Saturday, November 5, 2011

Zoo News Digest 30th October - 5th November 2011 (Zoo News 793)

Zoo News Digest 30th October - 5th November 2011 (Zoo News 793)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

My sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Alan Mootnick, founder of the Gibbon Conservation centre. Truly a sad loss.

Congratulations to my friend and colleague Nick Pinder on his retirement. A long time supporter of Zoo News Digest I wish him well in all he does.

Eid Mubarak fom Dubai everybody.

This week was highly unusual on the Zoo Biology Group. Three people unsubscribed. Mind you it makes little difference as there were four new subscribers and I am still waiting for the Bio's of thirteen others. But the three who unsubscribed, why I wonder? Was it because there was a debate about euthanasia and they were trying to make a point? I don't know but I think it played a part because the last time we had three unsubscribe was when a similar debate took place. The point would be completely missed however because if I had not told you, you would not know they had unsubscribed. People are odd when they run or take offence when they read fact. One of my 'friends' posted a photograph of a white tiger cub on Facebook. There was a progression of comments in the vein of "Aaaawww", "Cute", "I want one". I added my own saying it was beautiful but was the result of inbreeding and contributed nothing to conservation. My comment was removed and the 'friend' sent me an email outlining how much wonderful work they did making people aware of animal cruelty. I wrote a reply only to find I was now banned.

To be honest I am reading so much crap on Facebook these days that I begin to despair but in other ways it spurs me on to get the message out and right the wrong.

Suniti Bhushan Datta's comments is worth a read. It is fair comment on the state of Indian Zoos. I hope they read and take note.

Bree-Ding Terrapins? Must be a new species.

So Kallie is on the move and yet there are squeals of protest "just a fraction of the space that she would have at a true sanctuary." just what is a true sanctuary? It's all in the name. Quantity of space is of far less importance than quality of space. I am always going to go for the zoo (and a sanctuary in this sense IS a zoo. Good Zoos ARE Sanctuaries) which allows AZA inspections and approval....and breeding, which these go it alone operations do not agree to. I wonder if there was to be an elephant plague in the wild and re-introductions became important would they then allow breeding? If not why not? Are they another of these places which believe animals are better off dead than in a zoo? At the same time these places would be the first to squeal with delight should an 'accidental' birth occur because they would have something to play with.

The floods in my Thailand home are giving me grief. I am in contact daily but feel so helpless being so very far away. The zoos are flooding now both Dusit and the infamous Safari World.

Please take time to follow up and read the link 'Deep Intellect-Inside the mind of the octopus' as I think you may well be amazed.

When does a Zookeeper become a "Rogue"? (Good on you Vernon!!) It would seem that it is when they have more sense than a Toronto City councillor and a lot more sense than Julie Woodyer. The idea that the elephant move should be even contemplated without Toronto Zookeper involvement is absolutely insane. The decision for this move should be reversed. If the move has to take place then let it be somewhere that is AZA approved. Okay "Zoo management has ordered trainers not to talk to reporters since one told the Star that councillors, after they voted for the sanctuary option, are “not qualified to make a decision on what’s best for these elephants.”" It's true the councillors are NOT qualified. You know they are NOT qualified. I know they are NOT how can they make such a decision? It is all ignorance and pandering to the Animal Rights Activists.

I note that the The 21st Working Meeting of the IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group is taking place in Manila. I hope that attendees take time out to visit the Davao Crocodile Park Roadshow and voice their protest. I daresay that there will be people from Davao at the meeting. Let them know. It's their set up.

'Exotic animals in state raise some concerns' raises some interesting comments especially as some come from people who should not be keeping exotics in the first place.

I was contacted by Vice Magazine this week with reference to my article on Suoi Tien Theme Park Zoo. They wish to send me a few interview questions. I am intrigued. What could this have to do with vice? Some of the things I do write about on my hubs are in a round about way, but not this one. The pity is I won't be able to read the Vice Article because it is banned in the UAE.

Is it really time for another 'Gay Penguin' story? (see Toronto) Expect the howls of protest as they break the pairing up.

I often feel sorry for Bindi Irwin. I am not alone in feeling she has been exploited and I think that is wrong. Sometimes too I think I am the only person in the world who does not think that her father was the saint that so many make him out to be. Whereas I recognise and appreciate the wonderful job he did in promoting an interest in animals through TV I so often thought it was done in the wrong way. Now though I have read this latest interview article with Miss Irwin I think perhaps that perhaps she does have a lot to offer the world. Perhaps I will stop my 'Blessed by Bindi Irwin' Joke.

I have not been to Mumbai Zoo, I wish I had because I could my honest opinion of the place. PAWS-Mumbai do themselves no favours in their critique with statements like "Not a single enclosure had water". How is it that they can lie so easily? If nothing had water the animals would be dead. Why should I or anybody else give any credibility to anything else they may say? The zoo may have its faults...but if it is to be criticised let it not be by people who have not the faintest idea of zoos. They say 'a little knowledge is a dangerous thing'. That is the one thing these people have in abundance...'little'. Hence we have places like Kiev zoo condemned because of repeated heresay, lies and lack of fact.

The biggest critic of Surabaya Zoo (see link) is Tony Sumampau, acting chairman of the zoo who is also a director of the Taman Safari Indonesia zoo. The Taman Safari Indonesia Zoo is a private commercial money making business. The biggest rival of Taman Safari is Surabaya Zoo. Surabaya Zoo has vastly more visitors. I've said it before but there is more going on here than ever makes it to the press. A statement like “If there is an animal that gives birth, it troubles us because we don’t know what to do with [the baby],” said Tony Sumampau, acting chairman of the zoo. Really? REALLY! and he is the acting chairman!!!

Re Penguins in Manila. I was reassured to read the statement by Jappy Lim “We usually get our marine life attractions from breeding facilities. In keeping with our policy of environmental protection and conservation, we do not take animals from the wild.” I wonder if all aquariums can say the same?

"Panda-monium – when zoo animals try toilet humour"...A short but very ignorant and anti-zoo article.

I wonder how many people I have upset today?

