Friday, September 2, 2011

Zoo News Digest 29th August - 2nd September 2011 (Zoo News 783)

Zoo News Digest 29th August - 2nd September 2011 (Zoo News 783)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

There is only naturally some concern as to the fate of the animals in the zoo in Tripoli. The animals nearly always come last during war and political strife and sadly it usually takes a long time before something is done. I recollect the problems in Kuwait Zoo during the invasion by Iraq and Kabul Zoo under the Taliban. More recently there was Abidjan. There were others of course. Help is very slow in arriving in all such circumstances. People are concerned about their own safety and whether offered help will actually reach those to whom it was intended...and often it won't.
Whereas the situation in Libya remains far from clear it does seem to be on the change. Animal stories are always popular on the TV and in the press and moreso if the animals are being hard done to. So what is happening in Tripoli? To be honest I don't know. I have read a few newspaper reports which appear to be repeats of each other. What I do have is the CNN report (see the clip below) and another from AP which I have watched a few times. The animals I saw here were not starving, wasted or stressed (okay there was a token dead deer). These are animals which are being cared for. True enough the hippos looked a little 'sad' but I believe it was more an expression of surprise caused by the arrival of cameraman and reporter. Then there is the hippo water which was talked about....well the pool looked to be full to me and the water far cleaner than many a hippo pool I have seen.
Now I could be totally wrong of course but based what I saw in that CNN and AP report I am not worried about the animals in Tripoli Zoo....and things should get even better from now on in. If anyone who really knows would like to give an honest update on the situation I will post it out. Right now I honestly believe the press are making a story out of something where there really is not one.

My observations on Cruelty to Chimpanzees generated a bit of interest in various quarters. One of the authors of the paper has commented at the base of the article. Fair comment? You decide.

So South Africa is considering dehorn rhinos. Good! Take action, don't just talk about it. As I suggested in RHINOCEROS FARMING IN CHINA it is important to dehorn all living rhinos which are to be legally exported. Rhino conservation farms, reserves and sanctuaries where export is planned and legal must take a huge share of the responsibility for the continued illegal trade in rhinoceros horn.

At the same time they are also seemingly considering lifting the ban on the trade in Rhino Horn. Give me Strength!!!!!

And this week we had our first Rhino Horn theft (second if you count the Colchester incident) from a zoo. Happily it was not taken from a living animal but it does serve as a warning!

What is it with CAPS? Blinkered. Caps over their eyes.

Zion Wildlife Park remains in the news. I was interested to see this quote.

"Mrs Allbrow said if the people of Northland want to have a safari park, a recognised breeding programme for endangered species and a television series promoting the park, they will support Mr Busch buying back the park"

The "recognised breeding programme for endangered species" has puzzled me. Which particular endangered species is that? White Tigers or White Lions?

You may be wondering why I have included the article of 'Fellatio by Fruit Bats'. Well simply because whilst I was digging up the Chimpanzee article I found that the Fruit Bat article was one of the most popular they had published. I have not read it but it obviously is of interest to many.

I see that Anne the Elephant is once again starting to generate a bit of interest from those well meaning people who really have not got a clue.

The number of participants in International Vulture Awareness Day has now increased to over 100, which is brilliant. There are still two days left to join up. Sadly the number of collections which should become involved have ignored the day and should thoroughly ashamed of themselves.


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War's forgotten: Tripoli Zoo animals suffer, lacking food, water
The residents of zoos are often the first to be neglected when cities are hit by man-made or natural disasters.
CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson discovered a dire situation Tuesday at the Tripoli Zoo, struggling to function as a nationwide conflict rages around it.
Robertson found the gates locked and was told the zoo was under renovation -- that there were no animals there.
But a big cat's roar told a different story, and Robertson followed the sound -- underscored by the echo of gunfire in the distance -- to find enclosures holding a tiger, lions, giant tortoises, hippos, hyenas, bears, monkeys, deer, emus and more.
All the animals appeared undernourished and struggling as they waited for food and for water where there

