Friday, August 5, 2011

Zoo News Digest 3rd - 5th August 2011 (Zoo News 776)

Zoo News Digest 3rd - 5th August 2011 (Zoo News 776)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

The Toronto Star reports the death of the Zoos White Lioness. Sad but all well and good, it is newsworthy especially as this one animal had drawn in a huge number of visitors. But was it really necessary for them to drag up "The zoo has recently seen a spate of deaths of its large animals. Seven elephants have died since 1984." Two nasty digging sentences which the article could well have done without.

I note that Windy Borman has now published my comment (see last two Zoo News Digests 774 and 775 ). Thank you Windy.

Now here is an interesting statement "have decided to pair Vijay, an eight-year-old Royal Bengal tiger, with Namrata, a two-year-old white tigress. According to officials,this is the first time in the country that such a pairing is being planned and is aimed at preventing inbreeding among white tigers in whom the risk of genetic deformities is high." It is as I have said all along, genetic mutation bred with genetic mutation. At last someone has seen sense. It is such a pity that in the home of the Bengal Tiger that there has been no proper captive management of the gene pool.


The Llama attack does not surprise me. I have seen a number of unwarranted attacks by these normally docile animals during my zoo career. One of these I recollect that if other staff had not seen the incident and gone to help then that the keeper would most certainly have died. Sheep too can be very dangerous.

Delighted to finally have the details for the SEAZA conference. Please see these between the links below. In my 'adopted home' town too. I am there right now and it is just possible I may be in the area for the conference as well, not that I could afford the registration fee anyway so no big deal. If I am about I will be happy to show people (who have leisure time to spare) around. Even if I am not I could probably still arrange for someone to escort you.

I note that the press is starting to confuse and combine 'conservationists' and 'animal rights campaigners'. Definitely not the same thing!!!

I cannot believe the amount of attention that a peacock going awol from a zoo would generate. Even on the world news on TV as well as many papers. There was even online discussion "Did you know a peahen was the female variety?" Ohmygosh! (are they serious) You will not however find a link here because it isn't really news. Peafowl have been hopping in and out of zoos and stately homes in the UK for years and it barely ruffles a feather.

I don't think living with lions is very clever so I am not going to mention that perhaps I better include a link.

The report on the Orangutans in Ragunan Zoo is interesting. I will believe it when I see it. Read my report from 2006 directly below the article.

I recollect that when I was in Singapore some years back that we could smell the smoke from the burning forests in Indonesia. Now you can see the haze from the same in the South of Thailand and still the world does not listen. The fires of corruption continue to burn.

Once again I thank those few people who sent donations this week. Without their help you would not be reading this. Things are very very tough right now. If all readers were to send a donation just once a year everything would be fine but they don't. Right now I really don't know what will happen next. You would not believe me if I told you.

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One respected authority who’s seen it first-hand doesn’t mince his words. The rate and scale of forest clearing in Sumatra by big paper producers approaches ecological Armageddon.
“I thought I’d seen, you know, impressive deforestation in the Amazon and parts of Africa. But what’s happening there (Sumatra) on a large industrial scale is pretty daunting …some of the worst forest destruction I’ve ever seen anywhere.” BILL LAURANCE Forest Scientist
Riau province in Sumatra is home to the world’s biggest paper plant. It’s owned and run by Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd, better known by the more disarming acronym APRIL

Exclusive Rare Footage of Endangered Sumatran Tiger Taking Her First Steps into New Home
This exclusive footage and accompanying images were captured by Alain Compost, an independent wildlife photographer, film maker and conservationist, hiding in camouflage just feet from where the endangered cat was released. Compost sat frozen in place with camera in hand under a sweltering sun for more than an hour to keep from distracting the tiger before her release. The Republic of Indonesia’s Minister of Forestry Mr. Zulkifli Hasan, watching from a nearby boat, pulled a rope that opened the cage door. Within minutes the 7-year-old Sumatran Tiger named Putri, meaning Princess in Indonesian, quietly walked out of her cage and strolled into her new home of Sembilang National Park, marking the end to months of hard work and dedication to a painstaking process involving numerous local and central government organizations, wildlife and conservation experts, private companies and N

Great Ape Conservation

Hi Everyone

Just wanted to make you aware that the Great Ape Conservation Act is currently up for reauthorization by Congress. This act currently provides ~$2 million in funding each year for great and lesser ape conservation—you can learn more about the types of work it funds at:

I had the honor of testifying on behalf of the proposed legislation to a Congressional subcommittee yesterday. It was clear from the questions asked that every dollar that is being spent by our government needs to be well justified and it certainly helps if it has popular support. The legislation is still in the comment period (I believe that lasts for another week) and so wanted to let folks know in case they were interested in commenting. The legislation for great apes is HR 1760: The Great Ape Conservation Reauthorization Amendments Act. Also up for reauthorization is funding for African and Asian elephants, rhinos and tigers (HR 50: The Multinational Species Conservation Reauthorization Act) and funding for sea turtle conservation (HR 1761: The Marine Turtle Conservation Reauthorization Act).

