Thursday, September 9, 2010

Zoo News Digest 7th - 9th September 2010 (Zoo News 687)

Zoo News Digest 7th -  9th September 2010 (Zoo News 687)

Dear Colleagues,

I have been aware for a long time that the circulation of Zoo News Digest is far wider than the circulation figures suggest. Scarcely a week goes by that I don't get an email from someone who says that they have had it forwarded on to them for years. I know some colleges use it as a discussion document and that it goes onto the intranet at some major zoos. This week, due to an accidental key press I learned "When I receive your newsletter I forward to about 60 students, we all really enjoy receiving it. thanks for your hard work!!!" That is what it is all Learning, keeping updated, spreading the world. Nobody has to agree with anything that I have to say as long as it can stimulate thoughts and debate.

The hatching of second generation captive bred Loggerhead Turtles I thought was momentous news. Turtles are having such a rough time of it in the wild that it is reassuring to learn of the accomplishment. In a way this ties in with 'The great whale-in-jail debate'. Yes, we should keep Beluga captive, in the best we can offer. We need to learn all we can about them including breeding because one day we may really have to.

The South Lakes Wild Animal Park has appeared in a number of links these past few months. I heard from David Gill the other day. For the record here is his email, verbatin.

"Dear Peter,

Just a short note to correct the story in the evening Mail.
I categorically state I have never threatened to close or sell the zoo, far from it.
Getting a newspaper to print a good news story is an impossible task with some papers.



There has been a discussion on one of the Orangutan groups about the refusal of a donation of $10,000 towards Orangutan Conservation. Why refusal? Because the money is being offered by T.I.G.E.R.S (The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species) + Myrtle Beach Safari + Rare Species Fund. I agree.
Check out these previous postings: It May Be Clever But Is It Right and T.I.G.E.R.S.

The money should be refused. Doc Antle should get his act together and stop his purely commercial exploitation of animals. Let him spend the money on fulfilling the requirements his collection would need to join the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums. If he can do that then I for one will start to take him seriously. Right now I cannot. I feel a sense of shame to see this man and his collection trying to pass off the crap they do as conservation. The below comes from their website. I have remarked upon it before.

Samutprakarn Wildlife there is a joke. I reckon that this is the the only place that you will see it called that. In reality this is the Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo (click on the link to read my report). This place is as much a Wildlife Reserve as Myrtle Beach is a Conservation Centre. In matter of fact though this crocodile farm does make a small but important contribution to conservation in its breeding success of Tomistoma schlegelii. The last thing this place, or Thailand for that matter needed was more Tigers!!! What possible use or contribution to conservation was the gift/sale/donation/exchange or whatever of 'four remaining colour variations'? What? Something I never previously remarked on in my visit report was that there was a sign board near to the dangerous tiger exhibit plastered with Doc Antle playing with a tiger and Doc Antle with this or the next animal. Far from been a 'groundbreaking' contribution it is positive harm. Zoos do not need unnaturally coloured animals to promote a conservation message especially if they are allowed to breed.

Very sadly a rift has appeared in the groups involved in wanting the Tiger Temple at Kanchanapuri, Thailand closed. A clash of personalities which I hope does not draw peoples attention away from the real issue here....the Tiger Temple is a lie....a commercially exploitative centre of animal abuse. It is a sad fact fact of life that within the world of animal people that these arguments appear all too often. It is not just with Tigers but to use just them as an example try typing the the word 'Tiger' into the search bar on Facebook and see how many groups you come up with. Even when you have eliminated the 'I slept with Tiger Woods' affiliations there are many which are to do with the animal. Why so many? Different opinions and points of view and many who have lost the plot completely.

You will recollect I posted a story about the so called 'Black Panther' spotted in the wild in Europe. Though I left the identification open, I thought it was a domestic cat. I am delighted to have had independent expert opinion agree with me. Though this was not a UK sighting I remain a stalwart sceptic of any large wild feral exotic felines in the British Isles.

On the subject of Panthera Cats. I note that Chhatbir Zoo have lost their Rare African Jaguar. Rare! It must have been because it can only have been the only one on the face of the planet. The story was repeated in a number of other papers which just goes to show that you really should not believe everything you read in the press. My sympathies to the zoo for their loss.

