Thursday, October 28, 2010

Zoo News Digest 26th - 28th October 2010 (Zoo News 698)

Zoo News Digest 26th - 28th October 2010 (Zoo News 698)

Dear Colleagues,  

I would not normally include stories about lion cubs first swimming lessons, though there are some very cute photos with the article. It is just that the story brought back a memory of a visit to a certain large Middle Eastern Zoo. The Lion and Tiger enclosures all had deep drop water moat frontages. The Tigers had access steps to the water as there is no way they could have leaped out. The identical lion enclosure had no steps. When I asked why, the zoo manager informed me "because lions do not swim!". I told him that they most definitely do and that if he did not want to deal with an eventual nightmare scenario then he needed to rectify the situation that day.

Whereas I do not doubt that moving the chimpanzee 'Jimmy' away from a lonely life in Niteroi Zoo to join other animals is possibly a good move he would hardy be being 'freed'. He would swap from a zoo called a zoo to a zoo called a sanctuary. There is no difference really. As far as been relieved of 'torture' and 'stress' well I think poor old Jimmy is going to have a hell of a stressful and tortured time when introduced to 50 other chimpanzees. He may settle in of course, in time. Then again maybe he will not which is why I say it is just possibly a good move. I do not know Niteroi Zoo and its facilities but in my heart I feel it would be better if conditions were improved and companions were introduced to him there. Using the DNA argument I believe is a bit ridiculous. Chimpanzees are not human and they never will be. I believe it is far better to respect their rights in captivity under the Five Freedoms than try and bestow some pseudo Habeas corpus mock up.

Congratulations to London Zoo. I do hope that all goes well.

As you are aware Zoo News Digest and its sister group Zoo Biology does not and will not advertise the sale or surplus of wild animals regardless of the circumstances. Sometimes I wish I could especially when I see that something is genuine and urgent, Sadly though if I did I would have to let the irresponsible trash through the door as well. I was really angered when I was forewarded this advertisement today. I am not going to give details of who or where. Lets just say 'out of Africa'.

2-1-0 White(Black stripe) Bengal Tiger Panthera Tigris 10 days old and still with parents we can hand rear if required

0-1-0 Split Bengal Tiger Panthera Tigris As above and sibling of the whites

3-1-0 Black Leopards Panthera pardus Born 15/10/2010 and being hand reared

This advert is from an outfit that does not give a shit about animal welfare or conservation. The sooner that people like this are shut down the better this world will be.

The crackdown on animal abuse in Chinese zoos is an exciting and long overdue move. I do hope that changes are implemented quickly. I fear however that it will mean that performing animals will now be shunted away to totally inadequate behind the scenes accommodation now that they are no longer needed. I know that certain people don't like me saying it but euthanasia is a kind and more humane option.

The footage of the baby elephant being killed is very disturbing. I wonder though if the full story is being told here. What did really happen? No doubt we will learn in time. Or will we?

The story of the man being killed by the mountain goat was tragic. It did remind me of an incident during my first year in zoos. The oldest keeper we had was a man in his 60's, an ex-farmer who was primarily responsible for deer and some domestic stock which were held outside of the zoo perimeter. To cut a long story short, 'George', that was his name had been missing for the best part of a day. We found him in a field of grazing sheep. He had taken a shortcut across the field and been attacked by a ram. Knocked over, every time he tried to rise the ram knocked him down again. Suffering from exposure George had several broken ribs and multiple bruising. If we had not gone looking for him he would have died. It is not just wild animals which kill. The domestics do too.

