Friday, July 22, 2011

Zoo News Digest 17th - 22nd July 2011 (Zoo News 769)

Zoo News Digest 17th - 22nd July 2011 (Zoo News 769)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

Sorry folks I am knocked out by some nasty Thai virus. Third day now and I don't seem to be improving. Doing anything, including thinking straight is a struggle. I have the odd bursts of feeling normal which have helped me pull this together.

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SA lion breeder connected to rhino poaching syndicate
It has emerged that a South African lion breeder and safari operator may be a key supplier of millions of Rands worth of rhino horn to a South East Asian wildlife tracking syndicate.
Media24 investigations established that the company, which reportedly operates from a hotel in central Laos, placed a major order with operator Marnus Steyl in April.
The syndicate is alleged to have used young Thai women; many of them trafficked to South Africa to work in brothels, as so called hunters in sham hunts.
Suspected syndicate leader Chumlong Lemtongthai is due to appear in court on Friday after being arrested in Edenvale two weeks ago.
At the same time, the Hawks said they are profiling two men arrested in Pretoria on Tuesday night for trying to buy equipment commonly used in rhino poaching.
Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela said the suspects were

Manila Zoo will stay – Lim
THE Manila Zoo will stay for as long as I am the mayor.
This was declared yesterday by Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim, as he made the assurance that all efforts are being exerted by the administrators and staff of the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden under parks and recreation bureau director Engineer Deng Manimbo, to take real good care of the animals housed in the zoo.
Lim took exception to the calls of an organization for animal’s rights to shut down the zoo, with a demand for the animals there to be released in the wild.
According to him, the animals there are all domesticated and have adjusted fully to their present home and that bringing them to the wild would be greatly difficult for them.
“Magiging strangers in paradise lang sila du’n dahil sanay na silang may nagpapakain sa kanila at nag-aalaga. Hindi biro ang pinakakain sa mga ’yan,” Lim said.
The mayor said the zoo had been established 50 years ago, with the purpose of providing cheap entertainment and source of education for the poor children of Manila. Entrance rates are pegged at P40 for adults and P20 for children, with special discounts given to city residents, senior citizens and the handicapped.
He also bared that a lot of private companies and individuals have already tried to talk him into selling the zoo but that he rejected all such offers, including suggestions to have the zoo transferred to huge lots in Cavite or Tagaytay.
“Former Mayor Lacson built this zoo for the

Manila Zoo refutes PETA criticism
The Public Recreation Bureau (PRB) of the Manila city government has denied accusations thrown at them by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), claiming that it is “unfair” to judge the whole operations of the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden with photos released by the animal rights group that appeared to show the country’s oldest zoo in unpleasant light.
In an interview at the zoo with PRB Director Deogracias Manimbo, he explained that the photos taken by PETA were old files and did not represent the whole zoo. “Hindi ibig sabihin na pag may nakitang bottled water sa isang cage, lahat na ng cages namin, madumi (It doesn’t mean that when one finds bottled water in one cage, all the cages are dirty). It’s unfair on our part because the photos they used were old,” he said.
However, he assured that they are taking measures to avoid littering inside the zoo. “We are contemplating on restricting the use of bottled water inside the zoo and designating a specific area where people can eat to avoid littering inside the zoo,” Manimbo said.
Manimbo also disproved PETA-released photos of unkempt surroundings at the zoo, specifically its fish pond. “The photo was taken when the fish pond was undergoing construction,” he said.
Manimbo revealed that the fish pond is now fully operational and is set to be inaugurated on Monday during the celebration of the zoo’s 52nd anniversary. He said it was donated by a maritime company which also gave the zoo a filtration system and landscaping worth millions of pesos. The fish pond now has at least 20 fishes composed of golden tilapia and catfish among others.
Manimbo further refuted the group’s claim that the animals are experiencing zoochosis or the development of unnatural behavior patterns of zoo animals that are held in artificial environments. “These animals will actually feel unfit if they are released in the wild because they are already used to being fed for a very long time now,” he said.
He also contested PETA’s claims that the animals are becoming unhealthy and are poorly fed. “Our animals here are living beyond their life expectancy. How can they be unhealthy at that?” Manimbo said.
He said the zoo’s main attraction -- Mali, a 34-year old elephant -- is sufficiently fed and nourished. “An elephant’s lifespan is only 30 years, but Mali exceeded that. It is also not true that we only feed Mali with one loaf bread a day.
We feed Mali with 25 loaves a day, along with some potatoes. We ensure that the animals here have a balanced diet,” Manimbo said.
He said Berta, the 48-year-old hippopotamus, is fit and well taken care of and has already exceeded its life expectancy of 35 years.
“We have five in-house veterinarians who are experts in wildlife and who have taken care of the animals for 30 years now,” he said.
Manimbo admitted though that the 5.5-hectare zoo needs to restore its old structures. He said they need more funds for the upkeep and development of the zoo. “If we have to be at par with other zoos, we need more funds,” he said, adding that the zoo needs P50 million every year.
“At this point, there are



