Monday, February 14, 2011

Zoo News Digest 12th - 14th February 2011 (Zoo News 725)

Zoo News Digest 12th - 14th February 2011 (Zoo News 725)

 Gromphadorhina portentosa
Photo by Jonas Livet

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleagues,

I did say in the last Zoo News Digest that I was looking for an original Valentine day story. Adopting animals is fairly commonplace but adopting a cockroach is definitely different... well it is as a token of love. Brave move by the Bronx Zoo but at least it draws attention to the fact that people can adopt other animals. Although I am fairly fond of hissing cockroaches I really cannot think of any of my present or past loves being enamoured by such a gift. Seems though that I am possibly an exception as cockroach adoptions have been going like hot cakes. It is Valentines Day already and I am still wrestling with the best moves in my very complicated love life. Maybe a cockroach? Or perhaps a barnacle, though there I may be implying something I could not produce.

The San Francisco Zoo Tiger incident rumbles on years after it happened. I really am surprised to learn that the following statement was removed from the investigative documents:

"It appears the tiger was able to jump from the bottom of the dry moat to the top of the wall, and gain enough purchase over the top to pull herself out over the moat wall," and "With my knowledge of tiger behaviour I cannot imagine a tiger trying to jump out of its enclosure unless it was provoked,"

because it was "irrelevant from an Animal Welfare Act enforcement standpoint,"


Sorry to learn of the colic elephant at Howletts. Having been in the position of trying to get an elephant up to its feet on about a dozen occassions I know what a trying and frightening time it can be for both staff and the animal concerned. Not to mention other animals round about. We used the fire brigade several times too. Wonderful professional people who I have great admiration for.

I have published a few aquarium reports these past few weeks. I just wish I could get over to Ocean Park, Hong Kong and see their latest innovations. Out of all the Aquariums I have seen it is/was undoubtedly the best. Now it is seemingly better still. The second best? In Chatuchak market in Bangkok.

The report "Orangutans Mistreated by Indonesia Zoos: Activists" was an interesting read for me. I have gone on about the mistreatment of Orangutans for quite some time. The biggest surprise for me in this article was the statement "only the Taman Safari parks and Maharani Zoo were treating their orangutans properly". What? Unless there has been some very drastic changes and Orangutans are no longer being used in shows or as photographic stooges then I am in complete disagreement.

Staying on the subject of Orangutans just for a moment. I have been accused (several times) of constantly picking on Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort for their totally irresponsible, wrong and incorrect action in sending Orangutans to Giza Zoo. Well, sorry, I believed it was wrong at the time and I believe it is wrong now. It would have nice to have had an admission that this was the case but I don't believe we are ever going to see it especially now as things change. I have been an 'almost' lone voice in complaining about this incorrect action. They know they did wrong, or at least I hope they do or things are really up the creek. So, I am not going to forget it, but I am going to stop jumping on their back at every opportunity....just every now and again.

My woman of the week 'Han Besau'. Brave woman. Tambun Gediu is a lucky man to have such a wife.

Happy Valentine's Day Everybody

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‘Don’t trade in weak, diseased animals’
The Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW) has warned livestock traders to refrain from offering, selling or trading in animals affected with diseases or in those found to be physically weak.
In a circular issued by the Ministry, it also warned against practices of mixing animals bred differently or coming from various origins, while offering them for sale in the markets. The circular also warned against any kind of sexual abuse of animals. The Ministry pointed out that animals should be put under local or general anesthesia when undergoing any kind of surgery, adding that the surgery should be under the supervision of specialists or veterinarians using safe instruments.
These efforts are in the framework of the ministry’s keenness to ensure bio-security in the country, thus contributing to food security, as well as to prevent the spread of animal diseases, especially common among humans and animals, the circular added.
The Ministry stressed that all employees working in animal farms, zoos, breeding centres, research institutes, clinics, hospitals and stores that sell animals, mammals

Kent fire crews rescue sick elephant at Howletts
A sick elephant that had collapsed on its side at a Kent animal park had to be winched upright by fire crews.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service was called to Howletts Wild Animal Park near Canterbury at 0930 GMT.
Keepers said Umna, a 13-year-old African elephant, had collapsed after becoming seriously ill with colic.
Faversham watch manager Ian West said: "Hopefully this will be a once-in-a-career incident but it'll definitely stick in my memory."
Neil Spooner, the animal director at Howletts, said he found the elephant collapsed on its side just after 0730 GMT.
He said: "She was lying down in her bedroom

