Saturday, May 7, 2011

Zoo News Digest 6th - 7th May 2011 (Zoo News 748)

Zoo News Digest 6th - 7th May 2011 (Zoo News 748)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

It's just the sort of story that appeals to the press "Zoo names its shoot-to-kill animals" and no doubt there will be zoos all over the world being contacted by their local press to learn if they have a similar policy. There will be zoos who will deny it and those who will try and brush the question aside but lets not be shy here. Good zoos, responsible zoos, caring zoos, knowledgeable zoos will all have similar policies. At the same time no zoo would kill any animal out of hand but professional assessment would govern action and so prevent a bad problem from becoming a serious one. I am watching now to see which newspaper comes up with the nastiest way of reporting such a procedure.

Anoushka Shankar plays the Sitar. Great. I recall watching her a time or two. She is, like her father, very good. She is of course entitled to her opinion the same as guitar players, drummers, game show hosts, actors, actresses, zoologists, magazine publishers and me amongst others. But when it comes to making statements that lump all zoos into the same basket it shows a sad lacking in both knowledge and judgement. You can throw all the Oxford University studies you like my way. I will read them. There are some bad zoos but there are good ones too. Animals in good zoos are a lot better off in captivity than they are in the wild and many of them are happier too. As most of them are captive bred they are not missing a wild that they have no knowledge of.

In a way, further development of the Danao Forest is a little sad. It is a beautiful area. If has been stated there are more than 2,750 zoos in the Philippines then I would question whether there is actually a need for another one to be built here. If it were to be a good zoo I would be less likely to question this but I already know that it will be a bad dysfunctional zoo. How? Because the people behind it are those who own the Zoobic Safari and the Residence Inn Mini Zoo. If the DENR have any teeth then they will refuse permission for this to go ahead,

The writing is now on the wall. The Toronto Zoo elephants will be relocated. The decision as to where and when will not be arrived at till after the meeting on the 12th. The 'move' proposal now has the backing of some zoo staff. I believe it is very sad, an end of an era but believe it was inevitable in view of the expenses involved in keeping the animals where they were and giving them what zoo staff wanted to give them. If some generous zoo benefactor were to appear I would like to see them stay. The very best bit of the proposed zoo move is that they would go to an AZA accredited zoo and not one of these so called 'sanctuaries'. Looking at the remarks of some of the zoo board members though even this appears uncertain. I do think that zoo board members should be chosen, at least in part, for their understanding of zoos, good zoos, and what they are about. In fact I believe that all zoo board members should have to work in the zoo alongside the keepers for two weeks every year.

Sorry to learn of the child being mauled by the leopard. I hope that no blame is cast on the zoo for this incident. Barriers are there to keep people away. Zoos do more than public highways at preventing people from being killed and injured. Barriers are there in zoos for very good reason.

The Edinburgh Zoo problems rumble on and reading between the lines it is possible to learn a little bit more of what is going on. I am sure though that as an employee that life must still be very very difficult right now.

"At her young age Olivia has done more to raise awareness of animal conservation than most of us will ever be able to in our lifetime"....Watch out Bindi Irwin ;-)

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Zoo names its shoot-to-kill animals
Wellington Zoo has identified five animals it would shoot-to-kill should they escape if a natural disaster struck the city.
The revelation was prompted by the zoo's neighbours in the suburb of Newtown, following the Christchurch earthquake.
The zoo's 12 endangered chimpanzees top the list of animals deemed so dangerous they would need to be shot and killed should they escape.
"They're intelligent enough to know what they can do and it's just a bit of fun [for them to maim people]," the zoo's chief executive Karen Fifield told Radio New Zealand.
"It's a bit like having the strength of the adults but the intelligence of a five-year-old."
African lions, Asian tigers, African wild dogs and Malayan sun bears round off the list.
A ranger who is trained to use firearms is on call 24/7 in case of an emergency.
The shoot-to-kill policy is common at zoos around the world, Ms Fifield said, as shooting to maim is deemed

