Saturday, June 18, 2011

Zoo News Digest 16th - 18th June 2011 (Zoo News 762)

Zoo News Digest 16th - 18th June 2011 (Zoo News 762)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

It is a busy week for me. Right now I am rushing around trying to catch up with myself. Bit of a treat today meeting up with my youngest brother who I did not know was in the same neck of the woods as myself.

Good news for Chinese Pandas.
At last....some sense being talked about the Giant Panda in captivity in China!

The Cricket plague is bad news. I foresee a big increase in 'in house' breeding.


Some Articles You May Have Missed

New Monkey Species For Apenheul Primate Park

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Zoos and their flexible friend, the minister
It was good to see Malaysian NGO groups become more vocal, even encouraging the thoroughly discredited and despised Perhilitan to be more proactive is no bad thing. But, to suggest Perhilitan have their claws out for lawbreakers is, I fear, wildly optimistic.
Perhilitan have a well deserved notoriety along with their paymasters at the Ministry of Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, for complicity in the illegal wildlife trade and their cozy relationship with some zoo owners who participate in the trade as well as keep their animals in horrific conditions.
Just today, the illegal traders and zoo’s flexible friend minister Douglas Embas, announced he has given bad zoos yet another six month extension to comply with the new wildlife protection law.
So this means it will be 12 months before the new law, much heralded by Douglas Embas last year will be enforced – unless the minister provides the zoos with another generous ‘keep out of gaol’ card’.
When it comes to protecting wildlife the minister and his staff appear to model themselves on the three brass monkey’s: ‘Hear no evil, Speak no evil, See no evil’
Such is the contempt with which the minister is

Experts call for less care for pandas
Several wildlife experts have warned that China's giant pandas might be a little spoiled.
While the welfare of the animals must still be taken into consideration, experts have said that the pandas should actually be given less care than they are currently used to, as it may prevent them from adapting to living in the wild.
Giant pandas, one of the country's national treasures, often receive more care in zoos and research centers than other animals.
"It is unfair for the animals to breed them in captivity like pets," said Zhang Jinyuan, vice head of the Beijing Zoo.
Most panda cubs begin life in an incubator, far from the natural touch of their mother. These pandas don't even have to mate when they get older, as artificial insemination ensures that they will reproduce, regardless of their mating habits.
According to Zhang Hemin, chief of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, the ability of China's pandas to mate is eroding because of the tradition of using artificial insemination to help the animals reproduce.
In southwest Sichuan Province, the Wolong panda breeding research base is home to a variety of male and female pandas born in captivity. Approximately one-third of the base's female pandas and two-thirds of its male pandas, however, have shown no interest in mating.
"During their mating season, they have failed to seek out new partners on their own," Zhang Hemin said.
Zhang Hemin said that even with the help of breeding experts, about 70 percent of the base's panda couples will fail to mate.
The captive nature of the pandas also causes problems

How NOT to keep and rear Pandas

Zoo inmates to get new home decor
The hoolocks at Lucknow zoo will get a feel of their native state -- Assam -- in their enclosure. The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has given funds to the zoo to carry out changes in the enclosures of some animals including that of Kaalu and Rani, the pair of hoolock gibbons.
Kaalu was brought here in 1988 from Dehradun. A decade later, Rani was brought from Mumbai to pair with him. But zoo officials are concerned that even after 13 years, the pair has not bred. Since hoolocks are found in Assam, zoo authorities thought about simulating climatic conditions of the tropical forests of northeast in their enclosure.
"We had asked for funds from CZA," said zoo director Renu Singh. The CZA has released Rs 33.23 lakh. The funds will be used to install sprinklers and foggers in hoolocks' enclosure. While doing the interiors, wooden logs, swings, platforms and huts will be added to give enclosure the look of a dense forest.
Breeding of endangered species is a defined aim for zoos. Since the hoolocks have not bred even once, there is a possibility that the pair has still not acclimatised

