Saturday, December 11, 2010

Zoo News Digest 7th - 11th December 2010 (Zoo News 710)

Zoo News Digest 7th - 11th December 2010 (Zoo News 710)

'Debby' at Assiniboine Park Zoo
Photo by: Darlene Stack

Dear Colleagues,

I thought that as there was an ongoing discussion about Polar Bears on the Zoo Biology Group that the opening photograph was the most appropriate. This is 'Debby' the Polar Bear, the most-famous and loved animal at the 106-year-old Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Found as an orphan in the Russian Arctic and transferred to Winnipeg, she lived to the remarkable age of 43 (died 2008), producing six surviving cubs with her long-time (28-years) mate Skipper, who died at age 34. Debby was one of the oldest bears (of all eight extant species) on record, a fact that was noted in the Guinness World Book of Records. She helped stimulate the founding of the new Polar Bear Rescue Center, opening in 2010 (capable of holding eight individuals), the International Polar Bear Conservation Center (with partners Polar Bears International and Manitoba Conservation) opening in 2011, and three major Polar Bear Exhibits (with indoor underwater viewing) capable of holding about six adults, opening in 2013. In partnership with Manitoba Conservation, the Assiniboine Park Zoo has placed 23 rescued cubs in zoos and aquariums around the world. (Information supplied by Dr. Robert E. Wrigley, Zoo Curator)

As I work alone I often talk to myself as I read through the news stories as I search. Does that make me nuts? Probably, but then who is to say what is sane? What is most likely to cause me to comment is an original story. Sadly so few of them are coming out of zoos. Real news is what I aim to find for you, the Zoo News Digest reader, rather than the re-hashed or resurrected. My aim has always been to seek out the diversity of zoo related subjects which would have been discussed in the staffroom of the Welsh Mountain Zoo. I don't think there was a topic we did not touch on over the years.

The innovative new treatment for lumpy jaw in Kangaroos I found interesting. The simple ideas are often the best. Well I say 'new'. It is new to me.

699 Manatees dead since January 1st, mostly from cold. Who can deny climate change?

They say money talks. It also buys silence. I shall say no more but the more astute of readers will know exactly what I am talking about.

The leader 'Why are hundreds of Dartmoor ponies being slaughtered and fed to tigers at the zoo?' looks like it is going to be yet another attack on zoos by 'Animal Rights' activists but it isn't. It is actually an article well worth reading. I especially liked the fact that the Dartmoor Pony is rarer than the Giant Panda.

I like ponies, I like kangaroos. One really does have to be realistic when it comes to culling. And Rhinos??????

"African white lions are one of the world’s most endangered species" not sorry... rubbish, rubbish, rubbish!

I was not surprised to learn of Edinburgh Zoos plans for Giant Pandas but I was to read that Lahore Zoo also had leanings in that direction.

So just where did this baby Orangutan come from in Malabon Zoo? I know they have an adult pair. Are they the parents? Why is it not with its parents? Too much of this copycat pulling and hand rearing going on. I still puzzle over the whereabouts of the dozen or so baby Orangutans I saw in Avilon Zoo just a couple of years back. Never had an answer to that one yet.

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

Do you have an animal/zoo/wildlife photo that you would like to see included at the start of Zoo News Digest? Sorry I can't afford to pay for it but I will credit you and link back to a website if you wish. Sadly I cannot guarantee when I will get round to including as this will depend on the level of response. If you are interested please email the photo to me. Use 'Photo' as your subject heading. Please give your full name, the name of the species and where the photo was taken. I look forward to hearing from you.

Some of this weeks Blog Posts You May Have Missed:

Murder and Suspense As A Christmas Gift


The Sixth Howletts and Port Lympne Student Environmental Enrichment Course (SEEC)

Chimps at Budongo Trail give climbing tips for world record fundraising challenge