Tapir Specialist Group - Virtual Library

Japan 'to continue' Antarctic whaling
Japan intends to send its whaling fleet back to the Antarctic this year, a senior official has told BBC News.
There has been speculation that campaigns by activists, money problems and new rules at sea might persuade Tokyo to stop Antarctic whaling.
But at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting, Japan's Joji Morishita said the plan was to return.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which forced the last hunt's early closure, says it will be back too.
Finding a way to deal with the organisation's vessels is the main obstacle Japan sees to continuing for the next season and beyond.
"We are now discussing how we can send our fleet back to the Antarctic Ocean," said Mr Morishita, Japan's deputy commissioner to the IWC and a senior official in the Fisheries Agency.
"Simply put, the attack from Sea Shepherd organisation is the one we have to consider how we prevent that to happen again."
During the IWC meeting, being held in Jersey, Japanese delegates showed pictures and videos that, they said, showed the campaigners

A rare he-she butterfly is born in London's NHM
A half-male, half-female butterfly has hatched at London's Natural History Museum.
A line down the insect's middle marks the division between its male side and its more colourful female side.
Failure of the butterfly's sex chromosomes to separate during fertilisation is behind this rare sexual chimera.
Once it has lived out its month-long life, the butterfly will join the museum's collection.
Only 0.01% of hatching butterflies are gynandromorphs; the technical term for these strange asymmetrical creatures.
"So you can understand why I was bouncing off of the walls when I learned that... [it] had emerged in the puparium," said butterfly enthusiast Luke Brown from London's Natural History Museum.
Mr Brown built his first butterfly house when he was seven, and has hatched out over 300 thousand

What do you know? A Kathoey Butterfly. (perhaps not your normal read)

Lizard has problem-solving skills
A vibrant green tree-dwelling lizard has surprised scientists with its mental prowess by succeeding in a problem-solving test.
The tropical lizard Anolis evermanni was able to associate the colour of a disc with a food reward - flipping over the correct disc to reveal a worm secreted underneath.
The results, published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, suggest that reptiles are more intelligent than previously thought.
The scientists gave six lizards the colour discrimination task.
First they concealed a worm underneath a disc to find out if the lizard would be able to negociate the obstacle.

The Fin Trail
Since time began we have seen the shark as the silent deadly killer of the ocean deeply engrained in the human psyche as an object of fear. However fact is that in an average year, sharks account for less than ten human deaths, while in the same period we kill up to 100 million of them. What's more, 99% of them are killed for their fins alone which are added to a soup to make an oriental delicacy.
The fact that sharks are facing extinction

Conservationists sound alarm over macaque
The long-tailed macaque is being threatened with extinction by a huge surge in international trade and the destruction of its habitat in Southeast Asia, conservationists said on Friday.
Species Survival Network (SSN), an international coalition of over 80 charities, says trade in the species had more than doubled in the second half of the last decade.
The group is pressing countries taking part in a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Geneva this month to review the impact on the macaque of the trade.
"The long-tailed macaque is the most heavily-traded mammal currently listed on the CITES appendices and our research findings raise alarming questions concerning the long-term viability of targeted populations of the species if this trade is allowed to continued at current levels," Ian Redmond, chairman of the SSN Primate Working Group

Lion Village: A zoo on the edge
In recent years, the environmental office has been regularly asked by visitors and activists to take measures to improve the state of the zoo at the Lion Village, located an hour and a half from Cairo, at Km 59 of the Cairo-Alexandria desert road. After two inspections over the past month by the environmental office, the license should be renewed shortly even though the zoo’s state is far from being ideal.
The first thing customers notice when they step into the zoo is a big cage in which a lion and a lioness are lying down. Although the zoo is located in the middle of the desert and experiences scorching heat in this season, the lions’ cage is obviously devoid of a water trough, and none can be spotted anywhere nearby.
When justifying himself, Ahmed al-Timsah, the owner and captain of the Lion Village, is full of contradictions. At one point he says that “every now and then, a worker puts water in a bucket and then removes it because otherwise the lions spill it”, but later asserts that there is a trough in a corner of a cage attached to the first one, which provides unlimited

