Sunday, October 31, 2010

Zoo News Digest 29th - 31st October 2010 (Zoo News 699)

Zoo News Digest 29th - 31st October 2010 (Zoo News 699)

Dear Colleagues,

Happy Halloween to those of you who celebrate. It is very big in the Philippines and is getting that way in Thailand too. It is funny how these things spread. 'Trick or Treat' was 'no event' in the UK until after the movie E.T. and then it took off big time. Zoos are certainly making it a special event with their pumpkin parties and ghostly wakes. There are such a multitude of these that I have not included links to any. It would quickly choke the digest.  

The five tier checking of Tiger food in Mysore zoo I find commendable and I hope that it prevents any infection creeping in. Unfortunately aside from disease there is always a risk in feeding carnivores. In some zoos feeding bones is actually looked upon as 'enrichment' rather than a routine staple. People worry about bone splinters. In forty years in zoos I never once saw a big cat die of a bone splinter perforating the gut. Only twice do I recollect a bone splinter lodging across the roof of the mouth. In the first instance the cat was eventually able to dislodge it itself. In the second we had to intervene. Chickens? I have seen many places that pluck chickens before feeding them or feed thawed our frozen chickens. Why? Cats need the roughage that feathers and chicken bones provide. Some keepers just don't like to clear up the extra mess. Freshly killed fully feathered chickens are enrichment and food combined.

Congratulations to Shepreth Wildlife Park on their award. I would very much like to have heard Rebecca Willers talk. I have a special interest in all relating to tigers in Indonesia.

Bears feeding on corpses is a bit disturbing but it is needs must in the animal kingdom too.

With reference to my remarks about the Chimpanzee 'Jimmy' in the last Zoo News Digest there was a comment stating that the 'Sanctuary' that was trying to claim him was anti-zoo and was feeding their chimpanzees chocolate and giving them coke to drink. I did a little bit of research and found that this place was open to the public and housed bears and lions as well. It IS a zoo, it just gives itself the moniker 'sanctuary' as so many do. No difference at all.
There are lots of ways to play with words. When you 'rescue' a chimpanzee from a circus do you sneak in at the dead of night and steal it away? Or do you pay the circus and essentially buy the animal off them? Buy or Rescue? A play of words.
What about 'illegal zoos' in Brazil? I am unfamiliar with the legislation there. What makes a zoo legal or illegal there?

Some Stories You May Have Missed:

Indian Elephant Insanity

Don't miss anything. If you are on Facebook please click Like on Zoo News Digest Facebook page and be kept regularily updated.

Looking for a job?   
See new vacancies posted in recent days. Take a look at:
Got one to advertise? email me  

This blog has readers from 147 countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote D’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eire, England, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guyana, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lapland, Lao, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Montenegro, Montserrat, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Northern Mariana Islands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uruguay, US Virgin Islands, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Wales, Zambia.

The ZooNews Digest continues to be read more often by more staff in more zoos than any other publication.

Please feel free to use the comment section at the end of this Zoo News Digest.

Is your meeting/conference/symposium listed here?
If not why not? ZooNews Digest is read by more zoo people than any other similar publication. I will advertise up till the event.
Please visit the
if you are looking for books for yourself or as gifts.


On with links: 

No chicken for Mysore zoo inmates
Weeks after the autopsy reports confirmed that infected chicken killed tigers at Bannerghatta National Park, the Mysore Zoo authorities have sprung into action. So, no chicken for the zoo inmates.
Though the animals are given live chicken, that too in small quantity, the authorities are not taking any chances. There are eight tigers — four male and four female — at the zoo. "The authorities get the chicken after a thorough testing. It is cleaned with hot water and potassium permanganate," said Chamarajendra Zoological Garden executive director K B Markandaiah. "As we get live chicken, the chances of infection are minimal. But we are not taking any risks," he said.
The tiger deaths at Bannerghatta have put all forests, zoos and sanctuaries on high alert. At the Mysore zoo, the food undergoes a five-tier scanning. First, assistant director Suresh Kumar approves it and sends it to veterinarians, who send it to the truckers and animal keepers and finally to the caretaker. If the quality is found to be poor at any level, the food will be sent back.
Every day, the zoo authorities disinfect cages and use hi

