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Elephant breeding topic of conference held at zoo
A playful squabble between 2-year-olds rolling in the dirt turns rough, so mom steps in because one is sitting on the other's head.
Such antics are a normal occurrence in the elephant yard at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, but this time they were in the international spotlight as the zoo hosts the 31st annual Elephant Managers Association conference this weekend.
The EMA is a group of elephant professionals, veterinarians, researchers and enthusiasts, said EMA president Andrew Smith, who works at the Memphis Zoo.
"We consider ourselves the experts in the elephant industry, and the membership has a phenomenal background in elephant management and research," he said.
They hold the conference each year to bounce ideas off one another and listen to presentations on all different aspects of animal care. Members are able to learn, ask questions, network and essentially grow as an industry
Conservationists call for the head of Da Lat zoo owner
International and local experts continue to call for thorough investigation and strict prosecution of the people involved in the running of a wildlife restaurant that authorities busted last month in the Central Highlands.
“The detection of these offences is an excellent example of law enforcement action in Vietnam,” David Higgins, manager of International Criminal Police Organization’s (Interpol) Environmental Crime Program was quoted as saying in a press release issued on September 27.
“This initial seizure by the Forest Protection Department should now be supported by effective prosecution and appropriate punishment upon conviction, to serve as a deterrent to other wildlife criminals in Vietnam and across the region.”
The international police organization has been joined by a number of global conservationists who have expressed a hope that the bust will result in heavy convictions – jail time, asset seizures and further investigations.
Some have called this raid the biggest hit, to date, on Vietnam’s infamous wildlife consumption
China experts say panda suffocated to death in Japan: report
Chinese experts sent to Japan to investigate the death of a giant panda on loan to a zoo have determined that the animal died of asphyxiation, state media reported Saturday.
Kou Kou died last month at the Oji zoo in the western port city of Kobe after it had received an anaesthetic so that veterinarians could extract semen from the 14-year-old male panda to impregnate his partner, Tan Tan.
Experts found that Kou Kou had suffocated when "objects in its stomach went into its lungs, leading to asphyxiation," the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Earlier, reports suggested the experts believed that the death could have been caused by an overdose of sedatives and were questioning why Japanese veterinarians were extracting semen outside the animal's mating period.
A breeding agreement between Beijing and Tokyo includes the stipulation that Japan pay 500,000 dollars in compensation if a panda dies due to human error, state media reported previously.
Xinhua said Saturday that China and Japan would settle the matter in accordance with their cooperation agreement on panda research, without providing further details.
The panda's death came amid the worst crisis in relations between the two countries in years, stemming from the collision of a Chinese fishing trawler and two Japanese coastguard vessels near disputed islets in the East China Sea.
It also comes after Tokyo's Ueno Zoo reached an agreement in July to receive a pair of pandas from China in a deal that will cost nearly one million dollars a year for the next decade.
The money is to be spent on protecting wild animals in China.
Giant pandas, a highly endangered species native to parts of China, are notoriously slow at reproducing in captivity.
There are just 1,600 pandas left in the wild. Nearly
Panda Dies at Japanese Zoo: $500,000 Compensation for China
An investigation into the cause of a Giant Panda’s death at Kobe’s Oji Zoo has determined that the animal died an unnatural death. It now seems likely that the zoo will have to pay $500,000 in compensation to the Chinese government:
Experts found that Kou Kou had suffocated when “objects in its stomach went into its lungs, leading to asphyxiation,” the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Earlier, reports suggested the experts believed that the death could have been caused by an overdose of sedatives and were questioning why Japanese veterinarians were extracting semen outside the animal’s mating period.
A breeding agreement between Beijing and Tokyo includes the stipulation that Japan pay 500,000 dollars in compensation if a panda dies due to human error, state media reported previously.
Xinhua said Saturday that China and Japan would
Brookfield Zoo Appears On IDA's List of The Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants
In Defense of Animals (IDA) is citing the recent transfer of the African elephant Joyce from the Brookfield Zoo near Chicago to a Six Flags theme park in New Jersey as just one more example of how zoos are failing elephants and causing them great suffering. Joyce was the zoo's only elephant.
Female elephants naturally live in large, stable family groups and remain with their mothers for life. Joyce, now 27, was abducted from her family in Zimbabwe as an infant and has been moved at least six times to different facilities, including two circuses. At one point, she reportedly was shipped thousands of miles across the country and then back again for an unsuccessful breeding attempt.
