Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Zoo News Digest 18th - 21st December 2010 (Zoo News 712)

Zoo News Digest 18th - 21st December 2010 (Zoo News 712)

Macaws - South Lakes Wild Animal Park
Photo by: Caroline Jellicoe

Dear Colleagues,

I am disappearing off the map for a couple of days. None too sure if I will have internet access. In fact it is probably extremely unlikely. Should be back some time on the 24th. My apologies to some because I still have not caught up with my backlog of mail. With a bit of luck I may be able to find some time on the 25th.

I really like the Taronga Zoo link. It will be interesting to see what the winner will be. It is often the simplest ideas which are the best.

A baby elephant for Surabaya. Good news. I don't know if you have noticed that this is the first story to come out of there in a while. I had pointed out some omitted information in the plans to close the place by some parties. All of a sudden a news blackout. Not the first time this has happened. So what is going on in Surabaya?

Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort The Orangutans are waiting, the chimpanzees are waiting and the rest of the zoo world are waiting to see what will happen next

Some of this weeks Blog Posts You May Have Missed:

RZSS’s zoological genetics unit wins scientific prize for Scottish wildcat research concept

Elephant 'born' after death of mother

Elephant Skeptic


Johor Zoo

The Itinerant ZooKeeper

Sun Asia Ocean World in Dalian

Just What Is The Point Mr Antle?

Remember that the festive season and the new year are just around the corner. You are never stuck for a gift by giving a Calendar or a book. Check out:

2011 Wildlife Calendars

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On with links: 

Edinburgh Zoo cuts admission prices
Edinburgh Zoo is offering all visitors entry for only £5 until 8 January.
The zoo is open every day of the year, weather permitting, including over the festive season.
Attractions include

Zoo's penguins are prescribed cod liver oil... to help p-p-perk up their sex lives
In the Antarctic penguins usually have no problem p-p-picking up a partner during the breeding season.
But at a British zoo the birds have been getting some extra help – a daily dose of cod liver oil which makes them more attractive to the opposite sex.
During the three months of the mating season, each penguin gets one 400mg capsule a day popped in its mouth by a keeper who holds open its bill.
The pills, ordered over the internet, cost about 2p

Wildlife park not such a sanctuary
ONE of Sydney's oldest wildlife parks has been ordered to lift its game after government inspectors uncovered ageing and dirty animal exhibits, drainage problems and out-of-date records.
The Department of Primary Industries has slapped a series of defect notices on the Koala Park Sanctuary, a privately run park that attracts thousands of visitors a year, including Asian tourists by the busload.
The West Pennant Hills park, which is home to kangaroos, koalas, penguins, echidnas, emus, dingoes and native birds, was ordered to fix a series of problems after an inspection in September found evidence of risks to animal welfare.
Inspectors demanded owners fix the stormwater drain in the kangaroo and emu enclosure urgently, as well as a sagging tarpaulin over the koala exhibit.
They also found sheep were being kept in pens on stage for long periods of time before and after shearing demonstrations, while a cockatoo exhibit was

As Incomes Rise, So Does Animal Trade
Four suitcases full of ivory, intercepted by customs at Suvarnabhumi International Airport near Bangkok. Rare tortoises, openly for sale at a fair in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital. More than 2,000 frozen pangolins — scaly anteaters — seized from a fishing vessel off China.
Oh, and a 2-month-old tiger cub, alive but sedated, found inside a suitcase, also at the Bangkok airport.
If you think all of this sounds like old news — didn’t we see this in the 1970s and ’80s? — think again.
Every one of these incidents, documented by Traffic, the wildlife trade monitoring network, took place within the past few months. They provide just a glimpse of the massive trade in endangered animals — and their bones, skins and other organs — that is taking place across Asia.
And they illustrate that half a century’s worth of efforts by governments, international organizations and conservationists have failed to stem wildlife trade and the extinction of numerous animals and plants.
Yes, conservation projects have helped preserve individual species, but over all the trade in rare creatures has grown, not shrunk — thanks largely to rising demand from an increasingly affluent Asia.
“I’ve been doing this job for close to 20 years,” said Chris R. Shepherd, who helps oversee Traffic’s Southeast Asia operations, “and I can say it’s never been anywhere near as bad as it is now.”
In the 1970s, when international conservation efforts began to take off, the issue was one of largely niche demand from wealthy consumers in the West. Now, however, the picture has changed radically.
Rapid growth across developing Asia

Zoo offers $50,000 for 'big idea'
THEY say the best ideas start small.
Earth Hour kicked off with a few thousand people flicking off their lights, now millions of households across 128 countries observe the hour of darkness.
Clean Up Australia Day began in Sydney Harbour in 1989 before catching on as a national movement.
Now, Taronga Zoo wants to fund the next big idea for wildlife conservation.
The Taronga Conservation Society Australia is offering $50,000 to the person who comes up with the most innovative project to inspire Australians to live more sustainably and have a positive impact on wildlife.
It is the first time the zoo has offered a Taronga Green Grant to members of the community.
“We’re looking for a totally new idea to help inspire Australians and make a difference for Australian wildlife,” Taronga’s research and conservation programs manager Rebecca Spindler said.
“We’re looking for originality and innovation so you can put your ideas down in document or audio-visual format or even tell us over the phone.”
With the world’s leading scientists predicting if humans keep using resources at the current rate, one third of species on the planet could be extinct by 2050, the new idea could potentially save many populations, Dr Spindler said.
The $50,000 grant will fund the implementation of the idea, not just the concept itself. Applications will be assessed by a prestigious judging panel including Australia

