Monday, March 14, 2011

Zoo News Digest 11th - 14th March 2011 (Zoo News 732)

Zoo News Digest 11th - 14th March 2011 (Zoo News 732)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleagues,

I generally try to stay clear of politics and the general problems of the world but the disaster in Japan is too big. I really feel a deep sorrow for the Japanese people. I know from personal experience that the tragic loss of one person can affect a hundred. Here this is magnified to tremendous numbers. I recollect the Thai tsunami and met many people who were affected. These included people who were very close to me. The thoughts of what could happen next in Japan are frightening for all. It is of course all innocent people who have been affected but animals too. So very very sad.

Zoo people are made of strong stuff. I recollect the Kuwait war and the keepers who stuck it out in extremely difficult conditions. Then there was Israel and keepers working whilst under sniper fire. To a lesser but no less admirable degree there are those keepers who struggle into work in weather conditions so bad that the rest of the world comes to a standstill.

Returning to Japan. Hats off and Kudos to the Director of the Marinepia Matsushima Aquarium near Sendai who was caught in the tsunami and washed along in his car. He is quickly back at work restoring the the aquarium. He has my admiration and respect. I say he because I don't know the sex of this person but my respect would be the same.

Japanese Zoos on Facebook

The Indonesian government has decided to not take back the 12 illegal Orangutans. Okay, fair enough. Having seen the appalling conditions that they are kept in in some Indonesian zoos I am prepared to accept that. I am also aware that some of the pre-release facilities are far from ideal and that time and money is stretched. I am prepared to accept the Orangutans going to a Thai Zoo or zoos is acceptable.... but not just any Thai zoo!!! Better that they remain in a rescue center. Here the Indonesian authorities have requested that these 12 Orangutans be handed over to a zoo near Samut Prakan. There is only one zoo near Samut Prakan and that is:


A huge popular glitzy but purely commercial, none educational company which uses Orangutans in boxing matches. Who has strong connections with other zoos which do the same. This same place was involved with holding a large number of illegal Orangutans. Just what is going on here? Something stinks, big time! As they don't breed Orangutans they are in need of young animals for the boxing matches. This is just perfect for them.... new recruits for the boxing camp handed on a plate. The stink of corruption is so strong that I can smell it from here. I wonder what is going to be done about this? What is going to be said? Who is going to say it? (Apart from Edwin, who has my respect). Going by recent totally unsuitable moves elsewhere in the zoo world I doubt anything will be said at all. Even if it was I doubt that the Thai authorities would listen. Look what happened when the International Tiger Coalition condemned The Tiger Temple. At the same time I have asked the zoo world to put up signs condemning this place on no less than four occasions (stop tourists visiting and it will close) and I don't know of a single zoo which has.

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Shameful treatment of orang-utans
The Indonesian government has decided to donate 12 confiscated orang-utans in Thailand to a commercial zoo on the outskirts of Bangkok.
The 12 orang-utans were confiscated in 2008 and 2009 after complaints by the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT), which had evidence that the apes were smuggled in from Indonesia to entertain tourists at two different zoos, in Chumphon and Phuket provinces. After several months of complaining and putting pressure on the authorities, the Thai police raided the Chumphon zoo and found one orang-utan of approximately two years old amongst other protected wildlife; 63 animals in total were confiscated. But they were allowed to stay on the premises. Only after four weeks of campaigning were they removed and taken into the custody of the authorities.
The other 11 orang-utans found by the WFFT at a tiger and crocodile zoo on Phuket were not found on the day of the raid that took place in January 2009. But a month later they were found on the side of a rural road and were taken into custody of the authorities "as they had no owner". The WFFT has since campaigned to get both owners of the zoos prosecuted and their zoo licenses revoked, and the animals repatriated to Indonesia or taken to a suitable location. Neither of the two goals has been met.
During a meeting with high-placed Thai government officials of the Department of National Parks and wildlife (DNP) on February 28, the WFFT was informed that the Indonesian government had refused to take back the orang-utans, stating they were not able to properly care for the apes. The Indonesian Forestry Department and Indonesian Embassy in Bangkok requested the DNP to hand over the 12 orang-utans to a well-known tourist attraction in Samut Prakan, which had five illegally imported orang-utans confiscated in 2003. The WFFT has called the Indonesian Embassy in Bangkok and they have confirmed they want to see the orang-utans handed over as soon as possible. The Forestry Department in Jakarta has not yet replied to questions by the WFFT on the reasoning for this decision.
Orang-utans are native to Indonesia and Malaysia but are smuggled out of their range states in large numbers to other Asian countries, as they are intelligent and easy to train to be used as photo props or boxing apes. In the last seven years the WFFT has helped to confiscate almost 90 orang-utans in Thailand and Vietnam, of which 57 were repatriated. Young orang-utans are sold for between Bt150,000 to Bt250,000 baht each in Thailand

