Monday, September 20, 2010

Zoo News Digest 14th - 20th September 2010 (Zoo News 689)

Zoo News Digest 14th - 20th September 2010 (Zoo News 689)

Dear Colleagues,

This is a lengthy issue. If you are recieving by email then the chances are it will not open in it entirety. You will need to go to the blog page.

The capture of the Saola was exciting news. Almost immediately we learned that the unfortunate creature had died. I was immediately pondering its fate should it have lived. I thought release, but electonically tagged would have been the best option. We could have learned so much whilst it continued to contribute to the very shallow gene pool. Holding it captive in the unlikely event that a mate was obtained seemed almost a crime. The decision however was not in man's hands. We do at least know that there are still animals and have a better idea of where. Now we are in a better position to give protection.

I was delighted to learn that Dr Mark Pilgrim will be the new Director General of Chester Zoo. I don't know Mark well but in the few dealings I have had I have been impressed by his professionalism. Further to that, people I do know who know Mark well have nothing but praise for the guy. Good choice. Congratulations Mark!

Remaining with Chester Zoo, I note the Biodome has been approved. £225m is a sum of money that I just cannot get my head around. I hope the project is a huge success. It makes the $1-million upgrade to the San Diego Zoo Galapagos Tortoise enclosure seem like chicken feed in comparison....only it isn't really. They are both huge amounts in their own right, amounts that many zoos can only dream about.

Jack Hannah really makes me cringe sometimes. Usually this will as a result of his appearance on some late night show. He is though first and foremost a showman in the same genre as Steve Irwin. They both get the message across. Jack talks nothing but sense about the recent Toledo Zoo elephant incident when he says accidents can happen and people do make mistakes. We all learn by our mistakes and the mistakes of others every day of our lives. I have known many keepers who have made mistakes, sometimes quite serious ones. I and others have given them another chance. These keepers have turned out to be some of the best in the business. They have learned and have a tale to tell.

Tigers seem to fill every segment of the news these days. It is the year of the Tiger after all. The report from the WCS is one of the most sensible so far. There really is a need now for action and not talk. The time for talking and praising each other on the Tiger gravy train is over. All the numerous 'Save The Tiger' groups need to amalgamate into one. Cut out all the riff raff and middlemen, stop the rake off and use the money to actually do something instead of just talk talk talk and bloody talk.

The internet and especially Facebook is running rife with Tiger Groups which have not got a clue as to what they are on about. I mean really...visit and read them sometime.

A church using a Lion to symbolise Satan. I rarely swear but this made cuss words shoot from my mouth. Here I will just say, stupid, can add your own words.

The story of the cannabis plantation in an Austrian Zoo amused me. Actually not so unusual though. Zoos have bird seed and it often contains cannabis seeds. I have seen numerous plants sprout, grow and disappear over the years. Many of these growing in full public view because no-one knew what they were. I do recollect a police squad car arriving at Cleethorpes Zoo and Marineland to 'arrest' a plant which was around six feet tall. Nobody had noticed it.

The article on the bear in the Finnish Zoo is scarcely credible. "and expert says it may be a bear necessity to stay sane". There it is in the leader to the article. Expert?? Those reading no further than the first few lines will assume it is the usual expertise of one of our TV show hosts, fallen movie or pop stars that is being referred to. No, here it is a Yoga teacher.

Can you believe this?

"legal measures against certain NGOs concerned with animal welfare involved in the abuse of Egypt's reputation internationally through publishing several comments about the poor situation of animals in the zoos which are run by the Ministry of Agriculture"

legal action against citicising zoo conditions in Egypt! Just what sort of state would implement such a decree? To be honest I do not give a damn who does an inspection of the zoos there as long as it is true and honest. Unless there is a requirement that the zoos face immediate closure unless they improve any found poor conditions then any inspection by anybody is simply not worthwhile. Let WAZA go back in, let them inspect via EAZA or better still through the UK and BIAZA (as I am more familiar with UK zoo inspection requirements). Let me do it. I am pro zoo, pro good zoo. My report would be as honest as could be obtained from the public side of the barrier. I would never sell my soul to anyone. I can though read cages and see things that others miss. My report would be international. 

Staying with Egypt just for a minute read the story about the dolphins in a swimming pool in Hurghada. You will see the report of those recently rescued from a facility in Turkey. Here this situation sounds as if it made me worse. Pure crass uncaring cruel commercial greed that does nothing at all for conservation or education. Yet here the animals "According to Egyptian regulations, they are required to be kept in quarantine for a minimum of 105 days, to ascertain that are healthy and able to perform." Very noble. But here it is the same authorities who are meant to be monitoring zoos.

Sorry but "Lack of veterinarians is the bane of Bannerghatta Biological Park"  is absolute poppycock. Have they not heard of 'Too many cooks spoil the broth'. One properly trained zoo vet is more than enough for most zoos in this world. Providing that she/he has lab backup and a competent relief vet there really should be no problem that they cannot cope with. The internet through the Zoo Biology group has provided almost instantaneous back up, support and information to zoo vets on numerous occassions over the years (This has dozens of world zoo vets subscribed). What zoos do need are enough adequately trained, appreciated and compensated Zoo Keepers.... The Zoo Keeper is really what counts here. If they have the tools and knowledge to do their jobs properly then vets will rarely be called upon. Adding more vets to the formula are not going to solve any crisis.
Please Read: Zoo Keepers this is something I published back in November 2009. It is very relevant to this issue.

See further down for the Power Point presentation on Zoo Animal Training. This very generous sharing of expertise is only downloadable till the 25th. Do it today or else you and your staff and colleagues will miss out big time. You owe it to yourself. You owe it to them and most of all you owe it to your animals.

I am sure that ACRES have their hearts in the right place and I would support a lot of what they have to say but they are not zoo people. I therefore take their newspaper with an extra pinch of salt. Surabaya zoo is quoted in the text. Whereas I don't doubt that a problem exists here much of it is a smoke cloud deliberately created to what is taking place unseen. Yes Angkor Zoo was terrible. Really one of the worst, though not the worst of the South East Asian zoos I have visited. The criticism of the South-east Asian Zoos Association is valid. There really is only a tiny number of zoos which are members. There are no set standards and in fact combined they don't know what species they hold. Until they get there own house in order (including kicking out some members) they will not be in a position to advise or suggest to South East Asian governments the standards and requirements to be set. Meanwhile places like the Tiger Temple, Sri Racha Tiger Zoo, Baturraden Zoo and others will continue their evil ways and increase in number. The article mentions Chiang Mai Zoo and gives praise. It must be time for a new visit because I came away from two visits with as much critique as praise. But then again I am a professional zoo person and not an animal rights.

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Vergel Zoo facing closure crisis
The crisis leaves some 460 homeless animals Vergel Safari Park where they lived and, in most cases were born there. The zoo of this region is closed due to lack of funds. Rehoming is the main consideration. Uno, a very docile and affectionate 1500 kilos female rhinoceros will be greatly missed by staff. None of the animals will go to a circus it has been stated.

Thieves steal funds raised in Britain for Lion Man
Lion Man Craig Busch will not let scammers put him off trying to regain Whangarei's Zion Wildlife Gardens or open another big-cat park.
It has been revealed that thieves have siphoned off money in a British bank account set up to raise funds for him.
Mr Busch lost Zion Wildlife Gardens - the big-cat park he started which featured in the Lion Man TV series he starred in - to his mother, Patricia Busch, after she bailed him out financially.
His mother sacked him in November 2008. But the Lion Man has been trying to raise funds to buy

Read More: Craig Busch Hack Attack

Seized Reptiles Were "On Loan" from Zoos
Discovered by police investigating an assault case, scores of allegedly neglected reptiles – many reportedly ill or with injuries, some already dead – were rescued from Terry Cullen’s residence in May 2010. In yet another example of the link between animal abuse and violence against humans, Cullen is facing charges related to alleged animal abuse, sexual assault and false imprisonment.
Cullen had presented himself as a reptile collector for years, and many of the animals in his possession, including endangered species, were reportedly loaned to him by zoos. That only a handful of these zoos are reported to have come forward to take responsibility for the animals they had given to Cullen “on loan” is no surprise to seasoned wildlife rescuers. Quoted in the Journal-Sentinal is the Colorado Reptile Humane Society’s director Ann-Elizabeth Nash:
"Decades-long transfers of the animals don't make any sense. There is either an institutional commitment to the animal or there isn't," she said. "This is a Pandora's box. Not many people know about this, but numbers-wise this kind of thing is going to make puppy mill seizures a joke. There is this behind-the-scenes interaction between AZA institutions and institutions not AZA. What is the level of self-policing the AZA does? What are the vetting protocols to loan to non-AZA? There is a feeling that if the animal doesn't have fur, it's not something we need to worry about."
Take Action!
Locals are encouraged to support the prosecution by attending court proceedings. A hearing date in the criminal case against Terry Cullen is currently scheduled for December 13, 2010. (Always contact the Court to confirm court dates and locations as they are subject to change.)
Circuit Court of Milwaukee County
Safety Building
821 West State Street
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Case #2010CF002659
Contact the zoos in your state and ask them to document their policies on “animal loans” for you. Many zoos benefit from taxpayer dollars, and the public should expect there to be a goal of l

