Friday, April 8, 2011

Zoo News Digest 5th - 8th April 2011 (Zoo News 739)

Zoo News Digest 5th - 8th April 2011 (Zoo News 739)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

So what is happening in Edinburgh Zoo? The truth of the matter is that nobody knows. There are rumours of course but right now it is very much speculation. I do hope that is all sorted soon. If all of this is caused by "anonymous allegations" then I hope that when and if the allegations are found to be false that 'anonymous' are tracked down and crucified. Anonymity has its place but I am no great fan in cases like these. I state loud and clear exactly who I am in my criticisms and in discussion groups. Not surprisingly I am attacked or slandered by 'BambiLover' or 'BunnyHugger' and their ilk. 'Anonymous' in such circumstances should never be taken seriously. Returning to Edinburgh...I don't know the majority of people involved in the Edinburgh scandal but I do know Iain Valentine and he is someone I have great respect for. I have never heard a word spoken against him by anyone in the zoo world.

Is the exhibition of a crab with three claws (not unheard of) worse than a turtle with two heads and five legs? Is a white alligator more acceptable than a deliberately produced sub specific hybrid white tiger? Do any of them have a place in a zoo? I think that some of these do but it is highly dependent on the way they are presented. Education is the critical key.

Within the article on Dugong conservation I was hit by the words "killed using such disgusting methods under the guise of customary rights". I am not going to detail anything but some of the abuse that these poor creatures suffer in parts of their range (which I have heard before) are terrible.....some may find unbelieveable.

What of the Orangutans in Cairo/Giza Zoo? Well I am encouraged by the response. Some people obviously care. It is a pity though that we don't have somebody from the zoo come out with an official statement. That would keep everyone happy. The latest information to come out of the zoo itself is that the 'dead' Orangutan has actually been moved to Alexandria. Do you believe that? I don't. I might if there was an official statement. Then there are the zebras. That story is a bit of a worry too. True or False? Check out the comments box at Orangutans to Giza Zoo (latest April 4th)

I found the thought of an anteater killing so many Flamingos to be a bit hard to imagine till I realised that the slaughter must have taken place indoors. Then it became very real. I know how flamingos behave and anteaters too when they feel threatened. A tragic loss.

"How can you tell if a zoo takes good care of its animals?". Interesting article. The answer is you cannot if you are an ordinary Joe Public who simply visits a zoo for a day out. Most of them are not really that concerned about 'care'. True enough they would complain fast enough if they were to see something obviously very dirty, injured or sick but usually the idea of 'care' comes way down the list of what they are expecting of a day out. It is really up to the zoos themselves to set the standard of care. As a start all countries should take a look at British Zoo legislation. If that were taken on board it would change every zoo in the world for the better. It is all very well having various zoo societies, groups, bodies, associations and whathaveyous but it is never a legal requirement to join these. Some have a set of standards you have to achieve before you can join...others do not and so really are no more than a club where members stick up for each other. No we need sensible binding legal rules for zoos. You can have your 'clubs' as well but zoo animals need the law on their side.

I never did get any further info on the tiger cubs at Wingham. Sub species? I note that the article I have linked to in this digest refers to them as 'rescued'. Does that mean they were not purchased?

Watch the video of Anne the elephant. Wonderful!!


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Rarer than pandas: The three spring Bagot goats who are anything but gruff
As they sit snuggled up on a bale of hay, these little bundles of black and white fluff have no idea how special they are - being rarer than giant pandas.
But the three Bagot goats, born within hours of each other on a smallholding, are the latest additions to this country’s rarest native breed of goat.
And, with their owner confident they are all girls, they are set to play an important role in ensuring there are plenty more of their kind seen frolicking in fields in the future.
Twins Breeze and Blossom were born to Barbara on Monday afternoon and were quickly followed by their half-sister Blot, who was born to Maia the following morning.
It brings the total number of Bagot goats owned by smallholder John Green, of Wells, Norfolk, to 10, after Beatrix came into the world last September.
Mr Green at one stage had 17 of the rare breed on his land but swapped some for a llama.
He said: ‘We think they are all female, which is really good.
‘They are very rare. There are far fewer of them than there are giant pandas.’ Bagot goats are classed as ‘vulnerable’

