Friday, January 21, 2011

Zoo News Digest 18th - 21st January 2011 (Zoo News 720)

Zoo News Digest 18th - 21st January 2011 (Zoo News 720)

  Aceros corrugatus
Photo by Jonas Livet

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleagues,

After a rather quiet period over the Christmas and New Year there appears to be a bit of a spike in zoo news. There is a lot of it about. A lot of this is of no interest to those working in zoos though geared as it is towards the general public. So I have ,as per usual, sifted through all I could find to gather together zoo news items that would be interesting to people working within zoos. The stories that zoo staff would discuss amongst themselves. Your choice may not be my choice but I try to be all embracing.

"A zoo is a family, even nationwide," said Barbara Baker, director of the Pittsburgh Zoo.. How right she is. I think it goes further though. We are an international family.

I welcome the news of the veterinary hospital to be set up at Marghzar Zoo. I would hope though that zoo management also consider the humble Zookeeper as properly trained and experienced keeper may negate much of the need for the hospital.

I really could not see why 'Zoos Are No Fun for Elephants' was included as a news item in the Santa Barbara View as it appears to be just a simple biased statement.

Sadly I note that 'Time' has been taken in by the Panda costume story. Let the Pandas rear their own young then there would be no need for this nonsense because nonesense it surely is.

The Kenyan elephant population is apparently increasing at 4% annually, this in spite of all the problems. Now they are roaming into villages. Bigger numbers and less space in which to live. Same sort of situation in India with Tigers and Leopards. There are some species with which we cannot easily share space.

Following on from what I said in my editorial last week. In the links today we have the word 'Reprieve' used. Horrible really as it suggests 'stay of execution'.

Sad to learn of the death of a tiger. Killed by another tiger. What is really sad is that they knew it could happen and human error ensured it did.

So just what did happen in Tehran Zoo??? The article 'Mysterious deaths of big cats at Tehran zoo captivate nation' is all stuff and nonsense but was it 8, 10 or 14 animals? Lions AND Tigers? Shot or injected? Will we ever know?

The Born Free Foundation are still rabbiting on about Giant Pandas. They don't seem to have anything better to do with their time other than to climb on the Panda Bandwagon to draw attention to themselves.

True enough the Orangutan is running out of space where it naturally occurs. But to introduce them to the wild in Malaysia? Crazy or what?

I will eat most things...or try them once. Always had a taboo about carnivores though. Lion Taco anybody?

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The Need for Conservation of Asiatic Cheetahs
The United Nations declared 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity and invited the world to take action to safeguard the variety of life on earth. Unfortunately, though, it is seldom completely clear what should be safeguarded. An example is provided by the cheetah, which conventional wisdom tells us does not vary much throughout its wide (if shrinking) range.
Recent work in the group of Pamela Burger of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna challenges this view and shows that the cheetahs in Northern-East Africa and those in Asia differ markedly from the populations in Southern Africa. The results are published in the current issue of the journal Molecular Ecology and have profound and far-reaching implications for the conservation of the species.
Historically, cheetahs were widespread throughout Africa and much of Southwest Asia, ranging through Kazakhstan and the entire Indian peninsula. The present situation is very different and the remaining animals are concentrated in certain areas in southern and eastern Africa. Very few cheetahs now exist in the wild in Asia, where the species is confined to small areas in Iran. It has long been believed that cheetahs show relatively low levels of genetic variation, although previous studies have not examined the entire geographic range. Pauline Charruau and Pamela Burger of the Institute of Population Genetics at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna have collaborated with groups in a number of other countries -- Portugal, Germany, the United States, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, France and South Africa -- to investigate a large number of cheetah DNA samples. The researchers even included in their study DNA that they extracted from bones found in mediaeval sites in north-west Iran. By means of sophisticated statistical methods to compare the sequences of certain pieces of the DNA, the scientists were able to gain a far more complete picture of the range of diversity in the species.
The results are dramatic. Cheetahs in Northern-East Africa (in Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti) differ significantly from the animals further south. Furthermore, the few cheetahs remaining in Iran are markedly distinct. It seems likely that the populations separated about 30,000 to 70,000 years ago and are thus more ancient than previously suspected. The cheetahs in Southern and Eastern Africa are known to represent two closely related subspecies but Burger's work reveals that the other subspecies in Northern-East Africa and in Asia represent older and highly distinct lineages.
The populations in sub-Saharan Africa are relatively secure but this is unfortunately not the case for the subspecies in Asia. And because Iranian cheetahs are the last representatives of the Asiatic subspecies and are so dissimilar from their African relatives, their conservation is a priority. There are only about 100 individuals left in Iran, possibly even fewer, so urgent action is needed to ensure the survival of this distinct form. Together with the United Nations Development Programme, the Iranian Department of the Environment (which cooperated on the paper) has established a comprehensive programme (CACP) that makes conservation of the Asiatic cheetah a national priority. Nevertheless, "We are running out of time to save the Asiatic cheetah," says Alireza Jourabchian, Director of the CACP in Iran. "We have been successful in stabilizing numbers in Iran but we still have a long way to go before we can consider this unique sub-species secure. We are hopeful these new findings will bring even greater attention to its plight."
A strategy that has been frequently employed to conserve endangered species is to capture individuals in an area where the animals are common and release them at sites where they are rare. Along these lines, the critically low Iranian population could be supplemented with animals taken from Southern and Northern-East Africa but the finding

