Saturday, May 14, 2011

Zoo News Digest 11th - 14th May 2011 (Zoo News 750)

Zoo News Digest 11th - 14th May 2011 (Zoo News 750)

Starving Lioness in Abidjan Zoo
Click HERE to learn more

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

So sorry to learn of the tragic death of 'Tiny'. My sincere condolences to all concerned. Having felt similar pain more than once I grieve along with you. Sad as it is, these things happen and all we can do is do our best.

Re "Attack out of character", I object to the use of the word 'euthanized' in the article. Okay it is not being contemplated....or course it isn't....why on earth should it ever be? I am sorry this kid got hurt but it was not the zoos fault. A "A railing higher than 4 feet between the path and the leopard’s enclosure would better guarantee visitor safety". Yes I am sure it would. What are we thinking of here? 10 feet? Twenty? If what they have been using has been shown to be safe for just one year is good enough let alone 40 years. It was a group of visitors at fault here NOT the zoo. I really can't see why Topeka was dragged into the article. Different altogether and unfair to a collection which is trying to get back on track.

"Update on monkey who attacked his owner" - Follows on from the article in the last Zoo News Digest. Here we have another statement from the De-fanging queen '"He can't be given a chance to bite again," says Debbie'. Why is it I find this frightening?

The Zoo World Has Gone Prediction Mad. The Octopus managed it, it was a good publicity stunt. Lets give it a rest now. Nothing can predict the future anyway. So two headed tortoises et al please forget it. It really isn't clever anymore.

Wow! They did raise a lot of money for new accommodation for Anne The Elephant. I am delighted. The artists impression of the new set up looks very nice. One question I have...I asked it before but did not get an answer though I am sure somebody knows. It was the following statement which reminded me "Anne’s former owners, Bobby and Moira Roberts, said they were horrified to discover their elephant – whom they regarded as a pet – had been beaten. They agreed to let her move to Longleat.". So were Bobby and Moira Roberts paid anything for Anne? It's just that I have this confusion in my head about the definition of the word 'rescue' and it won't go away. To my mind...and that of some NGO's in S.E.Asia no money enters the equation when an animal is 'rescued'. I have asked the same question of other high profile animal rescues but never had an answer, even privately. This suggests to me that payment has taken place and that being the case these puported 'rescues' are in fact purchases, and that is very wrong!

The smoke is clearing up at Edinburgh but we are still unable to see what has happened and who is left standing.

Just who are Richard Branson's 'experts'? What is an expert anyhow? There is a definition knocking around in my head "x, as you are well aware, is an unknown. A 'spurt' is a drip under pressure". Of course I am sure it does not apply here.

"UNC-TV's "North Carolina Now" will interview Zoo director, Dr. Jones for his work on rebuilding Egypt's Cairo Zoo. May 17 at 7:30 pm".....Is there any way I can watch this? I am very interested.

I am excited to see the London Aquarium’s new penguin experience. I think I will drop by for a visit next week.....if I can afford the entrance fee that is.

Some Articles You May Have Missed

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Zoo staff left heartbroken as baby gorilla dies
A SEVEN month old baby gorilla known as 'Tiny' has died at London Zoo – the third tragedy to hit the gorilla kingdom enclosure in as many years. The little silverback was injured in a scuffle yesterday (Thursday) as his mother Mjukuu was introduced to London Zoo's new male Western Lowland gorilla, Kesho.
Struggling with a suspect broken arm, Tiny underwent an operation to have it pinned but could not breathe on his own when he came around from the anaesthetic. His heart stopped and attempts to revive him were unsucessful.
Tiny's father, Yeboah, died at the zoo last year. That came after Gorilla Kingdom's original alpha male, Bongo Junior – known as Bobby – died in 2009.
Kesho arrived in 2010 as the zoo perserves with its attempt to breeds the endangered species. Keepers had been patiently waiting for the best time for him to meet Tiny and his mother Mjukuu.
Zoological Director David Field said: “We had progressed the introductions very slowly, waiting until we saw very positive signs they were ready. Mjukuu had begun to interact very confidently with Kesho, choosing to spend time close to him through a partition. Kesho also responded positively towards Mjukuu and the baby. We took our cues from the confidence Mjukuu show

Hatboro woman leaves large donation to dolphin exhibit in Baltimore aquarium
Even though she lived in Hatboro, Marian Smith’s heart was in Baltimore.
For more than a decade the former Warminster Road resident, who passed away in February at the age of 73, visited and donated to the dolphin exhibit at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Md.
“I have worked here for more than six years and I can’t tell the dolphins apart, but Marian could,” Suzanne Boyle, the aquarium’s director of major gifts, said. “She absolutely loved these dolphins.”
Although Smith would send $10 to $15 donations throughout the years, Boyle recently

Edinburgh Zoo manager cleared of wrongdoing
One of two senior managers suspended at Edinburgh Zoo has been cleared of wrongdoing following an internal investigation.
The Royal Zoological Society, which runs the zoo, said there was "no disciplinary case to answer" against chief operating officer Gary Wilson.
It found he had been subjected to "a deeply unpleasant and malicious smear campaign by person or persons unknown".
An investigation into a second senior manager is continuing.
Edinburgh Zoo is currently being probed by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) following the suspensions.
The inquiry was launched after it was revealed two giant pandas were due to arrive in Edinburgh in July.
Mr Wilson, who was suspended in March, is now in discussions to return to work by the end of the month.
In a statement, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland executive chairman Donald Emslie said a panel had concluded that there was no disciplinary case to answer after an "extensive and thorough" investigation into a series of anonymous allegations made against Mr Wilson.
“Gary has been the subject of a deeply unpleasant and malicious smear campaign by person or persons unknown”
He added: "This has been an extremely difficult time for all concerned, but especially Gary, his wife and his young family.
"Gary has been the subject of a deeply unpleasant and malicious smear campaign by person or persons unknown who have chosen a despicable method by which to pursue their own personal agenda to the detriment of the society, its staff, its members and Gary.
"Gary will resume his position with the society shortly as director of business operations.
"I would also like to stress that Gary has not been demoted - his position as interim chief operating officer was always intended to be temporary until the interim chief