Fight to survive as tough times strike at zoo
IT'S all happening, as Simon and Garfunkel once sang, at the zoo.
And while there may no longer be any orang-utans on Corstorphine Hill to be sceptical of the changes in their and other cages, there are many members and visitors who are growing extremely concerned about just what is happening there.
Successfully bred animals are being culled, popular enclosures shut, 25 per cent of staff look likely to be sacked and parking charges are to be levied on members who already fork out for the privilege of carrying a card boasting they are a small part of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.
The long-serving chief executive, David Windmill, is to leave early next year and it is understood that the once-thriving marketing and public relations department has been slashed to the bare minimum, leaving the attraction's future promotion at major risk.
And all this at a time when Edinburgh Zoo is trying to bring giant pandas from China and achieve a land swap deal with the city council so it can expand its site, an idea which has garnered much local opposition.
Without a doubt there's a lot happening - but not in terms of visitor numbers, which have apparently


Disfigured but alive: Zimbabwe cuts horns to save rhinos
The roaring chainsaw sends fingernail-like shards flying into the baking Zimbabwean bush as it slices through the slumped black rhino's foot-long horn.
The critically endangered female loses her spikes in just seconds, after being darted from a helicopter.
A few minutes later, she leaps up and escapes -- disfigured but alive -- in a dramatic attempt to deter the poachers who have unleashed a bloodbath on southern Africa's rhinos.
"De-horning reduces the reward for the poacher," said Raoul du Toit of the Lowveld Rhino Trust which operates in Zimbabwe's arid southeast.
"Poaching is a balance between reward and risk. It may tip the ec

Work for tigers wins cash for conservation
An animal park has won a prestigious new national grant for its dedicated support of endangered tigers in Indonesia.
Shepreth Wildlife Park was awarded £1,000 after animal manager Rebecca Willers wowed the judges at the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) conference.
She gave a talk on the work done by the poverty stricken Tiger Protection Conservation Unit (TPCU) in the forests of Sumatra.
Ms Willers, who volunteered with the organisation last year, saw first-hand how the workers in the Kerinci Seblat National Park strive to save the diminishing species from hunters who poach them for their valuable bones and hides.
Her 30-minute speech took

The leading tiger expert featured in the BBC's hit documentary The Lost Land of the Tiger, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, commented today on an announcement featured in Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper, that the World Bank plans to invest $500,000 in programs designed to save the nearly extinct wild cats in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Rabinowitz was part of the BBC expedition that recently caught on camera the first footage of signs that tigers are breeding in the highest altitudes of the Himalayas.
Dr. Rabinowitz, President and CEO of the premier global wild cat conservation organization Panthera, said, "We were thrilled when we discovered wild tigers possibly breeding at such high elevations in an important part of the tiger corridor, and that because of BBC, so many people were able to learn about tigers and Bhutan. Bhutan is an incredible country with a tremendous conservation ethic that should be acknowledged and applauded. They are the only country in Asia that has more than 70% of its natural forest cover, as well as a government backed 'trust fund' to support conservation of their wildlife and natural resources. With fewer than 3,500 of these

Good Zoos have come a long way since the 1950's. Interesting historic footage

Clone zone: Bringing extinct animals back from the dead
From animal to ark: How to take DNA from one of the world's most dangerous bears
It is like a military operation.
There are team briefings, kit is checked and then checked again.
But dealing with South East Asia's sun bear is not straightforward. It is the world's smallest bear - but also one of the most dangerous.
Today, two are being moved between zoos in the UK - from the Rare Species Conservation Centre in Kent to Colchester Zoo in Essex.
But while the bears are anaesthetised and given an essential check-up before their journey, it also gives Dr Masters access to a precious resource: their DNA.
Dr Masters explains: "We are losing species too quickly, therefore we ought to preserve at least the genetic material that has taken millions and millions of years to evolve."
The sun bear samples are heading to the Frozen Ark, which has its headquarters at the University of Nottingham.
Here they are frozen and then stored with samples that have been collected, by a network of vets and scientists, from endangered species all around the world.
The team behind the Frozen Ark says that it could provide the ultimate back-up plan

Big Cats, Tapirs and a Mysterious Bat
Life is tough for tropical mammalogists. They work on a group with a limited number of species, maybe 150 at places like the ones we are in, and most of those species are bats and rats. Other than monkeys, most of the large mammals in the Amazon are rare. To detect them, mammalogists look for signs — scat, tracks, scratch marks, anything to let them know that a species is here. Worse, they have yahoo ornithologists reporting weird bats, and clueless botanists seeing rare deer. But they have to follow up on these reports. They also have to work night and day. Some mammals (monkeys, for example) are out in daylight hours, but for most, nighttime is when they are active.
We have two mammalogists in our team. Luis Moya is from Iquitos, where he works for PEDICP, a regional integrated development organization for the Putumayo basin (which we are in). Olga Montenegro, a Colombian professor at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogota, has been with us before. She was on the Rapid Inventory at Ampiyacu, immediately west of here, in 2003. Unfortunately she got malaria on that trip, an occupational hazard. Most of us here have had at least one of the big three insect-vectored diseases in the Amazon: malaria