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As a child growing up in Calcutta, one of the highlights of my existence was a visit to the Alipore Zoo. This venerable institution, dating back to Victorian times, housed a motley collection of animals and birds in tatty, smelly cages. However, in a world that did not have television channels such as National Geographic, Animal Planet or Discovery to show me exotic wildlife in Technicolor, the zoo was the grandest thing that existed. In hindsight, it was a poor experience: there was little attempt at interpretation, the cages could have been cells for dangerous criminals, and hordes of the public coursed past, throwing handfuls of peanuts, or worse, at the hapless, stressed-out displays. You generally came away with no knowledge, nor any particular penchant for wildlife and its conservation.
Zoos have existed since ancient times, when exotic animals were sometimes displayed in cages, or frequently set upon each other for the amusement of the populace, as in the Roman Circus. Ancient Egyptians kept menageries of animals on display, and the remains of hippopotami, giraffes, lions and baboons are frequently excavated from the ruins of their cities. In the modern times, it was the European colonials, with their vast empires and access to bizarre and exotic fauna, who had the richest collections. These were displayed in ornate but otherwise featureless cages for the amusement of the public.
It was only in 1907 that Carl Hagenbeck, a German businessman and menagerie owner, evinced the idea of displaying animals in open-air enclosures with an approximation of their natural habitat. His Tierpark Hagenbeck, in Hamburg, was the first zoo in the world that built enclosures and paddocks for animals, surrounded by tall fencing and moats for safety. The idea was, predictably, very popular and soon zoos across the world had adopted the concept and revolutionized the way animals were put on display forever.
The original idea of a zoo or a menagerie was to display animals from far corners of the colonial empire for public amusement. There was no real science or welfare involved, except perhaps interesting insights into their anatomy once the animals died, which they frequently did. However, these early zoos did inadvertently become repositories for animals that were fast losing their natural habitat under the onslaught of deforestation and hunting. And all too often, the last specimens of these animals died within the confines of cages in zoos across Europe and America — the Carolina Parakeet, the Tasmanian Tiger and the Passenger Pigeon being the more celebrated examples.
Zoos in their modern avatar have evolved considerably since those early days, particularly in Western countries. They have become invaluable centres for spreading awareness and scientific research, as well as for captive breeding of critically endangered fauna. The idea of breeding animals outside their natural environment was first mooted by Gerald Durrell in the 1950s. As a young keeper at the Whipsnade Zoo in the United Kingdom, and later as a collector of fauna from the tropics to sell to zoos in Europe, he realized that many of the habitats from where he collected animals were in imminent danger of disappearing. This, in an age when few people thought twice about clear-felling rainforests, burning grasslands and hunting indiscriminately. Indeed, many of Durrell’s zoo specimens were provided by traditional hunters and would have otherwise ended up on someone’s menu.
Durrell eventually set up the Jersey Zoological Park on the island of Jersey in 1959 with the express purpose of collecting rare and endangered wildlife species and breeding them in captivity to provide a population reserve that could potentially be re-introduced into the habitat should the wild stock be extirpated. To provide much-needed funding for the zoo, he also set up the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust (renamed the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust after his death).
It was this watershed event in the evolution of zoos that revolutionized the way zoos have been managed ever since. The Durrell model of zoos focused on their critical role as reserves for endangered animals that require breeding in captive conditions in order to survive, their secondary purpose being the education of the general public in the behaviour and natural history of species. However, Durrell also espoused that every effort should be made to preserve the wild population of a species, and that captive breeding should be the absolute last resort in its conservation.
The raison d’être of zoos changed; so did the welfare of animals. While Hagenbeck advocated displaying animals in their natural environment, Durrell additionally believed that animals should first be kept in enclosures that prioritized their comfort, social and ecological needs, natural history and behaviour over the viewing convenience of the public. Zoo management itself has become a mainstream subject and captive breeding (or ex-situ conservation, as it is now better known) is a subject that has been accepted by conservationists as a viable last

The Quest For The Holy Turtle

Hoan Kiem Turtle

Rafetus Breeding Attempt 2011
With the glass barriers around both ponds at Suzhou Zoo having been completed in the summer of 2010, the male and the female Yangtze giant softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) have roamed together in both the small and the large pond since 24 August 2010. For the first time, the male and the female were together throughout fall, winter and spring. Following hibernation, the male and the female became active on 25 March 2011 when they both were seen basking. Abrasions on the neck and front limbs of the female when she emerged from hibernation indicated mating attempts during fall/winter (the male grabs the neck of the female with his jaws prior to mounting). The turtles' diet in 2011 consisted of pieces of fresh fish with skin and bones, whole

Carter: Lions, tigers and bears -- and laws
On Oct. 18 in Zanesville, Ohio, the owner of a privately owned wild animal park opened the cages of dozens of lions, tigers, bears and other exotic animals allowing them to escape before he committed suicide.
The horrific episode was finally brought under control but not before most of the animals had been destroyed by police officers who were faced with no other choice but to shoot to kill in order to maintain the public’s safety.
Incidents such as this, involving wild and exotic animals, while not necessarily intentional, have also occurred in Georgia.
In February of 2010, a zebra escaped from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus and ran through downtown Atlanta ending up on the downtown connector during rush hour.
In April of 2008, two llamas fell out of a trailer on I-285 in Atlanta when the latch came undone. In December of 2002, four bovines escaped a stalled tractor-trailer on I-20 near Covington. Interestingly, the escaped bovines were retrieved by a group of horseback riders from a rodeo taking place nearby.
On a more somber note, the Georgia Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in February 2012 in a case of a housesitter who was killed by an alligator who lived in one of the many lagoons around The Landings near Savannah. Citing the doctrine of “animals ferae naturae,” a homeowner’s association is claiming they should be immune from the suit.
The outcome of this case could expand the human liability for wild animal actions. But Georgia and Ohio are very different when it comes to laws on wild animals.
Georgia defines “wild animal” as any animal that is not wildlife and is not normally a domesticated species in Georgia.
In Georgia it is illegal to import, transport, transfer, sell, purchase or possess any wild animal without a wild animal license or permit from the Department of Natural Resources.
Licenses are only issued to those engaged in the wholesale

Zanesville police describe charging animals at Ohio zoo
Lions and bears charged at Ohio policemen arriving at a private game park where their owner had set them free, a police report says.
The report reveals just how close some animals came to the policemen and defends their decision to kill them.
Police say they were defending the public from aggressive animals - including tigers, wolves and monkeys.
They killed 48 wild animals after their owner, Terry Thompson, 62, opened their cages before shooting himself dead.
Police say their top priority was to stop the animals getting out of the fenced-off area and threatening neighbouring houses and Interstate highway 70.
But they faced grave personal danger as they attempted to contain the animals.
"As I backed the team up, the tiger came out the door and charged right at us," forcing police to shoot the tiger, Deputy Jay Lawhorne told the Associated Press news agency.
Another officer said

Private Pet Ownership - One Persons Perspective

Orangutans killed for meat in Kalimantan
A report says 691 Borneo orangutans were slaughtered in Kalimantan – most of whom were eaten by residents.
The great apes were killed for several reasons, Suci Utami Atmoko, a field coordinator for report co-author The Nature Conservancy (TNC), said on Tuesday.
“Some [residents] were desperate and had no other choice after spending three days hunting for food,”
she said.
Local residents also killed the orangutans for safety reasons, Suci said, harvesting orangutan meat to make traditional medicine and selling any surviving orangutan babies.
The Nature Conservancy led the survey, which was conducted between April 2008 and September 2009 and involved 6,972 respondents in 698 villages across Kalimantan.
Nineteen NGOs joined the survey, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the People’s Resource and Conservation Foundation Indonesia (PRCFI) and the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF).
TNC program manager Neil Makinuddin said 70 percent of the respondents knew that orangutans were a protected and endangered species when they hunted the animals.
Decisions to open land in Kalimantan to development

This link will make you both laugh and cry. Those poor monkeys.

