Monday, September 12, 2011

Zoo News Digest 7th - 12th September 2011 (Zoo News 785)

Zoo News Digest 7th - 12th September 2011 (Zoo News 785)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

Apologies for being just a little late. Changed continents and it has been just a bit difficult sorting out my internet connection. Got there in the end. It was not as cheap as I hoped it would be. The Angels wept when I left my adopted home. The skies opened and rain fell the likes that has never been seen before, Dao's Bar flooded, Tangs shop too. I am sorry I wasn't there to help clean up the mess.

Some years ago I recollect rearing a number of ducklings of various breeds. We kept them on a lawn with a shallow water dish for drinking and bathing. Inevitably the water became quickly muddied as they dabbled in it as ducks are prone to do. There was an indignant visitor who complained about the colour of the water and how disgusting it was they were expected to drink from that. When it was pointed out to him that ducks would be ducks he seriously suggested that a separate shallow dish be provided specifically for drinking. The guy was insane of course. Why do I mention this because exactly the same illogic could be used for PETA and their suggestion that the 'Monster Croc' should be placed somewhere with very few people. I daresay they will provide the signage 'Do Not Pass Beyond This Point' and 'Do Not Eat People'.

Mind you I am a little concerned about the expertise of those caring for the crocodile. Some are worried because it hasn't eaten for four days whilst it has been stated "that crocodiles can subsist after their last feeding for two whole weeks so there is yet nothing to worry about."....Hogwash. If it went four months plus without eating I would be none too worried.

So 'Happy Feet' may well have become a happy meal for some predator. Pity. Though there are those who believe that a death in the wild is preferable to a pampered life in captivity. I still believe he should not have been released. Well, all water under the bridge now.

With the move and its associated traumas I have a lot of correspondence to catch up on. I know I always say that and I do always try but sometimes I find correspondence I never knew I had.


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'Monster croc will go crazy in zoo'

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) senior campaigner Ashley Fruno expressed her organization's dismay at keeping "Lolong," the giant crocodile of Agusan del Sur province, as a tourist attraction.

Despite the imminent danger that the crocodile may pose to humans living around its natural habitat, PETA underscored the importance of animals' rights, especially their freedom.
"It will be unacceptable for Lolong (dahil) wala siyang freedom, walang choice of food, kaibigan and habitat," said Ashley Fruno, senior campaigner of PETA Asia-Pacific.
With PETA's advocacy against keeping animals from being tucked away in zoos, especially poorly-managed ones, Fruno also wishes the same fate for Lolong
"Animals in zoos exhibit a condition called zoochosis, where they will be frequently banging their heads, pace aroud and repeatedly (show other abnormal animal behavior)." said Fruno. "The result of zoochosis might be dangerous. He poses a risk of escaping. No matter where he is, he can still be dangerous to humans. It depends on how we're going to deal with it."
Instead of keeping Lolong in a zoo, PETA suggests keeping him in an area with very few people, citing that it is better for him to live his long life comfortably and at peace.
Fruno is urging the government to give Lolong the life that he truly deserves, and not forcing him to live according to what a tourism park demands.
"Please have pity for Lolong, he deserves to

Agusan del Sur crocodile traumatized, won't eat four days after capture
Lolong the 21-ft saltwater crocodile is still traumatized and refuses to eat four days after his capture, as he tries to get used to a new pen built for him in a wildlife reserve by the local government of Bunawan, Agusan Del Sur.
The crocodile shuns the chicken-meat kept ready and available around the man-made pond where he now swims, as visitors to the park have been kept in limited numbers upon recommendation of experts to allow the reptile to rest and recuperate.
Crocodile caretaker Loloy Aguillon told GMA reporter Jiggy Manicad on GMA news program “24 Oras" that crocodiles can subsist after their last feeding for two whole weeks so there is yet nothing to worry about.