Contemporary Animal Training and Management Workshop

Volunteers to assist in the hand-rearing of cheetah cubs needed

Good News for the Cat Ba Langur, Cross River gorilla and others

Mystery of the Swimming Cheetah

If The Law Is Wrong Then It Is Time To Change It

Sumatran Tigers May Be More Common Than Believed

Let Auckland Have Their Elephants

Walker celebrates his birthday in snowy style

Penguin chicks rescued to help save a species

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: 
Hunters Paying $150,000 to Kill an Endangered Rhino May Save the Species
In June 1996 a game rancher named John Hume paid about $200,000 for three pairs of endangered black rhinos from the wildlife department of the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. Among them was a male who would come to be called “Number 65,” and whose death would play a central role in the debate about conservation.
South Africa did not start the auctions because it had a surplus of the animals. Quite the opposite. Although the black rhinos had been reproducing, they were still critically endangered. Only about 1,200 remained within the country’s borders, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its Dec. 13 issue.
But black rhinos are massive animals, and with just under 7 percent of the country set aside in protected areas, conservationists and wildlife departments had run out of room to accommodate them.
Hume’s 6,500-hectare ranch, Mauricedale, lies in the hot, scrubby veldt in northeastern South Africa. Hume, 68, made his fortune in taxis, hotels, and time-shares, and Mauricedale was his Xanadu, a retirement project of immense proportions. In the late 1990s he began buying up many of the neighboring farms and ranches, and his triangular estate would soon be boxed in on all sides by roads and sugar cane plantations.
Hume also was rapidly becoming the largest private owner of white rhinos; there are currently 250 split between Mauricedale and another similar property. He also raises cape buffalo, roan and sable antelopes, hippos, giraffes, zebras, and ostriches.
Rhino Number 65
When the black rhino bull arrived, Hume’s farm manager -- a burly Zimbabwean named Geoff York whose typical mode of dress is army boots and a pair of purple shorts -- tranquilized him, clipped two notches

There's no ‘zoo' in ‘zoology'
The natural response is that “zoology” is derived from the word “zoo,” which rhymes with “shoe.” But the natural response would be wrong. Actually, “zoo” is just a short form of “zoological garden.”
If you learned to read through phonics, you would know that “zoo-ology” is not the logical pronunciation. You'd need two “o's” to produce the “oo” sound in “zoo” and another to produce the “ah” sound in “ology.” So the traditional pronunciation requires you to split the two o's. The first gets the long sound, as in “show.” The second gets the short sound, as in “doll.”
“Zoology” is formed from the Latin “zo” (life) plus “-ology” (study). So “zoology” would be the study of life. The English ear translates the two “o's” into one sound, and it balks at splitting them into two. We find it easier to separate the “o's” in “cooperate,” but demand a hyphen between the “e's” in “re-enter.”
If you consult the usage dictionaries, you'll find that “zo-ology” is the pronunciation of choice, though “zoo-ology” is also acceptable. In 1990, some 88 percent of the American Heritage usage panel found “zo-ology” acceptable, but 60 percent also accepted “zoo-ology.” When it came to their own speech and writing, 68 percent opted for “zo-ology.”
“Does that thing around Clarisse's neck rhyme with ‘hootch' or ‘roac

Vietnam's planned sale of tiger glue protested
On November 19, Thanh Hoa Province People's Committee agreed to allow agencies under its control to organize a public auction of 2.8 kilograms of tiger glue, with a starting price of 50 million dong (2,500 dollars) per kilogram.
Responding to this issue, ENV raised the own concern about the actions of Thanh Hoa authorities which have helped to legitimize the trading of wild animals' contrary to law.
On December 03, Thanh Hoa authorities organized a press conference to report about the origin and the last decision for these tiger glue. The auction was no longer held but the resolution by the local authorities allowing the hospital to keep the tiger bone glue still goes against conservation efforts. Therefore, ENV recommended that the glue must be destroyed to send a clear message to the public that the authorities do not encourage the consumption of wild animals' products.
The issue attracted a lot of attention from most of Vietnamese and other international Journals:
From an ENV communication

Nepal's elephant drivers strike over pay
Elephant drivers in Nepal's top wildlife park held a four-hour strike on Monday and threatened to stop working altogether in a protest over pay and conditions.
The drivers, or mahouts, are employed by the hotel industry to take tourists on elephant-back safaris in the Chitwan national park, home to Nepal's largest populations of rhinos and tigers as well as many rare bird and deer species.
They say they have not received pay rises and other benefits promised to them in an agreement

Fearless Traudi Riegger cuddles Zuba - the 14 stone rare White Lion
HE may be the king of the jungle but for fearless Traudi Riegger this remarkable lion is as tame as any house cat.
Traudi – dubbed the Lion Queen for her affinity with Zuba, a rare African white lion – works at Mystic Monkeys & Feathers wildlife park in Limpopo, South Africa. She has such a close bondwith two-year-old Zuba, who weighs more than 14 stone, she can happily pose with her arm in his jaws.
African white lions are one of the world’s most endangered species, having been hunted for their

