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A critically endangered black rhino believed to be the oldest in the UK has celebrated her 40th birthday in Kent.
To mark the event, keepers at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park treated Rukwa to a rhino-friendly birthday cake.
Born in 1970, Rukwa has five children and ten grandchildren, two of whom have been returned to protected areas of the wild in Africa by the park.
Head rhino keeper, Paul Beer, said she had played a major role in helping to secure the future of black rhino.
"She is starting to show her age a bit now, her eyesight is going slightly, but she is still full of beans and we hope that she will celebrate many more birthdays to come," he said.
Her birthday cake was made
75 tigers died in zoos in last three years
Zoos do not seem to be safe for the royal Bengal tigers with infighting, disease and old age taking the toll on at least 75 big cats in zoological parks across the country in the last three years.
The highest number of deaths in captivity - 28- took place during 2009-10, while in the previous two years the figure stood at 25 and 22 respectively.
Though the data for this year is not available, the situation does not seem to be very encouraging given that as many as seven felines have died last month in Bannerghatta zoo in Karnataka, two due to old age while rest due to infection of salmonella bacteria reportedly after consuming stale meat.
The rest of the infected tigers, who are showing recovery, are being kept in strict observation and isolation in the Zoo, which has to its credit the highest number of big cats - 36- in captivity among the country's 54 zoological parks housing tigers.
Besides the tigers, two lions, a nilgai (blue bull) and a sloth bear also died in the park recently.
In all, there are 275 tigers housed in 54 zoological parks with Bannerghatta Zoological Park topping the list followed by Nandkanan Biological Park (16) in Orissa and Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (14) in Andhra Pradesh.
"Deaths due to old age is a natural process in any zoo or for that matter in the wild. But infighting and diseases are certainly a cause of concern. Zoo managers are i
Saving the birds
While many lamas stay within the confines of their temples to study Buddhism or pursue spiritual enlightenment, 40-year-old Tashi Sange has turned his attention to ecological protection and the plight of one extremely rare local bird.
Documentary Bird Whisperer from Shanshui Conservation Center's (SCC) Geng Dong, reveals the very interesting life of a man who has dedicated himself to saving the lives of Qinghai's wildlife.
A kanbu (top scholar) in Tibetan Buddhism, Sange is the founder and director of Nianbaoyuze Conservation Association, recording changes in the local Qinghai environment and protecting ecological systems.
Geng spent three weeks living with Sange after meeting him two years ago. "I was quite moved when I heard his story. He spends nine months a year traveling and observing birds," Geng told the Global Times. "Local people call him the lama of birds."
Sange's hometown is a small village beside a lake under Nianbaoyuze
Putin offers Russia's tigers to revive species
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has offered to share his country's growing tiger population with other countries to help save the big wild cat from extinction.
“Tiger families from Russia could start the process of reviving tiger populations where they have completely disappeared, in such countries as Kazakhstan and Iran,” said Mr. Putin, addressing the “Tiger Summit” in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
Stressing the importance of saving the tiger, Mr. Putin said: “The great humanist Mahatma Gandhi once said: ‘A country that is good for the tiger is good for everybody. This is very sharp and deep thought.”
He recalled his country's successes in restoring the tiger population. “Over the past 60 years the number of Amur tigers, whose habitat is almost exclusively in Russia, has increased more than 10 times over and today amounts to about 500,” whereas across the world the tiger
Recipe to save the world's tigers
World leaders seeking to save tigers from extinction at the International Tiger Conservation Forum in St Petersburg, Russia, this week should give them more prey to hunt.
Chris Carbone of the Institute of Zoology in London pulled together population data for 11 carnivores and examined how they were affected by changes in numbers of their prey. Fewer prey always meant fewer predators, but for large carnivores the effect was five times as great.
"For large predators, it's more important to protect their prey," agrees Guillaume Chapron of the Grimsö Wildlife Research Station in Sweden. Ecologist Nick Isaac at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Wallingford, UK, adds that we need to know whether a lack of food is as big a threat as poaching.