‘Lolong,’ the crocodile hunter
Ernesto “Lolong” Coñate was distraught when he and his team of crocodile hunters came back to their base that day empty-handed.
It had been three days of failed attempts to catch a problem croc in the interiors of Agusan marsh in Agusan del Sur province. They had been returning to the marsh every morning to check the traps after setting them up the night before. And each time, they discovered all of their traps were cut loose and destroyed.
“Nakakapitong kable na tayo. Nakakahiya na (We’ve already set up seven traps. This is embarrassing),” he told his teammates.
It was just one of those moments that endeared Lolong to colleagues. Before he died late last month because of hypertension, the soft-spoken Coñate was the go-to guy at the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (PWRCC) located‘lolong’-the-crocodile-hunter

Palawan Crocodile Farm and Conservation Centre

Orangutans display some very human behavior
You may have seen the YouTube footage of an orangutan cooling her face with a wet towel. Filmed on a sweltering day in August at Tama Zoological Park in Tokyo, the ape is seen dipping a towel in a pond, wringing it out, and patting it on her face.
The clip was posted on news sites around the world, and has been viewed more than 1 million times. Why the fascination? The usual interest with any great ape using a tool or doing something funny at a zoo? Yes, but in this case we can also closely identify with what she's doing — we've all done the same thing on a hot summer's day — and

Fence breach sparks security fears at wildlife park
Intruders may have broken into the grounds of Zion Wildlife Gardens – which houses 36 lions, tigers, cheetahs and a leopard.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry fears the park, on the outskirts of Whangarei, has been "breached by unauthorised [sic] persons".
"A perimeter check noted markings in dewy grass that could have been human footprints," a MAF annual audit said.
"This indicates that the containment facility may have been breached by unauthorised persons."
The audit – obtained under the Official Information Act – was carried out by MAF biosecurity inspector Crystal Lange on November 2, 2010.
It said "a number of issues" had been identified with housing of the big cats.
"Enclosures had been divided to separate previously compatible animals that are no longer happy with their playmates or to reduce behavioural fraction as contraceptive implants wear off," the audit said.
"The internal fencing, mesh and electric wires of varying lengths may not keep fully aggressive animals apart but offers a short-term respite.
"The reduced size of each partition may also have a welfare impact if these animals do not have sufficient space to exercise or if isolation from a pride group becomes a stressor."
Six enclosures needed repairing, the

Danga Bay animal sanctuary’s licence suspended
Another animal sanctuary here was raided by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) a day after it raided the Johor Zoo.
Danga Bay Petting Zoo was raided by 45 personnel and officers from Perhilitan in a day-long operation.
An adult male Asian elephant was found chained and locked up within an enclosure made up of empty containerised cargo boxes about one kilometre away from the petting zoo.
"The zoo's licence to keep non-domesticated animals is being suspended as it failed to adhere to regulations on providing better living conditions for the animals,” Perhilitan deputy


Monkey Cannibals: Robert Conyers Charged With Animal Cruelty UPDATE
Miami freight shipper Robert Matson Conyers was charged with animal cruelty yesterday after a tri-continental shipment of monkeys turned into a cannibalistic simian catastrophe.
Guyanese animal supplier Akhtar Hussain hired Conyers to help ship 25 monkeys -- 14 marmosets, five white-fronted capuchins, and six squirrel monkeys -- to a buyer in Thailand in 2008. In theory, the whole deal was legal. But when customs officials in L.A. opened the crates, they found the primates had gone all Donner Party on one another.
Conyers shipped the animals from Miami to L.A., where they were then shipped to Guangzhou, China. But Chinese officials sent the monkey crates back to California because of documentation problems.
What do you get when you put dozens

Department of Environment Announces Mountain Chicken Project Logo Competition Winner
Roydenn Silcott of Manjack is the winner of the Department of Environment’s Mountain Chicken Project Logo Competition.
The Department of Environment said they were delighted to receive over 40 entries from a wide variety of persons in Montserrat and across the globe, from as far away as Poland.
A number of entries were short listed and the judges had great difficulty deciding the winning logo, said a statement from the department. “However, the simplicity, professional look and innovative design by Mr. Silcott identified him as the winner.”
“The logo competition was organized in an effort to raise awareness of the ongoing Mountain Chicken Project on Montserrat. The project which is funded by the UK Darwin Initiative is monitoring the effects of the deadly chytrid fungus on the Critically

