Monarch butterfly count bounces back from bad year
Monarch butterfly colonies in Mexico more than doubled in size this winter after bad storms devastated their numbers a year ago, conservationists said on Monday although the migrating insect remains under threat.
Millions of butterflies make a 2,000-mile journey each year from Canada to winter in central Mexico's warmer weather but the size of that migration can vary wildly.
Fewer of the orange and black insects arrived in Mexico last year than ever before, researchers said, but the butterfly colonies increased by 109 percent this year to cover roughly 10 acres of forest. Researchers estimate the size of the butterfly colonies based on the area they occupy in a forest.
"Certainly this is good news and indicates a recovering trend," said Omar Vidal, director of the Mexico branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
But while the monarch colonies rebounded this winter, it is still the fourth-lowest year for the butterfly since researchers started census-taking in 1993.
Illegal loggers have picked away roughly 3 percent of a 138,000 acre reserve since it was created in 2000 but officials say they now have that illicit harvest under control.
Severe winter weather linked to climate change is more of a long-term threat, along with large-scale farming that crowds out the milkweed
Fast decline in fascinating snow leopards population
Though extinction of wildlife species in Pakistan is not new as well as ‘astonishing’ phenomenon but for those who care it would be quite disappointing that fast decline in population of fascinating snow leopards in mountain ranges has now clearly indicated their near-disappearance from the wildlife scene.
Only two population studies of snow leopards in Pakistan have ever been attempted — one in 1974 by noted biologist George Schaller and another by Shafqat Hussain of Yale University in 2003. But unofficial reports unanimously portrayed a bleak picture in which it was stated that there were only 300 to 400 snow leopards left in the snow-covered mountain ranges of Pakistan, out of a total estimated world population of 4,000 to 7,000. This region is the main corridor for connecting bigger populations of snow leopards living in Pakistan, Central Asia, China, India and Nepal.
According to International Snow Leopards Trust, the main factors blamed for decline in the population of snow leopards included poaching, retribution killing, prey loss and lack of awareness among the local people.
Though trade in snow leopards is banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, their pelts bring high prices on the black market, often equivalent to an entire year’s income for a mountain
Tortoises get beauty treatment
IT’S unlikely many beauty salons would have had a tortoise amble through its doors for a pedicure
But Shepreth Wildlife Park has been providing them of late as the ponderous reptiles come out of their winter hibernation.
Keepers at the zoo noticed tortoises waking up from their winter rest early due to the warmer February mornings, and one of their first duties was to sort out their nails.
Animal manager Rebecca Willers said: “We usually start the wake-up period for tortoises in March, but activity in the group had been noticed much earlier this year.
“Elin Jansson, who is on work experience with us, was amused when she was told her duties included giving them manicures and pedicures.
“Elin was not afraid to rise to the challenge, set with nail file, clippers and even some red nail polish to re-number their shells.”
Managers at the park have thanked members of the public for visiting the park in recent months, as it struggled to cope with
Britain delays decision on badger cull
A British government department says its decision on whether to order a cull of badgers to combat cattle tuberculosis will be delayed,
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs had said it would to announce its policy decision around the end of this month, but now says it could come as late as May, raising doubts about whether a cull could be conducted this year at all, the BBC reported Friday.
A source told the BBC that DEFRA did not want to "mess up" again after abandoning its plans to sell some public forests, a proposal it abandoned Thursday in the face of heavy public opposition.
"They've messed up on forests -- they don't want another one," the source said.
Environment Secretary Caroline
Inspiring wolverine conservation
A biologist is coming to Fernie to talk about wolverines and to try to stop their decline.
Doug Chadwick followed the fascinating animals for five years in Montana’s Glacier National Park, and is passionate about protecting them.
“Wolverines eat everybody,” says Doug Chadwick, whose book The Wolverine Way is published by Patagonia. “Alive, dead or long dead, moose, mouse, fox and frog; still warm or long-frozen.”
Chadwick is stopping by Fernie next week as part of Wildsight’s Wolverine Way tour.
Chadwick has already presented his book and slide show in Creston, Nelson, Revelstoke, Golden, Invermere, Kimberley and Cranbrook.
The biologist and author
Will SeaWorld hearing be closed to the public?
SeaWorld is battling the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after the theme park was slapped with a reckless citation.
It's been almost a year since Dawn Brancheau, 40, was killed when an orca, or killer whale, pulled her into a tank at SeaWorld.
However, the legal battles and questions of killer whale care continue for the theme park.