Lion Man owes Wayne Peters $86k
High-profile Northland lawyer Wayne Peters has taken "Lion Man" Craig Busch to court in a bid to recover more than $86,000 in legal fees.
The case has dragged on for about two years as attempts to serve Mr Busch, who is believed to be in Africa, with legal papers have been unsuccessful.
Mr Busch is the former owner of Zion Wildlife Gardens and starred in the TV show The Lion Man.
The Advocate has obtained a copy of Judge Keith de Ridder's decision in the Whangarei District Court, which said Mr Busch engaged Wayne Peters and Associates for a variety of legal services for 7 months in August 2008.
Mr Peters refused to comment on the case.
The court decision says Mr Busch was billed $86,351.47 and, when he failed to pay, Mr Peters filed an application for summary judgment in October 2009.
Summary judgment is issued where there is no real contest on any debt that is claimed.
Since attempts to serve legal documents on Mr Busch failed, Mr Peters sought an order in May 2010 that the Lion Man's lawyers be served, and the order was granted.
No statement of defence was filed by Mr Busch, and Mr Peters

Craig Busch and Zion Wildlife Gardens

Copyright row over video of Dublin Zoo orang-utan and chick
A FILM of the dramatic rescue of a drowning chick by an orang-utan at Dublin Zoo has sparked a copyright row. Michael McGrane, Ashbourne, Co Meath, filmed a Bornean orang-utan called Jorong fishing a distressed baby moorhen out of a pond in its enclosure with a leaf more than four years ago.
In the clip, the orang-utan is seen coaxing the struggling bird out of the water with a leaf before examining it carefully, much to the amazement of onlookers.
Mr McGrane posted the clip on YouTube immediately. It sat largely unnoticed on the video-sharing site until early this week when it became an overnight internet sensation after being sold to a number of British national newspapers by a Birmingham-based news agency called News Team International.
The four-minute clip was filmed by Mr McGrane on his mobile in 2007. It has now been watched by hundreds of thousands on YouTube but until now, there had been confusion about its source.
The Daily Mail, one of the most popular websites in Britain, posted the video and an accompanying story on its site earlier this week, saying both the location and the cameraman were unknown. It also said copyright on the clip

Devon web star rhino Zuri moves home
A rare black rhino which was born at a Devon zoo and became an internet star has moved to a new home.
Zuri became the first rhino calf born at Paignton Zoo, when mother Sita gave birth in March 2007.
She became a hit on the BBC Devon website when webcams showed her mother's pregnancy and birth, and attracted interest around the world.
Now just over four-years-old, and weighting about a tonne, Zuri is at Chester Zoo.
'Cheeky and confident'
Curator of mammals Neil Bemment said: "Zuri is still a bit young to breed with our male, Manyara, so she is going to Chester as they have a female of a similar age.
"We don't know at this stage where or when Zuri will breed in the future."
Zoo spokesman Phil Knowling

Kenyan hated by poachers but loved by animals feted
A Kenyan who has saved hundreds of lions, vultures and birds from poisoning became Africa’s top conservationist when she won the prestigious National Geographic Annual Award.
“The award is the greatest accolade I have ever received for my work,” an elated Dr Paula Kahumbu the executive director of the Kenya Land Conservation Trust and WildlifeDirect said on learning of the award on Thursday.
The environmentalist, hated by poachers and loved by elephants for her fight against ivory poaching will today briefly break her quest to protect wildlife and travel to Washington to receive her award and $25,000 (Sh2.2 million) at a ceremony to be held on Tuesday.
Born and raised in Nairobi, she was mentored into the wild life care by the well-known conservationist Richard Leakey during the 1980s when elephants were being hounded in every corner of the country for their ivory.
With fervour, fellow conservationists say, she has been most vocal against poaching and calls to renew international trade in ivory.
“One of my happiest days in life was July 18