Shark tunnel part of S.C. Aquarium’s $68.5 million makeover
The South Carolina Aquarium is looking to make a big splash over the next 10 years.
The waterfront tourist attraction unveiled a $68.5 million master plan Thursday to transform the 11-year-old facility into a more visible, more inviting and more interactive venue.
Exhibits and other facets in the four-story building hugging the banks of the Cooper River will be moved around or eliminated, making room for new animal displays such as the lemur exhibit coming in March. Others new features include building a massive, new shark tank with an underwater tunnel over the loading dock and moving the sea turtle hospital to an area where visitors can see animal care firsthand.
Some features won’t require a ticket purchase. Those include a harbor-view cafe and gift shop near the entrance.
Aquarium officials are also talking with members of the National Park Service about recreating Liberty Square in front of the aquarium as a more inviting link to Concord Street and the planned International African-American Museum beside the parking garage.
The outside of the building could change as well. A glass-like awning is proposed to project across the expanse of the building’s front side

Proaquatix Annouces New Captive-Bred Watchman Goby Species
Commercial Marine Ornamental Fish Breeder Proaquatix promised more surprises for 2011 - the announcement of captive bred bluefin watchman goby is one we couldn’t have predicted. The Bluefin or Y-Bar Watchman Goby, Cryptocentrus fasciatus, isn’t commonly available in the trade (only price we could find was a single offering from LiveAquaria’s Diver’s Den for a $100 pair). The introduction of C. fasciatus brings the total number of Watchman Goby species that have been successfully captive bred to at least 4: the others being C. cinctus, C. lutheri, and C. leptocephalus. Proquatix is the first to offer this attractive goby captive bred for the aquarium hobby.
While the captive-bred juvenile Bluefin Watchman Goby shown above may appear rather cryptic, the adult broodstock differs significantly, being largely black with some white markings on the back (vaguely reminiscent of a much more expensive goby that recently made a splash in the aquarium industry). A quick look at Fishbase’s images will reveal the striking possibilities this species offers as an adult. Drawing on our freshwater experiences, we’re thinking that hobbyists may have to play with environmental colors and perhaps keep these gobies in pairs to get the best coloration out of them. Of course, this is a Watchman Goby, so it will burrow, tunnel, and sift your sandbed as others of the genus do. Not to mention they are a shrimp goby, so bring on the pistol shrimp

Living Links to Human Health, Mind and Medicine
Can the evolutionary insights of Darwin and his modern followers offer new vision into human health and medicine in the 21st century?

That’s the question going to be explored with a series of talks taking place at Edinburgh Zoo. In the company of chimpanzees, in the Zoo’s Budongo Trail lecture theatre, the evolutionary perspective on health and medicine, ranging from self-medication in wild primates, to the new science of Evolutionary or ‘Darwinian’ medicine will be examined.
Supported by the Wellcome Trust, the fascinating new series of talks starts on Monday 12th September with Professor Michael Huffman from Kyoto University in Japan, a world leading expert on primate self-medication in the wild and captivity, with “Chimpanzee use of plants as medicine and the evolution of self-medication in primates and other animals”

Other talks in the series include:

20th October 2011 – “Culturally transmitted information, nutrition and health in the great apes” by Professor Andrew Whiten, University of St Andrews. Professor Whiten is Scientific Director of the Living Links Centre and an international authority on social learning and culture in human and non-human primates. This talk will also give an overview of what the talk series is about.

27th October 2011 – “Putting our past into the present: the emerging field of evolutionary medicine” by Professor Gillian Bentley, Durham University. Professor Bentley is a leader in this field in the UK. Her theme is that many sources of our illness and health may be better understood using an evolutionary perspective, with the implications this yet to be fully recognised and exploited by modern medicine.

3rd November 2011 – “The primate origins of HIV and AIDS” by Dr Catherine Adamson, University of St Andrews. Dr Adamson is a virologist who will tell the fascinating story of the origins of HIV and AIDS, as viruses jumped between closely related species and evolved across the ‘living links’ of African monkeys, apes and humans.

10th November 2011 – “Perceiving health in the face and body – new discoveries in humans and other animals” by Professor David Perrett, University of St Andrews. Professor Perrett is a British Academy Wolfson Research Professor and a leading authority on the perception of health and beauty.

