonio Zoo — Texas

Accredited by the AZA. A reputable professional collection. Their inclusion is apparantly based on the way they keep their elephants and because they were number one in the list of worst zoos for elephants. This list was compiled of course by a group of blinkered biased people who don't want elephants in captivity at all. This is hardly a reason to include the zoo.

6. Bowmanville Zoo — Ontario, Canada

The Bowmanville Zoo is an Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) accredited institution. The only reason that I can see for its inclusion in this list is that it had some animals stolen recently and so was in the news. Okay they should not have been stolen, it was unfortunate but it really could have happened to anyone. To include Bowmanville for this is stupid.

7. Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo — China

Very much in the news of late. A commercial venture who allowed their tigers to starve to death. I agree. This place needs to be in the list.

8. Oradea Zoo — Romania

Another zoo which was in the news rather a lot this past year. The Yorkshire Wildlife Park managed to raise a lot of money through the 'News of the World' newspaper to 'rescue' lions from here. I believe that part of this money was used to improve the conditions for the lions and other animals that remained behind in Oradea. A bit unfair then to include a zoo striving to improve.

9. Dhaka Zoo — Bangladesh

Bit of a mystery as to why they have included Dhaka. I don't doubt that there is room for improvement but apart from staff mourning the recent loss of a much loved elephant there has been little press critique in recent months. They are referring back to the unfortunate spate of deaths in 2009. If this is the case then how far are they going to dig back for a story. Animals do die. What did the post mortem reports say? Has the zoo got over its problems since the change in staff?

10. North Korea

Here they don't even mention the name of the zoo. This is because they don't know it and only include the 'zoo' because of the recent furore about sending animals from Africa there. This is the Pyongyang Central Zoo which was first established in 1959. Whereas I agree animals should never be sent anywhere that they will not be given equal or better care but I could not condemn a zoo I did not even know the name of! Then there is the statement "Wildlife experts said that it was unlikely that the animals, particularly the two baby elephants, would have survived the 7,000-mile flight"....hogwash! I am not surprised the 'wildlife experts' were not named.

The video footage I have of the zoo is a bit hard going but if you skip though you will get the 'flavour' and it is not so bad.

Animal exchanges with the zoo with other collections around the world have been going on for years.

The list may have some valid points but on the whole it is not.

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Man detained in China over zoo panda death
A man has been detained over the poisoning death of an endangered panda in a Chinese zoo, state media reported Wednesday, in the latest case spotlighting risks to captive animals in China.
The panda, a 21-year-old female named Quan Quan, was found extremely ill Thursday and died hours later after attempts at reviving her failed.
An investigation found that she died from inhaling toxic gas that leaked into her enclosure at the Jinan Zoo in Shandong province through a narrow vent connected to a former air-raid shelter next to the zoo.
The man, identified only by his surname Yang, had hired workers to disinfect the air-raid shelter, which he had rented to grow mushrooms in, Xinhua news agency said.
It said the vent had been drilled in 1995 to help cool the panda enclosure in the summer.
Quan Quan had been on loan to the zoo from China's famed Wolong Giant Panda Research Center in the southwestern province of Sichuan since September 2007.
She had been a star attraction at Jinan Zoo, and was dubbed a "heroic mother" after giving birth to seven cubs in her lifetime, a significant number

Colchester Zoo use mirrors to help flamingos to breed
Keepers at Colchester Zoo have been encouraging their flamingos to breed by using mirrors.
The birds have been tricked into thinking their flock is larger than it actually is as this helps them to nest and eventually lay eggs.
The zoo's 15 Chilean flamingos have now started to build their own nests.
"Even if we don't get eggs this year, it's taken us a step in the right direction," the zoo's curator Sarah Forsythe told BBC Essex.
Like many birds, flamingos do not breed very well in small flocks and the illusion of a larger group means there could soon be flamingo chicks