Nilgiri langurs continue to be hunted
In spite of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, the Nilgiri langurs (Trachypithecus johnii) continue to be hunted for the preparation of crude medicines. Prior to the Act coming into force, these primates were ruthlessly hunted to the brim of extinction.
According to a National Studbook on Nilgiri langurs published in May this year by the Wildlife Institute of India and the Central Zoo Authority, poaching continues to be one of the main threats to the wild population of Nilgiri langurs. The studbook says the primates were being hunted mainly for their pelt, blood, flesh and organs to produce crude medicines and even so-called aphrodisiacs.
Before the Act came into force, such medicines were freely available with traditional medicine practitioners in Kerala and the products were even advertised. ‘Karingkorangu Rasayanam' was one of the leading products at the time. After the advent of the Act, the Kerala Forest Department launched a campaign to save the Nilgiri langurs and

Zoo hails hatching of rare iguanas
A critically endangered species of iguana has bred at a zoo for the first time.
Reptile keepers at Bristol Zoo Gardens successfully hatched 17 baby Utila spiny-tailed iguanas - a species which is listed as critically endangered and was once considered to be one of the rarest iguanas in existence.
The eggs were laid after two young adult iguanas arrived at the zoo last year as a new breeding pair aiming to boost numbers of this species in captivity.
They were transferred to a temperature-controlled incubator for three months until hatching and then moved into a vivarium on display in the zoo's reptile house. Tim Skelton, curator of reptiles and amphibians at the zoo, said: "I'm thrilled that we have successfully hatched so many iguanas from the first clutch of eggs laid by our new female.
"This is an interesting and very valuable species because they are only found on one island, Utila, off the coast of Honduras in Central America."
He added: "The babies are

Zoo staff: ‘Every loss is a tough one’
Brookfield Zoo officials said preliminary necropsy reports indicate nothing unusual about the death of a newborn dolphin calf.
But that is little comfort for the grief-stricken zoo staff.
The bottlenose dolphin calf died within moments of his birth at Brookfield Zoo Sunday morning, despite what zoo staff described as a normal pregnancy and three hours of labor by his experienced mother, 29-year-old Tapeko.
Associate veterinarian Michael Adkesson said Tapeko, who has raised three calves previously, was carefully monitored throughout her pregnancy. A necropsy (animal autopsy) performed Sunday showed nothing to indicate the cause of death.
“By all indications, this is just a calf that was weak from the beginning and was not able to get to the surface and take those critical first breaths,” Adkesson said. “A strong, healthy calf should really need little assistance to get to the surface. Topeko did a terrific job nudging it from underneath

CAZA NEWS (An interesting read....please make the effort)

South Africa hyenas recaptured after chewing to freedom
Two hyenas escaped from a South African wildlife park Wednesday by chewing through an electric fence during a power outage, but were recaptured within half an hour, the park said.
"The power went off... and the hyenas -- who will chew through wire and even iron bars -- managed to escape," said Earl Smith, general manager of the Lion Park, located just outside Johannesburg.
"The hyenas always try to escape if there is a long power failure. The lions don't try to escape," he told the Sapa news agency.
He said park employees tracked the hyenas and recaptured them near one of the main roads leading into Johannesburg.
He described the animals as "shy and timid" and

Chimpanzee Smiles

And if you watched the above video please remember that it is all in a name. Good Zoos ARE Sanctuaries!

Ex-Philly elephant being moved again
AN AFRICAN elephant that used to call the Philadelphia Zoo home will soon show whether there's any truth to the saying that elephants never forget.
The Philadelphia Zoo announced yesterday that Kallie, an elephant that was moved to the Pittsburgh Zoo's International Conservation Center in 2009 - along with Bette, another African elephant - was moved again yesterday, this time to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
There, Kallie will be reunited with three elephants she knew previously, zoo officials said.
"It wouldn't be unusual for them to remember," Kim Lengel, the Philadelphia Zoo's director of conservation and its general curator, said yesterday. "There are plenty of documented cases where elephants have been separated for very long periods of time and still remember each other."
The decision to move Kallie from Pittsburgh and split her from Bette was made by Philadelphia Zoo officials - who still closely follow their former elephants - after the Pittsburgh Zoo rescued three young elephants from Botswana.
Officials described Bette as a "sweetheart" and predicted that she'd be easy to integrate with the new elephants in Pittsburgh.
Marianne Bessey, founder of the advocacy group Friends of Philly Zoo Elephants, which has been pushing for six years for the animals to be given permanent homes in sanctuaries, said she's disappointed by the decision.
Bessey said the Cleveland zoo is "in a cold climate with just a fraction of the space that she would have at a true sanctuary." She compared Cleveland's five-acre exhibit to the more than 2,000 acres at a sanctuary in Tennessee where Dulary, an Indian elephant formerly living at the Philadelphia Zoo, was moved.
Bessey said that if Kallie was moved to that sanctuary or to another one in California that offered to take her, she still would have a chance to reunite with familiar elephants.
"That shipment [with which Kallie arrived in the U.S.] had over 100 baby elephants," Bessey said, adding that some of those elephants live in the sanctuaries. "She has just as much of a chance of being reunited there as she does with someone

Giraffes, birds killed in zoo fire in Burlington
A large fire at a zoo in Burlington County Sunday night claimed the life of a mother giraffe and its calf and a number of exotic birds and other animals.
The three-alarm blaze that tore through the pet shop at Animal Kingdom Pet Store and Zoo in Springfield also killed three dogs, four cats and a number of parrots.
Sunday’s fire at the sprawling complex of pastures and outbuildings at the Jacksonville-
Jobstown Road property came just months after another three-alarm fire in April killed Bridget Sipp, who owned

First International New World Primate Symposium

On 17th and 18th March 2012 Twycross Zoo will be holding the First International New World Primate Symposium, giving the chance for Zoos and Colleges from all over the world to have a part in the unique opportunity to share knowledge and skill on this fantastic group of primates.

This symposium will be based at Twycross Zoo over a period of two days. Included will be time to take part in on site workshops on enrichment, enclosure deign and on browse feeding. This will be lead by keepers. To make this symposium assessable to all we have tried to keep registration cost low as we can so that everyone can be involved, so for the whole weekend which includes all talks and workshops as well as lunches and coffee's will be only cost £50 (Low cost local accommodation list can be available on registration)

We are also offering you the opportunity for your collection or any of your members of staff to present a projected or a poster presentation from the following list:

Hand - Rearing
Animal welfare Husbandry of New World Primates
Training Enrichment
Stress management

If you would like to present at this symposium please write a brief summary about your topic or if you would like to attend this symposium please email Greg Clifton for a registration form at

(Closing date for presentation and poster is 1st December and closing date for registration is 6th February)

With your help we can unite and make a significant difference in the husbandry and welfare of New World Primates in zoos.


