Saturday, June 9, 2012

Zoo News Digest 1st - 9th June 2012 (Zoo News 819)

Zoo News Digest 1st - 9th June 2012 (Zoo News 819)
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Dear Colleague,

Feeling quite satisfied with myself as I have paid my registration to attend the International Keepers Convention in Singapore in September. With one thing and another I have missed the previous ones. The earlybird registration finishes at the end of June. Time to get your skates on if you have not done so already. Hope to see you there. If you have never been to Singapore before you are in for a real treat.

I have pondered many a time why some seemingly intelligent people are anti-zoo and appear incapable of recognising that there are good zoos and bad zoos and that good zoos do good. The answer dawned on me this week. It's simple, it's because they are just that......seemingly intelligent. What is rather frightening is the followers they seem to have. The seemingly intelligent leading the much less so.

 Naturally the evil Tiger Temple is going to deny all wrongdoing. The big surprise is that was made public at all. I don't have much faith in any investigation. If these are the same people who gave Sri Racha Tiger Zoo a glowing report then they haven't a clue and care even less.

I can't explain these sudden spurts in readership of my articles. For some reason Pangolins in Peril shot ahead of The Soapy Massage. Rare when something really important shoots ahead of something of a sexual nature.  I'm glad it did though because Pangolins are so very very important.

I liked the poster of the ‘Giant Fishes of the World’. I jogged my memory. Back in 1967 I was snorkelling alone off Das island in the Arabian Gulf. I felt the presence before I saw it. I turned slowly and there was an Ocean Sunfish only a couple of yards away looking at me. Okay I knew it was harmless but to have something so large so close and so unexpectedly really gave me an awful shock. Beautiful creature though, Happy memory.

Good News: World’s Rhino Conservationists Gather in China to Call for an End to Illegal Rhino Horn Trade .....I wonder if the subject of Rhinoceros Farming in China was ever brought up?

Mind you before we even start to throw stones at the Chinese lets look to Rhinoceros Farming in Africa. I don't doubt that there may be one, just possibly two people who are in it for genuine sincere species conservation. The rest, no matter what they say are in it for the money. If they are not in it for breeding and selling horn on the hoof to Chinese, Vietnamese or Thai buyers (for kill or export) then they are breeding and stockpiling horn for future use. We have seen piles of burning ivory more than once but what about Rhino Horn? Burn the stockpiled Horns....they would if they were sincere about conservation. Remember, no-one is farming elephants.

Every now and again I see an imitator of the Zoo Biology Group appear. I'm always interested in why there should be another general group. Why start from scratch when, as a Zoo Biology Member you can draw upon the accumulated knowledge of more than 20,000 years of expertise? When I dig a little deeper I find the founder is not a member of Zoo Biology....and I wonder why? As a Zoo Professional I think you owe it to yourself and your animals to be a member.

Polar bear breaks aquarium wall - bit frightening. Watch the video.

World's best zoos? See what Cheapflights has come up with. Distinctly different!

Hello Giza Zoo. I know some of you read this. Any news of the promised improvements?

Some of the stories below have already been posted and linked to in Zoo News Digest Facebook Page. If you have not visited previously please go to

I feel great. Had a wonderful weekend. Thank you Lilii! I'm never too old to learn. I think it will have to be Chinese.


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Beaumaris Zoo (Hobart) Zoo Part 1 - The Legacy of Beaumaris
in Australasian Zoo & Circus Animals Historical Journal

Honda Solar Panels Power Penguin Habitat - Web ExclusiveThe 11kW system will provide a reliable supply of clean energy that should reduce the Aquarium's reliance on conventional electricity
As a founding sponsor of the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA, American Honda has providing Honda solar cell technology in order to help power the Aquarium's new June Keyes Penguin Habitat.
The 11kW system will provide a reliable supply of clean energy that should reduce the Aquarium's reliance on conventional electricity by more than 14000kWhr each year, representing a substantial saving for the nonprofit organization.
The new June Keyes Penguin Habitat was opened to the public on May 17, 2012.
It’s a permanent exhibit that houses Magellanic penguins typically found near the southern tip of South America. Environmental issues are threatening their survival in the wild, so this habitat includes educational exhibit panels and interactive touchscreens where visitors can learn about penguins and why 75% of them are endangered or threatened.
"Some of our penguins were rescued, and by telling their story we hope people will help penguins in the wild by decreasing their carbon emissions, choosing sustainable seafood, reducing pollution, and protecting areas where these penguins breed and forage," said Dr Jerry R. Schubel, Aquarium of the Pacific president.
The exhibit is the first public demonstration of Honda solar panels in the US.
Honda has thin film solar panels installed in 22 of its facilities worldwide – including the company's motorsports engineering facility in Santa Clarita, CA, and a manufacturing

Rescued Namibian baby elephants move to Mexico

Nine baby elephants have arrived in a Mexican Safari park after their parents were killed by ivory hunters in Namibia.

Africam Safari in the Mexican state of Puebla, beat competition from other animal parks around the world to keep the mammals thanks to its prized conservation and education programmes.
But moving such "valuable cargo" from Africa

First Artificially Incubated Crested Ibis Born in Shanghai Zoo
A zoo in eastern Shanghai successfully hatched its first artificially incubated crested ibis on Friday.
At around 5am Friday morning, staff at Shanghai Wild Animal Park noticed pecking from inside one of their incubated eggs. A few hours later, a baby ibis poked a hole through the shell.
But there was a problem.
[Yu Jinhua, Head, Shanghai Wild Animal Park]: 
"The baby ibis's situation is similar to a human baby who is in an abnormal position in the womb. He is stuck because of his abnormal position."
Park breeders decided to intervene.
They used a regular cotton swab and their bear hands to help the ibis break through the shell.
Five hours later, the 37-gram newborn ibis was

