Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Zoo News Digest 23rd - 26th July 2011 (Zoo News 770)

Zoo News Digest 23rd - 26th July 2011 (Zoo News 770)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

I appear to be beating this nasty Thai virus. My ex girlfriend (an angel) has been taking care of me. Only allowing me to drink hot water and soup and sweat it out without fans or air conditioning. The night air is bad for me too seemingly. Well it seems to be working because I felt 80% this morning. Tapered off a bit since but I am definitely on the mend. My thanks to those who sent good wishes...and to the two donations as well. Thank you.

I was very sad to learn of the death of 'Bob' in the Welsh Mountain Zoo. I have known him all his life and watched him go from baby to teen to adult. All chimpanzees are different. Bob was always naughty and getting into scrapes but what made him stand out from the rest was that he was a thinker. He liked to play dumb but that was part of the act... he never missed a thing. As a young man with oats to sow he was pretty low in the pecking order. That was no problem for Bob as he got more than his share of 'short time' with the ladies. I watched Bob do things that would create a rucus which allowed him to have his happy times whilst the larger males were diverted. When they returned he would be sitting in a corner with a 'butter would not melt in my mouth' expression on his face... or was there a hint of a self satisfied grin? I loved Bob as part of my family and when I am well enough I will have a few drinks in his memory.

"The zoo can be credited for breeding a significant number of white tigers in captivity in the last four years" (see links below)

More like discredited as the article goes on to say:

"The modern white tiger population includes both pure Royal Bengal and hybrid Bengal–Siberians, however, it is unclear whether the recessive white gene came only from the Royal Bengal, or if it also originated from the Siberian ancestors,” he says."

White Tiger Breeding Is Not Conservation

If we have to move 200 wild elephants because of the Commonwealth Games in Sri Lanka I say forget the bloody games....they are not as important as the elephants.

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Zion move to save park's big cats

A court injunction is being drafted to save the big cats at Whangarei's Zion Wildlife Gardens, after receivers moved in to take control of the Northland park today, the current operator says.

Patricia Busch said she fears for the welfare of some of the 36 cats housed at the reserve, and has contacted lawyers to help.
"If the receivers now move in, the cats will be separated, some will be sold overseas, some will be re-housed and for those that cannot, will be put down," Mrs Busch said.
"These animals are like our family and we know that we can keep breeding these endangered cats. It is such a shame that New Zealand will lose possibly one of the greatest big cat breeding facilities on earth today, simply because of a series of deeply unfortunate and tragic events."
Mrs Busch, 70, fears the collection of breeding pairs and big cat family groups will be lost, and sold off to other zoos.
She was also concerned that some animals might die, and others might be put down, because there was nowhere to house them.
Zion has one of the largest collections of endangered big cat species in Australasia and the largest in New Zealand, she said.
But the park's income had been drastically reduced due to the ongoing litigation between Mrs Busch and her son "Lion Man" Craig Busch, and a series of events including the end of the wildlife encounters, and the tragic death of a keeper Dalu Mncube.

Zion pleaded guilty in court last month to failing to protect Mr Mncube.
"This park was not only my son Craig's life work, it has become the families' life work. Thousands of hours have been spent on this vision of a haven for Bengal tigers and a breeding programme, we have achieved the impossible only to see it being destroyed before our very eyes.
"I despair to see this happening to the cats. I want New Zealand to help me save the cats," Mrs Busch said.
Her barrister Vijay Narayan told NZPA Mrs Busch wanted legal help with the welfare of the animals.
"We agreed to act on that basis. We're not particularly interested in the commercial issues. There are around 300-400 Bengal tigers left in the world. "There's also a rare species of lion called the Barbary lion which is virtually extinct. So this facility is not just a park. It's a facility which can breed these animals for future genetic stock.
"Many of these animals were hand reared by the family so they have a connection, which is much deeper than a wild animal. That's why they've been able to be bred in captivity. So this facility is unique to the world, and especially to New Zealand and Northland, and it would be a tragedy to break it up.
"When there were problems with the park, MAF (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry) was going to exterminate all the animals but the family was able to stop that happening.
"So we're going to apply for an injunction to stop the bank and the receivers from taking control over the animals. We're not concerned about the land or the park, we just want to ensure the animals can stay protected.
"At the same time

