Parrot DNA to fight unscrupulous breeders
While the 21 known species of cockatoos vary significantly in size, plumage colour and bill morphology, those that share similar features are not as closely related as researchers have assumed. The new study, based on DNA sequencing and fossil-based data, has now called for a redraw of the cockatoo family tree.
"The results show that you can't really judge a book by its cover until you open up its DNA and read the code," said lead researcher Nicole White from Murdoch University in Perth. "Previous studies have looked at the birds' behaviour, but that doesn't equate to what you can find in the DNA."
Rethinking the diversification of parrots
The order of parrots (Psittaciformes) to which cockatoos belong is a large and diverse avian group that has been split into three families: Nestoridae (New Zealand parrots), Cacatuidae (cockatoos) and Psittacidae (all remaining parrots).
The initial radiation of the Psittaciformes has been a contentious issue among experts in the past, as molecular approaches to ancestry and information gleaned from the fossil
Tropical exhibit unveiled at the Assiniboine Park Zoo
The Assiniboine Park Zoo's brand new Toucan Ridge exhibit will open to public Wednesday morning, featuring 10 new species including the world's biggest rodent, the South American capybara.
"They're very, very cool," says Zoo Director Tim Sinclair. "Very efficient swimmers, as you can see he has a nice big pool."
The new Toucan Ridge exhibit is housed in the made-over Tropical House, which was built in the 1960s.
"We put in all new windows, all new finishing, new plants and a new collection of animals," says zoo CEO Don Peterkin. "We're so happy to have it available to the public leading
Chile Zoo Launches Nocturnal Tour
TV’s Jimmy Doherty unveils £275,000 Colchester Zoo extension
TV farmer Jimmy Doherty has opened a new £275,000 extension at Colchester Zoo.
The three new enclosures form part of the Wilds of Asia section and house red pandas, gibbons and hornbills.
Anthony Tropeano, zoological director, said the extension’s opening came at a crucial time for the zoo after a tough period.
He said: “We had a very difficult year last year in terms of visitor numbers and this year we’ve had a steady, but unspectacular start. We have to tread carefully. We are just coming into a real crunch period – Easter is a make or break time for us.
“If the weather is really poor, that puts us on the back foot
Tiny octopuses become aquarium attraction
Staff at Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary, Norfolk, were stunned when a ‘male’ octopus they named Roland after gave birth to 400 babies.
But the tiny octopuses measure less than 1mm across and are so small that they can only be seen through a special tank with inbuilt microscopes.
Manager Nigel Croasdale said: ”With the naked eye the octopus young look like specks of dirt but under a magnifying glass you can see they are a perfect miniature.
”Octopus eggs only hatch in aquariums once in a blue moon and we are doing everything we can to try and keep them alive, it would be fantastic if some grew to maturity.
”We are asking aquariums across the country if they would like to take some, if they feel they could successfully rear them.”
The sea life sanctuary acquired Roland the
Oakland CA zoo plan - environmentalists see irony
The Oakland Zoo is on the verge of getting approval for a decades-old dream to build an exhibit to celebrate California's native wildlife and terrain.
But environmentalists say the zoo's plans to expand and build bigger buildings than the ones approved in the 1990s would ruin the idyllic landscape of Knowland Park.
The 45-acre zoo would expand uphill, taking 56 more acres, a quarter of which would be filled with buildings and exhibits.
"We don't think that building a theme park that celebrates extinct species is the right way to protect the native plant and animal life that exists here," said Tom DeBoni, a board member of Friends of Knowland Park.
The roughly 500-acre, city-owned Knowland Park is one of the largest wildland parks in Oakland. The Sierra Club, the California Native Plant Society and the California Native Grasslands Association are among the preservation groups fighting to rein in the zoo's planned expansion. The zoo has been working on this project for nearly two decades and already received permit approval for the project in 1998.
Hot Weather & Zoo Conditions
Popular Hippo in Tokyo Zoo Is Latest Quake Victim
Japan's monster earthquake has claimed its latest victim, a popular hippo named Satsuki at the Tokyo zoo
The 39-year-old animal, who became a popular attraction after appearing in a tooth brushing event, has been hobbled with injuries since the magnitude 9 quake struck last month, zoo officials said. She died last Saturday.