SeaWorld is fighting a $70,000 fine from OSHA, which handed the theme park one of the most serious of citations, accusing the park of recklessly exposing its employees to danger.
In April, the two sides are expected to battle it out, but you may never know what evidence either side has to offer.
It's likely SeaWorld will ask a judge to close the hearing off to the public.
"This is gonna be a hearing of great interest and great importance to SeaWorld," said J. Seegers, an attorney from Baker Hostetler.
Seegers is a long-time employment lawyer.
While he isn't related to the case, Seegers
New guests in Mysore Zoo
The Mysore Zoo has a new bunch of guests. The Indian gray wolf, the smallest sub-species of gray wolves belonging to the Canidae family, has given birth to seven pups. They were born to a pair that were brought to the Mysore zoo from Gadag Zoo in May last year.
The young ones were born in January after the gestation period of 63 days. Birth and survival of seven pups is quite rare and Indian gray wolves have bred for the first time in Mysore zoo. Also, the Mysore zoo is the second zoo in the country to breed this species.
Owing to difficulties in managing the wolves in Gadag zoo, the pair of wolves
Council urged to help Australia Zoo wildlife hospital
The Sunshine Coast Regional Council will today be asked to make a $25,000 emergency donation to Australia Zoo's wildlife hospital in the south-east Queensland region's hinterland.
On Monday, Australia Zoo rejected media reports it was in financial trouble and could be in danger of folding.
Director Terri Irwin said more than 20 staff were laid off this year due to poor weather, a drop in visitor numbers and the general financial downturn.
But Ms Irwin said none of the wildlife programs or attractions were facing the axe.
Councillor Anna Grosskreutz will make a call at a council meeting today to help the wildlife hospital.
She says the wildlife hospital is independent of the zoo and operates on donations and recent rain and flooding has seen a dramatic increase in the number of animals being brought to the facility.
"The animals are being taken there by the thousands ... from across the region and they're starting to struggle for funding to keep the le
Zoo's emergency exercise offers gut-busting sight gag
Emergency simulation exercises are usually serious business, especially ones that involve the escape of man-eating animals.
But workers at the Tokyo zoo likely had a tough time keeping their faces straight Tuesday, thanks to a simulated escape that featured a cuddly costumed character.
A zookeeper donned a fuzzy costume that was supposed to help him mimic a siberian tiger that escaped during an earthquake.
Borneo Pygmy elephant Rocco suddenly sickens and dies
An endangered Borneo Pygmy elephant, Rocco, has died in captivity at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park here.
Rocco, reportedly about 27 years old, died at 3.30am on Monday, hardly 24-hours after it showed signs of weakness that was treated with emergency intravenous and subcutaneous fluid therapy.
Sabah Wildlife Department senior veterinarian Dr Sen Nathan said Tuesday that the cause of death was due to prolonged lying in a reclined position (recumbence) that put pressure on the internal organs and triggered respiratory and circulatory failure in the Rocco’s body.
He said blood samples had been sent to the Veterinary Services Department’s Animal Disease Research
Dodo skeleton set to go on show in Jersey
A dodo skeleton has been returned to Jersey for the first time in 21 years.
The goose-sized skeleton, dug up in the 1860s, is on loan to the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust from the Government of Mauritius.
It will form the centre piece of the conservation organisation's new visitor centre when it opens in April.
The skeleton represents one of only a handful of similar specimens in the world and is one of the best examples according to the trust.
The majority of the bones are original but the skeleton was carefully restored by the Royal Museum of Scotland on behalf of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust about 18 years ago.
Jamie Copsey, head of the Durrell International Training Centre, said: "We are delighted to be able
Polar bear facing a grizzly end
A POPULAR polar bear at a Scots animal centre is facing a death sentence - just months after fans raised £75,000 to move her there.
Mercedes is already on a cocktail of painkilling drugs for arthritis following her transfer to Highland Wildlife Park from Edinburgh Zoo.
And the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland may have to end the life of the half-ton, 30-year-old animal if her health does not improve.
A source said: "There are rumours she will be put down within months."
The society's vet Simon Girling added: "Mercedes is suffering from advanced osteoarthritis. If she begins to suffer, it is probable that
Report suggests Orang home for pygmy hog
Conservation efforts on the endangered species in Sonai-Rupai wildlife sanctuary show good results
After Sonai-Rupai wildlife sanctuary, the next home of the pygmy hog could well be the Orang National Park — dubbed “miniature Kaziranga”.
