Saturday, February 11, 2012

Zoo News Digest 4th - 11th February 2012 (Zoo News 804)

Zoo News Digest 4th - 11th February 2012 (Zoo News 804)

Peter Dickinson

Dear Colleague,

Last week I drew attention to a certain collection "It has come to my attention that another collection not so very far away is using a baby Orangutan illegally imported from the wild for photography sessions with the public." Hoping that such a cryptic clue may bring forth a bit more information. It didn't. So it is going to have to be a case of name and shame. The collection is and according to their webpage "Family and kids park zoo is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and also a member of International Zoo Educators Association (IZEA)." So lets please see a bit of action here. Whilst questions are being asked about this tiny tiny baby Orangutan lets find out about the baby Silvery Gibbon too. Of course the whole thing might be quite innocent.... but if it isn't?

The finger is pointed, attention is drawn it is now up to the powers that be to investigate. I look forward to learning that the situation has been put right very soon. There will be those who will ignore this request and use the excuse that they never saw it. If that is the case then forward this Digest to them, copy the link and send it to them. Zoo News Digest is read by many thousands in the zoo world. There is no excuse for not helping this Orangutan and Gibbon.


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Can the jungle law save orangutans?
There have probably been at least 2,800 confiscations of illegally kept orangutans in Borneo and Sumatra since the early 1970s. In the same period, millions of hectares of orangutan forest have also been destroyed for plantations and other uses, and thousands of orangutans killed, starved and burned to death in the process.
This species cleansing has occurred despite the fact that the orangutan has been legally protected in Indonesia since 1924. Quite simply, in the last 40 years the number of legal cases brought against pet keepers, traders and orangutan killers can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
There was a case in November 2006 of people shooting a Sumatran orangutan (62 times with an air rifle) that had been released at the edge of Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in Jambi in October 2004. Six villagers received six-month jail sentences, but later the prison term was extended to eight months. Leuser, the orangutan in question, is now residing at a quarantine center run by the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP) near Medan, in North Sumatra. He still has 48 air rifle pellets in his body and is blind in both eyes due to pellets lodged there.
There were also two prosecutions in June 2010 of people trading orangutans illegally in West Kalimantan. The seller was sentenced to eight months in prison and fined Rp 1 million (US$110). The buyer received a meager one month and 15 days in prison. A third person involved managed to evade prosecution altogether.
Yet, seemingly all of a sudden, a number of legal actions in support of orangutan conservation are finally hitting the headlines.
Many people will have seen recent articles in the media concerning the brutal killing of orangutans on an oil palm plantation in East Kalimantan, where they were slaughtered en masse for a bounty paid by the Malaysian company PT Khaleda Agroprima Malindo (PT KAM). For each orangutan killed, workers were allegedly paid Rp 1 million. This is an extremely shocking and disturbing case, but it is also an open secret that such practices are commonplace on new plantations.
An article on Dec. 9, 2011 in The Jakarta Post showed how the remains of more slaughtered orangutans were found in a concession belonging to PT Sarana Titian Permata II, part of the Wilmar International group, in Central Kalimantan. But no one there has yet been arrested or charged.
While the PT KAM case has attracted media attention, very few people are aware of an ongoing trial related to orangutans in Kabanjahe, North Sumatra. It concerns Julius, a 4-year-old male Sumatran orangutan confiscated in Mardinding, Karo regency, in July 2011. Forestry police arrested a man, identified by his initial as S, who was transporting Julius and offering him for sale. Unfortunately, however, the alleged “owner” of the orangutan, identified as R, has not yet been arrested or charged.
The law relating to protected species is actually simple. Law No. 5/1990 on the Conservation of Biodiversity and Ecosystems states clearly that keeping, injuring, capturing, trading and transporting protected species are criminal offenses, carrying sentences up to five years in jail and a Rp 100 million fine.
Nevertheless, it remains to be seen if Julius’ case in North Sumatra will be taken seriously by the three judges and the prosecutors. If not, and the defendant is acquitted, e.g. on some minor technicality, it really will reinforce the prevailing impression among conservationists that the Indonesian authorities, and society in general, really aren’t interested in protecting their country’s unique and exceptionally rich biodiversity.
Besides Law No. 5/1990, there are several other regulations that support orangutan conservation, which also seem to be routinely flouted and ignored. The Spatial Planning Law No. 26/2007, and its subsequent Government Regulation No. 26/2008, established the Leuser Ecosystem in northern Sumatra as a National Strategic Area for Environmental Protection. Presidential Instruction No. 11/2011 prevents the issuance of any new plantation and concession permits in primary forests and peat lands.
As the Leuser Ecosystem is home to around 80 percent of all the remaining Sumatran orangutans in the world, and as the peat swamps of Aceh province have the highest density of orangutans anywhere in the world, effective enforcement of these two laws alone would be an important step for orangutan conservation.
And so to another case currently making the news, in which it is claimed that a new permit issued for an oil palm plantation in the Tripa peat swamp forests on the west coast of Aceh, within the Leuser Ecosystem, is illegal, and that its issuance constitutes a criminal act or felony on the part of Aceh governor and a number of other key individuals involved in the process.
The Tripa peat swamp case actually consists of several different legal initiatives. A consortium of concerned NGOs has challenged the legality of the new permit in the Court of Civil Administration in Banda Aceh. Meanwhile, representatives of the communities living directly in Tripa, already fed up with losing their livelihoods, lands and lifestyles due to the destruction wreaked so far, have reported the governor of Aceh, who issued the permit, the company that received it, PT Kallista Alam, and a number of others at the National Police headquarters in Jakarta. They claim the issuance of the permit is a clear contravention of the National Spatial Planning law.
If these Aceh cases were to fail, the orangutan population in Tripa, recognized by the United Nations-backed Great Ape Survival Partnership (GRASP) as critical for the survival of the species, will continue to be devastated and ultimately be destroyed completely.
Perhaps for the first time, and long overdue, we finally seem to be seeing some clear sustained developments in law enforcement pertaining to conservation