Save the tiger from those who love it
Russia recently hosted a summit in St Petersburg to focus attention on the plight of the tiger in the wild. This is the first international summit of this kind, where heads of states of Russia, China, Bangladesh and some of the other range countries gathered to discuss the fate of the tiger. The summit follows the new Global Tiger Initiative launched by the World Bank earlier in the year. The bottle was new, but the content was the same old stale stuff!
It is believed that around 1,00,000, tigers roamed in the wild across 25 countries at the turn of the 1900. Today, barely 3,000 of them are in the wild. Another 10-15,000 are in captivity. The wild tiger, facing the prospect of extinction for the past 40 years, has seen a barrage of activism and funding. The Project Tiger was launched in the 1970s, then the World Bank’s Global Environment...

Legalise jumbo sale: Forest - Govt wants changes in wildlife act to tackle growing elephant population
The state forest department has asked the Centre to make the capture and sale of wild elephants legal so that problems caused by the animal’s growing population in north Bengal can be mitigated.
The number of elephants in north Bengal forests has gone up from around 350 in 2008 to 500 this year. The foresters are worried that if the number of jumbos increases, there will be more man-animal conflicts in the region.
The state government has asked the Union ministry of environment and forests to excise clauses prohibiting the capture and sale of elephants from the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
“Time and again, the act has been amended for the conservation of wildlife. It was through these amendments that capture of wild elephants and their sale or donation have been prohibited,” S.B Mondal, the principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), said here today.
“The elephants are beyond our control because of their steady rise in population. To stem regular incidents of depredation and attacks on humans by the elephants, we want the removal of certain clauses which debar the capture and sale of the jumbos”.
At present, calves rescued by foresters are domesticated and the act says the animals’ ownership can be changed only through inheritance.
“There is a huge demand for elephants from individuals and other countries. But we cannot supply

Bad for America, good for East Africa (Lion poisoning)
For decades, Africa has been seen as a dumping ground for toxic waste and other agro chemicals and pharmaceutical products banned in the West. For three months earlier this year, our Kenyan correspondent, Wanjohi Kabukuru, followed the trail in East Africa of one such chemical imported from the USA, and what he found was shocking. The chemical had been banned in the USA in 1991, but was on sale in East Africa until late 2009. Here is his report.
If Furadan is not safe enough for use in America, then it is not safe enough for us in Africa, says the world-renowned conservationist Richard Leakey. For decades, a US agro-chemical giant has been knowingly exporting for sale a highly restricted chemical to the East African Community (EAC) countries - Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
The chemical trading as Furadan but well-known scientifically as carbofuran was on sale in Kenya until late 2009. It was imported as a “seed dressing agent for control of soil dwelling and foliar-feeding insects” by the local distributor. Furadan is both an insecticide

Migration and wintering of released Italian Egyptian Vultures Neophron percnopterus. First results
(Very interesting paper)

Jim Carrey movie 'Mr. Popper's Penguins' begins filming at Staten Island Zoo
A comedy called "Mr. Popper's Penguins" -- reportedly starring Jim Carrey -- began filming this morning at the Staten Island Zoo in West Brighton.
A publicist for the film company confirmed the title of the movie, though declined to provide further information on the production schedule.
While it wasn't immediately clear when or if Carrey would be on location at the Zoo, British actress Ophelia Lovibond was spotted by a photographer undergoing the application of make-up.
As a result of the shooting, the Zoo was closed to the public today.
A series of production trucks

Mountain gorilla population grows
The population of mountain gorillas in their main central African habitat has increased by a quarter in seven years, regional authorities said Tuesday.
Most of the world's mountain gorillas are found in the Virunga massif, which includes three contiguous national parks in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda.
The population of the iconic but endangered animal in that area increased from 380 individuals in 2003 to 480, according to a census carried out earlier this year and funded by a number of local and foreign wildlife organisations.
"The increase in mountain gorilla numbers is a testament that we in the Virunga massif are all reaping from the conservation efforts sowed on a daily basis," Rica Rwigamba, from the Rwanda Development Board said in a statement.
The only place outside of the Virunga massif where mountain