“Orang could be the next home of pygmy hog. A feasibility report is being prepared for examination of the site,” principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) Suresh Chand told The Telegraph.
The report, being prepared by Orang National Park authorities, will be given to the forest department.
The pygmy hog (Porcula salvania) is the world’s rarest wild hog and most threatened by extinction.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in fact
PIL seeks relocation of zoo
Noise pollution and vibrations due to vehicular movement have resulted in a decline in the population of animals in the Delhi Zoological Park, so, it must be shifted, a PIL before the Delhi high court has argued.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, on Wednesday, issued notices to the Centre, urban development ministry, Zoo Authority of India and the Delhi government. The PIL cites an exhaustive record of previous years with respect to each and every species to show that lack of breeding and noise pollution
Elephant herd still uncertain
The future of elephants at Auckland Zoo could be in doubt with some new councillors questioning a proposal to import more of the animals.
A plan to create a herd of up to 10 elephants at the zoo was approved for investigation by the former Auckland City Council before the supercity election, with councillor Cathy Casey the only dissenting voice.
The zoo's sole remaining elephant Burma was left alone after longtime companion Kashin died in 2009.
But after the Central Leader polled 15 of Auckland's 20 new councillors on the issue, several echoed Ms Casey's concerns.
Albany councillor Wayne Walker isn't convinced the plan is a good one on a number of fronts.
"Elephants are convivial creatures and you need a number of them to operate as a social unit. The zoo's not set up for that and they have a degree of cost associated with maintaining the herd."
Orakei councillor Cameron Brewer has similar concerns.
"This will be costly for the ratepayer and
Malaysian experiment releases 3 orangutans in wild
Malaysian researchers are testing whether three young orangutans reared in captivity can adapt to life in the wild outside Borneo, while activists insisted Wednesday the experiment was a flawed way of trying to help the endangered primates.
The project is spearheaded by a private foundation that runs Orangutan Island, a research center and tourist attraction in northern peninsular Malaysia. The facility has bred orangutans in captivity over the past decade despite criticism by animal rights groups that conservation programs should focus instead on protecting existing orangutans in the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra.
D. Sabapathy, the center's senior manager, said researchers released three captive orangutans on a neighboring island last week. They are expected to remain there for up to six years before officials determine whether they can be let loose, either in peninsular Malaysia or Borneo.
The project marks the first time that orangutans have been allowed to roam on their own in peninsular Malaysia. Activists estimate some 50,000 orangutans live in the wild in Malaysian and Indonesian territory in Borneo, while another 7,000 can be found on Indonesia's Sumatra island.
The three apes include Sonia, born at the center eight years ago, and two others - Ah Ling, 17, and Nicky, 23 - found by wildlife authorities in Borneo a decade ago and brought to the center. Sabapathy
Durrell wildlife park trains conservationists worldwide
The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust may have its headquarters in Trinity in Jersey, but its reach and influence spreads around the world.
Founded by Gerald Durrell in 1959, the Jersey Zoological Park was a sanctuary and breeding centre for endangered species.
And that is still the mission of the trust 52 years later, except now they are helping conservationists protect species around the world.
In 1978 Gerald Durrell created what he called a "mini-university" at the centre in Trinity.
Its aim was to "provide intensive training to conservation practitioners worldwide."
In 2011 that centre is still going strong, helping to train conservationists who come from all over the world to study.
Every year they run an internationally-acclaimed endangered species management graduate course.
The trust is now running this year's course.
“Being selected to further my studies in the endangered species management was of tremendous benefit not only to me but to the endangered and very rare wildlife of Fiji. ” Ramesh Chand
It takes place over twelve weeks and helps train conservationists to run projects in their own countries.
The dozen or so people taking
Fire at traveling zoo kills 300 animals, including endangered species
An early morning blaze at a traveling zoo here destroyed the entire facility, leaving some 300 animals dead, including endangered species.
According to Moriyama Station of the Shiga Prefectural Police, the fire broke out in a building housing animals at Horii Zoo at around 1:55 a.m. on Feb. 25. By the time the fire was extinguished three hours later, the 620-square-meter facility was completely destroyed, and approximately 300 animals (around 100 species) were killed, including endangered Bengal tigers, baboons
Lincoln Park Zoo to celebrate ex-director's 90th birthday
The Lincoln Park Zoo is scheduled to celebrate the life of a former zoo director Thursday.