Hugh Roberts, Chief Executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, comments: “Some truly fascinating subjects, one of the key goals of the Society is to promote an understanding of the inter dependence and connectivity between all living things on this planet. The exploration and comparison of human health, mind and medicine to our non-human primate relatives is an amazing and valuable concept to explore and I’m delighted that, together with St Andrew’s University, the RZSS is able to offer this opportunity at Edinburgh Zoo.”

The talks are organised in conjunction with a series of events and displays on the same theme in Living Links, a field station and research centre for the study of primates at Edinburgh Zoo. Living Links has been developed in a unique partnership with RZSS and the University of St Andrews.

Each talk costs £3 and commences at 7.30pm. To reserve seats please telephone 0131 314 0334 or email

For further information see .

Adelaide Zoo gets $500,000 lifeline but still faces asset repossession
ADELAIDE Zoo is refusing to say which of its assets are at risk of repossession as it fights to refinance a $24 million debt.
The head of the Environment Department, Allan Holmes, revealed to a parliamentary committee yesterday that the Government had advanced a further $500,000 to the zoo this week to enable it to service its loan.
Mr Holmes said the Government had so far refused to guarantee the zoo's debt to its commercial provider, and some of its assets may be at risk.
"There has been no commitment of guarantee or support (from the Government)," he said. "Its debt level is somewhere around $24 million, $25million, so it's got a substantial amount of debt, and it's clear that it is unable to service that debt.
"I think it is fair to say that some of the assets of the zoo would be at risk, bearing in mind that the substantial asset, the land on which the zoo sits, is crown land, and

Celebrating Plants and the Planet:

"Cogito ergo sum" is fine for Descartes, but there is more to us than the mind. How can we separate ourselves from Nature? This question -- that is answered by every zoo, aquarium and botanic garden -- is among the most pressing questions of our times.

September's links at (NEWS/Botanical News) consider our dependence on Nature and specifically forests:

· Human cultures grew up around rivers that, in turn owe their formation to the rise of trees and tree-like plants 330 million years ago. When the trees arose, the very Earth was re-formed. Why isn't Arbor Day a global holiday?

· When the climate changed 250 million years ago a simple soil fungus proliferated, decimating the coniferous forests as part of the global mass extinction. Can it happen again?

· Planting trees to slow global warming is popular. What makes us think it can have an effect? New research asks hard questions and has produced unwelcome answers.

· Not all forests are the same when it comes to carbon sequestration. We now know where trees do the most good for the climate. Another of the many benefits of mangroves!

· A study of school children reveals how disassociated they are from Nature and what sorts of programs might help. Boys and girls, urban and country children have different needs. Here's an opportunity for our organizations to build the future!

We tell many stories about how animals and plants are physically adapted to their environments. A new study of how gibbons jump discovered that while they have no special adaptations to leap through the trees as they do, they do have impeccable technique!

Please share these stories with associates, staff, docents and -- most importantly -- visitors! Follow on Twitter:  -- a new story every day!


Zoo Horticulture
Consulting and Design
Greening design teams since 1987

NC Zoo Seeks to Help Animals in Libya
The North Carolina Zoo is joining in an effort to help animals in the Tripoli Zoo in the capital city of war-torn Libya, officials said.
N.C. Zoo Director Dr. David Jones is reportedly leading an effort to raise $100,000 to pay for animal food, according to a press release.,0,219583.story

Animal-rescue experts help Tripoli Zoo
In a city slashed by war, a tiger fights for life.
Osama, a Siberian tiger at the Tripoli Zoo, has been suffering for days. He is on his side, breathing shallowly, his huge paws motionless -- caramel, black-and-white-striped fur covered with flies that he is too weak to brush off.
A team of animal-welfare experts from Austria's Four Paws International gently rolls the tiger over and Dr. Amir Khalil, dripping sweat, searches for a vein, then puts in an IV drip to give the animal vitamins.
Asked why the tiger is so sick, the veterinarian replies, "Honestly, we don't know but I believe he's old, 21 years. That's number one. Number two, it was a lot of stress in the surroundings here."
During the struggle for Tripoli, gunfire raged just outside the zoo. When the fighting was at its height some Libyans packed up their cars and fled. The animals at the Tripoli Zoo didn't have that option. The deafening sounds of shooting, the acrid smell of battle -- there was no respite for these sensitive creatures.
Shells still litter the zoo grounds. As the zoo's director, Dr. Abdulfatah Husni, leads a CNN crew to the mammal house, he points out bullet casings on the sidewalk. "This

