I want to raise a question that figures into the current public debate about whether the Buttonwood Zoo should expand into four central acres of Buttonwood Park: How big does a good small zoo have to be?
The New York Central Park Zoo website is informative and surprising on this issue. The Central Park Zoo, like the Buttonwood Zoo, is also inside an Olmsted Park. Central Park has 850 acres compared to Buttonwood's 97. New Yorkers so greatly value their open parkland that they have set the limit of the Central Park Zoo at 6.5 acres, compared to the 10 acres of the Buttonwood Zoo.
The Central Park Zoo accommodates a million visitors a year and has outstanding animal exhibits: two polar bears, snow leopards, red pandas, snow monkeys, sea lions, a tropical zone with smaller birds, mammals and reptiles. The zoo's well-organized grounds include a formal garden around an aquatic center; a café; a shop; a zoo school; the Tisch Children's Zoo; and a wildlife theater program.
It's open to question that the 10-acre Buttonwood Zoo should be home to elephants. Many of us have developed affection for Ruth and Emily over the years, but think about it. We're not the Bronx Zoo with 250 acres; the large Bronx Zoo can possibly support a couple of elephants.
If you really love Emily and Ruth, look at it from the elephant's point of view. Elephants are immense mammals. They eat around 330 pounds of food a day and drink about 25 gallons of water. In the wild they need up to a hundred square miles of free range land to support
BNP protest Edinburgh Zoo pandas (You have to laugh)
The British National Party is organising a series of protests against the recent deal to bring two giant pandas from China to Edinburgh Zoo.
“It’s just another example of the Government making a u-turn and breaking election
Zoo responds to animal disposal claims
Knowsley Safari Park has insisted that it has 'swiftly addressed' issues that have arisen from allegations relating to its treatment of deceased animals.
Photos taken by a former employee, which were published in today's The Sun (10 January), showed carcasses that had not been properly disposed of.
Concerns were also raised regarding firearms procedures at the zoo; issues that the Lord Derby-owned attraction said "had been addressed".
Knowsley Safari Park general manager David Ross said: "Knowsley Council have thoroughly investigated a number of allegations with our full co-operation.
"Only two issues have required further action by the park, both relating to operational matters - the storage and disposal of animal carcasses and firearms procedures. Both these have been swiftly addressed."
British and Irish Association of Zoos
Animal deaths exposed at safari park (The CAPS report)
CAPS has revealed that Knowsley Safari Park has breached animal disposal legislation by leaving dead animals to rot in the open for up to ten days.
The zoo avoided being prosecuted by the council by building an enclosed area to store dead bodies. Merseyside police also became involved over the firearms licenses due to the way in which animals were killed. Police made recommendations over the issuing of weapons to keepers and improving record-keeping of firearms used by staff.
The evidence came to light after a worker at the zoo provided CAPS with a dossier of photographs. Penny Boyd had lived in the zoo grounds for ten years, working as Knowsley's official photographer. She became increasingly concerned about how and why animals were being killed
Knowsley - Further Response to Allegations - 11/01/2011
THE FACTS ABOUT RECENT ALLEGATIONS MADE BY FORMER PARK PHOTOGRAPHER, PENNY BOYD
Knowsley Safari Park regularly culls surplus animals.
Completely untrue. The Park's policy is to move surplus animals to other collections
wherever possible; since April last year 190 animals have been successfully rehomed including Pere David's Deer, Fallow Deer, Axis Deer, Nilgai, Red Lechwe and Blackbuck.
Knowsley Council said that there is "no evidence that the Safari Park is unethically downsizing", and added that `the Park demonstrated through its animal transit records that the number of animals has been reduced to a sustainable and manageable total" by "animals being transferred to other collections." The rehoming of certain species was as a result of the previous Curator's (Penny Boyd's partner) failure to address overpopulation issues. Stock numbers are now at 2008 levels.
Untrained keepers have been used to cull animals and animals have been used to
provide keepers with target practice.
This is a preposterous allegation. Following a thorough investigation, Knowsley Council found that "there is no evidence to support this allegation". Similar Merseyside Police found that no offence had been committed and only recommended improvements to the record keeping of our firearms.