The websites  and  provide an easy way to find and email your Senators and Representatives. I also visited a site that automatically lets you send an email about specific legislation to your Representative. For HR 1760, the site is: ( They do make you register though. I sent an email to my Representative through this site and got a (form-letter) response so it does go to their offices.

Hope this is helpful and have a great weekend!


Tara S. Stoinski, PhD
Manager of Conservation Partnerships
Zoo Atlanta
The Pat and Forest McGrath Chair of Research and Conservation
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International
800 Cherokee Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30315
PH: 404 624 5826
FAX: 404 624 5841
email: ;

Zion Wildlife Gardens locks receivers out
The battle for control of Zion Wildlife Gardens is heating up with receivers for the financially stricken park going to the High Court to get access after they were locked out.
Park operator Patricia Busch last week refused to open a gate for receiver Colin McCloy, saying she would only do so on the instructions of her lawyer.
Mr McCloy and fellow receiver David Bridgman then sought a court order that Mrs Busch give up possession of the park, hand over all keys and unlock all gates at the park for them.
Justice Edwin Wylie said Mrs Busch's actions prevented the receivers from doing their job.
She was wrong to lock the gates to keep the receivers off the property, he said.
The receivers needed to have access to the wildlife park, including to the part of the park where the animals were caged.
The receivers succeeded in securing an order but the court directed they not remove Mrs Busch as the licensed operator for the care and welfare of the animals.
The receivers were also ordered not to interfere in her duties as the licensed operator.
Rabo Bank, which appointed the receivers, argued

Receivers get court order to beat wildlife park lockout
The battle for control of Zion Wildlife Gardens is heating up, with receivers for the park going to the High Court to get access after they were locked out.
Park operator Patricia Busch last week refused to open a gate for receiver Colin McCloy, saying she would do so only on the instructions of her lawyer.
Mr McCloy and fellow receiver David Bridgman then sought a court order that Mrs Busch give up possession of the park, hand over all keys and unlock all gates at the park for them.
Justice Edwin Wylie said Mrs Busch's actions prevented the receivers from doing their job.
She was wrong to lock the gates to keep the

Craig Busch and Zion Wildlife Gardens

Ukraine to save bears from forced vodka drinking
Ukraine's Environment Minister Mykola Zlochevsky vowed on Wednesday to free all bears kept in restaurants for entertainment purposes and often forced to drink alcohol, Interfax news agency reported on Wednesday.
Captured and tamed bears were often used for entertainment in the Russian Empire, which included Ukraine, turning the animal into a national symbol.
The practice appears to have also survived Ukraine's emergence from Soviet rule, but Zlochevsky said it was inhumane and unacceptable today.
"On television, they keep showing bears

YPHS Prepares for Upcoming Relocation of Sumatran Tiger; Works with APP on New Wildlife Management and Protection Policies$FILE/110725%20Preparing%20for%20Upcoming%20Tiger%20Release.pdf

Knoxville Zoo talks about changes made after two incidents in 2011
The Knoxville Zoo has dealt with two cases in 2011 where an animal harmed a person.
The first, in January. Stephanie James, a Knoxville Zoo employee, was killed while working with Edie the elephant. Investigators said James was in Edie's stall when the elephant was spooked and lunged forward and struck James with her trunk. James later died from her injuries.
Then in May, a five year-old boy was pinned against a fence by a 400 pound camel. Initially, emergency first responders from outside the zoo weren't allowed inside to help. Right after, the

Video: Grass Widow Plays Music for Gorillas at the Zoo
Grass Widow are part of a project called Music For Animals, which, as the name suggests, is dedicated to having bands play songs for a variety of species. They recently performed for gorillas at the Franklin Park Zoo, which they told us was “magical,” and that one primate in particular, Kiki, seemed to especially enjoy the concert. Apart from being awesome, a mini-manifesto on Music For Animals written by founder Laurel Braitman descries the group’s heady goals:
Individual animals have tastes, just like we do. There is likely no “music for dogs” just as there is no “music for humans.” There are things we can hear and certain decibel levels that hurt our ears–but beyond that, species level music doesn’t make

