Sunday, June 12, 2011

Zoo News Digest 11th - 12th June 2011 (Zoo News 760)

Zoo News Digest 11th - 12th June  2011 (Zoo News 760)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

Kudos to the nameless keeper from the Southern Encounter Aquarium and Kiwi House in Christchurch. You have my respect whoever you are.

The stories about the idiot lion man, Al-Sayed al-Essawy are continuing but I have seen nothing which convinces me that that the fight is not going to take place. Not so much a fight anyway, more teasing, taunting and cruel slaughter by a nasty little toe rag who has muscle in place of his brain. Nothing brave or heroic in his actions. The Idiot Lion Man Must Be Stopped. Just what are the Egyptian authorities doing? They claimed previously to have arrested him but that it turns out was an untruth,

Saturday was the International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos. I have no problem with that. There are definitely some zoos which should not be keeping elephants. What I do have a problem with is when all zoos are lumped together as one. They are not the same. I also have a problem with the way the organisors of these protests brainwash their supporters with ill informed propaganda.

Good news on the Cheetah breeding. What brings me most joy is that she is being allowed to rear them herself....and the reason she is rearing them is because they have a camera set up and she has not been disturbed. Way to go. I still maintain that something like 99% of big cats (and cheetahs) would not need hand rearing if they were provided with the correct cubbing conditions and not disturbed. See Hand Rearing Lion Cubs and Other Carnivores

I never even dreamed that the Galapagos Tortoise might migrate. Fascinating. I learn something new every day. Well lots of things really.


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Elephant treatment protest hits Fresno
Five Fresno activists turned heads Saturday when they held signs and passed out literature that said elephants are suffering at zoos.
"I didn't know that," a little girl said as her parents rushed past the demonstrators outside the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.
The people who stopped to take the literature learned that elephants who are confined in small pens get foot diseases and die prematurely, said Donald Tayloe, who organized the demonstration.
The only solution, Tayloe said, is to turn the elephants -- as well as all zoo animals -- over to a wildlife sanctuary where they can roam freely.
"They are trapped in a quarter-acre cell," Tayloe said of the Fresno zoo's two elephants -- Shaunzi and Kara. "In the wild, elephants walk up to 20 miles a day. Here, they just stand around and get little exercise."
But his words meant little to some people.
"No one walks free anymore," said Fresno resident Deanna Sanders, who took her family to the zoo. Sanders took the literature, but said the reason she came to the zoo was to see the elephants and the other exotic animals.
Letta Lollis, of Fresno, also took the literature, but said Fresno's elephants aren't suffering. "They have adapted to their environment," she said.
Lollis also said zoos play a vital role in society. "How will we educate our children if they don't see the elephants?" she said.
Saturday's demonstration was part of the International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos, a global outreach aimed at bringing attention to the tragic effects of keeping elephants in small, barren pens.
The protest, sponsored by In Defense of Animals, an international wildlife protection organization, was to take place at zoos in such places as Philadelphia, Seattle, Miami and in the Bronx of New York City. Protests also were planned in Canada, England, Spain and the Net

180 years of animal magic at the zoo
CELEBRATION: Top attraction pays tribute to its heroes
CHIMP tea parties, elephant rides, and ice-skating on the lake -- Dublin Zoo has always found new ways to entertain the capital's residents throughout its long and rich history.
The institution is celebrating its 180th anniversary this weekend by paying tribute to its heroes, the animals and their keepers.
One of the most celebrated figures of the Phoenix Park attraction is Pat Kenny's father, Jimmy Kenny, elephant keeper from 1936 until the 70s.
"Jimmy Kenny was extremely well known in Dublin, he was the only one who could look after Komeli, who was the younger elephant female," zoo historian Catherine de Courcy told the Herald.
Komeli, who arrived in 1950, gave rides to children in a chair on her back. One day she made a dash towards a group of youngsters led by a nun -- and turned over a tractor.
Jimmy was at home suffering from pneumonia, but immediately cycled into work to take care of Komeli after the incident.
"Jimmy and his father really knew elephants, and those were the days when you needed