Two more elephants on the way to the LA Zoo
Neighbors are on the way for the lone elephant at the Los Angeles Zoo. The San Diego Zoo announced Friday that it’ll send up two companions for 25-year-old Billy.
It’s been a solitary stretch for the Asian elephant in the L.A. Zoo. Two previous pals in the elephant enclosure, Gita and Tara, died in the last six years.
While Billy’s lived alone, humans in the courts of law and public opinion have debated the ethics of keeping elephants in zoos. Amid legal challenges the L.A. Zoo has proceeded with plans to open its $42 million elephant habitat with the

Should L.A. Zoo take in two new elephants?
The decision by the L.A. Zoo to accept two elephants from the San Diego Zoo is sparking controversy.
As The Times' Carla Hall and Tony Perry reported, "Tina and Jewel are female Asian elephants of un certain age who between them have endured foot problems and dental surgery. They will be on indefinite loan from the San Diego Zoo, both zoos announced Friday."
Zoos across the country have come under fire for their treatment of the giant mammals -- and activists have focused particular attention on the L.A. Zoo
Catherine Doyle, elephant campaign director for the advocacy group In Defense of Animals, said she feels the elephants deserve better. "Actually it feels like a betrayal for the elephants," Doyle said. "The San Diego Zoo shouldn't have taken th

New York Aquarium Takes Care Of Orphaned Baby Sea Otter (VIDEO)
The New York Aquarium is now home to a cute, cuddly orphan sea otter.
Five-month-old Tazo is under the careful supervision of animal keeper Nicole Pisciotta, who has served as the pup's surrogate mom since shortly after he was rescued from the Alaskan wild in June.
Tazo was taken from the Alaskan SeaLife Center to the New York Aquarium two months ago. He is now 27 pounds and should be on public view by the end of the year.
WATCH Tazo's trip to New York

Yo-yo at the zoo to help save endangered species
Facility hoping to set world record
On Nov. 6, the Toronto Zoo will attempt to set a Guinness World Record for largest simultaneous yo-yoing.
Billed as Yo-Yo for the Dodo, participants are urged to register online at and raise pledges to support one of four endangered species at the zoo. The polar bears, hornbills, Komodo dragons and Ngege fish will benefit from funds raised.
The zoo needs at least 663 people to yo-yo at the same time in order to beat the previous record set in Birmingham, UK, in 2009.
Registered participants will receive a free Yomega

Zoo probes bear's death; age and illness likely factors
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo was forced to euthanize its oldest bear -- a 35-year-old grizzly named Lester. He was found unconscious in his enclosure Friday morning.
Lester came here from the Milwaukee County Zoological Gardens in 1975.
Geoffrey S.E. Hall, the zoo's general curator, said that like most zoo animals, especially mammals, Lester was born in captivity.
But Alan Sironen, the zoo's curator of carnivores and large mammals, said Friday that to replace Lester, the zoo "most likely will wait until orphaned grizzlies become available

PETA opposes sending elephants to Turkmenistan
Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Thursday asked Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh to reconsider his ministry's decision to send two elephants from the country's zoos to a zoo in Turkmenistan.
The decision, part of an animal exchange programme, is a blatant violation of the Central Zoo Authority's (CZA) directive requiring that all elephants presently confined in zoos be shifted to camps, tiger reserves or national parks, PETA said.
'It's shocking that the government would allow and even support actions that would be illegal in India to occur elsewhere,' says PETA India's Poorva Joshipura.
'This abhorrent breach of both the spirit and the letter of the CZA directive will sentence these two elephants - who have already suffered in zoos for years - to a continued life of loneliness and misery,' she said
In arriving at the ban, the CZA cited major concerns about the living conditions of elephants who are kept in zoos, including the lack of adequate space and the stress caused to the animals

Glare on snare process after trapped tiger loses tail
An injury in the tail of a tiger, trapped by the forest department and subsequent amputation of a portion of it has thrown up a question whether the way the animals are trapped now is flawless.
Forest officials said that this was for the first time in the past two and half decades that a Royal Bengal tiger’s tail had to be amputated in Bengal. “This episode has thrown up a question about the way tigers are trapped inside iron cages which is the practice,” said a forest official.
Forest officials said that the full-grown male tiger was trapped inside an iron cage on October 23 after villagers complained that the animal was straying into Sajnekhali in Canning area of South 24-Parganas.
“After the tiger was trapped inside the cage, doctors noticed that there was a deep cut in its tail. We believe that the iron door had come crashing down on its tail when the tiger had gone into the cage. So, it was evident that those

