Monday, February 13, 2012

Zoo News Digest 12th - 14th February 2012 (Zoo News 805)

Zoo News Digest 12th - 14th February 2012 (Zoo News 805)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

Sorry.... well no I'm not really but I disagree with the inspection done on Sri Racha Tiger Zoo. This is not something that can be done in a day. This needs serious investigation and over a period of time. 400 tigers they say? There were 400 on my last visit a few years ago and they have been churning cubs out ever since. They have probably actually bred 400 in that time. The question really does have to be asked. So where have they all gone?  

It is all very well microchipping a cub for the press but every single one of these cubs and adults wants microchipping AND photographing as well because it is possible to remove chips from one animal into another.


"The officials were very pleased with the results of the inspection, and the Sriracha tiger zoo can definitely represent Pattaya and Sriracha as an outstanding Tourist Attraction to the world." What?????? Sorry Thailand, Pattaya and Sri Racha but this place is nothing to be proud of. You should be ashamed.

So how are we doing with the baby Orangutan and baby Gibbon illegally held in the zoo in Abu Dhabi? (see in this digest the last two issues) Have questions been asked yet? If not then why not? You can email be privately if you need but lets see action from the authorities please.

Do you know many people in how many zoos around the world received and read Zoo News Digest last week and the week before?

Those who know me know that I am pro zoo..... but pro good zoo. The good zoos need to stand up and be counted and condemn the bad or they are just as bad.

Sriracha Tiger Zoo Inspected By National Forest Department.wmv

New zoo in the offing in Dubai
Dubai municipality is studying a project to build a new world-class zoo in the emirate.
The survey of the proposed project is expected to be finished in two months and according to the municipality the old animals will be shifted once the new zoo is ready.
Eng. Hussian Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality said the municipality has appointed a consultant and action team to come up with the final concept of the project, including the selection of suitable site, required area and distribution of animals in line with the international standards.
Lootah said, the consultant initially submitted two concepts. One is �Safari', which is adopted in developed countries like Singapore and Thailand. The second one is �Cages', which are common in the majority of countries. We are going to adopt the Cages system considering the area constrains in the emirate.
He said we would make the traditional cages system in its best form in line with the characteristics of the emirate and the best zoos in the world providing all types of facilities and services for the public.
"The cages will be arranged and distributed in accordance with each category and type of animals, birds and other species in a comfortable way and adequate space without affecting the neighbourhoods. A full-fledged team of specialists, veterinarians, animal curators and entire qualified cadres for animal welfare according to the global systems and frame lines will be available," "Actually, the current zoo should be improved, as it is very old and small after the huge development around it and increasing number of animals and visitors. It was established by the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum in 1967," Lootah added.

Zoos still suspected over dead tigers
The National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department last week cleared two zoos in Chon Buri province _ the Million Years Stone Park and Pattaya Crocodile Farm in Bang Lamung district and Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Si Racha district _ of being involved as they were able to account for all of the tigers in their possession.
When authorities found 400kg of tiger meat in a townhouse in Khlong Sam Wa district last Saturday, a suspect they arrested claimed the meat had come from a tiger zoo in Si Racha.
Saksit Simcharoen, chief of the Wildlife Department's protected area administration, said there was little chance the tigers had been slaughtered in a forest sanctuary, although this had happened in the past.
"It is difficult to transport the whole body of a tiger out from the deep forest because of its large size and heavy weight of hundreds of kilogrammes," he said.
Kanita Ouitavon, the senior scientist at the department's Wildlife Forensic Science Unit, said DNA testing would help determine whether the tigers were from a forest reserve or a zoo. The tests will take at least one month.
In forest reserves, the most common species is the Indochinese

