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Snake man busted for unsafe work practices
PARK Orchards’ “snake man” has been found guilty of unsafe practices and fined $12,000 by the County Court.
The Department of Sustainability and Environment brought charges against Raymond Hoser, who operates under the name Snakebusters, for demonstrating with venomous snakes less than 3m from the public, working in accessible pits and demonstrating in way that
Maybe humans ought to look to the natural world to learn what cooperation and living for the mutual Good looks like. If plants and animals can forge the tight relationships they do, why can't we?
August's links at http://www.zooplantman.com/ (NEWS/Botanical News) remind us what cooperation looks like:
· Nectar eating bats locate flowers using smell or vision, but at least one group of tropical vines supplements those clues by assisting bats' sonar location skills with special dish-like leaves.
· The African Crested Rat has been recognized for its ability to repel predators, even lions with its toxins. Now scientists have discovered that this rodent chews toxic plants and applies their toxins to its body as a defense.
· Long-tongue flies are important pollinators of a variety of plant species. But think of it: with a tongue like that, aiming it might be a challenge. It turns out that all of these different flowers use the same markings to guide the fly tongues to their target.
· Scientists knew that some salamander eggs contain algae that creates oxygen for the embryo, but how did the algae get there?
· There's been lots of talk about how, with climate change, plants will simply migrate to new areas. But there's more to a plant's success than temperature. Can entire plant communities, including soil flora and fauna, successfully re-locate?.
And for sheer Summer fun, watch Bufo terrestris capture a cricket with its tongue at 6,000 frames per second: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vm0QElPzrEE
Please share these stories with associates, staff, docents and -- most importantly -- visitors! Follow on Twitter: http://twitter.com/PlantWorldNews -- a new story every day!
Editorial: Lucy the elephant and the silly circus
In a ruling about Lucy the elephant Thursday, Alberta's top court justifiably swatted strident animal rights activists like the pests they are.
But it would be too much to hope that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Zoocheck Canada will slink away with their tails between their legs.
They may decide to pursue the case to the Supreme Court of Canada, which would be a shame as well as a waste of judicial resources.
Alarmist animal rights advocates, who have claimed for years that Lucy is being improperly cared for at Edmonton's Valley Zoo, just can't take no for an answer.
We've lost track of all the silly stunts pulled over the years to try to convince the city to move Lucy to warmer climes in the U.S.
Money has been offered, both by retired game show host Bob Barker and former Oiler Georges Laraque.
There have been protests, Valentine's Day cards urging councillors to "have a heart for Lucy," petitions
It's a different story at Darjeeling zoo
If a trip to Alipore Zoo creates sympathy for the unfed animals, a visit to Darjeeling's Padamajaa Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park makes one wonder how the treatment of animals could be so strikingly different when both are maintained by the same authority.
While agitating staff had left animals starving for nearly 60 hours at Alipore zoo, the one in Darjeeling is impeccably maintained, where workers' agitation is something unheard of, even when the Gorkhaland agitation was at its peak. Delayed feeding is something 'unthinkable' in the zoo.
"We make sure our animals are fed at fixed time slots. In case of our zoo, it is 5 am. This is the timing that suits the high-altitude carnivores. Here, too, we make animals fast on Thursday," said Alankar Jha, director of Padmaja Naidu Himalayan zoo. "The Darjeeling zoo is in really good shape and you will feel good if you visit it," said a member of state zoo authority, who preferred to remain anonymous since he didn't want to get dragged into the 'ongoing controversy'.
When animals at Alipore zoo are going through harrowing times, the inaction of the state zoo authority (SZA), supposedly guardians of these hapless animals, is most startling. The agitation and resultant 'delay in servicing' has been happening since May 27. But the additional chief secretary (forest) and SZA vice-chairman K S Rajendra Kumar preferred not to speak on the matter. So did SZA member and principal chief conservator of forest Atanu Raha.
Animal activist Purnima L. Toolsidass said, "I was sure that some steps would be taken to alleviate the suffering of the animals. It is an outrage that none of the people legally responsible did anything to lessen suffering of the helpless beings who have the misfortune to be under the 'care' of people who are not bothered about to their hunger and thirst."
Central zoo authority member secretary BS Bonal said, "Alipore zoo authority should have made an alternative arrangement since its staff were agitating. "It is certainly
Money allocated for new Baku Zoo
President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan has decreed on measures on construction of a new Zoo park on the territory of Absheron district.
Under the decree Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry has been allocated AZN 3 million from President’s Reserve Fund in State Budget of Azerbaijan for 2011 for construction of a new Zoo. The Finance Ministry has been empowered to provide financing and the Cabinet of Ministers – solve the issues
Jurong Bird Park gives four king penguins to Guangzhou zoo
Four king penguins from Jurong Bird Park will soon be flown to China as part of an exchange programme between Jurong Bird Park and Panyu Xiangjiang Safari Park in Guangzhou, China.