Elephant ecological engineering 'benefits amphibians'
Areas heavily damaged by elephants are home to more species of amphibians and reptiles than areas where the beasts are excluded, a study has suggested.
US scientists recorded 18 species in high damage areas but just eight species in unaffected habitats.
Elephants are described as "ecological engineers" because they create and maintain ecosystems by physically changing habitats.
"Elephants, along with a number of other species, are considered to be ecological engineers because their activities modify the habitat in a way that affects many other species," explained Bruce Schulte, now based at Western Kentucky

Manhattan's Only Cow Calls Central Park Zoo Its Home
The city has come a long way from the time when cows roamed the city's underground tunnels looking for an angry fix. Now, the only cow left in Manhattan is named Othello, and lives on a diet of hay and pellets at the Central Park Zoo. The 14-year-old Dexter cow is also probably the luckiest cow in the country, and not just because he's living on some prime real estate. “Pretty much

Zoo offers $1 recycling discount
Visitors who turn in a cell phone to recycle during the month of November at the Topeka Zoo will receive $1 off their admission price.
The discount is targeted at helping prevent pollution and save endangered animal species, according to a news release from the Friends of the Topeka Zoo.
The release said a collection box had been set up at the zoo's Leopard Spot Gift Shop, where guests can drop off their old cell phones for recycling. Funds raised will go toward the zoo's conservation efforts.
FOTZ said the discount stems from the zoo's partnership with Eco-Cell, a cell phone recycling company. The effort is targeted at helping raise awareness of the importance of recycling electronics.
The FOTZ news release said an ore called Coltan — which is a source of the element "tantalum," an essential coating for components of cell phones — is often found in the Congo amid endangered gorilla and elephant habitats.
"Rebel bands mining this ore are killing these animals for food and sport," the release said. "The United Nations has reported that in the past five years, the eastern lowland gorilla population in the Congo has declined 90 percent. Reducing the demand for Coltan will help save these

Russian bears treat graveyards as 'giant refrigerators'
A shortage of bears' traditional food near the Arctic Circle has forced the animals to eat human corpses, say locals
From a distance it resembled a rather large man in a fur coat, leaning tenderly over the grave of a loved one. But when the two women in the Russian village of Vezhnya Tchova came closer they realised there was a bear in the cemetery eating a body.
Russian bears have grown so desperate after a scorching summer they have started digging up and eating corpses in municipal cemetries, alarmed officials said today. Bears' traditional food – mushrooms, berries and the odd frog – has disappeared, they added.
The Vezhnya Tchova incident took place on Saturday in the northern republic of Komi, near the Arctic Circle. The shocked women cried in panic, frightening the bear back into the woods, before they discovered a ghoulish scene with the clothes of the bear's already-dead victim chucked over adjacent tombstones, the Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomelets reported.
Local people said that bears had resorted to scavenging in towns and villages -rummaging through bins, stealing garden carrots and raiding tips. A young man had been mauled in the centre of Syktyvkar, Komi's capital. "They are really hungry this year. It's a big problem. Many of them are not going to survive,"

Blog Posts:  

Look to the right within the blog and see and click on blog postings. Some of these have not been mailed out by email. Most will have been posted on the Facebook Page however.


Dear friends of the rainforests,

terrifying footage reveals the cruel methods for producing leather in Indonesia. For days, lizards and snakes are kept tied up in plastic bags, until the animals are finally skinned – often while they are still alive. Primarily, reptile leather is imported by luxury fashion labels such as Gucci, Cartier, Hermès and Bally and processed further into watch bands, shoes and bags.

Rainforest Rescue urges the companies to stop their commercial trading with these suppliers immediately.

Please go to

to take part in this email action. Many thanks.

Best regards,

Reinhard Behrend
Rettet den Regenwald e. V.
Jupiterweg 15
22391 Hamburg
040 4103804



Seized notebooks give unique insight into scale of illicit pangolin trade

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 28th October 2010—Stunning figures in traffickers’ logbooks indicate massive illegal capture and trade in endangered pangolins or scaly anteaters, finds a new TRAFFIC study.

A Preliminary Assessment of Pangolin Trade in Sabah analyses logbooks seized following a raid by Sabah Wildlife Department in 2009 on a syndicate’s pangolin trafficking premises in Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of the Malaysian State of Sabah in north Borneo.

The logbooks reveal that 22 200 pangolins were killed and 834.4 kg of pangolin scales were supplied to the syndicate between May 2007 and January 2009.