Blackbrook Zoo faces bright future after public support
The outlook for a north Staffordshire zoo is looking brighter after a successful appeal to raise £75,000.
Blackbrook Zoological Park had been threatened by closure, but public donations and business backing have secured its immediate future.
Debbie Hughes, the zoo's general manager, said she was "overwhelmed" by the response of the public.
The attraction in Winkhill, near Leek, had seen its revenue fall during the recent economic downturn.
Managed by a charitable trust, its annual operational costs were in the region of £250,000. Last year, takings were £175,000 - leaving a £75,000 shortfall.
But a fund-raising appeal, which started earlier this summer, has led to an improvement in the zoo's finances.
Visitor numbers are up and the zoo is less reliant on external funding. Adoption of animals has

Happy Feet the penguin's tracker falls silent
Emperor penguin found in New Zealand and returned to the ocean may have been eaten – or his tracker may have fallen off
Happy Feet, the emperor penguin who became an international celebrity after losing his way and ending up in New Zealand, is missing presumed eaten after being released into the ocean this month, scientists said.
Concerns were raised over Happy Feet's fate when the tracker device attached to his body stopped sending signals on his trip home to Antarctica.
Kevin Lay, of Sirtrack, the specialist firm that fitted the tracker, said no signal had been received since Friday, when the penguin was about halfway home. He said it was possible Happy Feet had been eaten, but he remained hopeful.
"There are some species that will forage on emperor penguins. It's not likely that it has happened to Happy Feet

Sumatran Tiger Castoffs May Hold Key to Survival of the Species
Behind an unassuming gate, marked simply with a “Staff Only” sign, deep inside the Taman Safari Indonesia conservation park, lies the best chance for the continued survival of the critically endangered Sumatran tiger.
This is the Sumatran Tiger Breeding Facility, set up in 1992 and now home to 22 “troubled” tigers — those that have been trapped by poachers or villagers, those that have preyed on livestock and those believed to have killed and eaten humans.
Each of the 11 male and 11 female tigers here have their own harrowing history. Two of them, Salamah and Ara, female juveniles caught in boar traps set by villagers inside palm oil plantations in Aceh, had to have a paw amputated because of the seriousness of their injuries. Though accused of being man-eaters, the accusation has never been proven. At the park, they are affectionately referred to as “tripods.”
The latest addition is Tupan, an 8-year-old male who was brought to the facility on the verge of death.
Like many of the others, he was caught in a trap in his natural habitat after spooking villagers with his frequent encroachments into their area. When wildlife authorities reached him, they found he had been shot twice several days before being captured.
Following intensive treatment, he has made a full physical recovery.
“Most of the tigers that we keep here are disabled to some extent,” Retno Sudarwati, a senior veterinarian at the park, tells the Jakarta Globe.
“We have three-legged tigers, tigers who have had their tails lopped off, even toothless tigers. They need to be in peak physical condition to survive in the wild, so can you imagine them going after prey on just three legs? They wouldn’t survive long out there.”
Health, Hygiene, Happiness
Each tiger gets its own cage here, furnished with a log that they can sharpen their claws on, a hammock where they usually nap and a small pond to drink from. They also get an adjoining outdoor play cage and another cage where the keepers feed them.
The park also has a breeding facility that the tigers take turns occupying. Unlike their home cages, the “Rumah Batak” breeding facility is open to visitors.
“I know it’s not the kind of sophisticated facility that you’d probably imagine, but we do pay serious attention to the cleanliness of the cages and the tigers’ health.” Retno said.
“We keep detailed records of each and every one of them. If they exhibit the slightest issue, the keepers are obliged to inform us.”
Careful Calculation
The tiger facility is not just about saving maimed or threatened individuals. Its mission is far more important: to ensure the continued existence of the species by creating a genetically diverse gene pool from the animals it hosts, as well as those held at every zoo in the country.
“It’s not just about putting a male and a female tiger together in a cage and expecting them to mate, nor is it about producing a set number of cubs.” Retno said. “It doesn’t work that way. Each tiger is paired off with the best candidate. It takes a lot of careful calculation to ensure the purity of the gene pool.”
For example, Tupan would never be mated with Lintang, a female adult, because their bloodlines are too similar.
Instead, he would be paired off with females like Tina or Jenaka to produce an entirely new bloodline.
“The bottom line is that we want to make their bloodlines as varied as possible,” Retno said. “We want to make sure that over the next five years, we can prevent inbreeding as much as possible.”
To that end, the facility has compiled