New endangered species: Edinburgh Zoo chiefs
ONE of Scotland's leading visitor attractions is in crisis after it emerged that another senior manager at the Royal Zoological Society for Scotland (RZSS) has been suspended and another has left his post.
The departure comes just weeks after the suspension of Gary Wilson, interim chief operating officer of RZSS, following "serious" anonymous allegations - and means that more than half of the senior management board of Edinburgh Zoo are no longer active in their roles One member of the management board - thought to be Iain Valentine, the man behind the key deal to bring two giant pandas to the attraction - has been suspended pending an investigation into "matters of a very serious nature". A second, believed to be director of development Anthony McReavy, has also left his position at RZSS, which owns the zoo.
Mr Wilson was suspended from his role in March. The investigation, which the zoo says does not involve the police, relates to money syphoned from the £4.5 million Budongo Trail monkey house, it has been claimed.
A spokeswoman for the organisation, which has suffered months of financial turmoil as a result of the economic downturn, refused to confirm or deny that Mr Valentine or Mr McReavy were the staff members referred to in the statement, but admitted that the

Bob Barker begs Toronto Zoo to retire elephants
The one and only Bob Barker will visit Toronto on April 15 in an attempt to convince the Toronto Zoo to send its elephants south.
Barker, animal activist and former host of The Price is Right, will meet with some city councillors and members of the Toronto Zoo board of management. They are “genuinely looking at the possibility of moving the three elephants in Toronto to a more agreeable climate,” he says. Mayor Rob Ford

Chester Zoo unveils £30 million Islands development but delays its Biodome plan
CHESTER Zoo has revealed plans for a £30m redevelopment – the first phase in its ambitious Natural Vision project.
The Islands project is to be a boatride between islands where some of the zoo’s animals will be kept.
The Heart of Africa biodome, which was to have been the first phase, has been postponed for now due to Government funding cuts.
The 110-acre zoo, which attracts 1.3m visitors a year, aims “to create a world-class animal and visitor experience”.
Islands will be the largest zoo development of its kind in Britain.
Connected by the boat ride, it will pull together some of the zoo’s key animal species.
These include Sumatran Orang-utans, Sumatran tigers, Sun Bears, Malayan tapir, various lemurs, Sumatran and Philippine crocodiles, Hornbills, Visayan Warty Pigs, Spotted Deer, Komodo Dragons, Babirusa pigs and other birds, reptiles and invertebrates.
The intention is “to create an exciting

A day this elephant will never forget: Anne's retirement begins as campaign to build haven for circus animals is launched (Nice Photos)
Anne’s first steps are faltering as, slowly, she shuffles forwards, back legs dragging painfully on the concrete floor, her head bobbing nervously up and down, and breath coming in loud, whooshing blasts. Everything about her looks tired and creaky and sore, from her arthritic joints to her dry, wrinkled skin.
Her dark brown eyes are weepy, her huge yellow toenails chipped and gnarled. Her tail finishes in a sad, knobbly stump — the feathery end chewed off decades ago.
But as she edges further across the lush green grass of her new enclosure, towards a flock of pink flamingos and a herd of eland basking in the spring sunshine, she seems to savour every second.
Every few paces she stops to feel the sun on her back, curl a tuft of grass in her trunk, or have a satisfying scratch against a fallen log.
And, presumably, to revel in her sudden good fortune.
Because, thanks to the Daily Mail — and, more importantly, to the unfailing support of our readers — Britain’s last (and oldest) working circus elephant has finally hung up her undignified feather headdress.
After 54 years of performing and relentless touring, Anne has begun her long overdue retirement in a tranquil, 13-acre enclosure in the beautifully landscaped grounds of Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire.
It couldn’t be more of a contrast to the home where she has lived for the past half century — a corrugated metal compound, littered with animal droppings, owned by the Bobby Roberts Super Circus.