Flying zookeepers
Perhilitan’s special squad in nationwide animal park checks
The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) has set up a special roving task force to check on the condition of zoos and more importantly, the animals.
Its director-general Datuk Abd Rasid Samsudin, in a statement to The Malay Mail, said the Zoological Park Task Force’s concern was to monitor the condition of zoological parks, with special attention being paid to the welfare of animals being kept or exhibited.
"We also want to create an awareness on compliance to the new regulation on zoo operations supervision, under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, which is in its final stages,” he said.
"The main purpose of the Act is to monitor how zoos in Malaysia were being managed and operated."
The flying squad has started operations around the country. To date, they have conducted audits on 17 zoological parks in Peninsular Malaysia.
The outcome of the audits will be used as a reference by a committee entrusted with scrutinising applications for zoo management.
Abd Rasid said under the Wildlife Conservation Act (Act 716), a permit was required by any party intending to operate a zoo, circus as well as wildlife exhibitions.
“However, a permit will not be issued to any party that fails to adhere

Owner of small Iowa zoo hospitalized with injuries to head, torso from tiger attack
The owner of a small Iowa zoo has been hospitalized with injuries from a tiger attack.
The Delaware County sheriff’s office says 52-year-old Tom Sellner suffered lacerations to his head and torso in the Sunday morning attack at Cricket Hollow Zoo in Manchester. He was flown to an Iowa City hospital. His condition

Eagle injures boy at Sydney zoo show
Nonami, a wedged-tailed eagle, deviated from the prepared flight-path and landed on the 18-month-old boy's head during a freeflight at the zoo on Saturday, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The impact of the bird, which has a 2m wing span, left the toddler with a gash to his head and he was taken to the Royal North Shore Hospital with "superficial injuries". He was released after a couple of hours.
A statement from the zoo described the behaviour of the seven-year-old bird as ''exploratory rather than attacking'' and said it was the first time in three years of performances the eagle had pounced on someone.
Staff said Nomani would not be destroyed but would never been flown in public again.
The statement said the zoo was concerned for the care of the boy and his family, and would carry out an inquiry to

We need help, not criticism, Manila Zoo director tells PETA
The Manila Zoo director has criticized a group that has been asking the public to sign an online petition for the city government to shut down the attraction.
According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and other local animal protection groups, the zoo is a “tiny, decrepit and outdated facility.”
“Animals… are housed in cramped, barren cages that can’t compare to their natural habitats,” PETA said in its petition.
It asked netizens to sign the petition asking Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim to stop plans to acquire more animals for the facility. “Instead, ask him to improve the lives of the animals already there or, better yet, close the zoo altogether,” the group said.
Manila Parks and Recreation Bureau chief and zoo director Deogracias Manimbo, however, said the petition and criticisms were being “played up.” He explained that while there were indeed plans to add more animals to the zoo like a giraffe, the city government doesn’t have the funds to do so right now.
“The mayor’s priority is education and health,” Manimbo said.
Manimbo added that instead of criticizing the zoo, animal protection groups should pitch in by donating money so that they could improve the animals’ living conditions.
The zoo operates on a P50-million budget annually, Manimbo said in an interview. Around P40 million of the total is spent on the animals’ food and upkeep alone. The rest is used to pay for utilities. “It’s all maintenance funds. We don’t have development funds,” Manimbo pointed out.
However, he reported that they rehabilitated a portion of the attraction last year, thanks to donations from private entities.
While admitting that some animals such as monkeys were

Move to save terrapins
WWF Malaysia is concerned over the habit of people eating turtle eggs in the state.
The foundation's Terengganu Turtle Conservation team leader Rahayu Zulkifli said the cooperation of the people as well as tourists was essential in order to remove terrapin eggs from the menu.
She said WWF Malaysia was alarmed that certain tourist guides still promoted the eating of terrapin eggs.
“I was informed that the guides would casually remind tourists not to miss the chance to eat the eggs while they are in Terengganu,” she told The Star yesterday.
Rahayu said her team of researchers, volunteers as

Behind the Scenes, Making of the Do the Waddle Commercial

Newletter 4 - update on Abidjan Zoo

Dear Ambassador, dear All,

Please have a look at our blog and get an update in pictures of the situation in the zoo of Abidjan:

Workers have not yet been paid, but hopefully, it will be done soon. Government promised to help us out but last week there was another reshuffle and promises disappeared.