Shark Week -- Education or Just Entertainment?
"Teeth of death," "Shark feeding frenzy," "The Worst Shark Attack Ever." It is that time of year again, when the Discovery Channel brings out shows like these as part of its annual "Shark Week" programming. This week of bloody feeding frenzies and vicious shark attacks is part of a larger trend in nature programming. Instead of seeking to educate or to promote environmental conservation, these shows focus only on presenting graphic, sensationalized animal violence. Programs like those in Shark Week -- while they might garner high ratings and attract advertiser dollars -- all too often mislead the audience, exploit animals, and fail to promote conservation.
It is easy to understand why Shark Week or other shows like "Untamed and Uncut", "Man vs. Wild", or "When Animals Attack" would attract viewers. The subject matter is riveting, the editing is flashy, and the shows are thrilling and suspenseful. As nature writer Bill McKibben once quipped, the most popular documentaries consist of "big cats alternatively mating and killing each other." Shows like Animal Planet's "Untamed and Uncut" take this to a new level with footage of a marlin impaling a boy's face, a lion mauling a zookeeper, and a polar bear ripping off a woman's leg. This brand of mayhem and mutilation has an eager audience and has turned

Six deer escape from Night Safari
Six deer escaped from the Night Safari at the Singapore Zoological Gardens on Wednesday morning.
Five have been found but one is still missing, although it is believed to be within the Night Safari park.
The fifth deer was caught in the evening at Mandai Lake Road. It had to be sedated. It took about one and a half hours to bring the deer back to its enclosure.
The Sambar deer are all female and were found missing during a routine check by a zookeeper.
One of them had managed to get out of the Night Safari's perimeter fence. A tree had fallen on the fence, allowing the deer to walk out of the park's boundaries.
Kumar Pillai, director of zoology at Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: "(At) the Deer Park, we've got the primary enclosure and if for some reason the animals do come out of there, we have a secondary fence to keep the animals in. But it's the secondary fence that got damaged by the fallen tree and they got out of the park."
It is the first time the deer have escaped from their enclosure.
In a separate incident, the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) rescued three wild Sambar deer in Mandai.
Army personnel had informed WRS that deer were seen at the range. When the WRS team arrived at the scene, they found three Sambar

Escaped coati still missing from Belfast Zoo
A racoon-like creature which absconded from Belfast Zoo more than a week ago is still on the loose, the zoo has confirmed.
The white-nosed coati from Belize escaped on Monday 19 July. A spokesperson for the zoo said there had been no reported sightings of it.
The mammal was being held in quarantine after just arriving at the zoo.
It had been hoped the female would take part in a breeding programme with several other coatis recently

CZA orders probe into poor condition of zoo
The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has ordered a probe into the pathetic condition of wild animals at Maharajbagh Zoo, managed by Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV), Akola.
The inquiry is the result of a complaint by Maharashtra civil supplies minister Anil Deshmukh on May 21. The letter issued on July 19 by CZA member-secretary BS Bonal has urged the chief wildlife warden to submit a report on the factual status on the issues raised by Deshmukh and violation of Recognition of Zoo Rules and Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Following a series of deaths of peacocks and deer in April, Deshmukh visited the zoo on May 4 and directed the authorities to manage it as per CZA norms. His demands included a full-time director and a vet for the zoo, release of excess deer in the wild, encouraging exchange of animals, reconsidering the white tiger proposal and operating the zoo with sufficient

Delhi Zoo exploring for building dolphinarium
Notwithstanding opposition by wildlife enthusiasts to keeping dolphins in captivity, the Delhi Zoo is exploring the feasibility of building a dolphinarium as envisaged by Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh. The dolphin exhibit or dolphinarium will be the part of the yet to be prepared master plan of the Delhi Zoo which would also include a multi-species immersion exhibit with elevated board walk, interpretation centre, food court, open air theatre and souvenir shop.
While majority of zoos have already submitted their master plans to the Central Zoo Authority and availed funds for infrastructure developments, the Delhi Zoo has plans to rope in a consultant to do the job to ensure global standards are maintained.
"We have floated expression of interest for a consultant

Detroit Zoo worker lends aid to Gulf cleanup effort
A Detroit Zoo staffer is in New Orleans this week, helping to care for animals harmed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
veterinary technician Amanda Dabaldo is stationed at the Audubon Aquatics Center in New Orleans to tend to oiled sea turtles that need to be captured, cleaned up and then returned to the wild,

