Friday, August 19, 2011

Zoo News Digest 16th - 19th August 2011 (Zoo News 780)

Zoo News Digest 16th - 19th August 2011 (Zoo News 780)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

Please would someone who has visited Hanoi Zoo in the past twelve months please contact me privately. Thank You.

What do you think of Elephant Polo? Is it cruel? Should it be banned? I reckon it is very much of a personal thing and how animals are treated before, during and after. Of the elephants I have worked with I truly believe that every one of them would have enjoyed playing polo. Yes, I am being anthropomorphic but that is a good thing in a zoo keeper otherwise they would not understand their animals. I have no problems with polo ponies either.

Good luck to 'Happy Feet'. I wish him well in spite of my earlier remarks. That said my opinion has not changed at all.

It's great to have a condemnation of the use of Rhino Horn by Lixin Huang, president of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. All we need now is the practioners in Asia to follow suit. I was in Cambodia the other day and was browsing a shop. Okay I have seen it all before but this place was selling Tokay Geckoes and Seahorses pickled together with Ginseng in bottles of liquor. It really says it all. We have a long long way to go.

Then we see in the links below that Thailand, one of the biggest users of elephant ivory in the world is is the host country for the next CITES meeting. They have been told to get their act in order. Will they? I doubt it. They hosted a recent meeting on Tiger Conservation and did a lot of back patting and presentation of awards and yet they let places like:

The Tiger Temple

Sri Racha Tiger Zoo

Million Year Stone Park

and others carry on in their evil way. Along with others like

Tiger Kingdom

continuing to produce tigers.

Just where are all these animals going? Are all the animals microchipped now? That should have been completed years ago. Have the authorities got their eyes glued shut? Something is very very wrong here.

Alligator fat as biodiesel? I thought it was a joke, but no. I wonder what species could be next?

Snapperfest? What is this? A local activity that could well do with stopping. The next Fest is tomorrow.

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Malcolm WhiteheadPlease note Malcolm Whiteheads Funeral is Friday 26th August at 11am: St Monica's, 1 Stonard Rd, Palmers Green, London, N13 4 DJ


Snapperfest - Indiana's shameful call to torture wildlife

Ohio County, Indiana - Get ready Hoosiers! The 13th Annual Snapperfest is planned for this Saturday, August 20 where sociopaths and future serial killers can pluck a wild caught snapping turtle out of a wash tub, grab it by its tail, slam it to the ground, pull it out of its shell, swing it around and then cheer while the "contestant" wraps his fists around the tortured animal's neck!

The egregious violence of this "entertainment" is done while children watch adults kill and torture innocent animals as if it were a Saturday afternoon softball game. Children are exposed to the barbaric behavior, and then adults wonder why children torture kittens and puppies or take their anger and wrath out on other human beings?
Humane acitvists aren't sure who to blame - the local government for encouraging such aberrant behavior, individuals who find this a "manly" sport, or

You might not want to watch the video:

WWF, TCM Practitioners Rebut Rhino Horn And Cancer Cure Link
The 61st meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is taking place from August 15-19 this week in Geneva, Switzerland.
Its primary topic for concern is the escalating crisis facing rhinos and elephants due to the increased levels of poaching and the growing illegal ivory and rhino horn trade.
“Elephants and rhinos are at the front of our minds in going to this meeting,” said Dr. Colman O’Criodain, WWF International’s policy analyst on wildlife trade issues.
CITES has identified Vietnam as a major destination for illegal horn products, while China and Thailand have been highlighted as the two biggest ivory consumers in the world.
Thailand, which is also the host country for the next CITES meeting, has been told to put in place controls to curtail its illegal ivory trade.
Rhino horn has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and according to TCM theories, rhino

An Epidemic of Rhino Poaching
As if a rhino’s life wasn’t already hard enough.
A belief in some East Asian countries that medicines made from the endangered beast’s horn can cure cancer is putting growing pressure on fragile Asian and African rhinoceros populations.
Traditionally, rhino horn was used in Chinese medicine to treat fevers, gout, convulsions, rheumatism and other maladies (although, contrary to popular belief, not as an aphrodisiac).
It’s easy to imagine that someone suffering from terminal disease and already predisposed to believe in the efficacy of traditional medicine might be willing to pay any price for a supposed cure. That belief has made China and Vietnam major importers of illegal rhino horns, wildlife officials and conservation organizations say.
With that in mind, Lixin Huang, president of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, took advantage of a meeting this week of global wildlife trade officials to issue a statement.
‘‘Some individuals and organizations with little understanding of the essence and modern development of T.C.M. misinterpret and exaggerate the medicinal properties of rhino horns,’’ she said. ‘‘There is no evidence that rhino horn is an effective cure for cancer and this is not documented in T.C.M. nor is it approved by the clinical research in traditional Chinese