Jairam halts eco park in AP
The environmental activism of Union Minister Jairam Ramesh has once again put him on a collision course with his own party’s government, this time in Andhra Pradesh.Jairam has waved a red flag to an ambitious eco-tourism project coming up in the posh Jubilee Hills area here.
He has sent a communication to the state government ordering a halt on work at the night safari park -- on the lines of the night safari in Singapore Zoological gardens -- citing violation of various project conditions and environmental guidelines.
We are dismayed to learn that the project proponents have actually planned to construct huge concrete structures such as a large hotel with 300 to 400 rooms, a convention centre with a seating capacity of 2,500 people and a multiplex with a dozen screens and a multi-level parking for about 5,000 vehicles which

Steve-O Protests Zoo, Isn’t Such A ‘Jackass’ After All
For a guy who makes his living being flung into the air in a used outhouse, “Jackass” daredevil Steve-O is a pretty cool guy. Why? He’s a committed vegan and often spends his spare time championing animal rights! He has even sounded off on breast cancer awareness in the past.
Steve-O recently joined PETA to protest outside the Edmonton Valley Zoo. The star stood in the cold with other protesters to send a message to the zoo: let Lucy the elephant go free!
“I’m sympathetic to Lucy because I know that elephants in their natural habitat will walk some 30 miles every day,” said Steve-O. “I don’t understand how the zoo’s able to keep her. It seems so black and white.”
Lucy has been kept in the zoo for over 30 years, and is experiencing a number of health problems as a result: she suffers from arthritis, chronic foot problems, and a respiratory illness, all most likely caused by her inability to walk the ranges that she would out in the wild. Because she lives in the cold of Edmonton, the zoo must keep her in a barn for

Will Mongolia End Hunting of Snow Leopards?
The Mongolian government last week allowed foreign nationals to hunt four leopards for research purpose in 2011. The letter said the snow leopard is facing extinction, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature categorizes it as Endangered. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora also lists the snow leopard on its Schedule I, thus making illegal any international trade in the animal or

Two leopard cubs clubbed to death
Even as a national campaign is underway to save India's tiger population, farmers in an Uttar Pradesh village Sunday clubbed to death two one-year-old leopard cubs in an apparent revenge attack after the mother leopard attacked a woman in a tiger reserve.
The incident happened in the Katarniya Ghat wildlife reserve in Bahraich district barely 24 hours after the woman was mauled.
According to state chief wildlife conservator B.K. Patnaik, 'the cubs were killed when a large number of local farmers surrounded them after a farmer's wife was attacked by the mother leopard while the woman was watering her fields'.
He said: 'The mother leopard managed to leap to safety, but the one-year-old cubs were cornered and beaten

San Diego Zoo going deep with its research
The zoo is taking over the Cocha Cashu Biological Station in one of the most remote and diverse places on earth: the Amazon rain forest of Peru. It's a perfect place to study unruffled nature.
The San Diego Zoo is taking over a research facility in one of the most remote and biologically diverse places on earth: the Amazon rain forest of Peru.
Few places on the globe have had as little contact with the modern world, researchers said.
The Cocha Cashu Biological Station is accessible only through a flight into the jungle on a small plane and then a two-day trip by boat up the Amazon River.
It's a perfect place to study unruffled nature, including more than 1,000 species of birds, 200 of reptiles and amphibians, 125 of mammals. The wide river is chock-full of fish species, some with sharp teeth.
For nearly three decades the station was run by John W. Terborgh, a professor emeritus at Duke University and a pioneer in the field of tropical research and conservation. Terborgh, considered a legend by San Diego Zoo officials,0,944884.story