The MGM Lion Attack footage is well worth a look. You can form your own opinion as to why the Lion did attack, what the Lioness was doing and so on. There have been numerous comments from experts. All I can say is that it was an accident waiting to happen. It remains totally unnecessary for anyone, ever, to enter enclosures with big cats. One question I do have. Are these cats declawed? Does anyone know?

Lots of links to interesting stories follow.

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On with links: 

A new zoo for Bellary
In order to give impetus to the tourism sector in the district, a zoo will be built at the cost of Rs65 crore in the sprawling 100 hectares at Bellikalu reserve forest near Hampi.
Speaking to The Times Of India, deputy conservator of forest Srinivasan said, "Since there is no room for the extension of the existing zoo near Radio Park in the heart of Bellary city and the building is also in a dilapidated state, the process has began to set up a new zoo. Initially we are appointing 200 separate officers to look after its construction."
"Since Hampi is also near Bellikalu forests, it attracts tourists in large numbers which may help in generating revenue too. The animals which are in the old zoo will also be shifted to the new one," he added.
Tourism and district minister G Janardhana Reddy said, "The zoo will be built on the lines of the ones in Mysore and Bangalore. Some of the officers have already visited the zoos in Hyderabad and Mysore to see the methods which are being adopted there." He has hinted at the possibility of a night safari.
At present there are 197 animals, 177 birds and 1 tiger in the zoo. Most of the animals belongs to the deer category. There is also a railway track which runs near the exi

Billy no-mates returns home
A HOMESICK penguin has returned to Dudley Zoo after failing to find a friend at Exmoor Wildlife Park.
Keepers are hoping the Humboldt penguin, called Billy, will no longer be 'Billy no-mates' after moving back to Dudley after a year long move to the Devon park, as part of a European breeding programme.
Billy struggled to settle in his new home, so Wildlife Park bosses took pity on him and returned him back to his hometown, in the hope he would integrate with the rest of the colony.
However keepers at the Castle Hill site are worried as he still seems to lack confidence.
Keeper Sophie Dugmore, said: "Unfortunately, he still hasn't

Blackpool Zoo enjoying best ever year
MORE THAN 4000 visitors flocked through the gates on the last Bank Holiday Monday of 2010, smashing forecasts for August despite 42 per cent above average rainfall for the month. Jude Rothwell, Marketing and PR Coordinator at Blackpool Zoo, said: “We were over the moon when it was confirmed that Monday was our busiest day ever and staff worked very hard to make sure everyone got a parking space and had

Elephants on the edge: The use and abuse of individual and societies

MGM lion attack in Las Vegas

Gazelles on endangered list threatened by Turkish factory
An endangered gazelle population in a small southern Turkish village is facing an uncertain future due to the planned opening of a cement factory in the Hatay district.
Abdullah Öðünç, head of the Provincial Department of the Turkish Association for the Conservation of Nature, or TTKD, said they would not allow the project to be constructed as long as it posed a threat to the local Hatay mountain gazelle, or Gazella Gazella, population.
“A local mining company is planning to construct a factory which would include clinker production and a grinding and integrating facility,” said Öðünç in a statement.
There are also agricultural and livestock activities in the region that might be adversely affected by the construction, he said.
“Provincial Department of Environment and Forestry officials declared a cement factory would be constructed in the area even though agriculture and livestock are the economic mainstays of the locals. However

Hercules leads pack of big cats at Carver's King Richard's Faire
Leave your car and your 21st century attitude in the parking lot at King Richard’s Faire, which opens this weekend in Carver for it’s 29th season. Once you step through the gates, you’re surrounded by knights and wenches, by people jousting on horseback and engaging in axe throwing contests, by hand-cranked mechanical rides and huge, delicious roasted turkey legs (and the obligatory bloomin’ onions).
And there are the big cats. Really big cats.
In his wildly popular stage show “The Tale of the Tiger,” Dr. Bhagavan Antle, who’s celebrating his 27th season with the Faire, features 10 of the magnificent animals, representing four distinct color categories: the Southeast Asian, or Bengal tiger; the royal white tiger, the snow tiger, and the golden tabby tiger.
And then there’s Hercules the liger.
“He’s the world’s biggest cat,” says Antle, 50, sounding like a proud father as Hercules nuzzles his neck. “He’s 900 pounds and 12 feet tall, and he’s in the ‘Guinness Book of World Records.’ He’s a phenomenal big guy.” Hercules is the offspring of a male lion and a female tiger, and is the result of a phenomenon known as hybrid vigor.
“When you’re blending two species, you can line the genetics up just right and you gain all of the best qualities of both parents, and often get enormous size,” explains Antle, who really likes to explain things.
"Tigons are the opposite,” he continues. “A male tiger with a female lion produces a tigon. They’re healthy, beautiful, good animals, but they they don’t become as large as ligers, they generally stay about the size of or a little bigger than their parents.”
Asked how Hercules’ mom and dad