Guwahati institute to assist Indonesian rhino project
Aaranyak, a wildlife research and bio-diversity conservation organisation based in the city will assist Indonesian authorities to undertake non-invasive genetics research on two critically endangered species — the Javan and the Sumatran rhinos — in Indonesia.
The Aaranyak under its Wildlife Genetics Programme will work with an Indonesian counterpart to initiate non-invasive DNA-based research to estimate the population size, male-female-calf ratio, rhino density and also study the issue of genetic bottleneck and inbreeding of the rhinos.
The global population of the Javan rhino is less than 50 and found only in Ujung Kulon National Park (NP) cum World Heritage Site in West Java.
Indonesia harbours about 60-70 per cent of total global population of the Sumatran rhino, whose population in the world is between 200-250.
Head of Wildlife Genetics Programme at Aaranyak, Udayan Borthakur, recently visited Indonesia to prepare the line of action needed to undertake the research and interacted with park officials, officials at Yayasan Badak and Eijkman Institute, stated Aaranyak publicity secretary Dhrubajyoti Kalita in a release.
The Guwahati-based organisation decided to lend its technical support after discussion with the International Rhino Foundation (IRF). The IRF has been assisting conservation and protection in Indonesia through its partner Yayasan Badak and in association with the Ministry of Forestry, Indonesia, Mr. Kalita added.
The lab-based work will be performed at the Eijkman Institute in Jakarta with technical assistance from Aaranyak, which will assist it to prepare the needed markers for DNA-based studies from dung and hair samples.
Mr. Borthakur claimed that the Wildlife Genetics Programme successfully prepared and tested the markers for the

Zoos join fight to save endangered orangutans (VIDEO - PLEASE WATCH)
The Federal Parliament is under increasing pressure to take action against the shrinking jungles in South East Asia, which are inhabited by endangered orangutans. Critics say the importation of illegal timber and the sale of products containing palm oil are contributing to the problem. But countries like Malaysia are fiercely defending their export industries.

Toronto Zoo’s white lioness dies
The Toronto Zoo’s first and only white lioness has died after vets discovered she had cancer.
Nokanda was put down after tests revealed cancerous masses in her liver, the zoo’s senior veterinarian Graham Crawshaw said. The white lioness was 15.
Born at the Philadelphia Zoo in 1996, Nokanda was sent north of the border a year later.
Unlike a pair of white lion cubs the U.S. zoo had loaned to Toronto in 1995 after losing a friendly World Series bet, Nokanda became a permanent attraction of the Toronto Zoo’s African Savanna exhibit, which opened in 1998.
The milky white creature, whose “extremely rare” colouring was the result of a genetic variation, attracted record visitor numbers that have been beaten only when pandas visited the zoo in 1985, said Crawshaw.
Researchers say that in the wild, white lions are so

Zoo turns into political circus
Walk into the Alipore zoo these days and you would think you had stepped into a political party office. Rows of green flags, banners, festoons and slogan-shouting men greet you at the entrance. More flags and posters line the pathways that lead to the animal enclosures. Giant cut-outs of Intuc leader Subrata Mukherjee, a minister in Mamata Banerjee's cabinet, adorn the campus.
For two months now, the zoo has been held to ransom by members of Congress' trade wing, Indian National Trade Union Congress (Intuc), who demand the suspension of deputy director Piyali Chattopadhyay.
The agitation has badly affected maintenance. Renovation

Just don't pull my trunk! Brit who works as the world's first osteopath for ELEPHANTS
A ground-breaking British specialist packed his trunk and trekked through the sweltering jungle for his biggest ever job - osteopathy for elephants.
Pioneering Tony Nevin, 47, the world's only wildlife osteopath, travelled all the way to Thailand to treat the two-tonne, floppy-eared animals.
He used his healing hands to help bring comfort to dozens of the creatures at an elephant sanctuary, many of whom had suffered

History of rich animal life reprinted
“So you’re from Africa? Do you have lions and elephants walking around in your streets?” “No, but we used to have…” At some point in their journeys, nearly all South Africans travelling abroad will be subjected to idiotic questions about the country’s wildlife by ignorant foreigners.
But it wasn’t that long ago that lions, elephants and many other wild animals were in fact still walking around just about the whole of South Africa, even if there weren’t streets as such – and that includes the Cape Peninsula, Cape Flats and all the rest of the area that now makes up metropolitan Cape Town.
While the indigenous San and Khoekhoe had obviously lived alongside these beasts for millennia, the first written records are only from the 17th century when the early European sailors ventured past the Cape en route to the East.
In March 1609, for example, Dutchman Cornelis Claesz van Purmerendt wrote of the Peninsula: “There are many lions there, against which they (the Khoekhoe) sometimes wage war.”
An Englishman, Thomas Best, called at the Cape in July 1627 and later recorded: “During the the night they (the Khoekhoe) sleepe around a fire in the open fields to secure them from their watchfull and hungry neighbours, the lions… In the darke weather the lions use subtilty to catch and eat the savages… In the daytime they (the Khoehoe) digge pits, cover them with boughs, and traine the couragious lions thither where they receive destruction

