Monday, June 18, 2012

Zoo News Digest 9th - 18th June 2012 (Zoo News 820)

Zoo News Digest 9th - 18th June 2012 (Zoo News 820)

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Dear Colleague,

My sincere condolences to everybody at Kolmarden. A terrible tragedy, so sorry.

The first link makes an interesting read. In it Damian Aspinall states 'If I had my way, I’d close down 90  per cent of all zoos tomorrow'. I am in 100% agreement with him there in fact I may well close down more than that and that includes a number within the UK where in spite of our excellent zoo legislation completely miss the a mile. In spite of this they remain extremely popular and lie to the public in their subtle ways. That will get some readers thinking. Back to Damian....I don't agree with everything he says, but then you wouldn't expect me to, would you? I actually believe he does not fully understand what good zoos are about in spite of working in two of the best. Too much hanging about with the loveys perhaps?

Hello Giza Zoo. I have not forgotten you. Just where are you up to with the Orangutan enclosure? In the the PAAZAB 23rd Annual Conference 2012 report it says "The executive committee and the attendance admired the work achieved at Giza Zoo in such a short period specially the Orangutan House  the Zoological Museum." So where is it? Why is it not ready? How long have the Orangutans been at the zoo exactly? I can check of course. Three to begin with, only two now.
From the Facebook page REVITALIZE THE GIZA ZOO "facts:  Up till today 17 June, 2012 the remaining 2 Orangutans have not been moved to the new enclosure, nor medical tests have been done to verify if they have been infected with same disease which the 3rd Orangutan died from in March 2011." Come on Giza, get your act together.

I read 'Animal cruelty and circuses don't always go hand-in-hand' with interest. As a child I loved circuses. The music, the smell and the excitement. When I started work in zoos back in 1968 there were circus people working in zoos and circuses. I got to know some of them. I saw things and heard things and I have hated circuses from then on. Some of those people are still working in circuses today. I would not dispute that there may be circuses somewhere where everything is good and training is all positive. All I can say is that the wool would not be pulled over my eyes as easily as it is by the writer of this article.

I've been rambling on about South Africa's part in the Rhino Horn trade for long enough. At last the press is taking some interest in the poachers in Safari Suits see 'Exposed: SA’s dodgy rhino deals'

Do you reckon the news that our primate ancestors may have their origins in Myanmar is going to upset anybody? I bet you it will. Let's prove or dispove before somebody starts tampering with what we have in museums....its been done before.

So Woburn have a new baby 'Deer'....sack the reporter....or whoever gave out the story. I see this mistake a hundred times in newspapers in Asia and the Middle East but not the UK Please!

Does Gaza deserve a zoo? Yes it probably does, but not the South Forest zoo. The sooner it is closed the happier I would be.

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Why I'm letting the gorillas I love go free: Son of legendary gambler John Aspinall reveals he's releasing the animals from his family zoo back to the wild
Damian Aspinall was still a babe in arms when his late father, the colourful zookeeper and society gambling club host Johnny, first left him in the care of the family who live next-door to their imposing Palladian mansion in the Kent countryside.
That was more than 50 years ago, and when he drops in to see them now, as he still does two or three times a week, ‘I feel as though I’m among my own cousins, aunts and uncles,’ he tells me warmly.
There may seem nothing very unusual about this, but accompanying Damian on one of these casual social visits, the extraordinary nature of his lifelong bond becomes movingly — and disconcertingly — apparent.
Approaching his neighbours’ home we are stopped dead in our tracks by a low, primal rumbling noise. ‘Don’t worry. They’re just asking why I’ve brought a stranger with me,’ he smiles, sensing my alarm.
Then, as we reach the door, the whole tribe comes bounding up to greet us, and though the head of the house — a huge, brooding chap — invites Damian in with a hairy-armed wave, it is clear from the menacing glint in his eye that uninvited guests aren’t welcome.
It wouldn’t be wise to argue. The neighbours in question, you see, are a group of lowland gorillas and even the smallest infant among them could yank a human arm clean out its socket. Damian is so familiar with them that he enters their paddock with barely a second thought, and the father, a 400lb silverback called Kifu, embraces him with a mighty hug before cheekily slipping a hand