Slowly by slowly we will get there ...

Thanks again for your great support.

Kind regards,

Sophie Decelle

The Anatomy of Animal Madness
Is it method or madness that drives animals crazy?
'But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
'Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: 'we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.'
'How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
'You must be,' said the Cat, 'or you wouldn't have come here.—Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland [1]
There's is a lot of talk about crazy animals these days: hair-plucking apes, suicidal dolphins, chimpanzees with psychiatric disorders, homicidal orcas, serial killer elephants—a veritable Everest of documentation describing how animals go mad as readily as humans under the right circumstances. [2,3,4,5] Despair and depression possess every species when their societies implode with the ravages of genocide, and few are spared when subjected to torture and imprisonment, whether in zoos or prisons.
None of this is new. The pernicious effects of animal confinement have been recognized for centuries. Dating

Animal Welfare and Behaviour Seminar
Hosted by the Zurich Zoo in Switzerland
19th - 21st of October 2011
This seminar has a wide variety of speakers, from different background and disciplines,
and the seminar will include many topics from animal learning, personality, emotion, stereotypic behaviour, stress, enrichment and training to predictability, choice, control and problem solving.

For more information please visit:

Ukrainian zoo owner moves into cage
Visitors to a Ukrainian zoo will get the chance to see a new attraction after the zoo’s owner decided to move into a cage - with a pride of lions.
Aleksandr Pylyshenko will be fed through the bars at the same time as the lions and says he will remain there - sleeping in the cage and playing with the big cats for five weeks.
Pylyshenko explained: “One of the lionesses is pregnant - I plan to see the cubs being born and spend some time with them but then I will move out.”
The 40-year-old

Namibia to Donate Almost 150 Animals to Cuban Zoo
Namibia will donate almost 150 animals to the Cuban National Zoo next year, announced sources from a delegation of the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism visiting the island.
The donation includes leopards, lions, wolves, cats, ostriches, antelopes, elephants and rhinoceroses, said Santos Cubillas, an expert at the zoo, located in the outskirts of Havana.
Erika Akuenje, permanent secretary of the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism, told Cuban television that hygiene standards would be met to ensure that no diseases

Dak Lak sets up elephant conservation center
The Dak Lak Province authorities have decided to set up an elephant conservation center as the number of pachyderms have dipped to critical levels in the Central Highlands.
The center will operate under the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to protect both wild and domestic elephants, the Dak Lak newspaper reported Friday.
The center’s major tasks would be to improve elephants' health, monitor their population and habitat, raise awareness of elephant conservation and propose actions to minimize conflicts

Pittsburgh Zoo's Somerset Reserve Takes On Three Rescued African Elephants
The Pittsburgh Zoo rescued three African elephants and gave them a new home at their preserve in Somerset County.
Thandi, 20, Seeni, 18, and Sukiri, 18, are the new female additions to the preserve.
The Corea family of Botswana rescued them from being victims of a cull or a government-sanctioned killing in South Africa.
When the elephants outgrew the Corea's elephant orphanage in Botswana, they were transported to a reserve in South Africa. A trainer endured a fatal injury. Wildlife law in South Africa requires the animal to be killed, but an emergency deal was worked out with the Pittsburgh Zoo.
On July 15, the elephants were put in 4,000 pound crates, loaded on a 747 Kalitta plane and flown 20 hours to Pennsylvania.
Thushara Corea said, "They seem to have a great future here. The Pittsburgh Zoo and the

Vertical Safari: Crazy Skyscraper Zoo has a Built-in Ferris Wheel
Mesh a modern observation-style ferris wheel (think: London Eye) with the skyscraper, then throw in some animals – and there you have it. Visitors to the vertical zoo would commandeer the wheel’s pods. As the wheel turns in the sky, visitors are taken to various levels where animals reside, up to 240 meters in the sky. Proposed for a site on the edge of Puerto Madero’s Reserve waterfront park, the park would allow visitors to lions while taking in an aerial view of beautiful Buenos Aires.
Unlike a ferris wheel, the zoo’s observation wheel will turn at an incredibly slow speed – taking 30 minutes to cover a half circuit. The top of the skyscraper is