The photos taken by Penny Boyd show animals culled by Knowsley Safari Park.
Completely untrue. The photos show either stillborn animals, animals that died of natural causes, or as a result of fighting, or animals put down by the vet due to injury. Culling remains a last resort once all other options have been considered with the full consultation of our keeping and veterinary staff.
The image of a dead Baboon was particularly misleading. The male was infanticidal (having killed two young baboons) and humanely euthanized; its body was double bagged and securely tied, and taken to the storage area for collection and disposal. The bag was untied, the head exposed and a photograph taken.
Standards at the Safari Park have dropped since Penny Boyd's partner left the organisation.
This could not be furthest from the truth. The staff at Knowsley Safari Park are an exceptional and dedicated team; they join because animals are their passion, and they have the welfare of their animals as the highest
SAFARI PARKS: SPECIAL CASE OR SORDID ZOOS?
Chris Draper, Senior Scientific Researcher of Born Free's Zoo Check, comments on a shocking article in this week's Sun newspaper.
"The gruesome photographs published in the Sun newspaper show in grisy detail what happens to “culled” animals at one of Britain’s safari parks. I have seen few more graphic examples of why old chestnuts such as “I don’t like zoos but safari parks are better” or “zoos are all about conservation” are sadly way off the mark.
All too often people make the mistake of assuming that there are significant differences between safari parks and traditional zoos. True – safari parks appear greener, perhaps even offer their animals a modicum more space. But behind the façade lies a more mundane and worrying reality: some animals locked in tiny night quarters for the majority of each 24 hour period; the problems caused by breeding (for cute babies to attract visitors) and resulting subsequently in “surplus animals”; whole groups of animals killed or “culled” to control numbers or diseases.
Zoos, safari parks, aquaria, aviaries, vivaria
SF Zoo welcomes birth of giant anteater
The San Francisco Zoo welcomed the first giant anteater born at the zoo in a decade on Dec. 22, zoo officials said.
The 2-year-old mother is a first-time mom. The father, 12-year-old Angelo, also fathered the zoo’s last giant anteater, born in 2001.
The new baby will ride on its mother’s back for about one year.
Adult anteaters can grow up to 8 feet long, not including their tail, according to the zoo.
Wild anteaters can eat up to 30,000 ants per day, zoo officials said.
The anteater family will not be on display while
Pandas come to Britain for first time in 17 years
Britain is to house its first giant pandas in 17 years after a historic agreement was brokered with China, both countries have announced.
A breeding pair, named Tian Tian and Yangguang, will be homed at Edinburgh Zoo following the successful conclusion of five years of diplomatic and political negotiations.
The agreement was signed yesterday in London by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), which owns Edinburgh Zoo, and the Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA). It was witnessed by Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, and Li Keqiang, China’s Vice Premier.
Both pandas are being loaned to Britain for 10 years, although any offspring they produce during that period will be returned to China shortly after birth.
The last pandas in the UK, Ming Ming and Bao Bao, were shipped out in 1994 after failing to mate. Only nine zoos outside China house the animals
Eats shoots and invests
Panda diplomacy is worth more than just the cuddly toy sales at Edinburgh Zoo's gift shop.
When Adelaide Zoo gained a panda, visitor numbers went up 70%. The business model on the capital's Corstorphine Hill is conservatively estimating a 40% leap in revenue at the turnstiles.
Even when you've paid for the import of a lot of bamboo shoots to give Tian Tian and Yanguang something to chew on, that's quite a money-spinner. So when the ten-year loan of two pandas was today described as a gift, it's the kind of gift that carries the condition of a sizeable, but so far unspecified, donation to conservation projects on the pandas' home turf.
Panda diplomacy is also a sign that Scotland's and Britain's relationships with China are going pretty well, as vice-premier Li Keqiang brings 100 business leaders from Madrid, to reassure with Chinese support for Europe's economic recovery plans, and Berlin, where he sought common ground with a fellow exporting powerhouse.