Website highlights problems of Killer whales in captivity
Four former SeaWorld trainers have launched a website aimed at highlighting the practises in the parks.
The Voice of the Orcas website has been set up by ex-SeaWorld trainers Carol Ray, John Jett, Samantha Berg and Jeffrey Ventre, each of them now holding high positions in society.
The website states its role as: "…devoted to providing a voice to those without. It’s a place to archive interviews and current events that deal with conservation and activism."
Amongst the stories released on the website are scientific papers showing a link between Orcas being kept in captivity and early death. In particular it focusses on the stories of the whales 25-year-old Kanduke and 14-year-old Taku, both of which died as a result of diseases transmitted through mosquito bites – diseases that they only caught as a result of being kept in captivity.
Other stories look at court cases brought against SeaWorld and also the promotion (and campaign to quash) the release of a new book highlighting the fact that since they opened 150 killer whales and four trainers have been killed in SeaWorld.
Campaigners hope that this website will highlight all of the problems associated with keeping whales and dolphins in captivity. Colleen Gorman, co-founder of the organisation The Orca Project, is quoted saying: "We think this new website created by highly educated former SeaWorld killer whale trainers who had a change of heart is SeaWorld's worst nightmare coming true. And hopefully many more will follow suit and come forward.
"These four trainers ha

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Lee Durrell honoured with MBE for conservation work
The honorary director of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey has been recognised at Buckingham Palace for her conservation work.
Lee Durrell, whose husband was naturalist Gerald Durrell, was honoured during the investiture ceremony on Thursday.
She was made an MBE, and dedicated it to all the members of "Durrell's Army".
Dr Durrell thanked the hard work of the conservationists who either work or were trained at the trust.
The US-born environmentalist said: "Conservation used to be on the fringes and I definitely feel Gerry was a pioneer in what we now call bio-diversity conservation.
"It is so important because it is the species of animals and plants that are the nuts and bolts that hold the eco-systems together, and that is what he saw so long

Europe's cold close zoo outside Paris
A count who operates a zoological park on the grounds of his chateau outside Paris says some of his animals just can't take the cold this winter.
Paul de la Panouse wasn't surprised to see his ostriches and giraffes prefer the indoors, given where they come from. But even the elephant couldn't take Europe's brutal cold snap, despite its thick hide.
So Parc de Tho

Pennsylvania’s purple squirrel a rainbow-colored riddle
A bright purple squirrel trapped by a Pennsylvania couple has experts offering all sorts of theories -- but no concrete answers.
Percy and Connie Emert from Jersey Shore, Pa., trapped the brightly colored creature while trying to keep the birds safe in their backyard feeder, reported They told the weather service they had no explanation for the rodent’s deep purple color.
"We have no idea whatsoever. It's really purple. People think we dyed it, but honestly, we just found it and it was purple," the Emerts told Accuweather.
Experts queried by Accuweather had several theories for the unusual look, but no hard answers. Indeed, Krish Pillai, a professor at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, told Accuweather he thought the coloring was dangerous for t

Befriend a Bear for Valentine’s Day!

Making More Than Just A Memory
National Poll Finds Accredited Marine Parks, Aquariums and Zoos Best Places for Children to Learn About, Connect with Marine Mammals
Children have a natural curiosity about dolphins, whales and other marine mammals. The best way for parents to encourage this interest – and to inspire a lifelong passion for wildlife conservation – is to log kids off the computer and visit an accredited marine park, aquarium or zoo, where learning best happens.
That’s according to a new national public opinion poll that says the public strongly believes seeing and experiencing live animals is the best way for children to learn about marine mammals. Released today by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, the survey of more than 1,000 adults found that 97 percent of people agree that marine life parks, aquariums and zoos are important because they educate children about marine mammals – animals that children might not have the opportunity to see in the wild.
Ninety-four percent of those polled agree that children are more likely to be concerned about animals if they learn about them at marine life parks, aquariums and zoos, and that visiting these facilities can inspire conservation action that can help marine mammals and their ocean environments.
The poll, conducted by Harris Interactive®, also found that 94 percent of people agree that zoological parks and aquariums

February 2012


 Vol. 59/1 (No. 392) January/February 2012



The new Bonobo enclosure at La Vallée des Singes in France
Jan Vermeer

Obituary: Fred Williams

Phnom Ta Mao Zoo, Cambodia
Richard Perron

Obituary: Robert O. Wagner

Breeding Toucans in Weltvogelpark Walsrode
Jürgen Vielguth, Kerstin Kirchhöfel, Timo Allner, Anne Hoppmann

The Benefits of Training Southern White Rhinoceros
(Ceratotherium simum simum) at Colchester Zoo
Sarah Forsyth, Jo Row, Jen Cook