Can Australia save the dingo from extinction?
Where did the Australian dingo go? Once present throughout that country, the feared predator (Canis lupus dingo) in its current form is on its way to extinction as it is either killed or breeds and hybridizes with domesticated dogs. With the disappearance of the purebred dingo comes the loss of an important part of the region's ecosystem as well as a greater chance of environmental destruction by invasive species such as foxes and feral cats.
Now the Australian state of Victoria is taking baby steps toward preserving the dingo. Eighty percent of the dingoes there are hybrids, and pure dingoes exist in

S.A. Zoo dissed on worst-of list; officials say it's 'preposterous'
Certainly there is probably room for improvement, but could the San Antonio Zoo really be one of the worst zoos in the world?
The Global Post thinks so. It has come up with its latest list of the ten worst zoos in the world, and put the San Antonio Zoo on that list, based on the treatment of its elephants.
The list begins in Egypt with the Giza Zoo as the worst, followed by the Glkand Zoo in Iraqi Kurdistan. They say the third worst is the Mumbai Zoo in India and the Kiev Zoo in the Ukraine round out the top four.
Sitting at number five is the San Antonio Zoo. Karrie Kern with the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force says that's where San Antonio belongs.
"Do I believe that we deserve that position? Of course we do, given the kind of habitat, yes," says Kern.
Kern says the issue is with the with the half-acre space for the zoo's elephants. Kern thinks Lucky and Boo need more space, and should be living their last years in a sanctuary.
Zoo management disagrees.
"That's preposterous for anyone to claim that the zoo is one of the fifth, or the fifth worst in the world and put us in the same

Red squirrels to be bred in Paradise before returning to wild in Cornish woodland
A bid to bring red squirrels back to Cornish woodlands is being given a helping hand by a local conservation park and visitor attraction.
Paradise Park, in Hayle, is to provide captive bred red squirrels to the project.
Curator David Woolcock said it was fantastic to play a part in helping bring back a creature not seen in the area for almost 30 years.
He added: "There are people in Cornwall who remember seeing red squirrels in their local woodlands and we must take this opportunity to get the natural balance back so that future generations can appreciate them there too." The project to reintroduce the species to the Lizard and parts of West Penwith was unveiled by Prince Charles at the Royal Cornwall Show in June.
He is a patron of the Red Squirrel Survival Trust, which is working

Jairam Ramesh plans to bring back cheetah
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh is moving fast on his promise to bring back the cheetah to India. Three sites have been identified - two in Madhya Pradesh and one in Rajasthan as special sanctuaries for the animal that went extinct from India in the 60s.
Cheetah, the fastest animal on land had vanished from the subcontinent in 1967. Now, determined to bring back the cheetah, the environment ministry has unveiled an ambitious plan
"Three sites have been identified - two sites in Madhya Pradesh and one in Rajasthan. We will take it forward and it will take three to four years before these sites are made completely fit. I would give this the same importance as I would give project tiger or project elephant," said

Kaohsiung prepares for two white tigers from China
The Shoushan Zoo in southern Taiwan's Kaohsiung City plans to bring in a pair of white tigers from the Xiangjiang Safari Park in Guangzhou, southern China before the 2011 Chinese New Year, Lin Kun-shan, director-general of the city's Tourism Bureau, said Tuesday.
The city government received an approval document July 19 from the Ministry of Economic Affairs's Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) for the importation of the tigers, according

Lifetime zoo sentence for cubs of grizzly that mauled Ont. woman in Montana
A mother grizzly bear responsible for killing a camper and injuring two others near Yellowstone National Park was euthanized on Friday and her three cubs will be sent to a zoo, Montana wildlife officials said.
DNA analysis of bear hair, saliva and tissue samples collected by investigators confirmed that the 300- to 400-pound mother bruin captured with two of her cubs after Wednesday's attacks was the killer grizzly, officials said.
The grizzly's third cub was trapped separately after the first two yearlings and their mother. The three younger bears each weigh 100 to 150 pounds.
A lethal injection was administered to the 10-year-old mother grizzly with a "jab stick," essentially a long pole with a syringe attached to the end, said a spokesman for the Montana Fish, Wildlife

