Monday, January 24, 2011

Zoo News Digest 22nd - 24th January 2011 (Zoo News 721)

Zoo News Digest 22nd - 24th January 2011 (Zoo News 721)

Pteropus giganteus 
Photo by Jonas Livet

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleagues,

It was the photograph of Erin Ballagh of Mebourne Zoo with her elephant which brought the recent tragic accidental death of Stephanie James back to the front of my mind. So sad. So very very sad.
Then I look at Erin, happy with a happy elephant as no doubt also was Stephanie and her animals. I have been an elephant keeper for parts of my career and whereas I fully understand the nuts and bolts, the if's, but's, why's and wherefore's of the 'hands off/protected contact' policy which some zoos choose to adopt, it would not be for me. I like 'hand's on/free contact'. For me, personally with all the associated risks, it offers rewards of a kind that can be had nowhere else. I describe a little of this in my Hub King Kong versus the elephant. I don't expect approval or support for my point of view as Elephant Care is a huge and so often misunderstood subject. Only those who have worked directly with them will fully understand. Many though will have a point of view.

So Malaysia wants the Oranutans to come home. I would be delighted to see some selected Malaysian animals returned to the Jungles of Sabah. I think though it would be a good idea to start out with the so called 'rescue' animals that one encounters in the luxury Malaysian hotel complexes. If it works with them then returning animals from the UK and Europe would be great. I just hope we are not going to have some sort of Elgin Marble scenario. The odd thing about this story is that it follows on so closely behind that of the daft proposal to introduce animals to Peninsula Malaysia. Any connection I wonder?

I am all for making the harrassment of zoo animals a crime. I could write a book on the things I have witnessed over the years.

The headline "Edinburgh Zoo unable to raise sponsorship for new pandas" must have pleased the Born Free Foundation. I can just picture them licking the blood off their claws. Instead of doing something useful they are causing positive harm to conservation, not for Pandas, but for the other in-situ projects that Edinburgh supports. They should be ashamed of themselves. But they won't. It is a common tactic for all these 'Animal Rights' type of organisation to put the boot in when they see their victim wounded. Just watch and see.

"Food is the key to big cat's survival". Without a doubt. No argument about it but to suggest that Big Cats are roaming free in the UK is absolute hogwash. There is no proof. None at all. A determined red fox will pull down and kill quite a large antelope and straying or feral dogs certainly will.

Whereas I remain ever concious of the fact that I still owe a few of you replies there never seems to be enough hours in a day for me to do everything I want to do. To complicate matters I am disappearing 'off the map' for a few days and whereas I will have internet access I will only have limited time on it. This of course will mean more answers on my return.

Please consider a donation to Zoo News Digest during 2011. Apart from being needed it will be most welcome and greatly appreciated. Easy, quick and safe to do. Please just click on the donate button on the top left of the Blog Page and follow the instructions 
Thank You

My sincere thanks to the 12 people who have donated in 2011 so far.

Don't miss anything. If you are on Facebook
 please click Like on
 Zoo News Digest Facebook page
and be kept regularily updated.

Looking for a job?   
See new vacancies posted in recent days. Take a look at:
Got one to advertise? email me

Articles You May Have Missed

9th Annual Symposium on the Conservation and Biology of Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles

This blog has readers from 151 countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote D’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eire, England, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lapland, Lao, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Montenegro, Montserrat, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Northern Mariana Islands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Reunion, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uruguay, US Virgin Islands, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Wales, Yemen, Zambia.

The ZooNews Digest continues to be read more often by more staff in more zoos than any other publication.

Please feel free to use the comment section at the end of this Zoo News Digest.

Is your meeting/conference/symposium listed here?
If not why not? ZooNews Digest is read by more zoo people than any other similar publication. I will advertise up till the event.
Please visit the
if you are looking for books for yourself or as gifts.


On with links: 

Malaysia wants orang utans abroad to 'come home'
Malaysia will help non-governmental organisations to bring back orang-utans from zoos abroad and rehabilitate them in their native environment in Sabah.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said that the government was keen to assist in the rescue of displaced orang utans currently placed in zoos in Europe and United Kingdom.
He said one obese orang utan named Oshine, highlighted by the international media, was rescued from a private owner in South Africa and was now being rehabilitated at Monkey World in Dorset, UK.
“It is being put on a diet in the centre as it had grown too fat and has apparently never seen another orang utan until it arrived at Monkey World,” he said during a dialogue with

European beavers construct ideal habitats for bats
By felling trees, beavers thin out the canopy, scientists have found, leaving fewer obstacles in the way of aerial-hunting bats as they pursue insects.
Also, river-damming by beavers boosts the numbers of these insect prey by creating large waterlogged areas.
Scientists say this study provides further evidence of beavers' essential role in maintaining