Magazine of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Great ape debate
The historical value of the chimpanzee as a disease model is indisputable. It was important in developing the Sabin polio vaccine; instrumental in discovering the infectious nature of the spongiform encephalopathies; and essential to both the creation of a vaccine against hepatitis B and the identification, in 1989, of the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
Humankind has benefited handsomely. Since the United States instituted universal childhood vaccination for hepatitis B in 1991, there has been a 98% decline in the disease in children under the age of 15 years. And with the identification of HCV, screening of donated blood for the virus reduced the risk of transfusion-associated hepatitis in the United States from 4% in 1989 to almost zero in 2000.
Today, chimpanzee research is still bearing fruit, especially for hepatitis C, a disease that infects at least 170 million people globally and often results in permanent liver damage or cancer. No approved vaccine yet exists. A study published in 2002 put the annual economic costs of the disease in the United States at more than US$750 million.
The chimpanzee is the only animal model in which human strains of HCV can replicate, making it especially important in work to develop a vaccine. And studies in this animal have propelled at least one hepatitis C vaccine into human trials. Other chimpanzee experiments are making inroads in developing better therapies for the disease. The case for chimpanzee use in some other circumstances — such as the effort to develop a vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus, which mainly affects

A Moratorium, or More of the Same?
In December 2007, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono launched Indonesia’s orangutan conservation strategy and action plan, which calls for all wild orangutan populations to be viable and stable by 2017.
The plan calls for an end to the destruction of orangutan habitat. Without such action, populations will not be stabilized by 2017.
To these ends, last month came the presidential instruction many of us hoped would be a step in the right direction. At first glance, the instruction looks good. It suspends the issuance of new licenses within primary natural forest and peatlands, in conservation forest, protected forest and production forest areas, with the aim of reducing Indonesia’s emissions of carbon dioxide that result from deforestation and forest fires.
As usual, however, the devil is in the details.
The instruction to suspend issuance of new licenses raises two problems. First, the instruction does not apply to areas with primary forest cover or peatlands that are outside the national forest estate. This has consequences for orangutans.
For example, many areas of peatland on the west coast of Sumatra with important orangutan populations do not appear on the map. These carbon-rich peatlands, which the government purportedly seeks to protect, are not covered.
Business as usual, therefore, means oil palm companies in these areas can clear what remains of these peatlands, and in doing so indirectly exterminate any remaining

Arabian oryx leaps back from near-extinction
The Arabian oryx, a desert antelope that may have sparked the legend of the unicorn, has bounced back after being hunted almost to oblivion, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said on Thursday.
Native to the Arabian peninsula, Oryx leucoryx has two long slender horns that in profile look as one, which may have fuelled the myth of the unicorn, the IUCN said.
The last Arabian oryx in the wild was shot in 1972 but after a nearly 40-year effort in captive breeding, its population stands at 1,000 individuals, the IUCN said, trailing an update of its "Red List" of threatened species.
An oryx was successfully reintroduced to the wild in Oman in 1982 and other returns have taken place in Saudi Arabia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and more recently in Jordan.
The oryx has now qualified for a move under the Red List

Scotland's 'bizarre' seal plans under fire
The Scottish government is coming under fire from environmental groups over plans to protect coastal sites used by only half of the nation's seals.
Numbers of harbour (or common) seals are declining, and campaigners say not protecting all the sites where they haul themselves onto land is "bizarre".
The government says it wants a balance that does not impact "other sustainable activities around the coast".
Its consultation on seal haul-out sites ends next week.
In the sites it designates, seals would be protected from "harrassment", under measures contained in the Marine Act passed last


IRKA 2011 Photography Contest

Open To All

IRKA is embarking on a new fundraising idea this year in hopes to give back! We are having a rhino photography contest beginning June 1st & ending July 31st. 12 winners of the contest will be featured in the IRKA/IRF’s 2012 Rhino Calendar. The calendars will be sold for $25 with the funds raised going to help Rhino Protection Units (RPUs) with supplies such as; shoes, GPS, binoculars, etc.