Craig Busch and Zion Wildlife Gardens

Longest Polar Bear Swim Recorded—426 Miles Straight
Study predicts more long-distance swims due to shrinking sea ice..
A female polar bear swam for a record-breaking nine days straight, traversing 426 miles (687 kilometers) of water—equivalent to the distance between Washington, D.C., and Boston, a new study says.
The predator made her epic journey in the Beaufort Sea (see map), where sea ice is shrinking due to global warming, forcing mother bears to swim greater and greater distances to reach land—to the peril of their cubs.
The cub of the record-setting bear, for instance, died at some point between starting the swim and when the researchers next observed the mother on land. She also lost 22 percent of her body weight.
"We're pretty sure that these animals didn't have to do these long swims before, because 687-kilometer stretches of open water didn't occur very often in the evolutionary history of the polar bear," said study co-author Steven Amstrup, chief scientist for the conservation group Polar Bears International. Amstrup is

The Perils of Polar Bears’ Longer Swims
In arguments over the impact of climate change, some of the images commonly associated with those clashes have attracted skeptical critiques, perhaps none more so than those of polar bears forced to swim longer distances because their sea ice habitat is melting. Some skeptics point out that polar bears are born swimmers and that the worries of environmentalists are therefore overdone.
Now comes a new study from researchers at the United States Geological Survey and the World Wildlife Fund indicating, after tracking a small sample of bears wearing radio collars, that the swims have indeed grown longer over the last six years. Five of the 11 mothers swimming with cubs lost the cubs along the way, and one bear even swam 427 miles to reach sea ice.
The study’s conclusions, that bears are swimming longer distances to get to the sea ice they use as a platform to catch seals, were in line with earlier work in the area, but its six-year duration gives it more heft. Scientists put global positioning system collars around the necks of 68 adult females to focus on swims

Interesting Facts About Polar Bears

Elephants moved to make way for Games

SRI Lanka is set to relocated more than 200 wild elephants to make way for an international airport and massive sporting village being planned for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

News reports out of Sri Lanka yesterday quoted the country's Minister of Agrarian Services and Wildlife SM Chandrasena saying the elephants would be shifted to Weheragala in Monaragala, 60km from Hambantota.
A Sri Lankan environmental group has signalled it will

Girl, 6, names rare species of butterfly... then tracks it down in rainforest 13 years later with the help of just a map and a laminated photo
A woman has realised her childhood dream by travelling to Ecuador to track down a rare species of butterfly which was named after her when she was six.
Isobel Talks, 19, was obsessed with butterflies as a child and won a competition to have a newly discovered species named after her in 1998.
The Isobel's Butterfly, or Pronophila Isobelae, was found deep in Ecuador's national park and is so rare that the female of the species has never been seen.
Young Isobel made a promise to herself that one day she would

Enrichment/ herb garden


Protestors demand boycott of Denver Zoo
A group of community activists is calling for a boycott of the Denver Zoo - one of several demands made on Friday with hopes they might learn more about the death of a 29-year-old man after a struggle with security guards and Denver Police officers at the zoo earlier this week.
Police say Alonzo Ashley attacked several officers and security guards Monday afternoon and died minutes after police hit him with a stun gun. On Friday, about 40 people, including members of Ashley's family, gathered outside the zoo demanding

Sick chimp dies ‘after attack’ at Welsh Mountain Zoo
A SICK chimpanzee may have been killed by other chimps in their zoo enclosure in a battle for dominance.