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New RM26,000 home for Zoo Taiping’s crocodiles
VISITORS to Zoo Taiping and Night Safari can now have a better view of the crocodiles in a more natural setting.
The nine crocodiles in the zoo have been moved to a new 36m by 18m habitat with ponds and a flowing stream to allow the reptiles to swim freely to maintain their physical fitness.
Zoo Taiping & Night Safari director Dr Kevin Lazarus said the new site also had a sand bank and islets for the crocodiles to rest and to nest.
He said zoo workers and participants of the Malaysian Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria who were attending a course on reptile restraint assisted in capturing the crocodiles and transferring them to their new RM26,000 habitat.
“The crocodiles are between the ages of 10 and 20, of which the largest is about five metres long,” he told a press conference yesterday.
An interesting time to visit the crocodile habitat is during the feeding session when visitors will be able

Follow that microlight: Birds learn to migrate (Includes video)
Sky high: The BBC joins Dr Johannes Fritz and his flock on a leg of their odd migration
"Yes, people think we're crazy," says Johannes Fritz, with a wry smile.
And surveying the scene, it is easy to see why.
We are in a playing field, in a small village in Austria, close to the Slovenian border.
In it stands a makeshift camp, with all the usual outdoors paraphernalia.
But it is the large aviary, containing 14 northern bald ibis and two human "foster parents" who are gently tending to their avian flock that really draws your attention.
That, and the microlights parked nearby.
For the past couple of days, this unassuming spot has been home to the Waldrapp team, "Waldrapp" being another name for the northern bald ibis.
But the group will not be staying here for long

Lion cubs go for their first swim at National Zoo
At the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., four lion cubs born in late August had their first swimming lesson Tuesday. Why would lion cubs need a swimming lesson, you ask? Good question. When the cubs move with their mother, Shera, to an outdoor enclosure (likely to happen in late December), they'll find themselves surrounded by a water-filled moat. Keepers wanted to ensure their safety by making sure they'd be able to swim should they accidentally fall in.
According to the zoo, the swimming test was a success, with all four cubs -- three females and one male, if you're wondering -- managing to perform a passable dog paddle. (Is there a different name for a dog paddle if it's performed by a cat? "Lion paddle," perhaps?)
The cubs swam under the supervision of the zoo's great cats curator, Craig Saffoe, and two keepers, Rebecca Stites and Kristen Clark. The litter is the first for 4-year-old Shera, who has shown herself to be an excellent mother, according to the zoo. The cubs are expected to stay at the National Zoo until they're about 2 years old, zoo staff explained in an online chat held last month; when they reach sexual maturity, they'll move to other zoos to participate

Zoo has something to roar about
The Assiniboine Park Zoo has something to roar about after its new lions’ enclosure was named best new Canadian animal exhibit.
The zoo’s new $1.3-million Pavilion of the Lions’ exhibit won the top national honour, the Baines Award, from the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums at a ceremony in Montreal.
The exhibit was described as combining the best in animal care with a design that maximizes the visitor experience.
The indoor/outdoor exhibit features glass walls so visitors

The sneezing monkeys of Myanmar
A new species of snub-nosed monkey has been discovered living in the forests of northern Burma.
Scientists working for Cambridge-based Fauna and Flora International made the discovery as part of the Myanmar Primate Conservation Program.
The monkeys' characteristics differ from other known snub-nosed species.
They have black fur, prominent lips and wide upturned nostrils which fill with water when it rains, causing the monkeys to sneeze.
Fauna and Flora International estimates that there are fewer than 300 of these monkeys

Ploughshare tortoises find their way home
The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is celebrating the news that three of four ploughshare tortoises, stolen from its base in Madagascar, have been returned to the Trust.
The four tortoises were stolen in May last year, as they were about to be released into their native habitat in the north-west of Madagascar. Each animal was at least 15 years old and part of Durrell's long term captive breeding programme for the species.
One of the animals was retreived in a shipment of smuggled tortoises about to leave Anatnanarivo airport, and another was retreived after it appeared on a Malaysian website, on sale for $15,000.
The third and most recent one was recovered following the seizure of an illegal shipment of animals by the Malaysian authorities in Kuala Lumpur this summer.
In July, two women were caught travelling with suitcases containing 400 radiated tortoises, 11 spider tortoises and four ploughshare tortoises.
The three tortoises will now all rejoin Durrell's captive breeding programme, which has been placed under strict police protection.
Richard Lewis, Director of Durrell’s Madagascar Programme said: “This is a really important event. Not only have we been able to recover this animal, it is a powerful signal from the Malaysian Government that they will not stand for