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:

Giant rat kills predators with poisonous hair
By utilizing the same plants that African tribesmen use to poison their arrows, the furry fury known as the African crested rat can incapacitate and even kill predators many times its size, researchers have found.
"This is the first mammal that is borrowing a deadly poison from a plant and slathering it on itself without dying," said study researcher Jonathan Kingdon, of Oxford University in England. "This is an extraordinary thing to have evolved."
Growing up in Africa, Kingdon was frequently exposed to these rats, even keeping one (very cautiously) as a pet. He had heard this animal was poisonous, but it look 30 years for him to figure out how and why this

Too old to hunt, too young to die
The Wildlife authorities in West Bengal are setting up a special reserve for old tigers no longer able to hunt. The move is part of a country-wide campaign to revive India's rapidly falling tiger population by keeping the highly endangered national animal away from poachers and from conflicts with angry villagers, who sometimes kill them.
West Bengal's principal chief conservator of forests Atanu Kumar Raha said that the tigers that could no longer catch prey because of their age or infirmity would be rescued and then be relocated to the centre.
"It is going to be like an old-age home for the tigers. We are developing it almost like a natural habitat for them. It is definitely not to be something like a zoo. The animals here will feel free almost as they do in the wild. They will be fed well and will be provided veterinary care," said Raha.
"The facility will also remain open for old or sick tigers from the zoos in the country. For wild tigers, in certain circumstances, it will also be used like a short stay home."
The reserve which will be known as Tiger Rescue Centre is coming up at the edge of the world's largest mangrove forests of Sundarbans, about 140 kilometres south of Kolkata. Built over a five-acre plot, it will house tigers from the country's wildlife reserves

Zoo to pair Royal Bengal tiger with white tigress to prevent inbreeding
The authorities at the Arignar Anna ZoologicalP arkin Vandalur have decided to pair Vijay, an eight-year-old Royal Bengal tiger, with Namrata, a two-year-old whitetigress. According toofficials,this is the first time in the country that such a pairing is being planned and is aimed at preventing inbreeding among whitetigers in whom the risk of genetic deformities is high.
Vijay, without a mate for the last four years at the zoo in Vandalur, 31 km southof Chennai, was brought from the Indira Gandhi Zoological P ark at Visakhapatnam in 2007. Efforts are being taken to shift Namrata to Vijay's enclosure."The white tigress has attained maturity and is ideal for mating. Almost everything is ready in her new home.A closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera will be installed in the enclosure to monitor

Zoo keeper steps out on a missionary adventure
A Christian animal keeper from an award-winning zoo in Bristol is set to exchange caring for birds and reptiles to helping local communities in Africa.
Mark Walters, 22, a senior zoo keeper at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm and his wife Megan are set to begin the first stage of their round-the-world trip with a small group of Bristol doctors in Uganda, assisting with practical community projects for three months. Following a short break in South Africa, Mark will continue to Mozambique to work with IRIS Ministries, run by missionaries Rolland and

Llama attack traumatizes family
SPCA investigates after 75-year-old woman's bones broken in trampling
Sandy Philpott grew wary as she watched a llama at Krause Berry Farm's petting zoo circling her mother, getting a bit too close.
As the animal followed France Pilotte, 75, it nibbled at her backpack, probably looking for grain she had bought at the Langley farm to feed the animals.
Philpott instinctively reached out for her 18-month-old son and drew him

Asiatic lions: Let the pride increase!
Hundred years ago, the population of Asiatic lion in India were left to about a dozen; today this number has reached to 411 lions. World over there is a trend of flora and fauna declining due to human population increase and consecutive habitat losses, so what is it that the population of Asiatic lion is increasing.
Yogendra Shah a wildlife researcher working in Gir forest gives the credit of this reverse trend to the community living around the lion’s territory and the forest department. The lions are a symbol of pride for the people of Gujarat and for their conservation; they make all efforts and sacrifices.
Shah recollected an incident where, he went to meet a family, which had six members and two buffalos, the lions killed one of the buffalo but the family had no grudge against the big cats.
About a hundred years back when the Junagarh nawab could not find a lion for his shikar, he realised that the lion population had declined. He stopped hunting of lion. With times, trends and problems change like forest department rescue team has been rescuing 20-30 lions each year from open deep wells. There are some eight

Agreement to protect endangered red panda
The Social Welfare Council (SWC) and the Red Panda Network, U.S.A. have signed an agreement for implementing the Community Based Red Panda Conservation in Eastern Nepal.
The conservation project will be implemented in 18 Village Development Committees (VDCs) of Taplejung