Your View: Listen to an expert on zoo's potential
Recently the master plan for the Buttonwood Park Zoo was brought to the attention of David Hancock.
Hancock is a world-renowned author who has been directing, planning, observing, pondering, designing, debating and writing about zoos for the past 40 years. He was director of Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo, director of Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and director of the Worrigee Open Range Zoo in Australia.
His letter was five pages long, but here are some excerpts from that letter and some of his ideas and advice about planning zoos, and their future are reviewed below.
The Buttonwood Zoo Master Plan embraces tired zoo designs that quickly become uninteresting, outdated, and lack originality. Developing plans that are modest, achievable, dazzlingly creative and intelligently focused, rather than doing more of the same that exists in other zoos, is far more likely to achieve success and be of greater value to the community.
The plan, as is, betrays no original thinking, no intelligent analysis, and is supported by no research or valid argument. It seems that the goal is more of an ambitious dream of a zoo director, than an honest attempt to improve upon what a local community needs.
The best and least-expensive method for successfully creating exhibits that simulate natural habitats is to present the same habitats that exist within the zoo's own region. The world of nature is never out of fashion.
If New Bedford would model itself on revealing the richness of the natural world as the goal and focus on New England ecology and regional wildlife, that would have the greatest impact on their visitors.
Studies have shown that the context in which people see animals has the greatest influence on attitudes towards wildlife. Even the smallest life forms can be beguiling and fascinating.
Properly, carefully and intelligently presented, small animals can elicit wonder and demonstrate more about the world of nature than big, bored animals standing in empty zoo paddocks.
"If the Buttonwood Park Zoo set out to be the very best at what it can do, with a genuine desire to reveal and explain the intricacy and complexity and inter-relatedness of all living things in the New England ecological biome, with a mix of living, mostly small animals

A Wonderful Story

Anoushka Shankar urges people to boycott zoos
Sitar player Anoushka Shankar yesterday appealed to the people to boycott zoos as the animals locked up there are tortured and made to suffer. Shankar made the appeal on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India. She has also done a promotional video “Exotic Animals Belong in the Wild, Not in Zoos” for the animal rights group. “I choose to entertain people for a living but animals in zoos are locked in barren enclosures and put on display against their will. They can’t choose, but we can...please, boycott zoos,” she said. According

Zoo board to decide fate of elephants
Will the Toronto Zoo’s elephants be coming on down to a U.S. animal sanctuary?
Members of the zoo board of management will meet next week to consider two consultants’ reports on the fate of the three remaining pachyderms but it still isn’t known if those reports will recommend the elephants pack their trunks.
The elephant issue was thrown into the spotlight last month when retired Price is Right host Bob Barker came to Toronto to publicly urge the zoo to free its elephants.
Zoo board member Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker — who backs the idea of sending the elephants to a U.S. sanctuary — told the Sun earlier this week he thinks the board, when given all the information, will decide to move the elephants.
“It certainly makes sense from the elephants’ perspective, there are alternatives proposals that will actually teach people to enjoy elephants ... the third thing in our favour is the cost factor,” he said.
According to budget documents, a new holding area for the elephants would cost $34 million.
Sending the elephants south would save building a new holding area and outdoor area expansion, he argues. Even factoring in the cost of building an elephant display without live animals but with interactive experiences, De Baeremaeker said the zoo could save $24 million.
De Baeremaeker said it’s an elephantine-size step that the board is even being presented with options for Toka, Iringa and Thika.
“When I first got on the zoo board seven years ago, there was no conceivable way that we would ever have a Toronto Zoo without elephants,” De Baeremaeker said.
“Now we have a staff report about to be released that will give us options that include retiring the elephants