Zoo 'wouldn't use a lot' of roo meat
The National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra says it is unlikely it would use many kangaroo carcasses left over after culling.
Around 1,800 kangaroos were culled in Canberra this year with another cull expected to be carried next autumn.
The ACT Government is considering commercial uses for the carcasses that would otherwise go to waste.
Chief Minister Jon Stanhope says options include joining the New South Wales Government's kangaroo management scheme and offering the carcasses to the National Zoo for animal feed.
National Zoo director Trent Russell says they would be willing to discuss the proposal with the Government.
"Culling of the kangaroos generally happens at a certain point in time and then it doesn't happen for quite a long time after that," he said.
"We may be able to use a little bit of it if it was available.
"But it's not something we would use a lot of. So

In Sight: Robbie Little
Robbie Little credits his wet and muddy childhood for his passion for critters.
"I remember telling mom that I just wanted to catch frogs on Taylor Pond when I grow up," the 2008 graduate of Edward Little High School said. "I always wanted to be the crocodile hunter since fifth grade."
But crocs and frogs got a break this past spring while Little, 21, searched for something a little less slimy — the Bornean orangutan.
"I generally like more creepy, crawly things," Little said. "My favorite animal is bats. My second is snakes." Apes were not on the top of his interest list.
That all changed when the Bates College junior took the class "Conserving the Great Apes." Not long after, Little was brought to tears while filming a documentary that explores the orangutan's loss of habitat in Borneo.
With the help of the Bates College Phillips Student Fellowship, Little spent two months documenting orangutans and the destruction of their rain forest home in and around Gunung Palung National Park in Borneo. The Indonesian

IDA: Elephant aggression may lead to tragedy at S.A. Zoo
An animal rights group fears tragedy may be on the horizon at the San Antonio Zoo.
In Defense of Animals (IDA) filed a complaint in California against the San Antonio Zoo saying aggressive behavior between the two elephants, Lucky and Boo, will most result in 'dire consequences'.
The group says Dr. Joyce Poole, one of the world's leading elephant scientists who has studied elephant behavior in Africa and Asia for over 30 years, reviewed a videotape captured over a two-day period. Poole determined that Boo exhibited aggressive behavior toward Lucky.
San Antonio Zoo officials brought in Boo to become Lucky's companion last April. Boo was acquired from a circus handler who was facing charges for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. But, according to IDA, it was a bad idea.
They say the behavior is not the elephants' faults, but that of the zoo. IDA says their enclosure is just too clos

Winchester zoo makes conservation efforts in local wood
MARWELL Wildlife is famous for helping protect species overseas.
Now the zoo is doing more to preserve the flora and fauna on its own doorstep.
It wants to restore the ancient woodland that surrounds much of the parkland zoo near Colden Common.
Twenty volunteers from Veolia Environmental Services gave a helping hand by cutting invasive species and preparing the ground for the planting of native plants and trees.
The 30-hectare woodland has become overgrown in recent years and some areas have invasive species such as rhododendron.
This week marks the start of a 10-year plan to improve its

Caged and bound for Britain: Factory-farmed monkeys are being shipped in their thousands to UK laboratories
The young monkey reaches desperately into the cage where his mate is trapped, pawing in confusion at her soft fur. She has been lured by a juicy piece of sugar cane, and a trapdoor has slammed shut behind her.
Trappers rush through the jungle towards them and the male bares his teeth, but he’s forced to flee.
His mate screams as she’s grabbed by the tail and shoved into a sack.
Her fate is a bleak one — she is destined to spend the rest of her life producing babies for vivisection laboratories in Britain.
Although experimenting on monkeys caught in the wild was banned in Britain in 1997, laboratories across the UK have begun exploiting a ‘loophole’ in the law that allows them to use the offspring of wild-caught primates.
These are almost as cheap as wild-caught monkeys because they are reared abroad in vast factory farms.
According to Parliamentary questions recently answered by Home Office Minister Lynne ­Featherstone, Britain imported almost 5,000 ‘non-human primates’ for experiments between 2008 and 2009.
A further 2,000 have since been shipped to the UK. Most were long-tailed macaques from Mauritius and Vietnam, but they also included rhesus monkeys from China.
Countries such as China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Mauritius supply 100,000 monkeys a year

