Dolphins from Taiji sold to Egypt, Saudi Arabia
57 believed shipped live worldwide this year; one load faces ban
The town of Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, exported four bottlenose dolphins each to Saudi Arabia and Egypt in August, a Taiji official said Friday.
"Dolphins in Taiji are popular around the world because they are smart and I personally think they have cute faces," Hiromitsu Nambu, who arranges exports of live dolphins from Taiji, told The Japan Times.
Dolphins are also caught alive in the Black Sea and near Indonesia and the Solomon Islands, but "probably none of those places secure as stable a supply of live dolphins as Taiji," Nambu said.
Activists criticize capturing dolphins, saying the mammals undergo enormous stress. The Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove," in addition to showing the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, has footage of dolphins reputedly being fed medicine for stomach ulcers.
Taiji also sells dolphins to China and other countries, Nambu said. According to export statistics compiled by the Customs Bureau, 57 live animals under the category of whales, dolphins, dugongs and manatees were exported from January to August this year, of which 22 went to China, 16 to Ukraine and 11 to Thailand.
The total monetary value of
Russian tiger summit offers 'last chance' to save species in the wild
Last 13 countries with wild tigers to meet in St Petersburg, as deforestation and poaching push animal to extinction
Leaders of the few remaining countries where tigers are still found in the wild are preparing for a make-or-break summit in Russia, which they believe offers the last chance to save the critically endangered animal.
The Global Tiger Summit in St Petersburg next month will bring together the 13 countries that still have wild tigers, along with conservation organisations, in an attempt to thrash out a global recovery plan. Britain and the US are also being urged to attend.
The WWF (formerly the World Wide Fund for Nature) says it is optimistic about the summit's chances of success, but warns that failure will lead to the extinction of the tiger across much of Asia. The draft communique for the summit, seen by the Observer, notes that in the past decade tiger numbers worldwide have fallen by 40% and warns that "Asia's most iconic animal faces imminent extinction in the wild".
It concludes: "By the adoption of this, the St Petersburg Declaration, the tiger range countries of the world call upon the international community to join us in turning the tide and
Tiger Cubs Cause Festival Controversy
Festival Co-Chairwoman Says Cubs Shouldn't Be Exhibited
Thousands of people are expected to flock to Bethlehem this weekend for the annual Autumn on the River festival.
This year, a new exhibit is raising some eyebrows days before the event even starts.
A pair of 10 pound, 10-week-old tiger cubs are at the center of this discussion.
The debate is whether the cubs should be allowed at the festival.
Event committee members say absolutely, while one woman emphatically says no.
Trish Roehm is a longtime resident of Bethlehem. She runs an animal rescue organization out of her home.
For years, she has helped organize the Autumn on the River event, but this year, she's sitting out.
"I don't think it's a safe environment for children and, as
Gnawing problem for golf course: A very eager beaver leaves a trail of destruction after escaping from wildlife park
A beaver which escaped from a zoo has exasperated greenkeepers at a top golf club after wreaking havoc on the fairway.
The rogue rodent - called Mrs B - has gnawed through a centrepiece tree at the exclusive Hertfordshire Golf and Country Club in Broxbourne.
The huge birch has been left significantly damaged after the sustained attack, but will not need to be felled.
Unfortunately for the golf club, Mrs B couldn't have picked a more prominent tree - the birch is in the middle of a small island on a pond on the fairway.
'They set a few traps on the ponds,' said a worker at the golf club shop. 'It's been having a lot of fun down there by the looks of it.'
Mrs B escaped from Paradise Wildlife Park, which is adjacent to the 70 par course, by digging her way to freedom under the fence of her enclosure.
Following a few days on the lam, she was caught by zookeepers who camouflaged a crate filled with
Snake conservation farm on the verge of closure
A promising snake conservation and research centre Bangladesh is facing closure threats, thanks to the gratuitous intervention of some forest department officials.
Located in Rajshahi district, the snake conservation centre is the first of its kind in Bangladesh.
Crawling with hundreds of the reptiles, the centre draws big crowds everyday, including university and college teachers, students and researchers.
Rumon, the caretaker who is also a management student, claims he has made a breakthrough in captive breeding of cobras, which is a first ever successful experiment in Bangladesh. He is trying to breed other species of snakes as well.
