Sunday, July 31, 2011

Zoo News Digest 30th - 31st July 2011 (Zoo News 774)

Zoo News Digest 30th - 31st July 2011 (Zoo News 774)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

I loved the statement (see links) "And some of the jellyfish will sting him without a second thought, or even a first one. (They don't have a brain.)"

Did you read my article 'Too Many Elephants'? Not so much a story but an accurate report on a current problem in Thailand. The link did get a tiny bit of flak on Facebook where readers wrote faster than their brains. Whilst researching a follow up article on the same subject I came across the following statement:

"On Monday I read one of the most misleading articles I’ve seen in a long time. According to the Zoo News Digest, the reason they export elephants from Thailand is to help with overpopulation" AND " "I cannot help but see the Zoo News Digest article as a poorly veiled call for more elephant exports to stock the world’s zoos. Unfortunately, because there is so much money to be made in elephant trade, this will increase the number of wild-caught elephants, usually babies ripped from their families so they never learn how to socialize or care for calves, which is partly why elephants kill their calves in zoos."

WHAT? Can you believe it? Sadly I can.... even although I never even hinted at such a possibility let alone suggested it. You can read what Windy Borman wrote here:

Aren't some people daft? If this person had bothered to do just a tiny bit of research before putting finger to key they might have seen things differently (at least I like to think so). The trouble is there are people who will not bother to read my article but will read Windy's and believe what she said.

Anyway there is more on the subject here:

Whilst on the subject of belief. See the link an inch or four below about the Chimpanzee and the Tiger Cub. What utter Hogwash! And this being given serious airtime by the BBC too. I tried drawing attention to this on various Facebook Groups but was quickly censored out. Why? Because they prefer to live with the pixies and their fairy tales. Cutie cutie crap appeals and so often tells a lie.

Terrible news about the Carapax sanctuary. Previously I had heard such good things about this place. I believe that the RSPCA placed many of their rescues here.

I am delighted that Iain Valentine will return to work at Edinburgh Zoo tomorrow. He has asked me to send his thanks to all those who have been supportive during these past few months.

Many thanks for the three donations received. Never been more important than it is just now. Thanks again.

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Cambodia reports H5N1 death, zoo outbreak
Cambodia's health ministry today announced today that a 4-year-old girl died from an avian influenza infection, a day after the country's animal health officials reported that the virus struck a zoo in a different province.
The girl, from Banteay Meanchey province in the northwestern part of the country, died Jul 20, the ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a joint statement, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. Her death is Cambodia's seventh this year and pushes its number of H5N1 cases to 17, including 15 deaths.
The report did not mention if the girl had been exposed to sick or dead birds, but Cambodia's health minister, Mam Bun Heng, warned parents and guardians to keep children away from them, according to the AFP report.
Yesterday Cambodia's agriculture ministry reported an H5N1 outbreak that killed 19 wild birds at a Phnom Tamao zoo in Takeo province, located in the southern part of the country, according to a report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
The bird deaths started Jul 13 at the zoo's rescue center, where workers feed the wild birds fish distributed on the banks of a pond during the rainy season (June through December). Zoo workers originally suspected Newcastle disease or fowl cholera, and they buried the carcasses and disinfected the area.
The virus killed 19 birds, and 10 more sick ones were destroyed to


Happy Feet rated priceless publicity despite costs
At least $30,000 has been spent saving Happy Feet the penguin at a time when conservation budgets for safeguarding other wildlife are being slashed.
But the bird has provided priceless publicity for wildlife in general, says Forest and Bird.
Happy Feet, an emperor penguin from Antarctica, was found on a Kapiti Coast beach north of Wellington in June and, according to figures obtained through the Official Information Act, Wellington Zoo estimates it has cost in excess of $30,000 for numerous operations to remove sticks and sand from his stomach, as well as rehabilitating him for a return to the wild.
The Department of Conservation (DoC) has not released how much it spent on looking after the penguin while it was on the beach and then transported to Wellington.
The department is planning to return him to the sea in August from a boat off the Bluff coast.
Forest and Bird advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell said $30,0000 may seem like a lot of money when seen against the backdrop of DoC redundancies. The department announced in June it would be cutting 100 jobs across the organisation.
"The Department of Conservation has had its budget slashed by the government and it's laying off staff so having to spend significant sums of money looking after this one bird compared

