Friday, January 13, 2012

Zoo News Digest 8th - 13th January 2012 (Zoo News 801)

Zoo News Digest 8th - 13th January 2012 (Zoo News 801)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

My internet connection has been kind this week but posting items a bit difficult. Big Brother is working hand in hand with the ignorant. I cannot help but be suspicious here.

"After nearly 31 years, Susan Chan has retired as Managing Editor for Animal Keepers' Forum, the monthly professional journal of the American Association of Zoo Keepers, Inc. Colleagues and friends may reach Susan at . Replacing her as Media Production Editor is Shane Good of Cleveland, OH. His contact information is as follows: email – ; phone - 330–483-1104; Fax - 330–483-1444; mailing address – P.O. Box 535, Valley City, OH 44280. All further submissions to and inquiries about Animal Keepers' Forum should be directed to Shane Good."

I am sure we all wish Susan a happy retirement. Actually it makes me feel a little old as I have been a regular reader and earlier subscriber of the excellent Animal Keepers' Forum for more than 31 years. The previous editor, unless I'm getting confused, shared her name with one of the Playboy bunnies...maybe I am getting confused. Anyway Susan, live long and prosper and I hope you enjoy every day.

The elephant dung paper is a good idea. It surprises me that more zoos don't take it up. Reading the story reminded me that there was a framed photo of Dao and I together back in Thailand. The frame was made of good old organic elephant dung. Sadly the frame and the photo will now have ended on some scrapheap after all the problems with the flooding and the mafia after I left for Dubai. Back to the elephant is also a pretty good remedy for psoriasis...and I am serious here. Read A Psoriasis Cure You May Rather Not Know About

Follow up 'The Ape Crusaders' link as there are some wonderful photos there. The one thing I would say about the 'Orangutan Scene' is that the whole protection/saving/rescue thing is a mess of internal politics and intrigue. Now I have said that you are wondering exactly what I mean. Well wonder away, don't be swayed by personalities and fame and do your own in depth research. I don't think it will be too long before you will come to your own positive conclusions. One thing for sure is that the Orangutans need our help. I don't know how much longer I have left on planet earth but this is one 'major' species I can see becoming extinct in my lifetime.

Even more sense from Michael Hackenberger. See below. Toronto Councillors be it on your own heads for having your judgement clouded by the relocation bribe and mingling with people who think they are famous! And in reality know no more than the man/woman in the street.

Sounds very much like famous last words to me "The authorities said there was no chance that the lioness could scale the boundary wall and stray into the city"
The things I have seen happen when similar statements were made you would not believe. Never say never.


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Animal lover fears Toronto’s elephants risk infection at their new home
While many activists are applauding the decision by Toronto City Council to move the Toronto Zoo’s elephants to a California sanctuary, one animal lover warns it might not be in the best interest of the pachyderms. Michael Hackenberger, the Director of the Bowmanville Zoo alleges the PAWS sanctuary where they’re being moved to is home to elephants with tuberculosis and herpes. He says the elephants, who have lived at the Toronto Zoo their entire captive lives, won’t have the immunities to fight off infection. As for the argument that Canada’s cold climate is not ideal for elephants, Hackenberger says that’s nonsense fabricated by activists. He cites African Lion Safari in Hamilton as having one of the most successful captive breeding programs of Asian elephants. Hackenberger says if they are to be moved, the elephants should go to an American Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited f

Rhino horns found in MDC-T minister’s car – HERALD
LOCAL Government, Rural and Urban De-velopment Deputy Minister Cecil Zvidzai (MDC-T) has been named in a case in which three men were arrested in possession of two rhino horns worth US$120 000 last week.
Police recovered the horns in an Isuzu KB300 registered in Mr Zvidzai’s name at Road Port in Harare.
The vehicle has since been impounded following the arrest of Zivanai Masvaire (27), a game scout at Eldorado Farm, Charles Dowe-rowe