People up in arms against Kaziranga Tiger reserve
The Kaziranga National Park, of late, is in news for all the wrong reasons. The park has been declared a tiger reserve but locals are up in arms against the move. The residents fear this could affect their livelihood, as a Tiger Tag will impose restrictions on the inflow of tourists. It’s a haven for tigers, rhinos who drives tourists inside Kaziranga national park in Assam.
The people are worried because the formal process for declaring Kaziranga as a tiger reserve is now through. The fear is that the tiger tag will impose restrictions on the flow of tourist vehicles thus affecting their livelihood.
Others fear they will be asked to accept a rehabilitation package and be

Vancouver 'ape angel' set to celebrate creation of orangutan sanctuary
Forty years after Birute Mary Galdikas became the world's leading protector of orangutans, the B.C. scientist's quest to secure a more sustainable future for our long-armed primate cousins is about to mark two major milestones.
Next month will see the worldwide release of the Warner Bros. IMAX documentary Born to Be Wild, directed by Canadian filmmaker David Lickley and showcasing the 64-year-old Galdikas' inspiring conservation efforts at her orangutan sanctuary in Borneo.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian government appears ready to approve the creation a unique jungle reserve where up to 150 of the animals that the Vancouver primatologist has nurtured to maturity over the past four decades could finally be released into the wild.
Just 25 when she began studying the orangutan in 1971, Galdikas was one of the trio of so-called "ape angels" — along with chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall and mountain gorilla specialist

Edmonton says Lucy the elephant fitter, losing weight, but too sick to move
The latest medical report on the Edmonton Valley Zoo's lone elephant is mixed.
A veterinary specialist hired by the city says Lucy has lost some weight and is in better overall physical health.
But the elephant expert also says Lucy still has respiratory problems that would make it too dangerous to move her.
The zoo says it is working with engineers to build a tool that could be used to check the elephant's nasal passages to find out why she can't breathe through her trunk.
Lucy is at the centre of a battle between the city and animal rights activists

Land Rover backs Arabian leopard conservation
Land Rover, the premium and luxury 4x4 automotive manufacturer, has for the sixth consecutive year supported Biosphere Expeditions to continue its commitment to conservation in the Middle East.
The Biosphere Expeditions research project, which ended recently, aims to bridge the gap between conservation scientists and the wider public. The team, led by Dr Matthias Hammer, continued its pursuit of the Arabian leopard with the support of the all terrain Land Rover, the multiple award-winning LR4.
Additionally, the expedition vehicles were outfitted with Land Rover accessories and off road tyres at the Mohsin Haider Darwish’s Land Rover Sales & Service facility in Muscat. On-the-ground support was also provided by Mohsin Haider Darwish’s Land Rover Sales & Service facility in Salalah.
Land Rover supplied four LR4s and a range of equipment useful for the expedition to search for the Arabian leopard, which resides amidst the stunning backdrop of Oman’s Dhofar mountains. The Arabian leopard is the last of the big cat species that remains in the GCC and previous years’ expeditions have demonstrated that it may well have a successful habitat and lifestyle based on the presiding ecosystem albeit with only a handful of individuals.
In conjunction with the Office for Conservation of the Environment, the 2011 project focused on an area close to Salalah to establish the continuing existence of the

SeaWorld releases 1000th sea turtle
Friday morning, 10:30 a.m. at Canaveral National Seashore’s Eddy Creek, SeaWorld's animal rescue team returns to the wild its 1,000th rehabilitated and now-healthy sea turtle.
Since the sea turtle rescue program began at SeaWorld Orlando in 1980, more than 1,530 sea turtles have been cared for by the park's vets and turtle experts. Each was rescued by the staff or brought to the park due to cold stress, injuries from nets, fishing line and hooks, ingestion of trash such as plastic bags, boat strikes, natural causes and most recently, oil contamination.
The team's success rate in caring for turtles with such a wide variety of injuries is amazingly high: 68% of the turtles brought to SeaWorld in the past 30 years have been returned to the wild after hands-on care and TLC.
The 1,000th turtle is a sub-adult loggerhead that suffered from “lockjaw” and was brought to SeaWorld in Sept. 2010 for rehabilitation by the Sea Turtle Preservation Society of Brevard County. Upon arrival, it weighed only 70 pounds. After many weeks of physical therapy, medication and help with feeding