Elephant That Crushed Woman Handler Gets Reprieve
Knoxville Zoo Officials Call Death an Accident, Elephant Won't Be Punished
Officials at the Knoxville zoo now believe that James' death was a tragic accident.
"The elephants acted as they should in that situation. In other words when they received a command, they responded. She responded in this case," Jim Vina, executive director of the Knoxville Zoo, said.
The 8,000 pound African elephant backed James into a stall on Friday, pushing her into metal bars.
"When something is... up to four tons...and that animal...pushes you against a wall or whatever inside tight quarters, you don't have a chance. It's just that powerful an animal," renowned zookeeper Jack Hanna said.
The 26-year-old elephant named Edie was not acting aggressively and followed the desperate commands of another handler to move back, zoo officials said.
When Edie followed the commands to move away from James, it was too late. The 33-year-old James lay crumpled against a stall. Medics rushed her to the hospital where she later died.
"Edie, the African elephant involved in the incident, will not be punished or disciplined for the incident," Vina said.
Hanna said that he, too, believes James' death was an accident.
"I can tell you I've seen elephants in the wild go through the brush and the bush and it's like a bulldozer...because they eat 200 or 300 pounds a day," Hanna said.
For now, zoo officials are keeping the zoo's three

AZA inspectors return to Topeka Zoo
The Topeka Zoo got a return visit Monday from two of the three Association of Zoos and Aquariums inspectors who crafted a highly critical report after examining that zoo's operations in December 2009.
Zoo director Brendan Wiley said the zoo was inspected Monday by Eric Miller, senior vice president and director of zoological operations at the St. Louis Zoo, and Gary Geddes, director of zoological operations at the Metro Parks in Tacoma, Wash.
Wiley said Miller and Geddes carried out the inspection Monday and planned to start preparing the report that evening.
"Essentially, they were able to see what they needed to see, and talk to enough staff to get a feel for how things are progressing," he said.
Wiley, who became the Topeka Zoo's director last May, said Monday's visit from

LT Educator, Brookfield Zoo Researcher Awarded National Honor
Jason Crean received $10,000 from the National Science Foundation and flew to Washington, D.C., to meet President Barack Obama.
Jason Crean, of Woodridge, is a Lyons Township High School science teacher, college professor, research aide, curriculum author, animal handler and zoo consultant.
He's also the recipient of last year's Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, an honor granted to just one math and one science teacher from each state. The award comes with $10,000 from the National Science Foundation to be used at the recipient's discretion and a trip to Washington D.C. to meet President Barack Obama.
“It was a humbling experience having the president recognize you with the highest award that a teacher can receive,” Crean said.
Crean said he enjoyed meeting the other award recipients in Washington D.C. because they all faced the same challenges. “You

14 lions killed at Iran zoo over infection fears
Authorities put down 14 lions at the Tehran zoo that had been diagnosed with an infectious bacterial disease that could affect visitors, a local newspaper reported on Monday.
The state-own Jam-e Jam daily reported that the lions were suffering from glanders, a bacterial disease found in horses, donkeys, mules as well as other domesticated animals. It can spread from infected animals to humans. The paper did not say when the lions killed.
Houman Moloukpour, a veterinarian, told the newspapers that the lions most likely contracted the disease because of mismanagement at the zoo.
Moloukpour said over the past two month three lions have died in the zoo after they

Posthumous conservation award for Paradise Park's Barnaby the barn owl
A barn owl who lived at a Cornish wildlife park has won a posthumous award for his contribution to conservation.
Barnaby, who died aged 20 last summer, picked up the Lady Gray'l Award "for owls who have made a difference" at the 2011 World Owl Hall of Fame awards.
The bird, pictured above with television wildlife presenter Michaela Strachan, spent two decades at Paradise Park, teaching visitors about the species.
David Woolcock, curator at Paradise Park, said: "Barnaby flew daily in the Free Flight Bird Show from March 1990 to June 2010.
"In that time he touched the lives of more than 1.8 million people. His engagement with the public helped us to promote how they too could become involved to help barn owls in the wild – primarily through the Barn Owl Conservation Network. He also made numerous visits to schools and hospitals."
Barnaby also played an integral role helping animal care

Zoo visitors urged to bring in their own bamboo to beat panda feeding problem
IT'S set to turn the zoo rule book on its head.
After years of being told not to feed the animals, the public is to be asked to help provide nourishment for Edinburgh's new attractions.
The impending arrival of giant pandas Tian Tian and Yangguang has given bosses a headache in sourcing the 30kg of bamboo which the pair will munch through every day.
That means Edinburgh residents could be asked to bring in any bamboo growing in their