Mine plan threatens Koh Kong woodland
THE conservation NGO Wildlife Alliance yesterday criticised plans for the development of a titanium mine in Koh Kong province, saying the project would scare off ecotourism investors and derail implementation of a lucrative pollution-reduction scheme.
Suwanna Gauntlett, the group’s country director, said the United Khmer Group had recently obtained a permit from the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy for the mine, which she said would cover 15,000 to 20,000 hectares in Thma Bang district.
“Now they need a permit from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, but they’re ready to go. They’re building the roads already and redoing the bridges,” she said.
Company representative Phorn Thou confirmed his company intended to mine titanium in the province, but said no permits had been granted. “My company is in the process

Nepal has 155 adult tigers, 5% of world population
The number of adult tiger has reached 155 in Nepal's forests, an increase of 28% over last year's population, a top official has said.
The tiger population grew after tiger census was conducted in the Chure area of Chitawan National Park, which was skipped during last year's census, according to Coordinator of the Tiger census 2010 Bivash Pandav, an Indian national, who is working under World Wildlife Fund Nepal office in Kathmandu.
The number of adult tiger has reached 155 in Nepal's forests which is an increase of 28%, announced Gopal Prasad Upadhyaya, director general of Department of National

Paignton Zoo feeds alpaca to tigers!
The one metre tall model alpaca was made out of papier mache and cardboard and covered with off-cuts of alpaca fleece.
Paignton Zoo big cat keepers Helen Neighbour and Lucy Manning got the idea after they went llama trekking on Dartmoor.
Lucy said: “We got talking to the owner of Dartmoor Llama Walks, and said it would be good to have some fleece. She let us have some pieces after the alpacas were shorn.
“The model alpaca is great environmental enrichment for our Sumatran tigers and a bit of fun for our visitors. The look of this unusual object in the tigers’ paddock and the unfamiliar smell of the fleece really got the animals interested.”
Adult Sumatran tiger Banda and 18-month old cubs Aryo and Surya certainly made short work of the model. Helen: “It took me about four hours to complete the model and it was all over in a matter of minutes, but it was totally worth it!”
Zoos use environmental enrichment to encourage natural feeding and foraging behaviours, stimulate mental and physical activity and provoke curiosity using unusual objects and

PCCF gives nod to release excess deer
Principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) AK Joshi has given a nod for the release 40 excess deer in Maharajbagh Zoo in the Navegaon national park in Gondia district or in Chaprala and Tipeshwar wildlife sanctuaries in Gadchiroli and Yavatmal districts respectively.
The PCCF gave the permission on July 23, but zoo in charge Dr Abhijeet Motghare claimed to have received the letter on July 28. The zoo authorities have been asked to conduct a health check-up of the deer and release only fit animals.
Similar permission was granted to the zoo three years ago, but except for making wooden cages, no efforts were made to release the deer. As per CZA norms, not more than 10 deer can be kept in captivity in a mini zoo, the category to which the Maharajbagh Zoo belongs. Now, the zoo authorities may be forced to take a

Pity the Toothless Pangolin
Chinese customs officials in southern Guangdong Province have intercepted a boat with a grisly illegal cargo: nearly eight tons of frozen pangolin carcasses (2,090 of them!) as well as 4,000 pounds of scales stripped from their bodies. Six traffickers posing as fishermen had been paid to transport the pangolins from Southeast Asia, part of the animal’s native habitat, to China.
Most Americans are probably unfamiliar with the pangolin, a toothless scaly anteater that lives in the forests of Asia; it plays an important role in ant and termite control. Many Chinese prize the animal because its meat is considered a delicacy. And its scales are used to make traditional medicines that are purported to benefit women who are nursing, among other things.
That has led to a precipitous decline in the pangolin’s numbers. Two of the four Asian pangolin species are classified as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of