“My aim is to establish a full-fledged snake rescue, rehabilitation, conservation and research centre there so that our generation can learn about snakes, their importance, significance and place in nature.”
Initially, Rumon started the centre as a hobby with 50 reptilian members and named it ‘Cobra Friends Club’. The centre gradually grew and he turned it into a non-profit
He says he had no idea about the necessity of government permission for running a snake farm especially to save the reptiles from human cruelty. And he wants the government to take over the farm and develop it further.
The forest officials, who had no idea about the farm until they read about its popularity in a local newspaper, went over and seized 85 venomous snakes and slapped a case on Rumon under the wildlife preservation act
Rabiul Islam, range officer in the department of forestry in Rajshahi, who filed a case said: “The wildlife preservation act prohibits catching and molesting of any wild animals and by constructing a snake farm, Rumon has violated the Act.”
The seized snakes included 77 cobras, seven rat-snakes and one flying snake.
The officials also suspected cross-border trafficking in snakes since the area has no use for such a snake farm.
But an undeterred Rumon says his ultimate aim is to build a snake park as well as a research centre there because no other safari parks would want to rear snakes. And he would even give away his farm to the government if it is turned
Fans want Busch back after tiger death
Controversy-plagued big cat park Zion Wildlife Gardens is in the news once again after a tiger mauled another to death.
The death has prompted a ferocious response by fans of the Whangarei wildlife park's founder, Craig Busch, who want him reinstated.
The female Bengal tiger, Sita, was killed by a male tiger she had been placed with to mate.
The park has never been far from the headlines since Busch's mother Patricia took over after bailing him out financially. Busch's battle to regain control is headed for the High Court.
Last year, keeper Dalu Mncube was fatally mauled by a tiger, and charges have been laid over the death. After the latest incident the park said all protocols had been followed and the attack was "uncharacteristic".
Busch has attracted more than 56,000 fans to his Facebook page, with many calling for him to be put back in charge. But, even under Busch's care, the park made the news with many cats
California condor population hits 100
The number of wild, free-flying condors in California has reached 100, the most in half a century.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced the landmark Wednesday, crediting a captive breeding program started in Southern California in 1982, when there were only 22 wild condors in the state.
Young condors born in captivity are released into the wild every fall at Pinnacles National Monument in Central California and Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge on the southwest side of the San Joaquin Valley. The flock will get another bump over the next few months with the release of 11 juveniles.
The big birds are also reproducing on their own in the wild, adding 16 young
Chimp attends Gaza university lecture
Ape flees local zoo, enters lecture hall at Strip's Al-Quds University through window before being captured by security officers
From zoo to academia: Students at Al-Quds University in the Gaza Strip were surprised to see an unusual guest at their lecture room on Saturday – a chimpanzee who had escaped from a nearby zoo, Palestinian news agency Maan reported.
University sources said the chimp entered the lecture hall through a window left open and even listened to the lecture.
One of the university workers told the French news agency, "We were very surprised to see the chimpanzee who escaped from the zoo right next to us. It entered the university lecture hall and jumped into the meeting room. It caused
Bloodbath at London Zoo as urban foxes slaughter 11 penguins and one flamingo
A trail of destruction was left at London Zoo after urban foxes crept in and killed almost a dozen penguins.
Keepers at the north west London site discovered the bloodbath when they arrived to open up for the day.
During the killing spree the foxes targeted South African and rockhopper penguins.
Council officials carried out an inspection of the site last year and faulty fencing was blamed for the break in.
The report which was obtained by The Independent under the Freedom Of Information act also revealed fox traps had been removed from the site.
The incident took place on March, 18 last year.
A spokesman for
PG Tips chimp dies at Twycross Zoo
A MIDLAND zoo is mourning the death of one of the country’s most famous chimpanzees – who starred in the famous PG Tips adverts.
Jilloch was born at Twycross Zoo, near Tamworth, and died there of heart failure, aged 34.
She had taken part in the chimp’s tea parties and was part of the family group of chimps that were on television screens from the late 1950s until 2002.