Saving prions from NZ's worst wreck
Wellington Zoo is still busy trying to save 190 broad- billed prions involved in the largest prion "wreck" recorded in New Zealand. A wreck is when a great number of seabirds are driven inland and many die.
The first prion - the seabird pachyptila vittata, in Maori parara - was found dead on a Waikanae driveway during a devastating storm on July 11 and within three days more than 1000 live prions had been handed into wildlife centres in the Wellington region.
Although there is a long history of prion wrecks on New Zealand beaches, the scale of the latest one was unprecedented, Te Papa's terrestrial vertebrates curator Dr Colin Miskelly said.
"The two previous largest wrecks of broad-billed prions, in 1961 and 1994, were between 1100 and 14,000 birds. It will be difficult to estimate the full extent of the 2011 wreck but it is likely to be up to 250 times larger than either of the other

Japan's oldest African elephant 'Mako' dies at Tama Zoological Park
"Mako," the oldest African elephant in Japan, died of respiratory failure at an estimated age of 46 at the Tama Zoological Park in the suburbs of Tokyo on July 29 after apparently crushing her lungs with her own body weight.
A zoo keeper found "Mako" lying down in a sleeping room at the zoo on the morning of July 29.
"Mako" was brought to the zoon from Tanzania in 1967 together with "Ako," a female African elephant from Kenya, whose estimated age is 46. Many visitors enjoyed watching "Mako" walking

Privatize zoo, councillors urged
The elephants are lucky they’re leaving.
A review of the city’s core services suggests selling the Toronto Zoo.
It’s the latest city asset KPMG recommends the city wash its hands of.
Mayor Rob Ford dodged a question Wednesday about whether he’d sell it.
“This is about priorities and what we can afford,” Ford said when asked directly about the suggested zoo selloff.
At its meeting Thursday, the parks and environment committee will consider pulling the city out of the business of running the Riverdale Farm, the High Park zoo and the Far Enough Farm on Toronto Island.
Councillors on the executive committee will have to mull selling off the Toronto Zoo, too, at next Thursday’s

Latest on Barbary Macaque Conservation in the Rif

Oregon Zoo Public Open House

Terrapin haven in Tuscany for UK rescued reptiles is ruined and overrun
Carapax sanctuary, which gave new home to UK's abandoned terrapins, in disarray after legal battle and neglect claims
It seemed the perfect solution to the problem of Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello. Thousands of red-eared terrapins had been dumped in Britain's waterways in the early 1990s, after being bought as pets during the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle craze.
Rather than allow them to devour native animals including fish, newts, moorhens and ducklings, a terrapin charity paid for more than 800 to be flown abroad to start a new life in Italy.
The terrapins took up residence at an idyllic site, a sanctuary in Massa Marittima, 90 miles south of Pisa. However, after the eviction last year of the sanctuary's manager hundreds of the rescued reptiles are dead or dying, while scores more of the non-native animals have escaped into the Tuscan countryside, according to local people and terrapin experts.
The Italian sanctuary, known as Carapax, or the European Centre for Chelonian Conservation, and run by Donato Ballasina, the director, attracted funds from charities across Europe. It received £25 for every terrapin and other non-native chelonian sent to the centre.
"This was a shipping of animals to their death – to be put in lakes which were not fit for purpose," said Tom Langton, an independent ecologist who investigated the project. "Animals were underfed and dying with disease. The whole thing is bizarre and worrying."
In Britain, there are more than 2,000 terrapins still at large in waterways in the London area alone. Many are dinner plate-sized red-eared terrapins (Trachemys scripta elegans), also called sliders, which were discarded by their Ninja Turtle-loving owners. Red-eared terrapins are now banned from sale in Britain but many enthusiasts have switched to other similar non-native species.
In 2007, the City of London Authority captured rogue terrapins from park ponds in the capital and, along with other organisations and individuals, passed them to the British Chelonia Group.
The BCG funded the terrapins' expatriation to the Tuscan sanctuary, which was billed as a home for life, where the creatures could swim in lakes fed by streams warmed by volcanic rock. The sanctuary was also claimed to be "hermetically sealed" so that no red-eared terrapins could escape and start terrorising the native species.
Almost immediately, the BCG received evidence that terrapins were dying because the sanctuary's ponds were too small and because fencing was not secure. But the charity said it dispatched people to check on the animals' conditions and found no problems, so it continued to part-fund the project.
"It all sounded too good to be true, and it was," said Paul Eversfield, a former BCG member, referring to his visit to the sanctuary in the autumn of 2007.
Eversfield said that he found a muddy

Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!



The lemur exhibit at Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens [Mysore Zoo] in India was designed in an effort to improve the conditions for four lemurs with a small budget:

We would like to thank Lakshminarasimha R. for presenting this facility for lemurs that he designed while working at Mysore Zoo. It is the first exhibit from an Indian Zoo that is presented in ZooLex.