Libya's Zoo struggles to keep animals alive
The body of a gazelle lies near an empty feeding bin, flies swarming around the corpse. A male lion growls angrily, leaping toward the front of his cage when a rare visitor approaches the bars.
This is life in the Tripoli Zoo, which has found itself a casualty of the war to oust Moammar Gadhafi.
Once one of the city's best-loved family destinations, today it is 110 dusty acres of listless animals and overgrown, sunburned grass. Empty bullet casings are scattered everywhere. A patch of black grass near the monkey cage shows where a rocket-propelled grenade hit. A turtle cage is cracked by gunfire, garbage is piled everywhere and three forlorn hippopotamuses hang their heads in a filthy pit, standing next to a shallow pool of fetid water. Because of the city's water shortage, the zoo's skeleton staff can only clean the animals' cages every four or five days.
At least two of the nearly 600 animals at the zoo died from the stress of living in a combat zone, zookeepers say, and many more are

CNN: War's forgotten Tripoli Zoo animals suffer, lacking food, water

Fighting Affects Animals at Tripoli's Zoo

Zoos not just to exhibit animals
WHEN one is thrown into the deep end, there are only two ways to react -- sink or swim.
When the Singapore Zoo found itself in such a situation in 2004, it chose to swim.
That was the year the Singapore government decided to cut the cord, after years of having to bail out the zoo.
"The zoo had been losing money for over 30 years. Every year, it received funds from the government but in 2004, the Singapore government decided that enough was enough.
"There was to be no money coming in from 2006 onwards," said Isabel Cheng of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), the parent company of the Singapore Zoo.
Left unfunded but with a mandate to turn itself around, the establishment got down to business, literally.
It brought in a new management team from the commercial sector that same year and ran a tight ship.
Among the first things the team did was to take over the management of the food and beverage (F&B), and souvenir retail segment, the moneymaking machines of the business.
The zoo subsequently underwent a steady stream of makeovers to naturalise its environment and took on an active approach towards building up its educational and conservational role. In 2006, it turned a small profit -- its first in many years -- and has been profitable ever since.
Cheng maintained that while the business is profitable, the entity remains not-for-profit.
Resources are ploughed back into redevelopment and rejuvenation, allowing parks under the WRS umbrella, which include the Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park, to be world-class attractions.
A unique selling point of the Singapore Zoo -- which houses over 3,000 animals of 316 species, 36 per cent of which are endangered -- is its secondary rainforest setting.
Set in a lush rainforest environment, the zoo's "open concept" allows animals to live in spacious and landscaped environments simulating their natural habitat.
"Animal enrichment programmes" are conducted to keep the inhabitants psychologically healthy, said WRS director of zoology Biswajit Guha.
The zoo is also evolving into an open, learning space, where exhibits are equipped with educational and interactive content to better convey facts about the animals and messages on wildlife conservation.
While zoos have been known to be recreational in the past, that module is becoming increasingly unsustainable, said Cheng.
"In some societies today, zoos remain a place for exhibiting exotic animals to satisfy visitors' curiosity, a circus to entertain peop

Leading article: Are zoos justified?
One of the advantages of the science of animal behaviour, which was founded 60 years ago by Niko Tinbergen and Konrad Lorenz, is that it has let us understand something of the essence of wild creatures: how they go about their normal lives in their natural state. It has also correspondingly enabled us to see, for the first time, that some behaviours exhibited by the animals we keep in captivity are not normal at all. Indeed, as we report today in the case of chimpanzees, they can be examples of considerable distress, or even incipient madness; and the cause seems to be captivity itself.
Zoos have not been unresponsive to the challenges of animal welfare in recent years. For example, it is a decade now since London Zoo moved its elephants from their entirely unsuitable concrete elephant house in Regent's Park to the greener and freer pastures of Whipsnade. Yet it is clear that despite the obvious value of zoos for education and the captive breeding of endangered species, there is a growing questioning of the virtue of keeping some creatures in captivity at all, not least the primates, our closest relatives in the animal world.