Let's Go to the Zoo and Laugh at Suffering Polar Bears
This film educates its audience about polar bears—and the animals don't seem to mind that they're being spied on. Not so in the case of the video below: Shot by a giggling zoo visitor, it shows how polar bears suffer in captivity (so much so that some animals are given mood-altering drugs) and how naïve zoogoers misinterpret the animals' neurotic behavior.
The typical enclosure for a polar bear at a zoo is a mere one millionth the size of a polar bear's minimum home range in the wild.
And if the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre has its way, more bears will be taken captive. The center's plan is to seize polar bears from the wild in Manitoba and dump some of them at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg and others at zoos around the world. The export of polar bears from Manitoba was stopped in the 90s after animals were found languishing in all sorts of places—even, as PETA discovered, in a Mexican circus. But now, some are determined to resurrect this cruel practice.
And others are determined to stop it: John Youngman, a lawyer and former president of the Zoological Society of Manitoba, wrote this enlightening commentary. Every sentence underscores how misguided the center's plan is, but I think my favorite point might be the following: "As for educational value, the only substantive thing a polar bear in captivity teaches kids is that it's okay to ruin an animal's life for our viewing pleasure." Or maybe it's this: "There is no 'conservation' value in capturing wild polar bears and putting them in zoos. Nor is there any known program for successfully

Platypus Rescued From Sewage Plant

Poison horns to save rhinos?
Helicopters, machine guns, bullet-proof vests, R250,000 night-vision binoculars, prescription tranquillisers, axes, saws... these are all tools of the grisly trade in rhino horns.
And one man is prepared to go to extreme lengths to stop it.
Ed Hern, owner of the Rhino and Lion Park near Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg, believes poisoning the horns of rhinos will result in consumers of the product falling ill or dying and knock the demand for this illegal product hard.
"We need to try poisoning the horns with something like cyanide so when someone uses it for medicine they will die. I have started testing with a vet," he said.
South African rhino owners are becoming increasingly desperate as the country is being targeted by high-tech rhino poaching syndicates, believed to be working with industry insiders, to feed the demand for rhino horn in Vietnam

Public Outcry Ends Citibank Hong Kong’s Promotional Discount On Shark Fin Soup
Yet another symbol of Chinese status is one more pricey delicacy: shark fin soup. The greatly increasing demand for the soup has been fueling the killing of 100 million sharks a year! The shark fin trade has caused a sharp decline in the world’s shark populations over the last 20 years. To make matters worse, Citibank’s Hong Kong branch launched a promotion this month that advertised Citibank credit card holders would receive at fifteen percent discount on a “shark’s fin and garoupa” dinner at Maxim’s Chinese

Ten key indicators show global warming "undeniable"
Melting glaciers, more humid air and eight other key indicators show that global warming is undeniable, scientists said on Wednesday, citing a new comprehensive review of the last decade of climate data.
Without addressing why this is happening, the researchers said there was no doubt that every decade on Earth since the 1980s has been hotter than the previous one, and that the planet has been warming for the last half-century.
This confirms the findings of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which reported in 2007 with 90 percent certainty that climate change is occurring. The IPCC also said that human activities contribute to this phenomenon.
The new report was released after U.S. Senate Democrats delayed any possible legislation to curb climate change until September at the earliest. Prospects for U.S. climate change legislation

Jack Hanna wards off grizzly with pepper spray
TV host and zookeeper Jack Hanna says he took his own advice and used pepper spray on a grizzly bear headed toward him.
The Columbus Zoo keeper and frequent David Letterman guest said he was with his wife and other hikers in Montana's Glacier National Park on Saturday when a bear cub, weighing about 125 pounds, charged them. Hanna told The Columbus Dispatch that he held up a canister of pepper spray, which he takes routinely on hikes.
"At about 30 feet, I unload my pepper spray, and the wind takes it," he told the newspaper.
But the bear kept coming. Hanna sprayed toward the animal again, but still it kept coming.
"Then the third time I unload that pepper spray right