Anne the elephant says goodbye to the circus

Expert John in mission of mercy to help Brtain’s oldest elephant
ONE of Doncaster’s best-known animal experts was drafted in to help move a former circus elephant to its new home.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park animals director John Minion was asked to help transport the elephant, called Anne, to safety at her new retirement home.
The 59-year-old elephant is set to start a new life at Longleat Safari Park.
Specialist Wildlife Services contacted Mr Minion, who is one of only a few elephant experts in the country experienced at care and movement of the breed, to oversee the move of what is described as Britain’s oldest elephant from Northampton to her new retirement home.
John works at the Doncaster-based Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Branton, and his previous work has included moving a pride of lions to Doncaster.
“It was an absolute pleasure to be asked to help Anne. I’d give up my time at the drop of a hat

Paignton Zoo's elephant Duchess has glaucoma
Paignton Zoo's African elephant has been diagnosed with the eye condition glaucoma.
Duchess, who weighs four tonnes, has started a course of treatment to prevent the condition from worsening.
Glaucoma is a progressive eye condition which if untreated can lead to blindness. The zoo said she would be monitored closely and medication should help control the condition.
The zoo said it hoped with treatment she could live with glaucoma.
Glaucoma sees fluid pressure in front of the lens and iris and behind the cornea increase.
Ghislaine Sayers, head of veterinary services said staff had noticed changes to Duchess' right eye.
She said: "We are using eye drops

Zoo revamp to woo voters
With an eye on the upcoming civic elections in early 2012, the Shiv Sena has decided to compromise with municipal chief Subodh Kumar and is now pushing the civic body to finish the revamp of the Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan, popularly known as Byculla zoo, within a year. Rather than opposing Kuma or downsizing the budget from Rs480 crore to Rs150 crore, the ruling party has decided to go ahead with the revised project.
Instead, the Shiv Sena-ruled civic body has short-listed two consultants for the bird and reptile park in Powai, which is expected to cost about Rs200 crore.
However, the Sena is keen to have the first phase of the revamp, which is the interpretation zone, ready by November 14. “We plan to inaugurate it on Children’s Day, as it will host a number of children’s activities such as a library on wildlife as well as a 3D zone,” said Rahul Shewale, standing committee

How can you tell if a zoo takes good care of its animals?
Ever since Knut, the Berlin Zoo’s 4-year-old polar bear, died last month, I’ve been wondering: How can I tell if a zoo is taking good care of its animals?
This is a tricky question. Some animal advocates argue that zoos, by definition, are bad for wild animals. Even so, there’s no question that certain zoos treat their animals better than others. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them.
In the United States, zoos must have a license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but this bar is set quite low. The federal regulations that govern animal-exhibition licensing are vague and essentially guarantee only that the animals aren’t facing imminent death. Enclosure sizes, for instance

A hellhole called Alipore zoo
The city zoo, which Union environment and forest minister Jairam Ramesh has dubbed “overcrowded”, flouts several conditions laid down in a central notification to ensure proper upkeep of animals.
Zoo director Raju Das begs to differ but a comparison between the Centre’s prescription and the reality lays bare how cramped the Alipore facility is.
The 2009 notification of the environment and forest ministry states that a “large” zoo must have 75 hectares for 750 animals of 75 species, or 0.1 hectare for every animal on an average.
The Alipore zoo, in contrast, has only 18 hectares for as many as 1,300 animals of 130 species. The space for each inmate — 0.013 hectare — is at least 10 times less than the norm.
As for large mammals, the Central Zoo Authority prescribes around 1,000sq m for a pair of tigers and lions and 2,000sq m for a pair of rhinos and hippos. Going by the benchmark, the 22 animals of the four species the Alipore zoo has should get around 14,000sq m of enclosure space. The actual allotment is a lot less.
Moving on to the “qualitative” aspects, the ministry norms state that the animals should be kept “in naturalistic settings” and the zoo authorities must ensure that the “animals are not unduly disturbed”.
“Each animal enclosure shall have appropriate shelters, perches, withdrawal areas, pools, drinking water points and such other facilities which can provide the animals a chance to display the wide range of their natural behaviour as well as protect them from extremes of climate,” the ministry notification states.
The settings for the animals at the city zoo are anything but “naturalistic”, the enclosures bereft of most of the facilities that could make the inmates feel at home.
Union minister Ramesh’s suggestion to shift some of the larger animals to give them, and the rest, some breathing space is unlikely to be implemented following problems over land acquisition.
Director Das, who denied while talking to Metro recently that the zoo was overcrowded, said: “The Central Zoo Authority has asked us to decongest the zoo and shift some animals to a satellite facility. The relocation, however, will be difficult as the government had faced problems acquiring land in Bhagawanpur (where the satellite zoo was proposed to be set up).”
The director, rather, claimed that the authorities had been planning a “lot of new things to optimise the space use”, including setting up of a sprawling food court with 14 outlets. He claimed that there had been a “qualitative