Emperor Tamarin Monkeys Stolen From Opole Zoo In Poland
A zoo official in southwestern Poland says seven endangered monkeys have been stolen from their cage for possible sale on the black market.
The Emperor tamarin monkeys, a family of two adults and five of their offspring, were reported missing early Sunday from the Opole Zoo when employees found someone had broken into their enclosure.
The head of the breeding section at the zoo, Krzysztof Kazanowski, said Monday the monkeys ranged in age from under a year to 10 years old. Kazanowski said they were probably stolen for someone who wants to own rare and endangered

Illegal orang-utan trade in Thailand still goes unpunished

AAP Summer Course 2012: Husbandry of rescued primates 

WWF Helps Industry More than Environment
The WWF is the most powerful environmental organization in the world and campaigns internationally on issues such as saving tigers and rain forests. But a closer look at its work leads to a sobering conclusion: Many of its activities benefit industry more than the environment or endangered species.
Want to protect the rainforest? All it takes is €5 ($6.30) to get started. Save the gorillas? Three euros and you're in. You can even do your part for nature with only 50 cents -- as long as you entrust it to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which is still known by its original name of the World Wildlife Fund in the United States and Canada.
Last year, the WWF, together with German retail group Rewe, sold almost 2 million collectors' albums. In only six weeks, the program raised €875,088 ($1.1 million), which Rewe turned over to the WWF.
The WWF has promised to do a lot of good things with the money, like spending it on forests, gorillas, water, the climate -- and, of course, the animal the environmental protection group uses as its emblem, the giant panda.
Governments also entrust a lot of money to the organization. Over the years, the WWF has received a total of $120 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). For a long time, German government ministries were so generous to the organization that the WWF even decided, in the 1990s, to limit the amount of government funding it could receive. The organization was anxious not to be seen as merely an extension of government environmental protection agencies.
Illusion of Aid
But can the WWF truly protect nature against human beings? Or do the organization's attractive posters merely offer the illusion of help? Fifty years after the organization was founded, there are growing doubts as to the independence of the WWF and its business model, which involves partnering with industry to protect nature.
The WWF, whose international headquarters are located in Gland, Switzerland, is seen as the world's most powerful conservation organization. It is active in more than 100 countries, where it enjoys close connections to the rich and the powerful. Its trademark panda emblem appears on Danone yoghurt cups and the clothing of jetsetters like Princess Charlene of Monaco. Companies pay seven-figure fees for the privilege of using the logo. The WWF counts 430,000 members in Germany alone, and millions of people give their savings to the organization. The question is how sustainably this money is actually being invested.
SPIEGEL traveled around South America and the Indonesian island of Sumatra to address this question. In Brazil, an agricultural industry executive talked about the first shipload of sustainable soybeans, certified in accordance with WWF standards, to reach Rotterdam last year, amid a flurry of PR hype. The executive had to admit, however, that he wasn't entirely sure where the shipment had come from. In Sumatra, members of a tribal group reported how troops hired by WWF partner Wilmar had destroyed their houses, because they had stood in the way of unfettered palm oil production.
Inconvenient for Some
Representatives of independent German non-governmental organizations like Rettet den Regenwald (Rainforest Rescue) and Robin Wood also no longer see the aid organization as merely a custodian of animals. Instead, many view the WWF as an accomplice of corporations. In their opinion, it grants those corporations a license to destroy nature, in return for large donations and small concessions.
The organization, which now takes in about €500 million a year, has certainly notched up some important achievements. The Dutch section of WWF helped pay for Greenpeace's flagship, the Rainbow Warrior. To prevent dam projects on the Danube and Loire Rivers, activists occupied large construction sites, sometimes for years. In the 1980s, the Swiss section fought so vehemently against nuclear energy that the federal police classified its managing director as an enemy of the state.
While the WWF can be very inconvenient for some, it can also be quick to cozy up to others. The organization's managers typically react with irritation to criticism of its cooperative efforts. Last year, a film made by Germany's WDR television network, "The Pact with the Panda," reached devastating conclusions about the WWF's work. German author Wilfried Huismann held the conservationists partly responsible for increasing the threat to the rainforest -- a charge the WWF vehemently denies.
The film was "inaccurately researched" or even "deliberately false," says Martina Fleckenstein, who has been a biologist with the WWF for the last 20 years. She works in Berlin, where she heads the WWF's Agriculture Policy section. Hardly any meetings with industry take place without her, and she is a queen of compromise. Nevertheless, after the film was released, the WWF was flooded with protest emails, and more than 3,000 supporters cancelled their memberships. The conservation organization had never experienced such a bloodletting before.
Of Tigers and People
The animal used in the WWF's logo is a cute and cuddly-looking creature, threatened with extinction because of its very low birthrate. But the panda does not elicit our emotions as much as great apes or big cats, which are more effective at drumming up donations. In 2010, the WWF took its cue from the Chinese calendar and proclaimed the "Year of the Tiger."
The WWF has pursued its tiger mission for a long time. In the early 1970s, with the help of a large donation, it convinced the Indian government under then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to identify protected areas for the threatened big cats. According to Indian estimates, there were more than 4,000 tigers living in the country at the time. Today that number has dwindled to 1,700. Nevertheless, the WWF sees the Indian tiger program as a success. Without its efforts, says a spokesman, India's tigers could "quite possibly be extinct by now."
Less widely publicized is the fact that people were displaced to achieve this success. Villages were "resettled, but not against their will," says Claude Martin, a Swiss national who was general director of WWF International from 1993 to 2005. "We were always convinced that this issue was handled properly." But there are even doubts about that.
About 300,000 families had to leave their homes to create a conservation zone for wild animals, writes Mark Dowie in his book "Conservation Refugees." According to Dowie, the displacement was the result of a concept called "fortress conservation," which the WWF has always proclaimed as one of its policies. There is no room for human beings in these conservation zones, writes Dowie. The WWF says that it is opposed to forced relocation. But Bernhard Grzimek, a German TV zoologist and long-standing member of the WWF board of directors, also advocated the concept of national parks with no human presence in them. The WWF was established in 1961, following his successful film "Serengeti Shall Not Die.
Conservation Refugees
The Swiss founders and the German zoologist were united by a mixture of conservation and neo-colonialism. This legacy also includes the forced displacement of the Massai nomads from the Serengeti.
Experts estimate that in Africa alone, conservation efforts have created 14 million "conservation refugees" since the colonial era. In this model, some of the indigenous people, if they were lucky enough, could work as park wardens, preventing their relatives from entering the protected zones.
The Tesso Nilo National Park is one of those typical conservation zones promoted by the WWF. Martina Fleckenstein describes it as "a successful project for protecting tigers and elephants." The area is in the heart of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The WWF office in the city of Pekanbaru manages the project.
"Save His Habitat," reads a German tiger poster in the Pekanbaru office, which is funded with German WWF money. German TV talk show host Sandra Maischberger conducted a campaign to raise money for the last 500 Sumatra tigers. Many of them supposedly live in the Tesso Nilo, only a few hours from the WWF office.
Sunarto is a biologist who has long worked as a tiger researcher in the Tesso Nilo. But he has never seen a tiger there. "Tiger density is very low here, because of human economic activity," says Sunarto, who like some Indonesians goes by only one name. He also points out that there are still some woodland clearing concessions within the conservation area.
To enable them to track down tigers, the WWF has provided the scientists with high-tech measuring equipment, including GPS devices, DNA analysis methods for tiger dung and 20 photo traps. During the last photography shoot, which lasted several weeks, the traps only photographed five tigers.
Off-Limits for Locals
The WWF sees its work in Sumatra as an important achievement, arguing that the rainforest in the Tesso Nilo was successfully saved as a result of a "fire department approach." In reality, the conservation zone has grown while the forest inside has become smaller. Companies like Asia Pacific Resources International, with which the WWF previously had a cooperative arrangement, cut down the virgin forest, says Sunarto.
His colleague Ruswantu takes affluent eco-tourists on tours of the park on the backs of tamed elephants. The area is off-limits for the locals, and anti-poaching units funded by the Germans make sure that they stay out. "The WWF is in charge here, and that's a problem," says Bahri, who owns a tiny shop and lives in a village near the entrance to the park. No one knows where the borders are, he says. "We used to have small fields of rubber trees, and suddenly we were no longer allowed to go there."
Feri, an environmental activist, calls this form of conservation "racist and neocolonial," and notes: "There has never