Zookeepers are “devastated” about the death of 20-year-old animal called Bob at the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Upper Colwyn Bay.
In a statement, the zoo said a keeper found his body early on Wednesday morning.
It read: “We are saddened to announce

Donations sought to help remove zoo's oleanders
The Reid Park Zoological Society has responded with great sadness to the death of male giraffe Watoto at the Reid Park Zoo. In response, the Society is accepting donations to provide funding for Zoo improvement projects.
The City of Tucson will be removing oleander plants from the perimeter of the Zoo. The well established oleander is deeply entwined with fencing and has served as a park barrier as well as visual screen since the Zoo's construction. The extensive demolition and removal project will drastically alter the appearance of the Zoo perimeter. Funds raised in this effort will be used to assist in this project, especially in the addition of privacy fencing and alternate plant materials to replace the current ones. Excess funds, if any, will be used to assist the Zoo with other improvement projects.
Reid Park Zoological Society would like to thank the staff of Reid Park Zoo for the work they do every day and for the high

Aquarium boss: 'Living fossil' fish a survival symbol
"I was called 'Abe the Braggart' for a while," aquarium director Yoshitaka Abe said with a wry smile.
It has taken the "big talker" only four months to reopen his Aquamarine Fukushima, which was struck hard by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
The tsunami killed about 200,000 fish and other marine creatures at the aquarium in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture--nearly all the sea life kept there.
"Everyone thought [the aquarium] was finished," said the 70-year-old Abe.
The tsunami, which followed the Great East Japan Earthquake, flooded Aquamarine Fukushima, destroying its water purifiers. The facility was also inundated with a massive amounts of earth and sand.
All the sea animals that survived at the facility were lungfish, sturgeons and other "living fossil" species. "Living

Leopard Back On Display After Injuring Child
An endangered leopard is back on display after injuring a child earlier this year at the Sedgwick County Zoo.
An endangered leopard is back on display after injuring a child earlier this year at the Sedgwick County Zoo.
The accident happened in May. Witnesses say a 7-year-old boy climbed the outside fence to the exhibit, getting close enough to the leopard for her to grab him.
Friday, after the exhibit sat empty for around two months, the leopard returned home. Zoo staff, volunteers, and visitors watched as the Amur leopard, named Nia, took her first steps back into her exhibit.
"It was kind of like a kid at Christmas, like a new present," said visitor Jeanette Blackwell.
Blackwell and Danielle Nance, both teachers and zoo regulars, wanted to make sure they were there for Nia's return. They were among those able to see her for the first time after the zoo took her off display following the May accident.
"It was just sad. It was sad for her, sad for the student," said Nance.
But Friday, there were smiles when the zoo returned her after weeks of health exams, improvements to her exhibit, and reviews of the zoo's policies and procedures.
"It's just a part of the process. We wanted to be able to look at everything that we could," said Senior Zookeeper Danielle Decker.
Now, the zoo says it's determined the policies and procedures in place do insure safety for visitors, saying Nia shouldn't pose a danger to anyone following the rules.
"This cat was born in a zoo, she understands her environment, and

DNA confirms state's 4th wolfpack
DNA tests on an animal equipped with a radio collar last month in Kittitas County have confirmed Washington now has a fourth documented wolf pack.
State Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists caught, collared and released an adult female wolf that was lactating, indicating she was nursing pups. The biologists took tissue and hair samples and submitted them for DNA testing to determine whether the animal was a wild wolf or a wolf-dog hybrid.
Results of the DNA testing conducted at UCLA confirmed the animal is a wild gray wolf. The results were released July 5.
Department biologists are monitoring the wolf's location and activity through the radio telemetry

State govt removes Alipore zoo director
The state government on Friday removed Raju Das as director of Alipore Zoo. He was replaced by former zoo director Subir Chowdhury who had been removed after eight marmosets were stolen from the premise. Das has been put on compulsory waiting.
Announcing the removal, state forest minister Hiten Burman said, "Chowdhury, a zoo expert, has been brought back to Alipore zoo. The inquiry into allegations of embezzlement of zoo funds will continue."
Significantly, Chowdhury, who was suspended after the marmoset theft, was subsequently made officer on special duty at Aranya Bhavan with

The white tigers of Vizag zoo
The white tigers- Sireesh and Kumari and their extended family with seven cubs is a sight to behold at the zoo
She and her little ones are the pride of the place. The four cubs in a playful mood with their mother is a sight to behold, remarked the Governor of Andhra Pradesh E.S.L. Narasimhan during his recent visit to the city zoo.
Well folks, the inference is about Kumari, the white tiger at Indira Gandhi Zoological Park, and her four cubs. The zoo can be credited for breeding a significant number of white tigers in captivity in the last four years. “Today, the population has increased from just one to nine,” says the Curator of the zoo G. Ramalingam.