Vote of no confidence in chairman of crisis-hit zoo
MEMBERS of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) have signalled their displeasure over recent events at crisis-hit Edinburgh Zoo with an overwhelming vote of no confidence in chairman Donald Emslie.
But the society's board of directors survived a vote of no confidence by just over 100 votes.
About 500 members attended an emergency meeting at Murrayfield Stadium last night to discuss management difficulties over three senior executives, which led to two suspensions and a sacking, followed by one re-instatement.
Also on the agenda was the future of the zoo and fears that the recent turmoil could put at risk the deal to bring two pandas from China to the city.
Members had demanded the meeting to get answers on why Iain Valentine, director of animals, and the man responsible for brokering the panda deal, had been suspended. They also wanted to know why Anthony McReavy, director of development, had been sacked. Gary Wilson, interim chief operating officer, who was suspended in March, was re-instated on Wednesday.
However, while it was stated that Mr Wilson had been cleared, the other two cases were not discussed.
Jim McLean, from Linlithgow, one of the RZSS members who demanded the emergency meeting, said: "This

Zoo chief refuses to quit after no confidence vote
THE chairman of Edinburgh Zoo has resisted demands for him to quit after months of turmoil at the 102-year-old institution.
Donald Emslie was urged to step down by members of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which runs the zoo, at a special meeting following the scandal that included the sacking of one executive and the suspension of two others.
A vote of no confidence in the chairman was carried but a separate no confidence motion against the entire board was defeated in what members described as a “sad day” for the society.
Mr Emslie is being asked to leave just months after he signed a high-profile multi-million- pound deal to bring pandas to Scotland with the Chinese Vice-Premier Li Keqiang in London.
It is expected Mr Emslie will continue to face pressure to leave his post of more than two years, with one board member saying the vote could not be ignored. An option would be

Attack out of character
As it made national news, the leopard attack on a Wichita firstgrader Friday at the Sedgwick County Zoo realized the fears of many a parent, and many a parent who volunteers to chaperone on a school field trip.
Thank goodness the 7-year-old’s head and neck lacerations were not life-threatening, and that he was able to leave the hospital Monday. The community’s thoughts and prayers will continue to be with him and his family, as well as with all those children and others who were witness to the frightening incident and its aftermath.
It was also good news that the rare Amur leopard is temporarily off exhibit but at no risk of being euthanized.
Mark Reed, the zoo’s longtime executive director, and his staff and board obviously need to examine what happened and whether facility or policy changes might prevent another such attack. As an investigator for and former president of the accrediting Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Reed is well-suited to the task.
A railing higher than 4 feet between the path and the leopard’s enclosure would better guarantee visitor safety, for example. But one of the pleasures of the Sedgwick County Zoo is creative, spacious exhibit

Toronto Zoo says sanctuary not an option for its elephants (Lots of comments)
The Toronto Zoo has hardened its stance on the fate of three elderly elephants, rejecting unequivocally any plan to ship the elephants to a U.S. sanctuary.
It issued the statement days after releasing a report that concluded Toka, Thika and Iringa should be moved to another zoo. That decision arose mainly out of concerns the city could not afford a new $16.5-million elephant facility or the animals' $1-million annual upkeep bill.
The animal-rights group Zoocheck, along with former Price is Right host Bob Barker, have been pressuring the Toronto Zoo to send its African Bush elephants south to save them from the ill-effects of Toronto’s cold climate. Four of the zoo’s elephants have died in the past five years.
That message has influenced several city councillors who want to send the pachyderms packing to a sunny retirement on a free-range sanctuary in California.
The problem with that plan, according the Zoo clarification issued on Tuesday, is that sanctuaries are not accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which it says places the animals health and safety at risk.
“While some people call for the Toronto Zoo’s elephants to be sent to a ‘sanctuary’, both Zoo staff and its accrediting bodies have concerns about standards, care and monitoring at such facilities,” said the Zoo in a statement, which included a recent report about workers at a Tennessee sanctuary contracting tuberculosis from an elephant.
“It’s a bit of fear-mongering,” said Julie Woodyer, campaign director for Zoocheck Canada. “The sanctuary has been around for 25 years, expanding and improving over that time. It exceeds all AZA standards of care for elephants.”
Elephants from zoos in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Detroit and Alaska have all sent elephants to the Performing Animal Welfare Society facility in California, Zoocheck’s retirement destination of choice for the Toronto animals.
The Toronto Zoo Board