Delhi zoo uses alternative medicine to treat animals
It's not part of the regular treatment but in a pinch, alternative medicine in the form of homeopathy, ayurveda or herbal concoctions, does the trick. And the doctors responsible for animals at the National Zoological Park, Delhi, find, that they sometimes work when allopathy doesn't.
"We started using them seven-eight years ago," says Delhi zoo veterinary officer Paneer Selvam. "We get them wheneve necessity arises." The zoo's standard line of treatment is allopathy but whenever a particularly difficult case comes up, Selvam consults practitioners of alternative medicine. 'About two years ago, one of the Asiatic lions had hind-quarter paralysis. Another one developed the condition some time back.
In both cases we first tried with allopathic treatment but when that didn't work we used homeopathic treatment," says Selvam, "In my experience, we have got good results." A Himalayan black bear that was afflicted with the same condition a year ago and was cured by homeopathy. "Many of the zoo vets prefer to try alternative medicine now," says Selvam.
One of the first time he tried it was some years ago with an old white tiger with a stone in the urinary bladder. Surgery was too much of a risk for the aged tiger and homeopathy was used instead. But the black herbal concoction, a potent medicine for wounds, Selvam's been using for a decade. "It is a very good ointment for maggot wounds," he says.
The zoo doesn't stock homeopathy or ayurvedic medicines. The vet says that homeopathic courses typically last for about three

Dallas Zoo to open $1.4M animal nutrition centerMore than 2,000 creatures small and large at the Dallas Zoo will soon have a new facility to help them stay healthy and eat right.
The Dallas Zoo on June 13 will open its $1.4 million William M. Beecherl Animal Nutrition Center. Zoo officials on Monday said a grant from the Eugene McDermott Foundation also contributed to the 7,900 square foot complex.
Authorities say the center is expected to help increase food production and save money through more efficient processes, such as

Grow your career and apply for an AZA Professional Development Scholarship!
AZA is pleased to offer 17 scholarships for the 2012-2013 year of courses. This year two new tuition-only scholarships have been added for emerging professionals in the zoo & aquarium field. These scholarships join 5 existing domestic scholarships, as well as 10 scholarships for international professionals, offered in partnership with the Zoo Conservation Outreach Group (ZCOG).
Don’t delay, apply today! Visit for more information. Applications are due July 15, 2012.