In St Petersburg, money rather than food
Island orangs descend from small group
Bornean apes went through a genetic bottleneck during ancient glaciation
Orangutans on the island of Borneo descend from a relatively small number of ancestors who apparently squeezed through a rough patch about 176,000 years ago, according to the broadest genetic analysis to date of their species.
The genetic data suggest an ancient population bottleneck , says anthropological geneticist Natasha Arora of the University of Zurich, in which animal numbers shrink but eventually expand again when conditions improve.
A serious chill gripped the planet roughly 190,000 to 130,000 years ago, Arora and her colleagues point out in a paper posted online November 22 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Borneo itself wasn’t iced over, but rain forests where orangutans live might have shrunk during this time, constraining the orangutan population within it. Such work, she says, “is important to
World leaders meet at tiger summit in Russia, pledge protection and cooperation
For three days, forestry officials from Nepal and Burma, wildlife officials from Laos and Malaysia, and environmentalists from Bangladesh and Thailand roamed the gilt halls of czarist-era palaces here, talking of tigers and searching for the political will to save them.
That resolve was pronounced found Tuesday by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who shared a dais at the International Tiger Forum with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick, among others.
"We have put the tiger on the agenda of the international community," Putin said, adding that when heads of government take the time to meet on behalf of a big cat, they are serious indeed.
At a news conference convened as the delegates set off for a concert where Naomi Campbell and Leonardo DiCaprio were the major attractions, no questions were taken. The final words came from Nepalese Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.
"The world is looking at us to act boldly," he said. "We need less conversation and more conservation."
Tigers are in desperate straits. Their numbers have dwindled to 3,200 from about 100,000 a century ago, and they are expected to become extinct unless there is a concerted
Rhino left with no place to hide
After the first attack, her horn was removed to dissuade poachers. Still, they came back for the stump. Her only refuge is a zoo.
She has a bullet in her face, another in her leg and every reason not to trust humans.
But when Johannesburg Zoo rhino keeper Alice Masombuka calls her name, the wild black rhino flutters her ears delicately and stands alert, gazing in the direction of the voice.
"Hey Phila, Phila! Hey big girl, good girlie. Phila!" says Masombuka, leaning against the fence, her singsong voice floating irresistibly in Johannesburg's damp
German experts to help in animal conservation
Sabah Wildlife Department director Dr Laurentius Ambu hoped that with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), Leipziq Zoo (LZ) and the state government, it would further enhance the progress to prevent the loss of biodiversity in the state.
He said the department would be working hand-in-hand with the experts from IZW and LZ from Germany to prevent extinction of Asian mammals, particularly rhinos.
“With the expertise from Germany, we hope the reproduction of rhinos could be managed properly,” he told reporters after the signing of the MoU with the IZW and Leipzig Zoo at the Wildlife Department office yesterday.
He added that they had been cooperating with the IZW for several years to conduct research on the conservation needs of the threatened Bornean carnivores.
This initiative has raised international attention through
Rhino shot dead
A rhino has been found shot dead on a game farm in the Thabazimbi area, Limpopo police said on Tuesday.
“People heard gunshots on Monday night and when they went to the place where the sound came from they found the dead rhino... the horn was not cut off,” said spokesman Senior Superintendent Motlafela Mojapelo.
“We think they tried to poach the rhino for it's horn but (the attackers) were scared off.”
He said police were still on the
Zoo tries to find match for proud white tiger
A white tiger rests at Jiufeng Forest Zoo in Wuhan, the capital of Central China's Hubei province, Nov 20, 2010. The 8-year-old animal still has no female mate. Tigers are known to be proud animals. In order to ensure the survival of the species, zookeepers are trying to make a match between the white tiger and a female tiger named Qiqi at the zoo. The average life span of a white tiger is about
Amended Legislation To Facilitate Zoo Polar Bear Centre
The Manitoba government is bringing forward a proposed amendment to its Polar Bear Protection Act that would formally establish the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. It would also create an advisory committee to provide recommendations
Swiss hippo finds refuge in South Africa
Farasi, a male hippo born at Basel Zoo two years ago, has found a new home in South Africa.