Close the elephant pen, find them a new home, zoo report recommends
Toronto Zoo staff are recommending that the zoo phase out its current elephant program and relocate the last three pachyderms.
“Due to the significant capital costs to provide appropriate elephant facilities for the future, estimated $16.5 million, the substantial future operating costs of $930,000 annually ….” and other factors, keeping it open is not the best option, said the report to the zoo’s board of management. The board will decide the next steps at its May 12 meeting.
The staff report went on to say that the existing herd of three female elephants is aging and in a short time the zoo could be below the minimum standard of three elephants accepted by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Three is considered the minimum number needed for a healthy, happy herd.
While the three elephants are in good health the report says the elephants should be transferred to one or more AZA accredited facilities.
The cost to transfer the three elephants would be in the range of $30,000 to $50,000.
The consultants’ reports and Toronto Zoo staff investigation explored the pros and cons of three options: phasing out the elephant enclosure as the remaining animals die off, moving the beasts now to a sanctuary in a warmer climate, or

Elephants should leave Toronto Zoo, report advises
In the flesh, the Toronto Zoo’s elephants are grey, but a new report paints them white.
The paper, written by zoo staff for a board meeting next week, backs the controversial idea of shipping the zoo’s three elderly elephants – Iringa, Toka and Thika – to another zoo over concerns about their cost and welfare.
But in a largely symbolic victory for those lobbying to keep the elephants, the report stops short of siding with animal-rights group Zoocheck and its famous spokesman, former Price Is Right host Bob Barker, who have advocated transferring the elephants to a California sanctuary run by the Performing Animal Welfare Society, or PAWS.
“I’m satisfied that they would go to an accredited zoo rather than this sanctuary,” said Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby, a member of the zoo board who has fought to keep the animals in Toronto. “Bob Barker should stick to something else.”
The report recommends the elephants go to a zoo with an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accreditation, for which the California sanctuary does not qualify. Board members who support the bid to send the elephants to the sanctuary said they could overrule that stipulation when they consider the recommendations on May 12.
Ms. Lindsay Luby has sounded out her fellow members and suspects they will vote in favour of relocating. “I’m disappointed,” she said. “What is a zoo without an elephant?”
It would cost the Scarborough attraction $16.5-million to build the new elephant barn and paddocks that are required to keep its current pachyderm program in line with the evolving standards of the AZA. The three female elephants cost more than $600,000 a year to keep, a figure expected to rise to upwards of $900,000 in the near future. Bringing in new elephants would cost a further $3-million.
Four of the zoo’s elephants have died in the past five years. Zoocheck and Mr. Barker have attributed that to the climate, which they say is too cold for older elephants like Iringa, Toka and Thika – aged 42, 41 and 30, respectively.
“When you have four elephants that die in the last five years, all before reaching old age, you know something isn’t working for this particular animal,” said Linda Bronfman, one of the founders of Everybody Loves Elephants, a group supporting relocation

Britain's Got Talent's snake girl visits Durrell
A seven-year-old conservation enthusiast who won hearts with her poem on last week's Britain's Got Talent, has visited Durrell Wildlife Trust.
With a snake draped around her shoulders, Olivia Binfield told the judges and the audience of her passion for endangered animals by reciting her rhyme.
It began: "Come on, don't you have a heart, you don't want these animals to depart, forget the X-factor and the top-ten singing chart, look at the most endangered animal

Chimpanzees' 66 gestures revealed
Wild chimpanzees use at least 66 distinct gestures to communicate with each other, according to scientists.
A team of researchers from the University of St Andrews in Scotland filmed a group of the animals in order to decipher this "gestural repertoire".
The team then studied 120 hours of footage of the chimps interacting, looking for signs that the animals were intentionally signalling to each other.
The findings are published in the journal Animal Cognition.
Previous studies on captive chimps have suggested the animals have about 30 different gestures.
"So this [result] shows quite a large repertoire," lead researcher Dr Catherine Hobaiter told BBC News.
"We think people previously were only seeing fractions of this, because when you study the animals in captivity you don't see all their behaviour.
"You wouldn't see them hunting for monkeys, taking females away on 'courtships', or encountering neighbouring groups of chimpanzees."
Dr Hobaiter spent 266 days observing and filming a group of chimpanzees in Budongo Con