Sharon Redrobe, the zoo’s director of life sciences said: “We are all are saddened by the loss of one of our favourite chimps.
“The animal and vet team worked tirelessly to keep her as comfortable as possible.”
The ads starring the chimps captivated TV viewers and helped sell tea by the ton. They portrayed everything from removal men and Tour de France cyclists to a bride and
Okla City Zoo elephants back from breeding program
Two Asian elephants sent to Tulsa as part of a breeding effort have returned to the Oklahoma City Zoo — one is pregnant and the other might be.
Sisters Asha and Chandra returned Monday and are in a new habitat that was built after they left for Tulsa in June 2008 as part of a national breeding plan.
Asha is pregnant and due to give birth in May after breeding with the male elephant Sneezy. The Oklahoman reported that zookeepers
Escaped ape attacks Kansas City police car
A 300-pound chimpanzee that broke free from its chains has been captured after briefly wandering around a Kansas City neighborhood and smashing out the window of a police car.
Police Capt. Rich Lockhart tells The Kansas City Star the department got a call about noon Tuesday that a primate was on the loose a few miles from the Kansas City Zoo.
Lockhart says the ape was actually a pet that escaped from its chains. Lockhart says efforts to shoot the animal, named Sueko, with a tranquilizer dart failed.
The chimp climbed on a patrol car and struck the passenger-side window with its fist before running off.
Its owner was eventually able to coax it into a cage. Lockhart
Pet chimpanzee that escaped will be sent to KC Zoo, officials say
Sueko, the chimpanzee that escaped from its owner Tuesday afternoon in a Kansas City neighborhood, is going to be sent to the Kansas City Zoo, city officials said today.
The ape, whose weight was estimated by police at 300 pounds, could be transferred to the zoo Thursday. Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff said he believed the chimp probably weighs closer to 170 pounds
City officials said the decision was “in the best interest of the community
Donation makes Durrell Wildlife Park revamp possible
Abbey International has provided Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust with funding, together with a day’s volunteer work by staff whose efforts have contributed greatly towards bringing about a major remodelling of the famous wildlife park. The work just completed is part of a plan to pave the way for a new “glamorous camping” area to be opened in 2011 and will also help achieve significant operational efficiencies in the running of the park itself.
Staff from Abbey International literally rolled up their sleeves last Friday to carry out major preparatory works including moving the organic farm, prior to the construction of a new access road, the cost of which Abbey International has also agreed to part fund. The new road will serve both the proposed camping area and the farm itself. Other work completed included general site clearing, following which specialist rodent control ditches were built and new willow hedges will be planted. With the initial works now finished, construction on the roadway can commence, with all work expected to be finished by next Easter when the new camping area will be open to the public.
The changes to the wildlife park are expected to bring significant financial, practical and operational benefits. The new glamour camping concept will become a significant fundraiser in its own right, contributing funds to Durrell, whilst the freeing up of additional land will allow for an expansion of its organic cultivation, leading to the possibility of surplus organic crops being sold to the public via the on-site store. Durrell already grows around 80% of the food required for the animals at the wildlife park, so this expansion of the farming will add to that and also reduce the cost of buying in feed in the longer term. Farm sales will additionally generate much needed funds to help care for the animals.
Commenting on the contribution from Abbey International, Ivo Le Maistre Smith, Head of Income Development at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust said, “This was a fantastic initiative by Abbey International, it is true to say that without them this new project simply could not go ahead on the basis of the plans we have already made. We particularly
China Unveils Ambitious Plan to Protect Wildlife at UN Talks
China’s biodiversity action plan designates 52 priority conservation areas, covering 23% of the country; it promises state funds for protection; and sets a target of controlling biodiversity loss by 2020.
Sichuan, has been the first province to put the plan into action. It has set aside about 930m yuan (£87m) and identified five ecological protection areas: one links to existing giant panda reserves, another restores an area damaged by industry, two conserve semi-tropical flora and fauna, and another offsets the impact
Vietnam police seize 10 smuggled wild cats: activist
Authorities in Vietnam have seized the corpses of 10 wild cats smuggled from Laos in a sign of growing cross-border animal traffic, a conservationist said Tuesday.