Dolphin innovators hunt fish by collecting conch shells
Dolphins living in Shark Bay, Australia have developed a rare, and extraordinary new behaviour.
he dolphins have become shell-collectors, using their snouts to pick up and transport large conchs.
The dolphins seek out the shells to hunt fish that are sheltering within.
It is likely that the dolphins originally chased the fish into the conchs, and have now learnt to bring the shells to the surface, where they can flush out and eat their

Rare antelope-like mammal caught in Asia
An extremely rare animal known as the "Asian unicorn" - in spite of having two horns - has been caught by villagers in Laos.
No biologist has ever reported seeing the rare Saola in the wild and there are none of them in captivity.
The animal was discovered in the forests of South-East Asia as recently as 1992.
There have only been a few photos of the Saola taken so far, by villagers and automatic camera traps.

Breeder killed by elephant in NE China
An elephant is believed to have trampled its breeder last week, killing the 46-year-old man who had been feeding and training the animal for over 20 years in a park in Northeast China's Jilin province, park officials said Monday.
Angya, a 27-year-old female elephant weighing three tons, and its breeder Zhao Jidong, were returning on a truck to Changchun Wildlife Park following a performance last Friday when the incident occurred, Mu Dejun, head of the park said.
Zhao was found dead in a cage, where he normally stayed with the elephant while traveling in the truck. "The body was covered with grass and the elephant was caressing it with its trunk," the driver, who declined to give his name, said.
The fatal blow appeared to be on Zhao's chest, he added.
The police are investigating and the result of an autopsy was yet to be released, Mu said.
Angya was gentle and had never caused trouble before, according to officials. Also, the

Cat-fight over Bengal tiger
Rivals prepared to go to court
A bitter custody battle is raging over a 150kg Bengal tiger in the southern Cape.
Two-year-old Angelo, a white tiger with a degenerative eye condition, is "on loan" to a Mossel Bay wildlife park owner who has vowed to keep him.
But the original owner wants him back and says he is driving down to the coast pick up the tiger next week "no matter what".
The two men have vowed to take the matter to court rather than relinquish custody.
Angelo is one of four tigers imported from Canada in 2008 as part of an animal-exchange agreement between a Canadian zoo and Free

Bristol students to investigate Zoo's history
The history of Bristol Zoo, which celebrates its 175th anniversary next year, is the subject of two Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded research projects by PhD students at the University of Bristol.
Working in partnership with the Zoo, the two students will provide material and insights to enrich visitors’ experience and deepen understanding of the Zoo's history for both the local community and those working in the fields of social and environmental history.
PhD student Sarah-Joy Maddeaux will look at the social history of the Zoo by researching those who founded, ran, and visited the Zoo in its 175-year history to gain an understanding of people's attitudes

New Directors for Zoo
CHESTER Zoo has announced the appointment of its new Director General and Managing Director.
Dr Mark Pilgrim, currently the zoo’s Director of Conservation and Education, will take up the role of Director General on the 1st October. He takes over from Prof Gordon McGregor Reid, who is stepping down after 18 years in the zoo and 15 years at the helm.
Mark will be joined by Barbara Smith who will take on the newly-created position of Managing Director. Barbara is Executive Manager at Edinburgh Castle and will start at the zoo on October 25.
Prof Peter Wheeler, chairman of the Trustees of NEZS, the charitable body that runs Chester Zoo, said: “We are extremely pleased to have appointed a team with the expertise and experience to continue the development of the zoo as a world-class visitor attraction and increase the impact of our internationally important conservation work. We wish Mark

Chester Zoo Biodome Project is given go-ahead
APPROVAL for a £225m biodome project that will transform Chester Zoo into an international attraction has been granted.
The momentous decision by the council’s strategic planning committee on Friday put the zoo one step away from realising an ambitious vision 15 years in the planning.
Approval was granted by Cheshire West and Chester's strategic planning committee by 9-2.
Because the work involves extensive building on Green Belt land, it has now been referred to the Secretary of State. He may call it in for a public enquiry or refer it back to the council.
After the meeting, Prof Gordon McGregor Reid, Chester Zoo's director general, said: “Today's result is the culmination of years of planning, preparation and

Experts visit Byculla Zoo to take stock of makeover plan
Nine months after the Central Zoo Authority gave its final approval to the Rs 433-crore Byculla zoo makeover, two CZA experts visited the zoo last week to take stock of the redevelopment plan, zoo officials said on Thursday. The project, which was passed by the CZA in November 2009, has been held up for a final approval from the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee. The MHCC has called for minor changes in the plan in order to preserve the tree cover and the floral biodiversity of the premises.
The experts — Dr Erach Barucha, CZA scientist, and V B Sawarkar, the former director of the Wildlife Institute of India — visited the zoo to appraise the current status of the premises as well as consider the reason for the delay in implementation of the plan. Barucha said, “The civic body is working on an extensive bio-diversity mapping of the zoo along with expert botanists from

Feds fund rare frogs
A few hundred rare frogs living in the local area received a federal government funding boost on Friday.
Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Chuck Strahl was at the Coast Hotel to announce $420,154 in funding for eight conservation projects aimed at species at risk in British Columbia.
The British Columbia Conservation Foundation (BCCF) received $80,000 for habitat stewardship, restoration and expansion as well as monitoring for the Oregon spotted frog, among others.
Biologists estimate there are only about 300 Oregon spotted frogs left in the province at three locations, all in the Agassiz area--Mountain Slough, Marias Slough and Morris Valley.
The problem for the frog is that its preferred environment is precisely what farmers want to eliminate, namely warm, sunny, shallow water.
Monica Pearson is a habitat biologist who works with the BCCF on Oregon spotted frog habitat to create "frog

Fish: the forgotten victims on our plate
There is no humane slaughter requirement for the staggering number of wild fish caught and killed at sea
When I was a child, my father used to take me for walks, often along a river or by the sea. We would pass people fishing, perhaps reeling in their lines with struggling fish hooked at the end of them. Once I saw a man take a small fish out of a bucket and impale it, still wriggling, on an empty hook to use as bait.
Another time, when our path took us by a tranquil stream, I saw a man sitting and watching his line, seemingly at peace with the world, while next to him, fish he had already caught were flapping helplessly and gasping in the air. My father told me that he could not understand how anyone could enjoy an afternoon spent taking fish out of the water and letting them die slowly.
These childhood memories flooded back when I read Worse Things Happen at Sea: the Welfare of Wild-caught Fish, a breakthrough report released last month on In most of the world, it is accepted that if animals are to be killed for food, they should be killed without suffering. Regulations for slaughter generally require that animals be rendered instantly unconscious before they are killed, or death should be brought about instantaneously

Food for animals served in zoo cafe
Food donated to a zoo to feed the animals was cooked and served in the cafe.
Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire received a batch of fresh vegetables after an accidental double delivery at a nearby supermarket.
Those that were not suitable for the animals - a quantity of potatoes and onions - were used in the kitchen, it was revealed.
The incident in September 2009 came to light after a complaint was made to the local council.
Council officers investigated and discussed with the operators measures to tighten up their procedures, with the zoo being banned from using donated food in this way in future.
But the park said the produce was always meant for human consumption and was served in the cafe so it would not have to be thrown away.
A spokesman said: "In September 2009, Woburn Safari Park received a one-off delivery of surplus fresh vegetables from a company due to a stock overbooking.
"The produce, always intended for human consumption, was within its sell-by dates so common sense was applied, allowing the kitchen

Galapagos tortoises get new $1-million digs at San Diego Zoo
Something is new on Reptile Mesa at the San Diego Zoo: a $1-million upgrade to the enclosure for the zoo's 17 Galapagos tortoises.
The Galapagos tortoises, an endangered species, exist in only two locations: The famous islands off Ecuador, and in zoos.
Many of the 17 have been at the San Diego Zoo since the 1930s; several are thought to be more than 100 years old. One of the zoo's longtime patrons thought the big reptiles deserved better digs.
And so after some fundraising, the Fetter Family

