Friday, August 12, 2011

Zoo News Digest 9th - 12th August 2011 (Zoo News 778)

Zoo News Digest 9th - 12th August 2011 (Zoo News 778)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

Do follow up the link "Is Lion Man Family Reconciliation Possible?" and read the other stories. I believe it is possible and I feel that it should take place. A bust up between mother and son is a terrible thing. Mrs Busch appears very sincere. She has had a very difficult time. The real fly in the ointment for reconciliation is not Craig but his groupies who have said the most despicable things about Patricia and Megan Busch. They need to get real and apologise. They could start right now on their Facebook page.

Sorry Dusit Zoo but whereas I fully appreciate that road safety is important and zoos can play a part in promoting it but I believe that you have gone the wrong way about it. Orangutans should not be dressed up to appear as funny little people. They should firstly be in the wild and if in captivity living with and being reared their mother or in groups with their own kind, and naked as nature intended. Using them in this way is as bad as the boxing and ape shows in places like Bangkok Safari World and Taman Safari Indonesia.

Very many thanks for the few people who sent donations to Zoo News Digest following my appeal. If everyone, or even half of the people who read the Digest were to help just a little bit then there would be no need for repeated appeals. As it is I am just getting by. Now my laptop is acting up. It is going to die soon and there is nothing I can do about it.

The title of the story 'Mother bear kills cub and then itself' suggests murder and suicide when in actual fact neither took place. Two purely accidental deaths. It makes an emotional read. Bear farms are evil places, though I am told that some of the owners truly love their animals. No excuse, they should all be closed down.


Please Think About It
Take two minutes to make a small annual donation to ensure the continuation of Zoo News Digest. Never so important as right now. Click HERE or on the donate button at the top of the Blog page. Quick easy and simple to do. In return you will recieve more than 400 important or interesting zoo related postings per year plus notification of vacancies and meetings and symposia.

Looking for a job?
Several new vacancies online
Check out 
Got one to advertise? email me

This blog has readers from 153+ countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote D’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eire, England, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lapland, Lao, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Montenegro, Montserrat, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Northern Mariana Islands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Reunion, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uruguay, US Virgin Islands, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Wales, Yemen, Zambia. 

Is your meeting/conference/symposium listed here?
If not why not? You want people to attend, don't you? ZooNews Digest is read by more zoo people than any other similar publication. I will advertise up till the event.

Please visit the
if you are looking for books for yourself or as gifts.


On with links: 