Terry Marotta: Zoo animals in our care
If you want to really scare yourself for Halloween, consider spending time around creatures who get blood popsicles for treats.
I speak of the big cats at the New England Stone Zoo whose care I learned something about during a special “backstage” tour I was lucky enough to go along on.
Our guide: the amiable assistant curator, Pete Costello, who for 23 years has worked at this small jewel of a zoo, sister to the venerable Franklin Park Zoo some 10 miles to the south.
“Keep in mind now,” he warned us as we ducked inside to watch a bit of the jaguars’ training, “these animals are not your friends” - a point reiterated by animal trainer Dayle Sullivan-Taylor.
“Don’t stand anywhere near the bars,” she told us firmly. “We train these animals so they can bear to be touched in case we have to examine them for medical issues, but make no mistake - they are dangerous.”
The young jaguar called Chessie has been training with Dayle since she was 8 weeks old and follows commands beautifully.
“Open,” Dayle says and she opens her mouth. “Paw” and she extends her paw. “Over right” and she lies on her right side. Each time she obeys in this fashion, Dayle

More species slide to extinction
One fifth of animal and plant species are under the threat of extinction, a global conservation study has warned.
Scientists who compiled the Red List of Threatened Species say the proportion of species facing wipeout is rising.
But they say intensive conservation work has already pulled some species back from the brink of oblivion.
The report is being launched at the UN Biodiversity Summit in Japan, where governments are discussing how to better protect the natural world.
Launched at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting, the report says that amphibians remain the most threatened category of animals, with 41% of species at risk, while only 13% of birds qualify for Red-Listing.
The highest losses were seen in Southeast Asia, where loss of habitat as forests are cleared for agriculture, including biofuel crops, is fastest.
"The 'backbone' of biodiversity is being eroded," said the eminent ecologist, Professor Edward O Wilson of Harvard University.
"One small step up the Red List is one giant leap forward towards extinction. This is just a small window on

One-fifth of world's back-boned animals face extinction, study warns
One species of vertebrate is added to the endangered list each week, IUCN report warns at biodiversity summit
One species is added to the endangered list every week as the risk of extinction spreads to almost one-fifth of the world's vertebrates, according to a landmark study released today.
The Evolution Lost report, published in the journal Science by more than 100 of the world's leading zoologists and botanists, found that populations of mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish species had declined by an average of 30% in the past 40 years.
Multiple factors have contributed to the demise, including logging, agricultural land conversion, over-exploitation, population growth, pollution and the impact of invasive alien species.
The worst die-off has occurred in south-east Asia, where hunting, dam building and the conversion of forest to palm oil plantations and paddy fields has been most dramatic. But Australia and the Andes have also suffered significant losses.
Land mammal populations are estimated to have declined by one-quarter, marine fish by one-fifth and freshwater fish by almost two-thirds, noted the study, which analyses the

Man killed by aggressive mountain goat in Washington park was an experienced hiker
A 63-year-old man described by authorities as an experienced hiker died from injuries he sustained during an encounter with an aggressive mountain goat Saturday in Washington's Olympic National Park.
According to the Peninsula Daily News, Bob Boardman, of Port Angeles, Wash., was on a day hike with his wife, Susan Chadd, and their friend Pat Willits and had stopped for lunch at an overlook when a mountain goat appeared and moved toward them.
When the goat began behaving aggressively, Boardman urged Chadd and Willits to leave the scene.
Bill and Jessica Baccus, also out for a day hike with their children, saw Willits, a longtime friend of Jessica's, coming up the trail.
"Nobody saw what actually happened," Jessica was quoted as saying in the Peninsula Daily News. "They heard Bob yell."
When the group returned to the scene, they saw the goat standing over Boardman, who lay on the ground bleeding.
Bill, an off-duty park ranger, was able to get the goat to move away by waving a blanket at it and pelting it with rocks, although the animal