Report: Tiger Involved In Deadly Zoo Attack Was 'Provoked'
The tiger that fatally mauled a teenager at the SF Zoo was 'provoked,' according to a federal investigator
The female Siberian tiger that fatally mauled a man at the San Francisco zoo on Christmas Day 2007, was likely provoked, according to a federal investigator.
Documents obtained by the Associated Press, state that "It appears the tiger was able to jump from the bottom of the dry moat to the top of the wall, and gain enough purchase over the top to pull herself out over the moat wall," and "With my knowledge of tiger behaviour I cannot imagine a tiger trying to jump out of its enclosure unless it was provoked," wrote Laurie Gage, a tiger expert who investigated the scene for the US Dept. of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
While the statement was written in a draft on Dec. 27, 2007, it was removed from the final version of the report because it was "irrelevant from an Animal Welfare Act enforcement standpoint," said David Sacks, a spokesman for APHIS.
The documents were provided to The AP more than three years after a Freedom of Information Act request and they offer the first glimpse into the findings of the APHIS investigation and details from the scene written by some of the officers who killed Tatiana.
Tatiana was killed in a hail of police gunfire following the fatal mauling of 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr.
Two of his friends -- brothers Paul and Kulbir Dhaliwal -- were also injured in the attack.
According to San Francisco Zoo officials, in more than 65 years, no other tiger had escaped from that enclosure but following the incident, new safety measures were put in place.
"Nobody was there to witness it at that time of day, it was closing, just the people who were there and the tigers," said Lora LaMarca, a zoo spokeswoman,0,976594.story

Bronx Zoo sells roach-naming rights for Valentine's Day
A New York City zoo is offering a Valentine's gift for Americans who have caught the love bug: a chance to name a cockroach after their loved ones.
The Bronx Zoo is exhibiting 58,000 giant Madagascar hissing roaches and is soliciting $10 (£6.25) donations in return for naming rights.
"Flowers wilt. Chocolates melt. Roaches are forever," the zoo quipped.
The brown, iridescent roaches grow up to 3in (7.5cm) long. Males hiss at females in courtship rituals.
Zoo spokesman John Calvelli told the Associated Press news agency that about 1,000 names had been bought on the first day of the promotion.
The Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the Bronx Zoo, suggested a reason for the unusual

Ocean Park reborn
More than three decades ago since it opened its gates, Ocean Park Hong Kong has welcomed and made 95 million guests happy.
In fact, it continues to reign supreme as one of the top 10 parks in the world with its magnificent marine and wildlife as well as themed rides and attractions.
Now, Ocean Park hopes to usher in new memories as it recently unveiled its grandest renovation, to date.
Complete with a grand scale fountain and a world-class aquarium, Aqua City is Ocean Park’s brand new flagship marine themed zone.
“The opening of Aqua City represents the birth of the New Ocean Park as it gives us a new flagship Aquarium and a new iconic entrance,” said Dr. Allan Zeman, Ocean Park’s Chairman.
He adds: “Ocean Park has been connecting people with nature for over 34 years by sowing unconditional love for the animal under its care, extending educational opportunities to the public, opening our eyes to the wonders of nature

Sexy barnacles stand out from crowd
Size really matters if you happen to be a barnacle.
The first stirrings of spring mean hot and heavy activity is picking up under the water at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre and, as the aquarium focuses on the theme Sex in the Salish Sea, barnacles are the stars.
"Barnacles have the largest penis in the world in relation to body size. Their penis is about 10 times their body length," said marine biologist Paula Romagosa, an aquarist at the Sidney aquarium.
There is a good reason why barnacles need such a long penis, Romagosa said.
"They are stuck to a rock, so they can't go off and look for a partner . . . they just reach out their penis and poke their neighbours and they try and reach as many of their neighbours

Orangutans Mistreated by Indonesia Zoos: Activists
An animal welfare organization on Thursday called for orangutans at up to nine zoos across Java to be moved to wildlife rescue centers because of their poor living conditions.
Daniek Hendarto, an off-site conservation specialist at the Centre for Orangutan Protection, said only three of 12 zoos studied since April 2009 were providing their endangered apes with a decent living environment.
He said the study showed the orangutans at most of the zoos were housed in small, poorly maintained enclosures, were not properly fed and lacked even simple facilities such as a rope to swing on.
He also said the apes at these zoos are forced into “doing unreasonable things, like cycling or posing for pictures.”
“In fact, visitors to these zoos can easily mistreat the orangutans,” he said.
“These conditions cause the orangutans to fall into depression and are hardly going to help in educating the public about the importance of wildlife conservation,” Daniek added.
The zoos studied by the welfare centre included Surabaya Zoo, Malang’s Batu Secret Zoo, Lamongan’s Maharani Zoo and Taman Safari Prigen in Pasuruan, all in East Java.
In Central Java, they included Solo’s Taru Jurug Zoo, Kendal’s Wersut Sugini Recreation Park, Banjarnegara Zoo, the Romensy Recreation Park in Sukoharjo and Yogyakarta’s Gembiraloka Zoo.
The zoos in West Java and Jakarta were Ragunan, Bandung’s Tamansari Zoo and Taman Safari Bogor.
Of these, COP said only the Taman Safari parks and Maharani Zoo were treating their orangutans properly.
Daniek said the zoos should phase out the traditional closed cages and build more open enclosures with play facilities.
“They should also prohibit attractions such as photo ops with visitors,” he said.
“It’s possible to have attractions