Moving Toronto's elephants a big job
Toronto Zoo officials warned Tuesday it could take up to two years before their elephants are ready to be moved.
The revelation comes as the zoo’s board of management prepares to meet Thursday to debate a staff recommendation to end the elephant program and send the three remaining elephants to another accredited Association of Zoos and Aquariums facility.
In a two-page fact sheet sent to board members and the media Tuesday, zoo officials stressed moving elephants isn’t a simple dumbo drop.
"It is unlikely that even if the Zoo’s Board of Management decides that Toka, Thika and Iringa should move, they will simply walk into a trailer when it pulls up to their habitat,” officials stated. “Experts expect it will be up to two years to prepare the Zoo’s elephants for the move.”
The memo also dismissed the notion of sending the elephants to an elephant sanctuary, as former TV game show host Bob Barker and animal rights group Zoocheck Canada have pleaded with board members to do.
“An accredited home guarantees that Toronto Zoo’s elephants will benefit from more than 3,880 years of the collective elephant management experience,” officials stated. “By comparison, private sanctuaries, however well meaning, are not necessarily appropriate.”
Zoo board chairman Joe Torzsok said he’ll be asking zoo staff for more details on the moving process.
“It’s a complicated process and it’s complicated times three for us,” he said.
While Torzsok said the board will likely decide the fate of the elephant program on Thursday, the fate of the elephants may take a little longer to work out.
“This is not going to be a one-step, one shot decision,” he said.
Torzsok said he’s received a number of calls and e-mails from the public about the elephant issue.
“I think the public’s opinion is it is time for the zoo to evolve beyond elephants,” he said.
Zoocheck Canada also waged a public relations war on Tuesday, stressing the PAWS animal sanctuary in California, while not an AZA institution, was the best option for Toronto’s elephants.
The group, along with Barker and PAWS, offered to cover the transportation costs if the elephants are sent to the sanctuary.
Zoocheck pointed out zoos in

Elephants to leave Toronto Zoo
The ladies are on the move.
Toka, Thika and Iringa, the three female elephants that remain at the Toronto Zoo, will be sent somewhere more comfortable to retire, following a decision by the zoo board Thursday.
The board hopes to send them to a zoo accredited by the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). But Joe Torzsok, chair of the board, said the vote doesn’t close the door to alternatives.
“This doesn’t rule out the option of a sanctuary,” such as those in Tennessee and California, Torzsok said. The zoo approved a motion Torzsok put forward that basically said if an accredited zoo home can’t be found, a sanctuary should be considered.
But after the vote AZA official Martha Fischer said there’s an “extremely high probability” the trio can be placed in one their approved facilities.
In support of sending the elephants to an AZA facility, zoo vice chair and city councillor Paul Ainslie joked that “when I retire, I want to go to a licensed nursing home.”
The zoo’s animal care and research committee will consult with the AZA about finding a suitable home and get back to the zoo board with

Zoo Negara to be upgraded
Zoo Negara has announced plans to improve the enclosures for five groups of animals by the end of next year.
The announcement comes at a time when lots of questions are being asked about the standards of zoos in the country and the upkeep of animals.
The nearly 50-year-old zoo has received RM8.2mil from the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry (MNRE) to develop the new 15-acre enclosure.
Zoo director Dr Mohamad Ngah (pic) said the present man-made habitat for some animals was no longer conducive as the animals had multiplied over the years.
He said that the zoo had to comply with the latest enclosure guidelines set by the World Association of Zoos and Aquarium (Waza) and South-East Asian Zoo Association (Seaza) zoology experts.
“As a non-governmental organisation, we have enough funds to run our daily operations but we don't have the funds for upgrading work,” he said, adding that the zoo had been appealing

Pine Marten evidence found in Grizedale Forest
ONE OF England’s rarest mammals is living in a South Lakeland forest, a DNA test has revealed.
The scat, or dropping, of the rare and elusive pine marten is just the third finding in England in the past 10 years.
It was found by Neil Jordan, pine marten project manager for the Vincent Wildlife Trust, who has been scouring Grizedale Forest for evidence of the tree-dwelling mammal for two years.
The discovery by the wildlife charity, which has been looking for the creature in Britain since the mid 1990s, has been hailed ‘very significant’ by VWT chief executive

Bronx Zoo Unveils Endangered Species Stamp
A new postage stamp dedicated to helping endangered species roared to life Thursday at the Bronx Zoo.
Each stamp features an illustration of a tiger cub and will sell for 55 cents. Eleven cents from each stamp goes directly to the Multinational Species Conservation Fund.
"What we're doing here with this stamp is finding a new way to help this iconic species. These funds help save tigers and gorillas and rhinos Asian and African elephants and they're small pots of money, but have a tremendous impact on these populations," said Wildlife Conservation Society Executive Vice President of Public Affairs John Calvelli.
The Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the Bronx Zoo, has been working with other groups for 10 years to make the stamp possible.
The zoo has been in the news a lot lately, mainly for a pair of incidents where animals went missing. Back in March, an Egyptian cobra was lost for about a week until it was finally found hiding in the reptile house. This week

Theft of elderly koala has zoo worried
A 13-year-old koala named Banjo has been stolen from an Australian zoo in what's believed to be the first theft of its kind, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
The zoo's general manager, Mary Rayner, said zoo officials were worried for the koala's health because "it's his first winter" in New South Wales and at 13, he's considered elderly by koala standards.
The zoo acquired the koala early this year from a zoo in the warmer Gold Coast, and Rayner told the Telegraph that he had lost some weight during the move, so keepers were supplementing his diet of eucalyptus

Stolen koala found in trash bin in parking lot of Australian Zoo
A STOLEN koala was found today dumped in a trash bin in a parking lot outside the Australian zoo that he was taken from - alive, but stressed and hungry.
The 13-year-old marsupial named Banjo was stolen some time Monday night from an enclosure at the Australian Reptile Park near Gosford, about 75km north of Sydney.
Only hours after reports emerged of the koala's theft today, an anonymous phone tip off was made to the zoo, with the caller revealing where they had left Banjo.
"He was found in a plastic garbage bin with a crate over the top," zoo spokesperson Libby Bain told NewsCore.
Bain said Banjo was "obviously stressed" and in need of food, but otherwise appeared unharmed.
Banjo is considered elderly by koala standards, with the iconic Australian species having a life expectancy in the wild of about 10 years and 15

