Thursday, March 17, 2011

Zoo News Digest 15th - 17th March 2011 (Zoo News 733)

Zoo News Digest 15th - 17th March 2011 (Zoo News 733)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleagues,

I start out with the Tsunami appeal. Please read and respond accordingly. I am sure we all remain numb with ongoing news of the tragedy.

Moving away from the human side I was saddened to learn too of the fate of the Albatrosses. As if they didn't have enough problems with long line fishing.

I like that heading 'Peshawar to have international standard zoo'. If only it could be so. The real problem with the worlds zoos are that there are no international standards. There are no international standards for buildings, care, training, diet, enrichment, breeding programmes, veterinary care, research, staff or anything else. In fact there are few standards at all. There needs to be. Many zoos are run by commercial money grabbing potentates who do not give a damn about the animals under their care...other than their monetary value. Other zoos are run by witless individuals who do not have even the remotest understanding of what the modern zoo is or should be about. You cannot judge how good a zoo is by how popular it is. Popularity is like the icing on the cake. It could be covering a rich dundee cake or a half baked pile of dung. I am pro zoo. 100% pro good zoo and we need more good zoos and international standards to ensure it is so.

Sorry to learn of the staff member being bitten by a panda. Whereas it should never have escaped in the first place a panda bite is a bit of a claim to fame. I daresay you could raise a few pints in the pub on the story. Of course we know that they bite, all animals bite. Pandas can be pugnacious too. Take a look at the video.

I very much liked to coral story. I love coral it truly fascinates me and I wish that at some point in my career I had had the opportunity to work with it. The bit that interested me most though was "The zoo's liquid nitrogen tanks already hold the sperm and eggs of a menagerie of animal species, including 300 genetically different rhinos, but the coral plan will be a first". 300 rhinos! Wow! That really is insurance for the future especially as we have learned that 71 rhinos have been poached in South Africa in 2011 already!

PETA. What can I say? Talk about rubbing salt into an open wound. What a cruel and nasty bunch of people.

I tend to steer well clear of 'Name The Baby' stories but I thought that the National Zoo had come up with a different approach. Thank you and well done. Previously I liked the idea of auctioning names on eBay as was done by Whipsnade. I am surprised that more zoos have not followed this lead.

A Bamboo bicycle. Now that is different. I have seen more things than I could possibly imagine made out of bamboo. I will now add a bike to the list.

Watch the Lions Mane video...interesting project, exciting exhibit. Just seeing this exhibit wants me to want to visit and see it.

The crocodile catching.....not quite the way I would go about it. Moral. Never use inferior duct tape. Pity the animal died.

Last Zoo News Digest I reported on the sad and ridiculous decision to send the Thai Orangutans to Safari World. I have been keeping an eye open for further news since then....or perhaps a voice of protest. So far there has been nothing. I would like to think that behind the scenes all the major zoo authorities had sent off letters to the Thai and Indonesian authorities and that the Orangutan groups had written too. Have they? Any of them? I wonder. Or is this just another case of Orangutans to Giza where no-one gives a shit? The zoo world... the good zoos need to police themselves. They don't need the likes of the Born Free Foundation and their clones to do this, or at least they shouldn't. There should be less worry about offending people in other zoos. I don't care if they are in the same 'club' or if they are somebody you deal with. It matters not a whit whose ear they have or how powerful or how much money they have. If they are doing wrong then speak out. Not to do so is third party animal abuse.

That there was an unannounced two day inspection of the Topeka Zoo is a bit of a surprise. I do wonder that such inspections are permitted. I don't believe such an 'official' inspection would be allowed in the UK. Mind you I think it should. Good zoos should never be trying to hide anything and should be prepared to face an unannounced inspection at any time. The most important requirement however would be that the inspection was carried out by Good and experienced zoo people and not people with axes to grind or 'experts' with pure book learning.

Why does a heading like "'criminal group' active at Kyiv zoo" not surprise me. I know nothing of the zoo and this may well be an incorrect accusation but it still doesn't surprise me because when you come up against stories of Tigers moved and Orangutans being sent where they should not go you know that it is true in some places.


There are a few Zoo Biology subscribers awaiting approval. Once again a reminder. When you asked to subscribe you will have recieved an email asking for a bit more information about yourself. It starts like this:

Dear Colleague,

Your request to join the Zoo Biology Group is one of several awaiting processing.