Contributors can submit up to 5 photographs in a JPG or JPEG file format by July 31st to this email,  The total file size must be less than 5MB. Photos don’t necessarily need to be a digital photo from a digital camera either; it can be a digital scan, as long as the end result is a JPG or JPEG file.

Submitted photographs will be posted on the IRKA website (  by August 8th. Voting will be August 8th-29th to determine the 12 top winners. A date of when calendars can be ordered will be announced very soon!

To submit your photos please download the Entry Form from the website  fill it out, and send us your BEST Rhino Photos!



Oklahoma City Zoo workers save spider with superglue
The brown tarantula gently sandwiched between Jeff Rife's hands didn't move or fuss much as an Oklahoma City Zoo staff member glued it back together.
The spider is about 6 or 7 years old and has been a resident of the Oklahoma Trails exhibit since it opened in 2007, said Rife, antelope supervisor at the zoo.
She's pretty good, as far as tarantulas go, Rife said, and she was her normal, docile self when zookeepers glued up her exoskeleton after a dangerous injury.
Zookeepers aren't sure how the tarantula got a nick on her abdomen, Rife said, but they spotted a soft, watery glob on top of her at the end of May.
“We weren't quite for sure what it was,” Rife said.
After some research, zoo staffers figured out it was part of the spider's innards. They used a cotton swab to gently tap the mass back inside, and then they dabbed skin adhesive — a kind
Read more:

Laboratory Primate Newsletter
Volume 50, number 3

Zoo launches new £25k hospital plea
EDINBURGH Zoo has launched a fundraising campaign to help finance urgently needed developments at its on-site animal hospital.
The attraction had planned to build an all-new facility, but was forced to put the plans on hold due to a lack of cash.
Now RZSS bosses hope to fill the money pot with up to £25,000 in donations so it can modernise the current hospital, including its key surgery and research areas.
In a statement outlining the appeal they pointed out that the facility required "urgent assistance to help ensure the highest standard of

Zoo authority spanner in rescue centre work
Central Zoo Authority (CZA) appears more interested in blocking the setting up of wildlife rescue centre in city than facilitating its setting up. It has, for the second time, returned the proposal with flimsy objections.
The proposal was first submitted to the CZA on October 15, 2010. On January 4, 2011, the CZA asked Gorewada zoo director to comply with six conditions. The revised proposal was submitted on March 25 after compliance. However, on June 6, the proposal was sent back to the PCCF (wildlife) asking fulfilling 12 conditions. Most of these are old ones that have already been complied with raising question whether CZA was intentionally stalling the move.
CZA sources said wildlife wing had been asked to rectify staffing pattern, plan for procurement of feed for carnivores, reconciliation of contour level, reduce height of boundary wall from 2.5 to 2 metres, restricting number of quarters and lowering estimate

Moscow Zoo closed because of infection
Moscow Zoo has urgently closed for suspected African swine fever infection. Yesterday night a 7 years old African river hog died. The animal didn't look ill the day before. The Zoo is closed on June, 16 and 17 because of this, for necessary experimentations and sanitary disposal.
By now, official veterinary has carried out disinfection already two times. They also took tests of feeding stuff and isolated animals contacted with a died hog.
Precise causes of the river hog's death will be found out today, on Friday. By now it is known only, that it was not anthrax. If the tests wouldn't confirm an African Plague, the Zoo can open already today.
African swine fever, or Montgomery

Take a number, get in line: Zoo wants to stay open
Take a number and get in line … The Minnesota Zoo would like to be exempted from the coming shutdown. Jessica Fleming of the PiPress reports: “Under Gov. Mark Dayton's plan, half of the zoo's 300 employees would be out of work, and the facility would be closed during what is generally its busiest month. The zoo earns about $50,000 in daily admissions in July, said zoo director Lee Ehmke. ‘We're not sure how we would ever recoup what was anticipated to be earned on these days,' Ehmke said. ‘It's what we count on to carry us through the colder and less visited months’. ... The zoo plans to argue that because it can survive on admissions revenue during the summer months, it should be allowed to stay open. Admissions revenue