BBC drops film-maker over Malaysia impartiality fears
The BBC is investigating how it aired programmes made by a company that allegedly received millions of pounds in payments from Malaysia's government.
The BBC has suspended all programming by UK-based production company FBC, which has made documentaries on controversial issues in Malaysia.
The BBC said it has strict agreements with independent producers "including avoiding any conflict of interest".
FBC has denied any wrongdoing in its programme-making for any broadcaster.
FBC told the UK newspaper The Independent via its lawyers that "at no time have the television programmes made for the BBC ever been influenced or affected by our client's commercial activities".
'Strict agreements'
FBC has made several documentaries for the BBC about Malaysia since 2009, examining controversial

WWF: Mekong dolphins close to extinction
Conservation group estimates remaining dolphin population at just 85 as it calls for special protection zones.
The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) has called for urgent action to prevent the extinction of freshwater dolphins in the Mekong River, including the creation of special conservation zones.
Entanglement in fishing nets, low calf survival rates and a steady degradation of the creature's habitat are threatening the estimated 85 Irrawaddy dolphins left in Cambodia and Laos, WWF said on Wednesday.
The Irrawaddy dolphins live in a 190 km (118 mile) section of the Mekong between Kratie, Cambodia, and the Khone Falls, which are on the border with Laos.
Fishing gear, especially gill nets, and illegal fishing methods involving explosions, poison and electricity, all appear to be taking a toll.
Surveys conducted from 2007 to 2010, showed

Now I wonder, just wonder if the dolphins in the new Pattaya Dolphin World are Irawaddy Dolphins?
Those at The Temple of Truth most certainly are or were when I last visited. Captive born? Caught under licence? Whose? I do recollect a story in the Bangkok Post a couple of years back about a truck being stopped and Irawaddy Dolphins on board being confiscated. We never did learn the name of the 'zoo' in Chonburi where they were headed. Was anyone prosecuted? I doubt it. I have also seen reports of dead dolphins being washed up along the coast.

Trunk to trunk in Hua Hin
The King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament celebrates its tenth anniversary next month - be there
The popular coastal resort of Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan province gets to see plenty of trunk to trunk action next month, as the King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament celebrates its tenth anniversary in style from September 4-11.
Tim Boda, general manager of Anantara Resort and Spa, Hua Hin, is happy that the tournament, which made its debut at the Anantara Hua Hin in 2001 but moved to the resort's Chiang Rai property five years ago, is back by the sea. "You can't afford to miss the excitement of the games," he says. "More importantly, this charitable event raises money for the benefit of all Thailand's elephants."
To date, the tournament has raised more than US$300,000 primarily for the National Elephant Institute, which provides medical care, sustenance, employment and mahout training to Thailand's elephant population.
The money has been used to custom build and run an elephant ambulance as well as provide housing at the Centre's elephant hospital allowing it to offer free accommodation as well as medical treatment to any sick elephants in Thailand. The Centre's mobile elephant clinic also now has a mobile veterinary centrifuge.
Proceeds from the 2009 and 2010 tournaments were used to "rescue rent" five street elephants for training in occupational therapy as part of a joint Thai Elephant Conservation Centre, Chiang Mai University project investigating the benefits of using elephants to treat autism.
"Thai people love elephants. When you start talking about elephant polo, interestingly, everyone wants to know more and be part of it," he adds. "So on Saturday

The Born Free Foundation welcomes the news that Carlsberg India Ltd, a subsidiary of the Danish beer makers Carlsberg Group, has withdrawn its sponsorship of an elephant polo match in Jaipur, India. The polo match, due to take place on 21st August has now been reportedly cancelled.
Elephant Polo is opposed by a large number of international and Asian animal welfare organisations including the Born Free Foundation.
Using the same concept and rules as horse polo, elephant polo involves two teams of elephants each with a rider and mahout. The mahout uses the bull-hook, or ankus (consisting of a sharp metal hook), to manoeuvre the elephant, whilst the rider plays the game by hitting the ball towards the goal posts with a wooden mallet. Elephant polo tournaments take place in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand and involve teams of riders from all over the world.
The nature of the polo tournaments requires the elephants to perform behaviour that bears no resemblance to that of elephants in the wild. Animals are trained at a young age and this usually involves methods that compromise their welfare. In addition, control and restraint of such large animals is difficult in captivity and is normally achieved using a combination of negative reinforcement training, including the use of the ankus, and physical restraint such as chaining and shackling. The often harsh training methods and polo ‘game’ itself, is likely to severely impact on the psychological[tt_news]=819&cHash=b7bc876161