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Pandamonium and a coup for the zoo
What's that you say? My favourite fact of 2011? I was beginning to think you'd never ask. It's this – there are more pandas in Scotland than Tory MPs.
Here we are in 2012, and I'm still a bit tickled by that. It's 2-1 to the bamboo-scoffing doe-eyed layabouts.
And last night's Wild About Pandas (BBC2, 9pm) showed how it all came about. The panda part, that is.
They didn't really touch on the Scotland's-only-got-one-Tory bit. Probably doesn't need explaining.
Anyway, this cheery film set off with a vet and a zookeeper to a panda sanctuary in China, where Tian Tian and Yang Guang lounged about in blissful ignorance of their looming upheaval.
Edinburgh Zoo is paying £600,000 a year to hire the pandas, which have also cost a million quid a year each to insure.
Chuck in the £70,000 of bamboo they'll chew their way through each year, and the quarter of a million the zoo shelled out on building them a new home and you can start to see why grumbly people grumbled.
But the zoo needed to gamble. Visitor numbers are tumbling, and pandas are the A-listers of the zoo world.
Landing Sweetie and Sunshine – as they're conveniently also known – on a 10-year loan is a coup for the zoo, said David Tennant on his gentle voice-over. A coup for the zoo.
If you or I said that, it would barely raise an eyebrow

Orphaned baby chimp is adopted by another mother at zoo in incredible tale of compassion among our primate cousins
A baby chimpanzee has found a new mother in a zoo in Germany after she was rejected by her own.
Three-week-old female Nayla's adoption by another chimp at Osnabruek Zoo, north-west Germany, shows the high level of nurturing and maternal instincts of man's closest animal cousins.
More importantly, for a bewildered and lost little mite, it means that Nayla will not have to be raised by human hand but can live among her own.
Nayla was born at Osnabrueck Zoo three weeks ago, but her mother, Vakanga, 17, rejected her at the weekend, casting her aside in her enclosure.
Normally this would have meant instant intervention on the part of zookeepers if he was to survive.
But, before they could step in, zoo staff witnessed something remarkable. A eight-year-old male called Kume stepped in as a surrogate father to the abandoned infant.
Keepers watched as he lovingly groomed the orphaned chimp and carried her around like females do.
Wolfgang Festl, in charge of the primates at the zoo, said: 'We saw at the weekend that she was on her own. And then just hours later she was being cared for by Kume.'
For an entire day the zoo staff watched what was taking place at the colony, where 10 chimps live together.
Mr Festl said: 'Throughout the day Kume was grooming the baby, walking around with him and even stuck his finger in his mouth to keep him quiet - like a dummy.'
Zoo inspector Hans-Jürgen Schröder and director Dr Susanne Klomburg hoped Vakanga would take Nayla back because, helpful though Kume was, he could not feed his new daughter.
Dr Klomburg said: 'If that failed, we hoped we could give a bottle to the baby if Kume sat near the bars.
'Chimps learn through observation and if we had more time we could have showed Kume what we wanted to do with a dummy or a doll.'
But Kume didn't let little Nayla out of his grip for days, and she grew gradually weaker.
Then on Tuesday this week Kume finally left baby Nayla alone and staff we able to enter the enclosure and give her some much-needed milk.
And then keepers witnessed something even more extraordinary.
Nayla was pi

Rhino mother and calf killed in Limpopo
Two rhinos, a mother and a calf, have been killed by poachers in a Limpopo reserve, police said.
Tzaneen police spokeswoman Major General Maggy Mathebula said the two rhinos were found in the Tiergarten Wildlife Reserve near Letsitele on Thursday.
Both had been shot and their horns removed.
Last year, two rhinos were

New Zion legal action
The lawyer for the former manager of Northland's Zion Wildlife Gardens says his client is taking fresh legal action over the sale of the park, and care of its big cats.
The receivers of the Gardens have sold the debt-ridden park to a company called Zion Wildlife Kingdom, and it is understood the purchaser has engaged the Lion Man, Craig Busch, to help run the enterprise.
The lawyer for Mr Busch's mother and the former park manager, Patricia Busch, says they are filing proceedings against a number of parties including the new owner, and possibly the police and

20 minutes of terror as tigers smash up zoo bus
A BUS carrying 27 people to see wild beasts at a zoo in eastern China was attacked by a group of Bengal tigers, leaving the visitors fearing for their lives for about 20 minutes while the tiger zone's gatekeeper was out for dinner.
At least five adult tigers smashed the bus with their paws, breaking its windows, and bit its tires on Saturday afternoon, according to the Paomaling Wild Animal Zoo in Jinan, capital of Shandong Province.
Zoo employees finally became aware of the incident through security cameras and rushed to open the gate linking the tiger zone to a safe area. No one was injured, the Jinan Times reported yesterday.
The zoo said the tigers were agitated and got "too excited" by some visitors' behavior.
"The tigers have entered the estrus, highly agitated by some of the visitors who deliberately provoked them," according to the announcement published by the zoo.
But visitors denied the allegations, saying the