Navam Raja, no more
The death of this majestic tusker was a tear jerking story for most Sri Lankans. This is not the first time when a death of an elephant became a story much talked about through out Sri Lanka.
The tusker passed away on Friday 8, 2011, at about 7 am. Navam Raja was an attractive part of the Navam Prerahera. Raja meaning the king in both Sinhala and Tamil languages became the lead elephant to take part in the Gangarama Navam Perahera.
He was a much-celebrated elephant in Sri Lanka that carried the casket in the procession. Navam Raja was usually considered a very obedient elephant. The elephant was mainly attracted to photographers and well as foreigners. There exists an important history behind the elephant. The elephant was gifted by an Indian National to a local Buddhist monk, in the hopes of overcoming a long standing illness.
Then the elephant was donated to Gangaramaya temple, Colombo 2. Recently the tusker was donated to Daladha Maligawa, Kandy. However, all the maintaining was done by the Gangaramaya temple until the death of the elephant. This elephant was known to regularly come into the musth period (to be in heat) in the Month of April. There was one incident in Kandy, were Navam Raja killed Dingiri Mahattaya, its mahout. He was a person from Godakawela in Rakwana. It was the time when Navam Raja was brought to Kandy for Esala Perahera in Daladha Maligawa.
When Dingiri Mahattaya was trying to un-tie the elephant, the elephant suddenly knocked him down with his tusks. Then the tusker has flung him over an electric wire. Dingiri Mathaya fell behind a massive log in the corner. The injured mahout was rushed to the hospital. However in spite of much effort the mahout later died.
This sort of behaviour was not common in Navam Raja. Later few elephant experts predicted that this was due to the elephant being in heat, although the musth behaviour was not distinct in Navam Raja. The mahout Dingiri Mahattaya was said to like the tusker so much that had a great faith on the elephant. On the day of his funeral, near his coffin

China Joins Regional Network to Fight Animal Trafficking
China has joined a network of Southeast Asian nations to help curb the illegal trafficking of wildlife. Regional and international law enforcement efforts to combat animal trafficking have increased amid warnings over the bleak outlook for some endangered species and calls for the arrest of the trade's leaders.
Anti-trafficking groups say China's decision to join the South East Asian Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN WEN) boosts regional cooperation against the illegal animal trade.
China is a major destination for illegal wildlife used in local medicines and as food. Analysts say the global trade is worth several billions of dollars a year.
Kraisak Choonhavan is chairman of the anti-trafficking group, Freeland Foundation. He says China joined ASEAN WEN because of its support of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES. “So finally China recognizes the CITES convention to an extent. So they will have to start suppressing trafficking of tigers, elephant parts, bear parts, will have to start changing; this culinary culture which

Tigers roam where monks reside
Sanath Weerasuriya checks out one of the recent attractions outside Bangkok, the Tiger Temple
Since the millennium Sri Lankans have been bitten by the travel bug- outbound traffic from Sri Lanka has almost doubled. Recent statistics show that 43 % Sri Lanka’s outbound traffic is to Bangkok and other destinations in South East Asia.
With Lankan travellers now looking beyond Bangkok for their family vacation, Thai tourism authorities have introduced two new destinations in Thailand close to the capital Bangkok. The Kanchanaburi- mountain experience and Hua Hin Beach are now being offered to Sri Lankans by Cathay Pacific, which takes the highest number of Lankan passengers to Bangkok, flying every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Kanchanabur is just three hours drive from Bangkok. The leading attraction of this mountain region is the Death Railway and the Tiger Temple. The tiger (Panthera Tigris) is a beloved, yet most feared species of animal in the world. But for the monks in the Wat Pa Luangta Bua popularly known as Tiger Temple, they are just big cats.
Here the huge Bengal tigers breed, feed and even roam with human beings. Since its opening in 1994, Wat Pa Luangta Bua has gained a reputation as a wildlife sanctuary. It started with an injured jungle fowl