Happy Feet heading home at end of month
The emperor penguin who became world famous when he washed up on a Kapiti Coast beach in June will return home at the end of this month.
Wellington Zoo and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research (Niwa) today announced Happy Feet would be shipped out to sea on Niwa's research vessel Tangaroa on August 29.
Happy Feet, who has lived at Wellington Zoo since he was found on Peka Peka beach, would be released in the Southern Ocean four days into the ship's month-long trip to the Campbell Islands, 700km south of New Zealand.
Wellington Zoo's manager of veterinary science Lisa Argilla, assisted by two Niwa staff, would accompany the penguin on the voyage.
Happy Feet would be housed in a travel crate, designed to keep him cold and comfortable during the four days, Wellington Zoo chief executive Karen Fifield said.
The penguin would be released 53 degrees south "which is within the natural range of juvenile emperor penguins - they are often spotted on Campbell Island which lies at the same latitude''.

Going ape! Crazed chimp runs amok and throws food at staff after escaping
A chimpanzee who escaped her enclosure went on the rampage stealing food from the zoo's kitchen, stunning staff and visitors.
In a scene which could have come straight from the new film Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, female chimp Josie barricaded herself in the kitchen, hurled food at staff and smashed pots at Twycross Zoo in Atherstone, Warwickshire.
It took staff 40 minutes to calm down the 23-year-old chimpanzee before they were able to coax her back into her enclosure.
Despite the beast going on the rampage, staff have insisted the public were never at risk after Josie escaped.
A zoo spokeswoman said: 'Josie decided she wanted an extra snack and managed to get into the back kitchen area within the chimpanzee building,


Chester Zoo unveils new brand identity, website and promotional film
Chester Zoo, recently rated the UK’s top admission-charging leisure attraction, has gone public with a new brand ID created by design agency Music, a new website for its ‘Act for Wildlife’ operation and released a new film created by Chester agency Rapport.
Music has also developed other marketing tools for the Zoo, ranging from site signage to a new TV ad.
The creative theme underpinning the new identity relates to a hand-written typeface which was designed together with illustrator Adam Hayes.
Corporate services director at the Zoo Alasdair McNee said: "We created our own hand written typeface to deliberately move away from a corporate look, to one which more reflects the personality of the zoo.
“We’ve also gone live with ‘The Act for Wildlife’ website with a communications platform which,-website-and-promotional-film-20110816100955148

iPads now hip with apes
Orangutans, it turns out, love the iPad and its games just as much as some humans do.
A budding program at the Milwaukee County Zoo is working to place iPads into the giant, gentle palms of its orangutans. Two of the zoo's orangutans already look forward to weekly sessions with an iPad. They even have favorite apps, shows and games, but they haven't yet been given free rein with the Apple device because keepers worry they might get frustrated and simply snap one in half.
"One of the biggest hurdles we face is that an orangutan can snap an iPad like you or I could rip cardboard," said Richard Zimmerman, executive director of Orangutan Outreach, which hopes to extend Milwaukee's iPad enrichment program to

Amphibian species clings to life
Fewer than 200 mountain yellow-legged frogs are believed to exist. The Station fire destroyed habitat; now 104 have died mysteriously in a zoo's breeding tanks.
One of the nation's most ambitious wildlife reintroduction efforts has suffered a setback with the deaths of 104 mountain yellow-legged frogs that had been rescued from the fire-stripped San Gabriel Mountains in 2009, authorities said Tuesday.
The federally endangered frogs, which recently metamorphosed from the tadpole stage, died in captive breeding tanks over the last several weeks at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.
"We have two frogs left. We're trying to determine exactly what happened," said Scott Barton, director of the zoo, which is highly regarded for amphibian husbandry. "We were thrown a curve ball with a,0,7097333.story

Great Ape Weekend

Saving the decreasing Tiger Population

Interesting link above but I have to read between the lines Just What Is The Point Mr Antle?