Girl, 8, has finger amputated after being bitten by tiger while visiting South African wildlife park
A South African schoolgirl has had to have part of her little finger amputated after she was bitten by a tiger at an animal reserve.
Karla Malan was visiting Predator's Rock Bush Lodge in Rustenburg, to the north of the country, with her family when she lost part of her finger while stroking the big cat.
Her father said they had been assured that the tigers were tame and could be stroked through the fence. Indeed a tour guide proceeded to do that moments before the tiger turned on her and grabbed her


Keeping zoo animals healthy key to preventing outbreaks
If zoo animals stay free of disease outbreaks, other animals and people stay healthier as well.
That was an idea behind a daylong infectious disease outbreak response exercise Wednesday at the Illinois Farm Bureau headquarters.
Called Flu at the Zoo, the exercise was attended by 85 zoo superintendents, veterinarians and state and federal regulators from 10 states.
“A zoo is a unique place,” Yvette Johnson-Walker, clinical epidemiologist with the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, said during a break in the exercise.
Zoos bring together animals from throughout the world, native wildlife that pass through the zoos, and people who work and volunteer there as well as visitors, Johnson-Walker said.
That creates a concern about spreading disease among people and animals, including livestock and pets. Zoos are in position to detect disease quickly because animals in zoo collections are cared for carefully by veterinarians, observed Jay Tetzloff, superintendent

Beyond lions, tigers, bears
Pharmacy helps sick pets, exotic critters get better
What happens after a hippopotamus swallows an opened umbrella?
Michael Blaire, co-owner and pharmacist in charge at Diamondback Drugs in Scottsdale, knows.
The registered pharmacist specializes in veterinary medications. He received a call from a New Jersey aquarium after a hippo swallowed a visitor's umbrella that fell into the tank. The release button had been triggered, resulting in the parasol opening inside its host.
After consulting with the aquarium's veterinarian, Blaire concocted 55 gallons of flavored mineral oil and shipped it from his Scottsdale pharmacy to the East Coast.
The oil would flush the hippo's system, encouraging the umbrella to work its way through his body with minimal damage.
The plan worked. Knowing that is good enough for Blaire.
"It took a couple of days, and it went fine. Well, I don't know how it actually went. ... I don't want to know," Blaire said as he chuckled. "But he's around to tell the tale."
This tops the list of unusual situations Blaire has been called upon to resolve since opening Diamondback with business partner Rory Albert in 2001.
Blaire said 70 percent of his clientele are individual pet owners and their veterinarians seeking medicine for dogs, cats and traditional household creatures.
The remaining are zoos, aquariums and animal sanctuaries that require Blaire's skills as a compounding pharmacist when they need medicine geared toward their animals' specific requirements or need it in an unorthodox delivery system.
Blaire once camouflaged bitter-tasting medication by putting it in 4- by 4-foot Rice-Krispie treats for an Albuquerque zoo's finicky rhinoceros with an abscess on his foot. Blaire also makes the jumbo-size treats to disguise diuretics for elephants at a Pittsburgh zoo.
Often, veterinarians have a treatment in mind and coordinate with Blaire. When doctors are stumped, Blaire and his staff will brainstorm and toss out their suggestions.
Diamondback Drugs has formulated medicines for whales, lions, lemurs and other exotic species. "The actual nuts and bolts of the pharmacy business are the same, but the patient population is so much more diverse," Blaire said.
Blaire and Albert started with 25 clients, mostly local veterinarians, and three employees. Currently, they have 57 employees and more than 3,000 regular clients from all 50 states, Canada and the United Kingdom. Blaire also works with a teaching hospital in Israel, clinics in Hong Kong and an animal sanctuary in Australia.
New York native Blaire owned traditional pharmacies in Queens and Brooklyn in the 1980's and '90s. He and his young family sought a change and, after selling his stores, moved to Arizona, where they enjoyed vacationing in the past.
In Phoenix, Blaire managed the 24-hour pharmacy for a drugstore chain. Compounding was less common so Blaire's skill was in demand. He yearned to own a business again and thought his expertise could fulfill that dream.
He called doctors asking whether they needed compounding services. Blaire happened to call a veterinarian, who was thrilled to work with him. At the time, Blaire said there were few compounding pharmacies serving the veterinarian community.
Happy clients led to more referrals and Blaire leaving his job to launch Diamondback with Albert. Over time, their knowledge about veterinary medicine and what doctors needed increased. Soon, they were getting out-of-state requests.
"We started to look beyond cats and dogs," Blaire said. "We started to look at cancer and cardiology. As we learned new things, we told the veterinarian community, and that gave us new clients."
Wildlife World Zoo chief veterinarian Sharmie Johnson was one of Diamondback's first clients. The pharmacy's ability to make specialty medications in sterile conditions that Johnson does not have access to and to keep costs down are among the reasons Johnson calls only Diamondback when the Litchfield Park zoo's residents need medicine.
The variety of flavors ranging from banana and bubblegum to tuna and teaberry make treating even the fussiest patients easier.
"They have flavor choices that every critter will like. I have a lot of unique animals, and typically there aren't medications designed for them," Johnson said.
In emergency situations, medicine has been delivered quickly to the zoo, which is 40 miles from the pharmacy.
"The service is excellent. They are extremely knowledgeable," she said.
Adobe Animal Hospital owner/veterinarian Tom Newland has used Diamondback for medications for his dog and cat patients for 10 years. Recently, Newland read about a new medicine used to treat viral warts. After speaking with Albert, Newland said, he felt more comfortable prescribing the treatment for the first time.
Sometimes, Newland sees a cat that cannot take medicine orally. Diamondback is able to convert it into a topical gel that is applied inside the ear so the medication can be absorbed through the skin.
"Their knowledge is priceless," said Newland, whose hospital is in Scottsdale. "They always find the right medication or the right compounding formula that fits the individual patient best. It makes the options much more viable."
The business was shielded from the recession and its aftereffects, Blaire said. Proactive measures like increasing the advertising budget, search-engine optimization, direct mailings and