Keepers at the Ueno Zoo said Satsuki was in a pool when the tremblor hit on March 11 and did not suffer any injuries. However, the hippo lost her balance and twisted her left front leg as she walked back to her cage an hour after the shaking stopped. Officials believe the shock and stress from the record setting jolt may rattled and disoriented the animal.
Veterinarians treated Satsuki's sprained leg, but the animal re-injured it in separate falls, making it nearly impossible for the 5,000 pound animal to support her own
Budapest Mayor prevents closure of small zoo on Margaret Island
A popular small zoo on Margaret Island in Budapest can continue operations because Budapest Mayor Istvan Tarlos "will not allow it to close down," the mayor's office told MTI on Tuesday.
Sandor Szaniszlo, chairman of the Budapest city development and environmental protection committee, said on Monday that "news have been circulating for weeks" according to which a recent 153 million forint (EUR 560,000) cut in financing from the City Council would force the Metropolitan Zoo to close down its Margaret Island facility in the first half of this year.
Szaniszlo said it was an unacceptable
"ZOO" BECAME LOVER SPOT
Chester Zoo helps rhinos in Tanzania gain access to water supply
CHESTER Zoo has helped provide a group of rhinos in Tanzania with vital access to water.
A two-tonne bowser, bought using funds provided by the zoo, will be used in The Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary – a flagship conservation project in Tanzania – and will provide relief to 14 critically endangered black rhinos.
It was partly funded by the zoo’s ‘Rhino Maniacs’ – a team of nine members of staff who conquered Mount Kilimanjaro and raised money for rhino conservation in 2010 – and the auction of the fibreglass rhinos that featured in last year’s Rhino Mania art project in Chester.
The bowser is described by Save the Rhino International as being ‘an exceptionally important piece of equipment’, particularly given it will supply
PETA Challenges Neverland Zoo
Animal rights activists sent a letter last week requesting that the owners of Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch transform the property into a wildlife sanctuary.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) contacted Jackson’s children and property owner Thomas Barrack Jr. of Colony Capital LLC and Sycamore Valley Ranch Company LLC, criticizing the Jackson family’s proposal to turn the 2800-acre property in the Santa Ynez Valley into a community park and center for animals. PETA suggests the Jacksons consider the Standards of Excellence, established by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries — an organization that establishes criteria and standards for the creation and maintenance of animal sanctuaries — and how the project would go against Jackson’s wishes. According to Ryan Huling, a public spokesman for PETA, organization members are concerned that the proposed park will provide poor living conditions for the confined animals.
“While some zoos aim to protect animals, others do just enough to keep them alive, and the majority are willing to trap animals from the wild to put them out on display,” Huling said. “It is purely for human amusement, and many animals do not bode well being on display with visitors poking and prodding. It is the same as keeping a dog chained up outside.”
Jackson housed several exotic animals at his Neverland
Govt to ban stroll in zoo
Taking a serious view of the episode involving an IAS officer and his woman friend while taking morning stroll in the Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park, deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi said that morning walk in the park would be banned in phases.
He appealed to people to stop going to the zoo for a walk as it affected the animals housed there. "Instead, people can go to the newly-constructed Eco park, S K Nagar park, Kankarbagh park etc," he said. The Central Zoo Authority had written numerous letters in the past asking the state government to ban morning stroll in the park.
People would be given some three months to get used to visiting the other parks, after which passes for the Patna zoo would be issued to some at a price. This pass system would be scrapped after some time and there woul
Release of crocodiles into dams appals experts
The dams around Pune are an attraction for people tired of city sights, but caution is advised when one visits them next. For, between 2007 and 2009, as many as 15 crocodiles from the rescue centre of the Rajiv Gandhi zoological park at Katraj have been released into the dam waters, which experts say is a cause for concern.
While the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), which runs the zoo, confirms that 15 crocodiles have indeed been released into the dam waters, what is not clear is how the crocodiles
Police Nab Suspect in Stolen Komodo Case
Police have arrested a man suspected of trying to sell Komodo dragons stolen from the Surabaya Zoo, an official announced on Wednesday.
Comr. Sudamiran, the Surabaya Police deputy chief of detectives, said officers arrested the suspect, identified only as E.S.W., in Jakarta last week. “For the time being, we suspect this man of receiving stolen goods,” he said.