Fish and microchips to track shoal movement
It gives a whole new meaning to fish and chips. British scientists are to insert microchips with movement sensors normally found in video games into wild fish to monitor how they roam about the oceans.
Sensitive "three-axis" motion indicators used in handsets to show how people move about for consoles such as Nintendo's Wii will be implanted into Atlantic cod and salmon in an attempt to halt their long-term decline.
A team of 17 at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) in Lowestoft, Suffolk, has spent six years developing the technology at a cost of £559,000.
During the first five years of their six-year research project, they developed basic microchips with magnets that can be stitched into the fish's bodies to record when they open their mouths and whether they are breathing, yawning, coughing, or – of most interest – feeding.
Engineers then hit on the idea of adding "three-axis accelerometers" in video-game technology to electronic tags to enable analysis of the movement of fish in three planes.
This will reveal how much energy they are expending, which can be used to piece together the feeding and movement of large predatory fish. Marine scientists say that the ensuing information about how

Ikh Nart Nature Reserve

"Jungle" Jack Hanna on Toledo Zoo elephant incident
He's a well-known animal guy seen on 13abc on Sunday mornings at 5:30. "Jungle" Jack Hanna was in town Thursday night to promote his new book, "My Wild Life."
He also gave 13abc his take on the incident at the Toledo Zoo involving Louie the elephant. That incident July 1 sent an elephant trainer to the hospital and raised questions about animals and safety measures at the zoo.
Jack Hannah is familiar with the story of Louie the elephant. And in his line of work, Hannah says accidents can happen. "People do make mistakes." Jack Hannah is one of the best known animal experts in the world. And in his line of work, Hannah says mistakes can be painful, even deadly.
"People ask me all the time if I've ever been injured or hurt. Obviously, I have. You know, 40 years of doing this. But when you work with animals with respect, which the Toledo Zoo does, and most accredited zoos do, things are going to happen," says Hanna.
On July 1, something did happen. Elephant trainer, Don Redfox, was inside the Toledo Zoo enclosure with Louie, the zoo's 7-year-old African elephant. A review of video shows Redfox and Louie startled one another. The encounter turned physical and sent Redfox to the hospital.
"I tell our board of trustees in Columbus, don't ever think

Last strongholds for tigers identified in new study
A new peer-reviewed paper by the Wildlife Conservation Society and other groups reveals an ominous finding: most of the world’s last remaining tigers — long decimated by overhunting, logging, and wildlife trade — are now clustered in just six percent of their available habitat. The paper identifies 42 ‘source sites’ scattered across Asia that are now the last hope and greatest priority for the conservation and recovery of the world’s largest cat.
The securing of the tiger’s remaining source sites is the most effective and efficient way of not only preventing extinction but seeding a recovery of the wild tiger, the study’s authors say. The researchers also assert that effective conservation efforts focused on these sites are both possible and economically feasible, requiring an additional $35 million a year for increased monitoring and enforcement to enable tiger numbers to double in these last strongholds.
The study — published online by PLoS Biology — is authored by: Wildlife Conservation Society researchers Joe Walston, John Robinson, Elizabeth Bennett, John Goodrich, Melvin Gumal, Arlyne Johnson, Ullas Karanth, Dale Miquelle, Anak

Houston Zoo leading fight against elephant herpes
A new weapon in the fight to prevent a deadly disease in elephants is being developed right here in Houston.
For the past year, the Houston Zoo has been working with researchers at Baylor College of Medicine to study the elephant herpes virus. Now researchers have come up with a test that's drawing interest from zoos around the world.
This test is really a breakthrough. In the last several years, six baby elephants born at the Houston Zoo have died from the herpes virus. Now researchers think they've found a better test.
At just four months old, little Baylor the elephant is already helping combat a deadly disease. Part of one of the most screened herds of elephants in North America, the clues he sheds about elephant herpes could save countless others.
"By the time they get sick, it's too late," said Dr. Lauren Howard, Houston Zoo Associate Veterinarian. "So that's why with our testing with Baylor, we're able to diagnose the problem before it's even clinically apparent."
It was following the death of another baby elephant named

New zoo habitat coming for polar bears
Fresh off the opening of Delta Sonic Heritage Farm, the Buffalo Zoo is looking ahead to its next capital project.
And its two polar bears couldn’t be happier.
President Donna Fernandes confirmed the zoo will kick off an $18 million capital campaign next month to raise money for two projects: a new entrance off the main parking lot; and development of the Arctic Edge Habitat.
The latter will be the new home of polar bears and will include more exhibition space for birds and mammals that typically live in arctic zones.
The zoo is under a mandate from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association to build a more modern home for the bears or risk losing them to another facility. The polar bears are among the most popular animals at the zoo. They are housed in an exhibit that was constructed during the late 1930s as a Works Project Administration effort.
Fernandes said design work is in the early stage, adding, “All I’ve got are just a couple of color sketches.”
The Arctic Edge Habitat is the latest in a series of new exhibits Fernandes helped bring to the zoo in the past decade, boosting annual attendance.
“Everything is totally dependent on us getting the

Red squirrel breeding program proposed
For some of the most endangered animals in the world, the only place they can be found is in zoos. For others, their habitats are so small that they necessitate inclusive rules for those who want to visit the area.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service does not want that to be the case with the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel, but the organization is hedging its bets and has proposed a pilot-managed breeding program at the Phoenix Zoo's Conservation Center. The project is a recommendation by the multiagency Mount Graham Red Squirrel Recovery Team, which includes the Coronado National Forest Safford Ranger District, Arizona Game and Fish Department, the University of Arizona, the San Carlos Apache Tribe and others.
According to a press release, the 10-year pilot project would develop husbandry, rearing and breeding methods for the squirrel, as well as techniques for releasing them into the wild and establishing an assurance population of squirrels outside of Mount Graham that could serve as a buffer in case a wildfire or other traumatic event causes

Hybrids May Thrive Where Parents Fear to Tread
On May 15, 1985, trainers at Hawaii Sea Life Park were stunned when a 400- pound gray female bottlenose dolphin named Punahele gave birth to a dark-skinned calf that partly resembled the 2,000-pound male false killer whale with whom she shared a pool. The calf was a wholphin, a hybrid that was intermediate to its parents in some characteristics, like having 66 teeth compared with the bottlenose’s 88 and the 44 of the false killer whale, a much larger

MoEF wants explanation on tigers’ death
The Ministry of Environment and Forest has asked the state forest department to file a report explaining the circumstances in which wild animals, including three tigers, died earlier this week at the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP).
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) B K Singh, who inspected the animals on Thursday, said four tigers had diarrhoea and they had been put on drips. He said they were looking for a stronger antibiotic for the animals.
Assistant Director of BBP Veterinary services, Dr B C Chittiappa, said the situation was under control and park authorities were conducting tests

Penguin exhibit wins big award for Woodland Park Zoo
The penguin exhibit at Woodland Park Zoo has won one of the most prestigious awards in the zoo and aquarium industry.
The Association of Zoos & Aquariums honored the zoo with the Exhibit Achievement Award, according to a news release from the zoo.
"We are honored that our peers at AZA have recognized our goal of encouraging our zoo guests to explore and discover more about the Humboldt penguins' natural history and their plight in the wild, the birds' connection to people and the collaborative work underway to help this endangered species," Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO Dr. Deborah Jensen said in the release.
The Humboldt penguin exhibit features dramatic vantage points, shoreline cliffs, a tide pool, waves and a beach.
The exhibit was made possible by public and private support from more than 550 donors, including the King County Parks Levy, community fundraising campaigns, The Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, Bill & Melinda

Balamuthia mandrillaris ameba infection
Balamuthia mandrillaris is a free-living ameba (a single-celled organism) found in soil and dust. Exposure to Balamuthia is likely to be common because of how widespread it is in the environment. However, very few cases of disease in humans have been found worldwide since Balamuthia was discovered.
What is Balamuthia mandrillaris?
Balamuthia is a free-living ameba found in the environment. It was first identified in 1986 in a specimen from the brain of a baboon that died in the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Since then, approximately 200 cases of Balamuthia disease have been reported worldwide; approximately 70 of those cases have been reported in the United States. Little is known at this time about

Human Error Blamed for Snake's Escape from Zoo
A final report from the state Department of Natural Resources confirms human error was to blame for a snake's escape from Zoo Atlanta last month.
The two-foot long tiger rattlesnake slipped out of quarantine on Aug. 27.
"A cage door was left unsecured," Dr. Dwight Lawson, Ph.D, Deputy Director of Zoo Atlanta said last month. "The snake was able to get out of that."
It was found dead Aug. 30 at an unoccupied Grant Park house. The property owner called the zoo after learning about the missing snake.
"Her husband, who apparently was working on renovating a house, had said that he had killed a snake on the property presumably the day before," Lawson said.
The zoo issued a public apology and disciplined the employee responsible for the snake's escape.
"The caretaker is an experienced professional," Zoo Atlanta spokeswoman Keisha Hines said

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Born Wild is a story of passion, adventure and skulduggery on the frontline of African conservation. Following Tony Fitzjohn's journey from London bad boy to African wildlife warrior, the heart of the story is a series of love affairs with the world’s most beautiful and endangered creatures – affairs that so often end in pain, for to succeed in re-introducing a lion or leopard to the wild is to be deprived of their companionship. Tony tells of his twenty years in Kenya with George Adamson of Born Free fame - a time of discovery, isolation and frequent danger living far from civilisation. And when he was prevented from re-introducing any more animals into the wild and made unwelcome in the country he loved, Tony had to start anew in Tanzania.