The seizure included eight golden cats, two clouded leopards, a cobra and horns, said Sarah Morgan, Vietnam spokeswoman for Traffic, the British-based wildlife trade monitoring network.
Local media reports, citing police, said the seizure was the country's biggest-ever of frozen wild cats, but Morgan could not confirm that.
"We're told by authorities that the animals are supposed to have come from the Lao-Myanmar border," she said.
"We've had increasing reports of things being trafficked from Laos, especially."
Police discovered the animals in a truck travelling between the north-central provinces of Thanh Hoa and Nghe An, said the Cong An Nhan Dan (People's Police) newspaper.
It quoted the animals' owner as saying she collected them in Nghe An to sell to a man specialising in processing the bones into traditional medicine.
The report did not say if any arrests were made. Police declined to comment to AFP by telephone.
Morgan said leopards and certain wild cats are protected species, meaning their national or international commercial trade is prohibited.
Traffickers could be increasingly looking abroad as the species decline in Vietnam, she said, adding: "I think we can see growing evidence of the
Study reveals why the leopard got its spots
Rudyard Kipling was right - leopards and other big cats have had to change their spots in order to survive.
A study published today by William Allen and colleagues from the University of Bristol in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B shows that cat coat pattern is strongly related to the type of environment they live in.
The researchers first collected images from the internet of the coat patterns of 35 species of cats - including jaguars, cheetahs, tigers and leopards, as well as lesser known species such as the fishing cat and the serval.
Instead of having simple categories such as spots or stripes, the researchers refined the coat patterns further, using a technique called reaction diffusion.
This technique, first proposed by British mathematician Alan Turing in the 1950s converts a pattern from nature into a computer generated one, which then has its own unique identification number.
Five people were shown a selection
Lions on the move
Wellington Zoo staff have spent the morning on high alert, carefully transporting their three female lions across the zoo back to their home.
The three lionesses, each weighing more than 120kg, have been in a temporary enclosure for the last eight months while their home was being redeveloped.
The zoo's male lion, who is on holiday at Orana Wildlife Park in Christchurch while the work is
Knut the polar bear bullied by mean girl zoo mates?
Poor Knut. As a young cub at a Berlin zoo, he became a media darling, appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair and boosting his zoo’s revenues by an estimate €5-million. But then, like so many child stars, he battled with his weight and crazed fans (one man jumped into Knut’s enclosure). He’s also had a series of widely-reported struggles with the opposite sex, and is now apparently being tormented by a trio of ursine mean girls.
“Knut, the public’s favourite, has become a heap of misery,” said Germany’s mass-selling daily Bild. “Instead of enjoying himself with the three ladies, he cowers fearfully in a corner,” added the more staid Sueddeutsche Zeitung. For several weeks, the three-year-old bear has shared his zoo enclosure with his mother, Tosca, and two other females, Nancy and Katjuscha. But hopes that Knut might form a romantic attachment with one of the females appear to have been dashed as stories emerged of violent maulings. One video posted online showed Katjuscha hurling herself at Knut’s throat, in an apparent attempt to bite him, before tipping him into the water.
But maybe Knut just needs to learn to assert himself? Knut’s minder, Heiner Kloes, told AFP: “For the time being, Knut is not yet an adult male and doesn’t yet know how to get respect like his father did. But day by day, he
Silence of the hams: Zoo culls two endangered piglets because of European breeding quotas
Cuddling up to their mother, these African piglets were more than an endearing attraction for zoo visitors.
They were also the successful product of a breeding programme aimed at keeping alive endangered species.
Zoo managers had hoped that many more of these rare Red River Hogs would be born in future. But yesterday it emerged the piglets had been killed by one of the zoo’s own vets.
The pair, named Sammi and Becca, were destroyed at Edinburgh Zoo to comply with the controversial requirements of a European breeding project – after being deemed ‘surplus to requirements’.
It is feared that three other piglets currently at the zoo could also be culled. The move has outraged staff and horrified animal welfare campaigners. One staff member said: ‘We didn’t have any say. I found it pretty disgusting and was
Animal activists outraged at zoo’s culling of piglets
The culling of two piglets by Edinburgh Zoo, because they were surplus to an international breeding programme, has sparked outrage and prompted a campaign to help save the lives of others potentially under threat.