Exposed: SA’s dodgy rhino deals
Conservation control failures and abuses are condemning hundreds of SA’s threatened rhino to horror zoos and breeding programmes feeding into the Far East’s traditional medicines industry.
Weekend Argus can reveal that scores, if not hundreds, of SA white rhino have ended up in the hands of Chinese and Vietnamese entrepreneurs linked to that industry, where rhino horn is used as a tonic and a traditional cure-all.
This is despite the recent tightening of export permit regulations under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).
But some destinations where SA rhino have ended up could be even worse than Chinese breeding farms and Vietnamese zoos, where their horn is shaved for medical use.
In 2010 two Cites-listed rhino were exported to a company called Thai Skin and Hide – seemingly in complete defiance of international protocols under Cites which seek to ensure that rhino may only be exported to zoological institutions with adequate facilities, a strong conservation agenda and with no connection to the trade in animal body parts and derivatives.
The revelations come at a time when a powerful lobby is seeking to convince the international community to decriminalise the rhino horn trade, arguing that legal trade would reduce incentives for poaching the endangered animals.
Already this year, 245 rhino have been killed in SA for their horns.
Apparent failures to comply with Cites requirements and apply due diligence procedures, added to the seeming inability of the authorities to act decisively against rhino poachers, could weaken SA’s negotiating position ahead of Cites’s COP 2013 conference in Bangkok next year, where the SA delegation is expected to plead for a relaxation of controls.
Statistics provided by Water and Environmental Affairs minister Edna Molewa, in reply to parliamentary questions in April and May this year, reveal that 101 live white rhino have been exported from SA since 2007.
But the real number could be far higher; Cites’s own data shows that 193 rhino were exported from SA between 2007 and 2010 alone.
In response to Parliamentary question no 1 394, in May, no details were provided regarding importers and exporters, nor on whether Threatened or Protected Species permits were issued. In only 11 of 29 shipments had Cites protocols been

Color this chimp amazing
Psychologist suggests synthesthesia may underlie creature’s apparent memory feats
In what seems like a blow for humanity, a very smart chimpanzee in Japan crushes any human challenger at a number memory game.
After the numbers 1 through 9 make a split-second appearance on a computer screen, the chimp, Ayumu, gets to work. His bulky index finger flies gracefully across the screen, tapping white squares where the numbers had appeared, in order. So far, no human has topped him.
Ayumu’s talent caused a stir when researchers first reported it in 2007 (SN: 12/8/2007, p. 355). Since then, the chimp’s feat has grown legendary, even earning him a starring role in a recent BBC documentary.
But psychologist Nicholas Humphrey says the hype may be overblown. In an upcoming Trends in Cognitive Sciences essay, Humphrey floats a different explanation for Ayumu’s superlative performance, one that leaves humans’ memory skills unimpugned: Ayumu might have a curious brain condition that allows him to see numbers in colors. If Humphrey’s wild idea is right, the chimpanzee’s feat has nothing to do with memory.
“When you get extraordinary results, you need to look for extraordinary ideas to explain them,” says Humphrey

Bat rescuer awarded $6.1 million in libel suit
A former intern accused of cyberstalking a Mineral Wells bat sanctuary and its president was ordered to pay about $6.1 million in damages Thursday for what a judge called egregious, malicious and intentional defamatory statements she spread across the Internet, court documents say.
The lawsuit, filed in state District Court in Tarrant County, centered on accusations that Mary Cummins, who said she lives in the Los Angeles area, made libelous statements and videos about Amanda Lollar and the Bat World Sanctuary, which she founded and runs.
The videos and statements, the suit said, were pervasive on the Internet, using "robots" to game Google and other search engines so the defamatory material would appear high in search results. Cummins' claims eventually extended to accusations against Lollar's attorney, as well as her own attorney, whom she accused of sleeping during a deposition.
Among other statements, Cummins was accused of saying Lollar had given rabies vaccinations to humans, an accusation that boiled down to Lollar practicing medicine without a license, the suit said.
The result of such statements exposed Lollar to "public hatred, contempt or ridicule or financial injury," the suit said.
Bedford attorney Randy Turner of Bailey & Galyen said Lollar has been emotionally devastated by the Internet materials. She no longer goes to restaurants or movies, has her husband grocery shop, lost weight and experiences nausea and vomiting, he said.
"She's sort of become a recluse," he said.
Turner said he hopes the judgment will "make someone think twice before engaging in an Internet smear campaign."
Bat World Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization devoted to rescuing and rehabilitating bats. Judge William Brigham compared Lollar's reputation for caring for bats to noted British anthropologist Jane Goodall, who studies primates, according to a court transcript provided by Turner.
Cummins accused Lollar of performing "illegal surgeries" on bats without anesthesia, possessing and distributing controlled substances without a federal license, throwing dead bats in the trash, allowing interns to be repeatedly bitten by rabid bats, breeding bats illegally and neglecting her pet dogs, Turner said.
Cummins -- who said she has been sued for defamation at least three times -- also filed complaints against Lollar and the sanctuary with federal, state and local agencies including the Agriculture Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the