Zoo Staunch On Elephant Ambitions
Auckland Zoo is under fire for a decision to bring two juvenile elephants to provide company for its remaining elephant, Burma. Sarah Harvey reports.
There's an elephant in the room at Auckland Zoo, and it's not Burma, the lonely last pachyderm.
It's the anger of the international conservation lobby and the New Zealand SPCA, who have attacked the zoo's plans to import two more elephants as part of an international breeding programme.
The critics see it as cruel entertainment, and have doubts about practices at the elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka where the new ones are likely to come from. One expert says Burma should be sent somewhere else.
But the zoo says it has the facilities to offer the new arrivals a great life.
Burma has been alone since 2009 when longtime favourite Kashin died at the age of 40. An attempt to use a horse to keep her company did not succeed, and an earlier attempt to import an elephant also failed when the animal became violent in quarantine in Thailand.
But at the end of last month the Auckland Council agreed to loan the zoo $3.2 million to bring in two elephants.
Auckland Zoo director Jonathan Wilcken said the critics have mostly not come to see the good work the zoo is doing in this area.
"It is very different from a traditional zoo elephant programme. It is very different from what we used to do here 20 years ago. We give our elephants a lot more space, we have a great deal more understanding of their behavioural needs and indeed their social needs."
The zoo recently had a visit from US-based Alan Roocroft, who is internationally

Rare skink saved from extinction in Mauritius
Scientists from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust have brought 22 Critically Endangered orange-tailed skinks to the UK.
The animals are thought to be extinct on their native Flat Island in Mauritius, because invasive shrews that prey on them are now established there.
This rescue should enable the trust to start a captive breeding programme.
"We ultimately hope to reintroduce the species to the island," said Durrell's head of field programmes, Andrew Terry.
The orange-tailed skink was only discovered on Flat Island, which is the largest of the Mauritian islands, in 1995.
"Before humans turned up in Maritius, the natural world there had a very strong reptile component

**************************************************************************************************  in June 2011

~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~

Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!



Interpretation at the Cheetah Rock exhibit at Whipsnade Zoo connects ZSL ex situ conservation work with ZSL in situ field work. ZSL (Zoological Society of London) has been among the most successful zoos to breed cheetahs and has coordinated the longest in-depth cheetah field study in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park.



Thanks to Eduardo Diaz Garcia we are able to present the Spanish
translation of a previously published exhibit presentation of another ZSL animal exhibit:
Pabellón Blackburn (pabellón de aves tropicales)


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
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Zoo facing public's ire in shooting of escaped wolf
Last year when a Mexican gray wolf ran loose in the north metro, officials waited days for the right moment to capture it.
The Wildlife Science Center assured police the wolf didn't pose a public threat, said Peggy Callahan, the center's executive director.
Police listened and helped tranquilize the wolf in New Brighton.
A Mexican wolf on the run Wednesday met a different fate at the Minnesota Zoo. The escaped wolf became a danger when it found its way onto a public path with children and other visitors. To assure public safety, zoo staff shot and killed the animal.
"We did our job, and we did it according to preapproved policies," said Tony Fisher, the zoo's animal collection manager.
On Friday - three days after the escape - the Apple Valley zoo continued answering emails asking why the 8-year-old male wolf was shot and killed instead of tranquilized.
Callahan also questions why the animal needed to be euthanized. If staff had moved all visitors into buildings, the wolf could have been cornered and tranquilized, she said.
"I think we handled it better than they did," Callahan said.
Because the wolf was on a public path on the Northern Trail "near a large number of guests," tranquilizers were not a safe option, according to the zoo, because they work slowly and are imprecise.
Tranquilizers can take up to 15 minutes to

Turtle recall as rescued reptiles return to the sea
A family of 13 sea turtles shuffled back into the wild yesterday after living for more than a year in a rehabilitation tank.
And some of the group of 12 juveniles and their adopted mother, an adult green turtle, needed less help than others to make the journey to the open waters.
The smallest one - about 15cm long and the only baby green turtle among the batch of 11 hawksbills - was the first to find its bearings when taken out of the blue plastic tank and placed on the sands