Zoo to breed chimpanzees despite cruelty warning
A Scottish zoo is planning to start a new breeding programme for chimpanzees, in the wake of recent research suggesting that captivity drives chimps mad.
The plan for new chimpanzee breeding at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling follows findings from the University of Kent showing that serious behavioural abnormalities – "some of which could be compared to mental illness in humans" – are endemic among captive chimpanzees.
The research, focusing on 40 chimps in six leading but unnamed zoos in the UK and the US, found that all the animals studied engaged in abnormal behaviour, which included self-mutilation, repetitive rocking, the eating of faeces and drinking of urine. The chimps came from many different backgrounds, and the researchers were unable to isolate any single cause, other than the one thing they all had in common – that they were in captivity.
"We suggest that captivity itself may be fundamental as a causal factor in the presence of persistent, low-level, abnormal behaviour – and potentially more extreme levels in some individuals," said the leader of the study, Nicholas Newton-Fisher, an expert in wild chimpanzee behaviour.
But the findings, published in the online science journal PLoS ONE, are not deterring the Blair Drummond Safari Park, which already has chimpanzees Chippy and his half-sister Rosie, born there 23 years ago, and wishes to bring in a new female in the hope that she and Chippy will mate.
"I do not believe that captivity is inherently bad for chimpanzees," said head keeper Alasdair Gillies. "There may be individuals in captivity who do display abnormal behaviour, but I think that is likely to be a result of their background. These abnormal behaviours could be learned culturally – chimps often imitate other chimps."
Mr Gillies added: "We will be pressing

Fellatio by Fruit Bats Prolongs Copulation Time

San Diego Zoo Conservation Project Uses Squirrels to Help Owls
This month, the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research announced that they've released over 350 squirrels to the wild as part of a long-term focus on rejuvenating the numbers and habitat of the burrowing owl. Visiting parts of San Diego county designated as burrowing owl stomping grounds (including Otay Mesa and Jamul), releasing squirrels is helpful to the owls in a number of unique ways.
The California ground squirrel is one of the most common in America, and can be found predominately on the west North American coast, from Mexico to Washington. While they're often scampering in trees, they spend a majority of their time within 25 feet of their underground burrow. And, they're smart as well. In 2006, researchers at UC Davis discovered that female squirrels have learned to chew on rattlesnake skin, and then lick their fur and their squirrel pups in order to disguise themselves to local snakes, which hunt by scent.
So how do these squirrels help out burrowing owls? While they've become common park scavengers in urban environments, each squirrel will burrow its own area, which when vacated serve as homes to burrowing owls. Unlike typical owls, burrowing owls will spend their active time during daylight, mostly hunting in the dawn and dusk hours. "Burrowing owls are a species of special concern in California; they're a very important part of the grassland ecosystem," said Colleen Lenihan, Ph.D and Postdoctoral Associate at the Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research. "They live underground in association with ground-dwelling mammals like the California ground squirrel. They eat a lot of rodents, small birds and quite a few insects." They're also known to eat fruits and seeds, another rare trait for owls. Aside from pre-built burrows, additional help from squirrel neighbors comes with their appetite, which keeps the surrounding grass and invasive plant species down enough for burrowing owls to hunt. And, it just seems like having an active squirrel area fosters more life in general, as, according

Swimming with tigers at Florida zoo
You've heard of swimming with dolphins, manatees or even sharks - but tigers?
A zoo in Dade City, Florida is hoping cat lovers will pay $200 a pop for the chance to take a dip with a tiger cub.
Dade City's Wild Things, a nonprofit sanctuary zoo, will host the 30-minute swims Tuesdays through Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The two male Siberian tiger cubs, named Rajah and Ruari, are 8 weeks old and were born at the zoo.
Zoo President Randy Stearns said the swims are

Medical Treatment to Endangered Species
The Ministry is aware of the shortage of trained veterinary doctors to deal with wildlife health problems in the country. However, the details of the requirement of veterinary doctors are not compiled in the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
The State/Union Territory Governments are primarily responsible for the management of National Parks/Wildlife Sanctuaries. Involvement of State Veterinary Department and their hospitals located near the Protected Areas has been identified as a practical solution for treatment of wild animals.
Further, the Central Zoo Authority organizes training programmes for the veterinarians working in the zoos at interval of two years to enhance their skill and efficiency in respect of the diagnosis and treatment of wildlife including the endangered species. The Central Zoo Authority also organizes specialized training programme for the zoo compounders and laboratory technicians at the National Institute of Animal Welfare,