Lion man back with roar more strife at park
Tension boiled over at Zion Wildlife Kingdoms after former owner Patricia Busch was locked out and her operator's license for the park is being looked at by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
The drama unfolded about noon yesterday when Mrs Busch returned to the park after having lunch but was denied entry together with her lawyer, Evgeny Orlov.
"We're going to go to court immediately to ask for judicial intervention into this mess, this is, in my view, highly illegal action," Mr Orlov said.
Police were earlier called to the park after the lawyer for Mrs Busch's daughter, Megan Busch, refused to leave when asked to by Zion's new owners.
Megan Busch yesterday pleaded not guilty in the Whangarei District Court to the charge of trespass at the park and was released on bail to re-appear for a defended hearing on May 7.
Police spokeswoman Sarah Kennett said the lawyer, who she

Why We Love Zoos
WHEN the Warsaw Zoo was bombed during World War II, killing most of the animals, the zookeepers devised a dangerous plan: they decided to use the cages and enclosures to hide more than 300 Jews who were fleeing the Nazis. Their refuge became one of the most successful hide-outs of the war.
After I wrote about this true story in “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” readers shared their outrage with me about the bombing of a zoo, which they regarded almost as a sacrilege. I heard similar outcries in 2003 after the Baghdad Zoo was bombed. We’re used to the killing of enemies, but we reserve a special circle of hell for people who set fire to zoos. It’s the ultimate massacre of the innocents. The animals are silent victims, supposedly beyond our ideas of good and evil.
More than 150 million people a year visit zoos and aquariums in the United States. Why do we flock to them? It’s not just a pleasant outing with family or friends, or to introduce children (whose lives are a cavalcade of animal images) to real animals, though those are still big reasons. I think people are also drawn to a special stripe of innocence they hope to find there.
Though not a natural world by any means, more like a collection of living dioramas, a zoo exists in its own time zone, somewhere between the seasonal sense of animals and our madly ticking watch time. The relatively quiet, parklike setting offers an oasis in the crowded, noisy, stressful, morally ambiguous world where humans tend to congregate. The random gibbering and roaring, cackling and hooting, yowling and grunting strike ancient chords in us, a feral harmony that intrigues and lulls.
Smells create a subtle olfactory landscape that stirs us: from the sweet drops that male elephants dribble from glands near their eyes in mating season to the scent signposts of lions, hyenas and other animals. Just as dancers have body memory, we have wilderness

Legal bid to free killer whales is 'strategic error', says conservationist
Biologist warns that Peta's attempt to apply US constitution to non-humans at SeaWorld could undermine scientific argument
A legal bid to free five orcas from captivity at SeaWorld on the grounds that their "enslavement" is in violation of the US constitution is a "strategic error", a conservationist has warned.
The case, brought by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) against SeaWorld in the US, to be heard this week, has triggered controversy over applying the 13th amendment – which abolished "slavery or involuntary servitude" in America – to non-humans such as killer whales.
In the UK, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society senior biologist Philippa Brakes said that taking a large-brained mammal, which would naturally range in groups over a huge area, against its will and putting it alone in a situation where it was harming itself because of its misery "amounts to slavery".
But she said most of the public would not necessarily see it that way, and they enjoyed seeing orcas and dolphins in marine zoos without being aware of the "hideous lives they're leading".
In the US, Peta has faced criticism over its bid to pursue the freedom of an animal under the 13th amendment.
While the case would bring publicity to the issue of the rights or interests of "non-human persons", something for which some people have been arguing for a long time, if the case fails and there is then case law history against recognising those rights, that would not be helpful for the cause, Brakes warned.
"I would love to be wrong, and that they find for the orcas in this case, but I doubt very much that's going to happen, and I think it's a strategic error," she said.
She said those concerned for the welfare of mammals, in captivity and in the wild, should use the increasing body of science that showed that they were intelligent creatures capable of suffering in order to argue for their interests to be recognised – not as equal to humans, but still "persons" with rights.
The science showed that cetaceans are big-brained marine mammals which form complex societies and even have different cultures within species in different parts of the world, she said. And it was important to take people along with the movement towards recognising the legal rights of non-humans.
"It's more than court cases, it's really about changing people's attitudes and understanding," she said.
While Peta's court case may

SeaWorld sued over 'enslaved' killer whales
Five killer whales have been named as plaintiffs in a lawsuit which argues they deserve the same constitutional protection from slavery as humans.
A US judge is considering a complaint by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (Peta) against SeaWorld.
It is reportedly the first time a US court has heard legal arguments over whether animals should enjoy the same constitutional protections as humans.
SeaWorld's legal team said the case was a waste of time and resources.
The marine park's lawyer, Theodore Shaw, told the court in San Diego: "Neither orcas nor any other animal were included in the 'We the people'... when the Constitution was adopted."
He said that if the case were successful, it could have implications not just on how other marine parks or zoos operate, but even on the police use of sniffer dogs to detect bombs and drugs.
'Historic case'
Peta says the killer whales are treated like slaves for being forced to live in tanks and perform daily at the SeaWorld parks in California and Florida.
It is not considered likely that the whales will win their freedom, but campaigners said they were pleased the case even made it to a courtroom.
The lawsuit invokes the 13th Amendment

Judge dismisses case seeking slavery protection for orcas in lawsuit against SeaWorld
An effort to free whales from SeaWorld by claiming they were enslaved made a splash in the news but flopped in court Wednesday.
A federal judge in San Diego dismissed an unprecedented lawsuit seeking to grant constitutional protection against slavery to a group of orcas that perform at SeaWorld parks, saying the 13th amendment applies