Zoo's director position revolves once again
After a few months on the job, Mike Janis resigned, and fundraising veteran Ray-Eric Correia took over -- the fourth person to fill that role since 2006.
Mike Janis has resigned as executive director of Mill Mountain Zoo and former Roanoke Catholic School leader Ray-Eric Correia has taken his place, at least for now, the zoo announced Tuesday.
Janis, who began work at the zoo only in May, has health problems, zoo board President Christopher Stevens said. "We wish him the best. He's a nice man."
Janis, who had previously directed zoos in New York and Minnesota, confirmed that he is entering the hospital Thursday for surgery on a lung. He has previously battled cancer, which he said has returned.
But Janis, who recently bought a house in Roanoke, also said the zoo board had "decided to go in a different direction, more geared toward fundraising. I got the word on Friday. We came to a fairly mutual

Twins polar bears born at Hyogo zoo
A polar bear at a city-run zoo here has given birth to twins, the zoo has announced.
According to Himeji City Zoo, 11-year--old Yuki delivered her first babies -- a 570-gram female and a 780-gram male -- at a breeding house between 10:10 a.m. and 11:50 a.m. on Dec. 5. Yuki had been paired with Hokuto, 10, for breeding since 2002 and was confirmed pregnant this autumn.
The zoo initially considered artificially raising the twins, but has decided to let Yuki look after them in an isolated room. Yuki is reportedly gathering fallen leaves in the room to warm the cubs. The twins are scheduled to be unveiled to the public around March.
Since 1999 only a total of seven polar

Zoo's elephant plan should be stopped – Wildlife expert
It is said that elephants never forget and Auckland Zoo says 27-year-old Burma has not recovered from her companion Kashin's death in August last year.
“Since Kashin died in August 2009, Burma continues to be monitored closely,” the zoo says in a statement on its website.
But that's only part of the reason why the zoo is embarking on an ambitious project to bring in a herd of up to ten Asian elephants.
The zoo also wants to establish a sustainable elephant breeding herd.
“Initially, we plan to bring in two elephants to be companions for Burma, and as a start to building up to a breeding herd of 10 elephants.”
But a group of prominent international zoologists and animal welfare advocates disagrees, saying no urban zoo in the world can adequately cater to the needs of elephants.
“The critical issue is that we have not really worked out how to successfully manage the social

30,000 go wild for free days out at the Dalton zoo
MORE than 30,000 people have visited Dalton zoo since it scrapped entry charges.
As a goodwill gesture the South Lakes Wild Animal Park has made entry to the until February.
And zoo boss David Gill says the promotion has proved a roaring success, with sales up by £60,000 compared to this time last year.
The Dalton-born entrepreneur also said that some weekends last month were busier than in the peak summer months.
Mr Gill said: “It’s been extremely busy.
“But the atmosphere in the park is amazing, there is such a feeling of goodwill.
“The reason we did all this was we wanted to give something back and also find a way out of this recession.
“I don’t think anybody has done this before.
“There is an old saying along the lines of: ‘If you give you will receive’, and this has proved that point to me.
“I’ve never felt so happy in myself as I have now.”
Mr Gill also said business in the zoo’s restaurant was booming, with staff serving up to 1,000 meals a day on a weekend.
He said: “Me and the staff have to eat outside because the restaurant has been that busy.
“The food uptake has been great and the results have been great.
“As a business it’s been a fantastic situation because our income is well, well up.
“It’s been a very successful venture in all ways. I’ve never come across anything that has worked so well and everyone is a beneficiary.
“We’re up about 20 times on our takings in restaurant and gift shop on what we would normally

Three tenders received for Maharajbagh master plan
The Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV) on Wednesday received three tenders for preparation of master plan of the historic Maharajbagh Zoo.
According to district collectorate sources, in all five tenders were received but two were found invalid as one party did not submit a demand draft while other was rejected for want of relevant papers.
Sources said papers of three parties from Nagpur, Aurangabad and Bhopal have been found valid. The bids were opened in the zoo office at 4pm in the presence of district planning officer (DPO) Kumbhare, PRO of PDKV Ram Gawande, horticulture department head DM Panchbhai, zoo incharge Dr SS Bawaskar and others.
In July, when the tenders were opened, only one NGO, Jansansthan from Bhopal, had submitted the bid, following which retendering was ordered. Jansansthan has once again submitted the bid. One of the bidders from Nagpur is PS Somwanshi of the Capital Services Limited. Somwanshi was also present in the pre-bid meeting held on December 1. The name