Veterinary hospital to be set up at Marghzar Zoo
A veterinary hospital equipped with latest equipments would be established at the Marghzar Zoo to take care of birds and animals health, said Capital Development Authority Chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi during his visit to the Zoo on Tuesday.
He directed the authority’s Environment Wing to take concrete steps for provision of natural habitat to birds and animals besides protection of wildlife at Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP). The chairman took serious notice of non-functioning of the lights and directed the formation concerned of the civic body for their proper maintenance and installation.
He asked CDA Environment Member Mian Waheedud Din to submit a detailed report regarding the issues relating to the Zoo and preservation of wildlife in the area of Margallah Hills National Park.
Imtiaz said CDA was taking concrete measures to preserve the fauna and flora at MHNP, adding that a comprehensive mechanism was in place to monitor the movement of wild animals and birds kept in designated enclosures in the capital city.
He said the awareness programme initiated at Margallah Hills National Park would also be provided at the Zoo so that the people visiting the entertainment facility could be educated

Diagnostic tool at Kansas City Zoo illuminates temperature of animals
The Kansas City Zoo is using a new, high-tech tool to better diagnose the health of its animals.
The thermogram produces pictures with bright digital colors of the animals' bodies. The different colors indicate where the temperatures are different. For example, places that show up blue — like ears — have less blood, while other areas where organs are can be orange or red.
Zoo veterinarian Kirk Suedmeyer says the thermogram can detect illnesses and potential problems even when an animal is acting like it feels fine.
The Kansas City Star reports that thermography machine,0,5007661.story

Zoos Are No Fun for Elephants
The Los Angeles Zoo has just opened a new $42 million, 3.8 acre “Elephants of Asia” habitat. Animal activists like Bob Barker claim that this Pachyderm Forest is too small… meanwhile, the two elephants at the Santa Barbara Zoo, Suzie and Little Mac, remain in a 13,000-square-foot exhibit, which is less than a third of an acre.

Two arrested over Wingham Wildlife Park meerkat theft
Two people have been arrested following the theft of a meerkat from a wild animal park in Kent.
The male meerkat went missing from its enclosure at the Wingham Wildlife Park near Canterbury on 29 December.
It was found dead in a dog waste bin in Sandwich last Wednesday after a member of the public reported seeing it hit by a car a few days earlier.
A 47-year-old woman and an 18-year-old man, both from Sandwich, were arrested and

Malayisa: Do we really need an orangutan reserve in the Klang Valley?
How far will having another orang utan sanctuary, this time in the Klang Valley, go in saving the endangered species?
IT IS yet another case of the tom yam syndrome: “Orang utan sanctuaries in Sepilok, Sabah, and Semenggoh, Sarawak, have done very well in drawing the crowds. Hey, let’s do the same over in Peninsular Malaysia. Let’s set up an orang utan sanctuary right in the Klang Valley, so tourists need not travel all the way to Sabah and Sarawak to view the rare red apes. Never mind that there is already such an orang utan park at Bukit Merah Laketown Resort near Taiping, Perak. And never mind that the primate died out in the peninsula thousands of years ago. The Klang Valley wants its very own orang utan sanctuary.”
But leading orang utan scientists in the country and conservation groups are not at all happy with the idea. The plan is ill-conceived and lacks ecological reasoning, they argue.
Numerous questions have been raised: Why would we need another orang utan park when there is already the Orang Utan Island at Bukit Merah? Can the orang utans survive in peninsular forests? Won’t it drain already limited resources? Will this sanctuary serve any conservation purpose or is it merely a tourism product? Will wild orang utans

Sweden wolf hunt brings EU legal threat
The European Commission plans to take legal action against Sweden over a wolf hunt that allegedly breaches EU law
Sweden is allowing hunters to shoot a total of 20 wolves this year. It reintroduced the wolf hunt in 2010 - the first in Sweden since 1964.
But Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik says wolves in Sweden have an "unfavourable conservation status".
A very narrow genetic base threatens the wolf population in Scandinavia, the environmental group WWF says.
The Swedish quota for the wolf hunt last year was 27. The total wolf population in Sweden is estimated at about 200 - the majority of Scandinavia's wolves.
This year's hunt began on Saturday and by Monday already 14 wolves had been killed, the Swedish news website The Local reported.
In a statement on Monday, Mr Potocnik said: "The actions of the Swedish authorities leave me with little choice other than to propose to the Commission

Five Reasons Pigs Are More Awesome Than You (Have a laugh)

Paid to Dress Like Pandas, Save the Species
How far would China's conservationists go to safeguard the country's giant pandas, a struggling species of a couple thousand? This far: oversized, fuzzily oppressive bear costumes.
Wolong Giant Panda Research and Conservation Centre in Sichuan, central China, hasn't had an easy time of introducing captive-bred cubs to the wild. In 2007, the first attempt to release a panda reared in a human-controlled environment came to naught. The infant was found dead after only a few

Tucson Taqueria Offers Up... Wait for It... Lion TacosIn the six months since it launched Exotic Taco Wednesdays, Boca Tacos y Tequila has served up some pretty exotic options - and when we say exotic, we MEAN exotic.