Ministry denies abuse of Orang Utans
: The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Ministry has brushed off claims by UK-based animal conservation group that orang utans kept at the Melaka Zoo have been abused.
In a statement which was published in The Star today, the Ministry said that the NGO, Nature Alert, had taken photographs of the orang utans in angles in a “deliberate attempt to mislead the public”.
It also said the photographs were taken while the orang utan were being transferred to another cage to make way for the daily cleaning process at the zoo.
The Ministry said that the orang utan is a fully protected species in Malaysia and should not be manipulated by anyone to tarnish the country’s image.
“Melaka Zoo has been releasing its orang utan into the exhibit area on a rotational basis to prevent conflicts between the groups.
“Hence, all the orang utan are given the opportunity to roam freely in the exhibit area,” said the statement, adding that the process normally took a few hours to complete due to the number of cages at the night stall area.
“The orangutan are not locked up 24-hours as alleged by Nature Alert. These are baseless accusations, ” said the statement.
Whyte turned down invite
The Ministry also said that it had recently extended an invitation to Nature Alert CEO Sean Whyte so that he could view and analyse the newly-built orang utan enclosures at A’Famosa Resort, but he had refused.
The group had called for the animals to be sent back to a sanctuary in Sarawak rather than be put in A’Famosa, where some orang utans were transferred out due to reports of abuse.
“We would like to invite him again to drop by our ministry to discuss approaches to further strengthen wildlife management in this country,” it said.
On Dec 31, FMT reported the discoveries of Shiva Lucian of the NGO Friends of Orang Utan.
Lucian had taken photographs of abused orang utans, who were ‘kept at secret locations’ of the zoo.
He reported that he saw eight orang utan held captive in tiny dirty cages where they could barely move, and without “a single leaf” for enrichment of their environment.
The plight of the orangutans was also highlighted in the online versions of British newspapers, The Daily Mirror and Daily Mail.
Whyte, who condemned the treatment of the apes, had sought the prosecution of Melaka zoo staff by Perhilitan officials.
Whyte said he had lodged numerous complaints with the authorities but saw little action being taken.
He had then issued a six-point list asking the authorities to immediately:
1. Prosecute Melaka zoo authorities.
2. Return four Orangutans originally from A’Famosa to the Sarawak orangutan sanctuary, and not back to the resort.
3. The remaining Orangutans be given access to the outside area of the enclosure on a twice daily rotational basis
4. The adult male Orangutan which is likely incarcerated 24/7, must be also be given access in front
5. New enclosures and night shelters must be built; and
6. Management and staff of Malacca be sent to Singapore zoo for training.

March of the penguins… into Ski Dubai
Dubai shoppers will soon be able to get up close and personal with snow penguins, after Ski Dubai announced it would play host to a colony of the Antarctic birds.
The indoor ski slope, located in Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates, said it planned to build a special enclosure to host the birds as part of a multi-generation breeding programme.
The environment will “mirror the Antartic,” Ski Dubai said in an emailed statement. “Visitors will be able

Amazing retrieving cat

Good, clean dung
Elephant poo paper has become a surprise hit with tourists at a wildlife park in Indonesia.
"Everyone can't wait to come and see it being made and they all want a souvenir, want a piece to take home," says Australian education manager Wendy Husband.
Mrs Husband, and her partner Tim, are the curators of Bali's Safari and Marine Park, where they collect over 100 tonnes of elephant dung each month.
Once collected, it is rinsed, boiled and washed. "We want to break it down so it's not long and stringy," Mrs Husband explains.
It is then cooked on a stove and combined with recycled paper.
Not just any old dung can be used. Mrs Husband insists the park is "really picky".
"We're looking for a complete dung - some that has nice fibres in it because that's what holds the paper together."
Ms Husband says most people have a good reaction when they see the paper for the first time.
"Everyone smells it, everyone grabs a piece and smells it, it's the first thing they do."
She's keen to point out that the product is organic and clean. And she says the park's paper is starting to get commercial interest.
"A lot of companies are loving it and would love to use it."
Some, she says, even want to use it for their menus.
It is not just elephant dung that