"While In Defense of Animals commends the Brookfield Zoo for recognizing that elephants should not be kept alone, Joyce's transfer illustrates the failure of zoos to meet elephants' needs," said IDA Elephant Campaign Director Catherine Doyle. "Elephants in captivity need a stable social network and permanent home. It is extremely detrimental to Joyce's health and welfare to transfer her to yet another zoo where there is no guarantee that she will not be moved again. A natural-habitat sanctuary would have been the most humane option for her."
Mounting scientific evidence shows that elephants are not thriving in zoos - to the contrary, they are suffering and dying prematurely. A study published in the prestigious journal Science (2008) found that interzoo transfers are associated with elephants' premature deaths in captivity. Elephants are often moved between zoos, separating bonded females and even mothers and offspring in the process.
The Brookfield Zoo appeared on IDA's list of the Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants this year for treating elephants as nothing more than replaceable objects. The zoo acquired Joyce in August 2009 after the death of one of its two elephants. After the second elephant died
Should elephants be kept in zoos?
A new study has said that elephants in zoos and circuses are treated badly. Because of this, they have much shorter lives than in the wild.
Do you think zoos are bad for elephants?
Or do you think that they are a safe place, where they don't have to worry about poachers?
Whatever you think, email us to let us know!
Cowboys and elephants Learning the centuries-old traditions of Thailand’s Mahouts
There was something strangely reassuring sitting bareback high above a four-ton Asian elephant in the northern reaches of Thailand. With my legs tucked snugly behind her ears, being on top seemed more comforting than possibly being underneath. Holding on to an elephant’s bristly forehead as she bathed in a slow-moving river was pleasantly contemplative. That my elephant named Ewong was semi-retired and not quite as agile as the rest was just fine with me. It was something of a counter-thought to my fears of having to swim away from a frolicking mass of grey pleats as it wasn’t uncommon for the more juvenile animals to simply lay down and play in the waters as they washed away the last evening’s dust.
Riding a docile 48-year-old former logging elephant at the Anantara Resort Golden Triangle felt more like taking part in something ancient than simply an adventurous stop on the tourist trail; as if that wouldn’t have been enough anyways.
The mahouts are the elephant’s most trusted human companions and their traditions; disciplined lives and linguistic affinities go back centuries.
“Mahouts as a culture are probably what brought me here in the first place,” says Devon-born John Roberts, Director of Elephants at the resort, “The lifestyle around them was really what attracted me as much as the elephants themselves.”
Roberts talks with the professorial air of an anthropologist but the passion of an activist. “The mahouts are really the cowboys
Gabi the Jerusalem elephant to set sail for his new home in Turkey
Gabi, the product of artificial insemination, came to fame after images of his ultrasound were published for the public. Admirers from around the world followed a live internet broadcast of his birth, and he has since turned into one of the zoo's main attractions.
The Jerusalem Bible Zoo is sending abroad one of its most famous inhabitants: Gabi the elephant will board a special ark on Monday morning to Turkey.
Gabi, the product of artificial insemination, came to fame after images of his ultrasound were published for the public. Admirers from around the world followed a live internet broadcast of his birth, and he has since turned into one of the zoo's
Tigers of Bangladesh smallest in the world: study
A new study, funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service Tiger and Rhino Fund, has suggested that the Sundarbans tigers in Bangladesh may be the smallest tigers in the world.
The study was carried out by the Sundarbans Tiger Project, a joint initiative between the Bangladesh Forest Department, Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh, Zoological Society of London and the University of Minnesota.
An official announcement of the Wild Life Trust of Bangladesh (WTB) yesterday said there is only one species of tiger, but scientists have split this into nine subspecies based on differences in their physical appearance and genetics.
Tigers from the mangrove forest of the Sundarbans in Bangladesh and India are currently classified under the Bengal tiger sub species (Panthera tigris tigris) along with tigers across India, Nepal, and Bhutan.
However, the tigers in the Sundarbans weigh just 76.7kg, nearly half the weight of other wild Bengal tigers (the largest subspecies) which average at 138.2kg. This is also less than the average weight of tigers from any of the other eight
1st regional NTCA office gets nod
The Centre on Tuesday finally cleared the setting up of India's first regional office of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in Nagpur.
The proposal was cleared on Tuesday, and an official communication issued by Rajesh Gopal, NTCA member-secretary, to this effect was received by PCCF (wildlife) on Wednesday. NTCA is the statutory body under the ministry of environment & forests (MoEF) monitoring all tiger reserves in India.