Red river hogs Sammi and Becca were put down at the age of five months on the recommendation of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP).
The zoo said it was advised by the programme to cull the piglets rather than rehome them. It said there were no plans to put down the remaining three red river hog piglets born at the zoo last month.
Animal activists criticised the move and said alternative homes should have been found for the hogs.
Sammi and Becca were born on August 14 last year, the first to be born since the African mammals arrived at Edinburgh Zoo in 2004.
At the time Kathleen Graham, head keeper of hoofstock at the zoo, said: “We are thrilled that the red river hogs have bred this year. We hope that this is the first of many contributions our red river hogs make to the breeding programme.”
Animal protection charity OneKind – formerly Advocates for Animals – criticised the decision to put the two piglets to sleep and has set up a campaign on the issue
Bear attacks on the rise in Japan
Bear attacks in Japan, and sightings of the animals, have increased this year as climate change drives them from their habitats seeking food, researchers say.
At least four people were killed and 80 wounded in bear attacks between April and September, already topping last year's total of 64 attacks, Japanese broadcaster NHK said.
On Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido, authorized hunters
Rhinos Return to the Houston Zoo
Three White Rhinos Arrive Via Cargo Flight from South Africa
Rhinos a Feature of The African Forest Opening December 10, 2010
After a 54 hour trip from Johannesburg, South Africa aboard a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines cargo flight, three white rhinos arrived at the Houston Zoo on Thursday and are settling into their new home in The African Forest, a 6.5 acre addition to the Zoo which will open to the public on December 10. The Zoo’s new male rhino, whose name is Sibindi (suh-BIN-dee) and one female, named Annie-Kamariah, are four years old. The other female, named Lynne, is five years old.
“The rhinos went First Class all the way,” said Houston Zoo Director Rick Barongi. “They were accompanied on the flight by a team of veterinarians and animal care specialists from Kruger National Park and the Houston Zoo who had direct access to them at all times to care for them during the trip,” added Barongi.
The rhinos made the flight from Johannesburg to Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport in new specially designed 2,000 pound steel reinforced crates that allowed them to stand or lie down comfortably during their journey. After arrival at Bush Intercontinental Airport and
Ethical debate: Can an endangered species be a business partner?
Two of the strongest environmental laws in the world are the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Among many other statutes, these laws make it a Federal crime for anyone to harass endangered marine mammal species such as the West Indian manatee. By the accepted definitions of the word “harass”, this means that people cannot swim with and certainly cannot touch a manatee. However, at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, visitors can do both of these things- and it’s totally legal!
A select few dive operators have special permission and training from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. This allows them to take visitors into Crystal River NWR to swim with (and in some circumstances even touch) manatees.
This policy is controversial. Though divemasters are trained to pull tourists out of the water if the manatee appears bothered, the ESA and the MMPA made swimming with and touching these animals illegal for a reason. It may result in altered behavior, perhaps teaching them to associate engine noise with a boatload of backscratchers instead of a mortal threat. It may stress the animals, making them more vulnerable to other threats. It may encourage tourists to engage in similar behavior without a trained guide.
On the other hand, supporters claim that allowing a community to benefit economically from a local endangered species may encourage local conservation efforts. Lots of tourists come to Crystal River
S. Africans in Vietnam to counter rhino horn trade
South African officials were in Vietnam Wednesday to discuss ways of curbing the illegal trade in rhinoceros horns used in traditional Asian medicine, a conservation group said.
The South Africans are involved in enforcement against the rhino trade and were to meet their Vietnamese counterparts, said Traffic, the British-based global wildlife trade monitoring network, which organised the trip.
The two nations aim to increase collaborative law enforcement, it said.
"Vietnam has been increasingly implicated as a main driver of the illegal rhino horn trade in Asia, and a major trade route has emerged connecting illegally killed rhinos in South Africa with consumers in Vietnam," Traffic said in a press release.
While Asian rhinos have likely been eliminated in Vietnam, partly because of poaching for their horns, there are still important wild rhino populations in Africa, especially South Africa, Traffic said.
"It's vitally important to scale up Africa's law enforcement efforts and link with Asia in the fight to save the world's rhinos", Tom Milliken, regional director for Traffic in East and Southern Africa, said in the statement.