Zoo's Harvey the chimp dies at age 52
Harvey the chimpanzee, a beloved animal of the Toledo Zoo since the 1970s, died overnight Zoo officials said.
The chimpanzee died in his sleep apparently of natural causes and heart disease played a role in his death, Dr. Chris Hanley, the Zoo’s Chief Veterinarian said.
"Initial necropsy findings indicate that heart disease contributed to his passing," Dr. Hanley said in a news release.
Harvey was estimated to be the third oldest male chimpanzee at any American zoo. According to information from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the median life expectancy for a chimpanzee is approximately 26 years for males and 35 years for females. Only four males in the AZA zoo population have ever lived longer than Harvey.
Except for several years at the Baltimore Zoo, Harvey had been at the Toledo Zoo since the late 1970s. He enjoyed good health throughout his long life, a testament to the excellent care he received at the Zoo. An examination in 2010 revealed an abnormal heart

Zion wildlife Park sentencing cancelled
Sentencing has been cancelled for Zion Wildlife Park for failing to protect keeper Dalu Mncube.
He was killed by a tiger in 2009.
The Whangarei District Court has agreed today to cancel Friday's scheduled sentencing after Park director Patricia Busch applied through her lawyer this week to vacate the guilty pleas she made in June.
The court has given

Man smuggling bear paws arrested at Vancouver airport
Wrapped in foil and tucked in a carry-on bag, the bear paws were on their way to Asia, part of a shadowy, international trade in animal parts that flourishes even as governments step up efforts to contain it.
Instead, the paws – three of them, from two different black bears – were spotted early Sunday by security staff at Vancouver International Airport, where a 39-year-old man was detained as he attempted to board a flight to China.

Anna Hazare's supporter and RTI activist shot dead in Bhopal
In a broad day light murder, an RTI activist and a strong supporter of Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement, Shehla Masood was shot dead around 11.30 am on Tuesday.
Unidentified assailant shot her dead from point blank range while she was leaving in her car to attend a demonstration in support of Anna Hazare.
About 35 years old, Shehla was still sitting in the driver's seat when she was attacked, however, no one heard any gun shot. When the car didn't move for a while, the family members came out only to find that she had collapsed on one side with blood oozing out from her chest.
She was shot in her chest. The murder took place just in front of her house in Koh-e-Fiza locality of Bhopal. However, more details are still awaited as a post- mortem is still on.
The seriousness of the crime could be ascertained from the fact that the director general of police SK Rout and Additional director general Intelligence Rishi Kumar Shukla also inspected the crime scene along with the IG and SSP of Bhopal.
Shehla was an RTI and a wild life activist and had annoyed many people while seeking information and raising issues.
The crime scene suggested that the murder was executed by some professional killer with a firm arm fitted with a silencer. However, the SSP Bhopal

Chester Zoo raises British spiders for release in wild
HUNDREDS of endangered spiders are being reared at Chester Zoo ahead of their release later this year, as part of a conservation programme aimed at stemming their decline in the UK.
Lead keeper Karen Entwistle is hand-rearing 400 baby fen raft spiders in a purpose-built, bio-secure pod at the zoo.
Ms Entwistle said: “The spiders are all kept in separate test tubes so they do not attack each other and I have to individually hand feed them with fruit flies.
“It’s a very, very time-consuming job for that number of spiders but it’s vital for the future of the species.”
The dedicated keeper spends four hours a day; four days a week, alone with the spiders in the special breeding

Call for more trained staff at Nehru zoo
It seems a lack of trained zoo-keepers and officials is causing lax upkeep of the Nehru Zoological park. “Even two years back, the zoo used to be a lush green space and many visitors came back for a revisit. But many areas have turned dry and some species are not here anymore,” said SK Nannemiya, a visitor.
The zoo, which is spread over 380 acres, houses around 2,100 wild animals and birds. “On an average 9,000 people visit daily. But 56 animal-keepers, 71 gardeners and 16 other officials are not enough to keep the zoo clean and maintain sustainable development of animals,” said MA Waheed, the zoo curator. He added they needed at least 35 more zoo-keepers and 15 gardeners, who have basic understanding of the animals’ food and other habits.
“Some of the zoo-keepers are just class VII pass. There is a need for well-educated and trained zoo beat officers who can help in better all-round maintenance of the zoo and especially animal enclosures,” Waheed said. He added he had appealed to the Central Zoo Authority of India for more staff but there was no positive response. The zoo has recently hired about 20 workers and 25 security personnel.
When asked about reasons of death of 20 wild species over the last year, Waheed said, “There are many reasons behind the death of an animal which could be the weather, food habits, health problem and zoo-keepers not taking proper care of the animals. That is why we need well-trained and sufficient staff,” he observed.
“According to CZAI guidelines, zoo-keepers

At last we have recognition of the importance of ZOOKEEPERS! A call for more keepers and not vets. Mind you too many keepers can be worse than too few.