Ex-safari park worker drops case
A former worker at Buckinghamshire's Woburn Safari Park who claimed he was forced out of his job after he raised concerns about conditions at the attraction has dropped his case for constructive dismissal.
Dr Paul O'Donoghue, of Ellesmere Port previously claimed he was the victim of constructive dismissal by Bedford Estates after leaving the job he held from January 5 2009 to December 5 2009.
He told a tribunal panel during preliminary legal argument in March that the "last straw" came in November that year when he had believed an elephant would escape, and "it did in fact escape".
He told the panel in Bedford: "There could have been disastrous consequences for staff, visitors and myself, as a result of that escape."
The park is owned by the Duke of Bedford and visited by more than 500,000 people a year.
Dr O'Donoghue also previously told the panel he was seen as a "trouble maker" and he believed that was for "raising issues".
But an official from the Bedford Employment Tribunals Service confirmed the case, due to resume on Monday, had been settled.
A statement on Woburn Safari Park's website said: "Woburn have recently been informed that ex-employee Paul O'Donoghue has withdrawn his case for unfair di

Naked Russian diver Natalia Avseenko tries to tame rare beluga whales
FACING sub-zero temperatures, with no protection from the elements, a female diver frolicks naked with beluga whales in a bizarre experiment designed to tame the shy creatures.
Diver Natalia Avseenko, 36, agreed to participate in the experiment designed by Russian scientists who believe belugas dislike artificial materials such as clothing and diving suits.
The average human could die if left in sub-zero temperatures for just five minutes, but amazingly Natalia survived in temperatures of minus 1.5 degrees Celsius for more than ten minutes.
Using her skills as a diver and yoga breathing techniques, she was

Sleeping With A Beast
Watch the video....only Jack Hannah is talking any sense here!!!!!

Just What Is The Point Mr Antle?

Tiger Encounter Linda Terry and Felicia Frisco
There is a paparazzi style media group called Splash that seem to make a career out of promoting cruel acts involving animals.
They promoted Jim Jablon spending a month in a cage with two lion cubs. The unemployed Jablon claimed to have made more than $70,000 off that publicity stunt, but did not say how much he had to pay Splash.
The very next month Splash was promoting Kevin Antle, who calls himself Doc Antle, on Good Morning America who vouched for the circus family of Frisco's who call their act Tiger Encounter. GMA had learned that Antle had sold the tiger to them, but he claimed that the cub was born at the Frisco's compound and that the cats were not related to his. No government agency currently keeps very good track of where they are born, sold or end up when they die which could explain why the U.S. is the second largest consumer of illegal tiger parts.
Some accounts state that Terry, Linda and Felicia Frisco are based out of Peoria and others say they are camped out in Tampa, Florida. They travel with tigers and elephants that are made to perform un natural acts before crowds of ill informed, or ill mannered people who either don't know or don't care about the suffering inherent in being forced to travel long hours, relegated to circus wagons, only to be put through their paces at the end of a whip or bull hook.
While the family claims to only train using positive reinforcement, that is what all

Insect virus creeps into North America, shuts down Portage commercial cricket grower
An obscure virus studied by only a handful of scientists is sending ripples of alarm through this country’s zoos and reptile-breeder communities.
The virus doesn’t hurt reptiles or any other animals. But in Europe, it wiped out a staple of the captive reptile diet.
Now it’s here.
“It moved through this factory like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” said Bob Eldred, general manager of Top Hat Cricket Farm Inc. in Portage, one of the country’s largest wholesale suppliers of crickets.
“We were seeing dead crickets everywhere within a matter of weeks. We dumped 30 million crickets we had right in the garbage.”
Until last year, cricket paralysis virus was Europe’s problem.
An outbreak of the pathogen swept that continent in 2002, essentially rendering the common brown cricket commercially extinct there.
But the virus found its way across the Atlantic Ocean and into Canadian and U.S. cricket-rearing facilities.
“My Canadian contact said it is spreading through the cricket