OK, this polar bear walks into a Scottish bar…
That’s probably not the exact scenario but a recent article in Current Biology claims that most, if not all, of today’s living polar bears are descended from one Scottish brown bear. Mama bear lived in Ireland near the peak of the last Ice Age 20,000 to 50,000 years ago. Increasing Arctic ice flows likely brought the polar suitors into contact with the brown bears. As the ice receded, the polar bears drifted back to their icy Arctic island, but with a little going away present from their lovely brown sweethearts — a neatly wrapped package of mitochondrial DNA, DNA passed exclusively from mother to offspring.
It has definitely piqued the researchers’ curiosities. One of the researchers, Mark Thomas of University College London said the study shows that species may not be as fixed and tidy as we would like.
Nor is hybridization necessarily a death knell for a species, but could actually help its survival and coping during times of stress. He pointed to recent studies by Stanford’s Peter Parham that shows Europeans gained genes that helped in battling northern diseases from interbreeding with Neanderthals.
Biologists and researchers have long been aware of the polar bear/brown bear dalliance but it was thought these trysts originated on the Alaskan “ABC” Islands (Admiralty, Baranof and Chicagof) around 14,000 years ago. However, new international research spearheaded in part by Beth Shapiro, assistant professor of biology at Penn State found DNA evidence in the skeletons of 17 brown bears from eight different cave sites in Ireland that predates the Alaskan peccadilloes by 10,000 years or more.
Dr. Ceiridwen Edwards of Oxford University, the Current Biology paper’s head author noted that the DNA from the older brown bear remains (38,000 to 43,000 years ago) had basically

CNBC and BBC Suspend Television Programmes Over Sarawak Whistleblower Allegations: Bruno Manser Fund Demands Apology
CNBC, the American satellite and cable television news channel, has withdrawn its international business show, “World Business,” following allegations that the show’s production company, FBC (“Fact Based Communications”), was doubling as a PR firm for corrupt Malaysian politicians.
Meanwhile, the British BBC, another FBC customer, has suspended broadcasting all FBC-produced programmes and launched an internal investigation.
Last Monday, Sarawak Report, a news website run by Clare Rewcastle, the sister-in-law of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, revealed that the UK-based FBC Group had been paid 5 million US dollars by Abdul Taib Mahmud (“Taib”), Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, to promote the politician’s battered international reputation.
Other payments to FBC have apparently been made by the Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, and by Sime Darby, a palm oil group responsible for clear-cutting large tracts of tropical rainforest in Malaysian Borneo.
On 27 March 2011, the CNBC’s “World Business” show broadcast an interview with Taib, in which he claimed that 80 per cent of the state’s forests were “almost intact” tropical rainforest. The statement was broadcast uncommented despite being in stark contrast to all independent analysis and to Taib’s own earlier statements.
In April 2001, Taib publicly admitted that 90 percent of the state’s harvestable trees had been felled.
By broadcasting sponsored news and current affairs programmes, the CNBC and the BBC appear to have breached British and American media regulations.
The Bruno Manser Fund is shocked to learn that leading global television networks are broadcasting shows that are unlawfully sponsored by corrupt Malaysian politicians and by companies responsible for the destruction of Borneos’s unique tropical rainforests.
We demand that CNBC and the BBC apologize to the public over the broadcasting of sponsored FBC shows that are distorting the facts. In