Why Wild Animals and Hollywood Don't Mix
It was one of the most horrifying animal stories of 2011. On October 18, Terry Thompson of Zanesville, Ohio set loose captive Bengal tigers — along with dozens of other exotic animals in his private menagerie — before taking his own life. As town residents cowered in fear, overmatched Ohio police were forced to kill nearly all the animals, including the 18 Bengal tigers. Sheriffs reported later that some of the tigers had been charging police as they were shot — attacks which surely would have been lethal for the humans.
Reporting on the aftermath of the tragedy, it became clear to me just how little regulation exists around such private zoos. Ohio is one of eight states that do not regulate exotic animals, so even though there had been several complaints about Thompson's personal wildlife collection leading up to the incident, police could do little about it. The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducts some inspections of private zoos if the animals are exhibited for the public, but even there, escapes and attacks on human beings are not rare. "No one can be sure that they can control a dangerous exotic animal," Tim Harrison, a former Ohio cop who runs the NGO Outreach for Animals, told me at the time. "That should be common sense — but common sense isn't always that common."
I thought about the Zanesville story again this holiday weekend as my family made our annual Christmas night pilgrimage to the movies. Among the films on tap was the Cameron Crowe-directed family drama We Bought a Zoo, loosely based on the real-life story of a British journalist named Benjamin Mee who — in the wake of his wife's illness and eventual death — makes the half-crazy decision to buy, fix up and reopen a zoo in rural England. Mee (played by Matt Damon) has zero experience with wild animals before he takes over his own menagerie, but in Crowe's world, that's okay. "You don't need any special knowledge to run a zoo," Mee says in the film. "What you need is a lot of heart."
I imagine the professionals at the San Diego Zoo or the National Zoo in Washington might want to point out that, in fact, special knowledge — and perhaps even a graduate degree — is indeed useful for running a zoo. But my trouble with films like We Bought a Zoo go beyond the treacly script and the inevitable montages scored to Peter Gabriel tunes. Just as the Zanesville tragedy raised questions about the safety of owning exotic animals like tigers and chimpanzees, some animal rights groups have taken We Bought a Zoo to task for putting scores of wild animals to work in the movie — and glorifying private zoos along the way. "The messages coming out of these kinds of movies is very disappointing," says Julia Galluci, a primatologist with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
It's true that life is better for animals in Hollywood now than it once was. Nonhuman actors were once considered as expendable as the scenery. To get footage of a cowboy on horseback jumping into a lake for the 1939 Henry Fonda film Jesse James, filmmakers pushed a blindfolded horse off a high cliff; the animal suffered a broken back and had to be destroyed. That episode — along with other tales of cruelty on set — helped get the American Humane Association (AHA) involved in Hollywood, and in 1980 the film industry's rules were amended to include regulations requiring proper treatment of animals. The agreement allowed AHA representatives on set — though only at the discretion of the industry — and gave birth to the famous "No animals were harmed in the making of this film" end credit.
But even with AHA experts present, accidents and abuse can happen. A giraffe died on set during the filming of the 2011 comedy Zookeeper, and activists have charged that trainers on set abused an elephant appearing in the Robert Pattinson drama Water for Elephants. (The trainers denied the charges.) The interspecies clashes may be due to the fact that wild animals — as opposed to domestic animals like dogs or horses — are not meant to perform with human beings, or even safely co-exist with them, and need to be coerced to do so. "When you deal with tigers and elephants and chimps, these are animals,8599,2103595,00.html?xid=fblike

Desperation shows after black year for rhinos
2011 is the year that the rhino, and its friends, will never want to see repeated again; twelve months that have witnessed a bloody new chapter being carved out, in the story of the decline of this fearsomely magnificent animal. Rhino's have been air-lifted out of those reserves at most risk of poaching; they have had their horns sawed off, to prevent poachers targeting them; the South African army has been thrown into the fray in the Kruger National Park. All to no avail. This last year has seen a record number of poaching related deaths - approaching 460 - in South Africa alone, home to two-thirds of the world's dwindling rhino population.
That compares to 333 deaths in 2010 and just 13 back in 2007. It was also announced in November that the western black rhino is now extinct in Africa. And the toll from poaching is not confined to the dusty African veld. The Javan rhino was declared extinct in the jungles of Vietnam this year, with the last known animal found dead in October - its horn apparently hacked off by poachers. And the motive for all this slaughter? The myth of the horn's healing