"We'll only win this war if both sides align against the criminal syndicates behind this trade."
Vietnamese media reported earlier this year that police
Conservation Scientists Release Global Strategy to Halt Extinctions as Nations Meet to Decide Future of Biodiversity
Alliance for Zero Extinction Partners Identify 587 Sites
Worldwide that are Home to 920 Species on the Brink
Sixty-eight biodiversity conservation institutions from twenty countries aligned in the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) today released new data that pinpoint 587 single sites where 920 of the world’s most endangered wildlife species are restricted—places that if properly protected could help to avert an imminent global extinction crisis.
The AZE data are accompanied by a map that graphically illustrates the location of each of the sites around the world. The new data result from the efforts of a network of hundreds of scientists and conservationists around the world.
“AZE enables us to instantly pinpoint the locations of the world’s key wildlife extinction epicenters. It allows us to see at a glance where we need to focus efforts to prevent imminent extinctions and preserve Earth’s precious biodiversity,” said American Bird Conservancy Vice President and AZE Chair Mike Parr.
At the present time, only half of the sites identified enjoy any formal protection, and of those, half are only partially protected. “Protecting the remaining unprotected AZE sites, through locally appropriate
Wood in flap over bird-brained plan
POLITICAL kingpin Gerry Wood is investigating why the Government won't take $1000 of his own money for a blind, neurologically damaged sea eagle.
Mr Wood is questioning how blind the bird really is.
The Member for Nelson's query temporarily stalled feisty brawls during Parliamentary question time over child protection and boat registration.
Mr Wood explained he had gone on the hunt to find a white-bellied sea eagle after discovering the Territory Wildlife Park's birds of prey display was missing one.
"I was informed the park no longer had one ... and didn't have enough money for this acquisition," he said.
He searched about, found a "suitable" specimen in Sydney's Taronga Zoo - and offered to
Zoo reveals 'mammoth' shopping list
More than 1,700 pints of milk, 47 tonnes of hay and 33 tonnes of Canadian clover are just the start of London Zoo's enormous annual shopping list, it has been revealed.
With more than 16,000 animals of 600 different species ranging from giraffes to bearded pigs, "feeding all of our animals is a mammoth task", according to Nicky Jago, one of the zoo's keepers.
The food on the list includes tonnes of carrots and oranges, 1,716 pints of milk and some unusual foods such as honey and 78kg of popping
Interactive aquarium called Sea Life to open in Grapevine in June 2011
Hey North Texas, slip on your goggles and flippers and get ready to dive in! Sea Life Aquarium, an interactive, entertainment center, opens in Grapevine June 2011.
After years of discussions of an aquarium in Grapevine, “the talk stops today and reality comes to life," said Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate as he addressed those in attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony for the city’s newest family and tourist attraction on Wednesday.
The Grapevine location will be the 34th Sea Life to open worldwide and only the third one nationally. The first U.S. Sea Life opened early 2010 in Phoenix, but as Janine DiGioachinno, Merlin Entertainment’s divisional director for the U.S., puts it, “everything is bigger and better in Texas." Promising to be both entertaining and inspiring, Sea Life Grapevine will take visitors on a
Rats killing off Pitcairn's rare Henderson petrel
One of the world's rarest birds could face extinction, unless conservationists succeed in their mission to eradicate rats from Henderson Island in the Pitcairn UK Overseas Territory.
The Henderson petrel is found nowhere else on the planet, but it's under threat from rats that are eating 25,000 seabird chicks alive every year.
The British-based Royal Society for the Protection
Elephant dung causes a bit of a stink for water co
Elephants' jumbo-sized poos have meant Howletts zoo has had to call in the plumbers to deal with a mounting problem.
The wild animal park in Bekesbourne houses 14 elephants, which each create their large piles of droppings every two hours.
Although the elephant enclosure is connected up to the mains water supply, it was not connected to the sewers so keepers had to shovel all waste away by hand.
Most of the dung is used as fertiliser by farmers, but after the majority is removed the enclosure is washed down and the resultant mess has to be taken away by expensive tankers for treatment.
But the park and Southern