Wounded elephant walks again, thanks to jumbo-sized false foot
"I really thought he would never make it," said Nick Marx, stroking Chhouk's trunk with a sense of pride and affection.
"He was seriously injured. He was extremely young, emaciated and very, very sick."
Chhouk, a bull elephant now 5 years old, was found in the Cambodian jungle in 2007, alone and close to death, his left front foot mangled by a poacher's trap.
Marx, the Director of Wildlife Rescue and Care at the Wildlife Alliance, a conservation group, was one of the first to the scene, nursing Chhouk in the jungle for a week.
"I stayed with him, slept beside him, hand-fed him everything he ate.”
Chhouk was taken to the Cambodian government's Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, outside Phnom Penh, and nursed back to health.
"The damage was severe," Marx says. "He's lost six to eight inches of his leg."
Marx turned to experts at the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics, who'd learned their skills during the terrible conflicts (and landmine legacy) that once afflicted this part of Asia. They'd never tried anything on this scale before.
"It's a kind of plastic resin. The inside is quite soft, and the outside is very hard," Marx told me, as Chhouk's keepers removed the artificial foot for its daily cleaning, a procedure that the young elephant has now gotten used to, lifting his leg into a small
compartment for the keepers to work on.
Though now his keepers have to exercise more care. Chhouk's entering the equivalent of jumbo adolescence. He's getting a bit of attitude. "We've certainly got to be more cautious," said Marx, who can read the elephant's mood better than anybody.
Then he was into the forest with Lucky, an older elephant that seems to have adopted the youngster. On the narrow path, then playing in a small lake, he seemed comfortable and confident.
"It's changed his life," says Marx. "From being a tired little chap who slept a lot when he went on his walks, he's now lively and energetic. He never stops.”
He's now on his fourth prosthetic leg, because of heavy wear, but also because Chhouk is growing up fast.
He's become the best known resident – and a symbol of resilience – at Phnom Tamao, which is maintained by the Wildlife Alliance and supported by the Sea World and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. The rescue center now houses more than 1,000 animals, ranging from elephants to tigers, gibbons, bears and birds, many of which, like Chhouk

Bowhunting Rhino (Sick sick sick)

Deep Intellect
Inside the mind of the octopus
ON AN UNSEASONABLY WARM day in the middle of March, I traveled from New Hampshire to the moist, dim sanctuary of the New England Aquarium, hoping to touch an alternate reality. I came to meet Athena, the aquarium’s forty-pound, five-foot-long, two-and-a-half-year-old giant Pacific octopus.
For me, it was a momentous occasion. I have always loved octopuses. No sci-fi alien is so startlingly strange. Here is someone who, even if she grows to one hundred pounds and stretches more than eight feet long, could still squeeze her boneless body through an opening the size of an orange; an animal whose eight arms are covered with thousands of suckers that taste as well as feel; a mollusk with a beak like a parrot and venom like a snake and a tongue covered with teeth; a creature who can shape-shift, change color, and squirt ink. But most intriguing of all, recent research indicates that octopuses are remarkably intelligent.
Many times I have stood mesmerized by an aquarium tank, wondering, as I stared into the horizontal pupils of an octopus’s large, prominent eyes, if she was staring back at me—and if so, what was she thinking?
Not long ago, a question like this would have seemed foolish, if not crazy. How can an octopus know anything, much less form an opinion? Octopuses are, after all, “only” invertebrates—they don’t even belong with the insects, some of whom, like dragonflies and dung beetles, at least seem to show some smarts. Octopuses are classified within the invertebrates in the mollusk family, and many mollusks, like clams, have no brain.
Only recently have scientists accorded chimpanzees, so closely related to humans we can share blood transfusions, the dignity of having a mind. But now, increasingly, researchers who study octopuses are convinced that these boneless, alien animals—creatures whose ancestors diverged from the lineage that would lead to ours roughly 500 to 700 million years ago—have developed intelligence, emotions, and individual personalities. Their findings are challenging our understanding of consciousness itself.
I had always longed to meet an octopus. Now was my chance: senior aquarist Scott Dowd arranged an introduction. In a back room, he would open the top of Athena’s tank. If she consented, I could touch her. The heavy lid covering her tank separated our two worlds. One world was mine and yours, the reality of air and land, where we lumber through life governed by a backbone and constrained by jointed limbs and gravity. The other world was hers, the reality of a nearly gelatinous being breathing water and moving weightlessly through it. We think of our world as the “real” one, but Athena’s is realer still: after all, most of the world is ocean, and most animals live there. Regardless of whether they live on land or water, more than 95 percent of all animals are invertebrates, like Athena.
The moment the lid was off, we reached for each other. She had already oozed from the far corner of her lair, where she had been hiding, to the top of the tank to investigate her visitor. Her eight arms boiled up, twisting, slippery, to meet mine. I plunged both my arms elbow deep into the fifty-seven-degree water. Athena’s melon-sized head bobbed to the surface. Her left eye (octopuses have one dominant eye like humans have a dominant hand) swiveled in its socket to meet mine. “She’s looking at you,” Dowd said.
As we gazed into each other’s eyes, Athena encircled my arms with hers, latching

John Regan Associates Ltd

San Diego Zoo scientists establish cell cultures of endangered frog
San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy scientists have taken a tremendous leap forward in banking viable amphibian cells. This was achieved through the first successful establishment of cell cultures from frozen biopsy specimens of the critically endangered Mississippi gopher frog. A method called "tissue piecing" and immediate freezing in liquid nitrogen allows field biologists to collect samples that can later be processed in a laboratory.
"With amphibians we have found that we can routinely obtain viable cells from a fresh biopsy, but they fail to thrive and divide, leaving us often unable to establish and freeze cell cultures," said Oliver Ryder, Ph.D., San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research director of genetics. "The question then is, how are we to know if there are viable cells in a tissue-pieced amphibian biopsy when we cannot grow the cells from a fresh biopsy?"
Thanks to a breakthrough achieved at the Institute for Conservation Research, the Mississippi gopher frog case provides proof that endangered amphibian cells can be grown and cells frozen from fresh or tissue-pieced and frozen biopsies.
The tissue-piecing technique has been used for some time with numerous species. In mammals, for example, scientists can mince a skin biopsy, treat it with cryoprotectant and freeze it. Later the tissue pieces can be thawed in a lab to establish a cell culture. But this method had not been previously successful with endangered amphibians until now.
"We are very pleased to have demonstrated for a critically endangered species that we have the techniques necessary for establishing cell cultures under field conditions, when quick access to a lab is not feasible," said Ryder. "For species for which we have not been able to successfully establish cell cultures, but have banked tissue-pieced samples, we know now that we have saved viable cells. In the future we now have the opportunity to go back when we hope to have worked out methods for growing cells from species whose cells have been recalcitrant to our cell culture efforts and use tissue-pieced specimens to obtain, grow

Law enforcement, the Wilds, Columbus Zoo deserve praise
The escape of over 50 exotic animals from a private facility in Zanesville brought extensive national media attention to Southeastern Ohio and resulted in criticism of the local law enforcement response to the situation.
In addition, various comments on social networking and traditional media websites characterized the incident as typifying rural Appalachian ignorance and incompetence. Certainly the death of 48 charismatic animals, with the accompanying grisly pictures, elicited a visceral reaction from many, and was rightfully decried as a tragedy.
However, blaming local law enforcement is unwarranted, and praise is due to officers who successfully prevented a dangerous situation from ending in human death or injury. Much of the blame stems from inaccurate public knowledge about “tranquilizing” large animals and the nature of captive exotic animals.
Following the decision to put down the escaped animals, many questioned why they were not tranquilized and secured. Several factors made chemical anesthesia (the restraint of an animal by the use of drugs) an unrealistic and very dangerous option.
Deputies did not arrive on the scene until approximately 5:30 p.m., and were confronted by an unknown number of uncontained, dangerous animals. When the first deputies arrived, they found several animals outside of the perimeter fence, which was constructed of standard livestock fence and was inadequate to contain large carnivores.
Assembling a trained anesthesia team with the necessary equipment, would have required at least one to two hours, allowing the animals to disperse into full darkness. Darting animals at night is very difficult, and the situation would have been exacerbated by the high number of escaped animals, unfamiliar terrain and structures, and the diverse response personnel involved.
Successful darting often requires the shooter to come into close proximity of the animal, especially in poor visibility and closed terrain. Once in position, the animal must be darted in certain areas of the body and with the correct amount of dart force. Movies and TV shows often falsely portray that darting results in immediate immobilization of the animal, but in reality, the drugs