Epidemic of UK rhino horn thefts linked to one criminal gang
Rhino horns stolen from museums fetch twice the value of gold on the Chinese medicine market
Rosie the rhinoceros took her last breath somewhere on the Indian subcontinent early last century. She was shot, skinned, stuffed and shipped to London. Then, in 1907, she was acquired by Ipswich Museum, which swapped her with the Natural History Museum for a pig. For more than a century, in Ipswich, she has suffered the pats of generations of school children, her horn curling to the ceiling.
Last month, however, Rosie suffered the second violation of her ignominious afterlife, almost as cruel as the first.
At 12.27am on Thursday 28 July, two men forced their way through a fire escape at the rear of the museum and made straight for the rhinoceros, where they swiftly wrenched off her 45cm (18-inch) horn. They paused only to collect the skull of a second black rhino, displayed on a ledge above its stuffed cousin, before fleeing in a silver saloon car. Nothing else was stolen.
One might think that only a foolish criminal would bypass the lavish gold burial masks of Titos Flavios Demetrios upstairs in the Egyptian gallery, or even the priceless Hawaiian cape made from feathers of the 'o'o bird, in favour of some century-old rhino remains. In fact, police believe these were very canny criminals indeed.
The Ipswich rhinoceros-horn theft is merely the latest from museums and auction houses across Britain and Europe, driven by soaring prices for horn in the far east. According to Europol, many of them are conducted by an Irish crime gang more accustomed to drug trafficking, money laundering and smuggling.
In February, the stuffed and mounted head of a black rhino was taken from Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex. On 27 May, a similar head was taken from the Educational Museum in Haslemere, Surrey, which has one of the largest natural history collections in the UK. Last month it was the turn of a museum in Liège, Belgium; three weeks later the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences in Brussels suffered a similar heist, in which the head of a black rhino, dating from 1827, was stolen.
According to the Metropolitan police, 20 thefts have taken place across Europe in the past six months – in Portugal, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Belgium and Sweden as well as the UK. Scotland Yard and Europol are now advising galleries and collectors to consider locking up their rhino horn collections or keeping them away from public view. Several institutions, including the Natural History Museum and the Horniman Museum in south London, have removed their displays or replaced horns with replicas.
Behind the crime wave is a surge in demand from the far east and European Asian communities for powdered rhino horn, which is used in traditional Chinese medicines. It is valued as a remedy for everything from fevers and headaches to cancer, and demand is so intense it has pushed the value of horn to £60,000 per kilogram – twice the value of gold. Sworders had valued their rhino head, as an artefact, at £50,000; in the medicinal market, however, it could be worth £200,000.
"It is a new crime phenomenon targeting people who may not have ordinarily been victims of crime and who are vulnerable victims," said Patric Byrne, Europol's head of unit for organised crime networks. "And we are not dealing with petty criminals." The gang "of Irish ethnic origin", which the agency has identified as being responsible for many of the attacks, has a background in violence, drug trafficking and intimidation, he said. "There is a strange and very lucrative market in Chinese medicine. They have found that this product attracts a particular premium in some Asian communities."
Detective Constable Ian Lawson, from the Metropolitan police's art and antiques unit, said the gang used a variety of methods to steal the objects, from carefully planned burglaries to "smash and grab" raids, and police had also been alerted to "hostile reconnaissance" from gang members.
Even more worrying is an associated growth in the poaching of live rhinos, according to conservation experts. "In the last three years, 800 African rhinos have been killed and experts agree that we are facing the worst rhino-poaching crisis in decades," said Lucy Boddam-Whetham, the acting director of Save the Rhino International.
Nearly 200 rhinos were killed in South Africa in the first six months of this year, compared with 125 in the same period last year. The organisation says the museum thefts are stimulating the live-rhino poaching, making their situation even more perilous. There are only 20,000 white rhinos and fewer than 5,000 black rhinos in the wild.
Police tape has been removed from around Rosie at Ipswich Museum, replaced by an apologetic laminated note explaining the missing horn. "People love this museum. It's just so sad," said Bryony Rudkin, the councillor who holds the portfolio for museums and culture at Ipswich borough council. "On the morning after it happened, we had a family come in – a grandmother, mother and child – and the grandmother said, 'I remember coming when I was a child

Rhino-horn gang strikes again in Belgium
Robbers made off with two rhino horns from a Belgium museum, the third such heist in the country in less than two months, prompting official warnings against the illicit trade, Belga news agency said Thursday.
The latest occurred last week in the Africa Museum in the city of Namur when one man in a gang of three made off with a stuffed white rhinoceros head as his accomplices diverted the attention of staff.
Government officials subsequently issued a statement underlining that trade in rhino horns is banned under the CITES international agreement, the 1975 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Officials warned the trade was on rise, with customs seizing seven hauls of horns last year in the European Union against one or two a year in the past.
"A rumour propagated across Asia claims powder


Forest on the auction block
Almost 30,000 hectares of a wildlife sanctuary in Oddar Meanchey, Siem Reap and Preah Vihear provinces have been reclassified as state private land for agricultural development, drawing sharp criticism from rights groups.
Four sub-decrees signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on July 22 reclassify land in the Kulen Promptep sanctuary, paving the way for its development.
They cover 12,820 hectares in Preah Vihear and Siem Reap provinces and 15,450 hectares in Oddar Meanchey’s Anlong Veng district.
Thuk Kreun Vutha, secretary of state at the Ministry of Environment, said the government had conducted environmental impact assessments and deemed wildlife would not be affected.
“Now, this wildlife sanctuary has no more wildlife. It is eroded land,” he said.
But Wutty Chut, director of the Natural Resource Protect-ion Group, said that although Ministry of Environment off-icials had failed to curb illegal poaching and logging in the sanctuary, the area still contained areas of healthy forest and diverse species that were protected by law.
Businessmen developing agriculture in other forest