TRAFFIC releases new report on sustainable wild plant harvest  

Tide turns for Turkish dolphins
DOWNHAM campaigner Joanne Cowell reports two bottle-nosed dolphins, whose plight made international news, have been rescued form a filthy prison-like pool in the Turkish mountain resort of Hisaronu.
Joanne’s efforts have made a huge contribution to the campaign with more than 21,000 people visiting her Facebook page – far more than the two or three hundred she thought she might get.
“Tom and Misha’s plight was something that touched the hearts of thousands of people on Facebook and I sat at the computer for three days updating the progress of the dolphins who’ve now been moved to a secret location on the Turkish coast,” said Joanne.
“The operation was organised in 48 hours by the wildlife charity, Born Free, The Dolphin Angels, Divers Marine Line Rescue, a senior vet consultant, John Knight, and many, many others, too numerous to mention.
“On the day they were moved, I was so nervous that something was going to go wrong. The dolphins are not in good health so the move was potentially very dangerous for the pair of them, but they arrived at their sea-pen safely and have done surprisingly well since then,” said Joanne, whose family have been holidaying in the area for several years.
There are plans to make the ‘saving’ of Tom and Misha into a documentary, by Donal McIntyre for

Wildlife crooks deserve no mercy
We have to get tough with wildlife smugglers as the world is watching how serious we are about tackling the scourge.
FOR years, fingers have been pointed at Malaysia for being a wildlife smuggling centre. There have been allegations of corruption and collusion between rich rogues in the business and officials of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) and Customs.
Finally, a man who has almost single-handedly tainted the country as a global hub for the illegal wildlife trade has been caught red-handed.
A bag containing 95 boa constrictors, two rhinoceros vipers and a matamata turtle burst on the conveyor belt at KLIA where Wong Keng Liang, 52, better known as Anson Wong, was on transit to Jakarta from Penang.
The mind boggles at the blatant bid to commit the dastardly crime. Is it that easy to board a flight at Penang airport with a bag full of boas wrapped in sarongs?
Now, the six months’ jail sentence for the world’s most wanted smuggler of endangered species smacks more

Zoo's new zip line lets visitors get bird's eye view
The Louisville Zoo has opened a confidence course-style zip line harness ride on which riders can “fly” over the zoo landscape at speeds up to 60 mph.
It is open to the public Thursdays through Sundays in September and weekends only in October, from 10 a.m. to 30 minutes before the zoo closes.
Rides on the zip line are $12 per person, in addition to regular zoo admission, with a 10 percent discount for zoo members and for groups of 10 or more.
On the ride, people are secured in a harness that is tethered to an overhead cable. Using a twin safety pulley system, riders leave a 50-foot-high launch point and zip over the zoo’s lake to another tower 350 feet away and then zip back again.
The zip line has the capacity to do up to 60 rides per hour. The speed of the ride is determined by the rider’s weight and wind resistance.
John Walczak, zoo director, said, “Zipping through the treetops is no longer just for the birds. The zoo is all about family fun, and we think having the opportunity to fly through the air on the zip line will be an amazing experience. Plus the views of the zoo are spectacular all along the way.”
The zoo’s zip line was built by Ropes Course Inc., which has been constructing and

Dolphinarium to open in Baku
A dolphinarium will open in Baku in September 2010.
The new cultural and recreation project-the Baku dolphinarium Nemo will be presented to the residents of the Azerbaijani capital city in September 2010.
An exiting show with participation of representatives of sea fauna- dolphins, sea lions and sea bears will be presented to the attention of the Baku residents.
Also there is a plan to hold dolphine-therapy which is a unique method in treatment of different psychological diseases

Smithsonian Helps Revive Animal Species
Facility In Blue Ridge Mountains Off-Limits To Public
Rare breeds of wild horses, African antelope and leopards are some of the animals that roam the Smithsonian Institution's Conservation Biology Institute. Scientists at this special zoo are working to bring endangered species from around the world back from the brink of extinction.
The institute is part of the Smithsonian's National Zoo. The Zoo in Washington, D.C., is one of the city's most popular tourist destinations. But the facility, located in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is off-limits to the public.
"We're kind of almost a last hope in some ways for some of these very rare individuals," said Steve Monfort, the institute's

Saving Wild Tigers Cheaply, With Apple’s Help?
A study just published in the journal PLos Biology, “Bringing the Tiger Back from the Brink — The Six Percent Solution,” lays out a smart strategy for stanching the decline of tigers in the wild driven by relentless poaching for skins and the Asian trade in extracts and body parts.
The take-home point is the cost. If even Bjorn Lomborg sees the merits of the world spending $100 billion a year to address global warming, is there anyone who can find a downside to raising a grand total of $35 million a year (beyond money already committed by national governments) to protect 42 “source sites” — areas of tiger territory with populations that are sufficiently healthy to repopulate neighboring regions with suitable, but tiger-less, habitat? (I propose one corporate money source below.)
There’s more background, including comments

Tiger "clusters" seen as last hope for species: study
Asia's tiger population could be close to extinction with fewer than 3,500 tigers remaining in the wild and most clustered in fragmented areas making up less than 7 percent of their former range in Asia, a study says.
The study in the latest issue of the online journal PLoS Biology says saving tigers living in 42 sites across Asia from poachers, illegal loggers and the wildlife trade is crucial to prevent the species becoming extinct in the wild.
The cost of achieving this would be an additional $35 million a year in funding for law enforcement and monitoring, the report's lead authors from the U.S.-based Wildlife Conservation Society say.
The World Bank, global conservation organization IUCN and Panthera, a big cat environmental group, also contributed to the study.
"The tiger is facing its last stand as a species," John Robinson, executive vice president of conservation and science for the Wildlife Conservation

Whale of a find for building crew at San Diego zoo
It's a whale of a find at the San Diego Zoo.
In a statement, the zoo said that a construction crew using an excavator hit a hard spot while digging for a storm water tank. It turned out to be a well-preserved 3-million-year-old whale fossil.
A paleontologist from the San Diego Natural History Museum was assigned to the project as a precaution and verified the find.
The baleen whale is 24-

Yoga bear strikes a pose at Finnish zooTourist captures Santra's stretching routine on camera, and expert says it may be a bear necessity to stay sane
Not all members of the ursine community waste their time persecuting park rangers, corrupting their diminutive sidekicks and gorging themselves on stolen picnic baskets. As these remarkable pictures demonstrate, Santra is altogether more spiritual – and lithe – than the average bear.
The photographs of the female brown bear performing a 15-minute stretching routine were shot by a Slovenian tourist on a visit to the Ahtari zoo in Finland.
"She held her legs with her hands for a minute or two in a V position and then put them down and relaxed," said Meta Penca, a 29-year-old web programmer.
"Then she put up her left leg and put it straight with her hands and held it with her left hand for a bit. Then she lifted the other leg, straightened it and held it with her right hand for around two minutes and then had a little rest and then all over again.
"It was exactly the same as when you see people do yoga; easy, slow, focused and calm. She looked pretty into

Legal intrigue over dolphin death
The corporate raiders who took over Moscow’s dolphinarium last year may have been chased from that pool – but a legal row still swirls around the fate of one of the centre’s dolphins.
Patra, a pregnant female, has been missing since the raiders arrived and the trail now points to Sochi where incompetent officials failed to check on the welfare of animals at another sea-life centre.
Officially Patra was transferred from Moscow to Sochi where she was set to enjoy life in a deeper pool.
But after some dolphinarium employees reported seeing the creature’s corpse being disposed off late one night Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets launched its own investigation.
Illegal transfer
A new dolphin did arrive in Sochi, but this “Patra” was neither female nor pregnant.
Moreover, the Sochi dolphin arrived with visible signs of a fishnet on his back, suggesting he had been recently caught rather than moved from another aquarium.
“He hasn’t shown any signs of any training so we are led to conclude he was fished out recently, and clearly it was done illegally,” Lev Mukhametov, the director of the Moscow department of the dolphinarium, told MK. “The raiders passed him off to the prosecutors from Adler instead of Patra,” he added.
No checks
Usually the local veterinary service would be notified of the arrival of a new dolphin, but in this case it didn’t happen.
Later the local prosecutors were shown a dolphin introduced to them as Patra, the newspaper reported. Neither vets nor animal trainers were present at the identification, and the appropriate federal service did not interfere.
Despite the evidence, however, it seems that