Thanks to Eduardo Diaz Garcia we are able to offer a Spanish
translation of a previously presented chimpanzee exhibit:

Reserva de Chimpancés de la Selva de Kitera


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
zoo design website and distributes this newsletter. More information and

Vietnam to have first international day for tigers
VietNamNet Bridge – The first international day for tigers will be held in Hanoi on July 31, to raise the awareness of protection of this endangered species
A workshop, games and exhibition with the topic “combating wildlife trading”, including tiger trading, will be held, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
In Asia, tigers are being hunted and traded illegally to meet man’s requirements. In Vietnam, tigers are mainly used to make products that are considered as medicines like tiger bone glue and tiger bone alcohol. Their skin and meat are used to make souvenirs or cuddly tigers.
According to statistics by the Education of Nature Vietnam (ENV) in 2010, there are less than 30 tigers in nature in entire Vietnam.
Nick Cox, an expert of the WWF Greater Mekong Sub-region, said that Vietnam is a hot spot in tiger trading from Southeast Asia to China and also for local demands.
As carnivorous animals, tigers help ensure the numbers of bait animal species in control to maintain the balance and stability of the ecological system, Cox explained the significance of protecting tigers.
Pauline Verheij, manager of the anti-tiger trading program of the TRAFFIC organization, confirmed that there are little evidences about the effect of tiger bones in curing diseases and in all cases, there are replacements that are much cheaper and legal than tiger bones.
According to Verheij, breeding tigers at farms are much costly than hunting them in the nature (around 250 times higher), tigers have become the targets of hunters.
The international day for tiger in Vietnam is jointly held by the WWF, the Biodiversity Preservation Agency and TRAFFIC.
In the brink of distinction of tigers in the nature, Russia held the Summit of countries that have tigers, with the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The leaders of 13 tiger-having countries committed to take action to preserve this species. The goal of these countries is the number of tigers in the nature to double from 3,200 to 6,400 by 2022.
Attending countries in the Tiger Summit included: Russia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam.
Vietnam makes great efforts in tiger conservation
A children’s painting awards ceremony and an exhibition on combating the trafficking of wild animals were held in Hanoi on July 29 in response to International Tiger Day.
The celebration is held annually by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Vietnam, Biodiversity Conservation Agency, and the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network, TRAFFIC.
Over the years, Vietnam has exerted significant efforts in tiger conservation by banning tiger hunting and putting the animal on the list of endangered species in need of protection.
However, hunting, illegal trade and illicit transport of this iconic animal are becoming prevalent due to the huge potential for economic profit.
According to the 2010 Report from Education for Nature-Vietnam, the country is on the verge of tiger extinction.
It is estimated that only 3,200 wild tigers survive worldwide, their population having decreased by about 95 percent and their range by 93 percent since 1900. This steep decline is mainly due to heavy poaching and the illegal trade in tiger paraphernalia to supply a thriving black market demand. As well as this, loss of habitat due to deforestation and an increase in the number of animals preying on tigers have also led to their decline.
Vietnam is a significant market for tiger products, as illegal medicines made from tiger bone and tiger wines have become popular, especially among the wealthy, because of their supposed remedial powers.
The demand for tiger parts in Vietnam has led to animals being smuggled in from elsewhere in the region. In March and June of last year, three tigers sourced from Laos were seized in Vietnam, believed to be intended for further domestic distribution. The country is also a transit point for a range of illegal wildlife products, including tiger products, being smuggled to China from other countries.
“Tigers are integral to maintaining healthy, balanced forest landscapes, yet they remain at high risk of becoming extinct in the wild. Vietnam has lost most of its wild tigers, so it's most important contribution at the moment is to play a part in halting the illegal international tiger trade and domestic consumption of tigers. It's as simple as that,” said Nick Cox, Regional Manager of WWF's species programme.
Vietnam’s Global Tiger Day activities will focus on reducing the demand for tiger products and promoting the conservation of wild tigers. Events include exhibitions, a tiger film, children’s activities, performances and a workshop with officials to discuss progress thus far and the next steps in tiger conservation.
“Tigers have long played an important role in our culture and in our ecosystems. Vietnam sees Global Tiger Day as an opportunity to increase public appreciation for this iconic species and to further discuss real solutions for its long term survival,” said Ms Hoang Thi Thanh Nhan, Deputy Director of Biodiversity Conservation Agency under the Vietnam Environment Administration.
Following the event, international experts from the 13 tiger range countries will attend a workshop in Hanoi from August 2-4 to discuss the implementation of the Global Tiger Recovery Programme (GTRP) which aims to double the number of wild tigers by 2022.
Seminar calls for urgent tiger conservation
“The future of tigers depends on our actions