Western Pond Turtle Release - VNR

Bat Conservation Trust
With European Bat Weekend (27th-28th August) fast approaching, we want you to get involved and share your stories and experiences. We are running a writing competition, and the lucky winners will receive a goody bag as well as have their entry published on our website! There are 3 themes, so we want you to choose one and get creative!
Learn More Here

Barbary Macaque Conservation in the Rif - July Newsletter

Wildlife park's receivers await ruling over access
Receivers are waiting on a court ruling to give them access to Zion Wildlife Gardens in Whangarei.
A hearing took place at the Wellington High Court on Tuesday to allow receivers from PricewaterhouseCoopers to serve notices to the wildlife park's managing director.
Craig Busch founded the park, but was sacked as manager by his mother Patricia Busch in 2008. Ms Busch took over his debts and the park when he ran into financial trouble.
Ms Busch has refused to allow the receivers on the property and is launching legal action to try to

Cheetah to be reintroduced at Palpur-Kuno sanctuary

The Palpur-Kuno sanctuary in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh may soon become home to Cheetahs, which will be translocated from Namibia for revival of this endangered and now-extinct species in India.

“If all goes well as per the plan, then Cheetah would be introduced in the Palpur-Kuno habitat by the end of December or early January next year,” Madhya Pradesh Forest Minister, Sartaj Singh told PTI.
“The Cheetahs will be brought from Namibia for the revival of the now-extinct animal in the country,” he said.
“Surveys have been done in this regard and opinion of the experts are in favour of the re-introduction of Cheetah at Palpur-Kuno,” the minister said.
Recently, a team of experts from Namibia including Lorrie Marker, conservationist and senior forest department officials visited Palpur-Kuno to workout the strategy for reintroduction

Perhilitan audits problem zoos, submits reports
The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) has conducted audits on Malacca and Johor zoological parks which allegedly have mistreated their animals.
The Malay Mail understands the results of the submitted audits will be known after they have been discussed by a committee headed by Natural Resources and Environment Ministry secretary-general Datuk Zoal Azha Yusof.
The committee, which is entrusted with scrutinising applications and issuing permits for zoo management under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, may stop issuing permits for the zoos based on the results of the audit reports.
Johor Zoo had been alleged to have kept a baby elephant named Paloh in deplorable conditions while the Malacca Zoo was alleged to have confined eight orang utan to a cage instead of having them out in the open with the other animals.
Nature Alert, an international non-governmental organisation, had submitted at least 12 separate official complaints to Perhilitan documenting animal abuse and neglect at the government-owned Malacca Zoo and the privately-owned A’Famosa Resort in Alor Gajah, also in Malacca.
Perhilitan deputy director-general Dr Zaaba Zainal Abidin told The Malay Mail apart from the two zoos in Malacca and Johor, the department recently conducted audits at eight other parks

Dusit Zoo - see my editorial

Mother bear kills cub and then itself
The Chinese media has reported on an extraordinary account of a mother bear saving her cub from a life of torture by strangling it and then killing itself.
The bears were kept in a farm located in a remote area in the North-West of China. The bears on the farm had their gall bladders milked daily for 'bear bile,' which is used as a remedy in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
It was reported that the bears are kept in tiny cages known as 'crush cages', as the bears have no room to manoeuvre and are literally crushed.
The bile is harvested by making a permanent hole or fistula in the bears' abdomen and gall bladder.
As the hole is never closed, the animals are suspect to various infections and diseases including tumours, cancers and death from peritonitis.
The bears are fitted with an iron vest, as they often try to kill themselves by hitting their stomach as they are unable to bear the pain.
A person who was on the farm in place of a friend witnessed

Zoo Leadership to Focus on Staff Training and Development
One day after a private consulting report was heard by city council, the director of the Chattanooga Zoo says it is on firm financial ground and has a dedicated staff.
The zoo came in for some criticism earlier in the year over the deaths of several animals.
The Friends of the Zoo organization paid for the 25-thousand dollar study, which praised the "passionate leadership" but urged the administration to spend more time building and developing