You will already or should have recieved a request for the following when you first subscribed. The delay in processing is due to that fact that your submission has not yet arrived.

Zoo Biology is the original discussion, question and answer group dealing with the diverse range of Zoo Sciences. The Zoo Biology Group is concerned with all disciplines involved in the running of a Zoological Garden/Aquarium. This includes captive breeding, husbandry, cage design and construction, diets, enrichment, man management, record keeping, etc It is specifically a forum for professional Zoo Staff. Exceptions may be considered in the case of students of zoology or allied professions. You must be committed to in-situ AND ex-situ conservation. Do be prepared to receive from 1-30+ messages per day!!

Zoo Biology has thousands of members in over 600 zoos/aquariums in over 100 countries.


You have already taken the first steps to join this group. Please now send a separate e-mail to giving a brief biography about yourself eg The Zoological collection you are employed in, the work area and your interests. A simple interest in animals is not sufficient ...this is a zoo group! All details will be kept strictly confidential. Failure to send this information will mean that your subscription will not be processed. Please mark this ‘APPROVE’ in the subject area of your e-mail.

Your request to join the group will be held for seven days. Should your biography not arrive in that time your original request will be removed from the process list. Thank you

Please note that very important requirement "You must be committed to in-situ AND ex-situ conservation". Without it you will not get approval.

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Zoos and aquariums affected by earthquake and tsunami in Japan
Gland, Switzerland (March 15th 2011): After the earthquake and tsunami that has affected the North of Japan on March 11th, WAZA is joining forces with its Japanese regional association (JAZA) and its member institutions to help the zoos and aquariums in the North of Japan.
"After the horrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan, WAZA is trying to provide financial support for emergency assistance. The most affected zoos and aquariums urgently need help in order to protect staff and save animals", says Gerald Dick, Executive Director of WAZA - the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Huge damages happened in the northern part of Honshu island. Some affected zoos and aquariums are suffering from shortage of gas, fuel for heater, food and drinking water for both humans and animals.
•Some aquariums in Tohoku area (north part of Honshu Island) have been heavily affected by the earthquake.
•Sendai Marinpia Matsushima aquarium was completely-flooded but there was miraculously no human damage.
•Sendai Yagiyama Zoo estimates a shortage of feeding stuff. The power is out in Sendai city. JAZA is considering concrete measures to send feeding stuff to Sendai Yagiyama Zoo.
•The power is also out at Akita Omoriyama zoo, Morioka Zoo, Asamushi aquarium
and Hitachi Kamine Zoo.
•Fukushima aquarium will move their sea mammals and birds to Kamogawa Sea World.
"It is most important for us to secure the adequate means of transport. And we have started a drive to collect donations from the public." says Kazutoshi Takami, Zoo Veterinarian at Osaka Municipal Tennoji Zoological Gardens.
WAZA is now organizing the cooperation and support for the disaster-affected institutions by collecting donations through its website. Click on the "Donate for Japan" button on the WAZA homepage and help us support JAZA.


Himachal zoo lion count falling
The Renukaji Zoo, which once abounded with lions, with there being as many as 16 (eight male and eight female) of them in 2005, has just three (one male and two females) today. Eight (six males and two females) died natural deaths between 2005 and April 2010.
The lions in Sirmaur district of the state showing deformities, the Central Zoo Authority has directed that two lionesses be shifted to the Dhauladhar Nature Park, Gopalpur, and one lioness to the Zoological Park at Chhatbir even as other lapses in the upkeep and management of the animals were pointed out.
Senior forest officials told TOI that lions had been kept at the Renukaji Zoo since 1975 when a pair of the animals was procured from Junagarh.
"However, the pair died in 1976 and two male lions were also received from Chhatbir Zoo in 1975 and 1976, but one of them died in 1976 and in 1977 a pair of lion was procured from Trichur Zoo", they added. They said that from 1981 to June 2001, 69 cubs had been born in 26 litters, but only 23 of them survived beyond one year after birth and the remaining 46 died within a year.
"The cubs born between 1981 and 12,001 exhibited high rate of mortality and even before death showed deformities of limbs, physical abnormalities and bent neck conditions, besides swaying movements, because of inbreeding, to stop which male and female lions were kept separately from March 2002 onwards", they pointed out.
Officials said that in 2003-04, two male lions were sterilized, but since both of them died, the practice of sterilization was given up. "A veterinary officer and scientific zoo officer from the Central Zoo Authority made a visit as far back as in May 2005 to review the management practices and health problems of the lions and suggested that the abnormalities in the lions was hereditary and probably due to inbreeding", they maintained.
Meanwhile, PCCF Vinay Tandon said that as had been suggested by the team from the Central Zoo Authority inbreeding had been the bane of the lions kept at the Renukaji Zoo. "The only plausible thing of separating the male and female to prevent inbreeding was done, as it was not possible to get wild genetic stock of the Asian lions and lions in most of the zoos of the country are related", he added.
He said it had become obvious the deformities and mortality