Goodbye my friend, the zoo is closing
Cape Town’s Tygerberg Zoo has just had one of its busiest weekends in months.
After news of its imminent closure broke in the press last week, visitors streamed through the gates.
Some came for a nostalgic last glimpse of Tigger the tiger, while others had simply never known that there was a zoo in Cape Town. But as suddenly as they appeared, the visitors abandoned the zoo again. By mid-week there was not a soul in sight.
On a visit to the zoo yesterday, the Cape Argus found owner Lorraine Spence driving her four-wheeler across a vacant lot between enclosures. “Do you see now why it has come to this?”
Spence is saddened, but not surprised, at the failure of the zoo.
She predicted this day more than 10 years ago. The decline in popularity is a trend that can be observed at virtually every zoo in SA, she said.
Today, the zoo’s income amounts to less than half of its basic running costs. The 25-hectare facility has now been sold for an undisclosed sum.
“It’s very sad. This zoo was John’s dream, it was his life’s work,” she says.
The late John Spence, Lorraine’s husband and the founder of the zoo, was four years old when he told his mother he would build a zoo. Spence recalls how her husband’s obsession eclipsed the newly-wed couple’s honeymoon. “In 18 days we saw 19 zoos in England, Wales and Scotland.”
But soon the zoo became the centre of her life as well. In the last three decades, Spence has personally “adopted” seven orphaned or otherwise neglected baby chimpanzees. They slept in her bed at night.
Today, 11-year-old Emma, one of Spence’s former chimp babies, sits next to the fence of her enclosure. Rubbing her hand and speaking to her softly through

World’s Rhino Conservationists Gather in China to Call for an End to Illegal Rhino Horn Trade Wildlife experts and conservationists from China, South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom, including representatives from Humane Society International/UK, gathered in Beijing today to call for urgent action from China to help save the world’s rhinos from poaching. Hundreds of rhinos are poached for their horns every year largely to supply the Asian traditional medicine market.
The Rhinos In Crisis conference, organized by Beijing’s Capital Animal Welfare Association with the support of Humane Society International, is one of the largest gatherings of international rhino conservationists ever held within China. Their message to China: Rhinos are being poached out of existence, and Chinese consumers’ demand for rhino horn must end.
“Rhino poaching has reached a crisis point with animals being brutally slaughtered in huge numbers to supply horn for the Asian medicine trade. It’s vital that China takes urgent action to eradicate consumer and business demand for horn which has no scientifically established medicinal benefit whatsoever,” said Mark Jones, executive director of HSI/UK. “China is a crucial partner in the global battle to save this endangered and iconic animal from extinction. If it doesn’t act now, this species is unlikely to survive the crisis. That would be tragedy for the whole world.”
Rhino poaching has skyrocketed in recent years. In 2007 there was a global average of 12 poaching incidents reported annually. By 2011 in South

Shelling out for a divorce
The world's oldest animal marriage looks set to have turtley ended after an incredible 115 years when the two Giant Turtles at an Austrian zoo refused to share their cage anymore.
Zoo management have called in animal experts to try and give the pair counselling - feeding them romantic good mood food and trying to get them to join in joint games - but so far without effect.
Zoo boss Helga Happ said: "We get the feeling they can't stand the sight of each other anymore."
Bibi and Poldi have been a pair since before anyone alive today can remember - they have been together at the Austrian zoo in Klagenfurt for 36 years and before that they lived at Basel zoo in Switzerland.
Happ added: "They are both 115 years old - they have been together since they were young and grew up together, eventually becoming a pair.
"But for no reason that anyone can discover they seem to have fallen out, they just can't stand each other."
Zoo staff realised the pair had fallen out after Bibi attacked her partner - biting off a chunk of his shell - and then carrying out several further attacks until he was moved to another enclosure.
Although they have no teeth Giant Turtles have a horn rimmed mouth and powerful jaws that are a potent weapon when they want to cause damage. Each of the 100 kilo animals has the ability

Cleaner in hospital after giant otter attackA cleaner is in hospital after being attacked by a giant otter that escaped from its zoo enclosure in Hamburg. Two men who tried to pull the nearly-six-foot-long animal off her were also bitten.
The bloody ambush took place in Hamburg's Hagenbeck zoo early last Saturday morning. A cleaner was busy scrubbing benches when she heard a rustling in the bushes next to her, the regional paper Express reported. Unconcerned, she continued until the 1.80 metre-long otter poked its head out of the foliage.
On seeing the animal, the unnamed 56-year-old screamed and tried to run away but fell over - only to be pounced upon by the otter. It bit her arms and legs so severely that she has been hospitalised.
A nearby zoo keeper and an assistant heard her screams and came running, only to be leapt on by the otter as well. They wrestled it to the ground and bound it up, enduring several bites in the process. The zoo keeper is also in hospital with minor injuries.
One of the cleaning lady's arms is so badly injured that she may never regain full use of it, the paper said.
As well as being monitored for possible blood poisoning, she was put into an artificial coma several times

Polar bear breaks aquarium wall

Severed Seal Heads Nailed To Dingle Wildlife And Seal Sanctuary A police investigation is underway after the severed heads of two seals were found nailed to the entrance signs of a wildlife sanctuary.
The gruesome discovery was made this morning at the Dingle Wildlife and Seal Sanctuary in Co Kerry. The heads of a common seal and a grey seal had been mounted on plywood plaques, with R.I.P. CULL and R.I.P I AM HUNGRY painted in red.
Spokesman Ally McMillan said: “We are all very shocked and upset, as Dingle Wildlife & Seal Sanctuary is a public service for people who call in sick and orphaned wildlife, including mainly seal pups.
“Our volunteer run organization is dedicated to rehabilitating and releasing Ireland's wildlife to preserve the natural beauty of the

The editors at have compiled a list of their favorite zoos worldwide. In alphabetical order, they are:
Belize Zoo
Bronx Zoo
Dubai Underwater Zoo
Edinburgh Zoo (Scotland)
Lone Pine Tree Koala Sanctuary (Brisbane, Australia)
National Zoo (Washington)
San Diego Zoo
Singapore Zoo
Toronto Zoo
Wuppertal Zoo (Germany)
When in Rome ...