Student dies while pursuing passion for reptiles, volunteering
A 21-year-old Purdue student, who had a life-long passion for reptiles, died on Friday while on a volunteer trip to the Cayman Islands with the Blue Iguana Recovery Program.
Hamilton, senior in the College of Agriculture, died from hyperthermia, or heat stroke. He was found in the thick bush in Grand Cayman where he was taken by paramedics to a hospital but later died. He was from Hebron, Ind.
The resonating message from family and friends close to Hamilton was that his passion has always been reptiles and wildlife.
Rod Williams, an associate professor of wildlife science, helped Hamilton share his love for reptiles through one of Williams’ classes called nature of service learning. Hamilton was able to go to a local elementary school and present to children a lesson on wildlife and the environment.
“In my interactions with Daniel, he had two passions. He had a passion for herpetology (study of reptiles and amphibians) and a passion for teaching people about natural resources and the environment, especially if it involved amphibians

Ghosts of persecution past and present
“The sins of the fathers may be visited upon the children.”
However, sins visited upon fathers may also be visited upon the children.
This is a natural history blog, so I raise the idea in a natural history context, and I do so because of two pieces of newly published research; on brown bears and wild boar respectively.
Both studies show how the hunting by people of these animals has altered a defining aspect of their lives, changing what scientists call their life history.
What’s more, these changes echo down the generations, long after the hunt has ended, and the guns, spears or traps have been retired and the kill forgotten.
Forgive me for equating hunting with a sin. I’m not setting out here to attack hunting per se.
Subsistence hunting can be beneficial, culls can be important and hunting can even work as an important conservation measure. Many of you have previously debated on this blog the pros and cons of hunting, and discussed

Woman Mauled By Chimp Gets Face Transplant
A Connecticut woman who underwent a full face transplant after an attack by a chimpanzee wants to eat hamburgers and pizza again.
Officials at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston say they performed the face transplant on Charla Nash late last month.
Nash's brother, Steve Nash, said at a news conference Friday that his sister wants to enjoy a slice of pizza from their favorite pizza parlor in their hometown of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
The 30-member surgical team under the leadership of Dr. Bohdan Pomahac also performed a double hand transplant on Nash, but the hands failed to thrive and were removed.
Pohmahac says Nash will slowly regain facial functions over the next six to nine months.
John Orr, a spokesman for the Nash family, said Nash developed numerous health problems after the surgery and only recently regained consciousness.
"She developed pneumonia, she had kidney failure, she had the

Slideshow: Fen Tiger on the prowl once again
The legendary Fen Tiger is still on the prowl, according to eagle-eyed residents.
There have been four sightings recorded in the last two months alone.
Bosses of Shepreth Wildlife Park received the calls about "big cat" sightings and sent out investigators.
And scores of "big cat" sightings and evidence of their killings have been reported to Cambridgeshire police, the News can reveal.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show residents have called police 63 times since 1998 about the mysterious creatures.
Rebecca Willers, the zoo’s animal manager, told the News: "In the last two months we have four people calling to report sightings of big cats in a 10 mile radius around Royston and Melbourn and we have sent people out and set up cameras but we have found nothing as we have done over the years.
"We are not saying it does not exist but people can get a bit overexcited."
The Freedom of Information Act response showed other unusual creatures reported to police include a 2ft long snake with black and yellow in March on September 22 last year.
A "large exotic bird" was spotted on a roof in 2007 and a 4ft long snake in a garden.
In Huntingdon an exotic bird landed in garden and was the "size of peacock orange/yellow with a black and

Big Cats In Britain

Born to be wild in forests of Poland
Ireland's biggest wildlife park was praised yesterday for its role in helping to successfully re-introduce one of Europe's most majestic animals -- the bison -- to the vast forests of Poland. Bison had been hunted to extinction in Poland over the past 150 years.
From humble beginnings in 1983, the Cork park now ranks as one of the world's outstanding nurseries for rare species, and is on target to attract 400,000 visitors this year.
European bison have now been successfully re-introduced to the wilds of Komancza forest in eastern Poland, and four of its fledgling herd were born and raised here.
Two more females are currently being bred at Fota for future export to Poland.
Bison are not the only success story. Fota has also helped breed scimitar-horned oryx for re-introduction to parts of Tunisia's interior.
Yesterday, the park hosted the

Significant Litter of Cheetah Cubs Born at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Five cheetah cubs were born May 28 to 6-year-old Amani at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va. Amani is a dedicated mother according to keepers, who have observed her nursing and grooming the cubs.
This litter is particularly significant to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan for cheetahs because cheetah births in zoos across the country have dwindled. The SSP matches animals across the country to ensure genetic diversity in the population. This is the only litter of cheetahs born this year in a North American zoo. Cheetah experts recently met to discuss dramatic management changes to bolster the population, recommending that cheetahs that are genetically valuable and of reproductive