San Diego Zoo says giant panda bit a worker
A giant panda has bitten a caretaker at the San Diego Zoo.
The San Diego Union-Tribune says female panda, Bai Yun, bit a keeper Sunday after wandering out of her habitat at the zoo's giant panda research station.
The Union-Tribune says the worker was treated at a hospital. Details about the person's injury and condition were not released.
Zoo officials say the safety barrier between the keeper area and the animal's habitat was not fully secured, allowing for the unexpected encounter. The worker was bitten as Bai Yun was being herded back

Zoo officials puzzled by panda bite
Officials at the San Diego Zoo say they are trying to figure out why a giant panda named Bai Yun bit a caretaker, sending her to a hospital.
Zoo officials say they are puzzled by the panda's action.
"We have never had an incident like this with pandas," zoo spokeswoman Christina Simmons told The San Diego Union-Tribune.
The caretaker was bitten as the panda was being led back to her enclosure Sunday.
"Certainly there are occasionally incidents where baby animals that are being hand-raised mouth the hands of their keepers

A Panda reminder

Peshawar to have international standard zoo
Khyber Pakhtun-khwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti has directed the relevant departments to finalise a site for the construction of an international standard zoo in the provincial capital so that the work on the project could start from the next financial year.
He was talking to a group of students from the Beaconhouse School System, Khyber Campus, Hayatabad. They presented him with a petition having hundreds of signatures seeking the construction of a zoo in Peshawar.
The chief minister said the government had allocated Rs15 million for the project in the current financial year but work was not initiated as no decision could be made about the site. Hoti said the Environment Department had identified a number of sites including one at Jalozai between Peshawar and Pabbi.
He said work on the construction of the zoo would begin as soon as the department came up with a final decision. “If need be, we can allocate more funds for the project,” he said. He recalled his days as student in Lahore when he used to visit the zoo there. “I know kids love to go to zoo,” he told the students in presence of Minister for Environment Wajid Ali Khan and other officials.
The chief minister asked the minister and the departments concerned to convene a formal meeting by next week and finalise the site for the proposed zoo.Presenting his petition on behalf of the students, Asad Ismail said Peshawar had nothing to offer to its over 1.7 million children in terms of amusement, recreation and ecological education. “Sir, we earnestly need to have a zoo in Peshawar for a zoo is a place of protection for the threatened and endangered animals, along with education,” he argued.
A class-II student, Asad Ismail, who took the initiative to have signatures for the construction of the zoo, said a zoo was needed not only to protect endangered species

Woodland Park Zoo elephant artificially inseminated
Staff at Woodland Park Zoo has artificially inseminated Chai, the zoo’s 32-year-old Asian elephant. The procedure, which was conducted over the weekend, is to preserve the Asian elephant population in North American.
From the press release:
“The world’s leading experts on elephant health and breeding, including the Asian Elephant Species Survival Plan, recommend that we breed Chai again, by artificial insemination,” explained Dr. Nancy Hawkes, the zoo’s General Curator and resident expert in elephant reproductive physiology.
“A baby would be socially enriching not only for Chai, but for the herd. A successful pregnancy and birth would help us begin to re-build a multigenerational social group here at the zoo.”
A 12-year-old bull at Albuquerque Biological Park Zoo contributed the semen. With no offspring to date, he is genetically valuable to the North American population of elephants.
The gestation period for elephants is 22 months. It will be approximately 15 to 16 weeks before the zoo can confirm