Why three lion cubs died at Karachi Zoo and other tales of incompetence
The death of three lion cubs at the Karachi Zoo, and the disappearance of a fourth, highlights the dearth of professionals trained in the care of animals, and an apparent indifference on the part of senior officials charged with overseeing the upkeep of the country’s zoological gardens.
The lion cubs were the latest in a long line of animal victims of human negligence and incompetence.
I was once asked by the Punjab government to determine why several of their most expensive and rare birds kept dying in the enclosures built for them. Upon examination, I discovered that the enclosures had been designed by an engineer with no knowledge of the habits of those birds.
At the same zoo, the reptile enclosure had no heating arrangements despite the city’s cold winters. Many of the reptiles died of hypothermia. When I asked why there was no heating for a cold-blooded animal, I was told that the low-powered bulb, hanging about 13 feet above the animals, had been deemed to be a sufficient source of heat for animals most commonly found on desert sands.
Similarly, the giraffe enclosure was very poorly designed. The architect who designed it seemed to overestimate the height of the animal and made the food basket too high for the poor giraffe to reach, resulting in the animal starving for not being tall enough.
Poorly designed enclosures seem to be a running theme across zoos in Pakistan. At one zoo, an elephant broke its leg when it slipped into a moat that had been meant to keep the animal in its cage. The elephant eventually had to be euthanised.
On some occasions, the thought

100 animals died in Delhi Zoo last year
More than 100 animals died in Delhi Zoo last year. In all, nearly 3,000 animals died in zoos across the country in the same period, official figures revealed Monday.
Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan informed the Lok Sabha that 109 animals died in the Delhi Zoo in 2010-11.
Further, 2,910 animals died in zoos across the country in the same period. The highest number of deaths was recorded in Gujarat, which stood at 380.
"Most of the death of animals occurred in the

Guj at top in losing its zoo animals
The highest animal mortality in zoos of the country was reported from Gujarat. Of the 2,910 zoo animal deaths in a year across India, 380 were in Gujarat. In Kankaria zoo in Ahmedabad, 150 animals died in the last one year. This zoo has over 2,000 animals.
After Gujarat with 380 deaths, Karnataka was the biggest loser of caged animals with 354 of them dying in a year. Maharashtra followed at third place with 242 deaths.
This information was given out by Union ministry of forest and environment in reply to the question of Dharmendra Yadav, Member of Parliament from Badaun in Uttar Pradesh. Yadav when contacted said that he has demanded information, but the question never came up for discussion. He said that he received the reply from the parliament secretariat.
In its reply, the government said that in all, 2,910 animals have died in zoos across the country in the one year ending on March 31, 2011. Of these over 13 per cent deaths, the highest

Rare creatures to be zoo's new features
THEY are among the rarest creatures on the planet, and have never been seen before in the Capital.
Given their size, visitors to a new exhibition at Edinburgh Zoo may have to look hard to spot the weird and wonderful animals. The creatures are part of a new exhibit featuring rare cannibal snails and cooing tortoises.
A dozen species, nine of which have never been shown at the

What is killing killer whales?
Killer whales, the ocean's fiercest predators, are easily recognisable by their black and white markings.
But their future seems less clearly defined.
Marine experts are concerned about an invisible threat to the animals that has been building in our seas since World War II.
That was when industries began extensively using chemical flame retardants, such as PCBs.
These chemicals were later found to harm human health and the environment, and governments around the world banned their use in the 1970s.
But their legacy lives on in the world's seas and oceans, say biologists, posing a modern threat to animals such as killer whales, also known as o

‘Smart Collar’ in the Works to Manage Wildlife Better
The collar of the wild is coming.
And in the same way that the smartphone changed human communications, what might be called the “smart collar” — measuring things that people never could before about how animals move and eat and live their lives — could fundamentally transform how wild populations are managed, and imagined, biologists and wildlife managers say.
The collars, in development in academia and intended for commercial production in the next few years, use a combination of global positioning technology and accelerometers for measuring an animal’s metabolic inner life in leaping, running or sleeping. From the safari parks of Africa to urbanized zones on the edge of wildlands across the American West — places where widespread interest in the devices has already been voiced, scientists said — the mysteries of the wild might never be the same.
“What you end up with is a diary for the animal, a 24-hour diary that says he spent this much time sleeping, and we kn collar wildlife&st=cse

JAAN’s involvement with the Sintang Orangutan Center (SOC)’s-involvement-sintang-orangutan-center-soc