The NTCA has stated that the office at Nagpur will closely monitor all tiger reserves in Central India. There are 12 tigers reserves in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and C
Does Cutting Nets Free Captive Dolphins?
On Sept. 27 a European group calling themselves The Black Fish announced they had cut the nets of sea pens holding captive dolphins at Taiji, Japan. There is no indication that any of the divers who cut the nets have been apprehended by the police. Nor were any dolphins actually freed by this bold act.
Captain Paul Watson, head of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, reported to me that he has two people on the ground in Taiji, and they report that none of the dolphins left the sea pens because the cuts were too small and too high. (NB: Sea Shepherd had nothing to do with the net cuttings.)
The overriding problem with cutting nets is that dolphins do not readily leave confinement. They are not accustomed to barriers. They do not jump over nets --something
Nepal's year of the leopard
The spread of midhill forests is bringing the spotted cat in increasing conflict with humans
The leopard mother and cub had wandered into the garden of a house in Dhapasi one morning last year. Locals raised the alarm, and the cornered mother was shot dead when it tried to break out. The cub was finally darted and caught, later set free in Shivapuri National Park.
Man-leopard encounters have become increasingly common in Kathmandu and across Nepal as the success of community forests has led to a revival of wild animals, which enter inhabited areas in search of easy livestock prey.
But most encounters result in tragedy, either for the farmers
who lose goats or chicken, or for the leopard.
In Kathmandu, the Central Zoo has a darting team, but they usually arrive at the scene too late
Mystery illness kills Dubbo elephant
Australia's oldest African elephant has died after a mystery illness at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo at Dubbo, in regional New South Wales.
The zoo says Yum Yum had been suffering from a severe digestive problem this week and the decision was made to euthanise her yesterday.
Tests will now be carried out to determine what made her sick.
Yum Yum was estimated to be around 41 years old, and had lived at the
Legalized Trade in Rhino Horn: Good Business or Grave Danger?
As the world finally begins to focus attention on the scourge of rhino killings that is sweeping South Africa, the issue of legalized trade in rhino horn has resurfaced again.
Proponents of legalized trade in rhino horn, such as Wildlife Ranching South Africa (WRSA) argue that trade would created revenue for wildlife conservation and that it would eliminate the risk of rhinos being killed for their horns by outside syndicates.
Supporters also point out that rhino horn is a renewable resource that is in demand. They say that by keeping the trade illegal, South African game
'Sundarbans tigers may be the smallest'
The Sundarbans tigers may be the smallest in the world, due mainly to the small size of deer and other prey available, a new study says.
Wild Life Trust of Bangladesh (WTB) in a press release on Saturday said the Royal Bengal Tigers of the mangrove forest Sundarbans, one of the nine sub-species of the world's tigers, weigh an average of 76.7 kg, nearly half the weight of other wild Bengal tigers which average at 138.2 kg.
This is also less than the average weight of tigers from any of the other eight sub-species, making the Sundarbans tiger probably the smallest in the world.
"The reasons for small size of Sundarbans tigers are not known, but the authors of the study suggest this could be related to the small size of deer available to tigers in the Sundarbans, compared to the larger deer and other prey available to tigers in other parts of the world." WTB says.
Previously it was believed that the Sumatran tiger was the smallest, with an average weight of
NGO counters Assam claim of rise in tiger numbers
Assam forest department's claim of increasing tiger population was not only false but has been made with the aim of getting money from various funding agencies, a prominent conservationist organisation claimed today.
"Forest officials have claimed that the tiger population in Assam has increased but the fact is that it is decreasing alarmingly and a group of people are grabbing money from various agencies by making such claims," Nature Beckons' Director Soumyadeep Dutta told reporters in Guwahati.
If Kaziranga National Park harbours 32 tigers per 100 sq km as claimed, then tiger sightings would be very common and the total number of the animals in the Park should be 160. Reports available through RTI have also proved the rapid disappearance of tiger species from the forests of Assam, he said.
The Forest Department on Sept. 15 provided the tiger census report of 1993 and 2000 according to which there were 430 tigers in 1993 but went down to 346 in 2000.
"During the seven years period (1993-2000) alone we have lost 84 tigers and the Forest Department did not take any effective measures to counter this situation. Instead it began manipulating
Where Have All the Turtles Gone?
Sea turtles, some of the most majestic, gentle creatures in the oceans, are having a rough time of it. Though not typically targeted by fishermen, the animals often become entangled in nets or hooked on long lines, and end up as bycatch that is either eaten or tossed like trash back into the sea.