Watchdog to investigate crisis-hit zoo
SCOTLAND’S charity regulator has launched an investigation into crisis-hit Edinburgh Zoo as it emerged that two giant pandas due to arrive at the attraction are expected to be brought from China this summer.
The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR ) confirmed last night it is holding an inquiry into the Royal Zoological Society, the charity that runs the zoo, where one director has been sacked and two suspended.
The move came as Manus Fullerton, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) executive board member, admitted the zoo’s reputation had been damaged by a series of anonymous allegations and appealed to those “maliciously” leaking information to come forward. The leaks were said to be hindering the internal investigation under way at the zoo.
It has been revealed that the zoo held talks over leasing part of its operation to a Spanish leisure firm and the leaks appeared to be coming from someone who had an agenda, Mr Fullerton said.
He added: “The idea [for the lease plan] came from a member of staff and maybe one

Zoo denies charity status at risk as watchdog probes 'impropriety'
SCOTLAND'S charity watchdog is investigating allegations surrounding the suspended chief of Edinburgh Zoo.
The Royal Zoological Society Scotland (RZSS), which runs the attraction, yesterday said the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator (OSCR) was examining the turmoil among the organisation's senior management.
The society said it had called in the regulator after an anonymous allegation
of impropriety was made against the zoo's acting chief executive, Gary Wilson, at the end of March.
The troubled institution, which is expecting giant pandas from China later this year, denied it could lose its charitable status.
Donald Emslie, executive chair of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: "After receiving the anonymous allegations (about Gary Wilson] RZSS immediately advised OSCR and we have been in regular and close contact since, keeping them informed throughout our investigations.
"We welcome any further inquiries from OSCR."
He went on: "Problems with individuals are not reflective of the amazing work of the charity as a whole.
"Speculation that RZSS could lose charity status is totally unfounded, unsubstantiated and highly unlikely."
Mr Wilson was suspended at the end of March. The nature of the allegations concerning him has not been made public.
His suspension was followed by the departure of a director, Anthony McReavy and the suspension of Iain Valentine, the head of animals and education.
A spokesman for OSCR, said: "I can confirm that OSCR currently has an open inquiry into the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.
"It is therefore not appropriate

Jack Hanna Brings Jungle to OUE
A Wheeling resident knew Jack Hanna long before he became the famous "Ambassador for Animals."
Bob Wagner met Hanna at a mutual friend's house in Knoxville, Tenn; when Hanna was thinking about applying for a job as the director of the Columbus Zoo, which at that time, according to Wagner, "had not the best of reputations."
"In fact, it wasn't a really good zoo," Wagner recalled.
However, the more Wagner talked to Hanna and saw how sincere he was about the position, the more he realized there "wasn't anything that he (Hanna) could do at the zoo except make it better."
Hanna accepted the challenge and has been there ever since - a tenure that stretches into three decades, as he started in 1978. He was recently named director emeritus.
"We've been friends ever since," Wagner said Wednesday night following Hanna's hour-long show inside the Health and Physical Education Center on the campus of Ohio University Eastern in St. Clairsville, which was sponsored by the Belmont

Dedicated zookeeper Walter Levendosky has worked at the Staten Island Zoo in West Brighton since 1971
"It's been happening at the (Staten Island) Zoo" for decades for Walter Levendosky. Four decades to be exact. He became a part time zookeeper in 1971, four years after Paul Simon's singable song hit the charts.
The West Brighton resident's attachment to the animals in the zoo started even earlier, when as a New Brighton youth he was attending IS 27 and spending as much time at the Staten Island Zoo as in class. After he graduated from Curtis High School, he got a job with the Telephone Company, but he knew he couldn't hack it – "Too boring."
Not unlike today, the economy was not a good one to be giving up a job with a good salary and benefits. But it was also "the Age of Aquarius," and being free and following your dream was the currency of the day.
"I guess I could be retired by now with a good pension, but I wouldn't have the life I have," said Levendosky.
That includes meeting his wife of 29 years, Maryanne, and having their three children, twins Keith and Jenna, 21, and Matthew, 19.
"You're not going to get rich at this job, but if you like it, you stay," said Levendosky who started in the Children's Zoo with the farm animals and has worked in every de