Anteater blamed for flamingo slaughter
A FLOCK of flamingos met a gruesome end at a Swedish zoo when an anteater broke into their enclosure and mauled them to death.
The South American mammal tore a hole in a fence separating its pen from the birds' compound. Once inside, it used its powerful claws to maim and slaughter the feathered inhabitants.The Local reported today.
By the time zookeepers had reached the escaped anteater, ten flamingos had been killed and five more of the exotic birds - best known for their long legs and pink plumage - had been injured.
Officials at Parken Zoo in Sweden's eastern municipality of Eskilstuna, said the anteater - one of two kept at the wildlife attraction - should not be blamed for the massacre.
"It is not as dramatic as it sounds. The anteater panicked when the birds cackled and flapped their wings and it struck back," Helena Olsson told the

Zoo’s help for tsunami sites
Dudley Zoo is helping out the animals in stricken Japan, following the country’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.
The Castle Hill zoo has donated £1,000 to the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA).
The donation will help the Japanese charity with the temporary relocation of animals from affected collections as well as helping repair the destroyed the zoos and aquariums.
Fourteen animal institutions suffered damage from the devastating natural disaster on March 11.
JAZA chair man, Shigeyuki Yamamoto, said: "I would like to thank

Edinburgh Zoo panda man Iain Valentine suspended
The man behind an agreement to bring pandas to Scotland has been suspended from his job at Edinburgh Zoo.
Iain Valentine is the latest figure to be investigated at the zoo into what officials are describing as matters of a very serious nature.
It follows the suspension of the zoo's chief operating officer, Gary Wilson, in March.
The zoo hopes to take delivery of two giant pandas from China later this year.
The zoo has not revealed the nature of the charges but said it was taking them extremely seriously and that the police were not involved.
Mr Valentine has been instrumental in the zoo's efforts to bring the pandas to Scotland.
It is understood the zoo's director

Edinburgh Zoo chaos: Panda man suspended and boss sacked
THE man responsible for bringing two giant pandas to scandal-hit Edinburgh Zoo has been suspended.
Director of animals, conservation and education Iain Valentine was sent home yesterday.
And Anthony McReavy, who was director of development at the zoo, has been sacked.
The pair were put in charge during a fraud probe into interim chief operating officer Gary Wilson last month.
McReavy, who had been in his post only 11 months, was told to clear his desk after his fellow directors found him to be in "contempt of the board".
Yesterday's events follow an investigation into anonymous allegations of theft made against Wilson.
The 47-year-old was suspended amid accusations that he had siphoned money from the £4.5million Budongo monkey house to pay for a £50,000 extension to his home in Dunblane, Perthshire.
Claims that he stole building


Edinburgh Zoo chief suspended over theft claims vows to clear his name
THE Edinburgh Zoo chief suspended over allegations that he stole from the monkey house claims he is the victim of jealousy.
Gary Wilson has been banned from the famous attraction while bosses probe claims of theft from the new Budongo Trail chimpanzee enclosure.
The 47-year-old is also being investigated over the fleet of fancy cars he has driven over the years, including a Lotus and an Audi TT.
But yesterday, Gary told the Record the charges were "nonsense" and vowed to clear his name.
He said: "I'm the victim of a smear campaign from people who are jealous of the position I hold."
The scandal threatens to overshadow the imminent arrival of two giant pandas at the zoo - the first in the UK for 17 years.
Gary, who helped bring Tian Tian and Yang Guang from China, is accused of syphoning money from the £4.5million Budongo Trail to pay for a £50,000 balcony at his Dunblane home.
He is also accused of stealing building materials - and a probe is being launched into his expensive cars.
Interim chief operating officer Gary said: "I know who made the allegations against me and they're complete nonsense.
"It was me who designed the Budongo house - that's why the balcony looks similar to