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Zoo in the sun
Lucknow's Prince of Wales Zoological Garden has the distinction of becoming the country's first zoo to use solar energy. All the zoo offices, streetlights and kitchen run on solar power at present. In a few months the entire establishment will switch to this eco-friendly energy system, which will power water pumps, the animal hospitals, water heating systems, the nursery, water power ejectors for the fountain, vehicles ferrying visitors within the zoo, the ticket house and even the quaint lanterns adorning the main gate! Additionally, the irrigation system at the bio-fuel plantation in the zoo nursery will also run on sunlight.
The driving force behind this path-breaking change is Zoo Director Renu Singh.
The 30-something woman was inspired to turn the zoo into a green zone when, in 2008, the Uttar Pradesh Government decided to build a solar energy park on dedicated land within the zoo. The park was meant to educate people about the benefits of solar energy. “I was not convinced that just setting up the park would motivate people to switch to solar energy. So I started to look for ways to make the idea more people- and zoo-friendly,” says

Topeka Zoo Inspection Results
Results from a recent inspection at the Topeka Zoo have been released. Several non-compliant issues were reported, but the zoo is hoping to avoid this in the future by resolving the issues before they are brought to their attention.
The inspection report shows four non-compliant issues, including fly problems in the gorilla and lion exhibits, rust damage in the hippo stall, and an issue with objects falling into the bear exhibit.
Topeka Zoo Director, Brendan Wiley, announced the zoo identified several of these issues themselves and tells us how they are hoping to build a relationship with


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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.


Stop the Spread of Zoo Zombies
This film educates its audience about polar bears—and the animals don't seem to mind that they're being spied on. Not so in the case of the video below: Shot by a giggling zoo visitor, it shows how polar bears suffer in captivity (so much so that some animals are given mood-altering drugs) and how naïve zoogoers misinterpret the animals' neurotic behavior.
The typical enclosure for a polar bear at a zoo is a mere one millionth the size of a polar bear's minimum home range in the wild.
And if the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre has its way, more bears will be taken captive. The center's plan is to seize polar bears from the wild in Manitoba and dump some of them at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg and others at zoos around the world. The export of polar bears from Manitoba was stopped in the 90s after animals were found languishing in all sorts of places—even, as PETA discovered, in a Mexican circus. But now, some are determined to resurrect this cruel practice.
And others are determined to stop it: John Youngman, a lawyer and former president of the Zoological Society of Manitoba, wrote this enlightening commentary. Every sentence underscores how misguided the center's plan is, but I think my favorite point might be the following: "As for educational value, the only substantive thing a polar bear in captivity teaches kids is that it's okay to ruin an animal's life for our viewing pleasure." Or maybe it's this: "There is no 'conservation' value in capturing wild polar bears and putting them in zoos. Nor is there any known program for successfully rehabilitating orphaned or captive-born polar bears back into the wild."
Tell us which point in Youngman's piece

Stiffer penalties sought for wildlife criminals in Thailand
More than 30 senior judges and prosecutors, plus senior officers from the Royal Thai Police, Royal Thai Customs, and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation begin a three-day meeting today to examine how to deal more effectively with wildlife crime in the region.
South-East Asia is a major hub for illegal wildlife trade. In recent few weeks there have been a number of large wildlife seizures in the region, including a haul of over three quarters of a tonne of illegal ivory seized at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
However, it is common for those convicted of wildlife-related offences to walk away with minor penalties and in some cases continue with their illegal activities.
In response, law enforcement officers have been appealing for stiffer penalties and higher rates of prosecution to help ensure that the penalties meted out deter the wildlife criminals and wildlife crime.
The ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (WEN), an integrated network

West Midland Safari Park's Bob graduates with honours
WEST Midland Safari Park’s “animal man” has proved it is never too late to learn, earning a degree at the age of 59.
Bob Lawrence graduated from Nottingham University not only with a first class honours degree but also the Vice Chancellor’s award for outstanding academic achievement alongside an honorary graduate, Sir David Attenborough, under the eye of the University’s Chancellor, Sir Michael Parkinson.
Mr Lawrence also collected a national adult learning award from NIACE (National Institute of Adult Continuing Education), nominated for by the university.
He was one of only two students out of the possible 40 that