Age no limit for zoo qualifications
TWO Dudley Zoo keepers have been spending time in a virtual classroom, as well as working alongside some of the rarest animals in the world.
Cerys Grove, aged 21, and 43 year-old Neil Flockhart, are studying for the Diploma in the Management of Zoo and Aquarium Animals which covers conservation, care, nutrition and enclosure design throughout the two year course.
And their studies include internet-based learning as well as traditional on-site skills, including observation and the recording of animal behaviour, how to organise transport between collections, and how to deal with health issues.
Chief executive, Peter Suddock said: “The course reinforces the high quality practical skills demanded at Dudley Zoo, and we have ensured that all of our keeping staff have this

Project Spotty
Cleared in a hurry amid much fanfare, Project Cheetah now waits for funds to fly in the first consignment from Africa. But the once-lost cat stands even less of a chance in a crowded 21st century India, and its reintroduction will pose fresh challenges for other species on the brink of extinction. There may still be just enough time to scrap this dangerous experiment
The cheetah was officially declared extinct in India in 1952. Six decades on, the country has come a long way. The GDP has increased by 66,400 per cent. The human population has grown from 350 million to 1.2 billion. The forest cover remains the same on paper, but more than 40 per cent of it is degraded beyond recognition. Poachers have replaced hunters. Man-animal conflict has become news staple. Even tiger numbers have slipped below the 1972 level when Project Tiger was launched.
And yet, certain experts feel the cheetah could get second time lucky.
Six decades after Independence, 0.40 per cent of India’s budget is spent on environment and forests (including wildlife). So there is just Rs 800 crore to conserve 15 key species and around 650 Protected Areas. The endangered rhinos of West Bengal, their only significant population outside Assam, are not considered worthy of more than Rs 44 lakh. And the remaining 275-odd great Indian bustards await, well, a Project Bustard.
Instead, we get Project Cheetah, with a bill of more than Rs 300 crore, almost overnight.
Floated by a group of former bureaucrats and practising biologists, it was a fascinating idea. To have the charismatic cat back, watch its slender frame coiling at the precipice of motion, its spots blurring into a chase to run down an antelope in a matter of seconds, and panting ever so delicately before biting into the kill.
People loved the thought and Jairam Ramesh loved the thought of people loving it. So in 2009, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) cleared a proposal from Dr MK Ranjitsinh, India’s first director of wildlife during the 1970s and chairman of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), and Dr YV Jhala, wildlife biologist with Wildlife Institute of India (WII), to bring cheetahs back.
To allay fears that the project would eat into the limited government funds available for conservation, Dr Ranjitsinh gave an assurance right at the outset, in July 2009, that the proposed reintroduction of cheetahs “does not entail diverting any funds allocated by the Government for conservation of existing endangered species and habitats. No fund support is sought from the Government”.
The MoEF, however, sanctioned Rs 25 lakh for a feasibility study conducted by the proponents themselves. Three sites—Nauradehi and Kuno-Palpur in Madhya Pradesh and Jaisalmer’s Shahgarh landscape in Rajasthan—were selected as the proposed new home for the cheetahs. The Project Cheetah document was ready in September 2010.
In August 2011, the Union Cabinet approved Rs 50 crore for the cheetah programme under Project Tiger. In November, Dr HS Pabla, principal chief conservator of forests, Madhya Pradesh, sought Rs 42 crore to relocate two villages from Kuno and fly in a few cheetahs. But since Project Tiger is facing a current shortfall

Devoted Denver zookeeper enlists team of doctors to save orangutan's life
Sally emerged last month from her white room at the Denver Zoo into a maze of logs and rope, leaning on her fists, both of them closed loosely as if they cradled buzzing flies.
The 44-year-old Sumatran orangutan ate some oatmeal and peanut butter in the exhibit, studied people on the other side of the glass, and slipped her long fingers into a concrete barrel full of bubble-bath. She scooped up drifts of foam and ate it, giving her a white beard and mustache, and mugged like Lucille Ball for her audience.
She was back to her old self, said Cindy Cossaboon, Sally's principal zookeeper, back to being a "very strong, stubborn woman" who finds loud noises rude and who

The Zoo/Aquarium Video Archive Project

Can a panda-cam save endangered species?
For philanthropist Charlie Annenberg Weingarten and his organization, cute videos of baby sloths or kid goats on a trampoline do more than make us feel good. They can help save the planet.
The website of the Santa Monica-based organization features a series of live webcams and short films about endangered animals, including polar bears, beluga whales and reef fish. It has just launched its newest webcam initiative, the panda-cam, as an effort to familiarize the world with these critically endangered creatures and inspire efforts to rebuild their destroyed habitat.
Two panda toddlers are the stars of the new camera, which is best viewed after 4:30 p.m. PST. They play together, eat, and move around their habitat. Pandas are seriously endangered, with only about 1,300 in existence.
“It’s really part of a bigger initiative,” said Weingarten, reached by phone while traveling in Aspen, Colo. “I call it Pearls of the Planet. [It] is really based upon my belief that, by serving the natural world, we’ll fall in love with it. My hope is that by being able to observe these sacred creatures, you’ll learn about their habitat, you’ll be able to ask questions, and you’ll be able to become educated.”
The newest cam project began in 2008, when Weingarten visited the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, which was then in Wolong. Shortly after his visit, a massive 8.0 earthquake hit the Sichuan region and destroyed that research center and a whole network of panda preserves in the area, killing a couple of the pandas. When Weingarten reestablished contact with the scientists, they agreed to allow the cameras to be installed as a way to increase international understanding.
The cameras do get a fair amount of traffic. Explore,0,3313183.story