Zoo's £100 a head bill to cull Tay beavers
BOSSES at Edinburgh Zoo offered to kill wild beavers for £100 a time, it has emerged.
In a letter seen by the Evening News, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland offered to "humanely destroy" the animals caught on the River Tay as part of a Scottish Natural Heritage project.
Bosses said they would rehome the beavers and search for new homes for them for three weeks,
before culling them if none could be found.
The news comes after one wild beaver - the only one captured by SNH so far - died at Edinburgh Zoo within months of its arrival. The zoo stressed that the beaver was not destroyed and that a post- mortem was under way.
The letter to SNH said the zoo would charge "£100 plus VAT for the cost of drugs for the destruction of each animal, and subsequent disposal of the cadaver".
The project by SNH to catch wild Tayside beavers, which is currently on hold, would see at least 20 beavers - on the loose after escaping private collections in Angus and Perthshire - taken into captivity.
A spokeswoman for SNH said it had decided it was unhappy with the idea that the beavers could be killed not long after the letter was sent. She said: "The zoo proposed it (a way of dealing with the beavers] and we then discussed another way. We didn't want the beavers to be killed. We decided to only re-home the beavers. The conclusion we came to was a mutual decision."
A spokeswoman for the zoo also pointed out that, shortly after the letter was sent, it was decided that it would not destroy any beavers.
She said: "At the time of writing the letter there was potentially an unknown number beavers that we were going to be asked to hold. We were willing to accommodate as many as resources would allow but we would never have been able to accommodate a large number."
Critics of the project suggested that it was unlikely SNH could carry out the project without culling the animals as there was little chance it could rehome 20 or more beavers.
Louise Ramsay, a spokeswoman for Scotland Wild Beaver Group, said she hoped the decision not to cull meant they would be left in the wild.
She said: "I hope that this information, and the recent death of the one beavers they managed to trap,

Cash-Poor Moscow Zoo Gives Away 2 Elephants
The Moscow Zoo has donated two female African elephants to a zoo in the Spanish city of Valencia because it could not afford to house the animals, Interfax reported Thursday.
The donation was proposed by Deputy Mayor Lyudmila Shvetsova and approved by Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, the report said.
The two elephants were purchased by the city of Moscow from South Africa's Kruger National Park in 1985, but the zoo could not provide them with enough room to walk.
After years of living in confined quarters, the animals were loaned in 2006 to the Valencia Zoo, a move that has now become permanent because the Moscow Zoo has had to postpone indefinitely plans to build a better elephant facility due to a lack of funding.
This is not the first occasion elephants have faced a hard time in Moscow. In 2009, residents chipped in for food for a starving female elephant

Houses will erase last remains of Nanaimo zoo where child was killed by a lion in 1958
The marshlands off Nanaimo's Rutherford Road hide a tragedy that most residents have long since forgotten.
Nanaimo's only zoo, shut down in 1958 when an eight-year-old girl was killed by an escaped lioness, once stood where a new 190-home development is being planned.
Few residents who move into this complex will remember the horrific events that took place in the area decades ago.
According to Daily Free Press articles from that year, what ensued was "one of the most dramatic hunts in the history of the Island" as the lion was tracked down and killed by the RCMP and local game club members.
An international phenomenon, the event marks a dark time in Nanaimo's past that most don't remember.
Nanaimo Museum Curator David Hill-Turner said few people seem to recall the zoo.
"Some of the old-timers can remember bits about it but it strange, it's sort of disappeared from people's memory," he said.
Four children were playing hide and seek when one of the girls, an eight-year-old named Maureen Vanstone, was suddenly attacked.
She and her sister Patricia were approximately a half-mile from the Vanstone's home with Lee Butcher, 11, and Janet Butcher, 7, when the escaped lioness, a two-year-old named Fury, grabbed Maureen.
According to a Free Press article that ran in May of 1958, the girl had no claw marks on her body, but had four teeth marks, one that severed her jugular and one that broke her neck.
The coroner's report said the girl likely died instantly.
The two-year-old lioness escaped from its cage while being fed by zoo employee Walkdmar Jungenkrueger, who had worked for zoo owner Paul Hertel for five-and-a-half years.
According to the court transcripts, there was a phone tree to inform the local families of danger, but communication