Orphaned chimpanzees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
An 18-month study of remote human settlements deep in the Congolese jungle warns that chimpanzees are are being subjected to a 'wave of killing' by hunters pursuing them for bushmeat.
One consequence is the continual growth in the number of 'bushmeat orphans' - those infants who are too small to be killed for meat, and are often put on the black market for sale as pets.
These pictures tell the story of just a few orphaned Eastern chimpanzees that researchers

India faces worst tiger crises
It is not a hidden fact that millions of dollars are being poured into the conservation of the striped wonders of India but the situation remains precarious.
With fewer than 1400 left in the wild, India is going through its worst tiger crises.
Human greed and selfishness has been one of the many cause of the plight of tigers in India and the irony is that as per recent trends, the present crisis has opened up a new dimension to the greed with corporates using the cause as a PR and branding tool hiding behind the garb of conservation.
If human greed and selfishness is one of the prime reasons for the condition of tigers in India today and if greed and selfishness is a character trait that humans understand, it would be worthwhile to save the tiger for our own selfish interest. The role of the tiger in the ecosystem is indeed quite interesting and it goes without saying that the tiger is the perfect indicator of the health of a forest. The tiger protects the forests of our country by maintaining an equilibrium that is important for the survival of its prey (deer, monkeys, boars etc.) and the vegetation.
And since the survival of the forests are crucial for the thousands of rivers, a life source for millions of people in India, that originate and flow through them, it makes the saving of tigers all the more important.
However, the economics of tiger conservation is quite interesting. Let’s consider Corbett as an example. With over 70 private properties in and around the Corbett Tiger Reserve in Uttrakhand, wildlife tourism has become an ever-flourishing business model generating revenues for property owners, travel agents and some great employment opportunities for locals. The local youth now look up to careers like naturalists, guide cum drivers of safari vehicles as a lot of private resorts are in need of such people.
According to the Tiger Task Force data released in 2005/06, a total of 1.29 million people visited tiger reserves in 2004/05 which approximates to 58456tourist per tiger reserve every year and the number is continuously growing year on year. The nominal gate charges of Rs 25-50 gives revenue in crores to most of the popular national parks.
Corbett alone experienced a tourist inflow of over two lakhs in the last season. With a total ceiling of 600 visitors per day, Corbett can officially have 1.6 lakh tourists during the eight-month season. The numbers invariably overshoot this limit. Tourism is rampant in other popular national parks like Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Ranthambore etc. and the tiger, without doubt, is a magnet that pulls the majority of the lot.
Be it an ordinary weekend walk-in tourist, or a season wildlife researcher or photographer, the tiger is the binding force that draws visitors from across the globe.
As per Aditya Singh, wildlife conservationist and tiger expert fr

Lifelong love for jaguars allows a young boy to overcome stutter and be a voice for animals
Around the corner from the New York Public Library's famous stone lions is the headquarters of a renowned naturalist who made a childhood pledge to an aging jaguar at the Bronx Zoo to become a voice for all the world's big cats.
This vow from a Queens youngster five decades ago was all the more remarkable because at the time Alan Rabinowitz was a severe stutterer who could not even be a voice for himself.
"Not the normal repetitious b-b-b kind of stutter," Rabinowitz, now 56, recalled. "But the complete blockage of air flow where if I tried to push words out my head