Zoo membership won't be kept in a cage any longer
Is history about to repeat itself at crisis-hit Edinburgh Zoo, asks John Barrett
There used to be a zoo in the north of Edinburgh, near the site of the Royal Botanic Gardens, which lasted for only 18 years from 1839. It was popular, and was called the Royal Edinburgh Zoological Gardens. It closed after it was sold off to a commercial concern that was just interested in making money. It appears history might be about to repeat itself.
In recent years the zoo appears to have lurched from crisis to crisis. Currently, many members feel that they have been left in the dark for too long and a group has demanded an extraordinary general meeting, at which a vote of no confidence in the chairman and board will be discussed.
The meeting will take place this Thursday and interest from the estimated 23,000 members has already resulted in the venue being changed from the zoo itself to a larger venue at Murrayfield Stadium.
The importance of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), which runs Edinburgh Zoo, spreads throughout the country and beyond.
As well as providing a family day out, it has responsibilities for conservation, education and research projects, both in Scotland and internationally.
As a life member, each year I am sent the annual report showing the many good things going on, but there is also a clear risk of the organisation spreading itself too thinly.
The zoo has often trumpeted its multi-million pound masterplan, but anyone who had the nerve to question the need to sell land for development was told that they were putting this plan at risk.
Many members have told me that they feel the board and former chief executive overstepped the mark regarding disposing of and developing land that was given to the RZSS for the specific use of the zoo.
The performance of the board must be held up to close scrutiny. They need to demonstrate exactly what actions they have

Branson retreats in row over lemurs plan for 'eco-island'
Richard Branson's bid to turn his island into a conservation zone for rare lemurs has run into trouble after conservationists objected.
It sounded like a bold move to conserve a species threatened with extinction.
When Sir Richard Branson announced plans to transport lemurs from breeding zoos around the world and release them on a pristine Caribbean island, his experts said it would be a perfect way to protect the primates and help them to breed.
However, conservationists were quick to warn that the imported creatures, with their voracious appetites, could wipe out much of the native flora and fauna on the island of Moskito.
After the warnings were highlighted in The Sunday Telegraph, the Virgin tycoon - who paid £10 million for the island - has backed down and agreed to keep the lemurs in large enclosures until further research is carried out into the impact their release would have.
The rare dwarf gecko (sphaerodactylus parthenopion) is said to be at particular risk from the "aggressive, omnivorous" lemurs. The world's smallest lizard, it is found only on Moskito and the neighbouring island of Virgin Gorda. Both are part of the British Virgin Islands, a British overseas territory,0

More deaths in city zoo
Tragedy struck the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo again on Friday, just nine days after it lost a tigress to jaundice and four days after the death of a lion-tailed macaque. The zoo on Friday reported the deaths of a lion and a swan.
The lion, ‘Raja’, died of old age, while the cause of death of the swan, one of the new acquisitions, has not been ascertained yet. ‘’Raja was 20 years old and had been bred at the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo itself,’’ Director of Museums and Zoos K Udayavarman said.
"The lion was suffering from diseases common to old age. The post-mortem was conducted at the zoo and the carcass will be burned as per rules,’’ he said. The carcass of the swan has been sent for post-mortem to the Chief Disease Investigation Office (CDIO), Palode.
Raja, a long-time resident of the zoo, had for a time been transferred to the Lion Safari of the Forest Department at Neyyar. Later, he was moved back to the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo.
On April 27, the zoo had lost ‘Reshmi’, an eight-year-old tigress, to jaundice. The keepers had found her dead, and the carcass was sent for post-mortem. Preliminary results had showed jaundice as the cause. "The final report also confirmed it,’’ Udayavarman said. With Reshmi’s death, the number

Captive breeding
For the first time in Goa, captive breeding of endangered sloth bears took place at the Bondla Zoo. "It shows that the climate of Goa and the sustainable natural habitat provided is conducive for the health of sloth bears," said D N F Carvalho, deputy conservator of forest, wildlife and eco-tourism. Two cubs that are yet to be named - one male and female --were born at the 8 sq km zoo in Bondla Wildlife sanctuary.
In March 2010, the cub's parents - two sloth bears by the name of Raju and Chennama were added to the Bondla zoo pursuant to an agreement between the state forest department and the Nehru Zoological park at Hyderabad. The pair was procured in exchange for a pair of gaur (Indian bison) as Bondla zoo had only a female sloth bear named Meena for six years, which was against the guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA). "CZA makes it mandatory that no single animal or animal of single sex be kept in a zoo," said Carvalho.
According to a senior forest department officer, they had given up all attempts to find a suitable mate for Meena as she had grown old and her male partner at the zoo had passed away due to some disease. The officer added that the sloth bear has a gestation

One of world's rarest birds treated in Wellington
One of the world's rarest birds has been brought to Wellington for treatment, flown from its remote Chatham Islands home.
The Chatham Islands taiko, or magenta petrel, is critically endangered and on the brink of extinction. There may be only 140 of them.
For the part of the year they are not at sea, they live on a difficult-to-access pocket of the Chatham Islands, where a very sick chick known as E1113897 was found by Conservation Department staff and members of the Taiko Trust, who are striving to keep the species alive.
The bird was flown to Wellington Zoo yesterday, the first time a taiko has

Reema fails as Zoo ambassador
Pakistani actress, Reema, who was handed over the responsibility of Lahore Zoo three months ago, has proved to be extremely reckless in her job as a Zoo Ambassador.
Apart from not paying any attention to the Zoo, Reema has not paid the upkeep of two deer she adopted three months ago.
Zoo director Zahid Bhatti, while talking to Express News said, “As per the rules, anyone who adopts an animal from the zoo has to pay for at least one year’s upkeep. However, Reema is yet to pay Rs. 40,000 that she owes the Zoo.”
On the other hand, Reema has threatened to sue