Rogue zoo keepers fight move of Toronto’s elephants to California sanctuary
War has erupted between Toronto Zoo elephant keepers and the animal rights group helping to co-ordinate a move of three aging elephants to a California sanctuary.
Zoocheck Canada’s Julie Woodyer told the Star she has rescinded an offer to pay for one of the dozen keepers to fly to the PAWS sanctuary this weekend with her and two councillors, Michelle Berardinetti and Raymond Cho.
She is also considering shutting the keepers out of training the pachyderms for the risky trip — a move the keepers say would be foolish and potentially dangerous for the animals they know better than anyone.
Woodyer said last week a trainer would be welcome on the trip, which follows council’s vote to override a zoo board decision to first look for an accredited zoo as a new home for Iringa, 42; Toka, 41; and Thika, 31.
That changed, she said, last Friday when one of the keepers started calling councillors directly, urging them to hold another vote and reverse the decision to send the animals to the 80-acre PAWS sanctuary in San Andreas.
“That’s insubordination — city staff can’t go above their managers’ head and do those kinds of things,” Woodyer said. “They were trying to sabotage the process. We’re happy to work with them but need them to be straight up and upfront with us.”
Zoo chief executive John Tracogna has said keepers have already started early training for the elephants, which have lived in their enclosure for decades, to prepare them to move by truck or plane.
But Woodyer suggested PAWS, and the company it uses to manage elephant transport, should take over if zoo staff continue to fight the move.
“If it becomes clear they’re not coming to this in good faith, then we’ll have to bring in trainers and it will be difficult to include (zoo staff) in the process.”
Zoo management has ordered trainers not to talk to reporters since one told the Star that councillors, after they voted for the sanctuary option, are “not qualified to make a decision on what’s best for these elephants.”
Their union representative, CUPE Local 1600’s Grant Ankenman, said the keepers are emotional and upset the zoo wasn’t allowed to continue talks

Czechs to fly more rare wild horses to Mongolia to reintroduce them to native habitat
The Prague Zoo says it will transport more rare wild horses to Mongolia next year as part of its efforts to reintroduce the endangered species to its native habitat.
The zoo moved four of its Przewalski horses to the western Mongolian reserve of Khomiin Tal in June.
Zoo spokeswoman Jana Ptacinska Jiratova says the transport has been successful and the horses are doing well in their new environment. She said Thursday the zoo will continue with the effort and at least four more will be flown to Mongolia in June.
The Przewalski horse is native to the steppes of Central Asia and became extinct in the

End of an era at Wildlife Park after general manager retires
THE general manager of Curraghs Wildlife Park has retired after almost a quarter of a century in the job.
Nick Pinder, 60, started in May 1987 and became the park's second manager following the death of Tom Kind who had run the park since it was created in 1965.
During his time as general manager Nick has served under three government departments, 13 politicians and nine ministers.
He also saw the 40 acre wetland park receive international recognition and become involved in international breeding programmes.
The park is a member of both the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA) and the European equivalent EAZA. It has also been recognised as part

Dusit Zoo puts evacuation plan in place
Dusit Zoo has prepared to evacuate animals to Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Chon Buri in the event that the floodwaters spread to the area, zoo director Dr Karnchai Saenwongse said on Friday.
The zoo, which is on Rama V Road, is currently home to 250 species with 1,200 animals spread over 118 rai of land. The authority has prepared sandbags to block the water at the doors of the animals' cages as well as food for about two weeks.
Water in ponds in the zoo compound had already been drained to a level where they could receive the floodwater.
Karnchai said the animals are divided into groups according to their living quarters. The first group to be evacuated to Chon Buri are those that would face difficulty if the water level reached 50 centimetres.
These included animals such as deer and barking deer, he said.
If the water level reached one metre, tigers would be relocated to Chon Buri, he said, adding birds, monkeys and crocodiles would be safe and fine in the flood.
He reiterated that the crocodile ponds have

Another Bangkok Zoo Gets Hit By Flooding
Another zoo in the Bangkok area has been hit as floodwaters continue to swamp the city.
Proprietors at Safari World – among the more popular destinations for families here – said they shut down the facility on Thursday after authorities opened a flood gate at a nearby canal following demonstrations by local residents, causing the zoo’s flooding defenses to be overwhelmed.
The animals inside the facility are not at risk of harm — for now. But the situation has forced officials at the 500-acre complex to scramble to find dry ground for the lions, tigers, zebras, giraffes and other animals that roam there. Television footage show giraffes wading in water hoove-deep, and a rhinoceros looking confused at meter-high waters surrounding it.
The complex is the second Bangkok animal park to come under threat in recent weeks, after the city’s popular Dusit Zoo was forced to relocate some of its animals when floodwaters got too close. Safari World is in a particularly vulnerable place, east of Bangkok’s shuttered Don Muang airport in an area of the city that has faced serious, ongoing flooding.
The safari area is also one of a growing

Shark dies after release from Monterey exhibit
A great white shark that had been on exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium died late last week, soon after being released back into the wild, the aquarium said Wednesday.
The young male shark - probably less than a year old and weighing about 50 pounds - had been brought to the aquarium Aug. 31 to live temporarily in the exhibit. It was the sixth great white to join the aquarium since 2004, and the first to have died shortly after release.
Shark experts at the aquarium may never know how the animal died, but they will be studying their great white program over the following months to make sure the time in captivity didn't cause any harm.
"We can go back and look at the way we cared for and

Gibbon Conservation Center founder hospitalized
Alan Mootnick, the Canyon Country man who founded the Gibbon Conservation Center, was in critical condition at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after experiencing "a serious heart event," his family said Wednesday.
"We are, of course, very concerned about Alan," said an emailed statement from the family sent via the center's volunteer coordinator.
Mootnick, caregiver to the center's more than 30 apes for 31 years, dedicated his life to the purpose of caring for the small, rare apes after watching the television show "Tarzan" when he was 9 and hearing the gibbons' singing in the background.
A native of the San Fernando Valley, Mootnick chose 10 acres off Bouquet

Exotic animals in state raise some concerns
A black bear has been kept on a chain in the backyard in Colleton County, until recently at least. A bison went rogue from a farm outside Summerville several years ago and was reported charging cars on the road. A decade ago, a cougar slipped between his owners' legs and out of a cage near Lincolnville and spent two weeks away.
Large, exotic wild animals can be and are kept privately in the Lowcountry as well as across South Carolina. The state has virtually no regulations

Dear Elephantstay Team Members and Supporters

As many of you know Elephantstay is currently flooded. Evacuation began the 4th September. The whole of Ayutthaya has been underwater since the second week in October and is only now beginning to recede. It is an unprecedented disaster. We are all devastated by what has happened to our home, our village and our city. The majority of the elephants are living outside but the mothers, babies, Noppakhao and BoonLot are stranded on top of the Kraal. It has been difficult to get food to them. The only accessibility is by boat. It is any ones guess when the water will recede. Now Bangkok is flooding which will further affect supplies going to Ayutthaya.
No one knew how high and how quickly the water would come. All the work we did to move everything to high ground in the village has been useless as the water rose to unprecedented level. This means that the only way we will ever recover and start running again is to virtually rebuild and re buy everything we need to run the program. Let alone the rest of the village. As yet we have not been able to do an assessment as the water is still too high, but needless to say the majority of the village is destroyed. The village has already been underwater for nearly two months. This has been a traumatic time for us.