Photo Competition
We’re having a PHOTO CONTEST!! Send us your favorite Mother/Baby Orangutan photos to be featured on the 2012 “M.O.M.-Missing Orangutan Mother’s” awareness day event banners. We’ll post all entries on the Orangutan Outreach Facebook page for voting. Email  with your photo submissions by Jan. 31, 2012.
Please send this information along with your submission:
1. Your name
2. Your email address
3. A bit of info about your photo. Who’s in it, where was it taken, etc.
You must hold all rights to photographs submitted to the contest and by submitting the photo authorize use for this year’s campaign. Image quality of all submitted photos is an important consideration. When submitting, please try to send the highest quality photo that you can. Ideally all submitted photos should have a minimum resolution of 1 megabyte or more.
For more information about the campaign visit

Nature In A Box : representations of zoo animals in Canadian literature
Of late, I have been deluged with messages regarding the shifting of elephants from Toronto Zoo to the PAWS(Performing Animal Welfare Society) sanctuary in California in USA. and have been constantly reminded of the Canadian poet Margaret Atwood’s statement, “Nature is to zoos what God is to churches.” An intriguing comparison but given the state of most zoos across the world and indeed in Canada, it might be more appropriate to say, “Aesthetics in zoos is similar to what pornography is in art.” There have been so many tomes written on zoos, especially in the West that one is spoilt for choice when considering the topic. If childhood visits to zoos are meant to help people gauge the true beauty and value of nature then these institutions are falling short of their objectives.
Traditionally, in Canada or in any other country, a visit to the zoo is meant to be an exercise in reconnecting with nature for city folks who have lost all touch with animals and plants. And as with any institution, zoos find a representation in literature in all countries, including Canada. My colleague Rob Laidlaw, director of Zoocheck Canada has written a book for children that questions the ethics and objective of conventional zoos. As an organization based in Toronto that monitors zoos in USA and Canada, they are in a good position to comment. Rob’s book, as a non fiction volume, lays bare the myths surrounding zoos, at least traditional zoos that stock as many animals as possible.
A Canadian writer named Yann Martel won the Booker Prize in 2002 for writing a novel based on a zoo sojourn named ‘The Life of Pi’. The book narrates the adventures of young boy named Pi Patel who makes a journey with zoo animals and is shipwrecked with a tiger. The plot is novel

Turning our national parks into zoos - are wildlife management policies failing to truly recover endangered species?
Earlier this week Yellowstone National Park released its ‘State of Conservation’ report in which it outlines its financial needs for improving or maintaining the park’s values as a World Heritage Site. Among its top priorities, the Park identifies the need to translocate grizzly bears into the park to maintain the population’s genetic diversity.
Given that grizzlies in Yellowstone are so few and so isolated that they would require the addition of translocated bears, it is confusing that the Fish and Wildlife Service believes the Yellowstone population of grizzlies is recovered and should be removed from the endangered species list. I mean, if a population is recovered, shouldn’t it be able to sustain itself into the future without indefinite human intervention to keep it going?
But in fact, the translocation of bears is part of Fish and Wildlife Service’s delisting plan for the grizzly. That is, the Service has specifically acknowledged that the Yellowstone population is genetically isolated from other grizzly populations and has been for about 100 years. Their answer to this is to translocate bears on a regular basis starting in 2020. While there are some efforts to attempt to connect the Yellowstone population with other grizzlies through landscape protection to facilitate connectivity, the recovery of grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park, by design, calls for indefinite artificial supplementation of the population to maintain