They've sold python and alligator tacos, as well as ones with elk, kangaroo, rattlesnake and turtle. Oh, and then there were those with frog legs, turtle, duck and Rocky Mountain

Elephants outgrow parks and roam in villages
The elephants are back. With their numbers rising, an unfailing memory and a dearth of poachers, the animals have put the worst time of their lives in Kenya, the 1980s, behind them.
Their population is galloping along at almost four per cent annually, and has almost outgrown the capacity of the protected areas of Maasai Mara and Amboseli national parks.
Following closely the movements of Lady Lorna and an older elephant called Kiramatian, scientists at the African Centre for Conservation have established that elephants are indeed increasingly venturing out of the protected areas.
Between 2006 and 2010 the researchers put electronic collars on the two elephants to help trace the herd movements. This combined with a trained group of security scouts in the South Rift has seen the animals try

LA Zoo Celebrates Rare Giant Horned Lizard Birth
The Los Angeles Zoo successfully reproduced the tiny, blood-squirting giant horned lizard for the first time in North American history
One giant step for giant horned lizards.
Weighing in at 1 gram each, nine giant horned lizards were successfully reproduced for the first time in North America, the Los Angeles Zoo announced Thursday.
"This clutch is a milestone event for the L.A. Zoo and zoos across the continent. These lizards will serve as ambassadors for their species and aid in the study of this species," Los Angeles Zoo Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians Ian Recchio said in a statement.
Native to Mexico, six adult giant horned lizards were transported to the United States and divided between the San Diego Zoo and the L.A. Zoo, where the nine lizards hatched in November.
According to Recchio, the offspring currently weigh about 5 grams, making "giant" a giant misnomer (see picture). The horned lizard family is the only species of animal known to squirt blood from their eyes as a defense mechanism.
Elizabeth Leider, spokeswoman for the L.A. Zoo, said the public will be able to observe the lizards when the new Living Amphibians, Invertebrates and Reptiles center (The LAIR) opens in the fall.
Onlookers should note, though, they may be disappointed not to see the red of the lizards' eyes. Expelling blood is a reaction reserved for only the most threatening situations, indicating discomfort in their new home and an expiration date on their survival.
"Since the lizards haven't disp

Sometimes, zoos can have too much of a good thing
At the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, animal births are normally celebrated. Photographs are snapped. Naming contests are held. Pandas? Oh, the zoo goes ape when it comes to the arrival of a new panda.
In some cases, though, the zoo doesn’t want a bundle of joy.
An animal may be getting up in age and a pregnancy might be dangerous. The males and females could be too closely related, causing concerns about inbreeding. The animals may be just too good at making babies, leading to overpopulation.
So like zoos nationwide, the one here does gender separation or puts the creatures on birth control. Affected species include lions, Visayan warty pigs, sika deer and elephants, among others.
“The zoo’s female elephants are all on contraception,” said Yadira Galindo, a zoo spokeswoman. “The advanced age could cause complications during a pregnancy, so the decision was made to put them on contraception.”
Zoos nationwide do this. It’s a little bit ironic, though. Many zoos work tirelessly to preserve those species that are threatened and endangered in the wild. But the zoos also have to make sure some animals they house don’t strain their facilities’ limited spaces by procreating at a rate that’s unsustainable.
Take the sika deer at the Safari Park, for instance. That species of Asian deer doesn’t have a problem when it comes being fruitful and multiplying. So some of the males have undergone vasectomies. If males are needed again to breed, the vasectomies are reversed.
These are the more drastic measures undertaken to avoid unwanted pregnancies, though. The zoo prefers, when it’s possible, merely to separate the males and females.
That’s the case with Visayan warty pigs. They’re critically endangered and hadn’t been bred in zoos outside of the Philippines, according to the zoo. But they must like the air in San Diego or something. They were so prolific they had to be separated. All the ones on exhibit at the zoo are females.
For some species, that’s perfectly natural. In the wild, many deer species form bachelor herds and stay away from the females until nature calls.
But for others, it’s more complicated. Take the zoo’s lions, Mbari and Etosha. They live together because that’s what lions do in the wild. But Etosha has given birth twice and suffered complications, so the zoo made the decision to sterilize her.
Contraception for zoo animals is not something that’s universally accepted. A number of European zoos don’t believe in the practice, arguing that it’s unfair for animals not to experience the joys of sex, pregnancies and parenthood. In the wild, after all, this is what animals do.
But that philosophy causes its own set of problems. If the offspring is unwanted, it’s sometimes killed. In some cases, the meat is fed to the lions.
“It’s a cultural difference,” said Cheryl Asa, the director of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Wildlife Contraceptive Center at the St. Louis Zoo. “I can’t imagine people in the United States accepting that practice.”
It is, however, a more natural one, she said. Young animals in the wild are susceptible to disease and predators. They do indeed die. “But what’s not more natural is humans, not Mother Nature, doing the killing.”
The practice has come under fire. In 2008, in a Switzerland zoo, a baby hippo was born that quickly captivated the nation. But there was one problem: There was no room for the new guy. Once he reached maturity, he and his dad were going to battle for dominance. It’s what male hippos do.
The baby hippo ended up being shipped to a game reserve in South Africa last year.
U.S. zoos have little choice but to use birth control because many animals breed quite well in zoo environments, Asa said. “You always hear about the animals that don’t breed well. What you don’t hear about are the ones that breed too easily.”
Big cats, for one.
At a Bangladesh zoo, new lions and tigers began overwhelming the facility recently. It had room for 16, but the number jumped to 36. It had to put the animals on contraceptives.
While separating the animals is an effective tool, that practice should also be limited, Asa said. It dates back to the early days of zoos, when it was the only option available. But some animals are social creatures and enjoy the company of other animals. Keeping them apart can cause behavior problems.
It also lessens the zoo-going experience for the public. It’s not as enthralling to see animals all by their lonesome, she said. The zoos are supposed to duplicate the animals’ experience in the wild as closely as possible.
There are a number of safe birth-control methods, she said. For primates, human birth control, such as the Pill, can work. Implants containing a synthetic progestin which block ovulation are also a popular method.
Still, this is relatively new science. Zoos started using contraceptives in the 1970s. The AZA Wildlife Contraception Center was established in 1989. It doesn’t recommend which animal should be on birth control, Asa said. It just provides the different methods.
They don’t always