Maasin set to sign agreement with DENR and zoo operator
Just a day after Maasin city signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with a local investor to develop the old market area into a high-end marketing center, another MOA signing is in the offing.
This involved the development of a sizeable portion of Danao Forest in barangay Malapoc Norte to be converted into a family theme park that features a zoo which will be called “ZooLeyte.”
On the sidelines of the signing ceremony for the Brodeth business, City Mayor Maloney Samaco revealed that the signatories of this upcoming MOA will be the investor of the area, said to be from Zubic, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Asked how soon or when would this Zubic zoo operator and DENR signing be, Samaco simply said it’s “ASAP”, without giving further details.
In earlier pronouncements, Samaco disclosed the participation of the DENR was needed in as much as an area of twenty-five hectares out of Danao Forest’s more than 400 hectares will be set aside for the operational territory of ZooLeyte.
For starters, the Mayor had informed that a pair of horses were already trained at Danao Park for the pleasure experience of horseback riding, and in his Facebook account Samaco looked at ease riding a horse around the park with his wife Chona.
The transformation of Danao into a wholesome site for family recreation and fun has been an integral part of the provincial tourism framework developed by the Southern Leyte Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SLCCI) headed by Engr. Robert Castanares.
The framework, adopted by the provincial government, envisioned to position the province as the “playground of Eastern Visayas” by constructing man-made attractions that formed the core of the four tourism hubs.
One of these four hubs was the Agas-Agas Adventure Park in Sogod, where a zipline facility -- the Zip Southern Leyte -- has been attracting extreme sports lovers ever since the day it opened last month.
Another hub will be the “ZooLeyte” at Danao Forest Park, where wild animals can be seen from a secured fence, the

Zoo: Keeping animals in small cages a temporary measure
The management of the Danga Bay Petting Zoo in Johor Baru agreed with the Starprobe findings that some of its animals were being kept in extremely small wire mesh cages, but explained that it was only a temporary measure before scheduled animal shows.
What the Starprobe team observed, however, was that most of the animals were not involved in animal shows and these small cages looked like their permanent housing.
As for the elephant in chains, they claimed in their email response that it was placed in temporary housing before shows and its permanent home was a big circus tent that was fully covered

Leopard mauls child on field trip to Kansas zoo
A first-grader on a school field trip to a zoo was mauled by a leopard Friday after the boy scaled a railing and approached the animal's cage, a zoo spokesman said.
The Wichita Eagle reported on its website that the boy received lacerations to his head and neck after the cat stuck a paw through its cage and grabbed the boy by the side of the head. He was taken to a hospital, where he was listed in fair condition.
Jim Marlett, spokesman for the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, said the boy climbed the 4- to 5-foot railing surrounding the leopard exhibit, crossed an 8-foot gap and stood next to the metal mesh fence of the animal's cage.
Naomi Robinson, who was at the zoo with her two children when she saw the attack around 1:20 p.m., said it looked like the leopard

NYC’s JFK ends falconry program to control gulls, looks to hire marksmen instead
The decision to end on an ongoing contract with Falcon Environmental Services Inc. supplying falconry to control gull traffic at JFK International Airport and replace it with shooters was reported in the April 29 edition of The Wall Street Journal. The Port Authority of NY and NJ, which operates the airport, is now in talks with the USDA to manage the gulls by shooting them. No bids were taken.
NYC’s largest international airport abuts one of NYC’s wilderness treasures: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, managed by the National Park Service. Once heavily polluted, the restoration of Jamaica Bay over the last 40 years has led to an increase in the viability and variety of the species of wildlife that lives there. The Fish and Wildlife Service calls the area a “significant habitat” and lists 48 species of fish and 120 species of birds, and notes among its features: “The extensive salt marsh and upland islands in the bay provide nesting habitat for gulls, terns, waterfowl, and herons; foraging and roosting habitat for shorebirds