Unfortunately when we evacuated from Ayutthaya we had to take BoonLua (our crippled monkey), Stripe (BoonLua's rabbit), Rosalie (one wing bird), Augustus (rescue sugar glider),
Buddy and Little Girl (our dogs) and Munchie (our cat). This meant we could only take a small bag of clothes and lap top. We could not take all our diaries and sundry items to take bookings. As soon as we are able to return I will start to work on the bookings. So thank you for your patience and understanding in this matter.

Knowing we have such dedicated and committed people caring about us has made a huge difference.
Many of you have already donated and are fund raising and your efforts are greatly appreciated. Without your support we will not be able to begin to run our program again.
If you are in Melbourne Tim and Sharon are organising a great fundraising evening at Melbourne Zoo on the 3rd December. If you are interested in helping/ going /knowing more about it please contact them at  If you are not in Melbourne but would like to hold something similar they can supply you with a blue print on how to do it.

We are all working for the ultimate goal, making sure that Asian Elephants survive into the future. The fact that we have had another two births while the elephants have been away from their home is testament to our success in this area. We are expecting another couple of babies very soon as well.

We need your support so if you would like to help us get back on our feet please check out our donate page

A jumbo thank you for your current and future efforts.
A special thank you to Paul, Neil and Belynda who have been amazing.
Also to Scott (in Laksi) and Mike (in Bangkok and Pattaya) for putting us and our animals up when we had nowhere to go.

Ewa and Michelle

For regular updates and photos please check our facebook discussion group: All help Elephantstay Help Elephants
or Twitter

Rabbits raised at Oregon Zoo step into the wild
Gizmo was gently pulled from his straw-lined pet carrier and deposited in the dirt under a scrubby sagebrush
Gizmo was gently pulled from his straw-lined pet carrier and deposited in the dirt under a scrubby sagebrush.
After more than three years of coddling and hand-care in captivity at Washington State University and then the Oregon Zoo, the small Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit moved Thursday into natural habitat in the sage lands of Douglas County.
No more protective home. No more daily cleanings of his burrow or deliveries of lettuce greens and rabbit pellets from loving caretakers. And no more cute name.
"It's tough love out here," said Penny Becker, a research scientist who is overseeing the rabbit project for

Same-sex penguin pair fascinates zookeepers
Are Buddy and Pedro, two African penguins at the Toronto Zoo, gay?
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but their keepers have noticed the two are inseparable, and perhaps most telling, they’re showing signs of mating behaviours.
There are other cases of gay penguins — zoos in New York, Japan, Germany and Sea World Orlando have seen examples.
As part of an experiment a few years ago, Roy and Silo, two male chinstrap penguins at New York’s Central Park zoo, incubated an egg together and raised the chick, named Tango, after she hatched. A children’s book about them called And Tango Makes Three was a smash best seller.
But in Toronto, Buddy and Pedro’s relationship, however you describe it, is destined to come to an end soon because they have a duty. They have top-notch genes, so the zoo intends to separate them from each other and pair them with females for breeding.
Given that African penguins are endangered, the move

Bindi Irwin ready to take on the world
FIVE years after the death of her famous father Steve, Bindi Irwin, 13, is firmly installed as the face of the Australia Zoo empire. But is she for real? Wendy Tuohy is pleasantly surprised.
YOU may not suspect Bindi Irwin of having a cheeky sense of humour.
A vast general knowledge, poise and confidence beyond her years, even earnestness: these are things you might expect to find in a girl who's grown up in the media spotlight.
So what surprises me, on meeting this pint-sized powerhouse, is that despite everything she's been through and all she strives to project, Bindi is up for a laugh.
When I ask her where she gets her maturity and the ability to shoulder the legacy of her late father Steve without letting it seem a burden (immediately realising what a hard question this is for a 13-year-old), she giggles and chirps: "Hmmm, yes, I've asked

The Art and Science of Animal Training

ABWAK Annual Symposium 2012

Second Call for Presentations

ABWAK is holding its 2 day Annual Symposium at Bristol Zoological Gardens on
the 03rd and 04th March 2012. The theme of the symposium is professional
development and showcasing the work of zoo keepers in big and small

This is an opportunity for animal keepers to share their knowledge with
other keepers in a friendly environment. We are inviting oral presentations
on subjects ranging from husbandry techniques, enclosure design, innovative
environmental enrichment and new ideas in animal diets. Preference will be
given to zoo keepers working in the UK and Ireland, but we also encourage
students and other zoo professionals as well.

Presentations would normally be no longer than 20 minutes, with time for
questions. A brief outline/abstract of your presentation should be
submitted and you will be informed if your presentation has been accepted.

The outline/abstract should include:

. Title

. Keywords

. Author

. A/V equipment required

. Summary of presentation (no more than 300 words).

Deadline is 30th November 2011.

Please submit abstracts to Ross Snipp,

Animals in poor shape at Byculla zoo, says PAWS
Plant and Animals Welfare Society (PAWS-Mumbai), a non-government organisation, has demanded that the civic body-run Byculla zoo should be shut down as the wild animals kept in captivity are in pathetic condition. Following complaints received from citizens, a team from PAWS-Mumbai, visited the Veermata Jijabai Bhonsle Udyan, also known as Byculla zoo or Rani Baug on October 29. The team found animals living in pathetic condition.
Not a single enclosure had water, they said, and the trees, too, had not been watered. Most of the zoo staff was not qualified. Most of the enclosures were empty and animals were put in small enclosures without any natural habitat. Though the zoo authority does not allow plastic bottles inside the zoo premises, plastic waste, gutka pouches and cold drink bottle caps were seen lying everywhere, even inside the enclosures.
PAWS demanded that the zoo be shut down until the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) provides proper basic amenities like water, health care and a natural habitat for animals.
“What is surprising is that injured and sick animals have been

Council rejects zoo vet's settlement
A lawsuit and three monetary claims against the city of Topeka, including discrimination cases filed by the Topeka Zoo veterinarian and a former deputy fire chief, remain unresolved after council members Tuesday evening voted against them.
Council members rejected a proposed $132,500 settlement with Topeka Zoo staff veterinarian Shirley Yeo Llizo in a 4-3 vote during their regular meeting at City Hall. The rejection means the lawsuit will continue. A jury trial has been set for July 6.
The settlement required at least five votes for approval. Interim city attorney Catherine Walter had recommended the council approve the settlement.
Council members Karen Hiller, Sylvia Ortiz, Larry Wolgast and Richard Harmon voted to approve the settlement. Council members Denise Everhart, Chad Manspeaker and Andrew Gray