The zoo is throwing a 90th birthday party for Doctor Lester Fisher.
Doctor Fisher's 30-year tenure helped transform the Lincoln Park Zoo.
His favorite zoo animals, the gorillas, will join in Thursday's
The palm oil PR offensive is gathering pace – but not weight
An Adam Smith Institute report is the latest development as the palm oil industry attempts to rebrand itself as 'the good guys', but many of its claims appear to be unfounded
Last week, I received an email from the Adam Smith Institute alerting me to a new briefing paper it is publishing this week. The ASI must have known that the title would catch my eye – and indeed it did: "Dispelling the myths: Palm oil and the environmental lobby."
The ASI bills itself as the "one of the world's leading thinktanks" and says that its aim is to "promote free markets, limited government, and an open society". It is known for being one of the chief policy architects of privatisation and the poll tax during the Thatcher era.
With this kind of pedigree, I was intrigued to see what the ASI's views on palm oil might be. I already had an inkling what its views on the "environmental lobby" might be (clue: not positive), but I wasn't aware that it had ever passed judgment on the merits of south-east Asia's highly controversial palm oil plantations.
But something else intrigued me: the timing of the paper. It was only a few weeks since I wrote about Tory MEP Roger Helmer, who had been flown out to Malaysia by the palm oil industry to give a speech in which he advised it how it could better lobby Brussels. Earlier this month the world's second largest palm oil producer, Golden Agri-Resources, signed an agreement with conservation group the Forest Trust. And just last week a major Malaysian palm oil producer
Stay The Extinction Of Egypt’s Sacred Cats
During certain periods of ancient Egyptian history it was illegal to kill cats, any cats. The punishment for said infraction? Death. Cats were considered so sacred that only the Pharaoh was permitted to own them. Now, not only do sickly stray cats slink through the capital, but the country is facing widespread extinction of its wild felines. Of the ten wild cat species present in Africa, six once roamed Egypt. Just how many wild cats still exist is difficult to determine because the animals are so elusive, but experts claim that not only is it crucial to biodiversity to map and protect remaining populations, but to eco-tourism.
Almasry Alyoum reports that The Jungle/Swamp Cat, the Wild Cat, Sand Cat, Caracal, Cheetah and Leopard at one time existed in Egypt. The cheetah went extinct in the 1980s while the leopard is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Wael Shohdi, the coordinator for Nature Conservation Egypt, says the Swamp Cat is among the most important species to protect given that they are native to the country. They also adapt well to a changing environment. They can be found cruising through the cane fields and agricultural lands of Fayoum and Wadi Rayas.
The challenge is mapping them, because they elude researchers. But doing so is essential to protecting them as their populations are threatened by
Softer touch with pandas
In October 1972, China sent two giant pandas — the male Kang Kang and the female Lan Lan — to Tokyo's Ueno Zoo to mark the normalization of the diplomatic ties between China and Japan. The bears, with their distinctive black and white markings, were a big hit with the Japanese public. On the first day of their public debut, some 3,000 people queued in front of the zoo, forming a line more than 1 kilometer long.
For about 35 years, Ueno Zoo had cared for the endangered animals until the death in April 2008 of Ling Ling, which China gave to Japan in 1992. Following a nearly three-year absence, two giant pandas from China — the male Bili and the female Xiannu — arrived at Uneo Zoo on Feb. 21 to the cheers of wellwishers who had gathered to welcome the pair to their new home.
The two animals came from the Ya'an giant panda conservation center in Sichuan Province. They left the center on Feb. 20, and arrived at Tokyo's Haneda airport the next day via Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, and Shanghai. Beijing regards them as "messengers of friendship" between China and Japan. Ueno Zoo plans to debut them to the public in late March. It will give Japanese names to the pandas by picking suggestions
Sexy monkeys wash with own urine
Capuchin monkeys have what at first glance appears to be an odd habit: they urinate onto their hands then rub their urine over their bodies into their fur.
Now scientists think they know why the monkeys "urine wash" in this way.
A new study shows that the brains of female tufted capuchins become more active when they smell the urine of sexually mature adult males.
That suggests males wash with their urine to signal their availability and attractiveness to females.
Kidnapped monkeys back at Lyon zoo
Police have recovered four monkeys kidnapped earlier this month from a zoo in Lyon, south-east France. The final primate was returned on Thursday morning, after being spotted on a building site a few miles from the zoo.
The young female L'Hoest's monkey is said to be in good health after surviving 20 days out of captivity.