WE are NOAH’s ARK – The Immorality of Aquariums, Debunked.
I’ve been sitting on this post for a few months as it fermented and festered in my brain. In the past couple of years anti-aquarium activists in Hawaii have been leading a charge against the fishery that harvests wild marine fish from Hawaii’s coastal waters for use in aquariums. I should first offer a kind word, because after all, they do very much care about the reef and the life that lives there, and they are doing what they genuinely believe is the right thing to do. The problem? It’s not actually the right thing to do, yet they seem to be gaining momentum, and from what I’ve heard their efforts aren’t going to end in Hawaii. Hawaii, my friends, is just the beginning. It is the star player, and if they can take it down, the rest falls easily. And the ultimate goal is far beyond simply stopping the wild harvest of fish for aquariums – if really pressed, the ultimate reality is that no aquarium is a good aquarium. However, it is only the aquarium hobbyist who can be the ultimate savior of the reefs.
The anti-aquarium battle got public attention with “Snorkle Bob” Wintner’s “Dark Hobby” essay, but it has gained momentum by adding another notable voice in Rene Umberger, all under the auspices of the “For The Fishes” organization and the Snorkle Bob Foundation. These activists have succeeded in spawning more independent activists, such as Dr. Gail Gabrowsky of Chaminade University (seen in this youtube video irresponsibly releasing 5 store-bought tangs back into the waters of Hawaii – UPDATE – this video has been made private by the channel operator, but we’ve found mirror copies you should search for). The anti-aquarium effort has also brought attention to organizations like the intensely hypocritical SeaSave organization, a family affair founded by “former aquarium industry insiders” who rally against the industry with truly insane rhetoric.
Yet while railing against the aquarium industry at every turn, SeaSave’s former “insiders” operate what they call an “aquarium rescue”. When you strip away all the “pet rescue” jargon and “if these were puppies” strawmen, SeaSave is actually just another local fish store that takes in animals to “adopt them out” (AKA resells them). SeaSave also actively propagates corals and breeds fish (yes, right now on the homepage the first line is “We have a few of our Tank Raised Bangaii’s for adoption” and they claim to have “the largest breeding colony [of Banggai Cardinalfish] in captivity”). I wish I could directly quote some of the really juicy lines from the Sea Save Facebook page, but I’ve been long since blocked from it for calling them on what I perceive to be utter BS (i.e. there are 1,000,000 aquarium retailers in the US? 10 billion fish dying in the trade each year?). When the math doesn’t add up, it doesn’t add up folks!
And that really hits home the first point point – none of the anti-aquarium activists from anti-trade groups seem terribly concerned with logic and science. Nor are they concerned with the factual inaccuracy of their rhetoric. Whatever data (even if taken out of context) makes the most compelling data, is what they will use. When the truth is inconvenient, they’ll make up their own truth. And it would seem, with 2 of Hawaii’s county councils passing non-binding resolutions to ban the aquarium trade in 2011, the tactics are actually working. Why aren’t political figures, or citizens with a critical eye, crying foul? Quite simply, because in the end fact is irrelevant. The anti-aquarium movement started gaining traction the moment they framed the issue as one of ethics and morals.
Indeed, it seems tough to make a pro-aquarium argument work when we’re talking ethics and morals. It’s even more difficult when your opponents don’t seem terribly concerned with their own ethics and integrity, throwing out morally bankrupt misinformation to justify their moral condemnation. When you weigh the concept that “fish are dying by the billions at the hands of the industry and hobbyists” and “the reef fish are all gone” against selling points like “it’s educational”, “it makes people care about reefs that otherwise wouldn’t have any connection to them”, and maybe even “it’s people’s jobs”, aquariums lose terribly.
When you throw “sustainability” into the mix, you maybe get a little traction. You can make the argument that a healthy, sustainably-managed aquarium fishery creates vested interest in preserving coral reefs where there otherwise wouldn’t be (by creating value for reef fishes that are otherwise worthless to local people). Take away the aquarium fishery in developing nations and people might well be dynamiting the reefs for food, or dredging them up to help create a new port or shipping channel. And that’s great, but Hawaii isn’t a third world country. It has a vibrant tourism industry, so there’s already plenty of “vested interest” in the reefs, monetarily far more than anything the aquarium fishery initially creates. Anti-trade proponents see harvesting marine fish as harming their own industry (largely the dive industry), and not helping to preserve Hawaiian reefs, all the while adding virtually no economic value. It’s a dicey battle, and in this case, the anti-aquarium activists, spearheaded by diving-related individuals, carry the weight of a massively larger economic footprint. So even if you can make a good argument for sustainability creating value in the reefs, you lose out on politics and you haven’t proven any morally redeeming qualities to the activity of harvesting marine fish for aquarium use. The bigger industry simply wins and gets to scapegoat the smaller one in the process, making them look like they did “something”, while ignoring the impact of their own industry and not really addressing