Madrid zoo unveils twin panda cubs
Twin six-month-old giant pandas Po and De De have gone on show to visitors at a Spanish zoo for the first time.
The pandas, which are both male, are the first to be born by artificial insemination outside China.
Names for the pair were voted for by children in China and Spain.
'Po' was inspired by the star of animated film Kung Fu Panda and 'De De' is the pronunciation of a Chinese character from the word Madrid in Mandarin, according to a zoo staff member.
So far the giant pandas twins weigh about 1.5 stone and eat a mixed dairy diet.
"I feel very happy to see them growing

Camel injured after Indian Gaur escapes at Zoo Miami
A camel at Zoo Miami was slightly hurt Thursday morning after an Indian Guar escaped from its exhibit and jumped into the camel exhibit, all this while the zoo was open to the public.
At around 10:25 a.m., a “Code Green” radio alert was given signaling that an Indian Gaur, a type of wild cattle, had escaped. Officials at Zoo Miami say the 1 ½ year old male escaped by jumping into the moat that surrounds its display. Once it was out, it ran through a service area and headed to the Dromedary Camel exhibit.
The gaur then crossed the moat at the Dromedary Camel exhibit. The camels ran around to avoid the gaur. That’s when an elderly female camel slipped, fell and couldn’t get up. Zoo officials say she suffered some superficial scrapes and bruises but there were no other visible external injuries and she was never touched by the gaur. While the camel is standing again on her own, there is a chance she may have more serious muscular injuries that we will be evaluated closely for the next 24 hours, according to zoo staff.
The guar eventually left the camel exhibit the same way he arrived, across the moat and back out into the service area. In the private service area, the guar was corralled back into the moat in its own exhibit. Zoo staff then coaxed the animal its holding pen where it was secured about a half-hour after its escape.
At the moment the “Code Green” was called, zoo officials closed all entrance

Statement: DoE: Rhino poaching a cause for concern
The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa, has called for more public involvement in the efforts to reduce rhino poaching in the country.
Minister Molewa announced that rhino poaching continues to increase at an alarming rate. She also took the opportunity to congratulate the members of the National Wildlife Crime Reaction Unit (NWCRU) for their escalating

Celebrating Thailand's National Elephant Day At The Denver Zoo
The largest exhibit ever undertaken by the Denver Zoo is getting an encouraging push from some of its smallest benefactors--kids. A fundraising effort by the zoo called the Asian Tropics Kids Campaign launches this Sunday in celebration of Thailand's National Elephant Day and ends just in time for Elephant Appreciation Day in September.
On Sunday kids can start picking up their "ele" banks (decorated with photos of Denver Zoo resident Asian elephants Mimi and Dolly) to save money for the 10-acre exhibit, and turn them in by the first of September.
Starting at 10 AM, the zoo will be hosting elephant-educational presentations until 11:30, when Mimi and Dolly are publicly treated to a traditional buffet of fruits and vegetables.
Asian Tropics is a $50 million exhibit that will give Denver elephants 7 times the space they currently occupy in the zoo. For visitors, perhaps the most exciting feature of the Tropics will be "The Preserve," a walkway that offers panoramic viewing tours of animal life spanning 3 island habitats. According to the plan, gibbons can swing through the treetops over vistors' heads, and elephants and Indian rhinos can interact will be able to interact

Seattle zoo plans $21 million Asian forest exhibit
The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle has received an anonymous $4 million matching challenge gift for the Asian tropical forest exhibit that will house tigers and bears.
The Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce reports the $21 million exhibit will replace the 60-year-old space where the tigers and Asian bears now live. The new exhibit is the centerpiece of the zoo's $80 million fundraising campaign called More Wonder More Wild.
With the latest gift, the zoo has

NYC zoo saving rare salamander species
New York's Bronx Zoo is raising a rare species of salamander to help save it from extinction.
The zoo says the 41 juvenile eastern hellbenders were hatched at the Buffalo Zoo in 2009 from eggs collected in western New York. They will be released into the wild once they are mature enough, in about 2 1/2 years.
Hellbenders are native to New York State where they are listed as a species of special concern. They are threatened by pollution and habitat destruction.
When fully grown, the aquatic creatures are 2-feet long. They have