Will a Spanish Zoo Conquer the Will of the Dutch People in the Battle Over the Rescued Orca Whale, Morgan?
“A juvenile killer whale called Morgan was found alone in Dutch waters on June 23, 2010 and has been cared for since then by the Harderwijk Dolphinarium. Now that Morgan appears to be in good health, the Free Morgan Support Group , together with a global team of experts, has presented a solid plan to return her to her native habitat. The plan was designed and endorsed by scientists and experts in orca physiology, behaviour and acoustics.” Loro Parque is trying to obtain this whale, and a decision may be made on November 7th, 2011. Please contact the Free Morgan Foundation for more information.
Spanish Loro Parque looks to be a modern zoo, and seems to go to great length to provide most species with enriched environments – that is, except for the marine mammals. Although the orca exhibit was opened in 2006, zoo designers gave these bright animals yet another featureless bathtub to call home. The zoo boasts the capacity to keep their relatively new orca tank clean and cool – but they also seems to have walked right into a time warp and built a marine mammal facility that is part 60′s circus and part SeaWorld theatrics. They keep five orcas there, on loan from SeaWorld, and are trying to get custody of the rescued orca Morgan.
In general, visitors give the zoo high marks, and most complaints are related to the prices (you can check the Trip Advisor rating here). According to Wikipedia, the other creatures on display in the park are ‘the most diverse collection of parrots in the world’, chimpanzees, gorillas, marmosets, sea lions, otters, jaguars, tigers, iguanas, alligators, giant tortoises, flamingos, pelicans, exotic fish, piranhas

For the record....I believe Morgan will be better off in Loro Parque. Don't forget 'Happy Feet', the wild is no picnic.

Rats take up residence in Schönbrunn
Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna, Austria, will open a new rat house on Sunday. A variety of the creatures will be on display at the zoo, hoping to improve their image as merely pests and unhygienic rodents.
Visitors will be able to meet Rolf Rüdiger, the most famous rat in Austria and organiser and ambassador of the new rat house, Robert Steiner, who has high hopes of changing attitudes.
Throughout the world there are over 60 species of rats. Three of these have recently found a new home in Schönbrunn Zoo. The Giant Hamster Rat, a creature native to the Savannah in Africa, can detect landmines due to their strong sense of smell and can even identify tuberculosis by scent.
Another rat who has taken up residence in the zoo is the Northern Luzon Giant Cloud Rat. The distinctive black and whiteönbrunn

Zookeepers diligently prepare animal meals at National Zoo
In a four-star kitchen, people are whipping up restaurant grade meals. Only instead of a pinch of this, and a dash of that, these chefs are meticulously weighing every morsel of insects, rodents and dead animal carcasses as they prep food for the animals at the National Zoo.
"We deal with crickets and meal worms and mice and rats and rabbits,” said Mike Maslanka, the head nutritionist.
The team of twelve at the Zoo's commissary starts before sunrise to turn out 400 different specially tailored diets.
These aren't meals for the faint of heart: They order beef blood by the gallons, frozen

USDA investigation clears Pa. zoo in deaths of bison during flooding from Tropical Storm Lee
Federal agriculture officials have cleared a Pennsylvania zoo of wrongdoing in the deaths of two bison during September’s massive flooding.
The Patriot-News of Harrisburg reports Wednesday the USDA found ZooAmerica took appropriate steps in response to the rising water caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee.
One bison drowned and the other was shot by staff after a creek crested its banks and flooded their pens. Zoo officials said workers tried to reach the animals but the water rose too quickly.
The deaths of the bison, named Esther and Ryan, prompted an outcry from animal-rights activists.
A statement released

How can Animal Rights be so ignorant to believe that Zookeepers would not take the best possible steps in the circumstances?


Male Siberian tiger donated by China dies
A male Siberian tiger that had been raised at the Forest Zoo of the Korean National Arboretum in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province, died Friday at the age of 21.
Named “Baekdu,” the feline was donated by former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and was the oldest Siberian tiger bred in Korea. As the life expectancy of a tiger is 15 to 20 years, Baekdu died at an age equivalent to 80 human years.
The tiger from February showed symptoms of aging such as loss of appetite and difficulty walking.
The arboretum judged that the tiger died from age-induced major organ malfunction and sent it to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Seoul National University for an autopsy.
As a sign of friendship between Beijing and Seoul, Jiang gave Baekdu and a female tiger “Cheonji” to then Korean President Kim Young-sam, who visited Beijing in 1994. Cheonji

Are Tigers Endangered?
National Geographic Is Sponsoring a Program To Stop the Question ‘Are Tigers Endangered?’
The question ‘Are Tigers Endangered?’, is one that has been asked many times over the last few years – or decades as a matter of fact. Lions, tigers and various other big cats are leaping straight for the endangered species list.
Conservation scientists believe these animals could be near extinction in two decades. Research has shown numbers are falling rapidly. During the past half-century, lion numbers in the African wild are down from 450,000 to 25,000, leopard numbers are down from 750,000 to 50,000, cheetah numbers are down from 45,000 to 12,000 and tiger numbers are very low, down from 50,000 to 3,000. That means there are only about 1,200 wild female tigers left that have the capability of furthering the species.
Reasons for the decrease in numbers are due to human interaction with these cats. First of all, poaching kills many animals each year, as does poisoning. Humans are also developing the land which is forcing these animals away from their homes. Hunters also sell tiger skins and body parts for certain Chinese medicines.
There are positive things that these animals do that help the world. They keep populations in check and without them, prey species will grow. They will require more food

Animal Deaths Do Little to Ease Surabaya Zoo Squeeze
Surabaya. If a zoo loses several endangered animals, all dying of unknown causes, you would probably expect its managers to happily welcome new additions to their collection.
The Surabaya Zoo, however, is not your typical zoo.
"If there is an animal that gives birth, it troubles us because we don’t know what to do with [the baby],” said Tony Sumampau, acting chairman of the zoo.
On Monday, the zoo welcomed a new baby siamang, a tailless ape native to Sumatra and the Malayan peninsula, just one day after one of its orangutans gave birth to a female ape. But Tony said the zoo is already overpopulated, a problem he blames on previous policies that he says turned the zoo into a breeding facility.
“In the 1950s, a zoo’s success depended on how many animals it could breed,” he said. “Now the paradigm is how to breed animals that are genetically superior and possess clear hereditary lines.
“The old management at Surabaya Zoo did not understand this, and they didn’t control the breeding of their animals,” he added.
The Surabaya Zoo has 4,020 animals occupying a space of 85,000 square meters.
Tony said it has too many Bali starlings, currently numbering 123. It also has too many pelicans (150) and babirusas (37), a wild boar indigenous to Sulawesi.
The overpopulation means each animal must fight for food and space. Tony said it also leads to incestuous breeding that corrupts the animals’ genetic makeup. The zoo stopped its breeding programs for Sumatran tigers in order to prevent inbreeding.
Indonesian zoos, he said, should communicate with each other and with foreign conservation facilities in designing their breeding programs.
The Surabaya Zoo has recently been beleaguered with one controversy after another.
Last August, the Forestry Ministry revoked its license following a series of animal deaths. The zoo lost a Sumatran tiger, an African lion, a wallaby, a Komodo dragon, a babirusa cub, a Bawea