Activists Call for Halt in Orangutan Skull Trade
An animal rights group is urging the government to be more proactive in putting a halt to the illegal trade in orangutan skulls.
“The trade in illegal orangutan skulls still continues in souvenir shops in Pontianak, West Kalimantan; Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan; and Balikpapan, East Kalimantan,” said Hardi Baktiantoro, director of the Center for Orangutan Protection.
According to Hardi, orangutan skulls could fetch between Rp 500,000 and Rp 2 million [$60 and $235] each.
The skulls, he said, were obtained from villagers living near palm oil plantations and forest preserves.
“Orangutans that are trapped in the fragmented forests or in the forests for conservation areas easily get shot. And after a month, the hunter will be back to the area and take the skulls,” Hardi said.
In August, the center discovered four orangutan skulls at a palm oil plantation in Central Kalimantan. The NGO said it also found an orangutan’s corpse buried at another plantation in East Kalimantan.
“This trading could be completely stopped if the souvenir traders who could be convicted of selling the orangutan skulls were arrested. Therefore, there would be no more people buying and ordering the orangutan skulls from the communities or the oil palm workers,” Hardi said.
Hardi urged the Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) of the Ministry of Forestry to act firmly by enforcing the law against shops that sell bones and other parts of endangered species.
He also said that palm oil companies should bear the burden of providing protection for any orangutans or other endangered specie

Trainer who beat Wildlife Park bear suspended
A circus trainer at the Shanghai Wildlife Park was suspended yesterday after he was caught mistreating a black bear that performs at the park.
Veterinarians examined the black bear, which did not suffer serious physical injuries, park officials said.
A netizen shot a short video of the bear being beaten and posted it on the Internet this week.
The video shows two male trainers cursing, one waving a stick, the other beating the young bear with his fists, and then shoving it to the ground.
The bear is moaning and screaming in pain during the whole process. When noticing that someone was shooting a video, one of the trainers dragged the bear by its neck chain to its lair and threw the stick at the video shooters.
Park officials said they

Selling conservation: learning lessons from Selfridges
If conservation is truly important then why is it such a low priority for most people and bottom of the political agenda? Is the conservation community failing in selling the conservation message to the general public? What will it take to make conservation fashionable, ultimately leading to changes in behaviour and a more sustainable relationship with our planet?
In 2011 ZSL embarked on a conservation communication experiment with Selfridges, involving celebrities, scientists, royalty, youth-group leaders, parliamentarians, heads of state, leaders from the fishing industry, artists and fashion designers. Events

[Elephant Managers Association]
Here is the statement of the Board of Directors...

Here is the statement of the Board of Directors of EMA in response to AZA's document on "Maximizing Occupational Safety for Elephant Care Professionals" -
"It is the opinion of the Board of Directors of the Elephant Manager’s Association (EMA) that each institution holding and managing elephants should develop a program that provides the highest level of care for the elephants in their charge while providing the greatest degree of safety for staff responsible for handling those elephants. The EMA supports all types of proven elephant management techniques and does not feel that any one is the ultimate key to staff safety and animal well-being. Development of the program should take into account both the temperament and characteristics of the elephants at the institution and the experience and capability of the staff involved in the program. The Elephant Management Program should be flexible and respond to changing circumstance, including circumstances surrounding both staff and the elephants, as deemed appropriate by the institution. Furthermore, it is the opinion of the EMA that evaluations and decisions of this sort are best made by elephant care professionals intimately involved in the program as opposed to policy makers that casually observe from a distance. The responsibility for design and development of an Elephant Management Program should belong to the institution implementing the program."
At the upcoming 32nd Annual Elephant Managers Association Conference being held at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, NY, there will be a special open discussion meeting held to discuss the new AZA Policy on Elephant Occupational Safety. At this session, EMA members will have an opportunity to discuss this issue with EMA Board members and, together, we can continue to provide the safest and best care for elephants in the future.
Please plan to join us there.