Leopards in danger of extinction: experts
30 died in Maharashtra this year alone with big cats being targeted for their skin and body parts for illegal trade
Leopards could vanish before the tiger if this animal is not given due attention to protect it, say wildlife experts.
Leopards across Maharashtra as well as across India are declining as the man-animal conflict over land increases even as poachers are eyeing it to replace the much-coveted tiger for its skin and body parts used in traditional oriental medicine.
This year alone, 30 leopards have died in Maharashtra while the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) has reported 207 deaths (mortality: 95 and poaching and seizures: 112) across the country compared to 290 deaths in 2009 (mortality: 129 and poaching and seizures 161)
The highest number of leopards killed was in 2000 when it shot up to 1,278. From 1994 onwards, between 70-200 leopards have been killed every year across India.
According to the WPSI, which works with government enforcement agencies to apprehend tiger and leopard poachers and traders, these figures represent only a fraction of the actual poaching and trade in leopard parts in India.
The WWF holds that the illegal wildlife trade in diverse products like deer antlers, rhino horns, tiger and leopard

Philippine eagle missing talons turned over to conservation center
A farmer rescued an injured Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) and brought the raptor to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) office in Zamboanga City on Tuesday.
The eagle was immediately flown to this city Wednesday by a team from the Philippine Eagle Foundation led by veterinarian Dr. Ana Lascano through the help of the Philippine Air Force, Tatit Quiblat, PEF communications officer, told the INQUIRER by phone.
Lascano said DENR did not give the name of the farmer to them and that there was scant information on how and where the eagle was found.
"The bird is healthy but missing three (talons)," she said.
Quiblat said that because it was missing appendages, the eagle may not survive if released to the wild.
The PEF is an eagle conservation group and has been breeding and hatching eagles

LA Zoo can move forward with elephant exhibit
A judge has ruled that the Los Angeles Zoo can move forward with its plan to open a new elephant exhibit next week, but a lawsuit filed to stop the expansion can continue.
City News Service reports Superior Court Judge John Shepard Wiley made the ruling Thursday.
Late actor and animal rights activist Robert Culp and real estate agent Aaron Leider filed the lawsuit in August 2007, alleging that the zoo did not treat the elephants well and the planned larger exhibit would be a waste of taxpayer money. A judge dismissed their suit in 2008 and Culp's attorney appealed. In September 2009 an appeals court ordered the case back to trial. Culp died in March, but Leider

Kangaroos Undergo Innovative Dental Treatment In Israel
Israeli veterinarians have developed a life-saving medicine for use on kangaroos' teeth, curing the jumping marsupials of the deadly Lumpy Jaw disease.
Here at Gan Guru Australian wildlife park in northern Israel, almost 40% of the kangaroo population have died from the disease, previously considered almost untreatable.
[Meytal Bakal-Weiss, Gan Guru Park Vetinarian]:
"What you saw today was a treatment against Lumpy Jaw Disease, it's a dental disease of Kangaroos, it's one of the most common causes of mobility and mortality among Kangaroos in captivity.”
Lumpy Jaw disease attacks animals in captive due to stressful conditions and industrial food. It is a bacteria that infects the teeth and gums of the animal in a way that limits their ability to eat and eventually kills them.
Previous treatments such as antibiotics or aggressive procedures

Conservation spells good business for Wildlife Reserves
Now in its 10th year, parks group has seen business shift with tie-ups and funding projects
CONSERVATION is not just a matter of principle: It also makes for good business at Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS).
That is because visitors are 'more sophisticated and enlightened', said WRS chairman Claire Chiang, and are now demanding more.
All that, Ms Chiang said, makes for a better visitor experience. 'We're showing Generation X and Y and idealists that we are commercially viable, yet we are able to focus on the non-financials like caring for animals and the environment, reducing carbon footprint, being family friendly, and encouraging education and entertainment.'
As the wildlife parks group - which manages the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Jurong Bird Park and the upcoming River Safari - celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, it has also seen its business shift.
It ramped up its efforts in the past few years, signing tie-ups with the United States-based Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs several New York zoos, and with the Singapore National Parks Board to study and reintroduce hornbills into the wild here.
Last year, WRS set up its $1 million conservation fund for field projects in Singapore. Twenty cents from the sale of each park ticket goes to the fund.
It also receives sponsorship - Thai Beverage recently contributed $50,000. The company has given $400,000 since 2006, with the money going to help Asian elephants.
However, Ms Chiang said the fund