Ruben Khachatrian appointed new director of Yerevan zoo
Ruben Khachatrian, director and co-founder of the Armenian Fund for Protection of Wildlife and Culture (FPWC), has been appointed as a new director of Yerevan Zoo, an Armenian semi-weekly 168 Zham reported today.
The newspaper says the previous director, Sahak Abovian, was sacked after a series of abuses of the law were revealed. The paper says o Ruben Khachatrian has been engaged in ecological and nature protection issues for a long time and plans to transform

Zoo animals left to die in cages
Hundreds of animals were left to die in their cages in the Nakhon Si Thammarat floods because a local zoo had no evacuation plans for them.
Talad Zoo, in Muang district, faced the greatest loss in its 26-year history after more than 100 birds, 50 snakes, five crocodiles and one deer reportedly died in the flood.
The remaining animals, numbering in the hundreds, have had to be crammed together while zoo officials try to salvage the complex.
"The animal deaths are the biggest tragedy since the zoo opened in 1985. The flood came so fast. We had no time to evacuate them. We regret the loss but it was truly unpreventable," said Nattawut Panpob, deputy mayor of Nakhon Si Thammarat municipality. The zoo has been under water since last Saturday _ at one point the flood waters were 3m high.
Zoo staff made every effort to move the animals out of the cages, especially the birds. However, the birds wouldn't fly away because they had become too domesticated. Eventually, the staff had no choice but to leave them in the cages.
After several bouts of heavy rain and low temperatures, the birds, most of them parrots, died.
Staff also had to take the tough decision to let more than 50 snakes drown as it was too risky to move them out.
"We had 11 crocodiles. One died in a cage while the other four were euthanised. We can't locate the rest at the moment. As soon as the water recedes, we will

Government shutdown: What about the zoo animals?
Most people know that if the federal government shuts down, that means the Smithsonian's museums close too. But the National Zoo -- which is part of the Smithsonian's collection -- in northwest Washington, D.C., is an unusual case. It would close to public visitors, but behind its gates and fences, nothing stops.
"Consider it business as usual inside the zoo," said zoo spokeswoman Karin Korpowski-Gallo. The 30% of zoo staff, including administrative, that does not take care of animals ("like me," Korpowski-Gallo said) would not come to work. But the keepers, curators, vets, nutritionists (a commissary of staffers prepare daily meals) who minister to the needs of 2,000 animals would remain at work.
Similarly, at the zoo's conservation facility in Front Royal, Va. -- which is rarely open to the public -- all hands-on animal care would continue. That means the two tiny clouded leopard cubs that were born last week and are considered genetically valuable will be oblivious to the government upheaval. They will continue to be hand-reared by the staff, get nightly feedings and be otherwise looked after round the clock.
Back in Washington, the zoo's giant anteater, Maripi, and her 4-month-old pup, Pablo, who have been attracting a lot of attention, will still be wandering their grassy exhibit. She'll be sniffing out the peanut butter that keepers hide for her to find (a zoo

Dingo breeder faces court
A DINGO breeder who accompanied wildlife photographer Jennifer Parkhurst to Fraser Island in 2009 to “watch her at work with the dingoes” yesterday fronted Maryborough Magistrates Court on charges of interfering with the wild animals.
Simon John Stretton, the first person in Queensland to open a private pure-bred dingo sanctuary, was fined $1200 after pleading guilty to one charge of disturbing a dangerous animal and one charge of failing to keep food from animals.
The court heard the Department of Environment and Resource Management brought charges against the 53-year-old conservationist from Kingaroy after they raided Parkhurst’s Rainbow Beach home on August 24, 2009.
Among items seized were

Canadian seeks support for B900mn Phuket aquarium project
A Canadian expat is seeking support from the Phuket Provincial Office for his plan to develop a 900-million-baht aquarium in Rawai.
Accompanied by Rawai Mayor Aroon Solos, businessman Daniel McDaniel today presented his proposal to Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha at Provincial Hall.
As managing director of Phuket Ocean Front Co Ltd, Mr McDaniel said Phuket still possesses huge tourism potential and that there are few business investors in the proposed area, along Patak Road in Rawai.
He has rented a 50-rai plot for 30 years with the intention of building an aquarium and a marine petting zoo, as well as a hotel in the project’s proposed second stage.
Under the completed master plan, the entire project would take five years to complete.
The first phase aquarium and petting zoo could be completed by the beginning of the high season for tourism in late 2012, he said.
“The aquarium would be the first development phase. Located on a five-rai plot, it would also house a marine zoo with performing animals. This would serve