Getting the right action from behavioural training
UNDER the glow of soft orange light in Panggung Tunku Abdul Rahman in Zoo Negara, about 100 people are sitting silently as Christopher Cain Xavier, a 26-year-old animal trainer at the zoo’s Veterinary Department, walks in.
It is a role reversal exercise and Xavier has volunteered to play the “animal”. He has absolutely no idea what his “trainer” John Dana, a 31-year-old senior keeper at the zoo’s Ape Centre, wants him to do. Everyone else in the room does, however. They had just moments ago decided he should do the front crawl while standing up.
Dana presses a red clicker as Xavier approaches the centre of the room. Xavier knows the drill. He must keep moving randomly and every time he does something right his trainer will press the device. Eight minutes later, Xavier has both arms up in the air. He is frustrated as he still cannot figure out what he is supposed to do. Giving up, he drops his arms and Dana clicks twice.
A wave of wordless excitement spreads through

WWF accused of failing to regulate sustainable timber scheme
Investigative group claims that members of group's Global forest and trade network are involved in 'highly destructive activities'
Conservation group WWF let timber companies use its panda brand logo while they were razing some of the world's most biologically rich rainforests or trading in potentially illegally sourced timber, according to the investigative group Global Witness.
The WWF's flagship Global forest and trade network (Gftn), which is part-subsidised by the US government and EU, promotes sustainable timber, bringing together more than 70 international logging companies and large numbers of timber sellers. The WWF says the 20-year-old scheme is now responsible for nearly 19% of forest products bought or sold internationally, with members' combined annual

London's museums warned of rhino horn theft risk
London's museums have increased security after raids by gangs stealing rhino horn.
Museums are responding to the problem by removing rhino horns from displays or by replacing them with replicas.
The Metropolitan Police has warned museums, auction houses and other institutions of the Europe-wide trend.
The thefts have been sparked by an increase in the value of rhino horn which is used in the traditional medicines of many Asian countries.
Police said they were aware of two break-ins in the UK - one in Surrey and one in Essex - but they warned that a number of gangs had visited museums on reconnaissance with a view to carrying out a theft.
Horniman Museum
Det Con Ian Lawson, of the Metropolitan Police's Art and Antiques Unit, said: "Some of the museums I know have taken the rhinos horns from their display, others have put a replica rhinos horn in place."
Thieves use a variety of methods, including "smash and grab" style raids and overnight burglaries. They have been known to use force when challenged.
Paolo Viscardi, deputy keeper of natural history at the Horniman Museum, said he was concerned about reports of tear gas being used by thieves and emphasised that staff safety was the museum's top priority.
"People who steal rhino horn can be quite aggressive. We don't want our staff to be open to those threats."
The south-east London museum has removed its rhino horn altogether, while the Natural History Museum in Kensington has put a replica in its place.
Earlier this month, Europol said it had


Desperate orangutan digs tunnel in cage
An orangutan at a Chinese zoo is missing his pregnant mate so much he has started to dig a tunnel in the hope of being reunited with her. Yunnan Wild Animal Park quarantined La Tewhen when she fell pregnant, much to the dismay of male orangutan Pei Pei.
According to the zoo Pei Pei has become quite depressed since being separated from his ‘wife’.
Pei Pei flatly refused to go back inside his enclosure at the end of the day, staying outside in the exterior pen all night.
The next day keeper Li Kanglan was surprised to discover that Pei Pei had begun to dig a tunnel under the wall leading

Vultures Rock

Gorewada virtually left to die
With more than 50% posts vacant, the Gorewada international zoo project has been virtually left to die a slow, silent death. The promises made from time to time by the chief minister, forest minister and local leaders to implement the Rs 720 crore project have turned out to be hollow.
With almost half the existing posts already

Nim Chimpsky: the chimp they tried to turn into a human
In the early 70s, a primate named Nim Chimpsky was the subject of an experiment whose purpose was to learn whether language is innate. Now, his strange life has been turned into a documentary by Man on Wire director James Marsh
Whether he's zooming past in a pushchair, perched on a lavatory seat or getting a little too intimate with a passing cat, it's impossible not to be charmed by Nim the chimpanzee. Nim Chimpsky, to give him his full title, was born at the Institute for Primate Studies in Norman, Oklahoma, in the early 70s. Highly intelligent, he was chosen to be the subject of a language experiment at Columbia University, called Project Nim, that aimed to discover whether or not chimpanzees could use grammar to create sentences if they were taught sign language and nurtured in a similar environment to human children. His name is a pun on Noam Chomsky, the linguist who theorised that language is unique to humans, which the experiment hoped t