Zoo's animal signs speak volumes
PAIGNTON Zoo is giving visitors an insight into another form of communication.
Signs around the zoo show how deaf people would use British Sign Language to identify different animals.
British Sign Language is used by thousands of deaf people in the UK and the idea came from zoo teachers Gill Snell and Samantha Hammond.
Gill said: "We were inspired by a demonstration of British Sign Language at a recent education conference, and by the fact that the theme for National Science Week this year is communication."
The signs include crocodile, giant tortoise, monkey, giraffe, elephant, owl and duck.
Gill said: "Having the signs is fun, inclusive and something all ages can join in with.
"Other places that have them say visitors are regularly seen signing animal names.
"Our signs are low down to encourage small children and are in cartoon format to attract their attention.
"The signs themselves are wonderful: the sign for camel is a wavy hand, to show humps."
There will be a temporary trail around the zoo for National Science Week which focuses on fascinating facts about animal communication.
There are plans for a special sound trolley, with

Sea lions may go from Edinburgh Zoo as cash cuts hit revamp
THEY are one of the original and most popular attractions Edinburgh Zoo has ever had.
But after almost 100 years of delighting visitors, it seems the days of sea lions welcoming visitors to the Corstorphine Hill attraction could be numbered.
Zoo bosses are considering finding a new home for their sea lions, Sofus and Miranda, because they cannot afford the cost of a new pen.
The zoo has already been ordered to upgrade the sea lion enclosure in a report that threatened to remove its operating licence.
But senior staff say it's unlikely the zoo will be able to afford the estimated £2 million repair bill.
They have also admitted plans for a new multi-million-pound veterinary centre have had to be shelved.
The financial headache, which comes as the zoo prepares for the arrival of two Giant Pandas from China, is a result of being unable to sell surplus land which was originally worth £15-18m.
One past employee said the loss of the sea lions would be a "huge shame".
They said: "The sea lion enclosure is the first thing you see when you go through the zoo entrance. It's really popular and it has been there since it originally opened.
"The costs to keep them may b

Peninsula man discovers new species of seabird
That science and media have explored nearly every corner of the world makes Peter Harrison's discovery of a new species of seabird all the more remarkable.
“There are new species of birds that are discovered, but they are usually in some obscure part of the rainforest, so it's really unusual that we found this bird in plain sight in a populated area,” Harrison said Tuesday.
After a lengthy expedition, Harrison on Feb. 20 confirmed the existence of a new species of storm petrel, which weighs about three grams — the size of a small sparrow — in the coastal town of Puerto Montt, Chile.
The date of the discovery is coincidentally the same date in 2009 when Harrison caught a world-record steelhead trout in the Hoh River.
The 64-year-old Port Hadlock man wrote "Seabirds, an Identification Guide," the defining book on the topic, and is at work on a follow-up, due for publication in 2016, in which the newly discovered bird will be included.
Harrison, who usually spends five months out of every year on explorations, is now working

Czech zoo says first ever elephant born in captivity in Czech Republic
A Czech zoo has announced the arrival of the Czech Republic's first ever elephant born in captivity.
The zoo in the eastern city of Ostrava says 14-year-old mother Vishesh gave birth to the 78 kilograms (172 pounds) calf — her first — early Friday.
The zoo asked the public to be pateint, as the elephant pavilion was closed to prevent the elephants from being disturbed during the birth.
Vishesh had become aggressive after the birth, which the zoo says is common, and she had to be separated from the calf

Clemson University Tigers work to save real felines
Clemson University veterinary-science major Brian Lang said he doesn't want to go to a university where the mascot is an extinct species.
But with only about 3,200 tigers left in the wild worldwide, and ongoing poaching, that could be a reality within a decade if measures aren't taken to control the decline of the existing wild population.
Lang is president of the South Carolina university's student group, Tigers for Tigers, which raises money for the species' preservation around the world. Lang leads a group to work at a large-cat park every summer in central Florida and also leads Cubs for Cubs, which reaches out to children of grade-school age.
"We lead an awareness campaign to let the whole community understand the plight of tigers in the wild and the possibility of their extinction in a few years," Lang said.
Lang works closely with ecology professor David Tonkyn, who since 2004 has taught a spring course about the tiger. "Biodiversity and Conservation in India" is team-taught with international-student-programs director Louis Bregger and goes over the animals a student

Tripura zoo on alert after death of birds, animals
Close on the heels of the detection of bird flu at two government-run farms in western Tripura, mysterious deaths of some animals and birds at the Sepahijala Zoo has put the authorities on alert.
'Since last week three leopards, one wild cat and 13 birds, including some extremely endangered species, have been found dead at the zoo enclosures. We have sent samples to state and national level laboratories,' director of Sepahijala Zoo and head of the wildlife sanctuary Ajit Bhowmik told IANS Saturday.
He said: 'The samples have been tested by the Eastern Region Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ERDDL) in Kolkata and the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal. No indication of avian influenza or swine influenza has been found.'
'According to the experts of the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in Uttar Pradesh and the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), the disease might have been caused by some viral infection. We have taken preventive measures for the other animals and birds in the zoo,' Bhowmik added.
With the outbreak of avian influenza (bird