Edmonton zoo's care of elephant adequate, humane society finds
Lucy the elephant is being cared for by the Valley Zoo within the standards of the Animal Protection Act, according to the Edmonton Humane Society.
The society has been investigating the elephant's care since Oct. 5, when they received a complaint. The society conducts many such investigations, usually on domestic or farm animals.
"We're certainly not elephant experts, for sure, though we did rely on outside experts in this case," said senior animal protection officer B. Nicoll said.
Those experts, and the details of the investigation, are protected for privacy reasons Nicoll added.
The investigation is ongoing. "Our investigation will remain open until all requirements and recommendations are fulfilled," Nicoll said. "We take all investigations seriously and this one is no different."
Those recommendations are that the Valley Zoo continue to facilitate efforts to exercise the elephant in the winter, diagnose and treat her respiratory problem and manage her weight. Though elephants usually breathe through their trunks, Lucy has a respiratory problem that necessitates she breathe through her mouth. A

2 pandas will remain in US 5 more years
Mei Xiang and Tian Tian will continue to stay in the United States’National Zoo for another five years, Chinese officials said at a news conference on Wednesday.
Moments after President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao finished a White House news briefing, China Wildlife Conservation Association announced an extended five-year agreement with the National Zoo in Washington D.C. for giant panda breeding and research right after the previous cooperative plan expired at the end of 2010.
The pair of pandas was in the Smithsonian National Zoo on a 10-year cooperative agreement with a loan of $10 million and they can remain in the

Little River Zoo in Norman closes doors to public
Financial difficulties have forced the Little River Zoo in Norman to close to the public, although it remains a sanctuary for about 400 animals, director Mickey Pierce said.
“We're having to fight to stay open as a sanctuary. It's exhausting, both physically and emotionally, but we do it out of love for these animals,” Pierce said.
The zoo, which is on 120th Avenue SE, south of State Highway 9, is a nonprofit corporation that relies completely on donations to survive, Pierce said.
Bill and Janet Schmid co-founded the zoo in the early 1990s, but have been unable to afford much-needed repairs, Pierce said.
“You know, after a while things become antiquated,” the director said. “It needs a complete renovation

Zoo Keeper Killed on I-15
The San Diego Zoo is mourning the loss of a senior mammal keeper.
Adam Ruble was killed Sunday night after running into fast moving traffic on Interstate 15 just south of Miramar Way, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Ruble's car was on the center divide when he ran out onto the freeway and was struck by a one car and then several other vehicles, the CHP said. His unoccupied car was working and had half a tank of gas.
There are a lot of unanswered questions as to why he ran into traffic. One CHP officer called it, “baffling.” It does not appear drugs or alcohol were involved.
Those who cared about Ruble are stunned and heartbroken.
“He was very well liked and dedicated to his profession of animal care,” said zoo spokesperson Christina Simmons.
Ruble worked at the San Diego Zoo since 2005. He went to Australia in 2008 to work at the Melbourne Zoo for three months and returned to the San Diego Zoo where he worked with zebras and polar bears.
“It's a disbelief. He's too vibrant