Coming to Scotland, this was to build on cultural
Zoo employee hospitalized after snakebite
A Sedgwick County Zoo employee was admitted to the hospital for observation today after he was grazed by the strike of a venomous Kanburi pit viper during routine feeding.
Kanburi pit vipers are native to Thailand. Although documented to cause swelling and pain, bites from this species are not known to be life-threatening.
The employee was an Amphibian & Reptile keeper. So far, zoo officials said, he has not had to use any antivenin.
The zoo said its employees regularly perform
Snake bite in Dubai park an isolated incident
Department carries out regular surveys for reptiles and other pests
A Dubai Municipality official assured the public that the incident when a pupil was bitten by a snake in Mushrif Park recently was an isolated one that should not be blown out of proportion.
Ahmad Abdul Kareem, head of Public Parks and Horticulture at Dubai Municipality, said the department carried out regular surveys of the park to find any pests or reptiles, due to the park's proximity to the wildlife reserve. The child, who was bitten while on a school trip to the park, has since recovered and left the hospital.
A school administrator accompanying the pupils on the trip claimed that the boy, who is a pupil in the second grade, was bitten while he was playing at the children's area, and was
Species vs ecosystems: save the tiger or focus on the bigger issues
Millions have been raised to protect tigers but does this help or hinder the efforts to prevent wider biodiversity loss by tackling habitat loss, climate change and pollution?
The star-studded media frenzy that was the International Tiger Forum in St Petersburg this Winter was an unprecedented international effort to save a single species, raising millions of pounds for tiger conservation and receiving pledges of support from top-level government officials – a rare triumph for conservationists, on a never-before-seen scale.
Although a positive outcome, it raises the question of whether allocating such huge amounts of funding - $332 million in the case of the tiger - to one species is really justified. Shouldn’t we be focusing efforts on preserving entire ecosystems rather than cherry picking charismatic species?
Michael Baltzer, head of WWF's Tigers Alive initiative, argues that by saving tigers you also save all the other species that share their habitat, and consequently entire ecosystems as well. ‘As a top predator, tigers need highly productive ecosystems and these ecosystems need to be large and highly functional if they are to support the prey base that an expanding tiger population requires: they are an ‘indicator species’.
‘These vast ecosystems are home to some of the most valuable biodiversity on earth and the services provided by these intact, healthy ecosystems (watershed protection, carbon sequestration, climate change adaptation, etc.) are critical to millions of people across Asia. Saving the tiger therefore means saving so much more, and this is why it remains a priority for many. ‘
Jean Christophe Vie, deputy head of the IUCN's Species Programme says there isn’t much difference between the two approaches of species or ecosystem conservation. ‘If you want to save tigers you need to look at landscapes. Basically we are doing the same thing but with different packaging. The tiger is an emblematic species, it can mobilise people ... The species approach works; people can identify with it.’
Vie points to the million-dollar donation of Leonardo DiCaprio to the tigers, which he says he wouldn’t have given to preserve ecosystem processes or to do a landscape restoration project.
Pulling the plug on pandas
But Dr Ken Thompson, ecologist and author of Do We Need Pandas?, says that the ability of ‘celebrity species’ to capture the public’s attention is a double-edged sword. ‘It’s difficult to argue with the idea that threats to iconic, charismatic species help to focus public attention and make it easier to raise money. But the downside is that this encourages the belief that there is a TIGER problem or a PANDA problem, when in fact tigers, pandas and everything else (including us) are victims of the same mix of problems: habitat loss, overpopulation, war, corruption, climate change, pollution and plain human greed .’
‘Much as we like tigers,’ Thompson continues, ‘ it would be even easier to raise money if people understood the real problem, and that the casualties will not just be tigers, but us – our standard of living, and ultimately our very survival.’
Conservationist Mark Carwardine, presenter of the Last Chance to See TV series along with Stephen Fry, says we need both approaches. ‘In an ideal world you protect the entire region, the biodiversity, the habitat and all the rest of it. But the big problem when you talk about something like tigers is that we’ve left it until the eleventh hour,’ Carwardine says.