Oklahoma City Zoo announces elephant plans, awards raise to director
A bull elephant will be brought in from Canada for breeding with the Oklahoma City Zoo's two female Asian elephants.
The Oklahoma City Zoo could have a new elephant as early as late September, officials announced Wednesday at a meeting of the zoo trust.
The zoo received its import permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department on Wednesday, Assistant Zoo Director Alan Varsik said.
A male elephant named Rex will be transported from African Lion Safari in Cambridge, Ontario. He will breed with both adult female elephants in Oklahoma City in the coming years.
“We've got the facility ready to go for a bull,” Varsik said.
The bull will be quarantined for about 30 days before he will be able to interact with the rest of the Asian elephant herd.
Rex weighs about 13,000 pounds — about twice the size of the

Cuckoos' 5,000km journey tracked by satellite
Scientists from the British Trust for Ornithology have tracked the migration routes of five British cuckoos, using tiny satellite-tracking tags.
The team caught and tagged the birds in June and fitted them with trackers, which fitted like miniature backpacks.
All five birds have now reached Africa.
Having started their journeys from the same breeding ground in East Anglia, the birds are now distributed


Speak up for the Arctic Fox
The Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is experiencing global warming at one of the fastest rates on the continent, putting the Arctic fox in danger. To help vulnerable wildlife survive, it's more important than ever to keep them safe from oil and gas drilling, which would mean habitat loss and other stressors for the Arctic

Researchers Find That Alligator Fat Could Be a New Source of Biodiesel
Researchers at the University of Louisiana recently discovered that alligator fat might be an alternative source of biodiesel, a clean burning fuel that is primarily produced from soybeans. The problem with soybeans is that they also supply food for both animals and humans, so eliminating the need for them in the production of biodiesel is good news for everyone. On average, the US burns 45 billion gallons of diesel annually, and sourcing just one billion of those gallons from soybeans would consume up to 21% of the American crop. But

Chickens out for Highland Wildlife Park's capercaillie
Leaving captive capercaillie chicks to be reared by their mother could aid future efforts to protect the species in the wild, according to a park boss.
Two chicks have hatched at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland's Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig.
Usually captive capercaillie are hand-reared or raised by chickens in a controlled way to boost their survival.
Douglas Richardson said leaving the chicks with their mother would make them socially and physically healthier.
There are just 1,228 capercaillie in the wild, according to figures released by RSPB Scotland in April.
The birds numbered 20,000 in 1970 but by the 1990s, when the first formal counts were made, RSPB Scotland said numbers had declined sharply, particularly in Deeside and Perthshire.
Wet springs, affecting breeding


Sweden halts official wolf hunt
Sweden says it has halted a controversial licensed wolf hunt meant to cull the animals that have been attacking livestock.
The Swedish government said it would consider resuming the hunt in the winter of 2012-2013, while announcing it was removing a previously set ceiling of 210 wolves that can be culled each year for wildlife management purposes.
That would not mean an unlimited number of wolves would be culled in Sweden, a government minister said.
"Of course not. We will reach a favorable conservation status with as few wolves culled as possible," Minister for the Environment

19th SEAZA Annual Conference 2011
Monday 12 to Wednesday 14, September 2011
Reintroduced Endangered Species in SEAZA

SEAZA Conference details below:-

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of Thailand's Zoological Park Organization (ZPO) Under H.M. the King, we are proud to announce that the 19th SEAZA Annual Conference 2011 will be held in Pattaya, Thailand from Monday 12 to Wednesday 14, September 2011.

Although the SEAZA board meeting had previously set a tentative dates of August 22-24 for the conference, but Ramadan this year is during the month of August. So after careful consideration and to best encourage participation from members, we have decided to postpone the conference to September 12-14, 2011.

The theme for this years conference will be "Reintroduced Endangered Species in SEAZA". Submissions of oral and poster presentations can be made according to the attached guidelines. Full details of registration, accomodations and detailed schedules will follow shortly. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
We dearly hope that you and your organization will be able to participate this year to improve our zoos and further the goals of SEAZA. See you soon in Pattaya.

Kindest regards,

The Organizing Committee of the 19th SEAZA Annual Conference

SEAZA members visiting Pattaya for the first time might like to check out:


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