The zoo that believes in Noah's Ark: Creationist attraction is approved for school trips
A zoo that promotes creationism and believes that the story of Noah’s Ark is supported by science has become an approved school trip destination.
The move has provoked a war of words between the Christians who run Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm and those who believe it will expose children to ‘dogma’.
Visitors to the attraction are invited to question the traditional view of evolution and consider instead ‘the case for a Creator’ – with information boards challenging established science such as fossil records, carbon dating and the speed of light.
Critics say the decision to award it a Government kitemark is ‘entirely inappropriate’.
But bosses at the family-run zoo, in Wraxall, near Bristol, insist that workshops for children merely cover the national science curriculum and do not include discussion of religion.
They admit that youngsters visiting the centre are free to go to an area where posters and charts advance its religious beliefs.
James Gray, education officer at the British Humanist Association, condemned the award of the Council

Delight as Dudley Zoo rakes in the profits
Dudley Zoo has seen a six-fold increase in profits – with visitors flocking to see new attractions, bosses said today.
Zoo chief executive Peter Suddock said he was “delighted” with the figures and vowed the zoo would continue to grow.
In the year ending December 31, 2009, profits were £95,000, a rise of £81,000 on the previous year.
The soaring cost of energy and food for the animals had dented profits in the previous year.
There were 15,000 extra visitors at the zoo last year, which was 7.5 per cent up on 2008, according to Dudley

The baby panda factory: Inside the extraordinary breeding centre where China is mass-producing infant pandas
Masked and gowned to avoid passing on an infection, wildlife presenter Nigel Marven gazes in wonder at the tiny and rather odd- looking creature nestling helplessly inside a blanketed incubator.
Just a few inches long, with a furless, pink body and tightly scrunched-up eyes, it could be a newborn rabbit, or some sort of rodent, perhaps.
In fact, this is a nine-day-old giant panda — still blind and unable to crawl —being nurtured in a remarkable Chinese panda nursery which is leading the fight to safeguard the future of the world’s most emblematic animal.
The project is considered so sensitive that only a handful of Westerners — all veterinary specialists — have been permitted inside the sound-proofed, softlylit nursery at the giant Panda Breeding And Research Centre in Chengdu, Western China.
But Marven was made an exception this week after he was appointed as Chengdu’s ‘Panda Ambassador’ — an honour previously awarded to just one man: China’s favourite actor, Jackie Chan.
And only the Daily Mail was there to capture a moment that the 49-year-old presenter described as ‘the most memorable of my career’.
The newborn panda has been named Jiao


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Blog Posts:

Look to the right within the blog and see and click on blog postings. Some of these have not been mailed out by email. Most will have been posted on the Facebook Page however.


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Save The Orangutan


Wildlife Middle East News Vol 5 Issue 1

June 2010

PDFs can be downloaded from:

Vol 5 Issue 1 Contents


Failaka Island Hadras: a menace for dwindling biodiversity?

Fence leads to mass mortalities of threatened ungulates in Mahazat as-Sayd Protected Area in arid central Saudi Arabia

Zoological institutions in the Middle East and potential for a regional zoo association

Arabian oryx reintroduction in Abu Dhabi – UAE

Animal trade in Iraq

Northern bald ibis in Saudi Arabia: last step for its survival

News and reviews

News and reviews


Journal of Threatened Taxa

July 2010 Vol. 2 No. 8
Pages 1077-1120
Date of Publication 26 July 2010

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

To Read Please Click



In the face of massive evidence against them, the Tiger Temple have pulled out of both the legal and civil court cases against conservationist Edwin Wiek. After just a small amount of the huge collection of evidence was placed in front of the court, the Tiger Temple immediately backed down.

The Ti...ger Temple initially requested a full apology from the newspaper which printed Mr Wiek's facts about the cruelty and illegal trading at the Tiger Temple, and an apology from Mr Wiek, but that was refused.

The newspaper is willing to print an article stating that they never wished the Tiger Temple to lose face over their article, but they are standing firm and refusing to lie say that the article is not factual. Mr Wiek has completely refused to apologise, and still the Tiger Temple backed down.

We are still to hear from Edwin Wiek as to whether he intends to countersue, ensuring ALL the evidence against the Tiger Temple will get in front of a judge.

Read More HERE


27th September—1st October 2010

Who is running the course?