Two big cat sightings in space of day
Big-cat spotters have reported sightings 10 miles apart within 24 hours of one another.
Last Saturday, a resident of Burrough-on-the-Hill, near Melton, reported seeing a big cat near the village at about 11.30am.
The animal was described as being about four-and-a-half feet long, feline in appearance and low in stature, with a long black tail.
The next day, pensioner John Murray spotted a "black panther" as he drove along the road between Thurnby and Stoughton.
Both sightings are being investigated by big-cat investigator Nigel Spencer of Rutland and Leicestershire Panther Watch.
Mr Murray, 66, of Hungarton, said: "I was driving past a coppice

Rare cats born from frozen embryos
The latest rare wildcat kittens at a New Orleans conservation center were born from embryos frozen before Hurricane Katrina.
The two male African black-footed cats are among the world’s smallest felines. They’ll grow to about one-third the size of the average housecat.
Scientists in Omaha, Neb., collected and froze the father’s sperm in 2003. At the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species, it was combined in March 2005 with eggs from a black-footed cat in the center’s collection.
The embryos were kept frozen until December. On Dec. 7, the thawed embryo was implanted into a second female black-footed cat. The kittens, which don’t yet have names, were born Feb. 13.
The southern African species is listed as vulnerable, with numbers declining because of persecution, loss

Bewick's swans' bottoms sized up for science
Bigger bottoms are definitely better - for swans at least.
Scientists at the UK's Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust are measuring the size of Bewick's swans' behinds, to see if they have the fat reserves to survive their long migration to Arctic Russia.
The swans' population is in decline and the researchers want to find out if a shortage of suitable food at their UK wintering sites could be the cause.
The birds are just about to embark on their annual

Alligator Farmers Snap Back At Florida's Plan to Sever Funding
With Sales Down, They Want Marketing Aid; Ribs, Tongue and a Missing Middle Finger.
Genie Tillman, an alligator farmer from Lake Placid, Fla., prepared for an apparel trade show in Las Vegas last month by packing an array of reptilian wares into three large suitcases. She threw in alligator-skin bomber jackets, golf shoes and Bible covers.
"We have something for everybody," said Ms. Tillman, the 68-year-old owner of Parker Island Gator Farm here. "We even have a whiskey flask that's covered in alligator and purses for biker babes."
The trip was aimed at promoting Florida's struggling alligator industry—some 30 farms, along with hundreds of trappers, tanners and leather makers. Though demand for gator meat remains strong, tough times drove revenue from Florida alligator products down to $5.3 million in 2009, from $16.4 million the year before, the most recent state figures show.
Now, Gov. Rick Scott wants to cut off the funding that helped pay for Ms

Melbourne's Thai elephants blessed
BUDDHIST monks have blessed Melbourne Zoo's Thai elephants to mark the national elephant festival in their native country.
Monks chanted and sprinkled water over the three adult females and two calves during the blessing ceremony, which also marks eight years since the Trail of Elephants opened at Melbourne Zoo.
Thai Honorary Consul General Simon Wallace said the ceremony took on extra significance given the Buddhist belief in reincarnation.
"Depending upon on how you've behaved in this life you come back, so you could be blessing your great uncle as an elephant," he said.
"The Buddhist belief is very much in respecting all forms of life, not only are children baptised and blessed, but elephants, animals are similarly

£1m lottery bid launched to restore Dudley Zoo
A £1 million lottery bid to fund vital repairs to a dozen historic buildings within the grounds of Dudley Zoo has been launched.
Under the plans work would be carried out to the 12 Tecton buildings, which have been listed as worthy of international acclaim.
The repair work would pave the way for future development at the site, which would include creating a medieval farmyard.
Zoo board chairman Councillor David Sparks said work needed to be carried out on the foundations of the buildings. The zoo still hopes to attract further funding to help fully restore the structures.
The 12 Tecton buildings include the zoo’s iconic wave entrance, elephant house, sea lion pool and bear pit as well as the birdhouse, Moat Cafe, polar bear complex and two kiosks.
The structures, built by Russian-born architect Berthold Lubekin in the 1930s, were placed on the World