Czech zoo first in world to artificially raise protected eagle
The Liberec zoo is the first in the world to have artificially raised a lesser spotted eagle, a protected bird of prey, after in artificial fertilisation, the zoo spokesman Ivan Langr told CTK Thursday.
 The lesser spotted eagle is very difficult to breed in captivity. The only zoo to manage it was the Riga zoo 11 years ago. Nevertheless, Liberec is the first zoo to accomplish the task through artificial fertilisation.
The young eagle, that hatched in an incubator on June 2, will now be placed with "step-parents," Langr said.
The lesser spotted eagle, with the wingspan of up to 160 cm, inhabits mainly central and southeast Europe. In the Czech Republic it occurs mainly in the Sumava mountains along the southwestern border.
The Liberec zoo has made attempts at the bird's artificial fertilisation since 2007, as their natural breeding showed impossible.
"We have fertilised 40 eggs since. It was only the 40th from which we managed to breed [offspring]," zoo specialist Jan Hanel said.
The young will now be placed with two female lesser spotted eagles that share a nest and are experienced stepmothers of other bird-of-prey offspring.
Hanel said the most important and most demanding task was to take some sperm from the male. To achieve it, Hanel spent his every free minute

Who Has America's Best Aquarium? (Video)
In Monterey's world-famous aquarium, the star attractions are jellyfish. They float silently in tanks flooded in blue light, in varieties you never imagined existed. They're spectacular.
In Atlanta's aquarium, it's the Whale Sharks. You never expected to see these enormous creatures outside a TV documentary. Yet here they are, for real. And they're amazing.
The two aquariums -- the legendary Monterey Bay Aquarium and the newish Georgia Aquarium, which is said to be the largest in the U.S. -- are noteworthy destinations in their own right. You can't visit either city without at least considering a stop at their aquariums.
We were lucky to see both within a week of each other on a recent road trip across America. But what if we could have chosen just one aquarium to visit? Which one would we have picked?
When it comes to authenticity, neither facility offers an obvious edge; both are manufactured experiences one degree or another. Monterey's Cannery Row, the backdrop of two John Steinbeck novels, is as touristy as it gets in Northern California. There's a Bubba Gump and a Johnny Rocket's and chain hotel of every persuasion. The Atlanta aquarium is also a tourist trap in its own

Tiger's death accidental: temple vet
The veterinarian at the "Tiger Temple" - Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua, in Kanchanaburi's Sai Yok district -said yesterday that the death of a tiger on May 26 resulted from a freak accident, but the temple treated its tigers well and cooperated with Thai authorities. The mysterious death of the tiger had led to fears animals at the temple were being mistreated.
Veterinarian Somchai Wisetmongkolchai said temple staff hung a tyre on a chain for tigers to play with, but next morning found the one-year-old female tiger dead with the chain around its neck. It had sustained serious neck wounds as it apparently tried to chew the chain off its neck.
Somchai checked and photographed the wounds, alerted the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department and submitted a report on the tiger's death to the Conservation Area 3 Office (Ban Pong). Authorities came to inspect the death as per normal procedure, he said.
Insisting the tigers were well taken care of and that each tiger had a microchip implanted and registered with the department, he said a Mahidol University (Sai Yok) vet checked on the tigers on a regular basis. He had suggested the department stuff the tiger carcass for educational purposes, rather than burn it, he said.
Conservation Area 3 Office (Ban Pong) director

So you want to come to Thailand and see tigers?
You could of course visit one of the many tiger zoos, or the tiger temple in Kanchanaburi, where monks have trained the animals to lay still while tourists pose for photos with them.
The problem is that there are multiple reports of alleged animal mistreatment and trafficking connected to some of these places.
If the idea of docile caged tigers forced to pose for photos all day doesn't bother you, perhaps that many zoos are suspected of selling tiger meat out the back door to be butchered for the exotic wildlife trade will.
Spending your money at one of these places will only perpetuate these problems.
So what about seeing them in their natural habitat?
In 2010, Thailand came up with a plan to promote tiger eco-tourism. Natural Resources and Environment minister at that time, Suwit Khunkitti, estimated there were only 200-250 of the big cats left in Thailand.
But despite the government's 2010 initiative, there aren't any tiger tourism programs like those in India. Even worse, it would seem the government has taken two steps back.
Proposed dam to wipe out tiger habitat
In addition to long-standing problems like poaching and deforestation, another threat has emerged for these majestic beasts. The Thai government recently approved construction of a massive dam within Mae Wong National Park in western Thailand, an important tiger habitat.
The dam will flood 18 square kilometers of the park -- protected since 1961 under the National Park Act -- wiping out prime areas where tigers have made fragile gains, while allowing poachers easier access by boat.
It will also endanger the Huay Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary to the south, “internationally recognized as one of the very few places on Earth that can protect functioning populations of wild tigers,” said Anak Pattanavibool, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society Thailand Program, in an op-ed in the Bangkok Post.
Meanwhile, there were reports last year of a surprising resurgence of tigers in Thailand's Eastern Forest Complex near the border with Cambodia.
Rangers working with conservation organization Freeland captured many shots of tigers with heat- and motion-triggered cameras in the deep jungle there.
"This place was supposed to be devoid of tigers," Tim Redford from Freeland told The Guardian last year.
"But we did a course here and were surprised to find signs of tigers. The more we looked, the more we found. That led me to believe the forest must have tigers throughout and there is a big gap in our knowledge of where they live."
'They don't like humans'
Even if there are more tigers in Thailand than previously thought, getting up close to them is no easy feat.
“There's no tiger tourism in Thailand except for the poor critters in the Tiger Temple and in sundry tiger farms,” said Nirmal Ghosh, Thailand correspondent for Singapore's Straits Times and a trustee at tiger conservation group the Corbett Foundation.
There's also the question of whether going out to see tigers in the wild is ethical, though Ghosh said that tours done the right way could work.
“Whether tiger tourism is ecologically friendly depends on how it is handled," he said.
"I think a small, low-impact specialized experience under expert guides would be good and have some chance even of success. But even then, the chance of seeing one would be so rare that it would probably kill off any tourism venture that focused solely on tigers. The venture would therefore have to concentrate on other wildlife to survive.”
What about going it alone, putting on your trusty hiking boots and heading out into the national parks to go tiger spotting? Good luck with that one.
Bruce Kekule, Southeast Asia's preeminent wildlife photographer, waited 15 years before getting his first photo of a tiger.
“They stay away,” he said. “The hear you first, they smell you first, and they see you first. And they don't like humans.”
Peter Cutter, manager of the Landscape Conservation Program at the World Wide Fund for Nature's (WWF) Thailand office, said research has shown that there are at least 15 distinct tigers in a remote national park in Eastern Thailand, but seeing one is tough.
“Tigers patrol the edge of their home range for five days to two weeks, so they're never in the same place in the forest," said Cutter, who has been working in Thailand for decades but only seen a tiger on three separate occasions. "It makes being in the same proximity tricky.”
Cutter ran a wildlife tourism operation in Thailand back in the 1990s but ultimately couldn't make it work financially. He still believes there could be a market
The problems with Thailand's tiger tourism trade