North American Zoos Support Worldwide Elephant Conversation
2012 International Elephant Foundation Grants Backed by Zoo Donations.
The International Elephant Foundation (IEF) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) today announced support for 19 elephant conservation projects for 2012.
“IEF-supported projects protect elephants from poaching, seek solutions for human-elephant conflict, equip and train community conservationists, increase our knowledge of the treatment and prevention of disease, and educate people,” said IEF Executive Director, Deborah Olson “In 2012, IEF will provide over $225,000 to support elephant conservation around the world, adding to the over 2 million total invested in conserving elephants since its inception in 1998.”
IEF’s elephant conservation and education programs are ongoing both in managed elephant care facilities and in the wild. IEF is a non-profit organization established in 1998 by a group of zoos and other elephant care facilities to enhance and promote elephant conservation around the world. IEF receives the majority of its funding from AZA-accredited zoos. To date, seventy-five AZA institutions have contributed funds or support to IEF totaling over 1.4 million.
“African and Asian elephants are relying on us to ensure their future,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “Elephants in North American zoos contribute to studies in welfare, reproduction and behavior which has applications for their wild counterparts and also generate support for the International Elephant Foundation while providing a powerful, up-close connection to animals only seen on T.V.”
“AZA is proud to support the efforts of the International Elephant Foundation,” said, Jim Maddy. “Elephants in AZA-accredited zoos are wildlife ambassadors who educate the public, create life-long

The Ape Crusaders
A SHOCKING new book aims to highlight the appalling treatment of orangutans in Borneo – and champion the men and women trying to save them.
The Ape Crusaders takes the reader on a heartbreaking yet ultimately uplifting journey, showing for the first time the highs and lows of frontline conservation in action.
The book follows a small proactive group as they rescue and nurse back to health starving, scared and miserable apes from ignorant, or downright negligent, owners.
Author and photographer Sean Whyte was one of the first to bring the West's attention to the mistreatment of the loveable apes at Malaysia's Melaka Zoo.
There have been 125,000 protected orangutans killed, captured or sold into the illegal wildlife trade over the past 40 years without a single prosecution.
Through no fault of its own the orangutan – Man

Zoos South Australia ups wage bill by $2 million despite financial woes
ZOOS South Australia has spent an extra $2 million on staff salaries and wages in the past financial year, despite having financial problems that prompted a multimillion-dollar state government bailout.
Figures released by the zoo show that since 2007, annual staff costs almost doubled from $6.9 million to $12.8 million, while the amount spent on animal care rose only $165,000.
In the past financial year, wage and staff costs increased $2.3 million despite the zoo being unable to service $24 million in debt incurred as a result of infrastructure associated with the giant pandas.
Yet while the zoo was grappling with its financial problems, it cut spending on animal care from $723,000 in 2011 to $676,000 in 2010.
The number of staff directly involved in animal care and visitor services also declined in 2011, plummeting from

Mark February 2nd 9pm on your calendar. The W Network will be premiering "Undercover Boss Canada" and the first episode is the Toronto Zoo. Tracogna goes undercover at the zoo.

Carles Puyol recovering from leg surgery!?

Keeper celebrates 25 years at Port Lympne
Keeper Neville Buck has been recognised for his dedication at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park this week.
The wildlife enthusiast was presented with a sculpture to mark his 25 years of service to the park near Ashford but he has no intention of leaving anytime soon.
Neville said: “I started here in 1986 and since then have seen many changes to the park. I was chuffed to bits to be given this fantastic sculpture depicting a Scottish wildcat chasing a rabbit - wild cats are very close to my heart and the park has given me some incredible experiences with them.
“Every day brings something special and I’m looking forward to the next 25 years.”
The sculpture was created by the artist David Mayer was presented to the keeper by managing director Bob O’Connor.
Mr O’Connor said: “We are very lucky to have such a loyal and dedicated member of staff. Neville is the Section Manager for small cats at Port Lympne and he also holds the stud book for Scottish wild cats and the international stud book for bush