Flying the orangutan flag

Our primate ancestors may have emerged in Asia
Africa was thought to be the cradle for anthropoids, but new fossil fuels the debate
The ancestors of monkeys, apes and humans may have originated in Asia and not Africa as often thought, new fossils suggest.
The origin of anthropoids — the simians, or "higher primates," which include monkeys, apes and humans — has been debated for decades among scientists. Although fossils unearthed in Egypt have long suggested that Africa was the cradle for anthropoids, other bones revealed in the last 15 years or so raised the possibility that Asia may be their birthplace.
Now, an international team of scientists has unearthed a new fossil in Southeast Asia that may prove that anthropoids originated in what is now the East, shedding light on a pivotal step in primate and human evolution.
The fossil is named Afrasia djijidae — Afrasia from how early anthropoids are now found intercontinentally in both Africa and Asia, djijidae in memory of a young girl from village of Mogaung in central Myanmar, the nation where the remains were found. The four known teeth of Afrasia were recovered after six years of sifting through tons of sediment, often working with oxcarts, since even cars with four-wheel drive cannot penetrate the area. [ See Photos of the Myanmar Primate ]
The teeth of 37-million-year-old Afrasia closely resemble those of another early anthropoid, the 38 million-year-old Afrotarsius libycus , recently discovered in the Sahara Desert of Libya. The anthropoids in Libya were far more diverse at that early time in Africa than scientists had thought, which suggested they actually originated elsewhere. The close similarity between Afrasia and Afrotarsius now suggests that early anthropoids colonized Africa from Asia.
This migration from Asia ultimately helps set the stage for the later evolution of apes and humans in Africa. "Africa is the place of origin of man, and Asia is the place of origins of our far ancestors," researcher Jean-Jacques Jaeger, a paleontologist at the University of Poitiers in France, told LiveScience.
The shape of the Asian Afrasia and the North African

Pushy creationists score textbook victory with distorted science
Controversy is brewing after a number of international periodicals reported on evolutionary accounts being removed from South Korean science textbooks at the request of creationists.
The deletions, which included information about the archaeopteryx, a prehistoric bird used to explain evolution, were reported in reputable sources such as Nature, a British science journal, and the US weekly Time.
Here at home, evolutionary scholars sent a petition to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) expressing their opposition to the demands, which they said were academically inappropriate.
A poster on the website of Scientific American magazine responded to an article titled “South Korea Surrenders to Creationist Demands” with the comment, “This is hugely disappointing from a country that allegedly has the highest per capita intelligence in the world.”
Internet users have been expressing their concern ever since Nature first printed its article on June 5. A number of comments made sarcastic reference to US president Barack Obama’s numerous mentions of South Korea as an educational model.
As in the US, it is commonplace in South Korea for scholars from a religious background to dispute the theory of evolution. Some even demanded approval for the high school textbook “Creation Science,” which offers a Biblical explanation for the origins of human life.
But this is the first time such arguments have been accepted by a government agency. And it is especially awkward coming from a government that has been frequently accused of religious bias. So what happened?
On Dec. 5 of last year, the MEST received a petition titled “The archaeopteryx is not an intermediate species between reptiles and birds.” It requested the deletion of “academically inaccurate information” about the animal from the science textbook adopted by the nation’s high schools in 2011.
The Society for Textbook Revise [sic] (STR), the group responsible for the petition, wrote on its web site that its minimum aim was to have evolution listed as “a hypothesis, not a rule,” based on a “focused analysis of the flaws in evolutionary theory, which obfuscates the truth by taking an evolutionary world view on the origins of life, matter, and the


Save words, save species
What do nature and languages have in common? Strangely enough – a lot. Scientists recently found that the diversity of species and the diversity of languages are not only linked geographically but they also strongly depend on each other.