A War Against Extinction
The Number of Species Keeps Falling, but Conservation Racks Up a Few Successes.
Conservation efforts have helped a few species avoid extinction, but the impact hasn't been broad enough to stem the long-term decline in biodiversity, new research finds.
The assessment, in two papers published Tuesday in the journal Science, concludes that the survival of one-fifth of the world's vertebrates is threatened. However, the losses for three specific groups—mammals, birds and amphibians—would have been 20% greater without such conservation efforts as the creation of animal sanctuaries, habitat protection, captive-breeding programs and crackdowns on poachers.
For example, the number of white rhinos in South Africa has risen from 50 animals to 17,000 in the past century, as their habitat has been turned into a protected area.
But in a study of 25,000 vertebrates, 41% of amphibians are threatened, 25% of mammals, 22% of reptiles, 13% of birds, 33% of cartilaginous fish such as sharks, and 15% of bony fish such as southern bluefin tuna.
Many species have been "on a downward spiral for the last 20 to 30 years," said Michael Hoffmann, senior scientific officer at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, and co-author of one Science paper. "We wanted to assess whether our conservation efforts contributed anything, and the answer is, yes, they have."
Based on fossil records, many scientific studies have concluded Earth has seen five major extinction events in the four billion years since life began, and that the planet is in the midst of a sixth one. They believe the current extinction wave is largely linked to human impact—from the increase in agriculture and logging to habitat destruction and hunting. It's feared that because species are intricately linked to each other that extinctions will set in motion a domino effect of further species losses and changes in the environment.
The IUCN, an international organization of government and nongovernmental groups, maintains the widely followed Red List of Threatened Species that many scientists around the world consider the standard for determining the risk level faced by various species.
According to the group's website, its core funders include European and other governments, private foundations and a handful of corporations, including

WWF: Saving tigers should be the concern of all .
Animal trafficking is not an area best left to the experts but should be the concern of every member of the public, said Traffic Southeast Asia and Worldwide Fund (WWF) Malaysia in a joint statement.
Commending a public tip-off that resulted in the rescue of a tiger cub in Pahang recently, Traffic Southeast Asia and WWF encouraged the public to report any suspicious incidents involving the country's wildlife.
“All too often, trafficked tigers are seized only after they have been killed and butchered,” they said in their statement.
“Timely information from the public makes a world of difference and help enforcement agencies ensure these endangered animals stay alive.
"Without public information, who knows what might have become of this cub that was rescued two weeks ago.”
According to a Bernama report, officers from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) Pahang, acting on a tip, raided a shop in Pekan on Oct 15 and rescued

Importance of conservation revealed
A report by the Zoological Society of London has revealed that a fifth of the world's vertebrates are in danger of extinction. It also reveals that mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish species have declined on average by 30% over the past 40 years.
The report outlines how some 50 species become more endangered every year as a result of human activites, like farming, impacting on their habitats.
It also, however, notes that biodiversity would have declined by an additional 20% had it not been for the importance of conservation programmes run by governments and charities around the world.
The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust has been working for more than 50 years to save species from extinction. Through its work the Trust

Brazilian judge to rule on whether chimpanzee should be freed from zoo
A Brazilian judge is to rule whether a chimpanzee, known as the Cezanne of simians because of his love of painting, should be freed from a zoo.
Jimmy, aged 26, has spent at least nine years on his own in a 61 square metre cage at Niteroi Zoo, near Rio de Janeiro.
According to his trainer, Roched Seba, he does not like to play with toys as other chimpanzees do and instead spends at least 30 minutes a day painting.
A group of lawyers and animal rights groups are seeking to secure Jimmy's release using the principle of Habeas corpus and a court date has been set for November 15 in Rio.
Pedro Ynterian, international president of the Great Ape Project (GAP), said: "A chimpanzee has 99.4 per cent of our DNA. It relates to people, loves some and hates others.
"It is torture to put it