Conservation key to turtle/dugong future
EVEN third-world countries manage their fisheries better than Australia, an internationally recognised conservatrion activist has told a meeting in Cairns.
Pete Bethune, founder of Earthrace Conservation and former Sea Shepard ‘whale warrior’, also told the Torres News: “The Solomon Islands - on Australia’s doorstep and a great deal poorer - has recognised the need for protection for these species and has already banned the hunting of [turtle and dugong].”
Conservationist, politicians and animal rights groups met in Cairns last Thursday to discuss the hunting and trade of sea turtles and dugong in north Queensland and the Torres Strait.
Although at first not all those at the meeting could agree on what action should be taken, a final resolution was made that aims to ensure Native Title rights are preserved while protecting the long-term future of sea turtle and dugong.
The meeting included who took a hard-line stance on the issue saying he would like to see the current legislation changed to remove all Native Title rights involving any endangered species within Australia.
Mr Bethune said: “There’s a gaping wound in this country today, and, those with the power to change things, need to address it urgently before Australia loses any more respect around the world,” he said.
“The Native Title Act and Animal Care Act are failing endangered species entirely; that dugongs and sea turtles continue to be hunted in Australian waters and killed using such disgusting methods under the guise of customary rights is

Cute cubs Blade and Troy given a warm welcome at Wingham Wildlife Park
WINGHAM Wildlife Park has taken delivery of its first two tigers.

Three-week-old male cubs Blade and Troy were being picked on by their mother and needed a new home.
So they were snapped up by park boss Tony Binskin and his wife Jackie, who had been hunting for wild cats for their newly-built animal enclosure. The cubs were given their first public outing on Saturday.
Managing director Tony said: "Taking care of these young cubs is hard work, and much like looking after a human baby.
"There have been sleepless nights and a hectic daily schedule to ensure they are kept fed with bottles of milk, kept clean and not allowed to get bored."
Part of the regime has included being shown

Mutant crab caught by fisherman

A mutant three-clawed crab has been hauled up in a fisherman's lobster pot.

The sea monster, which has an extra set of pincers growing from beneath its shell, was caught off the coast of Northumberland.
Amble fisherman Jeff Handyside donated the eight-inch edible crab to the Blue Reef Aquarium in T

Man, 71, dies after being nipped by crab
A 71-year-old man has died in hospital after succumbing to a flesh-eating bacteria from a crab that nicked him two months ago.

Mr Lim Qi Mu, a retired fisherman was preparing chilli crabs for his family on the first day of the Lunar New Year on February 3 when the incident happened.
The father of three had bought the crabs from the nearby wet market when one of the crabs claws nipped at his hand, causing a wound between his index finger and thumb.
But he kept mum about the incident, while his family enjoyed the feast he prepared.
The next day, while out visiting,

Elephant dies at Budapest Zoo

One of the Budapest Zoo's two old Asian elephant cows died after a sudden unexpected illness on April 7.

Zitta's death was caused by acute inflammation of the colon. Doctors had fought for her life for 20 hours but she could not be saved.

Zitta arrived in Budapest on October 22, 1996 from Emmen, The Netherlands. Her exact birth date is not known, but she was probably nearly 50 years old.
There are now three Asian elephants living at the Budapest Zoo: a young

Popcorn-smelling bearcat cubs cause a stink at Chessington zoo

The sweet smell of popcorn greeted zoo keepers when they returned to work last month to find three baby binturongs.

The binturong, known as bearcats, are known for having a natural scent almost identical to movie popcorn.
The new arrivals were the product of Jalita and Awan, who have successfully bred at Chessington Zoo in the past, but never a litter of three before.
Head mammal keeper John Merrington said: “Binturong are fantastic animals to work with, incredible friendly and sociable, in fact one of our female binturong loves people so much she will often take part in the daily shows.
“The continued breeding of these animals is an important part of the European stud book programme


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