Sealed – deal on pandas
The agreement that will see Malaysia play host to a pair of pandas for 10 years has been inked.
The agreement is between the China Wild-life Conservation Association (CWCA) and Malaysia’s Wildlife and National Parks Department.
The signing ceremony was held at the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday and witnessed by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and He Guoqiang, the secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
He and the Chinese delegation arrived on Thursday and had earlier paid a courtesy call on Najib.

The great panda show - but no one is FOOLED
China’s much publicised loaning of two Giant pandas to Malaysia is hardly an event to be received with rousing merriment. The exercise is in equal measure preposterous and superfluous and is unworthy of festive fireworks.
In an atmosphere of economic imbecility and political pandering, the Malaysian government has come up with the kind of inane idea that exemplifies its governing greatness. Their little reform agendas now include Giant pandas. Under the greedy guise of conservation, two Giant pandas are to bear the burden of bridging diplomatic ties between China and Malaysia. How this is to be achieved is beyond baffling. But it yet again illustrates a blatant manifestation of Malaysia’s institutional pattern of exploiting animals to serve selfish human interests. To assume otherwise is grossly foolish.
'Special' country
Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon has reportedly said that China’s gesture in lending a pair of pandas shows that it recognises Malaysia as a special country. Yes, Malaysia’s specialities include licensing countless zoos to abuse animals for human fortunes. Malaysian zoos have for years abused and neglected their animals with complete legal immunity despite legislated codes of animal welfare clearly not being adhered to.
Their registry of crimes include drugging tigers for photo taking sessions, forcing elephants to ride tricycles, cramping orang utans into runty cages and trafficking totally protected wildlife! Zoos such as Taiping zoo, Danga Bay and A’ famosa, are fairly representative examples of these atrocious zoos and are in clear conflict of conservation.
Nonetheless, the Malaysian government has habitually dedicated itself to ignoring and facilitating animal abuse as animal welfare and conservation have never been on the forefront of their political consciousness. Hence, it is incredulous to imagine Malaysia being chosen for a conservation effort given its hideous track record.
So much money
This whole panda loaning scheme has also made apparent the very deep pockets of the Malaysian government. While they feign financial frugality, they are ever ready to take on the colossal technical and architectural tasks necessary to house the pandas. Malaysias decision to spend obscene amounts of money bringing in a non-native species for a decade long visit is further appalling given its complete and absolute disregard for its very own Malayan Sun bear.
The Malayan sun bears are routinely orphaned and victimised by habitat loss from excessive logging, poaching for bear products and surging demand in the pet and zoo trade. Amongst other conservation efforts, the 20 million ringgit, could well be spent on saving the endangered Malayan Sun bear.
Yet, the Malaysian government is not concerned in conserving them for they would serve no value to capital investments in China’s economic empire. While I do not begrudge Malaysia the industrious opportunities China has to offer in trade and commerce, it is important to underscore here that China is the leading capital of animal abuse, illegal wildlife trade and wild meat consumption.
Bad animal rights record
Across the world, elephant numbers are dwindling owing to China’s ruthless demand for ivory. China also remains the primary consumer of Traditional Chinese medicine and wild meat, the two commodities driving the illegal wildlife trade and pushing many endangered species to near extinction. And while China hands out pairs of pandas to various countries, their own horrific fur and bear bile farms kill, maim and brutalise bears every single day!
Across China, bears are kept in cramped cages, their gall bladders implanted with metal catheters and their bodies clamped down with metal grilles to enable the extraction of their bile! Their catalogue of abuses is endless! Therefore, like Stalin and Hitler advocating human rights, it is a complete travesty that the Malaysian and Chinese regimes should engage on conservation efforts given their respective reputations for animal cruelty.
Let us not be fooled by this farce! These pandas have