Lioness escapes from zoo enclosure in Odisha
A lioness slipped out of an enclosure in the Nandankanan Zoo, triggering panic among visitors here on Tuesday.
The lioness – Supriya – was still out in the open as the zoo authorities' day-long effort to capture it proved futile. The operation to catch it would resume on Wednesday morning. However, the comforting news is that zoo personnel have cornered the lioness in a 10,000 sq. metre marshy area. Watchers have been deployed to monitor its movement.
In what could be touted as the biggest-ever capture operation launched by the zoo authorities, more than 50 personnel and an elephant were engaged to drive out the lioness from the bushy area inside the 900-acre zoo.
Tranquilliser darts were fired at the lioness thrice, but they missed the target. The 10-year-old Supriya continued to dodge the zoo personnel throughout the day. Even deployment of an elephant did not help the cause.
“We were engaged in trapping the lioness since Tuesday morning. But the adverse weather condition made our job very difficult,” said Siba Narayan Mohapatra, Deputy Director of Nanandankanan Zoo.
Mr. Mohapatra said: “Since the lioness hid in the bushy area we could not get a clear vision. Due to heavy rain, visibility required to fire the dart was not there. Actually, an opportunity was there to tranquillise the animal, but she charged towards our team members foiling the attempt.”
The authorities said there was no chance that the lioness could scale the boundary wall and stray into the city. There is hardly 500 metres between the area where Supriya is wandering and a

Canine distemper virus turning fatal for hyenas
After totally wiping out jackals from the city zoo, the canine distemper virus is turning fatal for hyenas too. Two hyenas infected with the virus died early on Wednesday. The canine distemper virus infection, a disease found in stray dogs, had claimed the lives of eight jackals in the city zoo, four of which were subjected to euthanasia.
Fourteen-year-old Rahul and its seven-year-old cub Kumar had been under critical condition for the past one week. Their condition became severe by Monday. One died on Tuesday night and the other on Wednesday morning. The deaths confirm the spread of the deadly airborne disease to other animals in the zoo.
Both the hyenas were subjected to video endoscopy on January 2 owing to the suspicion of the intake of plastics. Remains of plastic hoses were found from their stomachs. Rahul was suffering from gastric ulcers and Kumar from megaoesophagus, a condition of enlarged oesophagus.
However, it is learned that canine distemper virus was the cause of death of the two. With these fatalities, no hyenas now remain in the city zoo. A female

Did the San Diego Zoo “Euthanize” Two Elephants Prematurely?
Questions are being raised by former elephant trainers and handlers about whether the San Diego Zoo “euthanized” two adult elephants prematurely last week – before they were needed to be put to death. Two Asian elephants were put to death last week because they were “ailing and aged” we’re told.
On top of that, we are raising a question of why the story about the elephants being killed was ignored by U-T San Diego and had to be broken by the LA Times. Perhaps, it was too messy and ugly a story to run for the U-T’s new owner, Papa Doug Manchester, and his image of a bright, shiny and wonderful San Diego that he wants projected by his daily fishwrap.
On Friday, January 6th, the LA Times ran a front page article by Tony Perry on their local section about our Zoo euthanizing two ailing elephants. The Times reported that Cha Cha, about 43 years old, and Cookie, about 56, were both “ailing and aged” and were “suffering and their

Nationwide Scientific Survey Finds Continued Approval of Hunting, Fishing, and Shooting
Providing new findings that agree with several decades worth of data, a recent nationwide survey finds wide approval of hunting, fishing, and target shooting among Americans. The study, conducted by Responsive Management for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), found that more than seven in ten Americans approve of legal hunting and legal, recreational shooting, while more than nine in ten approve of legal, recreational fishing. Such results indicate that Americans' attitudes toward these activities have remained consistent over the past 15 years, with approval and support continuing to greatly outweigh disapproval and opposition. Other pertinent findings from the research include that substantial percentages of Americans voiced interest in going hunting, fishing, and shooting, while sizable numbers of respondents said they had consumed wild-caught (as opposed to farm-raised or commercially processed) game meat or fish in the 12 months prior to the survey. The demographic proportions