The claws are out
News that Zion Wildlife Park has been placed in receivership has revived hopes that the Lion Man could return to rescue the big cats. As Geoff Cumming reports, that may not be in the animals' best interests.
Watching Craig Busch playing with Shakira and other lions on old Lion Man episodes, you can't help but believe in the guy.
See the Lion Man cuddling and cavorting with giant cats; his rapport like a modern-day Mowgli. See him ride the lion; see a white tiger (extinct in the wild) being born ...
Busch's X-factor was as rare as his charges were said to be: he was an actor not upstaged by animals. The series has screened in 140 countries; its pulling power a mix of awe at Busch's fearlessness, empathy with co-stars as cute as they were lethal and sympathy with Zion Wildlife's stated conservation goals - a breeding programme to ensure the survival of "endangered species" including white lions, royal white bengal tigers and barbary lions.
Seeing is believing. Great Southern Television's Philip Smith, who discovered the khaki-costumed cat handler, says Busch was "Krusty the Clown meets Daktari". The show had universal themes about conservation and nurture and fitted the elusive formula of bonding television - parents could enjoy it with their kids.
What viewers didn't know was that Busch's mastery over 250kg killers was not just down to their hand-rearing and life of dependency. They had secretly been declawed, a practice decried

Oklahoma City Zoo animals discover artistic side
Turtles can be painters, even if they don't much care for art.
Animal trainers at the Oklahoma City Zoo are coming up with creative ways to help animals put paint on canvas to support wildlife conservation efforts around the world.
The second annual Art Gone Wild art show kicks off next week in the Paseo Arts District.
Artwork has been created by elephants, flamingos, grizzly bears, snakes, a rhinoceros and other animals.
Zookeepers have devised clever plans for teaching the animals to paint, said Diana Jones, a spokeswoman for the zoo. For example, turtles trot through paint and over a canvas to reach sweet strawberries.
The paintings are part of what zookeepers call enrichment, Jones said.
“It creates problems for them to solve,” Jones said. “It creates challenges of them. ... It stimulates the animals mentally and breaks up their daily routines

There's Something Fishy About His Job
Vince Levesque, who helps take care of the sea animals at Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, has plenty of friends at work.
The octopus likes to say hello. The groupers seem to recognize him by sight. Even the sharks are polite, since they're more interested in the food he brings than in his own potential as a convenient snack.
But not every ocean creature is so full of bonhomie. The mantis shrimp has the power to break through aquarium glass. The coral, a living animal, can be poisonous. And some of the jellyfish will sting him without a second thought, or even a first one. (They don't have a brain.)
Ten aquarists, including Levesque, feed the animals and maintain the tanks at the aquarium. He also goes into the ocean to gather fish, jellyfish and other critters.
I took a behind-the-scenes tour with Levesque and asked him about the joys of his job, the personalities of the aquarium's sea life and whether he ever surprises an unsuspecting kid or

Originally scheduled for September 26-30, 2011 has moved.
New dates: December 5-9, 2011

Environment: The case against protection
So why not leave you with perhaps the biggest question in the environmental book - where is the natural world heading, if nothing much changes?
Simply protecting land and sea won't be enough to stem the loss of nature, according to a study just out in the Marine Ecology Progress series.
Read it one way, and it's one of the most depressing things you'll have seen, if you're concerned about the biosphere's future.
Currently, about 13% of the world's land surface is under some form of protection, about half of which is under what a recent study evaluated as "strict" protection.
At sea, it's a different story, with protection hovering around the 1% level - depending on how you define it.
So if land protection is in one sense a success story, being a rare example of an internationally agreed target that has been met and indeed exceeded, what impact is it having on biodiversity loss?
The various graphs in the paper, some of which I've copied in here, tell the story better than any

Councillors defend zoo decision
COUNCILLORS have explained their controversial decision to reject David Gill’s plans to expand his zoo.
Barrow Borough Council’s planning committee members chose to reject the proposed extension to South Lakes Wild Animal Park, Dalton, at their meeting on Tuesday.
Eight of the 11 councillors who were eligible to vote on the issue chose to issue a “minded to refuse” decision.
They said this was due to safety fears about the proposed entrance off the A590 and the size and character of the development in a rural area.
The Evening Mail spoke to those who made Tuesday’s decision.
The final decision will be made by the same committee on August 23.
Ann Thomson, chairwoman of the committee, Labour member for Hindpool (cannot vote)
“Nobody wants to stop Mr Gill from expanding but we have got to be clear that the scheme he puts forward is the best scheme possible.
“We have to act as a responsible planning committee and if we have concerns about a development and the safety of residents, then we cannot give