Bahrain wildlife park gets new resident
Visitors to Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve in Bahrain will be able to catch a glimpse of a new resident this Eid - an Arabian leopard.
Bahrain's first resident Arabian leopard is being housed at the recently-opened enclosure for wild animals, alongside Arabian hyenas and wolves.
Al Areen director Dr Adel Al Awadhi said the animal had yet to be given a name, but was being referred to as 'Ramadan' by some of the keepers due to the timing of his arrival.
Dr Awadhi said that the four-and-a-half years old leopard had been brought to Bahrain with plans to eventually breed with a female.
'The Arabian leopard, which we brought from the UAE, has already been placed in the wildlife enclosure,' he told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
'We have special breeding facilities so maybe

Beluga whales won't be coming
Critics welcome Ocean Park's decision not to import the wild-caught mammals
Ocean Park has abandoned its plan to import wild-caught beluga whales from Russia, following an outcry from animal welfare groups....
Chairman Allan Zeman and his fellow executives decided yesterday morning to
drop the option of bringing in the near-threatened species for the park's
new Polar Adventure attraction, which opens next year.
The U-turn comes even though Ocean Park has an option on six belugas caught
in the wild last year and being kept in a holding facility in Russia and has
begun work on a tank to accommodate the whales.
The theme park funded a sustainability study that concluded that up to 29
beluga whales a year could be taken from the Sea of Okhotsk over a five-year
period without putting the population at risk.
But opposition from animal welfare groups in Hong Kong and overseas who
argued Ocean Park should not import wild-caught belugas persisted. A protest
by a coalition of groups was due to be staged outside Ocean Park on Sunday.
Zeman said last night: "Everyone can rest assured no belugas from the wild
will be imported into Ocean Park - not from Russia or from anywhere else."
He said the plan to import the belugas was only ever

Tasmanian tiger was no sheep killer
New research has revealed the tasmanian tiger may not have deserved its sheep-killing reputation.
September marks the 75th anniversary of the death of the last known tiger, or thylacine, at a Hobart zoo.
When it was alive it had a bad reputation as a sheep killer.
From 1830 till 1909 there was a bounty on the species because it was considered a pest.
PhD candidate Marie Attard, from the University of New South Wales, says people thought each thylacine could be eating up to 100 sheep each year.
While it has been more recently acknowledged that that was an exaggeration, Ms Attard says thylacines may not have even been capable of killing

CDC Investigation Pinpoints Elephant-to-Human TB Outbreak (not new news but worth remembering)
Several employees at a Tennessee elephant refuge were infected in 2009, including some who had no close contact with the animals. Air flow tests indicated bacteria that were aerosolized during routine pressure washing of a quarantine barn entered an adjacent administrative building.
A newly published CDC study points out the need for strong infection control practices for workers who have close contact with elephants living in captivity. The authors explain what they found when the Tennessee Department of Health reported in 2009 that several employees of an elephant refuge not open to the general public had latent M. tuberculosis tests. The lead researcher was Dr. Rendi Murphree, Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer at CDC and a Vanderbilt University Visiting Scholar, and the study has been published in the March 2011 issue of CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases (Vol. 17, No. 3).
About 270 Asian elephants and about 220 African elephants live in captivity in North America, and about 12 percent of the Asian elephants and 2 percent of the African elephants are thought to be infected with M. tuberculosis, they report. The first reported outbreak of TB among elephants in North America occurred at an exotic animal farm in Illinois in 1996, and an investigation there confirmed four Asian elephants and 11 human caregivers were infected. As a result, since 1998, the USDA Animal Plant Health

Following the Trail of Conservation Successes
Pessimism prevails in the conservation community because of ongoing habitat destruction and associated threats to a wide variety of species. With the global population expected to surge past 10 billion people by the end of this century, conservationists will face increasing challenges in their efforts to protect imperiled species and habitats.
A new paper by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS), James Cook University and, published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, shows that although large-scale biodiversity declines are ongoing, certain conservation actions have made a positive difference.
The paper was led by the late Professor Navjot Sodhi of NUS, a renowned conservation ecologist who, more than anyone, understood the dismal outlook of conservation, having focused much of his career highlighting the biodiversity crisis.
According to one of the authors, Luke Gibson, a PhD student from the Department of Biological