Huge wildlife bone trade network uncovered
On September 15, Hanoi Environmental Police (EP) in conjunction with relevant authorities uncovered a wildlife bone trade network operated by a couple at their home in Hoang district, and confiscated evidence of up to nearly 900kg of animal bone from four different locations. The haul included over 100kg of bone from IB species in which exploitation for trade is strictly prohibited, such as tigers, leopards, stuffed bear head and elephant tusks, and nearly 800kg from other wildlife such as serows, deer and turtles. Authorities also found many wildlife products such as glue, dried bile and dried porcupine stomach.
Earlier on the same day, authorities raided three other locations in Me Linh district, Cau Giay district and Hai Ba Trung district also believed to be part of the network, where around one hundred of the wildlife bones and products were seized. ENV staff were at the Hanoi EP office

Lately, Florida has been in the news as a hotbed for religious controversy. Now, Pastor Troy Gramling at Flamingo Road Church in Cooper City, Florida may be adding to it. Last week, he rolled out his series of Sunday sermons called "Wild."
His sermon featured a chained, adult male, 500 pound lion on the pulpit in a small transport cage. For the length of the sermon, the lion paced, moving and rocking the cage back and forth, as the pastor quoted scripture and referred to the lion as a symbol for the devil himself. Next week’s sermon promises to feature pythons representing original sin.
There were no barricades between the transport cage and the congregation. There was only a man sitting next to the cage, a man with some interesting views about wildlife. Jeremy Possman, of Predators Unlimited, supplied this lion for the “show.” He is an alligator wrestler who admits that business has pretty much dried up in that area. So, he has turned to photo ops and traveling exhibits with wild animals.
He was quoted in an AP story saying, "If you do get bit, a lot of times that just means more business, because they're going to come back to see if it's going to happen again." Obviously, NOT a person most people would choose to be responsible

A horny story
Leave the rhinos alone. Their horns don’t have medicinal properties, and ingesting rhino horn is the same as chewing your own fingernails.
I KEPT a rhinoceros beetle as a pet before I ever encountered a real rhinoceros. It must have belonged to the species Oryctes rhinoceros as our house bordered oil palms. I never thought of these exquisite playthings as a pest even though (I now know) they can defoliate and sometimes kill coconut and oil palms.
I never thought of the horns (borne by the males) as weapons in mating battles against other males. To me, my little ebony black rhino was a thing of beauty. It moved majestically and its horn was grand and glorious. He was my gladiator. My rhino won many a battle against other males and did me proud, although I never got to see his harem and progeny.
When I saw my first real rhinoceros in the zoo, my fascination with horns grew exponentially. Neo-Fruedians, I am sure, will have a field day with this.
There are five extant species of rhinoceros. The white, the black, the Indian, the Javan and the Sumatran (the one found in our country, also known as Badak Api). I love them all although my favourite is the black rhino, Diceros bicornis (“two horns”). It was a natural extension of my love for my childhood pet. Black evokes power, elegance and mystery. Black rhinos roam the savanna of sub-Saharan Africa. Sadly they have been in the news because of the upsurge in poaching.
Rhinos are affectionate and intelligent animals. They have inhabited the Earth for 60 million years. Homo sapiens (the self-proclaimed sapient or wise man) are a Johnny-come-lately by comparison. We have been around for only 190,000 years or so. Unlike some species of rhino beetles, rhinos never got in the way of man. Yet we hunt and kill rhinos relentlessly for all sorts of misguided reasons.
Today, all five species of rhinos are perilously close to extinction. The Javan and Sumatran rhinos are near extinct. Indian rhinos may be coming back from the brink and that’s welcome news, although more has to be done.
Of the two African species, the white rhino has bounded from near extinction. The black rhino has not fared so well. As recently as 1970, there were an estimated 65,000 black rhinos. Today, there are fewer then 2,500 left.
Unlike most large mammals, habitat loss has not been a significant factor in the decline of rhinos. Rather it is poaching that has decimated the population. The rhino lives in a well-defined

Rhinoceros cage doubles as drug plantation at Austrian zoo
A rhinoceros enclosure at Hellbrunn zoo in western Austria turns out to have served a more lucrative purpose: as a cannabis plantation, the zoo revealed on Saturday.
A caretaker at the zoo was able to grow over 30 marijuana plants in the enclosure, unbeknownst to anyone else, the zoo's director told the Austria Press Agency.
The small plantation was in an area of the rhinoceros's cage that was closed to the public and to which the caretaker had exclusive access.
The zoo found out about its employee's side business when narcotics officers turned up in early September, after having been tipped

Houston Zoo Enrichment and Training

Orang aussiedog swinging poles melb zoo

Fresno zoo animals play role in own health care
Zookeepers use rewards to entice animals in ultrasounds.
Getting an orangutan to agree to an ultrasound is as hard as it sounds, but Fresno Chaffee Zoo keepers found the solution -- guacamole paste instead of ultrasound gel.
In Atlanta, zookeepers armed with fruit snacks have trained gorillas to place their arms into blood pressure cuffs.
Zookeepers are relying increasingly on behavioral management to provide better health care for animals in captivity.
Advancements in training have allowed animals to help themselves, said Grey Stafford, director of conservation at Wildlife World in Phoenix and an animal trainer for 20 years.
"The growth in behavioral management at zoos and aquariums in the past decade has been amazing," said Stafford, author of "Zoomility," a book about animal training with positive reinforcement. "Every time we can teach animals, especially endangered species, to voluntarily participate in their own care, husbandry and even medical treatment without restraint ... we lower the risks."
Using anesthesia for checkups is a thing of the past, said Steve Feldman, spokesman for the Maryland-based Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Experts say training animals with rewards is better than knocking them out with drugs.
"If we don't have to anesthetize and can accomplish the same thing through training, it provides better outcomes," Feldman said.
Anesthesia can cause health problems -- or even kill animals. And, it's not considered practical, because animals won't cooperate if they believe they will be harmed by the anesthesia injection, said Lyn Myers, an assistant curator at Fresno Chaffee Zoo.
In recent months, Fresno trainers trained two pregnant orangutans to undergo ultrasound. The older of the two, Sara, had no problems with ultrasound gel being rubbed on her belly to see her unborn baby.
Her younger pal, Siabu, was not as easy to train, said Myers.
Trainer Michelle Bandy feeds the orangutans fruit, juice, gelatin or crushed monkey chow laced with apple sauce while they are encouraged to press their bellies to their enclosure on a "tummy" command and keep their arms over their heads.
It's an intense hour of work as keepers repeat commands, guide a gooey ultrasound probe to the right spot and eye the computer for usable pictures. And there is little room for error: the $6,000 probe can easily be crushed by an orangutan.
At first, Siabu didn't like her belly getting wet, Myers said, and re

Floods ravage the Kund Bear Sanctuary
The recent floods, while on one hand have destroyed and devastated a major portion of Pakistan’s communication infrastructure and villages, displacing over 20 million people, had also ravaged a noble cause at the Kund Park Bear sanctuary and has some bad news for the animal lovers.
The Kund Park spread over 176 acres lies in between the River Indus and River Kabul (on the north bank of river Kabul), between the cities of Nowshehra and Attock (on the border of the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhua and Punjab). The park is home to various species of animals including the common leopard, spotted deer, hog deer, black buck, golden pheasant, silver pheasant, ring-necked pheasant, kalij pheasant, cheer pheasant, blue peacock, white peacock, cranes, partridges.
Here at the Kund Park, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has established a bear sanctuary for the protection of bears in Pakistan. The Society over the years has made relentless efforts to save bears from killing and using these as part of the awesome bear-dog fight game. Due to the efforts of the Society, this deadly game of bear baiting has been harnessed to a considerable extent. At the Park, a large wooded enclosure is separately reserved for the bears that are recovered from the clutches of the bear baiters. Till the floods hit Pakistan in July this year, the sanctuary had a population of 23 bears.
The recent floods hit this area badly and unfortunately the bear sanctuary as well. Although the staff received the flood warning, but the flash flood water rose 60 feet above river level swiftly, allowing no time for the staff to remove the bears to safety. Although