Coral reef cryogenic plan gets under way
AN AMBITIOUS plan to create a ''coral bank'' of frozen reef polyps so that they can survive extinction is being developed by Australian researchers.
The proposal would mean that as sections of the Great Barrier Reef are eroded by global warming, ocean acidification and coral bleaching events, they could be repopulated from embryos stored at Taronga Zoo.
''This is really an insurance program to take the coral out of an uncertain situation and put it in a place that is 100 per cent safe for a very long time,'' said the zoo's manager of research and conservation, Rebecca Spindler.
''When you store organic material at minus 296 degrees [Fahrenheit] it can stay at that point forever because matter simply cannot break down.''
The zoo's liquid nitrogen tanks already hold the sperm and eggs of a menagerie of animal species, including 300 genetically different rhinos, but the coral plan will be a first.
''What we need to be able to do is be in a position to bring back those ecosystems that die immediately - this is about getting the tools and the training now so we don't have to do it in haste later,'' Dr Spindler said.
The plan will draw on the zoo's expertise for cryogenic freezing as well as researchers at Monash

Zoo animals banned from having sex
Keepers at an ageing zoo in Romania say they have had to ban animals from having sex because of European Union legislation.
Facilities at Oradea Zoo do not meet EU standards and officials have now passed on a European Commission ruling ordering zoo management to make sure no new animals arrive until things improve.
And the zoo, which has decided to close while trying to upgrade its facilities, has said that means having to make sure all the animals are kept apart.
A spokesman for the zoo said: "As soon as we meet the new standards we will apply for the zoo to be reopened and then the animals will be allowed to reproduce again. Until that time there will be no opportunity for them to be together."
The local council that controls the zoo said they had decided to act after they were contacted by the European Commission.
A spokesman added: "They made it quite clear that this

Orphaned bears run away to the circus
Orphaned bear cubs picked up at a distant safari park are running away to join the circus.
The pair of one-month old Asian Black bear cubs were found in a box by a visitor, and spent a month with the park’s vet before heading to Moscow.
“By the middle of March baby-bears had grown strong enough to live through an eight hour flight from Vladivostok to Moscow,” Dmitry Mezentsev, the park’s director told RIA Novosti, adding that the circus representatives will meet them

PETA: Knoxville Zoo should be fined in handler's death
A controversial animal-rights group has called for massive fines and court action against the Knoxville Zoo in the January death of an elephant handler.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals became nationally known over the years for such advertising campaigns as "Meat is murder" and its protests against circuses, fur-wearing and the dairy industry. The organization sent a letter today to the Tennessee Department of Labor demanding the state cite the zoo in the death of Stephanie James.
James, 33, died Jan. 14 from internal injuries after Edie, a 27-year-old African elephant, pushed her into the metal bars of a stall in the Stokely African Elephant Preserve barn during the evening feeding. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency ruled James did nothing to provoke the elephant, who probably didn't mean to hurt her, and found no wrongdoing by the zoo.
State labor investigators continue to review James' death to determine whether the zoo followed proper workplace safety protocols. The zoo has no history of violations.
PETA's letter insists James' death shows the zoo's elephant program to be inherently unsafe.
"Ms. James' untimely death proved yet again what the elephant management community has known for years," Delcianna Winders, director of PETA's captive animal law enforcement program, wrote in the letter. "It is not possible for an employer to furnish a 'place of employment free from recognized hazards' ... while allowing employees to have free contact with elephants."
The letter demands a fine of up to $70,000 and a court order forcing the zoo to manage all elephants only through protected contact, which employs barriers between elephant and handler at all times.
The zoo has managed Edie and another female elephant, Jana, in protected contact since James' death. Zoo officials have said that practice will continue at least until the state investigation and an internal review are finished.
About half of U.S. zoos manage elephants through

Over 1400 Lion, Leopard trophies exported: Minister
Big cats, mainly dead ones of the genus Panthera, are big export items, according to figures released by Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.
In a written reply to a parliamentary question, tabled on Monday, she said export permits for just over 1400 lion (Panthera leo) and leopard (Panthera pardus) trophies were issued in the past two years.
This total -- for 2009 and last year -- does not include hundreds more export permits for skins, bones, "carcasses" and skulls.
The export permits are issued under provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to which South Africa is a signatory.
According to the figures provided by Molewa, the country issued permits during