SEA LIFE London Aquarium’s new penguin experience
The harsh Antarctic comes to London in SEA LIFE London Aquarium’s new penguin experience!
Penguin mania is set to sweep London this year as the SEA LIFE London Aquarium announces a major new area featuring a family of gentoo penguins will open in spring. SEA LIFE’s new Ice Adventure will be a very different – and much chillier - experience to any other, giving guests a totally unique way to get close to, and learn about, the gentoo penguin.
Working with British Antartic Survey, SEA LIFE London Aquarium is creating an area that will transport guests to a research station in the coldest and most inhospitable place on earth. Visitors will journey through an icy landscape full of interactive features – from freezing touch pools to looking at the world through snow goggles. In the penguin viewing ice cave visitors will get a direct window into the habitat of the gentoo penguin as a select group of the magical creatures dive beneath the water and play in a carefully created icy home from home
“This is really very different to a traditional zoo setting and our intention is to essentially recreate a taste of the Antarctic in the heart of the city,” says Toby Forer, General Manager at SEA LIFE London Aquarium. “Gentoo penguins thrive in extreme cold and pollution free environments and the habitat we are creating will provide them with their optimum living conditions. Penguins always put a smile on peoples’ faces and we know this family will too – but this experience

Sea turtle conservation at Kram Island
There is an island in the eastern province of Chonburi's Sattahip distict where sea turtles feel safe to lay their eggs. In order to keep the ecosystem in balance, the Royal Thai Navy's Sattahip Naval Base set up Sea Turtle Conservation Center and has arranged its personnel to care for the animals.
Kram Island, free of tourists and local residents, is some four kilometres off shore, covers over 8,000 rai of farmland and is under the responsibility of the Royal Thai Navy.
Marine turtles lay several thousand eggs annually at Kram Island. The considerable number of eggs is regarded the most abundant of all the islands in the Gulf of Thailand.
As natural security is also national security, the deployment of naval officers around Kram Island is strictly to protect the safety and well-being


Siberian tigers under threat as 'timber mafia' devastate Russian forests
Criminal gangs are increasingly smuggling Russian timber into China for manufacture into baby cribs, picture frames and toilet seats sold in the west. Those trying to thwart them face violence and corruption. Sebastian Strangio reports from Vladivostok
The Chinese city of Suifenhe sprawls amid the dun-coloured hills of eastern Manchuria, sitting astride the Chinese Eastern Railway at the point where it crosses the Russian frontier. Founded in the nineteenth century as an outpost of the Tsarist empire, the city is today a typical Chinese boom town of shopping centres and towering apartment blocks, some topped with onion domes in architectural homage to the city’s origins.
The city remains an important point of contact between the two countries: each day, busloads of Russian day trippers cross the border to buy up cheap Chinese clothes

Virginia McKenna still fighting for beloved animals
WHERE do you start in an interview with Virginia McKenna, glamorous film star, widow of a talented Geordie, passionate conservationist and, it turns out, riveting raconteur?
Since Virginia is best known for the 1966 hit film Born Free, in which she and husband Bill Travers played conservationists Joy and George Adamson, it seems only right to begin with a lion.
Not Elsa, the orphaned lioness whose story was told in Born Free, but Dolo, who has just been released from a life of misery in Ethiopia, which Virginia visited in her role as founder of the Born Free Foundation.
“He had been kept in a shed for four years with a chain round his neck and because of the chain rubbing he has no mane,” says Virginia.
“The villagers said they liked to have him there because every morning he would roar and wake them up.”
This was a king of the jungle doing a cockerel’s job and you will be glad to know that the poor living alarm clock is now one of the first residents of a new animal rescue

Four-year-old girl falls into big cat pen at Edinburgh Zoo
A four-year-old girl fell into a big cats pen right in front of her horrified mother while visiting Edinburgh Zoo.
Rachael Wallace-Lane, 44, said her daughter, Robyn fell through a barrier face first into a pool of dirty water below the big cat enclosure.
Fortunately there were no animals in the enclosure at the time.
Mrs Wallace-Lane, of Merchiston, said she had been "horrified" by the incident, which happened next to where the zoo's jaguars are housed.
She said Robyn fell into the den after walking along a sill designed as a walkway for children and going through a window where some of the Perspex screen was missing.
She said: "Robyn was just walking along the sill when she just disappeared because there was nothing in the last frame. She fell a couple of feet down into a dirty pond.
"At that point we did not know there was nothing in the enclosure. We didn't know until

Update on monkey who attacked his owner
When Sammy a 30 pound java macaque attacked his owner last month biting him on the nose police were never called. It wasn't until the owner checked himself into a local hospital that authorities were notified.
While his owner is expected to recover Sammy is now sitting behind bars at his new home at the Franklin Exotic Zoo sharpening his teeth and creating a racket preparing his revenge on whoever put him there.
That's why the United States Humane Society is making another push to Virginia lawmakers to not allow the ownership of any dangerous wild animals by any private citizen.
Newschannel 3 was the first to bring you the news of Sammy attacking his owner when the Surry County man accidentally rolled over on him in the bed they shared while he was sleeping.
"His nose and wrist were hurt pretty bad," says owner of Bear Path Acres Debbie Jeter.
Debbie Jeter has been caring for the monkeys for over two weeks. She says exotic animals like monkeys should never be kept as pets because you can never take the "wild" out of a wild animal.
"He can't be given a chance to bite again," says Debbie.
The US Humane Society says in Virginia cats and dogs,0,3926749.story