Doctors to Dolphin's Rescue (Video)
Surgery is performed

Lack of veterinarians is the bane of Bannerghatta Biological Park
As the crisis in the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) went from bad to worse, the authorities rushed expert veterinarians from Mysore to attend to the ill tigers, whose numbers continued to increase.
An emergency was declared in the park on Sunday as the number of critically ill tigers rose to 10. The lack of well-trained veterinarians in the
Besides getting the services of additional veterinarians, the park said it was considering expert training for its personnel. The Mysore team included Dr Prayag, veterinarian from the Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, and four veterinary post-graduate students who have volunteered for the task.
Besides this five-member Mysore team, there were two veterinarians from the wildlife SOS centre (sloth bear rescue centre), a BBP veterinarian and a consulting veterinarian stationed in the park on Sunday morning.
However, experts said the number of veterinarians in the park was not enough given the gravity of the situation and more trained professionals were needed. They felt that the situation would not have aggravated if there had been enough trained professionals in the park.
According to Dr Thopsie Gopal, advisor for animal emerging infectious diseases in the Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF), the doctors present in the park might be unable to handle the situation and more trained personnel were needed to handle such a crisis.
A team of six veterinarians from the Institute of Animal

Officers in cahoots with illegal traders to be weeded out
The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) will undergo a shake-up to weed out officers who are in cahoots with illegal wildlife traders.
The department has been dogged with allegations of corruption among its enforcement officers following the arrest of infamous wildlife trader Anson Wong recently.
Natural Resources and Environ­ment Minister Datuk Douglas Ug­­gah Embas said this was among the measures being taken to plug loopholes and enhance enforcement in the department, which had come under fire from conservationists.
“We have set up an internal au­­dit. We are reviewing the standard operating procedures, legislation and departmental structure,” he said.
Asked if Perhilitan officers had been helping illegal wildlife traders, Uggah said: “Those are some of the issues we are looking at.
“We do not condone anyone who breaks or fails to enforce the law. We will take stern action.”
Uggah, who acknowledged that illegal wildlife trade

ACRES helping errant zoos do better
Singapore animal welfare group is seeking to improve standard of care and treatment in region
ORANG utans smoking cigarettes, bears riding bicycles and elephants in chains -these are how some animals live in South-east Asia's zoos.
At a zoo in Malaysia, a bear had its feet tied to bicycle pedals to train it to perform in a circus show.
At another Malaysian zoo, a wounded female macaque was kept isolated in a cage barely big enough for it to move. It also had no water or shelter.
Such conditions cause animals to inflict self- harm, such as pulling out their fur and exhibiting unnatural behaviour like repeated swaying or pacing.
Currently, there are no universal guidelines on animal care and cage sizes. It is up to each zoo and country to ensure good standards of care.
One zoo often cited by animal activists for the substandard living conditions of its animals is the state zoo of Surabaya, Indonesia.
According to Mr Budi Mulyanto, a manager at the zoo, just 2 per cent of the 20 billion rupiah (S$3 million) zoo revenue from gate receipts is spent annually on nutrition supplements and food for the animals.
In Cambodia, the government raided Angkor Zoo in 2007 and shut it down because of poor conditions. All the animals were relocated to a rescue centre.
Singapore animal welfare group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) is working to improve the situation here, in Thailand and Malaysia.
It conducted workshops for governments, zoos and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) overseas in March to help them monitor conditions and improve animal welfare.
Acres executive director Louis Ng is hopeful that the days of bad zoos are numbered: 'Attitudes of governments and communities are changing. A case of a tiger being drugged and used for photo shoots at A'Famosa Zoo in Malaysia sparked protests and a new law passed at the start of this month gives the government greater powers,' he said, referring to the authorities' ability to regulate zoos.
Following the Acres workshop, four NGOs in Malaysia established myZOO to tackle zoo animal welfare issues there.
In Singapore, Acres has raised concerns about the polar bear enclosures at Singapore Zoo over its small size and the heat from the country's tropical environment, despite the bears' polar habitat.
The zoo said a new enclosure is planned for the polar bears - Sheba, 32 and Inuka, 19 - in the upcoming River Safari. It will be six times bigger than the current one and have a larger pool as well.
The zoo, though, stopped short of granting the NGO's request for the polar exhibit to be phased out.
'One reason we keep polar bears is as an insurance in case something happens in the wild. We can't foresee the future, but it doesn't look positive for polar bears,' explained Ms Fanny Lai, chief executive officer of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), which runs the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park.
The challenges of animal welfare in zoos are numerous - not least because when it comes to international standards for zoos, there are none.
The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (Waza) comes the closest, with a code of ethics introduced in 2003. Members which do not adhere to it can face suspensions.
However, membership is voluntary and so far, only one zoo, the Giza Zoo in Egypt, has been suspended due to a combination of non-payment of membership fees and inadequate care of animals.
Waza does not police zoos and with only 253 members of an estimated 3,000 zoos and aquariums worldwide, its reach is limited.
Regionally, the South-east Asian Zoos Association, which is based in Indonesia and has 30 members, aims to protect the 'exhibition, conservation and preservation of the earth's fauna in an educational and scientific manner'. But it, too, does not get involved in raising of zoos' standards.
The Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park are members of both.
Acres, based on guidelines from Waza, puts forward the five freedoms for animals in captivity: freedom from hunger and thirst; from thermal and physical discomfort; from injury, disease and pain; from fear and distress; and freedom to express normal behaviours.
As well as adequate care in terms of feeding and enclosures, these freedoms also mean that circus-style shows, petting sessions and photos with wildlife all go against the grain.
'They turn the animals into entertainment to be laughed at, rather than respected,' said Acres director of education Amy Corrigan.
Often, backstage training for shows involves abuse of animals, such as hitting them to get them to carry out activities they would not normally do.
Elephants going up on their hind legs may be an awesome sight, but it is not a natural one - it causes their anal area to swell, which eventually leads to painful and debilitating hernias.
Zoo architect Ratnakumar Duraisingam from HKS Designer & Consultant has built an enclosure for shows that does not involve human interaction and allows animals to exhibit natural behaviours.
'I wanted to prove there is a way to make NGOs happy and that there can be a compromise,' he said. The show has proven to be a crowd-pleaser at the Khao Kheow open zoo in Chonburi, Thailand, which gets an average of 500 visitors a day.
Orang utans used to break-dance as part of a Singapore Zoo show, but it was phased out in 2003.
It is not just the welfare of animals that is of concern, but that of visitors too.
Cages which have too much access to the animals can lead to accidents, such as 2007's leopard attack at Zoo Negara in Kuala Lumpur.
'Some zoos in Malaysia have bear-petting sessions, or photo sessions with fully grown male macaques. Such things are accidents waiting to happen,' said Ms Corrigan.
She pointed to a good practice in Thailand's Chiang Mai Zoo, where souvenir photos are taken in front of a green screen and images of ani