Durrell’s International Training Centre (ITC), in conjunction with the Mammal Department. Course faculty will include visiting international experts in lemur and callitrichid husbandry and conservation

Where will the course run?

The course will be based at the ITC at Durrell’s headquarters on the island of Jersey, British Channel Islands. Practical sessions will be run within the lemur and callitrichid animal sections of Durrell.

How long will the course last?

5 days (arrive Sunday evening– leave Saturday morning)

What will be covered on the course?

The course will include the following topics:

• Planning your captive collection: making the link to the wild

• Enclosure design, stress management and nutrition

• Population management for controlled breeding programmes

• Past, present and future for callitrichid and lemur conservation and the role of zoos

How much will it cost?

£1000 This will include 7 nights full-board accommodation on-site at Les Noyers (adjacent to the ITC and animal collection); tuition fee; and all course materials.

Deadline for applications: 30th July 2010
For further information please contact:

Catherine Burrows
Tel: 01534 860037
International Training Centre
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust,
Les Augres Manor, La Profonde Rue,
Trinity, Jersey, JE3 5BP


Avian egg incubation workshop

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Jersey, UK
1st - 4th December 2010
What will be covered on the workshop?

This is an intensive, practical workshop which will cover the following topics:

• Embryo and membrane development

• Factors affecting hatchability before and during incubation

• Hatchery management techniques (including equipment selection and operation, egg weight loss management and hatchability analysis)

• Artificial incubation and its role in field conservation programmes

Participants will break out embryos at all stages of development (older embryos are euthanized first) and gain first-hand experience of candling techniques, egg repair, hatching assistance and egg necropsy

Who is running the workshop?

Susie Kasielke (Los Angeles Zoo) and Pat Witman (San Diego Zoo) will be leading the workshop with additional lecturing support from Durrell’s International Training Centre, Bird Department and Prof. Carl Jones, MBE , Scientific Director, Mauritius Wildlife Foundation.

Susie has been working with birds at the Los Angeles Zoo for over 30 years and has been Curator of Birds there since 2001. Through her involvement with the California Condor Recovery Program, she worked with the staff at Los Angeles and other facilities to develop and refine propagation, incubation and rearing methods for condors and other species. She has been teaching workshops on avian egg incubation for zoo
groups in North America for 18 years.

Pat has been working for San Diego Zoo for almost 30 years with 20 of those years being involved with artificial incubation and hand rearing at the Zoo’s Avian Popagation Center (APC). The APC has hatched almost 300 avian species, including the first California Condor. Pat joined forces with Susie Kasielke two years ago to combine their knowledge into the actual workshop format.

How much will it cost

Course (including lunches and coffee): £450
On-site accommodation (full-board, 4 nights): £170

For further information please contact

Catherine Burrows at
or call +44 (0)1534 860037
an international charity saving species from extinction


Conference Bookings

Conference Programme


Improve the quality of life for animals at zoos and aquariums in America


The Elephant Conservation Network

Run for Elephants
19 Dec 2010
Kanchanaburi, Thailand


Nominations are now open for the 2012 Indianapolis Prize


TAPIRS: The Tapir Preservation Fund (TPF)

Call for Proposals ~ July-August 2010

Tapir Preservation Fund (TPF)

Call for Proposals, July-August 2010

$1,000.00 will be awarded in September 2010

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.

For Full Details Please Click


ABWAK Annual Symposium 2011
1st Call for Presentations

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:

• Title
• Keywords
• Author
• A/V equipment required
• Summary of presentation (no more than 300 words).

Deadline is 31st October 2010.
Please submit abstracts to Ross Snipp,


Voluntary opportunity to Join ABWAK Council

Please see this link for details


Private Zoo For Sale
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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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Are You Going To Participate This Year?
I do hope so
Please highlight the plight of the vulture
Every Zoo should play their part
Every zoo which keeps vultures MUST do so

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The Zoo Biology Group is concerned with all disciplines involved in the running of a Zoological Garden. Captive breeding, husbandry,cage design and construction, diets, enrichment, man management,record keeping, etc etc


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Wishing you a wonderful week,

Peter Dickinson


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