STOP PRESS: Hawaii's Laysan and Black-footed Albatrosses suffered heavy losses in last week's tsunami UPDATED
Whereas Hawaii and the rest of the Pacific were spared the loss of human life and large-scale damage that have so tragically occurred in Japan from last week's earthquake and tsunami, it appears that Hawaii's nesting albatrosses have not been so lucky.
In contrast to the ‘high islands' where Japan's Short-tailed Albatrosses Phoebastria albatrus breed, which are relatively safe from tsunamis, in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands virtually all Laysan and Black-footed Albatrosses breed less than 10 m above sea level. These islands, in particular Midway Atoll and Laysan Island (which together host 94% of the World's population of Laysan Albatrosses P. immutabilis and 64% of the World's population of Black-footed Albatrosses P. nigripes), were the hardest hit with up to 75% of the area of several islands reportedly washed over by waves.
Midway Atoll reported approximately four waves, the largest about 2 m in height. About a quarter of the runway on Sand Island was washed over with sand and rocks and flooding occurred that was reported as much worse than from storms earlier this year (click here). Estimates are that Eastern and Sand Islands were 60% and 20% washed over, respectively and that minima of 1000 adult/subadult and tens of thousands of Laysan Albatross chicks were lost. Spit Island was completely washed over.
On Midway's Eastern Island (where the Short-tailed Albatross nest is, click here) the chick has survived, although once more it had to found (this time 35 m away) and carried back to its nest cup. It also seems that Wisdom, the 60-year female Laysan and her chick on Sand Island (click here) made it through the tsunami.
On Laysan Island, waves washed out much of the camp on the island and came to within 15 m of the hurricane shelter. Some of the personnel on that island are in the process of being evacuated due to the loss of the camp. It is as yet unknown exactly what the extent of damage is to the island's albatross colonies (as well as to the endemic land birds), but it is likely to be extensive.
Kure Atoll also reported four waves, starting after midnight that washed approximately 100 m inland causing extensive damage to the pier and mass seabird mortality. Although other islands have yet to assess the losses to seabirds, the camp manager on Kure Atoll reports that entire portions of the Black-footed Albatross colony (which typically breed on the perimeter of these islands) have been washed away and that there are dead chicks everywhere. Mitigating news from Kure is that the female-female Short-tailed Albatross pair (click here) was seen alive the next morning.
Albatross colonies on Tern Island, Lehua, Kauai and Oahu (including the new predator-proof fence at Ka'ena Point) all survived without any reported damage as did the STAL translocation colony on Japan's Mukojima Island which is high up enough not to have been affected by the 1-8 m wave reported for the Ogasawara Islands.
Although acccurate estimates are not yet available, based on the descriptions provided and the numbers of albatross nests on these islands, losses are likely to be in the tens of thousands, if not more. However, for both Laysans and Black-foots it is currently the post-guard period in the breeding cycle which means that many of the breeding adults would have been out at sea provisioning for their chicks when the tsunami hit, so with any luck the majority of the mortality will be of chicks and not of breeding adults. Against this the fact that the tsunami hit the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands at night may have added to the mortality of adults.
Nonetheless, this is potentially a huge loss for the Laysan


National Zoo Adds a Twist to Anteater Naming
The Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park needs your help in naming its newest anteater.
Polls are currently open on the Zoo’s web site and you can vote for your favorite name until noon on March 28. Once the polls close, the top three vote-getters will move to round two, where things get interesting. Maripi, the anteater cub’s mom, will then choose the winning name of her pup. How does a giant anteater pick a name for her cub exactly? Well, the three top names will be coupled with different enrichment objects (meaning things that an anteater finds interesting) and placed in the anteater yard. Maripi will be let loose in the yard and whichever

Wolf killed after zoo escape
The owner of an Orono zoo says she isn’t sure how a grey wolf escaped, but insists it won’t happen again.
Christa Klose said she feels awful two-year-old Shadow was shot to death at a nearby farm “but it was the only possible solution to make sure the public was safe.”
All animal enclosures at Jungle Cat World — which counts wolves, cougars, lions, tigers and leopards among its collection — are protected by two fences, one of which is almost two metres above ground and about half a metre underground, Klose said.
The perimeter of the entire six-hectare property, about a 45-minute drive east of Toronto, is also fenced in.
The exception to the double-fence rule is the wolf den, where a section backs on to a pet cemetery. That area only has one fence, as the cemetery is not accessible to the public.
”We think one of the staff members may not have shut the gate (of the wolf den) properly. Shadow escaped into the cemetery” around 2 p.m., she said. “Staff noticed but Shadow was gone quite quickly. I think he might have dug under the perimeter