Sonograms giving keepers insight into cheetah's development
Handraised mother the first in over 20 years to willingly submit to imaging procedure
San Diego Safari Park keepers are using treats to entice a pregnant, handraised cheetah into submitting to sonograms for an in-womb glimpse at how her offspring are doing.
The 5-year-old cat, named Makena, has been cooperating with the imaging procedures several times a week since late September.
On Tuesday, Makena remained calm enough for the latest sonogram ---- a training session for veterinary technician Rachel Peters ---- without being restrained or sedated, for nearly 30 minutes.
As the cheetah purred loudly and licked a frozen beef "bloodsicle" from a metal bowl in senior keeper Kelly Casavant's hands, Peters applied gel to a sonogram wand before moving it slowly around on the animal's abdomen.
Several times, the cool gel

Rhino calf dies in zoo hours after birth
A male Indian rhino calf, conceived by artificial insemination from frozen-thawed sperm, died 13 hours after its birth at the Cincinnati Zoo, officials said.
The 117-pound calf, born Tuesday, died about 7:15 p.m., The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
The 18-year-old mother, Nikki, had been pregnant once before after the same assisted-reproduction techniques were used but delivered a stillborn female calf, zoo officials said.
But subsequent births are often successful, and Nikki's pregnancy had progressed normally with no signs of complications, said Monica Stoops, reproductive physiologist at the zoo's Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife.
When it was born the calf had a heartbeat but was not moving or breathing

Longest snake living in captivity dies in Ohio zoo
An Ohio zoo said the longest snake living in captivity has died. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium said workers found the 24-foot python Wednesday morning dead from an apparent tumor. The snake, named Fluffy, held the Guinness World Record as the longest snake living in captivity. It was about as long as a moving van and as thick as a telephone pole. It weighed 300 pounds.
The 18-year-old reticulated python had drawn large crowds since the zoo got it in 2007.
Reticulated pythons

Baby elephant killed with spears on camera (Perhaps you prefer not to watch)
day after the elephant was officially declared a Heritage Animal, entitling it to the same sort of protection as the tiger, a video has captured villagers in Assam beating a baby elephant to death.

Call to stop abuse in Chinese zoos
China is warning its zoos to stop abusing their animals or face being shut down.
The move comes after animal welfare groups documented widespread abuse in zoos and wildlife parks, including animal neglect, beatings, and the illegal sale of wine or soup made from the bones of endangered tigers.
Officials said zoos must stop serving wild animal products and holding wildlife performances.
Inspections will be carried out to see if zoos are complying, said the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.
The Hong Kong-based animal welfare group Animals Asia Foundation released a report in August that said bears in Chinese zoos were regularly whipped and beaten with sticks, while elephants were prodded with metal hooks, and tigers and lions were defanged and declawed, causing them chronic pain.
Earlier this year, 11 rare Siberian tigers died at a wildlife park in China's frozen north-east and zoo keepers there said they didn't have enough funding to feed or take care of them properly.
Rights groups said the zoo might have been selling the tiger skins and bones on the black market.
Sales of tiger bone, penis, pelts and other parts are illegal in China but persist because some consumers believe the products boost virility or can cure ailments from convulsions to skin disease.
The housing ministry said zoos should provide adequate food and shelter for their animals, halt all sales of wildlife products in

Zoos to Ban Animal Performances
Zoos and parks across China will be banned from putting up shows of animal performances for extra profits, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development said in a notice Tuesday.
The notice explains while China's zoo industry has experienced rapid development, a few profit-driven zoos were found improperly caring for the animals or even involved in gross neglect in some cases.
It stipulates that a disciplining of the industry will be carried out and a variety of animal performances must be stopped in three months. Restaurants in zoos and parks are also prohibited from offering food cooked with wild animal meat. The illegal selling of wild animal products is strictly prohibited, said the notice.
Meanwhile, the notice prohibits the commercial use of land in zoos so that more green spaces can be restored to the public.