Efforts to Save Endangered Hawaiian Birds
One of the great pleasures of learning bird songs comes in the drowsy predawn twilight. Through the window comes the voice of the first bold male offering up his species’ diagnostic song. From my bed in a friend’s cabin 30 miles north of Hilo this morning, the first sound to break the silence is the emphatic, repeated “whit-cheer!” of the northern cardinal, a bird I grew up hearing in southern Michigan. Next comes the soft cooing of Asian spotted and zebra doves, followed by the occasional harsh notes of the common myna, an import from India. Finally, I hear the slurred warbles of the Japanese white-eye. Later, with a cup of coffee, looking out over the pasture and woodlots spreading down to the sea, I hear and see a rich and complex ecosystem, almost none of which belongs here.
It is quite conceivable that a casual visitor to Hawaii could spend a pleasant holiday of a week or two and not see a single native Hawaiian species. Nearly all native lowland ecosystems in Hawaii have been replaced by nonnative species, including nearly all plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects. Human residents and tourists concentrate themselves in these areas near the ocean, so it is even possible to grow up in many parts of Hawaii thinking that mynas, doves, papaya, eucalyptus, geckos and even mosquitoes have always been here.
To see, hear and smell native Hawaiian forests, you need to get away from the beaches and go up in elevation where most of the exotic birds disappear. Our research in these kipuka forests is aimed at understanding how kipuka size and introduced rats influence kipuka food webs and the native birds. But if the birds in these kipuka are imperiled, some listed and others being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act, Hawaii is also home to a few bird species even

Alsager zoologist Richard Champion helps to protect endangered animals in Africa
JET-SETTING Alsager zoologist Richard Champion is helping to protect a variety of endangered species in Africa.
Richard is currently in the Ivory Coast working with critically endangered slender snout crocodiles as well as birds and monkeys.
He is working with ‘The Association du Calao ASBL’ to set up a captive breeding programme, at Abidjan Zoo, which has the largest captive population of these rare crocodiles in the world.
The team is also looking to reintroduce some of the existing animals at the zoo back into

Now THIS is a Penguin Pool

Javanese tiger believed still in existence
The Javanese tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica) may have been declared to extinct by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 1994, but recently clues discovered by a researcher are believed to be evidence of the tiger’s existence, especially in the forests of Central Java’s Muria mountain range.
Covering an area of nearly 70,000 hectares, the mountain range encompasses the three neighboring regencies of Jepara, Kudus and Pati.
“I believe the animals are still alive in the mountain range,” Javanese tiger researcher Didik Raharyono, 42, told The Jakarta Post, recently.
A biologist at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Didik said that his belief was based on his 14 years of research and efforts to look for evidence of the Javanese tiger in the area.
The latest evidence, he said, was a 5x6 centimeter piece of skin he believed to have come from a Javanese tiger.
He said he had obtained the piece from Muali, a staffer at the Pati Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA).
Muali, who is also the head of the Clereng Natural Preserve Resort, said he got the skin from a trader of antique goods at a traditional market in Kudus. The trader bought the skin from a hunter who was said to have killed the animal in the Muria mountain range’s Rahtawu subdistrict in 2008.
Yet, he said, further examination was needed to make sure the skin was really that of a Javanese tiger and not of a Sumatran tiger, which had had similar stripes.
“That is why I handed over the skin to

Lincolnshire parrot zoo opens new visitor centre as part of £500k project
GRANT funding has enabled an east coast tourist attraction to invest in a £500,000 new development.
The Parrot Zoo at Friskney has now opened its new Visitor Management Centre under phase one of the project which includes a new education centre, cafe and shop and undercover seating area.
The sanctuary, the largest of its kind in the world, was founded in 1994 and opened to the general public in 2003. It now houses just under 2,000 parrots as well as a growing array of other exotic animals such as lemurs, meerkats, coatimundis, giant tortoises and many more.
Owner Steve Nichols said the work would take the zoo into the next league of visitor destinations helping to make the centre a premium attraction.
Mr Nichols said: "We've been a victim of our own success. People seem to love what we're doing so we're expanding to accommodate them.
"This is phase one of four for 2012/13, all of which are intended to offer both visitors and the resident animals an excellent experience and include an animal study centre working with the University of Lincoln."
It is hoped a planned study of parrot behaviour with animal experts from the university will help the sanctuary, a registered charity, establish itself as an international research centre in the future.
The next phases of the development include a large walk through enclosures so visitors can get closer to some of the more placid animals.
Mr Nicholls added: "It's a massive expense and a huge investment but it will all be worth it in the end, we have many supporters from around the country who all visit us on a regular basis. They deserve nothing