Baby pictures published after his birth in 2008 made him a national darling, yet he made headlines again when the zoo announced that he would likely become food for other animals.
As the zoo explained at the time, there simply was not enough space for another male hippo at the zoo. Yet the appalled public called for another solution.
The idea now is that he will become a breeding bull at a nature reservation – something that would not have been possible at the zoo.
According to zoo officials, Farasi is now getting settled in the Tschukudu nature park after last week’s 40-hour journey. Upon arrival he
Battle to save tiger intensifies
FORGET the whales and the koalas.
It is the battle to save the real “world’s most popular animal”, the tiger, which will ultimately determine all future crusades, according to a Sunshine Coast big cat specialist.
Australia Zoo conservation manager Giles Clark claims there is little hope of turning the tide on other critically endangered flora and fauna if the tiger cannot be brought back from the brink.
Mr Clark’s comments came during the current international tiger summit in Russia this week.
Wildlife activists and officials from 13 nations where tigers live in the wild arrived in St Petersburg this week at the
A Lion's Tale
Shameem Faruque narrates the touching story of a lion that was born handicapped, and abandoned by his mother
"Life's greatest adventure is finding your place in the circle of life" thus goes the tagline of the 1994 movie Walt Disney's 'The Lion King'. The movie gifted us the animated but adorable little lion prince Simba, son of King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi, of Pride Rock. And a few years later was born in our Trivandrum city, to be precise, in our very own Trivandrum zoo, a little lion cub, soon to be named Simba. This is his tale.
He was no prince but on the contrary, abandoned by his mother soon after he was born probably because he was born handicapped, a genetic disorder that left him with weak limbs and a malformed vertebrae making him shorter than an actual lion but no less majestic. His journey from a lost little cub, nervously standing at a corner of his dingy and dark century-old cage, to a grown up lion standing his ground in
New Software Training For Vets
A five-day hands-on training on new software for veterinarians and biologists began at B.S. Abdur Rahman University, Vandalur, here on Monday.
K.S.S.V.P. Reddy, Chief Conservator of Forests and Vandalur Zoo Director, said Single Population Analysis Record Keeping System (SPARKS) and Animal Record Keeping System (ARKS) were the new software. SPARKS would deal with single species available in all zoos across the country and the second one would deal with many animals in a particular zoo.
Two resource persons from International Species Information System would conduct the training programme. The new software would help in keeping and maintaining proper record of animals, genetic diversity, demographical profile, stud book data validations, captive population management, editing records groups and reports.
Laurie Bingaman Lackey, Wildlife Biologist from the International
China Has 312 Captive-bred Pandas
China said on Tuesday that the number of human-bred panda has hit 312, due to breakthroughs in breeding and raising methods.
Captive-bred pandas gave birth to 38 panda cubs this year, of which 31 survived, the State Forestry Administration said.
Of the total, 17 pandas were born at Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province, while 12 were born at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, also in Sichuan. The other two were born at Beijing Zoo.
In 2009, captive-bred pandas gave birth
Big cat owner cited on charges of violating County Code
Although Lyon County gave Pete Renzo 45 days to obtain a Restricted Animal Permit to house five Siberian tigers and one black panther at his large cat compound on Cougar Street, the Silver Springs man ultimately has not complied with that request, and was cited by county officials for not having such a permit.
75 percent of Spanish zoos at risk of exotic animals escaping
Lions, bears, monkeys, crocodiles, parrots and iguanas may seem inoffensive at first glance when they're behind bars in zoos. But some exotic species can escape and become invasive species. This has been confirmed by a scientific team that has checked 1,568 animal houses in 63 Spanish zoos. Birds are the animals most likely to escape.
"As zoos house a large number of exotic (non-indigenous) species, they could become an entry channel for these species if they escape, with the potential environmental risk that this implies", María C. Fàbregas, lead author of the study and a researcher at the Ethology and Animal Welfare Unit of the Cardenal-Herrera University (UCH) in Valencia, tells SINC.
The study, which has been published in the journal Biological Invasions, reviewed the security of animal housing against creatures escaping, and 75% of the zoos studied were found to be problematic, while 14% of the animal housing was evaluated as "insecure" against the possibility of escape.