Timber firm could axe endangered Amur tiger habitat
The discovery of plans to log key Amur tiger habitat in a proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site has led to a public outcry demanding the cancellation of the logging lease in Russia’s Primorsky Province.
WWF Russia and the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Primorsky Province are leading the call against JSC Les Export, a wood harvesting and export company that specializes in parquet flooring.
Primorsky Province in the Russian Far East is one of the last remaining strongholds of the largest of all big cats, the Amur tiger, which numbers less than 500 in the

Galapagos Tortoise Migration
In June, the climate changes in the Galapagos Islands. The temperatures are cooled by the arrival of the Humboldt Current from South America. A garua (marine layer) begins to cover the islands – especially in the highlands. As the seasons change tortoises make their way down the islands to the southwest coast of Santa Cruz.
Cold blooded animals, Galapagos Tortoises find it hard to moderate their body temperatures during the cooler season. The males who have a larger body find it easier to regulate their temperatures and many remain in the highlands year round. While the females are substantially smaller animals find it necessary to migrate in order to keep their body temperature levels up. It is here, along the coast where the tortoises lay their eggs.
In April of 2009 the National Park began fitting tortoises

Dolphin dies after jumping out of pool into gallery at aquarium
A dolphin died when she jumped out of the pool into the gallery at the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium, it said Sunday. The 2.11-meter, 106-kilogram dolphin, estimated to be 17 years old, became popular because of her successive jumps and tail-walking on water.
She fell into the gallery after jumping across the outer edge of the pool when she was doing a backflip during practice Saturday afternoon, and died from blood loss

Zoo Lates

Looks good. I entered a competition to win four tickets. If all goes well and I win I won't be able to go anyway...will then have my own competition.

Robert Irwin fearless like his dad
SITTING comfortably like a normal seven-year-old would on a seesaw, Robert Irwin wasn't fazed by the 600kg beast underneath him.
Not a strand of his signature blond bob moved out of place as he helped wrestle the prehistoric reptile.
It was the first time Agro the croc had been caught since it was brought to Australia Zoo in 1988.
Twenty-three years ago it was Robert's late father, Steve Irwin, who wrangled the reptile by himself in North Queensland, filming the entire thing with a sole camera atop a tripod.
Yesterday, as the Irwins moved Agro to a new enclosure, Robert told a film crew: “I now know why my dad called him Agro!”
But Robert wasn't scared at all.
“Ah, no, they're just awesome,” he said.
“Well, you've actually got to hold the tail down so it doesn't actually move, because if the tail arches around that means he's getting ready to death roll.
“And if he death rolls around then you're in pretty big trouble.”
With mum Terri at the

Opposing GuZoo hardly 'wacko'
To care about the welfare of animals is to be a frothing, wild-eyed zealot, unreasonably angered by any exploitation of pets or wildlife.
This, over three decades, is all PETA has really accomplished: In 2011, any person who expresses concern over the treatment of animals is easily dismissed as radical nutcase, with a tenuous grasp on reality.
That’s what 31 years of bare-breasted models and outrageous metaphor buys you — plenty of attention and a total lack of credibility among the general population.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has earned every ounce of the scorn most people feel for their organization — comparing slaughterhouses to the Jewish holocaust does that.
But PETA hasn’t only hurt itself through stupidity and ill-conceived campaigns, like when it linked Canada’s horrific Greyhound beheading murder to the meat industry.
To care about animals, their actions proclaim, is to care nothing about human feelings — and winning the battle means pulling no punches, no matter how upsetting or disgusting the message.
Because of PETA, the term “animal rights” has been irreparably tainted, so anyone who raises a voice of concern about animals is now condemned as an unthinking, heartless lunatic.
As so it’s been this past week with Alberta’s troubled GuZoo. Thanks to PETA, the simple question of inadequate animal care has been reduced to an us-versus-them battle between those who support the Three Hills, Alta., zoo and those who oppose it.
“Animal rights wackos” is how one pro-GuZoo pundit described the other side, handily dismissing valid concerns about the zoo.
Call an animal advocate crazy, and some Albertans will simply believe it — that’s the legacy of PETA.
It’s too bad, because this should be a debate about a business owner allegedly failing to maintain the standards set out by the industry he chose to work in.
Two decades of complaints and a full inspection by animal experts — in this case a veterinarian and a representative of the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums — found the zoo badly lacking. Like a trucking firm that doesn’t maintain its fleet, or a restaurant that fails to keep the kitchen clean, warnings pile up. If nothing changes, the business will eventually lose its licence.
It’s a system meant to protect the public from negligent ownership and in the case of GuZoo, public complaints had been heard almost since the facility opened in the 1980s.
Some of the complaints were esthetic — carcasses left to rot and filthy pens — but others expressed concern