Elephant Ashok's grieving mate attracts crowds to zoo
While cackling children and equally enthusiastic adults stand and adore the magnificence of Roopa, the pachyderm who lost her mate Ashok, she continues to gyrate around in her shackles seeming rather distant.
Ashok and Roopa were one of the main attractions in the city zoo and after Ashoks sudden death on Monday, Roopa, the 22-year-old elephant who had spent 20 years of her life with him, stands alone today, calm and silent.
Visitors remember the two as a playful pair. "We have never seen her so quiet. She and Ashok were always busy running around while kids enjoyed their enthusiasm", says Jaishree Vaghela, a visitor at the Kamla Nehru Zoo.
For the past three days, Roopa has had all her four legs shackled with chains giving her just enough room to comfortably stand, as her keepers are worried that the trauma

Lion's Mane Exhibit

New Himalayan Black Bear study at Darjeeling Zoo

Dog medicine saves rare zoo animal
A rare Asian mammal has been saved at Paignton Zoo with medicine usually used on pet dogs.
Staff at the zoo in Devon became alarmed when Josh, a male pigmy slow loris, kept losing weight despite being fed twice as much as each of the rest of his group.
Vets found that he was not producing an enzyme that helps loris digest food. After some treatment he is back to normal.
Ghislaine Sayers, head of veterinary services at Paignton Zoo, said: "The deficiency meant that he wasn't absorbing nutrients. It can be a common problem in some dogs and we were able to use an off-the-shelf medication.
"We don't know of a published case of this nature, so we hope to write a paper in due course. With more research, we may find out why it happens and possibly develop a better diagnostic test."
The pygmy slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus) comes from the forests of South East Asia, where it lives on a diet of insects, fruit, slugs and snails. The small nocturnal primate has what is considered a comical appearance and the name loris is believed to come from an old Dutch word for a clown.
The Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s nearly wiped out the species as forests were burned or defoliated. It still remains listed as "vulnerable". There are four

Bankers build new 'bat tunnel' at Durrell
Fruit bats in Jersey have had a new "bat tunnel" home built for them at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.
A five-month project to create the tunnel was completed at the weekend.
The walls of the tunnel, which is home to the Livingstone's bats, were made from 800 tyres, which would otherwise have been shipped away as waste.
The public areas of the tunnel were rendered with mud and fitted with windows made from bottles, before the roof was installed.
More than 330 HSBC staff

Rare Andean cat no longer exclusive to the Andes
Wildlife Conservation Society and partners find endangered cat species beyond the mountains in Patagonian steppe
Once thought to exclusively inhabit its namesake mountain range, the threatened Andean cat—a house cat-sized feline that resembles a small snow leopard in both appearance and habitat—also frequents the Patagonian steppe at much lower elevations, according to a new study published by the Wildlife Conservation Society and partners.
The finding represents a range extension for the Andean cat, which normally occurs at altitudes above 3,000 meters (approximately 9,800 feet). The new survey presents evidence of the cats occurring at elevations as low as 650 meters (approximately 2,100 feet) on the Patagonian steppe. The species is listed as "Endangered" on the World Conservation Union's Red List and may number only 2,500 individuals throughout its entire range.
The study appears in the recent edition of CATNews. The authors include: Andres Novaro and Lorena Rivas of the Wildlife Conservation Society and CONICET, Argentina; Susan Walker of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Rocio Palacios of Alianza Gato Andino; Sebastian di Martino of Department of Protected Areas of the Province of Neuquén; Martin Monteverde of Centro de Ecología Aplicada del Neuquén; Sebastian Canadell of Universidad Nacional de Cordoba; and Daniel Cossios of Université de Montréal.
"These confirmed records show the lowest elevations ever reported for the Andean cat," said WCS conservationist Andres Novaro, lead author of the study. "According to genetic studies underway led by Daniel Cossios, this new population appears to represent an evolutionary lineage distinct from the highland population."
Prompted by a lone photograph of two Andean cats in the foothills of central Argentina, the research team surveyed approximately 31,000 square kilometers (approximately 12,000 square miles) of Argentina's Mendoza and Neuquén provinces in 2007-2009. The team collected samples from several locations that included scat, skulls, and skin, all of which were confirmed with DNA analysis. In addition, the researchers conducted surveys with inhabitants of the region. The conservationists also found evidence of three other small cat species: Geoffroy's cat, pampas cat, and jaguarundi.
The Andean cat's range extension coincides with the known distribution