First time out for former lab chimps
(includes video)

Elephant Center shifts north to Fellsmere from St. Lucie County
Plans for a National Elephant Center on the Treasure Coast are back, although the location has changed.
The group looking to house elephants now plans to locate in Fellsmere instead of western St. Lucie County.
After squabbles with St. Lucie County commissioners over restrictions, the organization is expected to apply for permits on Thursday on 225 acres in northern Fellsmere, currently an unused private citrus grove surrounded by farmland near the Brevard County line. The project's first phase is expected to cost the elephant

Rain shuts Delhi zoo on weekend for first time
For the first time since it was set up in 1959, the Delhi zoo was forced to close its doors to the visitors on Saturday due to excessive waterlogging caused by Friday's heavy rainfall.
Usually the zoo receives about 7,000 visitors on Saturdays, and even more on Sundays. But until the water clears out, officials cannot say when they will reopen it.
More than half of the zoo has been flooded with water, in some places several feet deep. Even animal enclosures have been inundated, and with about four-foot-deep water, the spotted deer cages are the worst-affected.
Zoo officials say that since last year, water from the nearby areas like Bapa Nagar, Old

Mass break-out attempt at troubled zoo
Seven rare marmots, eight porcupines and a fox have made a break for freedom, making an escape attempt from the Kiev Zoo in Ukraine, notorious for high death rates among its inmates.
The porcupines and the fox were neither prickly nor sly enough to make it far away and were intercepted near the zoo’s ticket office, according to Ukraine’s Segodnya newspaper.
However, the bobak marmots turned out to be more sophisticated escapees – they dug a tunnel so deep that the zookeepers still cannot reach them.
“They have burrowed a tunnel and dug in. It’s natural for them. Inappropriate gauze was used during the cage construction. It has rusted and bobaks dug holes. We are trying to recover them; but the deeper we dig, the deeper they burrow,” said the director of the zoo Aleksey Tolstouhov.
The Kiev Zoo is infamous for the conditions in which it keeps its inhabitants. German tabloid Bild listed it as one of the five worst zoos in the world and claimed that its director should be jailed. The tabloid pointed out the very high death rates at the zoo.
Life in captivity in the Ukrainian capital’s zoo does

The Paignton Zoo frogs that think they're moss?
The natural world is full of extraordinary examples of camouflage. Here, two mossy frogs show that the species is well named.
Mossy frogs, native to Vietnam, are rarely seen in public collections, with only a handful of places in the UK keeping them.
Paignton Zoo's Amphibian Ark conservation centre is currently home to nine animals. Mike Bungard, the Zoo's Curator of Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates, said: "We know little about the species in the wild, but I would hazard a guess that the species isn't doing brilliantly – despite its amazing camouflage!"
The mossy frog, Vietnamese mossy frog, or Tonkin bug-eyed frog (Theloderma corticale) is found in Northern Vietnam. Its natural habitats are tropical forests, freshwater marshes and rocky areas. It is a semi-aquatic, semi-arboreal species threatened

Psst … Know Where I Can Get Me Some Parrot Eggs?
If getting a 6-ounce perfume bottle through airport security seems impossible, imagine trying to bypass scanners with 18 monkeys strapped to your waist. In July 2010, one smuggler did just that, flying from Lima, Peru, to Mexico City, only to get busted after acting nervous during a random check, according to news reports.
If successful, he could have sold the monkeys for as much as $1,550 each (and turned a profit of more than $25,000), said the news reports. That's because, for some people, it's no longer enough to pick up an animal at the local pet shop. Exotic wildlife has become yet another status symbol—and one reason that illegal animal smuggling

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