Measuring how many turtles die this way every year is a crucial task; in some places turtle populations are being devastated by the effects of bycatch. It isn't easy; fishing practices around the world are chronically under-reported. But in an attempt to shine light on the situation, researchers, led by Bryan Wallace of Conservation International, have compiled the first global map of sea turtle bycatch.
Published in a recent issue of the journal Conservation Letters, the map breaks down incidents of turtle bycatch by the type of fishing gear used:
Elephant welfare is priority at the Toledo Zoo
At the Toledo Zoo, the well-being of our animals is our top priority. Providing first-rate animal care is a vital part of our goal of giving guests an experience that is educational, engaging, accessible, and safe. That is why visiting the zoo has been a cherished tradition in Toledo for generations.
In recent months, critics have assailed our elephant program for its use of “free contact” as a management style, which they claim is abusive. Although we use “protected contact” with our elephants Louie and Twiggy, it is misleading to categorize that process as universally preferable.
Like all other animal programs at the zoo, our elephant training is based on positive reinforcement. Animals are rewarded — usually with food — for behavior we want to see more of, which we name.
The animal comes to associate the name and the reward with a specific behavior, much as your dog does when you train her to sit or come. If an animal does not complete a behavior when we ask for it, we may give him or her a time-out or ask for another behavior before we return to the one we first sought. If the animal still chooses
New Commission: London Zoo
A brand new ITV1 documentary series takes television cameras into all areas of the world's oldest zoo to bring viewers a special and rare insight into the rich variety of daily life for its staff and vast array of animals.
3x60 series London Zoo [WT], production company Wild Pictures has access to the Zoological Society of London at its two sites, Regents Park in London and (its country home) Whipsnade 30 miles north.
The ZSL, which invented the word "Zoo", has a collection of more than 20,000 animals at the two zoos and the series captures the broad scope of the work carried out by its 800-strong staff, including some of the world's best vets.
The emotional intensity of their work is brought home to viewers in moments such as monitoring the brutal mating of a pair of Komodo dragons, carrying out a remarkable ultra-sound on a pregnant Indian elephant, and caring for a desperately ill gorilla.
The series shows the incredible range of the ZSL's reach, which goes way beyond keeping animals in captivity - including its work supporting animal conservation centres in 80 different
Twycross Zoo wins prestigious funding to help save the world's most endangered apes
A British zoo has beaten off competition from across Europe to lead the fight to save the world's most endangered species of apes from extinction.
Twycross Zoo has secured funding from the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) for two projects to help the bonobo chimpanzee and cao vit gibbon, two of the most endangered species of ape, survive in their natural habitats.
EAZA is running a 12-month ape campaign, bringing the world’s leading zoos together to formulate action plans to assist the continued survival of critically threatened breeds of ape, which are under threat from hunting, deforestation and disease. It also aims to raise one million Euros to safeguard the future of ape
Zurich Zoo rain forest produces exclusive chocolate
Visitors wandering along the unfenced paths crisscrossing the Zurich Zoo’s lush Masoala Rain Forest will have missed the subtle growth of cocoa beans, flourishing in the tall vegetation and 80 percent humidity.
Now, six years after planting, the cocoa is bearing fruit, and for a good cause.
On October 2-3, the Zurich Zoo launchs its annual "Madagascar Days" campaign aimed at raising awareness about the tropical island’s biodiversity and the need to preserve endangered species.
As part of the campaign, "Masoala Selection" Cabosse chocolate – a world’s premiere according to the zoo – will be offered to the public as the first ever 100 percent Swiss chocolate made with cocoa grown in the 11,000-square-meter tropical plantation.
The forest, home to 17,000 plants and 45 species of vertebrates, including lemurs and giant tortoises, is a replica of Madagascar’s Masoala National Park, the island’s largest.
The enclosure was built to offer visitors the chance experience a real jungle and learn about the perils rain forests are facing worldwide.
The cocoa initiative goes one step further
Zoo Plants Bamboo For Panda Arrival
No funeral for San Diego Zoo's lifelong resident Alvila
Alvila was quite the lady. She was, in her own way, famous. She was the first gorilla born at the San Diego Zoo. She had given birth to four off-spring over the years, At the time of her death, she was 45 and had been seen by millions of zoo guests.
But she didn't exactly get a royal send-off. There was no memorial service or funeral.
Alvila was cremated. That's the case with all the animals that die at the zoo.
"We have a chemical incinerator which uses an enzymatic process to reduce all biological materials to dust, said Christina Simmons, a zoo spokesperson.