Spay or neuter Bob Barker’s mouth
The Price is Wrong when game show host sticks his nose into Alberta’s Guzoo
The war against the Guzoo has gone nuclear.
Bob Barker, the former game show host and animal rights extremist, has decided to take a shot at the little zoo from Three Hills, Alta. He’s never been to the Guzoo, of course. But that doesn’t matter when you’re a Hollywood bigshot.
For more than 20 years, the Guzoo has been a favourite of kids and adults alike — but it’s been public enemy No. 1 for people who want to shut down zoos. That’s because unlike the big, government-funded zoos, the Guzoo doesn’t have a lot of lawyers and political friends to defend it. So it’s vulnerable.
Bob Barker knows a lot about things like the price of a washing machine or the price of a new car. That’s pretty much his area of expertise — guessing the price of things.
But how to run zoos? Not so much. Barker’s never run one, of course. He’s certainly not a biologist. But being a celebrity — even a C-list celebrity, long into the twilight of his career — somehow gives him a moral authority, at least with journalists.
And, apparently, with the politicians in Alberta’s Progressive Conservative government. Barker’s barkings and those of other foreign animal rights extremists are enough to make them jump to attention. Six hundred voters in Three Hills rallying to support the Guzoo? Not so much.
Barker told reporters the Guzoo didn’t “provide even the most basic needs of animals such as the provisions of fresh water, nutritional food and adequate care.”
But that’s simply slander.
In 21 years, reports of the Guzoo mistreating animals were extremely rare. They have been found to be happy and healthy. The government report ordering them shut down — incredibly, drafted by the Guzoo’s competitors — mainly cited a lack of paperwork and red tape.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there. Last week, a low-ranking Alberta cabinet minister named Jonathan Denis told Sun News Network’s Krista Erickson that the Guzoo had been handled fairly.
He said the report that condemned the Guzoo was “independent” and the Guzoo could always appeal the tribunal’s ruling.
But the review was conducted by the Guzoo’s rivals. And there was no tribunal hearing — no hearing at all. And, as Denis’ cabinet colleague, Mel Knight made clear, “there is no appeal and there is no process for appeal.”
Barker has a different motivation: He treats animals like people. And sometimes, he treats people like animals.
Barker wasn’t the only star of the Price is Right. So were beautiful models. To Barker, though, at least one was a sexual plaything.
He started sleeping with one of the show’s models Dian Parkinson. When she left the show, she sued him for sexual harassment, although she later dropped the suit saying it cost too much.
Soon Bob and Holly Hallstrom were in a lawsuit, too, with Holly accusing Bob of discrimination. The matter was settled with a payment.
When models Janice Pennington and Kathleen Bradley testified about Bob’s actions, they were sacked, too. Lawsuits continued for a decade.
But they’re all wrong, says Barker. That discrimination? “It’s all in the minds of the women,” he said.
I’m not sure if Barker is the moral role model for Alberta.
Now comes news the province isn’t just planning to seize the Guzoo’s zoo animals. They demand the Gustafsons give up all the animals on their property — even their personal pets. Again, no hearing, no day in court, no judge. Just

No animal died in Yerevan zoo
No animals died in Yerevan zoo, and former head of the zoo, Sahak Abovyan, spread false information, current head of the zoo Ruben Khachatryan informed Armenian
The current manager added that former head’s behavior is the desire to return to his post.
“He even organized signature campaign against me,” stated Khachatryan and added that two swans died indeed but outside the zoo territory.
The reason was virus, as former veterinary did not show