Tiger mauls tigress to death in zoo
In a shocking incident, a tiger mauled a tigress to death in the cage in Chaudhary Surender Singh Memorial Zoological Park at Bhiwani on Wednesday. The rogue tiger had also killed a man and another tigress in the past in the same zoo. The incident occurred zoo staff was serving meat to the animals, which were in different cages. However, as one of the employees? left the gate of the cage in which the tiger, Apaya, is kept, unbolted, the beast leapt outside and pounced upon the tigress, Rani, grabbing it by the neck. Deep wounds on the neck led to its death on the spot. The employees claimed that they tried to scare away the attacking tiger.
Hisar divisional wildlife officer, Shakti Singh told TOI, ?Prima facie there seems to be no negligence on part of employees. Apaya has a history of violent behaviour and we have written to the higher authorities to shift the animal to another place, but yet to get any response.? Apaya had also killed a zoo employee, Mahavir Singh, on January 29, 2010, when he had left the rear gate of the cage open,

Mysterious deaths of big cats at Tehran zoo captivate nation
The Tehran zoo remained closed Tuesday as a mystery surrounds the killing of several big cats, stunning the city and leaving angry mourners demanding answers from authorities amid accusations of politics and environmental bungling.
Between eight and 14 lions and tigers were reportedly shot in the head over the weekend amid conflicting reports regarding an outbreak of glanders, a potentially lethal disease that normally affects equine species but can spread to humans and other mammals.
After animal-rights activists and horrified zoo patrons expressed outrage at the killings, authorities later claimed that the animals were euthanized by injection, and they revised the number of big cats killed from 14 to 10 and then eight.
But the tragedy may reveal an even darker truth: Critics now claim the animals were victims of an irresponsible and politicized publicity stunt by government and zoo officials who claimed the cats were part of a program to revive the wild tiger population surrounding the Caspian Sea, where the animals have not been seen in over 50 years.
"[Bringing the tigers] from the very beginning was a just an empty and unscientific measure, because the Siberian tiger is not the same as the

Park boss hits back at cruelty jibe
KNOWSLEY Safari Park has been inundated with a mixture of support and abuse since their former press photographer released a string of distressing images of dead animals.
The images, taken by Penny Boyd between April and August last year, included pictures of rotting animal carcasses and a monkey kept alone in a cramped cage.
A Knowsley Council and Merseyside Police investigation subsequently found that the park had breached carcass disposal regulations.
But, among the messages posted on the safari park’s Facebook “wall” this week was one from Amanda Senior which read: “My four-year-old son loves KSP. I use KSP as a tool to teach him right from wrong about animal welfare and, although I am distressed about reports in the media, I would not dream of cutting off my nose to spite my face.”
Another, from Ruth Goode, read: “I love KSP and fully support them all the way.”
But another, from Tracy Brereton, read: “A full admission of responsibility, a forward plan for the future and a full apology needs to be issued by KSP.
“It’s not happened so far and I doubt it ever will. By not doing this they have only highlighted their own

Chester Zoo employs strict procedures for disposal of dead animals
CHESTER Zoo says the welfare and respect of its animals is ‘paramount’ in the wake of allegations that dead bodies at Knowsley Safari Park were dumped and left to rot.
Former official park photographer Penny Boyd released shocking images of carcasses left out in the open at the Merseyside tourist attraction.
Her gruesome dossier also included two dead deer – one of which was allegedly left in a container for at least 10 days – and a baboon in a plastic bin bag.
Chester Zoo confirmed it has strict procedures in place to deal with the disposal of dead animals.
A spokeswoman said: “Every animal that dies within the zoo is removed from its enclosure and a post-mortem carried out under controlled conditions, either here at our animal health centre or at Leahurst Veterinary School in Neston.
“The body is then disposed of appropriately – usually by incineration – in accordance with strict legal UK requirements.”
Ms Boyd, who took the photographs last year, alleges that some of the animals were ‘culled’ – a claim denied by the park.
Chester Zoo does not cull animals and has other methods in place to keep the number of animals at a sustainable level.
The spokeswoman added: “Chester Zoo has a number of strict policies, procedures and guidelines in place. These are based on national

Fruit bats need new homes, experts say
Foreign scientists on bat conservation along with Filipino advocate Norma Monfort are now looking for new homes to accommodate Geoffroy’s rousette bats.
Now in the Island Garden City of Samal for the upcoming Bat Camp on January 22 to 30, these foreign bat experts are aiming to learn more by immersing in what they consider the most interesting bat colony in the whole world, the Monfort Bat Conservation Park.
The Island Garden City of Samal, part of Davao del Norte Province, is off the coast of Mindanao, third largest group of the Philippine islands. Monfort Bat Cave is about 245 feet (75 meters) long and has five entrances. Bats cover 75 percent of its ceilings and walls. These are large bats, with males averaging just under a quarter of a pound (112 grams).
“This is already my fifth visit here and I am so glad that the conservation park remains protected,” said Dr. Dave Waldien, vice president of Bat Conservation International.
The Monfort Bat Conservation Park houses about 1.8 million Geoffroy’s rousette fruit bats, averaging 60 bats in every square foot.
Monfort, owner of the Monfort Bat Conservation Park, fought hard just to maintain and develop the property which was almost acquired and managed by the local government.
Admitting that she could not do bat conservation