Dolphins imprissoned in Hurghada
Few days ago HEPCA received several reports from members of the local caring community, denouncing the discovery of dolphins kept in appalling conditions in a private villa pool in Hurghada.
Relevant local authorities were immediately contacted to request clarification and additional information. The HEPCA team, including dolphin specialists, was authorised on the 15th of September 2010 to visit the villa, where it found four common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), two males and two females, all measuring between 2 and 3 meters, kept in a small swimming pool.
Aside from the fact that ANY pool is neither long, nor wide nor deep enough, national regulations exist in various countries, specifying acceptable dimensions of the main enclosures for common bottlenose dolphins: according to the “Brazilian Institute for the Environmental and Natural Renewable Resources”, a minimum of 14 meters horizontal distance, a minimum depth of 6 meters and a minimum volume of 1600 m³ is specifies for two animals. The volume for four animals should be at least 2400m³. The HEPCA team found the four dolphins in a pool measuring 9mx9m and 4m deep, adding up to a volume of 324m³, only slightly above one tenth of the minimum required size. Other than the pool’s tiny size, the water conditions were appalling, with a visibility of approximately 20 cm, probably due to a filtration system unable to cope with the large amount of excreta naturally produced by the animals.
The HEPCA team was informed that the dolphins come from Japan and are supposed to be the main attraction of a new dolphinarium currently under construction in Hurghada area. According to Egyptian regulations, they are required to be kept in quarantine for a minimum of 105 days, to ascertain that are healthy and able to perform.
HEPCA did not have the chance to examine all the documents, so the question whether those dolphins were caught in the wild in Japan or are coming from captivity is still open. This information is very important to define the legal framework that might regulate this specific case. All rumours that the source of these dolphins is the Egyptian Red Sea are false!
It is important to stress that - incredibly enough – various international and national governmental authorities granted all the permission needed to enable this terrible situation to exist. HEPCA and the Red Sea Governorate firmly oppose, and are determined to fight against any activity, which involves the trade, shipment or captivity of dolphins in the governorate.
The lack of national legislation in Egypt regarding dolphin captivity, whether pertaining to the establishment of dolphinariums, or to requirements regarding the human treatment of the animals, leave the situation totally unregulated, leading inevitably to tragic situations like the one we are presently facing.
After the Red Sea Governorate learned about the four dolphins, they officially defined their position against holding dolphins in captivity within the borders of the Red Sea governorate. We hope that this will include the cancellation of the planned dolphinarium in Hurghada, before it opens its gates. Hopefully too, promulgation of new laws will prevent this from happening again.
Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done for the four dolphins. The issue is very complex and must be rationally, objectively analysed, primary, humane goal to provide them with better conditions. They cannot be released to the open sea – as they are not native to the Red Sea, introducing them into the wild would create a risk of genetic and disease contamination that could affect the health of the local bottlenose dolphin population. Furthermore, chances of the dolphins’ survival and quality of life in case of release are slim: it would be important to understand if the dolphins were born in captivity or caught at sea. The probability of survival depends primarily on the time spent in captivity. Additionally, if they were born in captivity, they will not have developed the skills needed to survive in the wild and so there would be no hope for them to survive in the sea.
All that can be done now is to improve the conditions in which they are kept: It is urgent to provide them with more space and better water quality, conforming to international standards. This might be achieved by intervention at the swimming pool, where they are presently confined, or creating a new tank to care for them until the end of the quarantine period, before moving to their final destinations. Another issue arises then: transfers are very stressful events for dolphins, which seriously risk further weaken these already suffering animals and should therefore be minimised. We all desire to rescue these animals, and in order to achieve this without further harm, all factors must be carefully considered.
HEPCA is in constant contact with the relevant authorities and the relevant international associations. We are determined to act in the most responsible way to help these four individuals and, at the same time, intent on making it clear that this must never happen again. This kind of situations will never be accepted by the Red Sea Governorate, by HEPCA nor by the community which, today has joined the battle.
Egyptian waters offer incredible opportunities to see wild marine animals in their natural environment, including one of the most famous marine protected area in the region, the so called “Dolphin House“, Samadai Reef. Egypt is actively working towards the conservation of its national environmental treasures; we don’t want the Egyptian Red Sea to send out a contradictory message allowing the captivity of intelligent, social marine mammals, such as dolphins. We will lobby vigorously, for the passing of new laws to make the Red Sea Governorate free from this heartbreaking, inhuman business.
We are asking everyone out there to spread the news concerning this inadmissible situation: but please be aware that rumours and falsifications are not helpful. Kindly invite everybody interested in this story to follow up through the HEPCA website or directly contacting HEPCA Team. This is a critical moment in

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.

A Huge Bonus

The following downloadable Powerpoint demonstration has been generously made available by Heidi Hellmuth the Curator of Enrichment and Training at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. It is only available to be downloaded till the 25th.....SO DO IT TODAY!

Don't miss out on this series of 44 excellent slides. All your staff should see it. Even the old hands will learn something new.


Orangutan Awareness (Caring) Week
November 7-14, 2010

Orangutan Awareness Week is right around the corner! Can your zoo or animal facility participate in this worldwide event to reach out and motivate people to do something about the potential loss of one of our planets most beautiful species: the orangutan??

You can help people understand that the habitat of the orangutan, the tropical rain forest, is vital to not only orangutans but to other wildlife and to all of us on this planet. Rainforests and related ecosystems provide important services from climate moderation, to water quality and erosion control, to storehouses of genetic, species and ecological biodiversity.

Orangutan Awareness Week is a great time to help people and students learn about the wonderful world of orangutans and their rainforest habitat as well as to encourage them to care enough to move to action so that they might be saved.

Please pass this on to your special events coordinator, volunteer co-ordinator, volunteer/docent organization officers or members, teen volunteers, interns, zookeepers, orangutan lovers - whomever you think would be the most interested in participating in this very special international awareness event.

Visit these websites for more on how you can get involved or email me to add your event to the list of participating facilities.

Together, we can save the orangutan!!

Holly Draluck
Zoological Society of Florida/ Zoo Miami


«الزراعة» تستعد لاتخاذ إجراءات قانونية ضد جمعيات الرفق بالحيوان بتهمة الإساءة لـ"سمعة" مصر

Read the article HERE

and here from the notes of my colleague Dina Zulfikar on the  Facebook :

Published 18 September in Egyptian Newspapers: Al Akhbar and Al Masry Al YAwm:

legal measures against certain NGOs concerned with animal welfare e involved in the abuse of Egypt's reputation internationally through publishing several comments about the poor situation of animals in the zoos which are run by the Ministry of Agriculture(Google translation:)

Over the Ministry of agriculture and land reclamation of preparing formal note displayed on Dr. «on El Moselhi» Minister of solidarity to take legal measures against certain NGOs concerned with animal found to be involved in the abuse of Egypt's reputation internationally through published several comments about the poor situation of animals in the gardens of the Ministry, through the Internet without an objective justification for criticism or build on charges of illegally. Demanded, «El Moselhi» of resolving assemblies found to be involved in the Commission and transmit to the competent investigating points to prevent such violations were recorded in the animal welfare activities.In the same context, an international expert au Zoo "domonik" Friday tour in Giza Zoo to see the progress in developing according to plans by Egypt to the Confederation of African development during the period beginning in 2008 and ending in 2013.
The international expert to prepare a formal report is displayed at the African Union to zoos at its next meeting in South Africa with its evaluation of the functioning of the Ministry of agriculture and the difficulties facing Egypt Giza Zoo development plan, and the mechanisms through which international federations help Egypt accomplished these plans in accordance with international requirements on developing zoos in the world. Dr. Nabil Sidqi» of the «central management of the zoos of the public authority for veterinary services by both Member of the International Union of zoos «Dave Jones», Executive Secretary of the African Union to zoos «David Morgan» official tour of Giza Zoo visit from 1 to 4 October, a «Secretary of Agriculture Minister Abazho during second day of the visit of Zoo development plan review and study of the development plan for the development of recommendations needed to restore the garden International Union of zoos also b WAZZA


October issue of Lab Primate Newsletter

Dear Friends,

The e-mail edition of Volume 49, number 4, of the Laboratory Primate Newsletter will be sent this week to subscribers by list-server. The Web edition, at, should be ready at about the same time.

The Web edition contains, besides the HTML one, a PDF version which can be printed out to resemble nearly exactly the old paper edition, which is no longer being printed regularly.

We expect to hand-bind a very few copies to be sent to those scientists, scholars, and support staff who work with nonhuman primates AND WHO ARE UNABLE TO READ THE E-MAIL EDITION OR THE WORLD WIDE WEB EDITION. Those who can get the electronic editions, but prefer to read paper, may print the PDF
version from the Web.

We will also send paper copies to those who have paid for 2010 and beyond. If you HAVE paid, but are willing to print your own issues from the Web, please let us know! We will appreciate it!

We will no longer accept subscriptions, unless you are willing to pay $100/year. We will continue to send free copies to those who really have no computer access or ability to pay.

Everyone is encouraged to subscribe to LPN-WARN, which sends a note as soon as the new issue is available on the Web. Send the message subscribe LPN-WARN Your Name to

You can also subscribe to the e-mail edition, by sending the message subscribe LPN-L Your Name to the same listserv address as above. This gets you plain text in your
mailbox: no figures, no italics, no boldface, no links.

AND you can, if you really want to clog your mailbox, have us send the PDF file to you by mail, rather than downloading it yourself from the Web. Just send the message
subscribe LPN-PDF Your Name to that same address...

If you REALLY AND TRULY cannot access an electronic edition, send your story
to us at LPN, Box 1853, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912 with a statement about the work that you do with nonhuman primates.

If you CAN afford (and want) to pay the new price, send cash or a check or money order in U.S. dollars (made out to Psychology Department, Brown University) to:
LPN, Box 1853, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, U.S.A.
but please don't ask to buy a subscription if you could do your own printing.

All issues of the Newsletter, from 1984 to the present, are available on the
World Wide Web, at

Volume 49, number 4 should be there soon.