20 years left: mammals plunge into extinction
AT DUSK, the dry savannah of the Kimberley was once alive with the scuttling and foraging of the burrowing bettong, a marsupial whose ''countless numbers'' were marvelled at by early surveyors.
Along with many species of quolls, bandicoots, possums and marsupial rats, the bettongs had thrived for millions of years in northern Australia, surviving ice ages, surging sea levels and human hunters.
But many of these natives are unlikely to survive another decade or two, according to a new report which reveals an abrupt, stunning plunge towards mass extinction in the past few years.
At the 136 sites across northern Australia that have been repeatedly surveyed since 2001, the mammal populations have dropped by an average of 75 per cent. The number of sites classified as ''empty'' of mammal activity rose from 13 per cent in 1996 to 55 per cent in 2009.
''Twenty years ago we would go out and it would be a bonanza of native animals,'' a Charles

Sun bear cub born in Indonesia
A five-year-old sun bear, Ayu, has given birth at Kandih Park in West Sumatra. The cub is the first sun bear born in captivity in the park.
The cub's father is a three-and-a-half year-old sun bear named Alex.
"We have not given the baby a name, as the sex still unknown. Ayu is very protective," said keeper Syefri Zaldi.
The new addition brings the total sun bear population at the park to four. Zaldi told Reuters that not many sun bears breed in captivity.
Conservationists say the sun bear, or Helarctos malayanus, the smallest of the bear family, may become extinct much sooner than they fear.
Also known as the honey bear for its reputed love of sweet food, the sun bear is the least known

Zoo Animals In China To Get A Larger Home
The scheduled move of animals from the 54-year-old Changsha Zoo to a new and more spacious home on Monday afternoon was postponed because animals were not cooperative, zoo officials said.
As of Monday afternoon, the animals were still at their old homes. Transportations are scheduled for Wednesday, according to zoo staffers.
Local media Sanxiang City Express reported that the zoo conducted a day-long drill on Sunday but found many animals, especially the beasts, were not cooperative.
"Before the actual move takes place, it was necessary to conduct a rehearsal on getting the animals into cages and sheds," said Ma Zaiyu, director and senior engineer of the zoo's veterinary hospital.
Ma said large beasts, such as the tigers, are often reluctant to leave their long-time habitats. Placing the cages in their habitat area in advance and luring the beasts in with food will be the most efficient method, Ma said.
However, during Sunday's rehearsal, a 6-year-old Siberian tiger showed no interest in more than 10 pieces of fresh meat in the cage, so the attempt to lure the tiger into the cage did not work.
Ma also said special extendable cages had been designed to move the giraffes, in which the caged animals would have to lower their heads. This will allow the giraffes, between 6 and 7 meters tall, to pass through the 4.2-meter high gate of the old zoo.
The giraffes have to take the longest route

$700,000 cash splash for Seal Bay upgrade
The State Government has pledged a multi-million five-year upgrade of Seal Bay, starting with $700,000 this financial year.
Minister for Environment and Conservation Paul Caica was on Kanagroo Island this week and announced major upgrade works will start at Seal Bay Conservation Park to improve the tourist experience and offer better protection for the environment and threatened species such as the Australian Sea Lion.
Mr Caica said the Seal Bay Visitor Centre would be redeveloped and existing boardwalks and access ways would be upgraded during the five-year project to transform the existing site into a world-class tourist attraction.
Specialised group tours would also be offered, as well as self-guided

'Breakthrough' in bid to save freshwater pearl mussels
A project to save a threatened population of freshwater pearl mussels in the river Dee has seen a major breakthrough.
Pearl mussels up to 80 years old collected from the river have finally bred at Environment Agency Wales' (EAW) fish hatcheries in Dolgellau, Gwynedd.
It is hoped mussels will be returned to the river some time in the future.
There were once hundreds of thousands in the Dee but they have been in decline as water quality deteriorated.
In a bid to save the mussels, around 60 were collected from the river more than five years ago by a team from EAW, Chester Zoo, Denbighshire council, the Countryside Council for Wales and North East Wales

Firefighters use oxygen masks used to revive giant tortoises rescued from burning zoo enclosure
Their typically slow progress put them in danger when their enclosure became filled with smoke.
So to bring them back from the brink of death, these massive African spurred tortoises were given oxygen treatment usually reserved for humans.
Firefighters initially administered the life-saving gas through masks at Postlingberg Zoo in Linz, Austria, before keepers continued caring for the giant