It rejoins the other L'Hoest's monkey and two emperor tamarins stolen from the Tête d'Or park in central Lyon on 4 February. Both species are extremely rare, leading zoo keepers to suspect that they were stolen to order.
The first monkey turned up 24 hours after the break-in, left in a laundry basket outside a nearby fire station.
The two tamarins were found a few days
Sheikha Latifa adds white tigers to zoo's big cats
Two white tigers have been gifted to the Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort (AWPR) by a member of Dubai's ruling family. Sugar and Spice, a female and male, both two years old, were put on display last night.
The gift by Sheikha Latifa Bint Rashid bin Khalifa means AWPR is the only zoo in the GCC to have white tigers on display.
Raised at the Royal Palace in Dubai since they were three months old, the tigers are domesticated and quite tame, according to the veterinarian that cared for them at the palace. A promotional DVD shows the teenaged Royal Family member at home petting them as they nuzzle up to her like any domesticated house cat.
"They are very sociable and tame," said Dr Mohammed Thenayan, who helped to care for the cubs. "They are very used to being around people and were roaming in the palace until the age of four months, but then they got to be quite large.
"At the palace we had a proper enclosure for them with an indoor and outdoor room and a pool. When they reached the age of two, Sheikha Latifa decided that we should donate them to
Dublin Zoo wolves go underground
The folks down at Dublin Zoo face a new challenge this week as they search for the amazing disappearing wolves.
Zookeeper Ciaran McMahon and his team, curious over the whereabouts of a number of the wolves, enter their area and uncover a vast network of underground tunnels where apparently all the cool wolves hang out.
The tunnels though lie dangerously close to the zoo's perimeter fence so it is crucial that the team get the reluctant wolves out of the tunnels and employ underground cameras to assist them in the job. It's dangerous work, though, but somebody's
Rare dolphin pregnant at Shedd Aquarium
A rare dolphin at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium is expecting a calf in May.
Tique (TEE'-kay) is one of the few Pacific white-sided dolphins currently living in a zoo or aquarium.
Ken Ramirez, executive vice president of Animal Collections and Training at the Shedd, says there are fewer than 20 of the dolphins in North American facilities.
Tique is 26 years old and weighs about 200 pounds.
She and another female dolphin were taken to live with male dolphins at the Miami Seaquarium as part of a breeding partnership where
Zoo ape the subject of thoughtful documentary 'Nenette'
Paul Simon and a Parisian orangutan tell us the same thing: It's all happening at the zoo.
Nenette, a 40-year-old ape from Borneo, is the oldest inhabitant of one of the world's oldest zoos, the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes in the French capital. The hypnotic documentary "Nenette" is not really a movie about the aged orangutan or even about the venerable zoo but about the humans who view Nenette through the lens of their own lives.
While director Nicolas Philibert trains his static camera on a family of glass-enclosed orangutans, and mostly on their fleshy, red-haired matriarch in extreme close-up, we hear but never clearly see the many visitors who come to gawk at them.
The off-camera voices, in at least four languages, belong to both children and grown-ups with a variety of temperaments: curious, crass
Lousy commentary - Interesting footage
Citizen member Torzsok named new chair of zoo
Beats out pair of city councillors for the position
Scarborough-Rouge River Councillor Raymond Cho lost a bid to keep his long-held position as chair of the Toronto Zoo board, but his successor says that does not mean a shift in direction for the zoo.
Joe Torzsok, a citizen member of the board, defeated Cho and another candidate, Etobicoke Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby, in two rounds of voting last Monday.
"I'm not totally disappointed. I'm an open-minded guy," said Cho, who held the post continuously since December 2003.
In an interview this week, he called Torzsok, a strategic alliance director at Telus who previously served as the zoo's vice-chairperson, "a good communicator."
While he was chair, Cho said, the zoo cut the city's subsidy of its revenues from 65 to 25 per cent and achieved record admissions in 2009, though admissions fell more than 10 per cent last year. "We're doing really well."
The zoo - which added a new polar bear habitat, featured an interactive stingray exhibit and explored alternative energy options such as solar and biogas - became less of a place to simply view captured animals and more like "a very environmentally-friendly place where people can meet nature," Cho said.
This week, Torzsok said Cho's vision of the zoo as a place where people learn about the natural world and, inspired, "can drive action" helping the environment, is one that needs to continue.
Cho started "fantastic stuff" as chairperson that should be taken
Visiting a Sea Turtle Hospital from Oceana on Vimeo.