Save the red squirrel: Belfast Zoo plans captive breeding as numbers nosedives
Three caught in bid to protect native species
Three red squirrels trapped in the Glens of Antrim last week will form the nucleus of Northern Ireland’s first captive breeding programme for the animal.
Two female red squirrels were captured in Ballycastle and a male was caught in Glenariff Forest before being transported to their new home at Belfast Zoo on Friday.
Red squirrel populations have been declining across Northern Ireland for decades due to competition from invading grey squirrels introduced from America. Only a few individuals cling on in the city of Belfast — the last UK city to host a red squirrel population.
But in recent months, populations have plummeted still further thanks to an outbreak of the virulent squirrelpox virus. The disease is carried by grey squirrels, but is lethal to reds. Red squirrel numbers in Tollymore Forest in Co Down have crashed in the past couple of years after the disease swept through the population.
Belfast Zoo confirmed that three red squirrels had arrived to become part of a ground-breaking captive breeding programme — but stressed that they will not go on display to the public until they have settled in properly.
“This is the first time that the zoo has got so involved in an indigenous species,” zoo manager Mark Challis said.
Over the past decade, the zoo has become increasingly involved in native species conservation efforts, such as putting up birdboxes and batboxes and encouraging Junior Club members to make

In reply to information sent in April

The latest on the "P.A.W.S. TB SANCTUARY"
Thank you for your email regarding the elephants at the Toronto Zoo. I
appreciate hearing from you and I apologize for the delay in responding.
At the October 2011 City Council meeting, Council passed a motion directing
Toronto Zoo staff to make the necessary arrangements with the Performing
Animals Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary to physically transfer the 3
elephants, Iringa, Toka and Thika to its facility in California.  Council
also authorized the transfer of legal ownership of the elephants to PAWS as
soon as arrangements can be made by PAWS to safely transport the elephants
and permits can be obtained.  Zoo staff are currently working with the PAWS
sanctuary on transport and permit arrangements, as per the directive issued
by City Council.
Thank you again for your valuable input on this important issue. Please feel
free to contact my office again at any time.
Yours truly,
Mayor Rob Ford
City of Toronto

Singaporeans eye wildlife park development
The Quezon City government and a group of Singaporean businessmen have offered to develop a portion of the 20-hectare Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center into a zoo or nature sanctuary.
The prospective investors along with city officials met Thursday with the chief of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB), an attached agency of the environment department which manages the park.
The parties, however, declined to give full details of the proposal. Regina Samson, communications chief of the Office of the Mayor, also withheld the name of the Singaporean group which she said made an “unsolicited proposal” to transform 3.5 hectares of the park into a nature sanctuary.
Samson denied speculations that the investors were planning to build an amusement park on prime government land. “This is a protected area. This is protected by a national law,” she said.
“It depends on how much they want to develop,” Samson said when asked on the projected cost.
“We’re just going to listen to their proposal,” PAWB chief Mundita Lim told reporters before her meeting with the investors.
Any plan to develop the park “should be consistent with its natural beauty,” she said.
Lim explained that physical improvements in the park—especially those which would require cutting trees—were restricted by law because of its designation as a protected area right in the heart of the city.
The park administration also limits human activity in the park to protect the indigenous flora and the animals kept there. Though not considered a zoo, the park serves as a temporary shelter for confiscated, donated, or injured wild animals.
The NAPWC was declared a protected area in 2004 under

Flatheaded cats in the wild - first short video

Rare deer is a big hit at Woburn Safari Park
WOBURN Safari Park welcomed a new addition to their animal kingdom this week, with the introduction of a new bongo calf.
There are just 60 bongos left in the wild, most of them in Kenya, but thanks to the park’s endangered breeding programme, they can now boast seven of the deer, including a breeding bull.
The calf is the third bongo to have arrived at the park since the beginning of the year.
Head of Animal Welfare and Development Keith Harris said: “The arrival of the three baby Bongo calves this year are a wonderful addition to the

Celebrating Plants and the Planet:
To study Nature and biology is to celebrate connectedness. What organism
exists in perfect isolation?

June's links at <> (NEWS/Botanical News) highlight some particularly
fascinating relationships:

. What do Pacific manta rays have to do with tropical forests? That's
what a group of researchers wanted to know as their study of the rays
repeatedly led them back to the forests. Now a fascinating link between land
and sea has been revealed.