The exchange is part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two wildlife parks to improve conservation efforts through the sharing of resources and knowledge. Jurong Bird Park is the only institution in South East Asia to successfully breed king penguins in captivity.
"We are happy to share our breeding expertise with Panyu Xiangjiang Safari Park," said Mr Raja Segran, the General Manager of Jurong Bird Park. "The successful breeding of animals in captivity will ensure the survival of endangered species in the wild and also serves the purpose of educating visitors about the wildlife we have on our planet."
The four king penguins - two male and two female - aged about four years old each, underwent a routine veterinary check on Wednesday, and will be sent to China on Aug 16.
King penguins, which are distinguished by their ear patches of golden-orange feathers, are the second largest species of penguin after the Emperor
baboon dynamic branches and construction
The Thrill of Boredom
SANTINO, a 33-year-old chimp, likes to collect rocks before the Furuvik Zoo in Sweden opens and pile them up on the visitor side of his island. He greets the 300 less hirsute primates who crowd around his enclosure every day with missiles hurled from his cache. Indignation? Bad temper? Or is Santino so bored with his captivity that he’s taken to seeking relief — and entertainment
Monkeys that can do sign language
To the untrained eye it might seem like just another cheeky bit of monkey business.
But when Milly the mandrill covers her face with her hand she is actually sending a serious message to her fellow primates: “Leave me alone!”
Experts believe the 15-year-old female invented the gesture to warn other monkeys at Colchester Zoo to give her some space.
And, remarkably, the signal has been picked by other members of the group, who use it when they too require solitude.
Evolutionary biologist Mark Laidre believes the behaviour is evidence of social culture among the mandrills, which are the largest species of monkey and are best known for the eye-catching colouring on their faces.
Significantly, the sign language is
Francois' Langur moving hammocks
American Zoos Help Return Condor To South America
In the high Andes of South America, one of the world's great birds is making a comeback.
The condor is returning from the brink of extinction, thanks to a program in which condor chicks are raised in American zoos and then released in the wild. Success, though, depends on the cooperation of farmers and shepherds — and in one special case, a group of Colombian army soldiers assigned to a rocky cliff.
Getting to condor country requires going high, on narrow, boulder-strewn mountain passes in a sturdy, off-road vehicle. The mountains are so high and strikingly picturesque that they leave you breathless. Biologist Olga Nunez says it is hard to reach the high peaks that are home to the large birds.
Weighing as much as 35 pounds, with wings that can stretch up to 11 feet, the condor is simply magnificent. Using the roaring mountain winds and thermal currents to ascend to 15,000 feet, the birds search for the rotting remains of dead sheep, deer or rodents — and then strip meat off bone in minutes.
The condors' voracious appetite, coupled with their search for food across hundreds of square miles, led farmers to mistakenly believe they snatched
Ailing leopard denied medical treatment, dies
Animals, it seems, are divided into two classes the privileged, lucky, zoobred ones and their unfortunate counterparts in the wild forests. None illustrates this better than the death of a leopard cub from the Nugu Forest area at Sargur on H D Kote Road, due to snake bite.
The two-and-half year old leopard cub, named Rama, received initial treatment and was allegedly denied treatment later, when it needed the most, by the authorities of Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens on grounds that it was not a zoo-bred animal, and that it may be spread infection to the other animals of the zoo. An eyewitness told Express that this led to Rama's eventual death on August 2.
About a year ago, two leopard cubs were found abandoned in Nugu Forest near Sargur; the forest department had rescued them. A forest official, on condition of anonymity, said: "We fenced an acre of forest land to create a natural environment for the cubs and left them in it. We would leave a live goat or chicken in it for them.
"When Rama was bitten by a viper on its neck recently, the chief veterinarian of Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens arrived within four hours, and administered antivenom to the leopard cub, after which it started recovering."
However, sources add, after ten days, its health began to deteriorate and it refused to eat or drink. Worse, no doctor was available to look after the cub. At this juncture, the zoo was contacted again and the cub was brought to Mysore zoo.
An official explains that the leopard was given a basic checkup, and more medicines along with antibiotics. "They told us that the leopard
Bristol Gorilla Organisers 'Not Surprised' Over Vandalism
One of those behind the gorilla art trail - to celebrate 175 years of Bristol Zoo - has told us she isn't surprised a number of the sculptures have been vandalised.
There are around 60 of the sculptures across Bristol to celebrate the Zoo's milestone.
There is just over a month to go until they're taken off to be cleaned up and auctioned for charity. Organiser of the art trail, Wendy Walton, told us she is not surprised: "I think whenever you decide to do a kind of public art trail, you have to have some sense of realism that one or two may be targetted.
"That is all it has been though, one or two. Obviously the extreme case of Kingdom in Clifton Mall gardens, and then someone tried and failed to steal one of the smaller ones outside an estate agents in Whiteladies Road.