SA has already lost 71 rhinos
South Africa has already lost 71 rhinos to poaching this year, the SA National Parks (Sanparks) said on Monday.
"This figure encompasses fresh and old carcasses which have been found in the various parks and nature reserves countrywide," said Sanparks CEO David Mabunda.
Most of the poaching, 46 rhinos, occurred in the Kruger National Park.
Rhino poaching figures are on the increase with 333 rhinos slaughtered in 2010 compared to 122 killed in 2009 and 83 killed in 2008.
Mabunda said 64 suspected rhino poachers had already been arrested this year.
The Associated Press reported in February that so far this year nine poachers had been killed by park rangers.
The rangers were acting in self-defence to heavily armed poachers, according

Emu eggs being stolen from Mobile, Ala., zoo
The Mobile Zoo in Alabama is trying to put a stop to the theft of emu eggs.
Curator Lacey Clark says at least two or three of the big, emerald-green eggs have recently been taken, apparently by people coming over the fence into an area where the giant birds are incubating their future offspring in ground nests.
Clark says there are suspicions that the thieves enter the zoo as visitors and steal the eggs during regular hours.
Clark says the zoo has two adult female and two adult male emus, and that each spring the females lay up to 12 eggs

USDA Conducts Unnanounced Inspection of the Topeka Zoo
The USDA wrapped up Wednesday an unannounced two day inspection of the Topeka Zoo.
Zoo director Brendan Wiley says the inspection resulted in a report of three non-compliant issues.
The most serious is the height of the Zoo's perimeter fence which is already being addressed through a city ordinance to fund it's partial replacement.
The others include improper storage of wood shavings in a quarantine

New jobs created at Welsh Mountain Zoo
UPPER Colwyn Bay’s Welsh Mountain Zoo will provide 12 new jobs as well as a new tropical house and education centre with training and community facilities.
As part of the Assembly-funded project the zoo will become the Wales Centre for Wildlife Skills and Education, run by the National Zoological Society of Wales.
The new development will combine an all-weather tropical house with a science discovery exhibition as well as the training, skills and education centre.
Run in partnership with Coleg Llandrillo, the scheme will be funded through the Assembly’s North Wales Coast Regeneration Area programme.
Coleg Llandrillo will run courses in animal and life science at the centre, which will also be used as a facility by schools and community groups.
Subject to securing additional external funding for the project, work on the new facility will

Ecologist Boreiko says 'criminal group' active at Kyiv zoo
Director of Kyiv Ecological and Cultural Center Volodymyr Boreiko has claimed that the leadership of Kyiv Zoo is still hiding facts about the deaths of animals, and plans to address the department for the fight against organized crime to find out how the funds allocated in 2010 have been used.
"All attempts by Kyiv City State Administration to bring order to the zoo via the replacement of directors… yield no results, as there is a criminal group at the zoo consisting of people from the zoo that have practical interests there," Boreiko said at a press conference in the Interfax-Ukraine news agency on Tuesday.
According to him, "the same team, which worked using illegal methods that the Kyiv prosecutor's office discovered, has now returned."
Boreiko said that under a relevant resolution, UAH 50,000 was foreseen for 2010 to produce stands and sign plates in the zoo.
"But there are no plates there. The question is: where has the money gone? We will file a motion to the department for the fight against organized crime, and let the department find out where these funds have disappeared to," the ecologist said.
He also stated his center's main demands and plans: "We will turn to the department for the fight against organized crime. I have already written three letters… I also plan to address the prosecutor's office. I want to investigate and find out where the money allocated under the resolution disappeared. I support [deputy of Kyiv Council Oleksandr] Bryhynets and ask that he persuade [secretary of Kyiv Council Oles]

Jerusalem hosts European Zoo conference
On March 31, senior staff of 100 zoos across 25 countries will arrive at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo (so-named because all its animals are mentioned in the Hebrew Bible) for the annual European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) directors' day and council meeting.
"The decision to hold the event here reflects the fact that Israel is today a big player in wildlife conservation," said the Biblical Zoo's director-general Shai Doron. "Though we are a small country we are involved in some of the most exciting projects in our field."
He gave the example of his zoo's elephant Gabi, one of the first elephants ever born as a result of artificial insemination, adding: "If you think of the size and strength of an elephant and the fact it can't be put to sleep, you get a sense of the achievement."
EAZA changed its bylaws five years ago in order to give Israel full membership. Up until then, only European countries could join.
British delegates in Jerusalem will include EAZA's chairman Simon Tongue, executive director of Paignton Zoo Environmental Park