Could the Wind Turbines of Chile Harm Blue Whales?
From a hill overlooking lush pastures on Chiloé Island in Chile, Gicella Saldivia and her family manage a small organic farm and restaurant. Bird-watchers arrive by the busload to marvel at the mix of native and migratory species on nearby Mar Brava Beach. You might assume that a scene this bucolic, and an energy source as clean as wind power, would be a good fit. But Saldivia and many of the 160,000 residents of this 8,000-sq km (3,000 sq-mile) Patagonian isle are at odds, and in court, with Chilean energy company Ecopower over plans to build a $235 million, 56-turbine wind park on Mar Brava. "Chile has a wealth of natural resources to protect that other countries don't," says Saldivia. "This is going to affect my tranquility."
Peace of mind was exactly what alternative energy like wind was supposed to give enviro-conscious citizens like Saldivia. But the Chiloé dispute is a reminder that wind power, like hydroelectric power, has its own potential negatives. That's not what the government of a near-developed but energy-starved nation like Chile wants to hear, especially when its boomingeconomy compels it to double its power output to 30,000 megawatts by 2025. What's more, it creates an awkward p.r. dilemma for the environmental movement, which has long been badgering developing countries to move away from fossilfuels. As Barbara Galletti, president of the Cetacean Conservation,8599,2106064,00.html?xid=gonewsedit

CUPE Local 1600 compelled to respond to Zoocheck's public statements regarding quarantine procedures at PAWS
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1600 responds to recent Zoocheck statements concerning PAWS, the animal sanctuary in California, where the Toronto Zoo may send their three African elephants. CUPE Local 1600 represents workers and animal keepers at the Toronto Zoo.
Zoocheck describes itself as a "…national animal protection charity established in 1984 to promote and protect the interests and well-being of wild animals."
"Zoocheck claims that PAWS has stricter quarantine protocols than most accredited zoos, and has general health surveillance procedures during quarantine," said Grant Ankenman, president of CUPE Local 1600.
"Examination of Zoocheck's statements reveals that PAWS appears to be no different than the standard in place at the majority of accredited zoological institutions in North America. CUPE Local 1600 queries Zoocheck's assertion, and would welcome verification, with specifics.
"In addition, Zoocheck makes the claim that the Toronto Zoo's African elephants are not at risk of contracting disease at the PAWS sanctuary," Ankenman continues. "With all due respect, no one can make this claim, especially with regards to an airborne contagion such as tuberculosis. The determining factor is the degree of risk, not the absolution of risk."
Ankenman clarifies that he is not addressing the issue of the actual elephant transfer itself. CUPE Local 1600 will continue to take an interest in the transfer of the Toronto Zoo's elephants, and will be

Sale set to revive Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve at Koah
THE troubled Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve at Koah looks set to be given a new lease of life with new owners.
Jenny Jattke, who has owned the zoo since 2006, confirmed yesterday a deal to sell the property had been struck.
"It has been sold but it is not unconditional," Ms Jattke said.
It is believed the new owners could be in place by March.
Ms Jattke declined to identify the buyers, citing their privacy, or to discuss their plans.
"They want to make their own announcement," Ms Jattke said.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive Rob Giason wanted to know more about the deal.
"If it has been sold to someone wanting to invest in the product so that it is a competitive attraction, that will be good for the region," Mr Giason said.
Tropical Tablelands Tourism chairman Michael Trout said the park was an attraction that added a lot of diversity.
A new owner "always breathes new life" into an enterprise and there was nothing else like

Common Marmoset Care

Auckland zoo cheetah takes swipe at keeper
An Auckland Zoo cheetah handler has been injured by of one of the big cats.
The Zoo says the cheetah took a swipe at the zookeeper as she was walking the animal on a lead on Tuesday morning.
Zoo director Jonathan Wilcken says the keeper was taken to an accident and emergency centre but her injuries were minor and she has returned to work.
Mr Wilcken says the zoo is serious

Consequences of Non-Intervention for Infectious Disease in African Great Apes
Infectious disease has recently joined poaching and habitat loss as a major threat to African apes. Both “naturally” occurring pathogens, such as Ebola and Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV), and respiratory pathogens transmitted from humans, have been confirmed as important sources of mortality in wild gorillas and chimpanzees. While awareness of the threat has increased, interventions such as vaccination and treatment remain controversial. Here we explore both the risk of disease to African apes, and the status of potential responses. Through synthesis of published data, we summarize prior disease impact on African apes. We then use a simple demographic model to illustrate the resilience of a well-known gorilla population to disease, modeled on prior documented outbreaks. We found that the predicted recovery time for this specific gorilla population from a single outbreak ranged from 5 years for a low mortality (4%) respiratory outbreak, to 131 years for an Ebola outbreak that killed 96% of the population. This shows that mortality rates comparable to those recently reported for disease outbreaks in wild populations are not sustainable. This is particularly troubling given the rising pathogen risk created by increasing habituation of wild apes for tourism, and the growth of human populations surrounding protected areas. We assess potential future disease spillover risk in terms of vaccination rates amongst humans that may come into contact with wild apes, and the availability of vaccines against potentially threatening diseases. We discuss and evaluate non-interventionist responses such as limiting tourist access to apes, community health programs, and safety, logistic, and cost