‘We’re doing fire brigade action in trying to protect some species; if we don’t have a combination of both then we’re going to
Mysore zoo will grapple with anacondas
The Colombo zoo in Sri Lanka is gifting five of its surplus Green Anaconda population to the famed Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens in Mysore. The procurement, as per a deal struck between the officials of both zoos at a recent conference in Nepal, is a first of its kind as none of the zoological parks in India has the snake species.
The Green Anaconda is among the deadliest and longest snakes in the world, stretching to an average of more than 5 metres or 17 feet and weighing about 100 kg. Female species are bigger than the males.
Found in tropical rainforests, the snake is primarily aquatic and has high-set eyes to give it an overview of things outside despite being submerged in water.
The reptile’s olive green skin with regular dark blotches
Fears for Kent Wildlife park's missing meerkat
Owners of a Kent wildlife park fear thieves have stolen a meerkat because of a surge in their popularity following a TV advertising campaign.
The animal went missing from its enclosure at Wingham Wildlife Park near Canterbury on 29 December.
The park has ruled out the possibility the male meerkat, which had been microchipped, could have escaped.
An animated meerkat with a Russian accent - whose catchphrase is "Simples" - is being used to advertise insurance.
'Can't dress them'
Wingham owner Anthony Binskin said: "They've either taken it to resell it because of the value of them or they've taken it because they see them on the TV and they think they're going to make good pets."
The park said the social nature of the animals
Body of stolen meerkat found in bin in Sandwich
The body of a meerkat stolen from a Kent wildlife park has been found in a bin after the animal was hit by a car.
Keepers from Wingham Wildlife Park near Canterbury found the body in a dog waste bin in Sandwich after receiving a call from a member of the public.
The caller said he saw the meerkat being run over by a car in St Bart's Road on Sunday and dumped in the bin.
"It was the last place we would have hoped to retrieve this animal from," said a park spokesman.
The park was alerted on Wednesday after the caller saw media coverage of the theft.
The male meerkat went missing from its enclosure on 29 December. The park ruled out the possibility the microchipped animal could have
Coral species may be extinct within 50 years, warn scientists as they reveal most endangered
Scientists have identified the ten coral species at greatest risk of becoming extinct.
Led by experts at London Zoo, the Edge Coral Reefs project has prioritised the most evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered species that conservationists fear will die out in the next 50 years.
Among those singled out as urgently in need of conservation are the crisp pillow coral, which resembles a brain, and the elegance coral, which has glowing tubular tentacles.
Current worst case predictions suggest that tropical coral reefs, which have evolved over millions of years, will be functionally extinct within the next 30 to 50 years.
Saving these species could hold the key to the future adaptation of coral reefs to climate change, the scientists said at the project's launch today.
The other species prioritised include are the pearl bubble coral, which is a favoured food source of the hawksbill turtle, and the Mushroom coral, which supports at least 15 brightly coloured shrimp including the popcorn shrimp.
The species are found in some of
This book is one of the most interesting and fascinating I have ever read. An easy, enjoyable and instructive read.
Zoo helps hatch salamander scheme
The disappearance of the eastern hellbender has been a bit of a mystery for biologists working to save them.
Two decades ago, scientists started to notice fewer of the giant salamanders in the state's rivers. Since then, fears have grown that the creatures could disappear.
"The numbers have been declining at an alarming rate," said Mark Kandel, regional wildlife manager for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. "We want to make sure there are hellbenders around, when and if we get to the point when we figure out what's causing their demise."
So a team that includes the DEC and Buffalo Zoo is working to give hundreds of the giant salamanders a head start in the wild.
In a lab that will open to public viewing today, the zoo is raising 540 hellbenders from eggs that were collected from a river in the Southern Tier, in hopes of releasing them back into area waterways when they're large enough
Scandal-plagued Calgary Zoo intervenes to rescue baby tiger
Calgary Zoo staff were forced to intervene Tuesday in the feeding and care of a newborn Siberian tiger cub, after the mother tiger left the den and didn't return.
The cub, no bigger than one of its mother's paws, was born Monday morning and zoo officials were hopeful 10-year-old Katja would be able to care for the newborn herself.