Save the Indian Bustard Campaign

America's Darwin Problem
America's got a Darwin problem -- and it matters. According to a 2009 Gallup poll taken on the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, fewer than 40% of Americans are willing to say that they "believe in evolution." When another study asked if humans had developed from earlier species of animals, the American public split right down the middle. 40% said they had, while 39% rejected any suggestion that our species had emerged from the process of evolution. Even more worrisome is the fact that rejection of evolution correlates closely with political views, with a majority of the members of one of our major political parties casting themselves as Darwin rejectionists. In this election year, the strength of anti-evolution sentiment has been on full display in the presidential race, as one candidate after another declared their distrust of the scientific consensus around evolution. One member of the group, however, broke ranks with the others and boldly declared, "I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming." How'd that turn out for him? Jon Huntsman's early exit from the race confirmed something else he said at the time. "Call me crazy" for trusting science, he tweeted. And sadly, it looks like he was right.
You might think that since Americans are a practical, pragmatic people, this is an issue that would turn on the weight of the evidence. It's not. In an age of molecular genomics, it is ever more apparent that the fingerprints of evolution are pressed deeply into human DNA, just as they are into the genomes of every other organism. Biologists understand this, and so do students who study the science of life. Whether conservative or liberal, fundamentalist or agnostic, the more students learn of biology, the more they accept evolution. So, why does public acceptance matter if the students who actually go into science see the evidence for evolution so clearly?
This is the heart of our Darwin problem. Significant numbers of Americans have come to regard the scientific enterprise as a special interest group that rejects mainstream American values and is not worthy of the public trust. Governor Rick Perry of Texas spoke to this view when he claimed that "There are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data" to their own benefit. Why? Perry was clear about this. It's personal greed. Scientists cheat "so that they will have dollars rolling in to their projects." Perry is hardly alone in his effort to depict scientists as greedy outsiders, "scamming the American people right and left" in the words of one Fox News commentator.
In American today, anti-evolutionism matters because it has become the vanguard of a genuine anti-science movement. To be sure, opposition to evolution isn't new. State laws against the teaching of evolution actually go back nearly a century, and the famous Scopes trial took place 87 years ago. However, if you thought such things were behind us, guess again. Laws designed to encourage the teaching of non-scientific "alternative" theories to evolution were introduced in 11 state legislatures last year. This year, Darwin's 203rd birthday, on February 12th, will see an anti-evolution bill, already passed by the Indiana State House of Representatives, awaiting action in the State Senate. Its fate there is uncertain, but there are plenty of reasons to be concerned.
Our Darwin problem is really a science problem. The easier it becomes to depict the scientific enterprise as a special interest immersed in the culture wars, the easier it becomes to reject scientific findings. We see this everywhere in American culture and politics today, from the anti-vaccine movement to the repeated assertion that global warming is a deliberate "hoax" rather than a straightforward conclusion driven by reams of scientific data. Sometimes this is done for deliberate political reasons, to secure advantage for a

Trip to 7-Eleven leads Bangkok police to tiger butchers
It isn't every day that a man with bloody hands emerges from a convenience store and returns home to continue chopping up tigers, zebras and wild buffalo in an underground slaughterhouse.
So Thai police officers on a routine street patrol in north-east Bangkok had a lucky break when, by chance, they crossed paths with a member of a wild animal meat gang who had nipped out to buy some butchering supplies.
On following the man, Thai police discovered four other men chopping up a large male tiger. Zebra, crocodile, wild buffalo and elephant carcasses, along with 400kg of tiger meat, were also found in the building, ready to be sold as exotic meat and trophies.
"We found one tiger in an ice box, where it was being preserved with formaldehyde, and a lot of bones. On the floor, there were fresh cuts of white tiger, elephant and lion skins," the Thai nature crime police commander, Colonel Norasak Hemnithi, said. "The suspects later told us that they had gone out looking for ice to store the fresh meats."
Police have since arrested eight people, including the alleged mastermind, in what they and local wildlife organisations believe is a smuggling operation fronted by Bangkok zoos.
The case has shed light on Thailand's place at the heart of an estimated $10bn global trade in endangered species that

Missing ducks lead to discovery of rare tortoises at city zoo
About twenty five tortoises belonging to the endangered Indian Flap-Shell variety are attracting unusual curiosity among visitors to the city zoo with their carnivorous food habits.
They were recently discovered when zoo authorities were investigating why their manila ducks were disappearing. They found the culprits to be the tortoises, who were hiding in the pond located within the enclosure meant for the manila ducks, and ravenously feeding on their chicks. They have now been lodged in a separate enclosure and are fed mutton chops along with vegetables.
"I am curious as to how they managed to escape our notice. The zoo staff was clueless about why the chicks were disappearing," says K Asokan, director of the zoo. However, he feels that the rare tortoises are a blessing in disguise. "They are an endangered variety and I am glad to have the opportunity to conserve them. This is an added advantage to the zoo