Ah Meng lives on in new baby at Singapore Zoo
The Singapore Zoo announced the arrival of Ah Meng's great grandson on Saturday.
Ah Meng was the zoo's poster girl in many of its tourism campaigns, and is arguably the zoo's most well-known icon.
A male baby orang utan was born to Chomel, who is Ah Meng's granddaughter, on Jan 31, 2011, at 4.20am.
He is the first Sumatran orang utan to be born in the zoo in 14 years.
Keepers have described the little one as a 'very amiable and expressive baby', and also reported that mother and baby are healthy and bonding well, according to a Straits Times report.
Chomel's keeper, Alagappasamy Chellaiyah, 60, who was also Ah Meng's keeper, said that Chomel was an excellent mother, even though she is a first-time parent.
The baby's father is an orang utan from the Frankfurt Zoo, named Galdikas. The 11-year-old is at the Singapore Zoo on a breeding loan, and was chosen

Byculla Zoo revamp plan rejected again
The Mumbai Heritage Conservation committee (MHCC) rejected the second revised plan for renovation of Veermata Jijabai Udyan and the zoo submitted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
One of the proposals put forward by the BMC was to allow people inside animal cages at the Byculla zoo on weekends when animals are in the holding cages. But the MHCC rejected the proposal and also asked the civic body not to allow any trees inside the new animal enclosures.
The committee termed the proposal “funny” and asked the BMC to maintain the number of animals in the zoo. The plan to incorporate 1,100 trees — out of total 3,213 trees — into the animal enclosures also came in for sharp criticism by the MHCC.
The BMC has undertaken an ambitious Rs600-crore makeover plan of the botanical garden and zoo. Thailand-based HKS Designer and Consultants International have designed the plan which proposes to get animals from Africa, Southeast Asia and Australia and build

Habitat loss and poaching threats to hyena
Poaching, the loss of habitat and the loss of food sources, are some of the major challenges Namibia’s brown hyenas are faced with. In 2004, the number of brown hyenas in the country was estimated to be between 800 and 1200.
According to Dr Ingrid Wiesel, founder of the Brown Hyena Research Project, the number of the endangered species seems to be stable at the moment.
“However, we are experiencing a decrease in abundance in some areas. Indirect effects [of diamond mining] on the brown hyena are mostly disturbance and habitat fragmentation, while direct effects are road kills,” Wiesel said.
In an effort to mitigate these effects, the project is monitoring the brown hyena population and camera traps have been set up around Bogenfels and Van Reenen Bay.
The project also made recommendations to Namdeb regarding speed limits, speed bumps and wildlife warning signs.
Brown hyenas, one of Africa’s largest carnivores, are found in Angola, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Namibia. Locally, they are found throughout the entire country except in the northern and south-eastern parts. It is estimated that there are between 5000 and 8000 brown hyenas in the region.
In Namibia, these animals can mostly be found in the coastal areas. There are only six conservation areas with governmental or private protection status within the brown hyena’s distribution range, one of which is the Sperrgebiet National Park. “We are and were involved in making recommendations regarding the land use plan of the Sperrgebiet National Park. The brown hyena was also declared a flagship species for the Park and

Snow leopard population increasing in Bunji
Initiatives taken some couple of years back in Bunji, a small town some 50km away from Gilgit, to help increase population of endangered snow leopard have started showing tremendous results as local people claim that population of this fascinating specie has almost doubled in this particular area.
Though no radio collar study has been carried out in this area due to lack of resources but eleven local persons have so far claimed that they have succeeded in looking snow leopards from a close distance in last two months.
The wildlife experts on the basis of statements given by the eyewitnesses were of the view that the population of snow leopards in the area has increased up 50 to 60 as compared to nearly 30 some years back.
In their initial evaluation the experts have said decline in the population of Markhor, national animal of Pakistan, led to decrease in the population of snow leopards that usually depend on hunting of this ‘King of Goat’ specie for their survival. When markhors started facing extinction the snow leopards, which