Unfortunately, the mother tiger abandoned the den late Tuesday afternoon and went outside, the zoo said in a news release.
After monitoring the situation and the cub's fast-deteriorating health, the decision was made by senior staff to intervene.
Zoo officials say it won't be possible
Slow and steady losing the race
New wounds open old fears about survival of legendary Hoan Kiem Lake turtle Vietnam’s only living animal deity could be in mortal danger.
Already bearing multiple scars caused by pollution and illegal fishing at Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem Lake, the giant soft-shell turtle has sustained fresh injuries to its neck and carapace, said Ha Dinh Duc, a Vietnamese scientist who has been studying the giant species and kept a close watch on its conditions since 1991.
The rare soft-shell turtle has played a crucial role in Vietnamese lore for more than 2,000 years. There are only four confirmed members of the species left in the world – two living wild in Vietnamese lakes and a captive pair in China.
The Hoan Kiem Lake turtles are traditionally viewed as manifestations of the Golden Turtle God, or Kim Qui. Legend has it over the last two millennia, they have helped design fortifications, thwart enemy armies and produce a number of enchanted weapons.
Duc claims that the Hoan Kiem Lake turtle is around 700 years old and the last survivor of a species called Rafetus leloii. Several other scientists have argued, however
Lionman to save rhinos
The Lionman may soon have a new moniker - the Rhinoman.
Craig Busch, who once starred in a television series about his wildlife park in Whangarei, Zion Wildlife Gardens, has now set his sights on saving rhinos from poachers in South Africa.
Busch has been based at the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve about 40km north-west of Johannesburg for about a year.
He wants to spread awareness about the threats facing wild cats and other wildlife in Africa, reported The
Protector of the Turtle in Bali
Wayan Raga can usually be found by the shallow turtle pool in his garden. The area is filled with dozens of turtles swimming in the pool or just lazing around the yard. Some are an inch in size, others measure a meter long.
“Here is a new hatchling, just one month old. That one there is four months old. The one in the cage next to it is four years old,” said the renowned Balinese turtle breeder.
“The 4-year-old, already quite large, is a favorite of the visitors who come here.”
From the care and attention Wayan shows the gentle sea creatures, you would never guess that he once made a living hunting and selling them for their meat.
“After 20 years of hunting and trading turtles, I now realize that there is something very wrong in the way we exploit nature,” he said.
Wayan established Citra Taman Penyu in 2001 at his home on Pulau Serangan, or Turtle Island, 250 meters off the southeast coast of Bali. It is
Leopard lynched, but officials mum
In yet another man versus beast conflict, a leopard was lynched by a mob on Wednesday barely 30 kilometres from the capital. What is appalling is that the gruesome act carried out by a mob of villagers took place in front of the deputy commissioner, police and other forest officials.
The leopard, a male, strayed into Kheri Gujaran village on Wednesday morning and allegedly attacked a villager, identified
16 killed by tigers in Uttar Pradesh in 10 months
The increasing human-animal conflict due to shrinking habitat for wildlife has led to killing of 16 people by tigers over the past 10 months in Uttar Pradesh, wildlife officials said on Thursday. Attributing the deaths to "unabated human infiltration in the core wildlife areas", chief wildlife conservator B K Patnaik said: "Increase in the human population and their enhanced penetration into forests is largely responsible for the rise in this conflict that had also left 22 people wounded over the
Giraffe chokes to death at Delhi zoo
After a lunch of fresh fruits and green fodder, Mangal Pandey was frolicking in the sun. Minutes later, the playful three-year 10-month-old giraffe was in the throes of death, his neck caught in the Y-shaped trunk of a tree next to the enclosure wall at the Delhi zoo. Mangal Pandey — his nickname because he was never named officially — stuck his neck through the Y-shaped trunk to pull some twigs from a tree next to the wall.
The young giraffe — they normally have a life span of 25 years — tried to wriggle out but the struggle made the situation worse, his twisting and stretching neck injuring itself while he tried to save himself.