Harrassing zoo animals may be criminal
Messing with a zoo animal is just plain stupid. Soon it may become its own crime.
State Representative Al Park wants to make sure people who get too close to the exotic creatures face jail time for it.
He has introduced a bill that is a direct result of last summer's zoo break-in by a group of college students. The group hopped a fence at the Rio Grande Zoo late at night, and then posted pictures of their midnight safari on Facebook.
They got into the giraffe, sea lion and rhino exhibits.
The Facebook pictures caused an outrage, and prompted zoo director Rick Janser to make it very clear how dangerous the stunt was.
Here is what he said in June: “A giraffe can kick the head off a lion, so they are very lucky that they weren't injured by these animals.” Janser went on to say, “We've got a 500 lb male sea lion in there who is very territorial.”
Now Park wants to make something clear: If you mess with a zoo animal you could go to jail.
Janser strongly support

Hundreds of Orangutans to Finally Get Taste of Freedom in Indonesia
A conservation group on Wednesday finally got the go-ahead to release captive orangutans back into the wild, following a nine-year hyatus marked by zero releases.
Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia, a subsidiary of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, was awarded a concession for an orangutan release area by the Ministry of Forestry in August 2010.
The concession covers 86,540 hectares of previously logged land in East Kalimantan, for which the RHOI must pay a license fee of Rp 13 billion ($1.4 million) over the next 60 years.
But the sluggish bureaucratic process meant the group only now received approval to start releasing the apes back into the wild.
“In addition to the concession we’ve been granted by the Forestry Ministry, we plan to add another 23,000 hectares in the northern part of East Kalimantan, because not all the land we got is suitable as an orangutan release habitat,” said Togu Manurung, chairman of the BOS Foundation.
“The topography is the main challenge — at 900 meters above sea level, it’s too high an elevation for orangutans.”
He said each orangutan

Rare Sunda Clouded Leopard Has Two Distinct Types
Tests have proven a long-held belief that Borneo's rare Sunda clouded leopard is really a different subspecies from its Indonesian relative, researchers said Sunday.
The two subspecies of Sunda leopard -- which was only identified as a species in its own right in 2007 -- must now be managed differently, said a report by Andreas Wilting from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and researchers from the Sabah wildlife and forestry departments.
"The Sunda clouded leopard in Borneo and Sumatra is a different species from clouded leopards across the Asian mainland," Wilting said.
"We suspected the leopards on Borneo and Sumatra have likely been geographically separated since the last Ice Age, and we now

Clouded leopard: Sabah to try captive breeding
The clouded leopards in Borneo belong to a unique subspecies.
This discovery was made in a recent scientific study by an international team of researchers led by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin (IZW), with the collaboration of Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD). Using genetic and morphological analyses, they demonstrated that Bornean clouded leopards need to be classified into a unique subspecies (Neofelis diardi borneensis) distinct from its relatives in Sumatra.
The clouded leopards drew international attention in 2006, when scientists found there to be two species living with distinct distributions.
Clouded leopards from Borneo and Sumatra are genetically and morphologically highly distinct from their relatives on the mainland (Neofelis nebulosa) and, thus, form a separate species, the Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi).
Following up on these findings, a team of researchers led by

Nothing fishy about Karratha coral farm's expansion
Three years ago, Wayne McKenzie-Brown made a living selling coral, fish and shells to a few aquarium enthusiasts around Australia.
Now his business, Australian Coral Farms, is gearing up to become the world's largest marine production facility.
The farm, in the Western Australian town of Karratha, currently sends 70 per cent of its product to the world's poshest fish tanks.
Mr McKenzie-Brown says that's only going to get bigger once he completes a $20 million expansion, including 13 new hatcheries, improved holding tanks and sealed

Rising onion prices hit Mumbai zoo
Soaring prices of vegetables and onion are affecting the diet of the animals at the Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and zoo at Byculla. The zoo authority is feeding only one kg of onion to all of the mammals and 450 birds, as a digestive stimulator.
The authority has prepared a diet list for each animal with the help of animal nutrition experts from the veterinary college in Parel.
This year, the suppliers have not got fresh and enough vegetables due to the rising prices. Also, there is lack of variety of vegetables in the market as untimely showers ruined the onion crop in September and October 2010.
The civic body passed a proposal of setting aside about Rs11 lakh every year for feeding the zoo animals. The contractors supply vegetables for the herbivorous animals and meat for the carnivorous

US Zoo calls in specialist, hoping to put panda's fertility back on cycle
The Memphis Zoo has turned to specialists with the hope of realigning the fertility cycle of Ya Ya, the facility's female giant panda.
The zoo's curator of mammals, Matt Thompson, says Ya Ya has been fertile during the holiday season, months before pandas are typically fertile. Despite insemination during that period, Ya Ya has been unable to carry a cub to term.
Thompson told The Memphis Commercial