Edinburgh Zoo's male Giant panda 'sick with colic' and taken off public display
The male Giant panda at Edinburgh Zoo has been taken ill suffering from colic.
Yang Guang has retreated from public view to his sick bed while he recovers from the illness.
The panda only arrived at the zoo from China on December 4 a few weeks ago, along with fellow panda

Is Perhilitan promoting zoos at cafe outlets?
Sahabat Alam Malaysia’s attention was drawn to an e-mail diverted to us for follow-up action, from a visiting tourist on a tiger exhibited in a small area at a café in Burau Bay, Langkawi.
A visitation from SAM revealed a tiger on display at a café in an enclosed area, with natural setting of grass and bamboo plants while another exhibit next to the tiger enclosure displayed a marmoset. There is intent to bring in a pair of tigers sometime this year.
There are already zoos in theme parks and resorts. Such being the case it won’t be long until café outlets move in with plans for mini zoos, aviaries and or aquarias. The café claimed that the wild female animal presented by a zoo is not a hybrid.
When questioned the purpose of keeping a tiger in a café, the café management was quick to proclaim that such facility benefit education and promote the conservation of our endangered species whose number have dwindled to near extinction.
The astonishing truth is permit for the keeping of this tiger was issued by the Wildlife department (Perhilitan) followed by periodic inspection of the animal.
There are two pertinent questions raised: What is a wild tiger doing in a café when ideally it should be in its natural habitat? Another pair will be coming in later. If it is not for breeding purpose what other reasons are there for the additional collection?
The café’s claim that the tiger is solely for education is totally unconvincing to SAM. We maintain that zoos deliver a misleading, and damaging message by implying (both implicitly and explicitly) that captivity is beneficial to the cause of species conservation

Nation's oldest white tiger dies at 20 at Saitama zoo
Ryu, the oldest white tiger in Japan, has died at Tobu Zoo in Saitama Prefecture at the ripe old age of 20, the zoo said.
An employee found the tiger dead in its rearing facility at around 8 a.m. Wednesday, the Miyashiro-based zoo said.
Ryu had been eating less than usual since the start of the new year, officials said, adding that 20 years for a white tiger corresponds to 100 in human terms.
About 200 white tigers, a mutation of the Bengal Tiger, are being reared in captivity worldwide. Ryu was among 26 bred

Colchester Zoo rhinos help research
CO-OPERATIVE rhinos from Colchester Zoo have been helping top-level scientific research.
A team from the Royal Veterinary College has been investigating how a two-tonne rhino gets about on such tiny feet.
And the rhinos in Colchester have been instrumental in the collection of vital data.
As part of their research, rhinos at the zoo were trained to walk across a hi-tech mat which was packed with sensors.
These allowed researchers to measure the pressure and forces in the rhinos’ feet, to reveal how the weight is distributed.
Prof John Hutchinson, from the college’s structure and motion laboratory, said: “There is a little bit known about the anatomy of rhinos and their health, but nothing is known about the mechanics of their feet – the physics, the physiology, the detailed anatomy or the behaviour of how they use their feet.”
That is where Cynthia, Zamba, Emily, Otto and Flossie came in.
Sarah Forsyth, curator at Colchester Zoo, said the rhinos had already been trained to target – a technique

Celebrating Plants and the Planet:

With the Holidays behind us, the memory and evidence of gluttony persists.
What is more central to living than eating? It is no different for plants
and those who eat them.

January's links at
(NEWS/Botanical News) focus on news about plants as food and plants as

. Why do some flowers attract bees to pollinate and others attract
hummingbirds? Is it only about flower form? No, research reveals the nectar
too must suit the drinker.

. New deep sea research has discovered a "hairy" crab that carries
its food on its claws: it farms bacteria to survive. (Nice video here: the
crabs are as interesting as their story.)

. Carnivorous plants show up in the most unexpected places. An
unassuming Brazilian herb has been found to be trapping microorganisms
underground and eating them. Is nowhere safe?

. Farmers in marginal areas of Africa can benefit from planting
trees among their crops. But which tree species can be a tricky question.

. Bladderworts suck in insect prey. In fact, they are the fastest
little suckers in the plant kingdom. Actually, they are the fastest anything
in the plant kingdom!

To begin the new year on a good note, enjoy David Attenborough's slightly
odd music video
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