Zoo elephant handler's death spurs outpouring of support across US
The sympathy and support keep coming in - from Pennsylvania, from Ohio, and from brothers and sisters in zookeeping everywhere.
Stephanie Elaine James, 33, died Jan. 14 from internal injuries suffered when Edie, a 26-year-old African elephant, pushed her into the bars of a stall in the Stokely African Elephant Preserve barn at the Knoxville Zoo during evening feeding. Her death made her the first person killed by an elephant at a zoo in Tennessee history, authorities said.
Family and friends plan to say goodbye to James today during services in Indianapolis, her hometown. Cards, letters, flowers and other condolences from elephant handlers nationwide have arrived all week, zoo officials said.
"The outpouring of sympathy has been overwhelming, and we have been extremely touched by the caring response we've received from our colleagues in other zoos as well as from friends and supporters from all over the country," said Jim Vlna, the zoo's executive director. "We can't thank everyone enough."
Friends at the Pittsburgh Zoo know what it's like. The zoo lost elephant handler Mike Gatti, 46, on Nov. 18, 2002, when an 18-year-old African elephant named Moja knocked him down and crushed him during a morning walk.
"A zoo is a family, even nationwide," said Barbara Baker

Zoo wants 400 kilos of onions
All the animals housed at Jijamata Udyan (Victoria & Albert Zoo Gardens) may soon be eating from better pastures as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) gears up to float its annual tender for supply of fresh vegetables used to feed them.
Included in the tender is an order for 400 kg of onions, which will attract many wholesale vegetable suppliers.
According to BMC officials, this onion order is strictly for consumption by the zoo animals and not for employees working at the BMC headquarters.
In addition, the tender is not restricted to onions only, but also an

Crocodile bursts in tears after swallowing zoo visitor’s mobile phone
A croc named Gena at a Ukrainian zoo had to undergo surgery after eating an unusual lunch.
The 14-year-old reptile swallowed a mobile telephone after a visitor dropped it into his cage.
The woman tried ringing the phone in the hope this would make Gena cough it back up, but it only gave him a huge fright.
The zoo’s employees say that the crocodile is going through an enormously stressful time. The reptile barely moves, does not eat and has digestion problems. Luckily, other members of the crocodile family are very supportive of their leader.
Zoo keepers thought Gena would lose the phone when nature took its course, but it seems the fright caused by the ringing has tensed him up too much.
They even tried to feed the reptile with laxative-stuffed partridges, but Gena

Following the announcement that Edinburgh Zoo has secured the loan of two giant pandas from China, the Born Free Foundation is alarmed to hear that the Zoo may need large amounts of taxpayers’ money to fund their plan.
Despite reportedly being warned by official zoo inspectors that Edinburgh Zoo should focus on improvements to current facilities in order to guarantee the welfare of its existing animals, according to reports in The Scotsman, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland will have to pay ‘millions of pounds’ to lease the pandas from the Chinese Government.
The news prompted Will Travers, CEO of the Born Free Foundation, to comment: “Every time some one says giant panda, pandemonium breaks out! But who wants these pandas in Edinburgh? The Born Free Foundation certainly doesn’t. It appears that commercial sponsors, quite rightly, have other priorities (and may share our view that this whole thing is little more than animal exploitation

Easy bids to breed rare beast
ONE of Doncaster's best-known visitor attractions is set to help save an endangered species of tiger after it made a pledge to breed the big cats.
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Branton is joining a Europe-wide campaign to preserve the endangered Siberian Tiger - a species which is critically endangered.
It will take delivery of two pairs of the animals, described as the largest big
cats in the world, later this year.
They are expected to arrive in the spring.
Work is now starting on accommodation for the tigers, which will be brought to Doncaster from zoos across Europe.
It is believed there are fewer than 450 of the species still surviving in the world.
Directors at the walkthrough safari park have been working with the stud bookkeeper for the Amur (Siberian) Tiger European Breeding Programme to identify the four individuals which could come to Doncaster.
Tigers in the breeding programme are selected for their suitability and genetic diversity.
Park boss Cheryl Williams said: "They are definitely coming, but we don't know where they will be coming

Zoo forum studies animal welfare
What makes a hippo happy? How does one measure the contentment of a snow monkey?
Questions such as these represent the leading edge of research into zoo animal welfare, which aims to solve a larger challenge: How can a zoo know if efforts to give its animal residents a satisfying life are working?
The Detroit Zoological Society's Center for Zoo Animal Welfare, in partnership with Michigan State University, will continue to explore the answers at a day-long forum Sunday for zoo professionals from Michigan zoos as well as animal welfare students and faculty from MSU.
The forum isn't open to the public. About 50 people who work with animals, and MSU students and professors will talk about efforts in the applied studies to improve animal welfare. Research findings from zoo and university studies will be presented, and roundtable discussions will focus on various topics, including how farm animal welfare research can be applied to zoo animal welfare science. The forum

Gorilla known for using own cup to drink water dies at Fukuoka zoo
A gorilla at a local zoo, who is known for using his own cup to drink water, has died of old age.