Singapore based company to design Saigon Safari Park
The Singapore based company Bernard Harrison & Friends Ltd. has been selected as designers of the newly planned Saigon Safari Park in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City on January 22.
The park will be located in An Nhon Tay and Phu My Hung communes of the district, about 80 kilometers from the city.
The park project covering an area of 456.85 hectares will be the biggest safari park in the region at an estimated cost of US$500 million.
As per the initial blueprint, the park will have an open zoo, a night safari, a butterfly centre, a botanical museum, a fauna and flora research centre and a nature museum.
The safari park is expected to have a large

'Bird geek' is man behind the penguins
His official title at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is aviculturist.
Or, as Cody Sowers puts it, "I'm kind of a bird geek."
True bird geek that he is, Sowers isn't in it for the glamour. The 29-year-old Milford resident doesn't mind toiling in a cold, wet environment; or thawing and preparing 60 pounds of frozen fish for the 100 or so birds in his care; or cleaning exhibits - "we're hosing poop," he says - before the first zoo visitors arrive
As a keeper in the polar section of the Wings of the World exhibit, he works with about 20 species of sea birds from the Arctic and Antarctic, including penguins, puffins and auklets. The zoo has several species of auklets that are not housed anywhere else the world.
If Sowers does find himself in a foul - rather than fowl - mood, all he need do, he says, is glance at the people streaming through the bird house.
"You see kids and adults - everybody - just so excited to be here. That kinds of keeps me in check because even if I'm having a bad day, all these people would probably pay to be standing right here."
"Right here" is behind the glass of the Sub Antarctic Coast display, where it's 40 degrees and Sowers has just finished hand-feeding six king penguins. The second largest

Top marks for Zoo keepers
THREE Dudley Zoo keepers have achieved top marks in their animal care exams.
Jay Haywood, aged 27, Luke Millar, 23, and 22 year-old Stacey Ball, fit in their Advanced National Certificate in the Management of Zoo Animals studies around their animal keeping duties at the Castle Hill attraction.
Jay, from Dudley, joined DZG in 2000 and has cared for big cats and ungulates. Bird keeper Luke, from Tewkesbury, started work on site in 2008 and Walsall-based Stacey has been at the zoo for five years looking after primates and birds.
Zoo Registrar and Research co-ordinator Dr David Beeston said: “Jay, Luke and Stacey have done

Love shack for angry elephant
Wildlife Alliance plans to invest US$70,000 to build two new cages to facilitate the breeding of a recently captured renegade elephant named Sambo and three potential mates at Phnom Tamao Zoo.
Nhem Thy, vice-director and animal technical expert at the Phnom Tamao Zoo, said plans had been made to build one cage for Sambo and another for three female elephants named Narann, Lucky and Chamroeun.
“We are building safe cages for Sambo and for Narann, Lucky and Chamroeun so they can breed and increase the elephant population,” he said.
He said according to estimates, Sambo’s new cage will cost $10,000 and the cage for Narann, Lucky and Chamroeun will cost an additional $60,000.
He added that zoo officials will also attempt a second meeting between Sambo and Srey Pao, the female elephant who refused Sambo’s advances earlier this

Erin's mammoth job a pleasure
THE day is one of obliterating brightness and tropical heat, when even in the shade you are compelled to squint.
And then comes a rumbling roar that opens the eyes so wide they could well leave their sockets.
What follows is a moment of quietness, of the sort you get when a gun goes off in the dark.
And then Erin Ballagh laughs. ‘‘That’s just Kulab,’’ she says.
‘‘They have all sorts of vocalisations.’’
As if to prove the point, Kulab, still out of sight, lets rip with the familiar trumpeting sound of Tarzan movies.
Soon enough, she wanders along the fence, making no sound at all in the dust with her tree-trunk feet.
Her calf, Ongard, ambles along next to her, mimicking her gait in an exaggerated fashion. They both have their ears lifted up and back.
‘‘She’s been listening to us, checking us out,’’ says Ms Ballagh, who then mutters a few things to the elephant that I can’t decipher.
‘‘She’s happy. You can tell by the softness in her eyes.’’
We’re sitting in a corner of the working area in the elephant compound at Melbourne Zoo. When Ms Ballagh was taken on as a trainee handler four years ago — learning how to read the various signals and behaviours by which elephants communicate— her first 12 months were spent almost

An unprecedented insight into killer whale behavior
Local scientists unveil surprising new research
Groundbreaking new research has revealed some fascinating insights into the patterns of killer whales near Alaska.
A scientist with the Vancouver Aquarium has discovered a surprising number of killer whales are preying on grey whales, the species far larger than themselves.
Lance Barrett-Lennard and his team of researchers have been following whale behaviour up north for four years.
He says they were surprised to discover killer whales are storing the carcasses of grey whales "They're killing the grey whales in relatively shallow water, stashing their carcasses on the bottom, feeding on them for a few hours, and then returning to feed on them for several days."
According to researchers, this kind of storage behaviour has never