Paignton Zoo project captures rare forest elephant on film
A PROJECT in Nigeria supported by Paignton Zoo has snapped a photo of a rare forest elephant.
This is the first photograph of a forest elephant ever taken in the Omo Forest.
Paignton Zoo Deputy Head of Education Sue Lowe explained: “People have seen signs such as dung and footprints, but until now no-one has managed to photograph an elephant in the Omo Forest.”
Paignton Zoo has supported the conservation project in the Omo Forest in south-western Nigeria since 1993. It is now part of the Omo-Shasha-Oluwa Initiative, which aims to protect the wildlife of the three adjoining forests from logging and poaching.
Sue Lowe continued: “Elephants play an important role in the ecosystem of the forest – they spread seeds from the fruit and nuts that they eat. Some of these seeds can only germinate after they have been through the digestive system of an elephant. The elephants need the forest and the forest needs the

World's Highest-Pitched Primate Calls Out Like a Bat
A huge-eyed little primate of the Philippines can communicate in pure ultrasound — issuing calls so high-pitched that human ears can't detect them.
Study researcher Marissa Ramsier noted the ironic discovery in an animal that has always been considered a quiet night creature. "It turns out that it's not silent. It's actually screaming and we had no idea," said Ramsier, an evolutionary biologist at Humboldt State University

Toledo Zoo's next chapter
The executive director of the Toledo Zoo, Anne Baker, plans to retire by year's end. As it looks for her successor, the zoo's governing board should aim to build on the economic and educational successes Ms. Baker has achieved.
When she became the zoo's first female director in 2006, Ms. Baker worked to regain community trust after the controversial tenure of her long-time predecessor, William Dennler. Although voters narrowly rejected a levy soon after she took over, she helped persuade them to pass subsequent millages -- including a tax vote last fall, which voters soundly approved despite a tough economy.
Her record includes the construction of a $15.3 million elephant, rhinoceros, and hippopotamus exhibit. She laid the groundwork for a $25 million renovation of the zoo's aquarium. She replaced the outdated children's petting zoo with the award-winning Nature's Neighborhood.
Along with these physical improvements, Ms. Baker has made major advances at the zoo in the fields of renewable energy and climate change. These realities should continue to be valid elements of the zoo's community outreach efforts.
Early in her tenure, Ms. Baker publicly supported the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate the polar bear as a threatened species, largely because of global warming. Right-wing talk radio ridiculed her for that stance, but it was the right one to take. The board, to its credit, stuck by Ms. Baker.
During her years as director, the zoo also has added its first wind turbine, solar panels, and other clean-energy technologies. These things show zoo visitors how greenhouse

Tauranga man lion park's new owner
Tauranga accountant Ian Stevenson is in the thick of the highly publicised ownership changes being undertaken at Zion Wildlife Gardens near Whangarei.
The lion park, which has over recent years been the scene of an ongoing bitter and public battle between Lion Man Craig Busch and his mother Patricia Busch has been sold by the receiver, Price Waterhouse Coopers, to Zion Wildlife Kingdom Ltd.
The directors are Beth McVerry of Cambridge and Ian Stevenson, who intend to reopen the park to the public.
“It is going to operate as a park,” says Ian.
“We do have some plans for improvements, possible expansion with time – but the first thing is to get it up and running.
“There’s no public access at the moment.
We are working to get the place cleaned up and get the animals organised.
“There are a few issues there, with the well-being of the cats being the first priority, particularly relating to health issues that we are sorting out.”
There are 36 big cats; tigers, Bengal tigers, white lions, lions, cheetahs and a black leopard.
“The black leopard is wicked; I tell you, the eyes pierce through you,” says Ian.
The manner of the takeover of the wildlife park by the new owners made national news, but from an accountancy perspective, Ian says the takeover method used was standard in a receivership.
“Usually you go in, in force with security

UV Light and Reptiles

Puerto Rico plans massacre of invasive iguanas, export of harvested meat
The invasive species outnumber humans on the US Caribbean territory but the local government is drawing up plans for a volunteer force to eradicate the lizards.
Puerto Rico has announced plans for a massive cull of an invasive species of iguana and for the sale of harvested meat, according to The Associated Press.
The US territory hopes to eradicate the species with a population of four million, which the AP says outnumbers humans on the island and has long been considered an invasive nuisance.
According to the AP, Daniel Galan Kercad, secretary of natural resources, said his agency had been granted permission to draft plans for volunteers to bring the iguanas to a slaughter house which would

Zebras evolved stripes to keep horse flies at bay - shame they didn't think about the lions
Why zebras sport black-and-white stripes is a question that has nagged experts for decades, but now it’s finally been solved.
Researchers from Lund University in Sweden have shown that the characteristic markings keep horse flies at bay.
They say that the stripes, which are unique to each animal, are unappetising to the hungry pests, which have a nasty bite and spread lethal blood dis

Life in the Wild

Rhino dies in anti-poaching demo by conservationists
A conservation group demonstrating an anti-poaching method for reporters in South Africa accidentally killed the rhinoceros they were using in the demonstration.
The rhino, nicknamed Spencer, went into convulsions and died after he was shot with a tranquilizer dart in front of a crush of TV cameras and photographers who had been invited to document an operation to insert a poison capsule into his horn.
The private reserve near the capital, Pretoria, calls in veterinarians to sedate rhinos so their horns can be treated with a dye and an insecticide, and tracking and identification