Willy, the western lowland gorilla who was estimated to be over 45 years old, spent 43 years and three months at the Fukuoka City Zoological Garden, making him over 80 years old in human terms, according to zoo officials. He is believed to have been the oldest western lowland gorilla in captivity in Japan.
Willy drew attention from visitors after he started drinking water using a cup that a visitor to the

Sri Lanka mahouts suspended over elephant death

Sri Lanka's main elephant orphanage Monday suspended two mahouts and a curator following the death of a 23-year-old male pachyderm in their care, a senior official said.

Zoological department director Baashwara Gunaratne said the elephant, named Neelagiri, had died of wounds suffered when its keepers had poked it with sharp implements in November at the Pinnawela orphanage.
"We consider this a very serious matter and we also calling the police to investigate in addition our own internal departmental inquiry," Gunaratne said. "We will take stern action against officials who failed to supervise mahouts."
The orphanage, in a coconut grove about 80 kilometres (50 miles) east of Colombo, is a major tourist attraction.
Formally established in 1975, the orphanage shelters more than 70 elephants, most of them abandoned or separated from their herds when

North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association To Sponsor NC Zoo Veterinary Camp

The North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association (NCVMA) has become the named sponsor of the four Veterinary Science Camps that the NC Zoo offers each year to young people who are interested in pursuing careers in veterinary medicine.

Chief Veterinarian and NCVMA member Dr. Mike Loomis oversees these camps, each of which offers intensive, hands-on educational experiences to 20 campers. The camps engage aspiring veterinarians in activities that mirror many of the day-to-day activities that unfold in a typical veterinary practice and acquaint campers with some of the specialized techniques veterinarians use when working with wild, free-ranging animals.
The first two camps take place in May. These one-day camps are suitable for 12- to 15-year-old youngsters. The remaining two camps, which extend over three days, are held in July and accept 15- to 18-year-old campers. These Senior Camps provide broader and more in-depth experiences, including, teaching the basics of delivering CPR to cats and dogs and taking campers into the veterinary hospital’s surgical suite to observe a surgery in the zoo’s veterinary hospital.
As the sponsor of these Veterinary Camps, NCVMA has provided a $5,000 donation to the NC Zoo Society. Zoo veterinarians will use the gift to purchase surgical equipment and instruments, as well as medications for use by the NC Zoo’s Valerie H. Schindler Wildlife
Paul the Octopus memorialized at German aquarium

Paul the celebrated octopus has finally got his tentacles wrapped around a football.

The Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen on Thursday unveiled a memorial to the World Cup’s most unlikely star: A 2-meter (6½-foot) tall plastic replica of Paul clutching a ball in his eight arms.
Aquarium spokeswoman Tanja Munzig said Paul’s cremated ashes were placed in a gold-leaf-covered urn inside



Email action against Lufthansa's biofuel plans

Dear friends,

The German Lufthansa has published plans for the world's first commercial flights with agrofuel-blends from April 2011 – including palm oil. They have entered into a partnership with Finnish oil and agrofuel company Neste Oil, who have recently opened the world's largest biodiesel refinery in Singapore, which is running exclusively on palm oil, at the expense of rainforests and peatlands, indigenous and other rural communities. Please call on the German government to withdraw their subsidies (2.5 million Euros) for this scheme and demand that Lufthansa calls of their agrofuel flights. To take part in this email action, please go to

Please let friends and families know about these alerts. Many thanks.

Best regards,

Klaus Schenck
Rainforest Rescue
22391 Hamburg
49 -40 - 4103804


Gibbon Husbandry Conference Update

Hello gibbon keepers/managers/ researchers,

Based on responses from the gibbon conference website release, particularly internationally, we are considering postponing the conference until next year. Before we make our decision, I'd like to ask for feedback from anyone considering attending. By postponing, we can advertise more thoroughly internationally, thus taking the conference to a more intense level in terms of the amount and diversity of content. We feel that this would be a benefit to all of us, and therefore, a benefit to gibbons worldwide. Updates would be posted on the conference website (www.2011gibbonconf . We have also had feedback about the short notice provided and the difficulty that some may have making travel and budget arrangements this quickly.

We would appreciate your feedback on this forum or by emailing us at:


4th International Congress on Zookeeping

9-13 September 2012


Theme “Many Voices One Calling”

Sponsored by Wildlife Reserves Singapore , Singapore Tourism Bureau

Further information to come.

For information on sponsorship or exhibition opportunities email

Check the ICZ website  for latest news.


Zoo Conferences, Meetings, Courses and Symposia
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