S.Africa may dehorn rhinos, ban hunts to stop poaching
South Africa is investigating dehorning its rhino population and stopping legal trophy hunts to fight a poaching crisis that has killed 279 animals this year, the environment minister said Monday.
Officials are considering putting a moratorium on rhino hunting to deal with abuses in the allocation of permits, which were issued to around 130 people last year and some 140 this year, Edna Molewa told reporters.
"Illegal hunting and abuse of (the) permit system may be the main threats that could impact on the survival of rhinos in the wild in the near future," the minister said.
The ministry has also commissioned a study to look at the possibility of removing rhinos' horns, a measure believed to deter poachers selling to the lucrative Asian blackmarket.
"We haven't said that we are going to dehorn. The dehorning possibility

SA eyes lifting of ban on rhino horn trade
SOUTH Africa has taken the first step on the long and controversial road to lifting the world ban on rhino horn trading.
The ban has been in place for more than 30 years.
Last month, the Department of Environmental Affairs placed two advertisements on its tenders website to initiate a series of studies that could pave the way for a resumption of controlled rhino-horn trading.
The studies will include a detailed assessment of whether there are “options and opportunities available to South Africa to access a legal market”.
A separate study will look into the feasibility of dehorning thousands of rhinos as a way of saving them from poachers’ bullets.
Department spokesman Albi Modise said yesterday no decisions had been taken on the question of trading horns internationally, and the preliminary studies were to guide future decision-making on “various options” to safeguard the country’s rhino population.
International trade in rhino horns was banned in 1977 by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) after a wave of poaching threatened to decimate rhino populations in Africa and the Far East.
South Africa, which still allows trophy hunting under a permit system, also imposed a moratorium on the domes- tic sale of rhino products and horns in 2009.
This followed an upsurge in rhino poaching

Drusillas zoo clack rhino horn stolen
A rare black rhino horn has been stolen from a locked conservation cabinet at a zoo in East Sussex.
Drusillas Park in Alfriston had the artefact on display as part of an education exhibit.
The thieves forced the lock on the glass case during opening hours on Wednesday afternoon.
Staff at the zoo saw two men running away from the scene. Police said they were described as white and in their late teens to early 20s.
One was wearing a baseball cap and sportswear, while the other had a horizontal blue and white striped top with jeans.
They were last seen heading


Rhino hunting and economics
Currently there is talk about banning rhino hunting because basically poaching has reached the point where it is getting ridiculous.
The hunting lobbies are anti this because, well, they’re hunters. They like shooting things for fun and profit.
One of the arguments they are now raising is that it will increase poaching because it will drive the price of rhino horn up.
Okay let’s think about this one from an economist’s point of view.
Legal, illegal, it doesn’t make much difference. Dagga is illegal, and pretty cheap I hear. Supply is plentiful as it is known as weed for a reason.
What dictates the price of a good is basically supply versus demand. If lots of people want it, and there is a limited supply, the price will rise.
If the supply is plentiful and nobody much wants it, well it isn’t going to go for much.
So what does it say that the price of rhino horn will increase if South Africa bans rhino hunting? Less rhinos are going to get shot, limiting supply.
That is pretty much what we are going for so it isn’t much of an argument against a ban now is it?
I am sympathetic to the idea we should enforce the laws we already have – but if we aren’t doing that a ban probably won’t have much

This is a very odd video on an interesting platform (Kickstarter). I don't approve. The guy obviously has a heart but sadly has strayed a long way from the good zoo conservation path. Cats and others should be parent reared and if they are not then housing is wrong. Cats and others should not be bred (especially white ones) if they are outside of an official breeding programme. Okay, I'm the video:

Are we opening a can of Apple worms at zoo?
I saw the new movie "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" this week and learned that if you enhance the intelligence of primates in captivity, they will turn on us.
The same day, an article in this newspaper said apes at the Milwaukee County Zoo are using iPads for finger-painting, creating music and checking out videos.
Does anyone else see what's happening here? We're messing with the natural order that chimps and computers don't mix. We may live to regret the day we started giving them Apples instead of apples.
There's something to be said for keeping our zoo animals dumb and docile. If you teach apes to manipulate a touch screen with those sausage fingers of theirs, the next thing you know they'll be banding together, escaping and rampaging across the Hoan Bridge. Let's see who wants a bike lane up there then.
The climax of the movie occurs on the Golden Gate Bridge, and it's not pretty for us humans. But it didn't happen overnight. First, the apes were injected with a miracle gene therapy that made them smart, and