After Karimganj and Dhubri, Tripura has emerged a safe corridor for infiltration and subversive activities. Taking advantage of the soft approach of the Left Government and long stretches of porous border, infiltration from Bangladeshis as well as jihadi elements has been going on. The incidents in the last few months indicate the disturbing trend.
Intelligence agencies monitoring the development have alerted the Union Home Ministry about increasing activities of ISI operatives in the State. The capital Agartala itself has become a rendezvous for them.
The latest to fall in security net on September 3 was the agent of the infamous Pak intelligence services identified as Nayeem Ahmed Mamoon from Lankamara border, close to Agartala. According to his confession, he entered from Bangladesh and visited Northeastern states as well.
BSF recovered from his possession incriminating documents and it came out that he is a resident of Gopalganj near Dhaka. Quite disturbing was his revelation that he did stay at Anantanag in Kashmir for some time for liaison with band outfits. Another ISI spy Manir Khan and his six Indian associates, it is to be recalled, were arrested on July 3 in the
capital of Tripura.
It was not long ago that PULF commander-in-chief Abdul Rahman and six other militants were arrested from Nagerjala bus stand in the heart of the city by a mobile task force. During grilling, Rahman said that an ISI officer Md. Jaffar had held series of meetings with PULF activists in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh and carry out blasts in the Northeast. They were to fly to Karachi for training, but their arrest stood in the way.
Besides, the border of the State has been used for smuggling. Various incidents of truckloads of phendysil bottles worth lakhs of rupees pushed through Kailashahar in south Tripura have come to light. These cough syrups, popular in Bangladesh and used as intoxicants, is transported all the way from Siliguri and beyond. The drivers and their assistants who have landed in security net hav

Houston Zoo gets an international closeup as the zoological world hits town
First the World Cup campaign, then the Final Four build up, and now . . . THE ZOO!
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) will hold its 86th annual conference here in Houston Saturday through Sept. 16 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. More than 2,000 zoo and aquarium professionals from around the world will gather in the Bayou City to discuss the roles of zoos and aquariums in wildlife conservation, putting the Houston Zoo on center stage in the international zoological community.
Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and How the Mighty Fall, is scheduled as the keynote speaker. No word yet on whether Aquarium owner Tilman Fertitta will be in attendance.
Houston is becoming something of the go-to-spot for big cultural conferences. The American Association of Museums is holding its annual conference in town in May of 2011. Between 5,000 and 6,000 museum officials from around the world

The great whale-in-jail debate
A captive baby beluga’s death in Vancouver sparked soul-searching about the ethics of aquariums
When Qila the 2,000-lb. beluga whale twirls, alone in the water, waving her pearly white flippers for the crowd at the Vancouver Aquarium, no one is left uncharmed. The powerful predator has a gentle smile and a knack, it seems, for tricks. She’s magnetic: belugas are plastered on Vancouver buses, in newspaper ads, in magazines. Just getting past the aquarium’s front door can take well over a half-hour. Inside, Qila and her three beluga mates have a little under two million litres in which to roam. After an $8-million upgrade scheduled for completion in 2013, their pool will double in size.
That upgrade is coming with the help of $25 million in funding, announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell a few weeks ago in front of the blue-green tank. Ottawa’s $15-million share comes from its controversial stimulus spending fund. But there’s heat, and it’s not the Economic Action Plan that’s generating it. Weeks ahead of the announcement, Nala, the aquarium’s youngest beluga, died suddenly. A penny and some rocks were found lodged in her blowhole, igniting a local debate: should the aquarium keep beluga whales at all? Aquarium staff, many of whom rushed to be by Nala’s side the night she died, said the penny may have been tossed in by a visitor—proof, said Lifeforce founder Peter Hamilton, of the flaws inherent in “aquarium prisons.”
Vancouver Aquarium president John Nightingale blames an “active few—five or 10” for the kerfuffle over its cetaceans. But even the Vancouver Province, the city’s conservative tabloid—hardly the beating heart of environmental debate—editorialized that Nala’s death, “the latest