City`s Road Map for Orangutans Preservation
Jakarta Provincial Government commitment to improve the environment should be appreciated. Besides promoting the blue sky program and trees planting, city government also gives special attention to improve the lives of orangutans, especially those at Ragunan Zoo, South Jakarta, through orangutans’ welfare program which have been implemented since 2009 until 2012. It is expected by 2013, all orangutans at Ragunan Zoo can have a decent life.
Ipih Ruyani as Head of Jakarta Marine and Agriculture Department stated her department has gradually implemented the program which adjusted to the animal care standard. “The animal care standard for instance are providing proper cage, feeding the animal, etc. This is in line with Jakarta Governor’s commitment to improve the lives of orangutans,” she said at the City Hall, Thursday (8/4).
She explained that Ragunan Zoo, an area of 147 hectares, has been established by the city government as an area of conservation, preservation, wildlife diversity, education and research, outdoor recreation, water infiltration, green open spaces as well as the source of oxygen or city’s lungs. Currently, there are 55 orangutans live in 7 cages of 5.2 hectares. The cages are Schmutzer Primate Centre Tunnel (PPS), Mrs. Ulla Von Mangden, quarantine, northern orangutans, PPS southern orangutans, middle orangutans, and new orangutans.
Basic principles of animal welfare realization are the animal is free from fear, free from hunger and thirst, free from pain, free from being alone, and free to do activities or play as in its real habitat. To improve this, the Ragunan Zoo management has also conducted corrective measures, such as provide proper cages for orangutans to live and play, give mates for orangutans that are old enough, give enough foods and drinks as well as vitamins and medicines if they got sick including nurse and medics to treat them.
As for the problem which often faced is the overpopulation of orangutans in Ragunan Zoo. Based on ratio of total orangutans compared with available cage capacity, the ideal amount of orangutans at Ragunan Zoo should be 30 orangutans. While recently, there are 55 orangutans there.
To overcome the problem, Ragunan Zoo management has prepared a 2009-2012 Road Map of Orangutans Welfare. The efforts that have been implemented in 2009 were land mapping, orangutans’ strategy planning, brainstorming from stakeholders, preparing human resources, establishing cooperation with other parties, and building cages.
In 2010, the steps applied were planning of cages physical constructions, rehabilitating presence conditions at that time (cages and habitats), establishing orangutans’ trade program, and coordinating to relocate orangutans to its real habitat. Then in 2011, the current efforts conducted are physical constructions, orangutans nursing trainings (domestic and foreign), supporting facility procurement, and moving as well as replacing new cages.
For 2012, there are plans to build orangutan cages, procurement for orangutans’ facilities, and promotions in form of education, recreation, and conservation. “Improvement and construction of orangutan cages will still be applied in 2011 and 2012 with supports from Jakarta local budget (APBD). It is expected everything will finish in 2012, so that by 2013 orangutans welfare is already improved,” she expressed.
Head of Regional Public Service Agency (BLUD) for Ragunan Zoo, Enny Pudjiwati, confirmed the overpopulation of orangutans at Ragunan Zoo. In 2009, there were only 52 orangutans. Now, it increases to 55 orangutans. “The cages must be added because orangutans cannot mix like other animals. They should live with their mate and children. Male orangutan cannot mix with other male orangutan or vice versa. They also must sleep alone,” she explained.
The budget for cage physical constructions in 2011 is about Rp 6-8 billion, while the healthcare budget is Rp 500 million per year for all animals at Ragunan Zoo. This is because each animal should undergo general check up, including orangutans.
In addition, the Jakarta Animal Aid Network and Centre of Orangutan Protection (COP) demonstrated in front of the City Hall today. Several representatives of these groups came to ask Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo’s promise for better preservation of orangutans. “He has promised since two years ago for better preservation of orangutans at Ragunan Zoo. We demand his promise now,” stated Daniek Hendarto, Coordinator of Eksitu Conservation from COP.

Zoo apes need better care: Conservationists
The Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) and the Center for Orangutan Protection (COP) staged a rally Thursday at City Hall calling for better treatment of the endangered species in zoos.
COP official Daniek Hendarto said more than 20 orangutans at Ragunan Zoo did not receive acceptable treatment.
“Two years ago we met Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo and he promised changes. Now, the orangutans continue to be imprisoned in those terrible cages, and they are short of food and proper care,” Daniek said.
He said conservationists were concerned for the wellbeing

SD Zoo Bird Experts Help Endangered Heron
The first hands-on rearing of a critically endangered white-bellied heron in Bhutan was successful thanks to a pair of bird experts with the San Diego Zoo Safari Park who spent three months in the small Asian nation this year, park officials said Thursday.
Only 26 of the large wetlands birds are believed to be left in Bhutan and about 50 in the world, according to the park. Bhutan is a land-locked nation between China and India, and lies at the southern base of the Himalayan mountains.
In rearing the chick, animal-care manager Don Sterner and lead keeper Debbie Marlow used an incubator, but periodic electrical outages meant that the bird required round-the-clock monitoring. Sterner and Marlow trained local authorities in how to care for the bird.
"At that time the chick was 40 days old and beginning to stand, learning to fly and catching live fish," Sterner said. "Our hope is to continue to assist the folks in Bhutan who are dedicated to saving this species."
The white-bellied heron is mostly dark gray and has

Lucy the elephant staying in Edmonton
Lucy the elephant is staying put.
The Alberta Court of Appeal is upholding an earlier court decision to dismiss legal action against the city over the Valley Zoo creature, the city said Thursday.
A lawsuit was launched against the city by animal rights groups including PETA and Zoocheck, but the appeal court judges ruled the suit was inappropriate.
"We are very pleased, but not surprised, that the Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of the City of Edmonton," said lawyer Steven Phipps, who represented the city.
"The majority of the judges are very clear that the applicants' attempt to circumvent the appropriate regulatory authorities is not proper."
Controversy over the Asian elephant's fate has been brewing for years.
Animal rights activists have been calling for Lucy to be moved to a U.S. sanctuary, while zoo officials argued she was safer at the Edmonton Valley Zoo.
Activists launched their lawsuit in February 2010, and it was