But there's no resting place, not even for the cremated remains. It doesn't matter how popular the animal had been at the zoo.
Alvila had been put to sleep at the zoo last week because
By 2015, the Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort will be 20 times larger than its original size. What does it take to operate such a beast of a project, and how will the 4000 animals waiting to be exhibited to the public adapt to their new Arabian environment?
The management and maintenance team of a residential building don't, generally, have to worry about occupiers running wild in the corridors, or eating people as they exit their homes. They will also be safe in the knowledge that the population of that building will be controlled by its inhabitants and that those inhabitants will, in all likelihood, clean up after themselves.
Managing a facility full of animals, however, is rather different, as FM experts at the Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort (AWPR) have come to learn since the facility first opened its doors in 1968.
Established by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, AWPR ran under the Abu Dhabi Municipality until 2005, when it was decided that the emirate's executive council would take control over operations. It was at that time that plans to turn the park into a sustainable leisure and learning destination began to take shape.
The wildlife centre currently exhibits between 600 and 800 animals but, in three years time, the 40,000m² site will be expanded to 20 times its original size, with over 4000 animals on display.
The current site will become off-limits to the public, and contain facilities management
Osama retiring at Surabaya Zoo
Osama, a 17-year-old male African lion and one of six lions at the Surabaya Zoological Garden, East Java, is the living proof that men are more cruel than beasts.
The lion has been lying, paralysed, in a three-by-four-metre cage for three years now.
Before being caged at the Surabaya zoo, Osama used to live in a villa owned by Gunawan Santoso - who was sentenced to death for murdering the president director of PT Asaba, Budiarto Angsono - along with dozens of other wild animals like Sumatran tigers and crocodiles, in Sukabumi, West Java.
In 2003, the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) seized Osama as well as the other protected animals belonging to Gunawan and left them at the Wildlife Rescue Center (PPS) of Cikananga, Cisitu village, Nyalindung district, Sukabumi, for one year.
Budiharto, spokesman for PPS-Cikananga, said Osama was in very poor health upon arriving at the rescue centre.
Its fangs had already been removed and the beast bore bruises caused by sharp objects on several parts of its body. Osama had also lost
Zookeeper urges people to enjoy nature’s beauty, conserve
Jack Hanna, director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, Ohio, performed "Into the Wild Live" to a sold-out theater Friday night.The show was a part of the 2010-11 McCain Performance Series.
Hanna hosts "Into the Wild," a children's show, which he won an Emmy for in 2008. Hanna performs theater speeches as an attempt to educate and build relationships between the public and the natural world.
"I like it because I get to see people," Hanna said. "I don't see 17 cameras on the eight national shows I do. I get to talk to people. I get to see what they're feeling about animals and conservation."
The show started with a short video of animals from Hanna's television programs. Hanna then shared a bit about his home in Tennessee and how he got his position at the Columbus Zoo. His video included a clip of time spent with his family in Rwanda visiting mountain gorillas and one with facts on black bears in Montana.
Nina Chilen, freshman in business administration, said the video of a couple in Montana who opened a ranch for disabled animals was particularly impressive.
However, the main event of the
Tallinn Zoo Exhibits Rare Cardboar
Tallinn zoo now has its very own wild cardboar (Cardboardius cardbordium), according to a press release.
Traditionally one of the world’s most reliable transport animals, the cardboar is irreplaceable even in the toughest terrain, where camels are of no use. According toTallinn Zoo, cardboars are also one of man’s best friends.
The new animal lives in a cage between the lions and monkeys. An omnivore, the full-grown male cardboar can stretch up to 12 meters long and almost four meters tall, weighing more than 10 tons. The animal was donated to the zoo by the Pakendikeskus, a company specializing in wholesale of packages.
The company's press representative, Lauri Maaring, was happy to donate the lonely cardboar so that it could have company with other animals
'Frustrated' Wilds director steps aside
Columbus Zoo to assume oversight of animal preserve
The Wilds is going through another metamorphosis.
Its longtime executive director, Dr. Evan Blumer, is moving on to what he calls "more adventures" while the animal preserve concentrates on saving itself, not just endangered species.
Blumer, 51, stepped down from his day-to-day duties Friday, replaced by Wilds officials and Columbus Zoo and Aquarium director Dale Schmidt and his staff.
"The driver becomes the zoo," said Dr. Nick Baird, president of the Wilds board. No search will be made for a new director at this time, he said.
Although the 9,000-acre facility in Muskingum County has never been flush with money, it had managed to operate in the black with funding from the state, private donations, partnerships with universities