"Species that could pose a danger to public health are usually housed in secure accommodation, but those that could represent a danger to the environment if they escaped (invasive species) tend to be in insecure housing", points out Fàbregas. According to the research, birds are the group most likely to be in insecure housing.
Based on a report produced in 2003 by the Ministry of the Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs (MARM), the research team studied 30 animal houses in each of the 63 zoos. The MARM is currently completing the first inventory of zoos and aquaria in Spain.
"Of the 1,568 animal houses studied, 221 were insecure against the threat of the species housed in them escaping, 167 housed non-indigenous species (potentially dangerous to the environment), and of these 21 housed invasive
Zoo reopens gorilla enclosure
For the first time in many months gorillas may be seen at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria. Not a sound came from the gorilla enclosure yesterday as spectators anxiously waited for the primates to make their appearance.
The Home for Gentle Giants was officially reopened after its previous tenants had to be returned to their country of origin, Cameroon, because of complications with their permits about three years ago.
The gorillas, Bonsi, Binga, Louie and Asali, are part of an international breeding plan.
According to Dr Albert van Jaarsveld
Six Critically Endangered Birds Hatch At Queens Zoo
The Queens Zoo is proud to announce the hatching of six critically endangered thick-billed parrots this past week. This is a major event for this extremely rare species whose population has declined significantly in recent years.
“Being that thick-billed parrots are extinct in the United States, the arrival of these chicks marks a significant step in the conservation of this animal,” said Dr. Scott Silver, Director of the Queens Zoo.
Seeing these cute and colorful chicks exploring their nests and waiting for their parents to present the next meal of fruit and berries is an extremely rare sight. According to the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, it is estimated that 5,000 to 10,000 thick-bills
Santa Ana Zoo defends elephant rides
The Santa Ana Zoo is one of only a handful in the nation that still offer elephant rides.
For more than 25 years, children - and some grown-ups - have turned out by the hundreds to ride on the back of an 8,000-pound Asian elephant as it trudges around a shaded, circular enclosure near Monkey Row.
Although others have bowed to pressure from animal welfare advocates who oppose once-popular elephant rides as cruel to the animals and dangerous to the public, zookeepers in Santa Ana are rushing to their defense.
Animal activists set their sights on the zoo last year and have intensified their opposition since the ride opened for the season last month. Since Oct. 8, they have picketed outside the city zoo on weekends and urged visitors to boycott the old-school attraction.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals raised the stakes this month by enlisting stage performer Charo, who wrote to Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, asking him to ban the rides. The group contends that the rides are not possible without cruel training methods.
"I have spent my career entertaining people, but there is nothing remotely entertaining about hurting elephants," Charo wrote.
Zoo Director Kent Yamaguchi brushed aside activists' claims that the rides are abusive or unsafe and said they will continue because he is confident the animals are well cared for and that care givers use the strictest safety guidelines and most humane training methods. If there were any evidence of mistreatment, he said, he would end the rides immediately.
Besides, he said, the rides are such an educational
ASSE Stresses the Importance of Zoo Safety
With nearly 300 zoos in the United States and more than 1,000 worldwide, zoos represent a form of entertainment and educational activity that has been around for centuries. From the design of animal habitats to procedures for fall protection, fire plans and more, a zoo safety professional’s work is critical to the success of the park, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) pointed out.
During the past decade, multiple animal escapes have been featured in the news, ranging from the small and seemingly harmless to the much larger and dangerous animals such as tigers. To prevent animal escapes, several important elements of zoo construction and procedures must be in place, ASSE members stressed.
Animal escapes can be prevented through habitat design. U.S. zoos are regulated under the Animal Welfare Act and nonprofit organizations such as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) strive to provide support and guidance for successfully managing zoos to ensure the safety and health of employees, guests and the animals.
“Zoos are unique because zoos have a wide range of issues to consider. Animal health and safety is important, and the health and safety of employees and guests are also very important,” explained Mary Ciesluk, former assistant director of public safety at the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Ill. “Animal enclosures are designed very carefully to meet all regulations and ensure that our guests are never endangered during their visit to the zoo. Enclosures are designed to appear as though animals are close to spectators, when in reality, there are fences, moats and many other tactics used to create this visual illusion.”