My, what big teeth. All the better to eat krill
WITH their big sharp teeth, Antarctic leopard seals have no trouble gobbling down their favourite food: penguins and crab-eater seal pups.
''They are famous for their ferocity,'' said David Hocking, a research student who has been studying the marine giants.
A diet of large animals helps the seals become enormous - some females weigh 500 kilograms. But this food is not available all year round, and in winter the seals must survive on tinier creatures, such as

Catfight: Man Plans to Battle Lion in an Effort to Boost Egypt's Tourist Industry
Forget bullfighting. In the animal entertainment sector, lion fighting is the hot new commodity. At least according to 25-year-old Egyptian al-Sayed al-Essawy, who plans to fight a full-grown African lion in front of the Pyramids at Giza. He told Egyptian publication Al Masry Al Youm that “the world will flock to see the Egyptian man who defeated a lion with his bare hands.” And given the state of the economy, now is as good a time as any. "After the revolution, with the economy the way it is, I've been given the perfect opportunity to realize my dream," he says.

Zoo educator is bound for Borneo
One of the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park's educators is working on her own education and will be traveling to the island of Borneo.
On Saturday, Colleen B. Bernard, education coordinator for the zoo, will travel to the state of Sabah in Malaysia for a 10-day immersion program dealing with primate conservation, ecology of Southeast Asian rain forests and community-based conservation. The trip is part of requirements for a master's degree in zoology from the University of Miami, Ohio.
"These trips, for me, are personally such an amazing experience," Ms. Bernard said. "It really helps reconnect you to the purpose of why I went into this field."
Her classroom is the landscape, her study guides are living creatures and the living quarters, if she's lucky, will provide running water and a bathroom. Despite the lack of basic amenities and the need to rough it at times, Ms. Bernard is looking forward to her third trip for credit, and

Fish keeper ventured into cordon area to save charges
For almost a week after the Christchurch earthquake, a fish keeper ventured into the city cordon every six hours to save hundreds of animals from a quake-hit aquarium.
The Southern Encounter Aquarium and Kiwi House employee returned to the Cathedral Square tourist attraction to help the fish and animals, including geckos and tuatara, trapped after the quake.
For six days he kept the backup generator fuelled to keep tanks and other equipment operating, said Lynn Anderson, chief executive of the Orana Wildlife Trust which owns the aquarium.
The man, who has declined to be named, progressively evacuated about 500 animals.
The "brave staff member continued to go back in there every six hours and feed the backup generators and on every trip he got more out", Anderson said.
"We are incredibly proud of what was achieved but I must admit we were extremely worried. The end result is absolutely outstanding, but I still could not condone it with the risk".
Anderson said 53 of the 700 animals, including seahorses whose tank was knocked over,


An international multi-disciplinary zoo consultancy practice


ZHCD Zoo Botanical NEWS for June
Celebrating Plants and the Planet:

Plants and wildlife interact on grand scales and also in the tiny details. Seeing the big picture yet appreciating the tiny moment is one of the great pleasures of observing Nature. June's links at  (NEWS/Botanical News) will require the use of bifocals:

· Animals migrate over distances large or small, in great herds or individually. Researchers are discovering that the sort landscape they traverse determines the type of migration they'll pursue, and that realization can lead to better conservation strategies.

· Seagrass supports marine animals as pasture for grazing, habitat for spawning, and phytoplankton for nurturing. (That's the big picture/tiny moment bit.) Recent surveys reveal that up to 14% of seagrass species worldwide are in danger of extinction.

· Chronic Wasting Disease is decimating some North American elk and deer populations. CWD is thought to be due to prions - neither bacteria nor virus - and almost impossible to treat. Yet a cure may be found in the lowly lichen.

· Chinese Lady Slipper Orchids produce no nectar to attract pollinators. They are pollinated by flies, but unlike other fly-pollinated plants that mimic the look or smell of rotting meat, these orchids offer flies a meal of their favorite fungus… except it's all a fake.

· Just what is the connection among fungi, plants, bacteria and animals? New species have been discovered that may be the missing-link that connects them all.

Big Picture or Small… missing links… all nicely captured in this video of The World's Least Efficient Machine that presents the history of the World while watering one simple potted plant:

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



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