Humans to live in huge hummingbird nest at Lincoln Park Zoo ... for a day
Bird is the word at the Lincoln Park Zoo, where a human-sized hummingbird nest will be under construction beginning Thursday.
The nest, made of 1,800 feet of bungee cord and an enormous steel twig, will be occupied by three TV hosts on Monday as part of Nat Geo Wild’s “Live Like An Animal” series.
The three men previously spent 24 hours in a man-made beaver’s lodge in London and a wasp’s nest in New York City.
“It’s just sort of a test, can you build like an animal, can you live like an animal,” said Richard Pearson, the show’s producer, as he strolled through Lincoln Park Zoo looking for local materials like wood chips or plants to incorporate into the nest. “In this particular place, three grown men will spend a total of 24 hours living in the nest and we’ll see what they experience.”
They won’t have much room. The nest will be approximately 5.5 feet in diameter and 3 feet deep, which mimics the hummingbirds small nest of “stretchy and strong materials,” Pearson said.
On the previous two projects, the TV crew realized they could not build the animal home as well as the animals could. Pearson said he wouldn’t be surprised if at some point there is a trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond to pick up some sort of necessary “doodad.”
“There comes a point that what the animal does is impossible

The science behind the Zoo
WHEN YOU think of an elephant, what springs to mind? Beasts of burden hauling logs? Circus animals putting on a show? Our relationship with Earth’s largest land mammals has had its less-than-stellar moments, but an initiative at Dublin Zoo is putting biology first to ensure that its elephants can live and behave as naturally – and happily – as possible.
“The whole philosophy behind the house was the biology,” says Gerry Creighton, Dublin Zoo’s operations manager.
He explains how the Asian elephants, two sisters who arrived over from Rotterdam, pregnant, in 2006, and their offspring interact with the zoo team through a “protected contact” system that allows the animals to function as a matriarchal society, but still lets the zoo team care for them, from giving them pedicures to tracking their hormone cycles.
“In the old days when they designed houses here, nothing about the animal would be taken into consideration,” he says.
“Now the inspiration for the design comes from the animal itself. We looked at elephants and biologically how they are programmed, what behaviours we wanted to maximise and what they do in the wild – and we created an environment where they could do all those in the zoo situation.”
So how does it work in practice? One of the key areas is feeding, because elephants in the wild spend around 18 hours a day searching for food or eating, explains Creighton.
The habitat in the zoo makes the animals think and work for

Bonobo crowned 'cleverest ape in the world'
Matriarchal monkeys showed alpha apes who has the most intelligence after the females won a competition for "cleverest monkey" organised by Antwerp Zoo.
The bonobo apes, more commonly known as pygmy chimpanzees, beat the group of chimpanzees 4-2 in intelligence tests.
Bonobos are a primate unique to Congo and humankind's closest relative - they share 98.4 percent of their genetic make-up with humans. They live in matriarchies where females lead the group and frequently use sex to resolve social conflicts.
The competition included six games, or tests, that had to be undertaken in a limited timeframe - time the chimpanzees wasted with alpha male in-fighting, while the matriarchal competitors muddled through.
Behavioural biologist and bonobo specialist Jeroen Stevens and his colleagues at the zoo expected the tool-wielding chimps to win, but were surprised by the persistence and motivation of a female

Elephant to retire to Maine community
Are there elephants in Maine? Not yet, but there soon will be. A veterinarian from the town of Hope is building a treatment facility for a retired circus elephant named Rosie.
Dr. Jim Laurita says elephants are amazing creatures, as smart or smarter than many humans, and very social. He began working with elephants in the circus at age eighteen, and then worked with elephants at the Bronx Zoo and an animal safari business in Oregon before graduating from Cornell University Veterinary school. Laurita says he has known Rosie the elephant for years, and says she needs specialized treatment for muscle and leg injuries suffered

Dyan deNapoli: The great penguin rescue

Patricia Busch offers olive branch to son Craig over Zion Wildlife Gardens
The mother of Lion Man Craig Busch has extended the olive branch to her son in the hope that he will return to Whangarei's world-famous Zion Wildlife Park.
Patricia Busch and her son had a bitter fallout after she took over the park after bailing him out from financial debts.
But just hours after Mrs Busch finally allowed receivers into the park yesterday, following it being placed into liquidation last week, she says she still loves her son and wants him back at the park.
"I'd love him to talk to me. I believe he is in New Zealand but I can't be certain about that but I've certainly put it out there to him," she said.
On whether she would like to see her son take back the park, she said: "Absolutely. It's his idea and he was the founder. I still love him of course."
Mrs Busch said legal stoush aside, they do not have anything personal and if they have a chance to talk, they would.
She last spoke to Mr Busch on July 2 when h