Sudamiran said authorities had received intelligence reports that the suspect attempted to sell a Komodo dragon believed to be one of the three juvenile lizards that disappeared from the zoo on Feb. 28.
“The Komodo that was being offered had the same physical characteristics as the one that disappeared from the Surabaya Zoo last month,” he said.
Adj. Comr. Andi Sinjaya, the
Report reveals pitiful state of zoo animals
report has been released by nine university students who spent their winter holidays participating in the Chinese Zoo Observation (CZO) program, with the goal of investigating animal welfare in zoos after a new governmental policy on the matter was released in October.
The report reflects the policy's poor implementation and the overall shoddy living conditions of animals at 21 zoos in nine provinces and municipalities where the policy was introduced. CZO was sponsored by Lives Protection Society, a Beijing-based animal-protection non-governmental organization (NGO).
The project came into being after two high-profile cases of endangered animals dying in captivity last year sparked the public's interest in the living conditions of animals at zoos.
Last March, 11 Siberian tigers in Shenyang Forest Wild Zoo, Liaoning Province, along with 30 other animals, died of hunger over three months. In July, a panda in Jinan Zoo, Shandong Province died of respiratory failure after breathing toxic gas, reported the China News Service (CNS). According to the latest statistics from Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens (CAZG), there are at least 200 zoos in China, an oversupply that has led to many zoos training animals to hold circus-like performances in order to draw crowds.
Responding to the outcry, in October 2010, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development released a notice requiring all zoos to stop all forms of animal performance, close all wild-animal restaurants in zoos and stop illegally selling wild-animal products.
The students' investigation into animal welfare at zoos included their health conditions, living environments and visitors' attitudes toward the animals. According to the investigation, many animals are commonly seen to be unhealthy and hungry.
A monkey in a zoo in Qingdao, Shandong Province was observed by Sun Caizhen, a volunteer from Beijing Normal University (BNU), to be sitting against a hot plate, continuously gnawing its fur and knocking at the hot plate. Half of its back was bald and showed visible injuries, according to Sun.
Liu Xiaoyu, a volunteer from the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, reported that the tusks of an elephant at the Xinjiang Tianshan Wild Animal Park, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, had been cut off, its spirits were low and it performed a number of unhealthy repetitive motions. "Many of these repetitive behaviors are caused by its limited living space, as though it was living in a prison," Liu said.
Sun also found that in some zoos, carnivores and herbivores are put in adjacent cages. In Weifang Zoo, Shandong Province, monkeys are kept in a cage next to a leopard. "They are natural enemies. Such an arrangement would greatly damage the psychological health of the animals," she told the Global Times.
Student investigators also found that among the 21 zoos, only the hippopotamus section at Chengdu Zoo, Sichuan Province, has any trained staff on hand to guide visitors in feeding animals, while all the other zoos are woefully under-equipped in regulating visitor behavior.
Luo Tian, a volunteer from BNU, reported that in other sections of Chengdu Zoo, visitors were indiscriminately giving food to the animals, and an elephant was seen to have eaten a pie along with its plastic package. A monkey in Nanchang Zoo, Jiangxi Province also mistook a plastic bag for food and ate it.
"Animals can't usually control themselves when it comes to eating – unhealthy foods and overeating in general can make them sick," Sun said.......
442 completes first stage of design overhaul for Edinburgh Zoo eateries
Edinburgh Zoo’s redesigned Grasslands Restaurant opened at the weekend - the first stage of an overhaul of existing and new catering outlets at the attraction.
Edinburgh creative agency 442 Design was contracted by Compass Group, who was awarded the catering contract for the eateries at Edinburgh Zoo, to create a design overhaul of the Zoo’s eateries in a bid to boost catering revenue.
442 took inspiration from the main animal habitats represented at the Zoo Rainforest, Grassland, Woodland and Oceans and Wetlands to create themed eating areas designed to enhance the customer experience.
Strong graphics, textures and insect details inspired by the animal kingdom have been integrated into the design, while the redesigned Jungle Foodcourt
Dubai Aquarium witnesses first-ever births as penguin chicks hatch out
Two penguin chicks marked the first-ever births at Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo with the Humboldt Penguine community adding on new members to its fold.