Malaysian beats tiger away to save wounded husband
A woman in a jungle region of northern Malaysia rescued her husband from a tiger attack by clubbing the beast on its head with a large wooden soup ladle and chasing it away, police said Monday.
The tiger pounced on Tambun Gediu while he was hunting squirrels Saturday near his home in a jungle settlement of the Jahai tribe, a police official in Malaysia's Perak state said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements.
Tambun's 55-year-old wife, Han Besau, rushed out when she heard his screams and struck the tiger on its head with a kitchen ladle, causing it to flee immediately, the official

New zoo exhibit will focus on polar bears
Officials still looking for donors for “Arctic Passage”display; also features seals, reindeer, owls
The formal announcement of a new polar bear at the Henry Vilas Zoo doubled as a lesson in the necessity of conservation as climate change forces arctic species out of their natural habitats.
Zoo Director Jim Hubing said the initial sketch for the new Arctic Passage exhibit was made in 2002. The years since have been spent garnering support and donations to build the three-acre exhibit.
The exhibit will feature a large green area and pond for the bears, a reindeer paddock, a snow owl exhibit, a seal pond, a replica arctic research ship where patrons can get above and underwater views of both

Wild times: Love keeps pair going on 'My Life Is A Zoo'
Never try sneaking a hippopotamus through customs.
Bud DeYoung and fiance Carrie Cramer, who run the DeYoung Family Zoo on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and are the stars of ‘My Life Is A Zoo’ on Nat Geo Wild, know from experience that running a private zoo is filled with problems they never see coming.
You will have to see for yourself how the hippo got to their zoo – and what it’s like to find emergency surgery for one of their tigers – when the show runs a Valentine’s Day marathon starting at 7 tonight.
“They got all reality,” said Bud, “the good, the bad and the ugly.”
“There’s no apart time at all, so we have to blend running a business and try to run a relationship and the latter lacks because we’re so busy with the care for our animals,” he says.
Their love for their animals and for each other is pretty much what this four-episode series is about.
“This could be the best Valentine’s present for both of us to sit down and enjoy the shows,” said Carrie.
But even though their 2011 season doesn’t start until April 1, due to the harsh Michigan winter, there’s no guarantee they will find time to sit and watch.
“The thing about us doing the show is not about Bud and I wanting to be on TV. It’s not about Bud and I wanting to be famous. It’s about Bud and I wanting to get the word out about proper animal care. We want to inspire people to care and have love for animals,” said Carrie.
In fact, the attention they are receiving since the show started airing makes them both a little uncomfortable.
“I’ve had people come up to me and say ‘Oh, you’re a famous TV star’ and I honestly don’t think of myself as that at all,” said Bud. “I wear the same clothes I always wore and I


100 endangered Asian elephants

Dear friends,

More than 100 endangered Asian elephants -- the largest population in Cambodia -- depend on the elephant corridor in the Cardamom Mountain rainforest. But the elephants could lose this critical habitat if Cambodia approves a permit for a new titanium mine.

It's not just elephants: The Cardamoms are home to sun bears, Siamese crocodiles and more than half of Cambodia's bird population. Moreover, the Cardamom Mountains are one of the last intact rainforests in Southeast Asia. It is a model for conservation and have a burgeoning eco-tourism industry that helps locals make a living without destroying the land. For protest mail please, go to:

A few years of mineral extraction isn't worth the permanent damage to the rainforest and the people and wildlife who live there.

Many thanks
Best regards

Guadalupe Rodríguez (Spain office)
Rainforest Rescue

Rettet den Regenwald e. V.
22391 Hamburg
Telefon 040 4103804
Fax 040 45 001 44



For more information please contact Sabrina Brando


John G. Shedd Aquarium Andros Iguana research expedition from
April 29-May 8, 2011



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