Gir lions lose all central funds to tigers this year
The tigers have got the lion’s share of central government funds this financial year - literally.
Absolutely no funds have been allocated for the conservation of the Asiatic Lions in Gir in the financial year 2010-11. This, according to the Union minister of state, finance, Namo Narain Meena, is because of the paucity of funds under the centrally-sponsored ‘Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats’ (IDWH) scheme.
Significantly, the Gujarat government has sought Rs262.36 crore for a plethora of conservation initiatives in the past two years.
Though the grant was ‘in principal’ approved more than a year ago, the time and method of actual allocation, as also the release of funds for lions is not happening.
This, combined with the state government’s difference of opinion with the Centre over the translocation of Gir lions to MP, has become a standoff point between the two establishments.
“We are unable to understand why the central government is being so tightfisted with lions when the tigers are being allocated huge amounts regularly. Though the state government has

Pearce hires lobbyist as chief of staff
Steve Pearce, elected last month to represent New Mexico's southern 2nd Congressional District, has hired as his chief of staff a lobbyist and former assistant Interior Department secretary during President George W. Bush's administration.
Todd Willens was deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of the Interior from 2006-2008. Previously, he served three years as senior policy director for the House Natural Resources Committee.
Since 2009 he's worked for Vitello Consulting. Vitello's clients include The Barona Band of Mission Indians, which operates a casino near San Diego; Mazzetta Company, a Boston-based seafood company; the U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers; the White Lotus Foundation, which is a nonsectarian spiritual foundation in Santa Barbara, Calif.; and The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species, a wildlife-education organization.

Cold Case: Record Number of Manatees Dead From the Chill
Cold weather is killing off the manatee
It used to be boat propellers that were the villain that killed Florida's manatees. Now it looks like it is Mother Nature.
Since Jan. 1, 699 manatees have reportedly died, most of them relating to the severe drop in temperatures the state saw last winter, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released in a report.
The dead sea cows set a record, but also signaled a significant population growth of the marine mammals. Researchers found nearly 5,100 manatees during a recent statewide count, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
But high death toll has some officials concerned, particularly with the recent cold snap that has hit the region in the past two weeks. The death total was a count up

Panthera Newsletter - December 2010, Issue 18

Pandas head for Scotland - but it's not in black and white yet
EDINBURGH Zoo is preparing for Scotland's first ever pair of giant pandas to arrive in September. The rare bears will be the first to be homed in the UK for 30 years
Negotiations to bring a couple of the endangered animals to Scotland have been ongoing for some time. Zoo officials now believe they will be housing the bears by next autumn.
Final paperwork is still to be completed and can only be signed by either the president or prime minister of China.
Because the animals can only be a gift from the country, a diplomatic ceremony must be arranged between the Chinese and UK governments. However, the zoo is making preparations for the bears this autumn.
Iain Valentine, director of animals, education and conservation at Edinburgh Zoo, has been working on acquiring giant pandas for four years. Mr Valentine, who previously worked at zoos in Blackpool and Ecuador, described the creatures as an "enduring fossil". He added: "To have giant pandas puts us in the premier league of zoos."
Just four zoos in America, two in Europe and one each in Australia, Japan and Thailand have the creatures. The UK has not had a giant panda since London sent theirs for breeding

Why are hundreds of Dartmoor ponies being slaughtered and fed to tigers at the zoo?
Five degrees below zero on Dartmoor and the fog is ­settling onto the valley floor for the evening. The last rays of the setting sun bounce off ­frozen ponds and lakes.
There is no sign of life — even the Hound of the Baskervilles wouldn’t be seen dead on the moors at this time of year — except for one breed of animal which has been here for 3,000 years and has seen much worse ­winters in its time.
The Dartmoor ponies appear ­oblivious to the plummeting mercury.
Heads bent to the ground to graze the icy turf, they occasionally shake their shaggy manes — not to warm themselves up, just to flick their ­dangling fringes out of their eyes.
Those manes — and their tails — are broad and thick, to cope with the worst Dartmoor can throw at them.
The ponies’ coats change according to the season. Their winter double-coat has guard hairs, which shed the rain and keep their skin dry in the worst of ­weathers; in summer, the coat is short with a silky sheen.
Other ponies are occasionally dumped on Dartmoor but struggle on these wild, bleak moors — their coats get out of ­condition and they quickly lose weight as they fight a losing ­battle with the ­elements. Dartmoor ponies have been here so long that they have become uniquely conditioned to the uplands of Devon.
A stallion and its group of a dozen or so mares become ‘hefted’, or attached, to a ­particular part of the moor for ever. They thrive on the unfriendly climate and the wind-blown landscape. Or they did thrive, until the ­delicate ­balance between pony, farmer and the world economy began falling apart over the past two years.
With the recession and a calamitous