The expected Table of Contents for Volume 49 number 4 follows. The numbers
are page numbers in the "print" (PDF) edition. There still may be a few

"Articles and Notes"

Effectiveness of Perforated Plexiglass Dividers as Social Grooming
Devices Between Neighboring, Individually Housed Adult Male Macaca
fascicularis, by L. M. Watson . . . 1

A Case Study of Infanticide After Resident Male Replacement in
Semnopithecus entellus Around Jodhpur (India), by G. Sharma, C. Ram
and L. S. Rajpurohit . . . 6

*News, Information, and Announcements*

Grants Available: Fyssen Foundation Postdoctoral Research Grants. . . . 11

News Briefs . . . 12

. . . Barbara Orlans, Founding President of SCA; Monkeys Use Tree
Branches to Escape Researchers; Wide-Eyed Primate Photographed for
First Time; Mexico Arrests Man with 18 Monkeys; and New Director at
Wisconsin Primate Center

Meeting Announcements . . . 13

ASP Conservation Small Grants Awarded . . . 13

Laboratory Equipment for Sale . . . 14

Primatology Lectures in New York City . . . 14

Resources Wanted and Available. . . . 15
. . . . Updated Guidance on Lab Animal Protocol Review; New
Enrichment and Social Housing Resources; Database for Sharing Aging
Research Models; Rhesus Photographs; Total E-Clips

Information Requested or Available: Interesting Websites . . . 15

Announcements from Publications – JNBH . . . . 16

Three-Year Residency Program – Buffalo, New York . . . 16

Research! by J. Schrier . . . 16


Recent Books and Articles. . . . 17

Judith E. Schrier, Editor Laboratory Primate Newsletter
Box 1853, Brown University Providence, RI 02912
Phone: 401-863-2511 e-mail:
FAX: 401-863-1300 Website: 


Hagenbeck's Tierpark (Zoo of Hamburg) has been keeping and taking care of elephants for more than one century. During this period Hagenbeck was often a precursor in fields such as the presentation of animals, their research and breeding. Highly qualified elephant keepers and internationally renown elephant experts have studied, learnt and gained their experience at Hagenbeck’s Tierpark .

During this long period of time many things have changed concerning the management of the animals and elephant keepers. From the beginning until well into the second half of the last century, during the time of intense animal trade, the animals only stayed with Hagenbeck’s for a short period of time. During this period, the animals were trained and prepared for their future life, to live under human care until finally given away to their new homes. Due to this a herd structure could not develop.
Already in 1984 Hagenbeck’s Tierpark started to specialize as one of the first German institutions in conservation and breeding of Asian elephants. In the meantime it kept one of the most successful breeding groups of the world. Today they try to keep an intact elephant herd without abstaining from the specific interaction between visitors and the grey giants (park walks, elephant rides, shows etc.).

Despite of the ongoing international discussion, Hagenbeck’s Tierpark still holds on to its basic policy to keep the animals in a “hands on” husbandry environment. The “hands on“ husbandry environment is normally still the most appropriate husbandry for these animals that need intense care. The “hands on” husbandry is surely also the most work intensive and most dangerous sort of husbandry. It demands great knowledge, a large scale of experience and a very high degree of discipline of elephant keepers. To reduce the risk for the keepers Hagenbeck has compiled a handbook in the past three years, which is based on the year long experience acquired at the Animal Park. On behalf of a team of world wide experts Hagenbeck’s Tierpark would like to let other institutions have part of far reaching and successful experience in the husbandry, breeding and research of these fascinating and care-intense grey giants.

For the future Hagenbeck seeks to find solutions, to draw its conclusions from the true elements of coming experience and to tread new paths.

To Learn More Please Click


To Learn More Please Click


Further Information: The course language is generally English. The number of participants is limited. For further information please contact Dr. Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck

Learn more HERE


You can read some of the papers presented by clicking


Announcing Advancing Bear Care 2011

Get Personal Conference Updates
Join BCG Yahoo Group - send email to

Mark your calendars! Advancing Bear Care 2011 will be held in Banff, Canada in bear country in the Canadian Rocky Mountains from Thursday evening, October 6th to Sunday evening October 9th 2011. Bear biologists and naturalists will lead hikes into bear habitat and interpret for delegates how bears use the components of the ecosystem to express their daily and seasonal routines. We will bring this information back into workshops and apply this knowledge towards improving captive bear husbandry. Also, international bear biologists will assist us in interpreting Asian, European, and South American bear habitats.

Our Hotels: We have booked a group of hotels all located in the same block right on the Bow River in Banff. The Banff Park Lodge also owns the Bow View Lodge and the Homestead Inn. Delegates will be able to book a room at one of three price points. You can stay at the Banff Park Lodge [four star hotel] for $135.00 per night - sleeps two - add $15.00 for a third person, or at the Bow View Lodge [three star hotel] for $110.00 per night – sleeps two – add $15.00 for a third person, or at the Homestead Inn [two star hotel] for $95.00 per night – sleeps two. All of the hotels offer clean, fresh rooms with various amenities, and are a two minute walk to dozens of restaurants and pubs at varying price points from McDonalds to international cuisine. Most meals will be offered at the conference but time will be set aside for delegates to experience Banff and the Rocky Mountains. All conference presentations and workshops will be held at the Banff Park Lodge. The arrangement of the hotels is reminiscent of a college campus for convenience.

Banff Park Lodge

Bow View Lodge

Homestead Inn

The Agenda: Breakfast is served in our private breakfast room above the hotel lobby. We will meet in the lobby early to board buses to take us out to trail heads each morning [Friday, Saturday, and Sunday] for a guided 1-2 hour hike into bear habitat interpreted by bear biologists, returning to the hotels around noon. Lunch will be served in the conference suite [except for one where delegates can try Banff cuisine]. We will meet at the conference suite for or after lunch for afternoon species-specific workshops for problem-solving sessions lead by some of our captive bear experts. Delegates are asked to bring questions, photos, and other support materials of their current enclosures and husbandry issues to share with the delegates for discussion. Workshops will cater specifically to zoos, sanctuaries, and rehabilitation facilities. Dinner will be served at the conference suite [except for two where delegates can try Banff cuisine]. We will meet after dinner in the conference suite for evening presentations given by species specific bear biologists focusing on how wild bears use their habitat. In the large lobby attached to our conference suite we will offer registration, poster presentations, the silent auction, and the Bear Book and Art Den. Delegates are asked to present their latest work in poster presentations. The Bear Care Group is beginning a new tradition of presenting awards recognizing caregivers for their presentations and hard work.

Post Conference Trips: We are aware that some delegates need to be back to work after the weekend, but others can stay to sightsee.

We are thrilled to announce that we will offer a three day trip into the interior of British Columbia to visit the wonderful Northern Lights Wildlife Society / near the town of Smithers

We will travel there from Calgary by bus or air, stay over night in Smithers, visit the rehabilitation facility for one day, and travel back to Calgary [or delegates can travel onto Vancouver or other destinations] on the third day.

The Northern Lights Wildlife Society is distinguished by rehabilitating for release both American black bears and grizzly bears. Travel plans will be made as delegates express interest in the trip during conference registration. The trip is tentatively set for Tuesday, October 11th to Thursday, October 13th 20011.

On Monday, October 10th we hope to offer a full day trip to the Calgary Zoo. Arrangements are still TBA.

Your Travel; Delegates should fly to the Calgary International Airport in Calgary, Alberta, Canada  It is a destination airport from many US, European and Asian cities. From there delegates can purchase a round trip ticket to Banff with the Banff Airporter  directly from the airport to the Banff Park Lodge. A special price likely around $100.00 will be negotiated with the company.

Conference Registration: You will be able to register for the conference, conference workshops, hotel, Northern Lights Wildlife Society and Calgary Zoo trips, and Banff Airporter right on this website by January 2011 at the latest.


Conference updates will always be posted on the Bearcare Yahoo Group list serv  You will be able to advertise your need for roommates, rides, conference questions etc on this list serv. To join just send an email to

See You In Bear Country!


31st Annual Elephant Managers Association Conference and Workshop

September 30th - October 4th 2010

The 31st Annual Elephant Manager’s Association Conference hosted by the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, could very well be one of the most important to date. In today’s internet age, elephant management is now a global effort, and this conference will feature presentations on elephant conservation and management partnerships and collaborations in the US and worldwide. Accomplishments and developments in breeding, husbandry and research, as well as challenges on many fronts, have laid the groundwork for interactive and information-rich sessions. The conference will commence on Thursday, Sept. 30, with an icebreaker at the hotel, and conclude on Sunday evening, Oct. 3, with the “elephant olympics”, and a savory barbecue and bonfire at the zoo’s 724-acre International Conservation Center. More details will follow in the EMA newsletter and web site, Connect, on Facebook, and via email. Contact Terry Deluliis at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, 412-365-2500, with questions. Visit  for more information and to register.


2011 ZooKunft
26 February 2011
Kronberg, Opel Zoo
On the theme of
Animal Presentation

Now accepting papers
Please write to: Orga-Team ZooKunft,

By 15 October 2010.


Nominations are now open for the 2012 Indianapolis Prize


Zoo Conferences, Meetings, Courses and Symposia
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