The Sabah Wildlife Department granted TRAFFIC access to the logbooks, which detail the volume, weight, source and prices of pangolins purchased by the syndicate during the 14 month period.

“TRAFFIC is grateful to the Wildlife Department for allowing us access to this information,” said Noorainie Awang Anak, Senior Programme Officer with TRAFFIC Southeast Asia and an author of the report.

“The detailed record-taking by this criminal syndicate has given us a unique insight into the volumes of endangered pangolins being illegally traded in the region.”

However, as Awang points out, the numbers could be even higher: no logbooks were recovered for the period August 2007 to February 2008 or for June 2008. Whether this is because the books were missing or because there was no smuggling during the period is not known.

The Sabah Wildlife Department and other enforcement agencies in the State have focused enforcement efforts on weeding out pangolin smugglers, resulting in successful prosecutions in all 19 pangolin-related seizures carried out between 2002 and 2008.

The biggest case involved the seizure of a container lorry carrying a hundred polystyrene boxes filled with 530 frozen pangolins meant for export. The two men arrested in this case were each sentenced to a fine of RM9,000 and six months jail.

The Sunda Pangolin, found in much of South-East Asia, is considered Endangered and the species is protected under Malaysian law. No international trade in any Asian pangolin species is permitted under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

Despite this, pangolins are widely hunted and trafficked for their alleged medicinal properties. They are among the most commonly encountered mammals in Asia’s wildlife trade and alarming numbers have been seized throughout East and Southeast Asia in recent years. In 2008, Customs in Viet Nam seized a staggering 23 tonnes of frozen pangolins in a single week. Most trade is believed to be destined for China.

The report also presents the results of a survey of pangolin hunters interviewed on the west coast of Sabah. Hunters reported that high prices offered by middlemen was the main driver for the collection of pangolins, and this in turn was caused by the increasing difficulty in finding pangolins in the wild.

All but one of the 13 hunters interviewed said they believed the pangolin was headed towards extinction. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, numbers of wild Sunda Pangolins have halved in the past 15 years.

“The pangolin smuggling crisis can only be addressed through improved law enforcement and better information on the criminal syndicates behind the trade,” said Awang.

“Anyone with information on those behind these crimes against Malayasia’s natural heritage should pass it on to the relevant authorities for action.


Latest News From The Seahorse Trust


Nominations are now open for the 2012 Indianapolis Prize


Zoo Conferences, Meetings, Courses and Symposia
click HERE 



The Zoo Biology Group is concerned with all disciplines involved in the running of a Zoological Garden. Captive breeding, husbandry,cage design and construction, diets, enrichment, man management,record keeping, etc etc


Join Zoo News Digest Facebook Page
updated daily


For Zoo Jobs and Related Vacancies please visit:


ZooNews Digest is an independent publication, not allied or attached to any zoological collection. Many thanks.

Kind Regards,

Wishing you a wonderful week,

Peter Dickinson


UK: ++ 44 (0)7551 037 585
Thailand: ++ 66 (0)861 382 450

Skype: peter.dickinson48

Mailing address:
Suite 201,
Gateway House,
78 Northgate Street,
United Kingdom 

"These are the best days of my life"

Please Donate to Zoo News Digest in order to keep it going

1 comment:

  1. Peter,

    well you web research didn´t give you a exactly answer for your questions, the "sanctuary" is really closed for visitors, this is a fact, beside chimps they also keep tigers, lions, bears and several neotropical primates.

    The argument of give Coke and chocolate to the chimps is simple: to not estress the animals, since they arrived in this condition.

    The sanctuary have several partner sanctuaries in Brazil, with several chimps and some of them with a dubious origin or ilegally transfered from other institutions to this facilities.

    Last week started a investigation at the "sanctuary" due a accusation of animal abuse and biomedical research with the chimps. (The owner is also owner of one of the biggest biomedical industries in Brasil).

    Well really in Brazil are several "ilegal" zoos maybe 70% are not "legal", that are not registred with IBAMA, this makes them ilegal under IBAMA law, but they are members of the Brazilian Zoo Association (SZB), this is simple due that the law is very dubious and changing a lot in recent time, so the Zoo Industry is yet unable to cover the requested by the law imposed by Ibama. But all zoos are supported by a Brazilain Law in the National Constitution that unables any change in the Zoo Law by Ibama without changing the Brazilain Constitution. So be "legal" or "ilegal" in the Zoo Industry in Brazil is only a political situation.

    If you are interested I can sent you the law imposed 2 y ears ago by Ibama, only in Portuguese.