Spring/Summer 2012

Graduate/Professional Training Courses and Certificates

Smithsonian-Mason Global Conservation Studies Program, Front Royal, VA

For more information, visit

Animal Welfare Group Opposes Privatization of L.A. Zoo
The Los Angeles Zoo is one of a dwindling number in the U.S. that is publicly owned and financed. But all of that may change very soon if the City Council approves a plan to privatize the zoo, a move that In Defense of Animals (IDA) opposes.
Catherine Doyle, IDA's elephant welfare specialist, told the Los Angeles Times that privatization will result in less transparency, making the zoo "become even more secretive and insular."
In 2009, IDA filed a grand jury complaint against the zoo over its "gross malfeasance and unethical behavior in its actions to secure approval of a $42 million elephant exhibit expansion." The controversial, 6-acre Pachyderm Forest exhibit, which opened last December, was opposed by animal rights groups that wanted the elephants to be moved to a much larger sanctuary.
The City of Los Angeles currently contributes about $15 million to the zoo's annual $26 million operating costs. The zoo brings in about $11.5 million in revenue each year.
On July 28 the Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee voted unanimously to request management proposals from private groups, according to KPCC. The committee also approved a motion to study ways to increase zoo revenue, such as charging for parking, to enable it to remain under city management.
According to the proposal, the animals would continue

Dear Personal Friends, Family, Dusti's previous Earthwatch Vols, Friends of Life Net, and Friends of Biodiversity Conservation,

Life Net volunteers help people in tropical nations protect biodiversity hotspots that they depend on for their livelihoods. Life Net field projects depend on volunteers for labor and funding. Please be so kind as to help us recruit volunteers, simply by posting/sharing the two attached flyers (contact Life Net) at your workplace, on list-serves, at your place of worship (if you are a religious conservationist), university, hiking club, Audubon chapter, or public venue (library for example) where interested parties will see them. The economic crunch has severely reduced Life Net's success rate for volunteer recruitment, so we are stepping up the effort to spread the word beyond our regular postings at Conservation Biology Jobs, Texas A and M jobs, and Ornjobs. If you know of other list-serves or conservation-oriented job boards, please let me know, and feel free to share the information on such job boards if you are allowed to do so.

Thank you for your help and support. Please visit the Life Net website for our latest newsletter. If you are a Facebook enthusiast, please "like" our new Facebook page which is listed as Life Net. We need your support to do conservation work to sustain local people in biodiversity rich tropical hotspots like Ecuador and Kenya, and to advocate for wildlife conservation here in the USA.

Happy summer!
Dr. Dusti Becker and Dr. Anthony Povilitis


Woman hurt at Tobias Wildlife Park's tiger enclosure
A woman was reportedly injured Thursday afternoon after sticking her arm inside a tiger enclosure at a Dauphin County zoo.
Pennsylvania State Police spokesperson Cpl. Tom Pinkerton said it is believed the employee at Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax Township was in an area she was not authorized to be in. One of the Bengal tigers in the enclosure "bit or scratched" her arm, causing a deep wound.
Pinkerton said it was believed the employee was a driver for the zoo, in her late 20s and from Harrisburg. She was taken to a hospital by ambulance.
Pinkerton said no other information was


Who’s Hurting Chimpanzees Now?
Should a wild animal be forced to sell car insurance, dance the Macarena, and smoke cigars to provoke a laugh? Not that it matters if there were millions of chimpanzees around to abuse, but a new study concludes that chimpanzees may be doomed as a species as long as the public

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:


Zoo Conferences, Meetings, Courses and Symposia



The Zoo Biology Group is concerned with all disciplines involved in the running of a Zoological Garden. Captive breeding, husbandry,cage design and construction, diets, enrichment, man management,record keeping, etc etc


Join Zoo News Digest Facebook Page
updated daily


Zoo Jobs and Related Vacancies
please visit:


ZooNews Digest is a private and completely independent publication, not allied or attached to any zoological collection. Many thanks.
Kind Regards,

Wishing you a wonderful week

"These are the best days of my life"

Please Donate to Zoo News Digest in order to keep it going


No comments:

Post a Comment