Zoo's Budget in Cross Hairs .
An escaped peahen with green feathers found her way back into custody at the Bronx Zoo amid much fanfare Wednesday, leaving zoo officials to grapple with a problem that's getting less attention on the public stage: deep city budget cuts.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed spending plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1 cuts the operating budget for the Bronx Zoo by more than 50%, said officials from the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the institution.
John Calvelli, the society's executive vice president for public affairs, said the cuts, if approved by the City Council, would be "catastrophic." Laying off employees, closing exhibits, shortening hours and sending animals to other institutions are all possibilities, Mr. Calvelli said.
"Everything is on the table," he said. "We'd have to look at everything."
On Wednesday, members of the Cultural Institutions Group—a coalition representing the 33 cultural institutions on city-owned property that receive significant funding from city government—met with members of the City Council

Saftey concerns at Whangarei's Zion Wildlife Park before death of Dalu MnCube
The Department of Labour knew about safety concerns at Whangarei's Zion Wildlife Park before keeper Dalu MnCube was mauled to death by a tiger but failed to act, a lawyer for the park claims.
Zion lawyer Steve Barter made the claim after a recent judgment issued by Auckland District Court Judge Jan-Marie Doogue in which she ordered the department to hand over further disclosures - documents which are, or may be, relevant to proving a case against someone - to the park.
The department has laid two charges - failing to take steps to prevent a hazard and failing to take steps to prevent harm - against the companies which ran the park after handler Dalu Mncube was mauled to death by a tiger at the park in May, 2009.
Mr Barter sought an order for the release of the disclosures after the department opposed it on the basis that they were not relevant.
Among the documents the department had failed to release were a summary of evidence, correspondence between its staff, Ministry of Agriculture and

Saving The Great Apes
The great apes are our closest genetic relatives. We share 97 percent of our DNA. But we’re also the biggest threat to their survival. Unless we act now, apes could become extinct within decades. Behind each great ape is a story. The woman behind them all is Patti Ragan.
“We’re here to provide long-term life care with dignity and enrichment for these animals that are so intelligent that need a secure strong safe place.” Patti Ragan, founder of the Center For Great Apes told Ivanhoe.
Patti runs the Center For Great Apes. The sanctuary is home to our closest genetic relatives: orangutans and chimpanzees.
“Chimpanzees are very expressive, sometimes somebody bumps into somebody and there’s a flare-up over it and you touched me, oh! And then they make up immediately,” Ragan said.
Orangutans or “man of the forest” are the largest tree dwelling mammals in the world.
“These guys are much calmer, more laid back, they are more Zen. But if there is a problem between them they won’t make up as quickly as chimps do. They’ll hold a grudge for days against somebody,” Ragan explained.
The 45 chimps and orangutans at the center were all either used in the entertainment business, or were kept as pets until they got too big and strong for their owners.
“These babies that we see on television or in movies or in live acts at tourist attractions, by the time they are 9 or 10 they are done, but they live 50-60 years,” Ragan said.
Then there’s Mari. Mari was born in a research

Calgary Zoo assists in burrowing owl release program
Calgary Zoo researchers helped release 84 captive-bred burrowing owls in the Kamloops-Merritt area in mid-April using artificial burrows.
“They do breed and fend for themselves, and get to the point where they migrate,” said zoo director Jake Veasey.
But Veasey said researchers are still trying to pinpoint why only 13 per cent of the endangered birds they tag during the breeding season are returning the following year.
They could be finding new homes in B.C. or in the United States, or something could be threatening their habitat, he said.
In the last 30 years the national population of burrowing owls has dropped dramatically, from 3,000 pairs to fewer than 800 pairs.
Potential reasons range from the lack of burrows created by other burrowing animals such as marmots and ground squirrels, to climate change and environmental contaminants.
Since 1992 the breeding program has released 1,164 pairs into the wild.
The birds are bred at the B.C. Wildlife

Drug ban helps vulture recovery
A ban on the veterinary use of a painkiller in South Asia appears to be preventing vultures from being poisoned there, say researchers.
Many vultures have been killed by eating livestock carcasses that were contaminated with the drug.
The crash in vulture populations was so severe that the three endemic species are now threatened with extinction.
This study, published in the journal PLoS One, reveals the first signs that the ban has reduced vulture poisonings.
The governments of India, Nepal and Pakistan banned the use of diclofenac for livestock in

DON'T FORGET: International Vulture Awareness Day

First Signs Of Progress In Saving Indian Vultures From Killer Drug,
New Study Gives Hope For Critically Endangered Birds, But Still More Work To Be Done
The ban on a veterinary drug which caused an unprecedented decline in Asian vulture populations has shown the first signs of progress, according to scientists. However, the recovery of the wild vulture populations requires efforts to see the drug completely removed from the birds' food supply.
In a new study, published today in science journal, PLoS ONE, researchers report measurements of the prevalence and concentration of diclofenac in carcasses of domesticated cattle in India, made before and after the implementation of a ban on its veterinary use.
The governments of India, Nepal and Pakistan banned veterinary use of the painkiller, diclofenac, in 2006 because of its lethal effects on vultures that feed on the carcasses of cattle and buffaloes that had been treated with the drug shortly before they died.
The study shows that the proportion of cattle carcasses in India contaminated with the drug declined by over 40% between 2006 and 2008. The concentration of the drug in contaminated animals also fell.
Combining the effects of these two changes, the expected rate of annual population decline of the vultures is expected to slow by approximately 60%. However, the resulting decline rate is still expected to be around 18% per year for the most susceptible species, the oriental white-backed vulture, down from about 40% per year before the ban, meaning that vultures will not recover unless efforts to eradicate the drug becomes still more successful.
Although the legal action has started to show encouraging results, much remains to be done, because diclofenac manufactured for human use is still being used illegally to treat cattle in India.
One of the study's authors, Dr Devendra Swarup, former Research Director of the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, commented: "Because of the difficulty in ensuring that human diclofenac is not being used illegally and in secret, testing the vulture food (cattle carcasses) directly is the only way to find out how safe the vultures really are."
Lead author, Dr Richard Cutbert of RSPB, said: "This shows how much progress has been made, but there is still a job to do to make sure that safe alternative drugs are used. Unfortunately some of the alternatives have not been tested for their safety to vultures and one drug in increasing use, ketoprofen, is already known to be toxic to vultures".
In fact, the only safe alternative used in Indiaknown so far is meloxicam, which is becoming more widely used now that its cost is falling and approaching that of diclofenac. However, other drugs known to be toxic or with unknown effects remain legal and are still being used by vets.
Dr Asad Rahmani, Director of the Bombay Natural History Society said: "Complete removal of diclofenac from vulture food is the single most important action needed to save vultures. Human