‘Paloh’ the baby elephant horror at Johor Zoo
Investigators checking on Malaysia’s zoos were shocked last Friday to find a baby elephant with its front legs chained together and unable to lie down for at least 48 hours. Powerless to walk she literally attempts tiny two-footed hops from side to side.
Her front legs are held together by a chain a few inches in length. Weak from standing so long and with no shade, her legs are seen to buckle.
The rope and chain together prevent this baby from moving in any direction.
Nature Alert’s chief executive, Sean Whyte said: “Checking on Malaysia’s zoos we have come to expect the worst, but this cruelty to a baby elephant is one of the most sadistic treatment’s of a wild animal (elephants are also a protected species) we have witnessed so far.
The elephant’s front legs are chained together making it impossible for her to move either leg by more than a few inches. During the time we monitored her day and night she had been standing in the same place and mostly in one hundred degrees heat for 48 hours.”
Johor Zoo is no stranger to animal cruelty or complicity in the illegal wildlife trade. In 2010 it was found to be operating a shop inside the zoo which was openly selling illegal wildlife. A report by Nature Alert resulted in the closure and demolition of the shop.
In May of this year Shirley, a chain-smoking, jun

Rookie zookeeper quits after poisoning two giraffes, killing one
A zoo official who was responsible for poisoning two giraffes, killing one, has resigned.
The unidentified apprentice at Reid Park Zoo, Tucson, accidentally mixed up the plants and gave the giraffes leaves from a deadly plant.
He was said to be 'horrified and devastated' by

From Good Care to Great Welfare
Advancing Zoo Animal Welfare Science and Policy
Detroit Zoological Society
August 6-7, 2011

The Detroit Zoological Society’s Center for Zoo Animal Welfare is hosting a two-day symposium, From Good Care to Great Welfare, which will bring together leaders in animal welfare with the goal of advancing zoo animal welfare science and policy.

Animal care in zoos has improved over the past decades, but good care does not, in and of itself, ensure great welfare. The development of a more thorough understanding of animals in zoos, especially how they are affected by captive conditions - staff, visitors, social and physical environments, and more - is important to ensuring zoo animal welfare. This requires an active dialogue among animal care professionals and animal welfare specialists regarding these issues.

From Good Care to Great Welfare will include presentations, posters and panels focusing on three primary topic areas:

• understanding and bridging the gap between providing good care and ensuring great welfare;
• understanding the impacts of - and compensating for - captivity;
• multidisciplinary approaches and assessment techniques to better understand and enhance zoo animal welfare.

Call for papers: We are encouraging the submission of papers and posters presenting original/new research that examines the impacts of captivity on animals and how we can better align animal care practices in a way that results in great welfare (e.g., impacts of choice and decision-making with respect to social partners, food, space; impacts of different social situations; investigation of different sensory abilities/perceptions of animals and their impacts on welfare. A special edition of the Journal for Applied Animal Welfare Science (JAAWS) will publish invited papers and abstracts of all spoken presentations from the symposium.

See http://czaw.org/from_good_care_to_great_welfare_symposium_august_6-7_2011

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What about the SEAZA conference??? Rumour has it that it is in Thailand next month. I thought that I would check out their website for information today http://www.seaza.org/Conference.html  It was blank.