Natural Science Center Aquarium Approved
The Natural Science Center's vision to build North Carolina's only center-of-state aquarium in Greensboro will finally move from blueprints to building construction.
Following 30 days of negotiations, New Atlantic Contracting, Inc. of Winston Salem, has worked with SciQuarium designers and the Science Center team to lower costs and meet the NSC's mandated budget guidelines.
Construction is expected to begin later this summer. SciQuarium construction will take approximately 14-16 months plus an additional 2-3 months required by Center staff for the acquisition, quarantine and acclimation of the animals that will inhabit the seven main exhibit areas. A new ticketing and entrance complex, expanded gift shop (Tricerashop) and café (Meerkat Café) are also part of this first phase of expansion.
The Center's Executive Director, Glenn Dobrogosz, said the contract negotiation was a long, hard process.
"Our team of designers, builders, staff and board members has worked extremely hard over the last month to reduce costs by $700,000 while still preserving key exhibits and visitor experiences. We have finally achieved that goal. Approximately 9 million dollars in voter-approved,0,4454206.story

Fast Freddy's Zookeeping Tips

Is she completely bananas? Monkey lover takes her troop of macaques everywhere
Monkey lover Connie Tibbs will argue she is anything but bananas - however these pictures prove otherwise.
Mrs Tibbs, 37, is so obsessed with her pet macaques - all five of them, that she refuses to let them out of her sight.

Get off my patch! How two tigers left with their tails between their legs after being scared off by a protective mother bear

ZOO'S PRINT Magazine - July 2011
July 2011 | Vol. XXVI | No. 7 | Date of Publication 21 July 2011

Video: A day in the life of a vet at Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort

London Zoo 1930's Photographs: (WELL WORTH A LOOK)

Dog: The Other White Meat
Hundreds of dogs were crammed on a truck heading north along a major highway in Beijing on April 16th of this year.
The dogs were headed for restaurants in Changchun, a city in northeastern China. Have you been? If yes, you'll know that in Changchun restaurants you can choose from a long list of dishes, including dog soup (Gaejang), boiled dog mixed with spices and vegetables (Jeongol), and dog-red pepper paste pickle. Most people in this region take their dog spicy. Thirsty? Wash it all down with a drink made from cooled dilution of digested dog. Side note: For those of you that "need" ketchup with every meal, ketchup made from digested dog and tomato puree is available year-round, so not to worry.
Back to that truck.
Mr. An, driving north along the same highway, saw the truck and heard panicked barks and anxious whimpering. An, a volunteer at the Beijing-based China Small Animal Protection Association, posted an alert on a Twitter-like site to the local animal protection community. Within the hour, a group of two-hundred animal lovers blockaded the truck at a toll booth. Some of the dogs were dehydrated; others were suffocated by disease. And one delivered five puppies through the rusty bars of her cage. The truck driver eventually released the dogs for $17,000, saving most of them from being slaughtered and eaten hundreds of miles up the h,b=facebook

Denmark teen passage to manhood: kill innocent dolphins for sport
That’s right.
To be considered a man in the Faroe Islands, part of Denmark and Greenland: it is a ritual requirement to kill dolphins and other small cetaceans.
The whole town turns out to watch the slaughter. Children are kept home from school, so they can line the bloody shores and watch the brutality. They listen to the cries of wounded and suffering dolphins as if it were all a part of the festival atmosphere that residents claim proudly as their culture.
How can this cruelty be allowed?
The Faroe Islands are regulated by Faroese authorities and not the International Whaling Commission. They claim this “ritual” has been a part of their heritage since the islands were first settled by the Norse over a thousand years ago.
The sporting process involves surrounding unsuspecting dolphins with boats and driving them into a fjord, where they become trapped and helpless victims. It’s not clear how the Norse ancestors managed their hunts, but it probably involved a spear and a canoe.
If the Faroese people are so dedicated to their traditions, they should use the same weapons and strategy their ancestors did; then the animals might have a sporting chance.
Conservationists and animal-rights advocates contend that other food sources are plentiful on the islands and the barbaric hunt is completely obsolete, cruel, and unnecessary.
In fact, in late 2008 the chief medical officers of the Faroe Islands recommended that dolphin and pilot whale meat no longer be considered fit for human consumption, due to the levels of mercury and other toxins that can be unhealthy if eaten regularly.
Increasingly, more of the island locals are speaking out about the negativity of the annual practice.
The specter of people, including men, women, small children, and toddlers, who stand on the shore and view the slaughter and suffering of innocent animals, which have a declining value as sustenance for island people—is an inhu


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