Scientist Creates One-of-a-Kind Frog
A newly bred hybrid frog – the offspring of two species of tropical leaf frogs – is one of a kind and even rarer than its endangered parents.
A scientist at The Manchester Museum in England allowed the two species of endangered Central American leaf frogs housed within the same chamber to interbreed to better understand how closely these parents are related. Understanding the genetic relationships between, and even within, species is important when trying to protect them.
This was a match made in lab heaven. The parents, Agalychnis annae and Agalychnis moreletii, wouldn't cross paths on their own, since they occupy different regions in Central America. In the past 30 years, populations of endangered leaf frogs have completely disappeared, particularly at cooler, high elevations. The amphibian

Regeneration project at Welsh Mountain Zoo is Simples
Deputy Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Jocelyn Davies AM has met the meerkats at the Welsh Mountain Zoo– National Zoo of Wales in Colwyn Bay while visiting the attraction to see plans for an innovative new project that will provide jobs, training opportunities and community facilities as well as adding another exciting exhibit to the zoo.
The proposed Wales Centre for Wildlife Skills and Education, which will be run by the National Zoological Society of Wales in partnership with Coleg Llandrillo Cymru, has had funding from the Welsh Assembly Government’s North Wales Coast Regeneration Area programme agreed in principle and, subject to securing additional external funding for the project, work on the new facility will begin in 2012.
The development will combine a new all-weather Tropical House with a science discovery exhibition which will include a training, skills and education centre. Llandrillo College will run courses in animal and life science related areas in the centre, which will also be used as a community facility

Zoo improvement work nears completion
EDINBURGH Zoo has completed around 90 per cent of improvements that a critical report by the Scottish Government asked the attraction to make, bosses said today.
Documents last September pointed out that the big cat enclosure was in disrepair, the sea lion enclosure was out of date and a food store was infested with vermin.
Animal collections manager, Darren McGarry, said everything had now been sorted out apart from the sea lion pen and pool, which the zoo may close instead of refurbishing.
Mr McGarry said big cat enclosures had newly-painted walls and bars, plus replaced water heaters. He said the current vetinary hospital has newly-painted walls and new cabinets and fixing holes in the roof of the food storage building had solved the vermin problem.
Mr McGarry said: "Most of the problems were aesthetic and 90 per cent of them have been mended. If there was any damage or problem that affected the animals directly, we would fix

First for Chester Zoo as rare venomous lizards hatch
A rare species of lizard that inspired a treatment for diabetes has been bred for the first time at Chester Zoo.
Three of the venomous reptiles, which sport yellow and black markings, have hatched over the past week.
Beaded lizards, one of only two truly venomous lizard species, found fame in 2007 when it was discovered that it could help in the treatment of diabetes.
Scientists uncovered a new protein in the saliva of the giant lizard which shares similarities with a human hormone that helps regulate blood sugar.
Richard Gibson, curator of lower vertebrates and invertebrates at Chester Zoo, said: “To breed beaded lizards is a great achievement for our reptile team, especially as they are

Tracked for the first time: The incredible 4,500-mile Atlantic Ocean journey of tiny turtles as young as four months old
Scientists have lifted the lid on an incredible 70-day journey that wild turtles, some younger than six months old, take for the first time.
Researchers tagged some of the smallest and youngest ever baby turtles to be tracked, revealing the epic 4,500 mile journey in the Atlantic Ocean.
The young Loggerhead turtles were monitored by satellite as they made their journey - the equivalent of travelling from London to Mumbai.
Scientists customised the 9gm tracker tags normally used for birds, making them waterproof, before gluing them onto the reptiles' shells.
Jeanette Wyneken and Kate Mansfield, from Florida Atlantic University, said they were amazed at the length of the journey made by


March 19 2011


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The Seahorse Trust

The Seahorse Trust has been nominated as charity of the week on E-bay in the week starting the 18th of April. You can help to raise funds for the trust by nominating us as your charity if you are buying or selling on E-bay.

We are already an E-bay charity and so you can donate to us whilst buying or selling at anytime but it is a great honour to be nominated as their charity for the week.

Please encourage all your friends and familly that use E-bay to donate to us in the week starting the 18th of April the more they buy and sell the more we can raise. At the checkout nominate us as your charity for your donation.

The more we raise the more we can do in saving and studying Seahorses.

So please pass this on to all your friends.

Best wishes


Neil Garrick-Maidment FBNA
Executive director
The Seahorse Trust (registered charity no. 1086027)
Escot Park
Ottery St Mary
Nr Honiton
EX11 1LU

Tel: 01404 822373



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