Lions, Tigers, And Volunteers Make Big Cat Rescue Grrrreeeat!
Patch chats with Jeff Kremer, Director of Donor Appreciation for Big Cat Rescue in honor of National Wildlife Week.
The National Wildlife Federation – the country’s largest conservation organization – has declared March 14-20 National Wildlife Week, urging communities to celebrate the wildlife all around us.
One of the county's most dense population of wildlife sits not to far from Westchase, in a wooded 55-acre sanctuary steps from the Citrus Park Mall.
Founded in 1992 by Carole Baskin, Big Cat Rescue is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the care of exotic cats. Big Cat’s primary objectives include, empowering and educating the public with information on these animals and the charity, rescuing wildcats who may have been abandoned or abused, and using their resources and knowledge to change laws and regulations.
Accredited by the Global Federation of Sanctuaries, BCR boasts the world’s largest and most diverse assembly of rescued cats include over one dozen different species of cats, including tigers, lions, leopards, cougars, bobcats, servals, lynx, and ocelots.
In honor of National Wildlife Week, Patch spoke to Jeff Kremer, director of donor appreciation.
Jeff landed at BCR after years in the aerospace industry. His first job was as a volunteer. His passion soon landed him in a full-time staff position. As director of donor appreciation, Jeff is the link to the organization’s private and business

Tesco could outpace competitors through Asian expansion
Tesco is set to outpace sales growth of its major global rivals, driven by its expansion in Asia, according to international food and grocery analyst IGD.
.....Tesco unveiled plans in November to quadruple revenue in China to approximately £4 billion by 2014-15 by more than doubling its number of hypermarkets there to in excess of 200.
The 2007 opening of Tesco's first supermarket under its own brand name in China caused controversy when animal rights activists accused the company of cruelty to amphibians by selling live turtles and frogs at its Beijing store.
Unlike British stores, almost all fresh food is produced locally with only a tiny percentage of its range from imports. Chinese consumers also prefer to examine their food before buying, so there is a bigger focus on fresh fruit, vegetables

Charges Loom for Death of Rare Jaguar Post-Capture
A jury will have to decide if a researcher broke the law when she allegedly helped capture and collar the last wild jaguar known to live in the United States, a federal judge ruled.
For years the rare borderland jaguar known as Macho B had been the subject of ghostly photographs snapped by camera traps set up in the remote wilderness south of Tucson, and researchers considered it a coup when they were able to trap the big cat and collar him with a data-collecting monitor in 2009.
But when the jaguar died in the wild from kidney failure just 12 days later, it set off a firestorm of recrimination and a lengthy internal investigation of the role that the Arizona Game and Fish Department played in the capture.
In May 2010, big cat researcher Emil McCain pleaded guilty to the prohibited take of an endangered species and was sentenced to five years of probation. At the time of the capture, he had been setting snares as part of a study of mountain lions and bears in the remote area near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Also that month, federal prosecutors filed charges against researcher Janay Brun, alleging that she had "placed

Designs for New York Zoo aviary renovation unveiled
Design plans worth $287,240 for transforming the New York State Zoo aviary into a classroom and zoological exhibit have been unveiled.
The Thompson Park Conservancy had been eyeing the idea of a classroom and exhibit in place of the former aviary to accommodate locals, visitors and students on field trips to the zoo. The design aims to honour the original design and history of the building.
Zoo officials plan to spend an estimated $287,240 to remodel the A-frame building into a primarily glass-enclosed structure. Keeping the original ‘70s a-frame design, the current building’s steel frames would be sandblasted and coated with epoxy paint. The current wooden exterior of the building will be replaced by stone veneer. Translucent glass panels would

Record toll of turtles wash up in reptile rehab
A record number of sick and injured marine turtles have been received by the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project since December, with lack of food blamed for the steep increase.
The total of 210 turtles received by the project is significantly higher than in recent years. By 2008, the project was receiving just 20 turtles each year.
The turtles are usually washed ashore during the winter months, with 45 animals found on one day in January, said Kevin Highland, a wildlife expert with The Wildlife Protection Office.
"We hope not to make records of sick animals, but yes, this is the most we have had," he said.
Dr Ulrich Wernery, the scientific director of the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory (CVRL) in Dubai, which works with the rehabilitation project, said he believed the main reason for the sickness and deaths was that the animals had


March 19 2011


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