The chicks were born to three-year-olds Rami and Circo, and visitors thronged to watch the newborns.
Circo, the mom, was identified as being pregnant three months ago and Rami started making nests by shoving rocks around. The aquarists, the only people authorised to enter the penguin enclosure, started providing wood branches and rocks, supporting Rami in his nesting activity. After an incubation period of about 45 days, the first penguin chicks were welcomed to the colony
The aquarists took extra care not to unsettle the nest with the penguin chicks, as Rami shared his feed of fish with the little ones. The chicks have been feeding off the fish from 15 days of age.
The chicks have now started treading out of the nest and mingling with their wider family, although they will stay in their nest until they are fully grown in about 80 days.
The Humboldt penguins are medium-sized penguins and grow to about 65-70 cm long. They are a warm-weather species found on rocky mainland shores and
Luang Namtha protects wild elephant herd
A herd of wild elephants in Luang Namtha province in the country's north is now being protected to ensure they do not disappear, according to a provincial official.
Luang Namtha provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office Head Mr Soukson Phonpadith told Vientiane Times yesterday there were great numbers of wild elephants in the province in the past.
“Now only six elephants remain,” he said.
The main causes of the decimation of the elephant population are deforestation and poaching for the ivory trade.
Mr Soukson said the remaining elephant herd is located in Sing district near the border area between Laos and China.
To protect the wild animals, both local Lao and Chinese authorities are working together to preserve the forest area that is home to the elephants.
Sing district in Luang Namtha province contains about 28,000 hectares of forest near the Laos-China border and neighbouring Jinghong province in China has almost 30,000 hectares of forest.
Laos and China have been working together for almost two years to protect elephants in the area, Mr Soukson said.
On the Lao side, the Luang Namtha provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office initiated a project to protect wild elephants in 2008, as well as various activities to conserve forests near the border area.
As elephants live in both provinces and regularly cross the border, it makes sense that the elephants are protected equally in both countries, said Mr Soukson.
The joint nature reserve is part of efforts to build improved wildlife habitats in the bordering tropical rainforests, aiming to connect them into bigger and better habitats for elephants and other wildlife that occupy them.
Laos and China also provide training to teach officials working in the reserve to protect elephants against poachers who kill the animals for ivory, and to monitor the area and undertake biodiversity surveys.
Mr Soukson said officials from the two countries also boost awareness of the importance of protection efforts through people-to-people exchanges. The project will hire more staff to conduct environmental education campaigns for villagers in forested areas. Wild elephants can be better protected through improved National Protected Area management and limiting the amount of elephant habitat destroyed for human dev
‘Zoo to get enough funds in next budget’
Karachi Administrator Fazlur Rehman has said that an adequate amount will be set aside in the next budget for making the Karachi Zoo a model and modern zoo.
During a visit to the Zoo on Wednesday with Coordinator to Administrator Karachi Rasheed Jamal, and Director Media Management Bashir Saddozai, he also directed the District Officer, Zoo, to submit suggestions for making zoo a model and modern recreation point.
On this occasion, while giving a briefing to the Administrator, Karachi, the District Officer, Mansoor Qazi, said that despite limited resources, the Karachi Zoo was
Western Ghats Reptile Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (CAMP) Workshop
-- Sanjay Molur, Pp. 1-4
Linking Wildlife Conservation and Wildlife Welfare: Educator Training Report
-- B.A. Daniel, R. Marimuthu and S. Walker, Pp. 5-15
Dysfunctional Zoos & What to Do
-- Sally Walker, Pp. 16-20
Decade on Biodiversity and Opportunities for Zoos in South Asia
Dhaka Zoo hosts Interns from all over Bangladesh
-- Dr. Md. Shakif-Ul-Azam, Pp. 22-23
Symbiotic Plant-Ant Mutualism: Biomimetics ideas for Outsourcing in Biz Management
-- S. Paulraj, Pp. 24-26
Zygomycosis in captive Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus)
-- Manuel Thomas, Abin Varghese, K. Abraham Samuel and Punnen Kurian, P. 27
A note on parasitic infections in Indian peacock
-- G. Ponnudurai, K. Rajendran, N. Rani and T.J. Harikrishnan, P. 28