Picturing zoos of future: Dodo birds, but no chimps
The zoos of the mid- to late-21st century will place a greater emphasis on animal welfare and educating the public to live in greater harmony with nature.
They could include species that aren't around for today's visitors, like the dodo bird, Tasmanian wolf or even the woolly mammoth.
And some animals now on exhibit may not be there in the future. Chimpanzees could be granted "personhood" and elephants, which can walk more than a dozen miles a day, might only be permitted in park-sized zoos.
Those were some of the predictions made by 20 participants -- some world-renowned -- from zoos, conservation societies, zoological design firms, think tanks and academia who gathered in Buffalo Friday and Saturday for a symposium on "The Future of Zoos."
The group was asked to imagine what zoos of 50 and even 100 years from now will look like.
"Society is going to change so much that we almost need to know the answer to that before we can be certain how zoos will be. But, nevertheless, that shouldn't prevent us from trying," said Michael Noonan, director of the Canisius College Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations, which co-hosted the symposium with the Buffalo Zoo.
Changes now under way -- including the unprecedented loss of animal species and biodiversity, human overpopulation and global warming -- were referred to frequently during the conference.
Noonan set aside the animal-rights view opposing captivity -- and therefore, zoos -- for the purposes of the symposium. The importance of animal welfare, however, was a recurring theme.
"The children of today come inherently with a respect for animals, and a desire to preserve and live in harmony with nature," Noonan said. "All institutions are influenced by the expectation of their customers, and if people come with higher expectations of welfare and

Rhinos, you know, for kicks
I would like to be honest and say I have observed the discussion, the outrage about the decimation of our rhinos with distant interest. For me, as for many, this has been a largely elitist issue, one that has occupied the minds of the rich and mostly white people of this country. I have regarded the issue as one of those designer trendy topics, engaged in by those with too much time and money on their hands and nothing real to occupy them, you know, a discourse for kicks.
The mobilisation of resources, the awareness campaigns, the gruesome pictures of slaughtered and mutilated rhinos, the deployment of the most credible of our celebrities to spread the awareness – all these efforts have beenmassive and I have found myself wondering why this issue has not resonated with me, as I suspect it should. Perhaps it is the feeling that there are more urgent and pressing issues, more worthy of my attentions. You know, such as the eradication of poverty, education, jobs, race issues that are directly connected to me – and what’s more, these are issues that affect human beings, not animals. While there may be some validity in this kind of reasoning, I feel compelled, urged almost by an irrational force, to further explore and understand my apparent aloofness to the issue of the rhino tragedy. I seem to be compelled by an ever-present sense that wants to interrogate this disposition, a sense that seems not to buy these 'excuses' for my apathy in this matter.
I’m told that by the end of 2011, a staggering 445 rhinos had been killed for their horns; even more frightening is the prospect of having this majestic animal completely eradicated and extinct in five to eight years, if current killing trends continue. Conventional reasoning says that someone, somewhere knows who is killing these animals and that the investigation and apprehension of the perpetrators of these crimes should be relatively simple, given the resourcing and general outrage about this scourge. We are aware of the markets for rhino-horn located in eastern countries like Korea and China; we even know the reason for the demand, as absurd as it is, you know, for kicks. We seem to understand the networks and hierarchies of the syndicates operating in our country; why then is this situation continuing and in fact worsening? Perhaps some of my scepticism stems from the realisation that multimillion-rand industries have been spawned by the advent of the 'rhino killings', that there is money to be made out of the 'outcry'. Media houses, attorneys, celebrities, pundits and even dying organisations such as Proudly South Africa, clamouring for survival and relevance, can perhaps be resuscitated by the breath of rhino death.
Perhaps my disinterest is further fuelled by what seems to be glaring contradictions and inconsistencies in the general discussion about the indiscriminate killing of our animals, not just rhinos. We have a curious set-up in this country where people with very big guns and even bigger bank balances, may shoot defenceless animals, well, you know, for kicks – and by the way, the laws of our country permit this, you see. I remember not too long ago when the laws of this country permitted someone to be brutally discriminated against simply because of the colour of their skin. So much for our laws, hey? We are told that this is sanctioned by learned conservationists, who understand the requirements


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