Mangal's desperate attempts were noticed by a visitor who alerted the zoo authorities, who rushed to
Shooting of escaped Hearst Ranch zebras prompts outcry
Three zebras from Hearst Ranch wander onto nearby property and are killed by two ranchers. Each asks a taxidermist to turn one of the animals into rugs.
Along with hairpin curves and heart-stopping views of the Pacific, motorists on Highway 1 near San Simeon may glimpse a most exotic sight: a herd of zebras grazing in pastures along the road.
They are what is left of what was once the world's largest private zoo — a menagerie of camels, kangaroos, emus and giraffes that roamed the estate of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst.
Last week three zebras — a buck, a mare and a yearling — escaped
Wild Cat Once Thought Extinct Spotted in Borneo
One of the world's rarest wild cats, an elusive creature once thought to be extinct, has been spotted in camera traps in Malaysian Borneo for the first time since 2003, researchers said Thursday.
The Bornean Bay Cat, a long-tailed reddish or grey feline the size of a large domesticated cat, was sighted in the northern highlands of Malaysia's Sarawak state, the forest department said Thursday.
Three photographs showing two or three individuals were captured, bringing new hope for the future of the endangered animal about which very little is known, said research officer Wilhelmina Cluny.
"This species is very secretive... it was classified as extinct until a photograph of it was taken in 2003," she told AFP.
"I do feel encouraged, this photograph was taken in a logged forest... when we saw this it made us wonder whether this kind of habitat can sustain wildlife, even for rare and important species
No truth in rumors of zoo accepting rotten foodstuffs
The head of the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) has flatly denied receiving any offers of confiscated expired foodstuffs from Kuwait Municipality for use in feeding animals at Kuwait Zoo.
The PAAAFR would never allow such a thing," the authority's director Jassem Al-Bader told Al-Watan, adding that neither the authority nor the zoo had received any formal correspondence suggesting such an offer. He added that while zoo officials had received an informal offer of expired foodstuffs for animal feed, they had immediately and categorically rejected the idea as potentially dangerous to the zoo animals' health and wellbeing.
The rumors follow the Municipality's seizure of large amounts of expired and rotten foodstuffs from warehouses and other outlets after a corrupt municipality official was discovered to be approving the sale of these goods in exchange for bribes.
Al-Bader said that the zoo already has a contract with specialist suppliers of animal fodder, including meat, that meets the required exacting specifications to meet the animals' food needs. "The
Zoo richer but experts worried about inmates
Several big animals and birds have arrived at the city zoo but wildlife experts are worried about the well-being of the new inmates because of lack of space on the Alipore campus.
The zoo authorities have brought in a pair of Asiatic lions, three leopards, two pairs of emu, 15 pairs of mandarin ducks and four iguanas and as many ostriches.
"The leopards and lions in the zoo have grown old. So we wanted to bring in new leopards and lions,” said Raju Das, the director of Alipore zoo.
The pure-bred Asiatic lions were brought from the Hyderabad zoo and the leopards from a rescue centre in north Bengal.
Wildlife experts questioned the rationale behind bringing in large animals like lions. “Just a few months back, the state government had announced plans to shift the zoo to Bhagabanpur on the outskirts because of a space crunch at Alipore. Then why did it allow the zoo to import two lions and three leopards,” said Samik Gupta, a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
“Lions are large animals and require a lot of space to move about. Even the four lions that were there before the ones from Hyderabad arrived lacked enough space,” added Gupta.
Director Das, however, claimed that the lion enclosures were big enough for the inmates. “Besides, the rule now is to keep pure-bred lions in zoos. The lions in our zoo were hybrid and very old, so we ha
ZOOS' PRINT Magazine, Jan 2011, Vol XXVI, No 1
Gibbon Husbandry Conference
June 6-8 2011
Panthera Newsletter - January 2011, Issue 19
· Setting aside the question of whether live Christmas trees or artificial are more "green" (an interesting debate), a case can be made that properly disposed of live Christmas trees offer many benefits to the environment.
Herpetological Conservation and Biology
Volume 5, Issue 3 (December 2010)