"These gorillas are becoming
Bullet-proof panda panes to protect zoo's precious bears
EDINBURGH Zoo is installing bullet-proof glass on the new panda enclosure, to provide visitors the best possible view of the animals at the state-of-the-art attraction.
Contractors have brought in ten huge glass plates, which weigh a half-tonne each, to provide a secure barrier between visitors and the 250lbs giant pandas, the Evening News has learned.
The thick reinforced floor-to-ceiling glass will allow up to 600 spectators to view Tian Tian and Yuang Guang up close each hour.
And the secure barrier will also prevent any members of the public breaking into the £250,000 enclosure.
The glass walkway under construction, surrounds the new enclosure, which includes a swimming pool, cave, nursery and climbing area.
Specialist hydraulic vacuum lifters have been brought in to move the glass plates into position, "much to the amusement of the surrounding animals" according to contractors the GGR Group.
Although no date has been set for the arrival of Tian Tian and Yuang Guan, it is expected to be shortly after a visit by the Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association scheduled to take place in October.
On Friday Hugh Roberts, chief executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which owns the zoo, revealed modifications are already being made to the enclosure to prepare for the future arrival of cubs, described as "baby-proofing measures".
And Mr Roberts said the large
Good work at zoo recognised
THE hard work of the zoo’s executive manager of marketing and education, Louise Gordon, is paying off: she was nominated for the Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards.
Louise Gordon, the zoo's executive manager of marketing and education
Organised by the publishing house company CEO Communications, the awards recognise the work of women who have excelled in specialised sectors such as agriculture, building and construction, mining and public enterprises.
The theme of this year’s awards was Honouring Women of Substance and Vision. The final winners were announced at the Sandton Convention Centre on 29 July, a few days before August, Women’s Month.
Gordon, who joined the zoo
Woman guard accuses top zoo official of harassment
Close on the heels of a woman employee of Bhubaneswar Development Authority ( BDA) accusing the vice chairman (an IAS officer) and some other staff members of the development body of making derogatory caste remarks against her, now a female employee of the state forest department has leveled harassment charges against her boss, an Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer.
The woman, who works as a forest guard at Nandankanan zoo, alleged the deputy director (in the rank of DFO) of the zoo, harassed her mentally and physically. Police lodged a case against the senior forest officer on Sunday, based on the woman's FIR at Mahila police station on Saturday.
She alleged the deputy director demanded illegal gratification from her to open
Pittsburgh Zoo awaiting genetic material for breeding
The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium has waited for nearly two years for the South African government to release genetic material so the zoo can start the first sperm bank for African elephants in North America.
"It is taking longer than we hoped, but we knew when we started that it had not been done before," said zoo President and CEO Barbara Baker.
Scientists collected samples as part of Project Frozen Dumbo, an international effort to help zoos breed and conserve the largest living land animal. Thomas Hildebrandt, head of reproduction management at Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin, is leading the effort involving the Pittsburgh Zoo, ZooParc de Beauval in France and South African scientists and rangers.
The zoos sent scientists to the Phinda reserve in September 2009 and April 2010. Pittsburgh planned to set up the North American sperm bank and ZooParc de Beauval would set up a European bank, enabling zoos on both continents to breed elephants without the danger of transporting them thousands of miles.
"This is a way to bring in new bloodlines without bringing an elephant in," Baker said. "It's much easier to carry a little vial of semen ... than to bring in a full-grown African elephant."
Zoo officials expect the frozen samples to last for several more years.
For now, 16 liters of semen lie in the National Zoo's BioBank in Pretoria, awaiting export and import permits to reach the United States.
Officials at the South Africa Embassy
DENR says traders selling iguanas as tuko
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Monday revealed that some traders have reportedly been duping buyers into buying iguanas and letting them think that they bought tuko or geckos.
During the day's Senate inquiry on the alleged illegal trade of geckos, DENR Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) Wildlife Resources Division director Josefina De Leon said that they have been receiving reports from the National Bureau of Investigation that some syndicates have been posing both as buyers and sellers of geckos.
She said that syndicate members buy geckos, which have alleged medicinal properties, in front of other interested buyers from supposed gecko traders who are actually accomplices.
When a victim follows their lead, De Leon said the syndicate will deliver not a gecko but a certain species of iguana to the victim. "(Then) they will go away with the money leaving the animal unusable," he said.
The gecko trade
The DENR had earlier said that they have been receiving reports that geckos are being sold in different parts of the country for a minimum price of P50,000 per 300 grams.
Reports have also indicated that geckos are primarily being sold or bidded out online through networking sites and other Internet-based marketing networks.
Senator Manuel Villar, chairman of the Senate committee on trade and commerce, said there has been much interest in geckos because of claims that they can serve as aphrodisiacs and as cure for cancer, asthma, tuberculosis, impotence and even Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
No scientific proof
But Dr. Eric Tayag, head of the Department of Health National Epidemiological Center, said there is no solid scientific basis for