China Zoo Cruelty, Abuse Crackdown: Facilities Face Closure For Animal Performances, Wildlife Product Sales And Inadequate Food and Shelter
China has urged zoos to stop serving wild animal products and holding wildlife performances in an attempt to improve the treatment of tigers, bears and other animals amid concerns over widespread abuse in zoos and wildlife parks.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development posted the suggestions on its website Tuesday and said inspections would be carried out to see if zoos were complying.
Animal welfare groups have documented widespread abuse in Chinese zoos and wildlife parks, including animal neglect, beatings, and the illegal sale of wine or soup made from the bones of endangered tigers.
The Hong Kong-based animal welfare group Animals Asia Foundation released a report in August that said bears in Chinese zoos were regularly whipped and beaten with sticks, while elephants were prodded with metal hooks, and tigers and lions were defanged and declawed, causing them chronic pain.
Earlier this year, 11 rare Siberian tigers died at a wildlife park in China's frigid northeast and zookeepers there said they didn't have enough funding to feed or take care of them properly. Rights groups said the zoo might

Elephant goes from washing cars to making wine
With the help of a local winery, the Wildlife Safari in Winston, Ore. made a little history this weekend.
One of the elephants made famous for its Elephant Car Wash traded in bucket and sponge for a glass of Pinot. George the elephant from Wildlife Safari stomped grapes for wine this past weekend in Winston, Ore. – marking the first time in North America where an elephant has been used to stomp grapes for wine.
The tents were set up at the elephant barn, because not even the rain could stop this party. Beneath the "big top" were gourmet foods, local wines and of course the main attractions: two African Elephants.
While Alice entertained the guests, George was behind the barn warming up for his big moment. People crowded the gate and looked on with amazement as George used all 13,000 pounds to get every drop of juice.
Trainers say the interaction and stimulation

First Gorilla Born At London Zoo In 20 Years
A baby gorilla has been born at London Zoo - the first at the attraction in 20 years.
The new male western lowland primate at the Regent Park-based attraction is now bonding with first-time mother, Mjukuu.
Zookeepers said the labour had been closely monitored by expert vets, but had taken place without a hitch.
Zoological director David Field said: "Mother and baby are both doing brilliantly, although it's still early days.
"The baby's aunties, Zaire and Effie, were at the birth and have remained with Mjukuu throughout."
He added that staff were now beginning the sensitive process of introducing the newborn - which has not yet been named - to his stepfather, Kesho.
He said: "Introducing the baby to Kesho is not without its risks.
"Staff are making every effort to assist a smooth introduction and hopefully ensure the gorillas form a cohesive family

Bigger and Better Chester Zoo
Cheshire West and Chester Council have approved plans to extend and comprehensively remodel Chester Zoo, the largest zoo in the UK.
The Natural Vision application, originally submitted last December, includes plans for the Heart of Africa Biodome, a tropical ecosystem. It will be an African rainforest-themed sanctuary for a band of gorillas, a large troop of chimpanzees, okapi and other rare and threatened species.
The project also includes

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  1. Hi Peter...

    The history of Jimmy is getting a lot of midia around the world and here in Brazil too. The main problem is that the Sanctuary is a Anti-Zoo facility that attacks several zoos around the world with press releases.

    Well and the sanctuary in fact dosn't change the life of the animals they care for, like chimps drinking coke, eating chocolate, etc. Enclosures likes big sun gardens of prisions.

    Well Niteroi Zooi isnt a good zoo, but they can it better.

    Yesterday the sanctuary give a press interview in the biggest newspaper of Brazil (Folha de São Paulo) saying all Brazilian Zoos shall be shut down and turning them in Sanctuaries, so you can suppose the fire that is going one in Brazil right now in the Zoo Industry.

  2. Hi Peter,I have to be short as we are open this evening, Night of the Night, but you don't have readers in the Netherlands Antilles anymore. That (constituent) country has been dissolved since 10-10-10. St. Maarten and Curaçao are now constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in their own right, just like Aruba and the Netherlands, the latter gained the municipalities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.

  3. Theodore - Thank you for keeping me abreast of International Netherland politics. The adjustment will be made.