Great Auk: Extinct 'Penguin of the North'
The giant that perished
The largest known razorbill, or auk, was a powerful swimmer that couldn’t fly. Our ancestors carved images of the Great Auk in caves 35,000 years ago. But in the 1800s we drove it to extinction.
The Natural History Collections of the University of Bergen (UiB) includes specimens of the extinct bird, Pinguinus impennis, from nearly all parts of Norway.
They could reach a height of over 70 centimetres, and originally thrived on all the North Atlantic coasts. Colonies were found in Scotland, the Shetlands, Norway, North America, Greenland and Iceland.
The Great Auk is sometimes called the penguin of the Northern Hemisphere. In fact the Welsh name for them was pengwyn, the Spanish and Portuguese sailors called them pingüinos and the present-day penguins of the Southern Hemisphere were named for their resemblance to the Great Auk. Like the penguin, it was flightless, awkward on land and a graceful underwater swimmer.
Small wing bones
Osteologist and zoologist Anne Karin Hufthammer at UiB specialises in bird anatomy. She refers to the Great Auk as one of her favourite museum specimens.
“I’m fairly sure that it descended from birds that could fly, but at some point in time other abilities gained priority,” she says.
“Its small wing bones, compared to species of comparable size, clearly show why the Great Auk couldn’t get off the ground. But it was an excellent swimmer.”
The museum has bones from several individuals. The bone that corresponds to our upper arm bone, the humerus, is amazingly small for such a large species.
“This proves that the wing couldn’t lift the bird. If we look at the bone corresponding to our forearm bones, toward the tip of its wing, we also see how tiny it was compared to other large species,” explains

Elephant captive breeding history and Hall of fame
The elephants were never domesticated, and although captive breeding for sure occured, before and during medevial time, this was ocassionally, by random matings, and probably never leading to a second generation.
The reason, especially in Asia, was simple: it was much easier to catch wild elephants in the forest, and tame and train them, than trying to breed them. Maybe Asian mahouts during medevial times, already then found out, that captive born elephants becomes much more dangerous and aggressive, than wild caught elephants, a fact that obviously still until today is unknown by most laymen, and also many people within the Zoological community. Another reason was that the elephants were used for war or work, why it was more effective to catch semiadult, or adult elephants. Some Indian states actually had written laws, prohibiting capture of elephants younger than 20 years. Investing time, food, and recources in elephant babies was uncommon.
Therefore, Asia had no traditions of captive breeding, and the first recorded babies born in Asia is from the 18 century. The northern african elephant, Loxodonta pharaoensis, (now extinct) which was captured and used for roman time wars by Carthago and Rome, was probably not bred in any remarkable numbers, although some
See List: Most succesful captive elephant breeders worldvide

NY college gathers experts to mull future of zoos .
A Buffalo college is gathering together national and international experts to discuss the future of zoos.
The two-day symposium starting Friday is organized by the Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations at Canisius College.
It will ask animal behavior experts, zoo architects and zoo curators to take on the question of what zoos will look like 50 and 100 years from now. They'll consider topics such as the demographics of future zoo patrons, what visitors' expectations will be, zoos as resources for scientific research and the moral implications for future zoos.
Among those scheduled to attend are two zoo

Chimpanzees learn to mop cage from keepers
Chimpanzees in a Russian zoo have learned to clean their cages by watching zookeepers.
A pair of chimpanzees, Yasha and Jessica, grabbed mops, rags and trash bags in order to clean up their two-floor cage on a regular basis, the Udmurtia zoo's press service said.
Yasha was the first to use the mop, which he "covertly obtained" from the zookeepers. The chimpanzee also took special care to clean the glass walls of its cage, "spitting on them before wiping" them, according to the zoo in the Volga region.
The duo eventually split cleaning duties, with Jessica sweeping the cage's ground floor and putting trash in the bag and Yasha taking similar care of the upper floor.
However, other species failed to follow

“Non-invasive Monitoring of Hormones”

held from September 23rd to 26th 2012 at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Austria

It is organised by the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Biochemistry) and the International Society of Wildlife Endocrinology (ISWE; 3rd annual meeting).

This conference aims at bringing together scientists of different research fields sharing a common interest in non-invasive methods for monitoring hormones. This meeting is an excellent chance to learn about newest developments and successful applications, to get into contact with experts in the field and to meet old and hopefully new collaborators and friends. Thus we look forward to fruitful and stimulating discussions in the cosy atmosphere of our nice university campus and beautiful city of Vienna.

We highly welcome contributions covering the following topics: Assessment of reproduction and stress, but also analytical issues and new avenues /miscellaneous topics all dealing with non-invasive (or minimally invasive) methods for monitoring hormones.

Please visit our homepage to see further details as well as the important deadlines.

The University of Veterinary Medicine Vetmeduni Vienna campus was newly built in the early 1990ies. Located at the boundaries of the city, it can be easily and quickly reached by public transport. Besides a fruitful scientific conference, you can also enjoy Vienna’s unique charm and special flair, a metropolis of culture, of music and arts. Thus don’t miss this event.

We are looking forward to welcome you in Vienna!

Best regards,

Rupert Palme and Sophie Rettenbacher on behalf of the local organizing committee

Mandi Vick on behalf of the ISWE


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