Penguin quest leads to Manila
It is like going to Antarctica—except that the penguins are eating galunggong.
The Manila Ocean Park can now boast of housing the first-ever and only penguin habitat in the Philippines—and to be there is to be near the coldest, driest place on the planet.
At Friday’s launch of the “Trails to Antarctica: The Penguin Quest,” visitors were treated to four educational walkthrough zones, the main attraction of which being the first and only live penguin exhibit in the Philippines.
On show were nine South American penguins captive-bred in Germany.
The “tropical” Humboldt penguins were presented in a habitat closest to their own, complete with nesting burrows, a rocky shore, and an indoor pool to allow them to frolic undisturbed in the water, while giving the public a view of their natural antics.
Among 18 known species of penguins worldwide, Humboldt penguins actually live in warm and dry climate off the Pacific coastlines

Terrible terrapin centre
Visitors to the Bota Kanan river terrapin conservation centre in central Perak are appalled by the poor conditions there.
Albert Low, who visited the facility last week with his wife Michelle Boey, said the ponds, where bree-ding terrapins were kept, were murky and smelly.
“The water was almost black with a layer of scum on top. I don’t think that is the proper way to keep an endangered species. We couldn’t even see the terrapins because the water was so dirty. Occasionally, one head will bob up to take a breath,” said the computer analyst from

Money for nothing, tigers for free
Have tiger numbers actually increased? Yes, but the future of the species depends on how we deal with their habitat and official corruption.
The most recent additions to the masses gathered in the shadow of Anna Hazare seem to be the tiger and his buddies. Recently, Hazare called out to the State Government of Maharashtra to cease illegal encroachment into forest lands. This may as well have been directed towards the rest of the Indian states as well as the Centre: increasing limelight on forest clearances has exposed the eagerness of the department entrusted with protecting the forest to facilitate projects that at best displace forests, and at worst cause serious threats to existence of already endangered species. Recent exposures on the working of the Forest Advisory Committee and the National Board of Wildlife by non-official members not only supports this fact, but also details the farce that has become the protection that we, as a country, are willing to extend to our natural heritage.
When corruption affects the food supply of our nation, our access to clean water, uncluttered roads, pure air, does it really matter that we are also losing our forests and wildlife to this disease? As a people we are strongly dependent on natural resources; more than half of our population is directly dependent on forest products; the rest of us, indirectly. As a nation, we remain proud of the animals and trees we share our country with; the tiger, elephant, the tulsi plant and neem tree all hold esteemed positions in our culture. As humans, we do not wish to see a land stripped of its greenery and life; we do not voluntarily want to drive species to extinction. Is it not then relevant to discuss, in the ambit of matters that is included within the current anti-corruption movement, the corruption amongst our forest officials?
Official version
So how rife is corruption within forest officials? At some point, we are all willing to accept some amount of corruption, some level of hand-oiling, so long as the job on hand gets done. The question therefore becomes, is the job on hand, that is, protection of forests and their constituent wildlife, accomplished? Rama Lakshmi, writing for the Washington Post on the green leanings of former Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh, seems to indicate that the afore-mentioned Minister has, in fact, done such a commendable job as to put the brakes on development. In March this year, the media assuaged all apprehensions the public may have had about our national animal, the tiger. Their numbers have gone up; we have seemingly protected them from the rampant poaching that conservationist whistle-blowers had warned us about. Not so long ago, the then-Chief Wildlife Warden for the State of Assam spoke in a public forum of increasing elephant crop raids, which he interpreted as booming population sizes. Superficially then, we deserve a pat on the back for our efforts at protecting our natural treasures. So why are conservationists still up-in-arms screaming out doomsday predictions?
If we, as intelligent and interested citizens are willing to take a closer look at this apparently rosy picture, we might find cause for the conservationists' concern. In two years, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has cleared nearly 1,500 projects of unmeasured consequences on forest land. The government has set up the National Board for Wildlife and the Forest Advisory Council, two committees aimed at attaining knowledgeable and democratic decisions on projects involving forest land. However, the National Board for Wildlife is ignoring their mandate to protect the forests under their care, and doing so in the most undemocratic manner, according to conservationists and former, non-official committee members Shekar Dattatri and Praveen Bhargav. Furthermore, rather than taking knowledgeable decisions, the Forest Advisory Council is posed with issues on which information is lacking, or when present, visibly unreliable, state Ullas Karanth, Amita Baviskar and Mahesh Rangarajan, eminent wildlife scientists and environmentalists. These committees then, are but serving as an eyewash to the public.
While we touted the reported 20 per cent increase in tiger numbers between 2006 and 2010 (12 per cent, removing regions that were not sampled in 2006), an important finding slipped by, which was a 22 per cent decrease in areas tigers occupied. With declines in the lands that house tigers, increases in population numbers are but temporary respite. Moreover, the word of newspapers and local forest guards and villagers is that poaching is not an act of the past. China still demands bones and skin of wild tigers, obtains them, and their call for legalising trade of wildlife is vociferous. With their lands decreasing and poaching still prevalent, it is difficult to biologically explain the claimed 12 per cent increase in tiger numbers. In-depth, small scale efforts lead scientists to suspect that a number of tiger reserves

from saw horses to seahorses: new aquarium taking shape in old building
As MOCA's new museum rises in University Circle, and the med mart, convention center and casino promise to breathe new life downtown, the Flats, too, is set to undergo a rebirth of its own. Construction of new retail, office and green space is in full swing on the East Bank, while across the river on the West Bank plans are taking shape for the brand new Greater Cleveland Aquarium.
Jacobs Entertainment, Inc. is pumping $70 million into the world-class aquatic facility, which is set to open early next year and draw upwards of 480,000 annual visitors. The watery attraction will employ 40 people while generating an economic impact of roughly $27 million per year. But since this is Cleveland, where everything unfolds with a twist, the new aquarium will be housed in a very old building: The Powerhouse.
In 1892, Marcus Hanna commissioned local architect John N. Richardson (Perry-Payne, Bradley and Worthington buildings) to design a structure to house the coal-fueled steam engines that would power his fleet of streetcars, and the Powerhouse was born. Over the next century, the iconic red-brick building with towering smokestacks would serve as a barrel reconditioning plant, a warehouse, and an entertainment mecca with restaurants and comedy club.
Turning the stalwart Powerhouse into a giant fish tank is no easy feat. Tasked with converting the 70,000-square-foot space is Marinescape, a New Zealand-based company that

Panda-monium – when zoo animals try toilet humour
YOU have to feel sorry for zoo animals. They spend their whole lives in captivity, their every move watched and recorded by humans who see them as a nice diversion for an afternoon.
Even when a panda answered the call of nature on top of one of his sleeping friends in a zoo somewhere in the Orient, visitors went mad for it.
Apart from the zoo cruelty aspect, the human-like expressions on the pandas' faces make this a hilarious insight into animal behaviour. The sleeping panda has a clear look of disgust and incredulity at being woken up by a golden


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