National Bat Monitoring Programme Intern
The Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) is the only organisation in the UK solely devoted to the conservation of bats. BCT runs the National Bat Monitoring Programme (NBMP), funded by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, which aims to monitor selected bat populations througout the UK. Over 3,000 volunteers have contributed data to the programme since it started in 1997 on three main monitoring projects.
The NBMP team is looking for a volunteer intern to help us meet increased targets for survey delivery and volunteer training.

Is the giant squid the new giant panda?
Can a 13-metre long beastie, all tentacles and suckers, be a conservation icon for our time?
Scientists are proposing that the giant squid Architeuthis be emblemised and celebrated to help promote the conservation of marine diversity.
The giant squid would become the giant panda of the seas; a single species that captures the imagination, and stands for the world in which it lives.
It would become a rallying point for those seeking to protect life under the waves, the fish and the whales, the corals and crustaceans, an abundance of marine invertebrates and creatures we perhaps have yet to discover.
It could even become a marketing tool, a brand, a philosophy.
Rather than have to make complex arguments about marine food webs, carrying capacities, life histories and bycatch, people could support the saving of the seas b

Daily Mail readers raise £340,000 to build animal sanctuary for Anne the elephant
Caring Daily Mail readers have raised an astonishing £340,000 to create Europe’s first elephant sanctuary – and make a permanent retirement home for Anne.
In only five weeks, the money has poured into the Daily Mail Elephant Sanctuary Appeal to create a purpose-built haven for former circus and zoo animals at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire.
And today the Mail can reveal plans for the home where Anne will spend the rest of her life. This artist’s impression shows the purpose-built elephant home, heated sandpits, wading areas and play areas where Anne and up to five other rescued elephants will live in peace.
The plight of Anne, who is 59, touched animal lovers after shocking pictures taken by welfare group Animal Defenders International showed her being beaten by a Romanian groom in her former circus home. The photos were published by the Mail at the end of March.
Celebrities including Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alan Titchmarsh and Bill Oddie backed our campaign, along with Princess Michael of Kent.
Anne’s former owners, Bobby and Moira Roberts, said they were horrified to discover their elephant – whom they regarded as a pet – had been beaten. They agreed to let her move to Longleat.
Anne has settled down well at Longleat where she is getting the care she needs in a temporary 13-acre enclosure.
Steve Mytton, from Longleat, said: ‘We

Zoo penguins given 'calming pills' after yobs break into enclosure
TERRIFIED penguins are being fed “calming pills” after three sick yobs broke into their enclosure and chased them for 30 minutes.
The 10 Humboldt penguins dived into the water to escape and staff at Scarborough’s Sea Life Centre say the birds now can’t sleep and are reluctant to leave the pool.
They are being treated with a herbal remedy to calm them.
Displays Curator Lyndsey Crawford, 33, said: “Birds are extremely

Detroit Zoo Named 'Champion Of Polar Bears'
Zoo To Receive Award On Environmental Awareness
The Detroit Zoological Society will receive the "Champion of Polar Bears" award Saturday from Polar Bears International in recognition of its commitment to carbon reduction and environmental awareness education.
The ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. at the Zoo's Arctic Ring of Life.
The awards ceremony is part of PBI's "Be Cool" program to raise awareness about the need to retain Arctic sea ice and inspire the community to reduce CO2.
According to Polar Bears International

The Mystery of the Singing Mice
A scientist has discovered that high-pitched sounds made by the small rodents could actually be melodious songs
In late 1925, one J. L. Clark discovered an unusual mouse in a house in Detroit. It could sing. And so he did what anyone might have done: he captured the mouse and put it in a cage. There it produced a lyrical tune as if it were a bird. A musician named Martha Grim visited the mouse, commented on the impurity of its tones and left, musical standards being high in Detroit. Clark gave the mouse to scientists at the University of Michigan. The scientists confirmed that the mouse could sing and then bred it with laboratory house mice. Some offspring produced a faint “chitter,” but none inherited the father’s melodic chops. These observations were all noted in a scientific article in 1932 and mostly forgotten.
Recently, though, Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell, a biologist at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, revisited the mystery of the singing mouse. And after figuring out how to listen to mice on their own terms, she heard something entirely new.
I met up with Kalcounis-Rueppell and a group of her students at a field site in North Carolina. We wore hard hats and carried traps, notebooks, scales, a laptop computer, recording equipment and a web of six long cables connected to microphones into which we hoped the mice would croon. The forest where she works is not majestic or primeval; it’s surrounded by fields of corn, tobacco and cotton. But to her it is perfect. “The pine litter is quiet,” she said. “There aren’t many other singing things, like insects, on the ground

Cites rejects curbs on UAE shark fishing

A plan to regulate the trade in several species of shark common in UAE waters has been rejected at an international conservation meeting in Qatar, a move that wildlife monitors branded "a catastrophe". Delegates at the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) snubbed a proposal to add protections for the great hammerhead and the scalloped hammerhead. Both species are on sale in UAE fish markets. Although their meat is also sold, the most valuable part of the shark is the fin, which is often sold here for re-export to the Far East. There, it is used for soup.