Seal pups have GPS angels
One of two three-and-half-month old female harbor seals released into the water near the seal rocks by Fishers Island on Tuesday, swims away from the boat with a satellite tag attached to her back. The two seals were released by Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration staff members with the assistance of Coastal Environmental Sciences. The seals arrived at the Mystic Aquarium from Maine on May 28 in weak condition and weighing only 15 lbs each at an estimated age of 5-8 days. The rehabilitated seals were

Chhatbir loses African jaguar
A seven-year-old female African jaguar, Sheenu, housed at Chhatbir Zoo died on Wednesday morning. With this death, only one male member of the family is left. The zoo has lost 17 animals and birds in the past four months.
Sheenu was brought here from Delhi in 2007. One of the main attractions at the zoo, the visitors never missed an opportunity to click a photograph with her and partner Isu. Sources in the zoo said veterinians were attending to Sheenu, who was not keeping well from the past few days. She died due to respiratory failure.
"It is very sad to lose a rare species. We tried our best to cure Sheenu but failed. She was cremated on the premises," said Charchil Kumar, Zoo field director.
Veterinarians are sent on training at regular intervals to different zoos across the country based on the guidelines of Central Zoo Authority. It is not an easy job to maintain an animal belonging to the cat family. Sometimes, the animals might even attack caretakers if forced to

Zoo licence bid for bison, elk and wildcats 'unlikely'
A group representing the interests of walkers and climbers said it was unlikely to protest against an estate's plans to introduce wild animals.
Alladale Estate in Sutherland is applying for a zoo licence for Scottish wildcat, elk and European bison.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland had concerns the animals' enclosures would affect access to estate land.
However, after looking at the licence application it said this was not expected to be an issue.
The licence is connected to a planning application for the

Leonard the goldfish gets into the Seattle Aquarium
Leonard G. Fish is in.
Thousands of votes cast online mean there will be a goldfish exhibit in the Seattle Aquarium's entrance hall.
That goldfish is named Leonard, and he's the star of an online marketing campaign coordinated by the aquarium. The story goes something like this, as summarized by the announcement from the aquarium:
"For the past three years Leonard the Goldfish has been begging to be let in to the Aquarium. Aquarium staff just didn't believe that a goldfish was cool enough to warrant a place in the Aquarium. However, the Aquarium Marketing....

Most penguin populations continue to decline, biologists warn
More than 180 penguin biologists, government officials, conservation advocates, and zoo and aquarium professionals from 22 nations have convened in Boston for the five day International Penguin Conference, which is being hosted this year by the New England Aquarium. The conference is held every three to four years, and this is the first time that it has been held in the Northern Hemisphere.
Penguins are found exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere with a single species on the Galapagos Islands at the Equator to four Antarctic penguin species that are most well known to the public, yet 13 other species also live in South America, southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and on the many sub-Antarctic islands. Throughout their ranges, nearly all of penguin species are in significant decline or under duress due to a host of common factors.
Climate Change Concerns
The effects of climate change on different penguin species has been the topic of many of the scientists's papers and presentations. Many penguin species are highly dependent on small schooling fish for food. These masses of anchovies, sardines and other small finfish are seasonally brought to many penguin habitats by cold water currents. In years with El Nino events in the Pacific, there has been a dramatic warming of sea surface temperatures which effectively blocked cold water currents coming up the western coast of South America. Consequently, Galapagos penguins and Humboldt penguins, which are found on the coasts of Peru and Chile, have suffered due to reduced food availability, which principally affects the survival of the young. Galapagos penguins stand a 30% probability of becoming extinct in this century and Humboldt penguins have been classified by the Peruvian government as endangered.
Earlier this year, African penguins, found in Namibia and South Africa, were reclassified internationally as endangered as many breeding colonies in the western part of their range have disappeared. Important food bearing cold water currents have shifted and are now routinely found much further offshore. The increased roundtrip commuting distance for African penguins to obtain food has been devastating to their population.
Scientists are closely watching the potential effects on several Antarctic penguin species that are highly dependent on the presence of sea ice for breeding, foraging and molting. Emperor penguins, which were the subject of "March of the Penguins," could see major population declines by 2100, if they do not adapt, migrate and change the timing of their growth stages.
Adelie penguin colonies in the Antarctic's Ross Sea have coped for several years with two super-sized icebergs that have grounded there and created an enormous physical barrier. It has resulted in lower breeding rates and the migration of many animals