Denver Zoo's human-animal bond is key to success
Denver Zoo curator Dale Leeds is not allowed to have a favorite animal species. But it's elephants.
Leeds, charged with populating the zoo's new $50 million Asian exhibit, Toyota Elephant Passage, can't help himself.
"I feel honored to be in their presence," he said. "I could sit like a guest on a bench for hours watching them."
And with the recent opening of the 10-acre exhibit -- a decade in the making and described as "a whole other continent" -- the world's animal caretakers will be focused on Denver.
Kids will be checking out the animals. Other zoos will be tracking innovations, in animal care and on-site energy generation.
"Everybody is looking at us," said vice president of animal collections

Wildlife expert explains efforts to save the Amur leopards
Two Amur leopards, among the most endangered animals in the world, were born at the Minnesota Zoo on Tuesday. Zoo officials said the breeding efforts are a key part of the growing effort to save the Amur leopard from extinction.
The cats once roamed across northeastern China and the Korean Peninsula, but logging, forest fires, and farming destroyed 80 percent of its habitat in the 1970s and early 1980s. There are now fewer than 40 Amur leopards living in the wild. About 300 Amur leopards live in zoos around the world, including 90 leopards in U.S. zoos.
Despite the bleak numbers, conservationists are hoping to save the species from extinction.
Sybille Klenzendorf, managing director of the World Wildlife Fund's Species Conservation Program, said the Russian government's decision to create a national park devoted to the rare species is a promising first step.
Conservationists also hope to release captive-born Amur leopards into their natural habitat along the Russia-China border within the next several years.
Klenzendorf spoke with MPR News reporter Madeleine Baran about the effort to save the rare cat from extinction. An edited transcript of that conversation is below.
Madeleine Baran: How endangered is this leopard? What I've read is that less than 40 are believed to exist in the wild at this point.
Sybille Klenzendorf: That's correct. The Amur leopard is the rarest large cat in the world. There's only about 25 to 40 left in the wild. Those cats are in what we call the Russian Far East. It's in the furthest part of Russia that you can go, next to Korea and China. And the reason why it's so rare is it has experienced some enormous hunting pressure for its fur and has declined rapidly.
And also, what they eat, deer and wild pig, have been heavily hunted in that region, too. And the lower (the population) got, the more vulnerable it is now to forest fires that are set every year for clearing for agriculture, and that spills over into their forests. So it's at a stage where there are few individuals left, and the pressures around them are enormous.
But WWF has been working in the Russian Far East since the early 1990s when the Soviet Union fell apart, and we've seen some great progress since then. Especially recently, we've had very high political engagement in Russia on Amur leopard conservation.
Just last month, actually, in April, we had one of the few national parks established in Russia declared especially for Amur leopard conservation. It's called the Land of the Leopard, and it was founded also with an enormous financial investment. The Russian government is putting $16 million in for its establishment and also its operations, which is really unprecedented, that commitment we've seen from the Russian government.
And at the same time, we've also seen really a great expansion of Amur leopards on the Chinese side right next to the border. So it's a great sign of Amur leopard populations increasing and also getting back into China.
Baran: Is the national park in the same area where the leopards already were living?
Klenzendorf: Yes. WWF has been working there for the last ten years getting this park established especially for Amur leopard conservation because there were fragmented little bits of protected areas around the leopard range, but no unified large national park that really protects the core of the remaining breeding females of the leopard population. So this national park is established especially for that.
Baran: How large is it?
Klenzendorf: It's 650,000 acres. So it's a substantial size for the remaining Amur leopards. We estimate there are about 10 breeding animals within that park, about a quarter of the population. And on the other side, the Chinese also have a national park right next to it. So it's kind of a trans-boundary area that really is providing a great leaping point for expanding the population again.
Baran: Given how few of these animals are left, is this national park going to be enough to increase the population to the point where they're not on the threshold of extinction anytime soon?
Klenzendorf: No, this park won't be the single solution. The Chinese side has some very good habitat left, but there are very few animals. We know that if they're protected on that side and they have enough to eat, if there's enough deer or boar, they can really increase rapidly.
And we've seen the same situation actually with Amur tigers, which were about the same number, about 40, in the 1940s, and today, they're back up to 450. So we've seen this recovery of large cats with other examples, and that's why we're really hopeful this can happen because after all, they're a cat, and they can reproduce very quickly.
The Amur leopard is actually the only large cat where captive re-introduction is planned, because the numbers are so low. And so if re-introduction happens in the next five years or so, while focusing on restoring that habitat with enough prey, then we are hopeful that there will be a pretty fast increase to 80 or 100 animals in a short time.
Baran: So, introducing the captive-bred leopards is something that's being planned?
Klenzendorf: Yes. There is a captive re-introduction

Ocean Park Take Eco-Approach to Polar Adventure  
Hong Kong’s Ocean Park has used the latest innovations in sustainable building processes, in order to minimise the carbon footprint of its new, soon-to-open, Polar Adventure themed attraction. The company worked with local architectural firm Leigh and Orange, which has an international reputation, as well as award-winning green project credentials.
Polar Adventure has been designed to ensure that the eco-friendly installation is also optimised for the well-being of its polar animal ambassadors. Every aspect of the attraction’s design has been conceived with an eco-friendly approach in mind and this includes the world’s first ventilation system that “recycles residual cool air to cool down the Life Support System (LSS) and plant room area before being discharged.”
Polar Adventure is the final phase of Ocean Park’s HK$5.5 billion investment in the company’s Master Redevelopment Plan (MRP); attractions include a conservation and education platform which features a variety of animals such as penguins, walruses


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