100% renewable energy – at what cost to the marine environment?
Transforming the world’s energy systems is essential to achieving a sustainable global economy. The marine environment offers a bounty of renewable energy options but what do the scenarios look like in reality?
As two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions come from energy production, increasing attention is being given to the energy sector. Both energy conservation and efficiency measures are being pushed, as well as the development of “clean” (i.e. lower emissions) energy technologies as more immediate ways to reduce emissions in the short to medium term.
Numerous reports are being released from different organizations that show how societies can achieve 80-100% renewable energy supply in the next 20-40 years. A reduction in energy use through both conservation and efficiency measures is critical, together with a massive shift to renewable sources such as solar, wind and waves for electricity and sustainable biomass for liquid fuels and other high energy users such as industry.
Growing investment
This transition is already happening, with huge investments being directed to ‘clean’ energy sources. A record US$ 243 billion was invested in cleaner energy sources globally in 2010, of which China invested US$ 51 billion, more than 20% of the total. Yet, the International Energy Agency has identified social acceptance as one of the main barriers to swift implementation of renewable energy projects, primarily driven by perceived and real environmental concerns associated with large infrastructure on land, such as wind turbines, large solar towers and power lines.
The marine environment is increasingly being targeted as decisions in seascapes are seen as less controversial than on land. However, marine environments

So very VERY wrong. Not clever at all

On the horn of a dilemma
Counting the cost of success
IT IS a conservation success story. The latest census of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros (rhinoceros unicornis) shows there are 534 of the beasts in Nepal, a rise of almost a quarter since 2008. In 1975 only 600 were left in the world.
The success is the product of hard, occasionally dangerous, work and of politics. The end of Nepal’s Maoist insurgency in 2006 allowed army guard posts back into Chitwan National Park, where most of the rhinos live. A new Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is being set up. Up to half of the park’s revenues are spent on development projects in the “buffer zone”, where farmers live alongside rhinos and other animals.
But there is a dark side to the tale, too. To protect the endangered creatures, the chief warden at Chitwan has quasi-judicial powers, including the authority to convict and jail alleged poachers for up to 15 years. According to Krishna Bhakta Pokharel, a lawyer in the nearby town of Bharatpur, suspects are held for up to 25 days at undisclosed locations and can be remanded for up to two years before their final hearing. Until recently, the dates of such hearings were not announced in advance, nor were defence lawyers necessarily present. In Bharatpur jail 105 people are in custody for poaching, many serving long sentences for minor offences such as providing food to poachers. Even the chief jailer admits that many of his prisoners are associated with poaching only in marginal ways.


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




MAY 2011


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The King Cobra Sanctuary is now open


The King Cobra Sanctuary

The weekend just gone we had our first weekend open now we have a zoo licence. So technically we are now a zoo for king cobras, of course we have other rare reptiles as side projects, such as the Chinese Alligator (Alligator sinensis), The Banded Water Cobra (Boulengerina annulata annulata) and the very rare 1.3 Papuan Blacksnake (Pseudechis papuanus) plus our breeding trio of Banded Gila Monsters (Heloderma suspectum cinctum). We also have a captive breeding colony of the British Adder (Vipera berus) so we are working for our own venomous species as well. Keeping an 'ark' popuIation which maybe we can re introduce one day to restored heathland in conjunction with the various wildlife trusts here in the UK. 

Also we have just had our first clutch of Ophiophagus eggs this year, 18 fertile with two more nesting females ready to lay at any minute. These are exciting times.

King Cobra Mating



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