If passed, the regulations would have required all trade in the sharks to be licensed. Although the UAE initially


Celebrating Plants and the Planet:

May is one of my favorite months in the garden - the smells and colors are completely up-lifting. But there's so much to get done! Still, there are other gardens and other gardeners who follow their own timetable. May's links at  (NEWS/Botanical News) look at animals that "maintain" their botanical habitats (Do their backs ache at the end of the day?!?)

· When we were designing the Bronx Zoo's "Congo Gorilla Forest" we included evidence of forest elephants even though there were none on exhibit. We knew that African forests couldn't be understood without them. Researchers are only now learning what vital seed dispersers elephants are (especially African forest elephants).

· The North American prairie was one of the natural wonders of the world. Bison shaped it and were as necessary to it as forest elephants are to their forests. A prairie reserve in Iowa is studying how bison may be the most important seed dispersers. They could call their study, "The Importance of Hairy Bellies," but they won't.

· Birds disperse seeds, of course, but in the Serengeti they do more by protecting seeds from beetle predation. You guessed the birds eat the beetles? No, the seed-eating bruchid beetles will not bother seeds that have passed through a bird's gut.

· The deer mice of Marin County have coexisted easily with beach lupines, harvesting some lupine seeds but not enough to harm the lupine population. Then an invasive beach grass arrived changing what was an elegant balance of plant, mouse and predatory bird.

· Then again, not all plants require animal assistance. Sit down and take this in: every peat moss plant in North America is descended clonally from one founding plant introduced from Europe almost three centuries ago.

Congratulations to the Louisville Zoo on the opening of the latest phase of Glacier Run! Why I remember when it was just a gleam in our eyes… and there are bears!

Now for a celebration of insects… praying mantises as you've never seen them (I shared this with someone whose immediate question was "Are these REAL?"):

Please share these stories with associates, staff, docents and -- most importantly -- visitors! Follow on Twitter:  -- a new story every day!


*************************************************************************  in May 2011

~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~

Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!



The bear enclosures at Bear Sanctuary Arbesbach mainly serve at rehabilitating and keeping bears that were rescued by the international animal welfare organization Four Paws from inadequate holding conditions. Therefore enrichment is an integral part of bear management:

Here is the German version:



Four Paws published a manual that illustrates various methods of bear enrichment, illustrated by Stefan Knöpfer, bear keeper at the bear sanctuary in Arbesbach.The manual can be used for informing visitors and bear keepers alike:

Download here in web resolution (3 MB):

Download here in A4 with print resolution (10,5 MB):



The Shape of Enrichment is a non-profit organization that promotes enrichment by publishing and by organizing workshops and conferences:


We keep working on ZooLex ...

The ZooLex Zoo Design Organization is a non-profit organization
registered in Austria (ZVR-Zahl 933849053). ZooLex runs a professional
zoo design website and distributes this newsletter. More information and


Online Masters Commonwealth Commission Scholarships
The University’s Global Health Academy has been awarded 15 fully funded studentships across four online Masters programmes within the domain of One World, One Health:

■MSc in Biodiversity Wildlife and Ecosystem Health

■MSc in International Animal Health

■MSc in Global Health and Infectious Diseases (formerly MSc in Emerging and Neglected Infectious Diseases)

■MSc in Global Health and Non-Communicable Diseases

Click HERE to learn more.


Veterinary Work Wanted

I’m an Italian Wildlife Vet with a strong commitment in Wildlife Medicine and Biodiversity Protection.

I have been working as a free lance veterinarian for 8 years and, for 6 of them, I have been providing veterinary support in Wildlife Management and in Conservation projects, while working in Pet Veterinary Hospital with night and holiday shifts.

Particularly, I worked for 3,5 years in a full-time vet position, with an Italian non-profit wildlife hospital that take care about over 1,000 injured and orphaned wildlife patients each year (95% wild birds).

Recently I came back from the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle, after 1 year and half of veterinary service in “AmaZOOnico”, a Wildlife Rescue Centre for all Amazonian animals, more than ever non-human primates and birds, where I’ve learned to function in remote and adverse climate conditions and with basic equipment.

In these positions, my responsibilities have included design and implementation of preventative veterinary care programs; evaluation of animal health; diagnosis and medical/surgical treatment of illness and injury; capture and restraint of animals; euthanasia and necropsy; assessment and design of nutrition programs; sample collection, testing, database management and data analyses; problem analysis and resolution responsibilities; supervision and training of volunteers and the public about rehabilitation medicine and environmental and human health issues; development and maintenance of professional contacts with a variety of clients and partners involved in wildlife management; work with a wide variety of people; ability to organize, manage time and set priorities while meeting deadlines; ability to be flexible and shift priorities to meet departmental requirements.

Besides this, because I was always working for poor No-Profit Organization, I’m used to work in a multitasking environment (from cleaning cages to the development and maintenance of professional contacts) and this fits well with my flexibility and has allowed me to gain abilities also as wildlife rehabilitator and veterinary nurse, for example, and, as natural resource manager.

I’m looking for a job, as freelance or full contracted, that allows me to continue my career in the field of the Biodiversity Protection.

The Northern Hemisphere’s animals are my first preference but I know that it’s quite hard to find the perfect job and, by the way, it would be just wonderful even if I could continue to work in the field of the Biodiversity Conservation, no mattering the species of the animals and in which place of the world!

What I can offer, is high flexibility, willingness to travel, ability to work in a multi-cultural environment, full and continuous training, ability to work in the field as well as willingness to gain experience in endoscopy and echography as needs. Italian mother tongue and working knowledge of Spanish and English.

Dr Sonja Ciccaglione

For further details, please e-mail: and consult my Linkedin’s page



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