Zoo driver saves tiger-cub, bitten by cobra
Had it not been for an alert zoo employee, the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens may have lost a tiger cub. Shivashankar, 31, a tram driver in the zoo, in his effort to protect a tiger cub, was bitten by a cobra; he is now struggling for life at a city hospital.
The incident took place on July 30, when he saw a stray cobra entering tigress Manya's cub's enclosure.
Unfortunately, doctors informed him that the edge of his index finger, where he was bitten by the snake, will have to be amputated.
"I returned to duty at about 2.50 pm on Saturday after lunch and was on my routine rounds with tourists in the tram, when I noticed a snake entering into the tigress' enclosure. As I approached the enclosure, I saw the snake going towards the cubs," explained Shivshankar.
He adds that a little later, the zoo's veterinary doctor, Dr Prayag, too noticed the snake slithering towards the enclosure. "I caught the snake by its tail and realized that this was not a zoo bred snake. It bit me as I managed to pull it away

Chinese delegates to make final panda cage inspection
The final inspection by Chinese delegates of the new facilities being created for two giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo has been set for October.
Officials said they did not have a date for the arrival of Tian Tian and Yuang Guang but it would depend on the enclosure passing the inspection.
It is expected the pandas will arrive by the end of the year, as announced by Premier Wen on his recent UK visit.
About £250,000 is being spent creating a home for the pair.
It will have pools, caves, climbing

Camel bites visitor at Catoctin Zoo
A camel bit the lower arm of a visitor who had food in her hand at the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo south of Thurmont, said Harold Domer, Frederick County Animal Control director.
The visitor, a 29-year-old woman, was taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital with a moderate injury to her arm Thursday at about 1 p.m., Domer said.
The woman was not feeding the camel, he said. She was on a tractor ride that winds through the zoo, Domer said.
The camel, an adult male named Malachi, stuck his head near where people were and bit the woman, Domer said.
The camel is in quarantine at the zoo, Domer said. A veterinarian is monitoring Malachi to make sure his disposition does not change. A change in disposition is a sign the camel may be unhealthy, he said.
Domer said the camel appears healthy. Malachi was trying to grab food from the woman's hand as she pulled her hand

Can an ape learn to be human?
As two new films explore the human-like behaviour of chimpanzees, Steve Connor explains the fascination – and fear – we have about our closest living relatives
Many years ago while on a visit to London Zoo I experienced first hand the wily intelligence of chimpanzees in the days when they were kept behind wire mesh. The captive troupe had rehearsed a kind of primate nonchalance that would attract a curious crowd of onlookers gathered around their caged compound. Then, with little warning, they would start to fling dung at their human audience, jumping up and down with apparent glee at the sight of the fleeing crowd.
As dirty protests go, it was relatively unsophisticated. Some years later, primatologist Mathias Osvath of Lund University in Sweden documented a rather more complex strand of protest in a chimp called Santino who lives in Furuvik Zoo. Santino showed that it was possible for chimps to plan for the future. He did this by methodically building up a cache of stones in the early morning, hours before opening time. When the first zoo visitors appeared, he began to enthusiastically hurl his missiles at the gawping humans.
Dr Osvath concluded that Santino's actions showed that chimps have a rather well developed form of intelligence, one that could envisage "life-like mental simulations of potential events". By anticipating opening time, and preparing for it with his cache of rocks, Santino and the dung-chucking chimps at London Zoo were able to construct mental pictures of the future using an element of rudimentary consciousness known as forward planning. "They most probably have an 'inner world' like we have when reviewing past episodes of our lives or thinking of days to come," Dr Osvath said at the time.
The degree to which chimps think and behave like humans has been the subject of endless speculation, and many scientific studies. When we gaze into the face of the chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes, our closest living relative with whom we share more than 98 per cent of our DNA, we are also looking into the eyes of another highly sentient being who might in many ways pass for one of us.
Indeed, chimps are capable of an array of behaviours that were once considered the sole preserve of humans and some scientists have seriously suggested that chimps, which belong to the genus Pan, should in fact be classified as Homo – the human family. They make simple tools, they are fascinated by fire and rain and have even been known to appreciate a sunset. They mourn their dead, they make war on members

Delfi Messinger
has joined the staff of Escambia County Animal Services as division manager.
Messinger was formerly director of animal programs at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens from 2005 to 2010 and general curator at the Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City, Kansas, from 2001 to 2005.
She has written a book, “Grains of Golden Sand,” about the bonobo, a rare African ape. She has served as the manager of the animal department at the National Biological Institute in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), Africa, from 1987 to 1998 and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire from 1984 to 1987.
Messinger graduated in 1980 Texas|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s