No to lion park bailout, says Merv
A Whangarei district councillor believes the council should not spend ratepayer money on the troubled Zion Wildlife Gardens.
Suggestions have been made that local councils could rescue the big cat park, which has been placed into receivership.
However, Councillor Merv Williams says that, based on his experience with Craig Busch, the council should not get involved.
Mr Williams worked with Mr Busch on a voluntary basis when Mr Busch moved his animals from Kerikeri to Whangarei in 2002.
And Mr Williams said his wife organised tours of Zion Wildlife Gardens once the park was established in Whangarei.
The couple helped develop a financial plan to make the park profitable, but became disillusioned with the way Mr Busch

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm criticised for plans to house elephants
The controversial plans were unveiled by the zoo this afternoon with the help of Strictly Come Dancing star, and former Conservative MP, Ann Widdecombe.
Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm was the centre of a scandal in 2009 after an undercover CAPS investigator discovered that the zoo was breeding tigers for the Great British Circus.
One of the tigers, Tira, died 10 days after giving birth to four cubs. Shockingly, her head, paws and skin were cut off before her body was buried in breach

Ann Widdecombe launches elephant sanctuary project

The Right Honourable Ann Widdecombe went to the Wraxall attraction on Thursday to launch Elephant Eden - a 15-acre site which will include a revolutionary elephant house.

During her visit, Miss Widdecombe, who also starred in last year’s BCC series of Strictly Come Dancing and has been a long-term friend of zoo farm director, Anthony Bush, dug the first turf of an eco-irrigation pond which will serve the elephant facility, fed a tiger and met some of the staff.
After several years of research and planning permission being granted in 2010, now begins the development of the Elephant Eden project.
A statement from the zoo said: “We are confident this will become an internationally-recognised zoo exhibit and



Gorilla artwork on sale on eBay
A gorilla is selling his artwork on eBay.
N'Dowe, a critically endangered lowland gorilla, was given art materials to see how he would react.
Now, the seven-year-old's masterpieces are being sold by Paignton Zoo in Devon to raise money for international ape conservation.
The paintings were created using non-toxic child-friendly paints.
Zoo keepers Craig Gilchrist and Lorraine Miller acted as artist's assistants, putting blobs of paint on the canvas and letting N'Dowe use his fingers. Senior keeper Mr Gilchrist said: "He seemed to enjoy it - he got paint all over himself and us."
One piece is a vibrant red and purple abstract artwork on a canvas 30X23cm. Three more are 40X30cm and feature greens and oranges.
Zoo spokesman Phil Knowling said: "We can't be sure, but it's possible that the vigorous use of bold colour is a comment on the brutal way the natural habitat of gorillas and other species is being destroyed around the world."
N'Dowe is the youngest of six gorillas in the zoo's bachelor group. The rest are silverback Pertinax, 29, Kumbuka, a 13-year-old black back, Kivu and Kiondo, who are both nine, and Matadi, who is eight. Walking sticks made by Kumbuka have also been selling on eBay to raise funds for the ape campaign.
Dr Kirsten Pullen, zoo research officer for the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, which runs Paignton Zoo, said: "Paintings by animals are not entirely unknown - chimps and elephants have done

Video: If you go down to the zoo today... don’t feed the humans
A NEW exhibit is set to rattle a few cages at a North Yorkshire zoo as a group of four humans go on display as part of a university charity project.
The University of York is co-hosting the UK’s only captive group of homo sapiens at Malton’s Flamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo.
The unusual display will raise money for forest conservation and increase awareness of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria Great Ape Campaign.
A Flamingo Land spokesman said: “Humans are the last surviving species of the Homo genus and will join Flamingo Land’s chimpanzees as its second great ape species on show. Although humans are not endangered, nor part of a conservation breeding programme, it is exciting news for Flamingo Land as the homo sapiens will be promoting the Udzungwa Forest Project (UFP) which uses education and research

Developers threaten animals in Croatia's cave network
Species of animals, millions of years old, could be wiped out by pollution and development in Croatia, according to a new breed of cave biologists.
Jana Bedek and her team of bio-speleologists have recently discovered that the underground networks of the Balkans, especially Croatia, have the richest cave fauna in the world.
"We are now in the place with the best range of cave animals in the world," she says.
"The other countries have their own rich fauna in rainforests, marine ecosystems etc, but here in this area we have cave fauna. Really important at world level."
But on a political and economic level, Croatia is emerging from decades of communism, and

It seems more zoos have forgotten than have remembered
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