New polar-bear mural unveiled today
A new public mural inspired by the Assiniboine Park Zoo and its future polar bear exhibit will be unveiled at 10 a.m. today.
The mural, painted by artist Sarah Collard, will brighten up Wellington Crescent under the Kenaston Bridge.
It will be unveiled by Take Pride Winnipeg, the Richardson

Rescue center steps in to slim down obese orangutan
A South African has become so fat on her diet of marshmallows that she's been taken to England to lose weight.
She's "quite a character," her new caretakers say, but settling her into her new home has proven tricky -- she's an orangutan who has never seen another of her species before.
Oshine, the animal, arrived at the Monkey World Ape Rescue Center in southern England last week, the center announced on Twitter.
"We have a new arrival, very large & orange!" the center said September 1 -- but kept details close to its chest.
A day later, it said she was settling in well.
"Our new orange lady has spent the day in the nursery playroom today, she's doing really well but we have a long way to go, she is obese!
That's what a diet of marshmallows does, the center tweeted.
Weighing in at 100 kilograms (220 pounds), Oshine is "the largest orangutan in Britain today," the center said. She weighs about twice as much as she should, it added.
She'd been kept as a pet in South Africa for 13 years, the center explained. Her owner first contacted Monkey World for help in 2008.
The center has been working to bring Oshine

Second generation of endangered sea turtles born on artificial beach in world first
An aquarium here has succeeded in breeding endangered turtles on an artificial beach from parents also born in captivity -- an apparent world first.
The first ever clutch of loggerhead sea turtles to be born in captivity on an artificial beach hatched at Kushimoto Marine Park in 1995. A pair of these turtles recently laid eggs at the artificial beach, and the eggs hatched on the night of Sept. 4.
This is the first time in the world that loggerhead turtles born in captivity have given bir

Strike at Ushaka aquarium
USHAKA Marine World will be fully operational during a planned strike by its workers, the theme park's chief operating officer said yesterday.
"We have a contingency plan in place. We ask the people who are taking part in the strike to respect the park during the time of the strike," Shawn Thompson said.
He said uShaka had received notification of today's industrial action and was doing everything it could to avoid it.
"We are doing everything in our power to avoid the strike. The company's budget cannot afford what the unions are demanding."
He said the unions wanted an 8,5 percent increase. Management was offering 7,5 percent.
Thompson said the park's "Wet and Wild" section would be closed for routine maintenance, which had nothing to do with the strike.
Trade union Uasa, which says it is the majority union at uShaka, earlier

Killer news
Scientists suggest several new species of orcas, including in the Antarctic
New technology in gene sequencing confirmed what scientists have long suspected about Orcinus orca: The large marine mammal commonly referred to as a killer whale actually represents several genetically distinct species, including at least two new ones that swim in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica.
Scientists analyzed tissue samples from more than 100 killer whales from the North Pacific, the North Atlantic and the Southern Ocean. As a result of the study, published last month in the journal Genome Research, the scientists suggest there are two types of killer whales in the Antarctic and a mammal-eating “transient” killer whale in the North Pacific, in addition to the “standard” black-and-white orca of SeaWorld fame.
Part of the study is based on Antarctic fieldwork conducted by Robert Pitman, with NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, Calif., over the last decade.
Pitman said he was aware of previous scientific literature by Soviet-era scientists in 1979 and 1980 that there were killer whales in the Antarctic that appeared dissimilar enough to be different species. He first traveled down to McMurdo Station with help from the National Science Foundation in 2001-02.
During the trip, he spotted three distinct types of killer whales, and collected tissue samples from all three. Pitman made two subsequent trips to McMurdo and several expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula for additional observations and sampling.
“After we published papers about our observations, and I collected a series of tissue samples, I was able to interest a number of my co-authors [on the Genome Research paper] into looking into species-level differences