In May of 2010, Ciesluk saw months of work come to fruition when the Brookfield Zoo opened a new, completely renovated enclosure for its polar bears, grizzly bears, bison, wolves and eagles. The new, 7.5-acre enclosure recreates the North American wilderness to provide animals with realistic habitats. Additionally, this exhibit adheres to Manitoba Standards, the set of regulations for the best possible housing of polar bears in a controlled environment.
ASSE Vice President of Professional Development Trish Ennis, the director of workplace safety for the Denver Zoological Foundation, added: “Challenges to safety professionals working in zoos are directly related to both exhibit design and the age of many zoo facilities. Retrofitting older exhibits
Zoo breeds fried egg-like jellyfish
A Switzerland zoo has successfully bred a type of jellyfish that remarkably resembles a fried egg.
The cotylorhiza tuberculata, or fried egg jellyfish, is relatively common in certain parts of the Mediterranean but has only recently been bred in captivity by staff at Basel Zoo.
The jellyfish require a huge amount of sunlight to survive, making breeding difficult in the zoo's aquarium, the Daily Mail reported.
But dedicated staff managed to recreate the creature's natural habitat, a spokesperson said.
"The young jellyfish are tiny, just a few centimetres, but they take the egg shape right away," the staff member said.
"We keep them away from the lights at first in case they toast."
The species measure
Rare rhino horns seized from auctioneers
THE DEPARTMENT of the Environment has seized a quantity of rare and valuable black rhino horns from the premises of Mealy’s fine art auctioneers.
The horns were listed in a catalogue for a two-day sale of fine and decorative art scheduled to take place next week.
However, following an advertisement in last Saturday’s Irish Times, which featured a photograph of “antique trophy rhinoceros horns”, staff from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) visited Mealy’s galleries at Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny last Monday.
Auctioneer George Gerard Mealy said he was “interviewed under caution” and told that the family firm was committing “an offence”.
Trade in rhino horn is prohibited by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species to which Ireland is a signatory.
The Department of the Environment, which is responsible for the NPWS, said that the owner could apply for a certificate which mig
2. Preliminary studies of diurnal time activity of captive Arabian oryx
3. 2010: A year for the endangered Persian leopard
4. First hawksbill turtles satellite tagged in Kuwait
6. Mugger crocodile in Iran
7. Mortality patterns and husbandry management in Idmi (Gazella gazella) and Yemeni (Gazella gazella cora) gazelles at AWWP
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NEW EXHIBIT PRESENTATION
Realm of the Giants at Dierenpark Amersfoort Zoo is an exhibit for a group of up to 10 Asian elephants. Elements of reversed landscape immersion, an abundance of tree trunks and plants indoors and outdoors create high complexity in a relatively limited space.
The idea of reversed landscape immersion was introduced in Amersfoort Zoo more than 10 years ago. This design uses elements of the visitor environment also in the animal space in order to blurr the barriers between the two areas. Two previous presentations of exhibits at Amersfoort Zoo were recently updated:
Ancient City's Baboons
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I am a PhD student working on the husbandry of ex-situ amphibian populations at Manchester University. I am interested in the effect of captive environmental variables, including prey items offered, on captive amphibian populations.
There is a huge variety of live food species available to feed to captive amphibians, available from both commercial breeders and as stock to culture in-house. Making use of this variety may help to promote amphibian health through the provision of a varied diet, in terms of nutritional completeness and adaptation to captivity, and so it is important to get a good picture of what live-food species different institutions are using to feed their animals.
If anyone working with captive populations of amphibians could fill in the ‘doodle poll’ questionnaire at http://doodle.com/fg8rni2ym3ad6kk5 I would be very grateful. The survey will take less than a minute of your time – just fill your name or your institution’s name in the box on the left hand side, underneath ‘Chester Zoo’, and tick the boxes for the livefoods you use. Then click save and you’re done.
Michael Smith Bdg.
Faculty of Life Sciences
University of Manchester