Eat or be Eaten is a fun, experiential bird show at the Tracy Aviary
In their continuing effort to educate people about birds and the environment, Tracy Aviary debuted their new bird show “Eat or be Eaten” Memorial Day weekend.
Along with crowd-pleasing king vulture and Australian emu, the show featured some local birds. Storm, a red-tailed hawk, swooped in from his perch on high to grab his prey. He also displayed a behavior known as mantling where he covered his food with his wings to hide it from thieves.
Maleficent, an American crow, showed off her caching prowess. Crows will store food for the winter either in a tree or buried. Buried items may be forgotten and grow into new plants.
Irvana, the turkey vulture, found the carrion that was left for her without flying to it. During a live show, it is good for everyone to expect the unexpected.
The show ends with Maleficent taking donations for the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. Bring some bills for that experience.
With plenty of audience participation and birds flying low overhead, “Eat or be Eaten” is an entertaining half hour that is included with admission to the Tracy Aviary.
During the summer, the Tracy Aviary will be open until 8:00pm on Mondays. Other interactive offerings, including feeding sun conures and pelicans, carry an additional cost. The Owl Forest

Norway-Indonesia forest deal: US$1 billion dollars worth of continued deforestation?
Here’s a copy of the Letter of Intent (pdf file 341 KB*) signed yesterday by Norway’s Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim and Indonesia’s Foreign Minister RM Marty M. Natalegawa. One billion dollars sounds like a lot of money, but it’s worth putting in perspective.
In 2010 alone, Norway will invest US$21.7 billion in its petroleum industry, including oil exploration. Every day, Norway produces 2.2 million barrels of oil. Oil production is declining, according to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, but gas production is increasing. This then is where Norway’s money comes from. Similar to its dual role in Amazon conservation and destruction, Norway is simultaneously ensuring that climate change gets worse, while claiming to address climate change through financing REDD.
Will the Norway-Indonesia forest deal at least reduce deforestation in Indonesia? Not very likely, at least judging from the Letter of Intent.
The first step is to produce a document “tentatively by October 2010, detailing the deliverables in the LoI . . . This Partnership will not be effective until the document has been agreed.” The Letter of Intent outlines three phases. Phase 1 is called “Preparation”, and runs until the end of this year. Phase 2, which runs from January 2011 until the end of 2013, is called “Transformation”. Phase 3 starts in 2014 and presumably runs

Race is on now that the session is out
One of the laws passed in the legislative session that just ended establishes the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre at Assiniboine Park.
In the final moments of the last session of the 39th legislature, provincial politicians unanimously passed a bill introduced just two weeks ago to clean up Lake Winnipeg.
The vote was barely recorded when the NDP fired out a press release questioning the Conservative Party's sincerity in supporting a law that clamps down on hog farmers and requires the city of Winnipeg to build a modern biological nutrient removal sewage treatment plant. It accused the Tories of flip-flopping on both issues.
Opposition Leader Hugh McFadyen shot back that cleaning up Manitoba's largest water body seemed to be the government's lowest priority. He said in nearly 12 years under the NDP's watch, the lake has deteriorated. He said the Conservatives will do better.
Let the election campaign begin.
Thursday was a day of emotional farewells and spirited debate as MLAs sat for the last time before the Oct. 4 provincial election. Ten MLAs -- several with family members looking on from the visitors' gallery -- said their goodbyes, including former Filmon cabinet minister Len Derkach, the most senior of the retiring members, and House Speaker George Hickes.
Flooding along Manitoba's rivers and lakes gripped the legislators' attention this spring, but underlying every political move was this fall's election in what promises to be a close race.
The Conservatives hammered the NDP at every turn over its decision


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