Dedicated zoo keepers battle through to feed 1,300 hungry mouths
DUDLEY Zoo keepers braved sub-zero temperatures and massive traffic delays to feed more than 1,300 hungry mouths at the Castle Hill site.
Staff travelled in from as far as Tamworth, Staffordshire and Shropshire, battling blocked roads and traffic jams to care for the attraction's 170 endangered and exotic species.
Curator Matt Lewis said: “We had six inches of snowfall across the site which made moving food supplies around various zoo sections quite a challenge.
“Staff came in early to clear paths and grit the site to ease the situation, but it was hard, cold work transporting the foodstuffs manually.”
While most of the collection prefer the warmth of their internal enclosures species such as Humboldt penguins, Tibetan red pandas and Patagonian sealions revel in the winter chills.
Matt added: “T

Surabaya Zoo Celebrates Healthy Elephant Birth
A 20-year-old elephant on Monday gave birth to a healthy 100-kilogram male baby elephant, or calf, at the Surabaya Zoo, a spokesperson said.
Lembang, a female Sumatran elephant, gave birth at 2 a.m. on Monday, said spokesperson Agus Supangkat.
“The birth was normal and was assisted by paramedics from the Surabaya Zoo,” he said.
The father of the calf is 40-year-old Doa.
Agus said the new elephant, who has not yet been given a name, began breastfeeding from his mother after 12 hours.
“This has made all of us let out a sigh of relief ,” Agus said, adding that Lembang had been aggressive since giving birth, being very sensitive to the presence of humans or other animals nearby.
The mother and calf are under constant monitoring by the zoo’s veterinarian.
The new birth brings the number of elephants at the zoo to 10. Doa is the only male.
Lembang was given to the zoo

Dubai Mall sharks give blood
"It is a game of patience," says Juan Romero, pointing to four silhouettes swimming on the other side of a thick acrylic wall.
Although it is only 9am and shoppers are few and far between in Dubai Mall, the spectacle has already attracted a sizable crowd. They gather outside the vast transparent wall of the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo to watch as the divers try to catch a shark.
The plan is to have 31 of the aquarium's larger sharks - there are 50 in total - briefly taken to the surface so blood samples can be taken and quick health checks carried out. The smaller sharks are easier to handle, and do not need to be caught and brought to the surface for their examinations.
It is the first time the sharks have been tested since the aquarium opened in November 2008.
Mr Romero, the curator, believes the examinations are necessary both for the individual wellbeing of the fish and to maintain the health of the world's largest collection of captive sharks and rays.
The fish, however, do not appear to have read the e-mail. "The sharks know something is coming up and they are hiding," says Mr Romero.
Two of the divers try to attract the shark into a large, cone-shaped bag, while the others try to guide the fish by placing plastic poles on each side of the its head.
The poles, says Mr Romero, stimulate sensors and create the illusion that the shark is surrounded by walls, helping to guide it in the desired direction. But once the fish looks a

California Condor Poisoning Provokes Quarrels Among Hunters: Mike Di Paola
Two condors watched their chick emerge from its egg on March 23 at Pinnacles National Monument in central California -- the park’s first condor hatching in more than 100 years.
The joy, shared in the following days by hundreds of human gawkers, was soon clouded by an insidious menace.
On May 13, the park announced that the baby bird and its parents had extremely high levels of lead in their blood. They were evacuated to the Los Angeles Zoo to be treated by a team of veterinarians and condor biologists.
When I visited the park in late August, the young condor was still on the mend in Los Angeles, but its parents were thriving again at Pinnacles.
Wildlife biologist Daniel George told me how the birds got so sick.
“We feel pretty certain with the data we have that the vast majority of exposures are coming from ammunition,” George said.
Lead enters the food chain when hunters shoot game and leave entrails or “gut piles” in the field, where carrion- feeders such as condors consume it -- or feed it to

Female Chimps Play With 'Dolls'
Youngsters mimic mothering by cradling sticks
Deep in a Ugandan forest, Betsy Wetsy has gone wild.
A new study finds that young females in one group of African chimpanzees use sticks as dolls more than their male peers do, often treating pieces of wood like a mother chimp caring for an infant. In human cultures around the world, girls play with dolls and pretend that the toys are babies far more than boys do.
Ape observations, collected over 14 years of field work with the Kanyawara chimp community in Kibale National Park, provide the first evidence of a nonhuman animal in the wild that exhibits sex differences in how it plays, two primatologists report in the Dec. 21 Current Biology. This finding






Les zoos dans le monde


Murder and Suspense As A Christmas Gift

If you are looking for a Christmas gift for someone who reads then you would not go far wrong by buying them a copy of Did Not Survive.

Apart from being an exciting, interesting and unputdownable novel it has that 'extra' for those working within zoos. Written by someone who has worked in zoos it actually gives the 'feel' of the place without the glaring mistakes made by outsiders.

I have read both books by this author and enjoyed both immensely. Being able to empathise with the characters and 'recognise' some people makes the whole adventure a greater experience.

Buy for a friend, a colleague or for yourself.

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