Phoenix Zoo becomes sanctuary for endangered subspecies of squirrel from southern Arizona
The Phoenix Zoo now is a sanctuary for an endangered subspecies of squirrel from southern Arizona.
Four of the last remaining 214 Mount Graham red squirrels known to exist were brought to the zoo's conservation center last month amid concerns that their isolated habitat in the tinder-dry Pinaleno Mountains could be wiped out by wildfire.
"If there were a big fire, we could be working with the last of these guys anywhere," said Stuart Wells, the zoo's conservation and science director. "So, yes, we were a little nervous. But I think we're all adjusting well."
Wildlife biologists captured the two male and two female squirrels and took them to the zoo under an emergency order by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Counting the pandas
Which is more difficult to count: a couple of thousand or 1.34 billion? Think carefully before answering.
The answer, as you will probably have guessed, is the former, or I would never have asked the question.
The fact is that the Chinese have recently published the results of their latest census and announced that the number of people in the world's most populous country is 1.34 billion.
Having got that one out of the way, they have started on the more difficult question: how many pandas are there in the world?
Just as they do with people, the Chinese attempt to count their pandas every 10 years.
Unlike the people-count, however, the decade in between panda censuses tends to be filled with disputes about counting methods and challenges to their accuracy.
This is hardly surprising, for counting pandas is by no means as easy as counting people.
You cannot just send a form to every panda household

500 piranhas hatch at Scottish aquarium
There has been a baby boom at Deep Sea World in North Queensferry, Fife, thanks to just two breeding pairs of red bellied piranhas.
The tiny terrors – just a few millimetres long – all hatched out over the last few weeks and now aquarists are caring for them in a special nursery tank.
Deep Sea World’s Aisling Thornton said: ”It’s quite unusual to be able to successfully breed piranhas in captivity and we’re all delighted with how the babies are progressing.
”We decided to remove them from the main shoal for their own safety but, if all goes according to plan, we’ll be able to reunite them with their parents within the next few months.”
The piranha, or cannibal fish, common throughout the Amazon, is among the most famous and feared inhabitants of the mighty river.
They are reputed to be able to

Las Vegas Zoo: Two Years Later

Some people are surprised to hear Las Vegas has a zoo.
We do... but should we?
That's the question being asked by the Humane Society of the United States and many action news viewers.
It's been two years since Contact 13 first exposed conditions at the Las Vegas Zoo.
Now, Chief Investigator Darcy Spears goes back to ask what's changed, and whether it's enough?
A spiderweb of cracks in a boa constrictor's cage... A dead baby peacock no one knew was there... Conditions indicative of the Las Vegas Zoo as a whole according to patrons, animal welfare advocates and exotic animal experts.
"It tears my heart apart to watch these animals. I can't even go back in there," said recent zoo visitor Lindsay Roach.
"Those animals suffer in silence," said animal welfare advocate Linda Faso.
"There's just an overwhelming feeling of oppression and sadness at this place," added HSUS Regulatory Specialist Lisa Wathne after a visit to the zoo in early July.
Contact 13 first began investigating the Las Vegas Zoo two years ago. With help from the Humane Society of the United States, we uncovered conditions that were too hot, too dirty, too small and overrun by pigeons and flies.
"Progress report. Where are we two years after the fact?" Darcy Spears asked Wathne.
Lisa Wathne: "Well, from what I can tell, we are not much further along, if at all."
The zoo meets USDA minimum standards. They're not violating the law.
But many say the conditions are simply inadequate. And that due to little private funding and no city support, there's no reasonable prospect of turning it around.
After her visit there in early July, Lisa Wathne told Contact 13, "Animals don't have adequate shade. There are improper social groupings. Cages

Free zoo admission for orange-clad enthusiasts Saturday
Orange clothing is the key to free admission to the Sacramento Zoo Saturday, when a cheese company will be hosting a promotional event at the Land Park destination.
Tillamook Cheese is launching its second-annual cross-country "Loaf Love Tour" and will be returning to Sacramento this week. The "Loafster," a new convertible Volkswagon bus made to resemble the comp

Probably my least favourite colour

The Grand Old Lady Of Our Zoo
The oldest animal in captivity in India, Shameem Faruque finds Maheshwari still happy and taking life easy
‘Airavata’ is the mythological white elephant of Indra. And we have one right under our nose! Albino elephants are rare and our own Airavata Maheshwari, an albino has lived most of her life in the Trivandrum City Zoo. Rarely has any animal in a zoo managed to fire the imagination as this grand old lady. But when it strikes you that she is actually older than most of the zoo’s visitors the crux of the matter settles in. She is an octogenarian who was born more than


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