Business leaders plead for zoo expansion plans
BUSINESS leaders have called for a solution to be found to allow a zoo to expand.
Earlier this week, plans for an expansion to the South Lakes Wild Animal Park were initially rejected by Barrow Borough Council’s planning committee.
The committee chose to reject the plans as they had concerns about the size and character of the development, and about traffic problems which they believe would occur if traffic had to access the park from the U6097.
But park owner David Gill has hit out at the decision, and said the zoo has to expand in order to provide better facilities for its customers.
Harry Knowles, chief executive of Furness Enterprise, has called for both sides to negotiate a compromise.
Mr Knowles said: “Furness Enterprise’s position is that while we of course understand the concerns of the residents and the planning committee, the wild animal park has been one of the main tourist attractions in the area.
“We hope that a solution can be

'Lion Man' has new plans for Zion Wildlife Gardens
'Lion Man' Craig Busch has revealed his plans for Zion Wildlife Gardens if he regains control, including turning the big cat reserve into an African-style safari park.
Most of Zion's 36 big cats – including lions, tigers, cheetahs and a sole leopard – would be released from their enclosures and allowed to roam around the Northland tourist attraction.
Tourists would be able to get close to the big cats, travelling around the park's secure boundaries in a specially-designed safari bus.
At night they would also have the chance to camp out under the stars, enjoy an African-style barbecue and listen to Busch, who won worldwide acclaim with The Lion Man TV series, talk about his wildlife travels and issues such as poaching and animal trafficking.
The ideas are included in a business plan prepared by those heading Busch's bid to return to the sprawling Zion Wildlife Gardens that is being tabled with potential investors.
Busch's support team includes Charles Cadwallader, a former national inspector of the SPCA and ex-MAF animal welfare investigations manager andSunday News can confirm major changes will be made to the park if Busch returns.
He opened Zion, on the outskirts of Whangarei, in 2002, but sole directorship of the park was handed to his mother, Patricia, in 2006 after she raised loans to help pay off growing debts.
Busch's employment ended in 2008, sparking a long-running legal battle between the pair.
Receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers were called into the park on Tuesday after action by Rabobank in relation to loans taken out by Patricia Busch.
After Patricia went public with her fears that some of the animals could be put down, the receivers said the welfare of Zion's big cats was a priority.
Talking via his official spokeswoman this week, Busch confirmed that he had the "financial resources" to resume control of Zion. "Verbal and written approaches have been made to the receivers," the spokeswoman said.
"A deal has been put on the table with various options as to how it may be implemented.
"Craig's offer has been noted by the receivers and he looks forward to working with them."
"He has the experienced personnel and financial resources to take back the park immediately from the receivers and re-establish the Lion Man and cat breeding programme in New Zealand."
Craig Busch is currently based in South Africa and is now planning to

CLP Award Winners: Sustaining Wild Salmon Populations in Russia
For the last five years, our organization has fought to save wild Pacific salmon in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. After conducting research with leading Russian scientists, we have come to an unsettling conclusion: the Sakhalin taimen, whose habitat is limited to rivers in far eastern Russia and Japan, is rapidly approaching extinction.
The Sakhalin taimen is the largest salmon in the world — an ancient species that has been around since the age of the dinosaurs. Born in freshwater habitats, the adult fish make annual migrations to the sea for feeding, returning back to fresh waters for spawning.
On Sakhalin Island just north of Japan, wild salmon fishing is the second-largest industry, supplying 20 percent of global Pacific salmon catch and generating $500

Truth About Rattlesnake RoundUps

Laos Shuts Down Bear Farm
Authorities in Laos have shut down a farm in the outskirts of the capital where bears had been held captive for extraction of bile, a hotly traded commodity.
An unknown number of bears have been seized from the farm but the owner, a Vietnamese, has bolted, officials said, adding that he would have to be prosecuted in court.
The authorities raided the farm in Kao Liao village north of the capital Vientiane on Thursday, a day after RFA reported that Lao officials had turned a blind eye to the facility, believed to be illegal.
Bear bile trade is thriving in Laos though the animal is protected under the law. The trafficking of bile-based traditional medicine is a key threat to Asia’s bears, partly because of poaching, environmental groups say.
"The farm owner right now has just vanished, we cannot find him," an official of the

Treating Sick and Injured Emperor Scorpions


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