Animal Christmas party in the Philippines
Manny Tangco rides on a bicycle cart with his pet orangutan dressed as Santa Claus during the animal Christmas party in Malabon zoo, north of Manila Dec 10, 2010. The Philippines, the largest Roman Catholic state in Asia, observes one of the longest Christmas holidays in the world, beginning with

Aquarium Owner Is Named Entrepeneur Of The Year
Atlantis Marine World owner, Jim Bissett, has been named "Entrepreneur of the Year" by the Advancement for Commerce, Industry & Technology (ACIT).
At the 2010 ACIT Annual Business Leadership Awards Luncheon, Jim Bissett claimed the award that recognized Bissett's success in co-founding and expanding the Long Island Aquarium, Atlantis Marine World.
"It is a great honor to accept this award from ACIT," said Bissett. "Although this is a personal award, I believe that it belongs as much to me as it does to my partner, Joe Petrocelli, Atlantis Marine World's owner and co-founder, and the teams at both Atlantis Marine World and at Bissett Nursery.
Bissett co-founded and opened the Aquarium in 2000. Since then, he has ushered the Aquarium to exceptional growth and profitability, and is currently building a 97,498-square-foot, $24 million facility next to the Aquarium that takes visitors beneath the waves and beyond the ocean. The new structure will encompass areas that include a 28,000-square-foot Exhibition, Banquet

Lahore zoo plans to get two pandas
The Lahore zoo administration plans to have actress Reema as ambassador of wildlife in captivity and rent a pair of pandas from China, officials said yesterday.
Reema will adopt some birds and animals at a ceremony where she will be declared as ambassador of wildlife in captivity. Zoo director Iqbal Khalid said as ambassador of wildlife Reema would help the administration raise awareness among the public about wildlife issues. He said people from all walks of life should come forward for the welfare of animals. He


Celebrating Plants and the Planet:

It's Ant Appreciation Month here at  (NEWS/Botanical News). Why? Because there is no Ant Appreciation Day or Week or Month anywhere (although there are Fire Ant Awareness months. The things an organism has to do to get noticed these days!) So, Happy Ant Holidays!

· Elephants are ecosystem dynamos, and that involves being tree-destroyers. Ants are tree protectors (for the most part). In a battle over Acacia trees who prevails?

· In South America a variety of birds was thought to be the seed dispersers for Xylopia trees. But birds are wasteful and messy. It takes ants to finish the job.

· The apparent mutualism between some ant species and "ant plants" is well known. So is it fair when the ants sterilize their flowering hosts?

· The Yellow crazy ants that were introduced onto Christmas Island are changing the ecosystem, disrupting seed dispersal by birds and killing off red land crabs.

· But that makes ants so much like us. Bushmeat hunters in central Africa are also changing the ecosystem by disrupting seed dispersers and animals that keep the forests dynamic.

And now come along for a wild ride to the Vertical Zoo Design Competition proposed for Buenos Aires, Argentina:

Oh, and Happy Holidays!

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Please sign petition against the destruction of forests and people's livelihoods for palm oil and nickel on Palawan/Phillipines

Dear friends,

Indigenous peoples and rural communities on Palawan Island, Philippines are facing the destruction of their forests, rice fields and livelihoods at the hands of oil palm and mining companies.

Palawan is part of the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve programme, with 49 animal and 56 plant species listed by IUCN as globally threatened. The Provincial Government in Palawan is proposing thousands of hectares of new palm oil plantations for biofuels, which will seriously harm biodiversity and indigenous people's and farmer's livelihoods. Concessions for nickel mining and related roads are being granted within biodivesity hotspot areas that are protected by law. They will devastate communities, watersheds and forests in large areas.

The local indigenous network ALDAW (Ancestral Land/Domain Watch), together with other local organisations and NGOs in Palawan, is calling on the government to stop palm oil expansion as well as the construction of mining roads and to cancel mining concessions which threaten watersheds, forests and communities. Please, go to  to sign the petition below to support their demands and please let friends and family know about this petition.

Many thanks.

Best regards,

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



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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