2 panda cubs born in Spanish zoo
Two newborn pandas are the latest additions to the Madrid Zoo.
The hairless, pink twins were born to a giant panda Tuesday after being conceived through artificial insemination, and each weigh 150 grams (5 ounces), the zoo said.
It will be a few days before veterinarians can determine their gender.
They are the first pandas born in the Madrid Zoo since it unveiled one named Chu-Lin in 1982 — the first panda born in captivity in Europe. That one became wildly popular and a symbol of the Spanish capital.
Spain's National Research Council, which took part in the recent insemination along with scientists from China, said pandas have been born in Europe four times — twice in Madrid and two other times in the Vienna zoo.
The council said there are only an estimated 1,600 pandas left living in the wild in China, their numbers depleted by destruction of their habitat.
The Madrid Zoo has four of the endangered animals: the newborns and their parents, mother Hua Zui Ba and father Bing Xing.
That couple was a goodwill gift from the

The Elephant Sanctuary in TN getting new CEO
Robert Atkinson, Head of Wildlife for the United Kingdom's Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, was has been named CEO of The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald.
It’s the nation’s largest natural habitat refuge developed specifically for endangered Asian and African elephants, the group says.
Atkinson, who has spent more than 11 years with the royal society, will take over the new duties in November.
In his previous position, he managed development of ethical policies affecting wild and captive animals.
His work has involved developing strategy for four wildlife centers and leading efforts to raise awareness about the impact of captivity on elephant welfare.
He previously worked at Woburn Safari Park and carried out university-based research in the United Kingdom and Africa completing his Ph.D. in zoology at Oxford University.
“We’re extremely excited and honored to have a person of Rob’s distinction and expertise joining us in the Sanctuary’s mission to aid these magnificent creatures and bring awareness to the crisis facing captive elephants around the world,” Janice Zeitlin, The Elephant Sanctuary board chairman, said in the announcement.
“Under Rob’s leader

Expectant elephant at Melbourne Zoo

Saigon The Elephant (an interesting discussion)

Tiger expert defends zoo
Retract the claws, withdraw the fangs.

As much as critics might savour a new reason to shred the Calgary Zoo, the blame for dead tiger cubs and undetected pregnancies does not lie with keepers on St. George’s Island.
This time, the culprit is nature.
Ron Tilson should know: Some 250 tigers are alive today because of Tilson, and when it comes to the world’s largest cat, the Minnesota Zoo’s director of conservation is ranked among the top scientists on earth.
Tilson studies tigers, writes about tigers, and leads the Tiger Species Survival Plan, which involves the breeding of captive cats in North America to ensure the gene pool is protected.
When Tilson says the Calgary Zoo can’t be blamed for not realizing a female tiger was pregnant, you tend to believe him.
“What they say is very feasible,” said Tilson.
Such a weighty verdict must come as a relief for a zoo that’s fighting to improve its public image and repair

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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.


As this vacancy may suit someone retired from zoos or working outside the zoo profession please pass it along.

Part-time, Freelance Editor of Zoo News Magazine


English native speaker with good command of grammar and syntax.

Ability to work independently.

Have approximately 20 hours per week available for work.

Computer literate.

Some general experience of zoos and/or animal husbandry and/or conservation.

Willingness to learn.

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Fluency in a foreign language.

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Qualification in a zoological or biological discipline.

Job description:-

Edit a bimonthly magazine commencing January 2011.

Obtain, select, create and edit articles for publication.

Research current affairs within the zoo community and conservation, both online and offline.

Meet print deadlines.

Remuneration by agreement according to experience and achievement.


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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 & 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 & 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.


The fourth Student Environmental Enrichment Course (SEEC):
September 20th - 23rd 

Following positive feedback and high demand for places, Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks are pleased to announce their fourth student course on Environmental Enrichment to be run by Mark Kingston Jones and Chris Hales, in collaboration with keepers from both institutions. The course is specifically designed for college and university students (past and present) who do not currently work within a zoo setting, but are looking to do so as a career. Over the 3.5 days students will gain a background in animal welfare and enrichment, dealing with welfare needs of different species, as well as providing practical skills in designing, building and testing enrichment within the settings of both Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks, in Kent. Our aim is to provide valuable experience and an overview of additional useful skills to your CV as a would-be keeper. Please note you must be 18 or over to attend this course. Places are limited so please register early to avoid disappointment.

To Learn More Please Click


Nominations are now open for the 2012 Indianapolis Prize


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