Food is the key to big cat's survival
ASK any citizen of the UK if they believe that we have wild boar living free in our countryside and most will confirm this fact, having seen them on the television and read about them in local and national newspapers.
But mention big cats living wild and thriving amongst us then the answer is generally – yeah, right.
When it comes to evidence of their existence, we have deer kills.
If these big cats are in any way derived from leopards and pumas, antelope and deer would be their preferred prey, and as we have no native antelopes, then deer, which we have plenty of, are the natural choice for these animals to prey on.
When a deer kill is encountered, many times it has all the hallmarks of a large predatory cat kill – asphyxiation, or broken neck, deep puncture wounds to the head and neck area.
Bones would be licked clean, large claw marks on the flesh and a large amount of meat consumed in one session.
The evidence is very unlikely for any other native predator or dog to achieve.
Also, remains of deer kills have been reported in lower branches and forks of trees.
Indeed, not long ago an unnamed deer poacher rang me to confirm that he has found blood and deer hair where a deer carcass has been carried up into a willow tree.
The same chap also mentioned the fact that when he was skinning a fallow deer taken from the same area, very long claw marks were found on the haunches.
These frequent occurrences are accepted as just part of their working agenda and are often heralded as a possible threat to their stock rather than a rare sight in our green and

Edinburgh Zoo unable to raise sponsorship for new pandas
When news of their arrival was confirmed earlier this month, it was hailed as a diplomatic and scientific coup that would prove a massive money-spinner for Edinburgh Zoo.
But as plans are drawn up to accommodate giant pandas Tian Tian and Yangguang, disquiet is growing among conservation groups and questions are being asked about who is going to foot the estimated £6 million bill for their loan.
It emerged at the weekend that despite hopes of attracting a high-profile backer, no commercial sponsors are yet in place for the pandas, while Will Travers, chief executive officer of the Born Free Foundation, claimed the plan amounted to “animal exploitation”.
He said: “I am convinced Scotland does not need pandas any more than pandas need Scotland. It appears commercial sponsors, quite rightly, have other priorities and may share our view this whole thing is little more than animal exploitation.”
Edinburgh Zoo insisted yesterday that the breeding pair of giant pandas, which will arrive here from China in the autumn, will be a viable draw and that the species will benefit from research done here.
The zoo says it has already met informally with potential sponsors and that a robust business plan took account of the forecast increase in visitor numbers

Russian Activists Rescue Animals From Abandoned Zoo
Dozens of animals abandoned by a traveling zoo in Russia -- including some endangered species -- have been rescued from dire conditions thanks to intervention by local journalists and citizens' pressure on public officials.
The animals require special care and still face a long road to recovery after having been transferred from cramped cages to a municipal zoo last month.
"The wolves were in the worst shape. They had been fed only once or twice a week, and not at all what they should have been eating," Ivan Romanov, chief zookeeper at the Tanai Lake State Park, told AOL News. "When we got the Ussurian tiger, it could hardly get up; now, it's much better, although still hardly in good health."
Only one of the bears rescued appears ready to go into late hibernation, Romanov said, adding, "Without sufficient fat reserves, bears die in their sleep."
The prosecutor's office in the city of Kemerovo confirms that an investigation is under way, but it is unclear when or if charges will be brought because no one has been able to track down the people responsible for the abuse.
The animals' plight surfaced in early November after a journalism student brought photographs to the editorial offices of Tom, a weekly newspaper in Kemerovo


******************************************************************************* in January 2011

~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~

Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!



Owl Castle at Weltvogelpark Walsrode is a display of owls and some other raptors in surroundings that convey the atmosphere of medieval castle ruins:



Thanks to Eduardo Diaz Garcia we are able to present the Spanish
translation of a previously published Vienna Zoo exhibit
presentation: Paseo por la Naturaleza: En el Bosque


We keep working on ZooLex ...

The ZooLex Zoo Design Organization is a non-profit organization
registered in Austria (ZVR-Zahl 933849053). ZooLex runs a professional
zoo design website and distributes this newsletter. More information and


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
click HERE 



The Zoo Biology Group is concerned with all disciplines involved in the running of a Zoological Garden. Captive breeding, husbandry,cage design and construction, diets, enrichment, man management,record keeping, etc etc


Join Zoo News Digest Facebook Page
updated daily


For Zoo Jobs and Related Vacancies please visit:


ZooNews Digest is a private and completely independent publication, not allied or attached to any zoological collection. Many thanks.
Kind Regards,

Wishing you a wonderful week

"These are the best days of my life"

Please Donate to Zoo News Digest in order to keep it going

No comments:

Post a Comment