Living with lions

A rare bird indeed hatches at Toledo Zoo
Kori Bustard chick 1 of few born in U.S. in '11
History of sorts was made in South Toledo this week when an African bird that many people don't know about -- the Kori Bustard -- was born at the Toledo Zoo.
It was significant because Toledo's zoo is the northernmost spot on this continent to hatch such a bird in captivity and the third most northern globally. Two zoos in Germany that lie north of Toledo have accomplished the feat, Robert Webster, Toledo Zoo curator of birds, said.
The birth had a little drama too.
The new chick, named Kojo (African for "Born on a Monday") appeared to run of out

Wildlife Middle East News Vol 6 Issue 1

June 2011

PDFs can be downloaded from:

Request for articles for future issues:

We are looking for contributions of articles from colleagues within
the Middle East region for the next issue. Please contact the editors
with any ideas that you may have.  

Vol 6 Issue 1 Contents

1. Editorial

2. Arabian bustard conservation in Yemen: Public awareness perspective

3. Wild Arabia with National Geographic Al Arabiya: Art as a tool for

4. Introduction to environmental enrichment at Al Ain Wildlife Park
and Resort (AWPR)

5. Insect diversity in nearby and offshore Islands of Abu Dhabi

6. A survey report on raptor trapping and trade in Iraq

7. News and Events.

Falcon festival update

Rehabilitating the mighty Jordan River through environmental

8. What’s New in the Literature

An attack by Ratel Mellivora capensis on pre-release Asian Houbara
Bustards Chlamydotis macqueenii in central Saudi Arabia

Population structure of Farasan gazelle

Twenty years of monitoring of the Vulnerable Farasan gazelle Gazella
gazella farasani
on the Farasan Islands, Saudi Arabia: an overview


I.Coast's only zoo mourns lions starved during vote conflict
The grungy lion cages in the Ivory Coast's only zoo stand empty after its three lions starved to death in April as forces for rival presidents battled in the city around them.
Around 40 animals in the Abidjan zoo lost their lives in the months-long conflict that ended on April 11 with the arrest of ex-president Laurent Gbagbo, who had lost November elections.
But Lea, Simba and Loulou -- the pride of the animal collection and who came from Ethiopia -- are missed the most.
They died of hunger, said Claude-Sie Kam, who has been in charge of carnivores at the complex for 14 years, pointing to the empty concrete cages set among verdant foliage in west Africa's biggest zoo.
"Their death pained me, they were pets," he said.
The zoo is situated at what was a flashpoint for the fighting that gripped Abidjan for around 10 days in April -- the culmination of a conflict that built over months.
Violent clashes between forces for Gbagbo and his rival Alassane Ouattara, now in place as president, trapped residents in their homes for days. UN and French forces were drawn in, carrying out air strikes.
At the crossroads of Cocody -- where Gbagbo hid out in a bunker for days -- and the Ouattara stronghold of Abobo, the zoo is also on the road to the country's biggest police camp.
After its food supplies ran out, the few guards stuck there were not able to venture out for more. About 40 animals died in their cages, zookeepers said.
Around 112 survived, from 25 species including monkeys, crocodiles and snakes. But the 80-year-old zoo is shattered.
The loss of the three lions, buried in the shade of century-old trees, comes just a year after the deaths of another main attraction -- five Libyan camels donated by that country's now-embattled leader, Moamer Kadhafi.
Kadhafi pledged the camels in 2008 but they were dead just two years later, succumbing to a "lack of care and from eating unsuitable food", a manager said.
The losses mean the number of visitors will likely drop 80 percent this year from the usual 100,000 annually, half of them children, said officials.
Eleven-year-old schoolboy Stanislas Kanon is among the disappointed. "I came to see the king of the jungle and admire from close up his mane, which we hear about in books. What a pity," he said, turning away.
Zoo managers accuse the government of neglect.
"There is only one elephant left," said administrator Bruno Seka of the animal adopted as the national symbol. "The Ivorian state does not look after the only zoo of Abidjan," he said.
The complex has a budget of 77 million FCFA (about 118,000 euros) of which 1.2 million (1,800 euros) is allocated to acquiring new animals.
But arguing for more funds is difficult in a country coping with severe humanitarian hardship after the post-election crisis which also killed 3,000 people and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes.
Researcher and chimpanzee specialist Simone Ban is among those fighting for the zoo, highlighting its potential as a forum for post-conflict reconciliation as a means to win it support and ensure it too does not die from neglect.
"A well-maintained zoo could welcome Ivorians of all political persuasions so that they mingle and see that even animals can like each other," she said.
Ban was among the few who braved the dangers of the combat to feed some of the animals, saving 20 chimpanzees f


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