. A tragic link of land and sea is the destruction of seagrass beds
due to run off from the land and other human encroachments. But new research
shows these seagrass beds are more efficient at carbon sequestration than
terrestrial forests.

Tropical pitcher plants (Nepenthes) may be the second most
fascinating groups of plants after orchids in the dances they do with
animals. Now a new relationship has been uncovered: a pitcher plant that has
enlisted an ant to help it do its grizzly work.

. As elephants and rhinos have disappeared from Asian forests,
conservationists hoped that tapirs might pick up the slack in seed
dispersal. Scientists set out to determine whether this hope was justified.
The results are not encouraging.

. The disappearance of pollinators today is something so small and yet
with such huge consequences for plants and for humans. Where did our
reliance on insects for pollination begin? The oldest pollinating insects
yet have been discovered in Cretaceous era amber.

On this fine June day, take a moment to float away with the surreal nature
art of Cornelia Conrads.
Please share these stories with associates, staff, docents and - most
importantly - visitors! Follow on Twitter:
<> - a
new story every day as well as hundreds of stories from the past few years.

Zoo Horticulture
Consulting & Design
Greening design teams since 1987

Abidjan zoo update report

Lion man 'knew about Mncube passport'
Lion Man Craig Busch knew about irregularities in a worker's passport before bringing him to New Zealand, a Whangarei coroner has been told.
An inquest into the identity of Dalu Mncube was held in Whangarei on Tuesday.
Mr Mncube, a big cat handler, was fatally mauled by a tiger at Zion Wildlife Gardens in May 2009.
At the hearing it was revealed that Mr Mncube was also known as Dalubuhle Ncube and Darlington Tembo and that Immigration New Zealand believed he may have entered the country on a false passport.
In a statement to police, Mr Busch's mother and Zion Wildlife Kingdom operator Patricia Busch said her son had offered Mr Mncube a job because he had previous experience in the field.
Mrs Busch said Mr Mncube had told her Craig threatened to report him to Immigration New Zealand if he did not side with him over issues at the park.
"Dalu told Craig that if that happened and he ended up in a cell, then Craig would be in the next cell because he knew about his passport and identity prior to him coming to New Zealand," Mrs Busch said in documents submitted to Coroner Brandt Shortland.
"I asked Dalu what he was going to do and he said that he would take holidays in September, and go back to South Africa and sort out his identity through his school records.
"Dalu wished to be known by

An Elephant In The Room
The attachment is Derby’s chapter in the book, An Elephant In The Room. She also talks about her experience with keeping Asians and Africans in the same barn together.
The entire book is available for download at the link below.  Enjoy the read.

Welcome to Gaza's zoo, where stuffed animals are the main attraction - video
The South Forest zoo opened three months after Israel tightened its blockade of Gaza in 2007. Most of the zoo's creatures – which range from hyenas to wolves, ostriches and chimpanzees – came through the tunnels with Egypt, but all is not as it first seems. Zookeeper Mohamed Owida explains how he has been forced to resort to taxidermy to preserve his lion and tigress, apparently

The Future of Zoos - Video

KMC unresponsive to FIA probe into animal smuggling
The Federal Investigation Agency in Karachi is completing its investigation into the alleged smuggling of wild animals into Pakistan though there has been no input from the Karachi Municipal Corporation, which is running facilities for captive wild animals in the city, sources told Dawn on Saturday.
They said the KMC administrator had not yet responded to the FIA’s letter and reminders sent twice on the subject.
KMC administrator Mohammad Hussain Syed was not available for comments.
The FIA probe was initiated on a request by Interpol, which had been approached by the Tanzanian government. Subsequently, the FIA, Karachi, had written a letter to the heads of the Karachi Zoological Gardens and Safari Park more than two months ago.
The letter, with the subject ‘Investigation of unlawful exportation of government trophies’, stated that the National Central Bureau (the local arm of Interpol), Interpol and the FIA, Islamabad, had asked for the provision of complete information about import of wild animals by Irfan Ahmed, proprietor of Osaka Traders Ltd, Karachi, as the company was alleged to have smuggled several wild animals from Tanzania into Pakistan.
The sources said the relevant heads of the government-run facilities for keeping wild animals had also been asked to submit a detailed report with supporting documents stating whether the wild animals were at the Karachi zoo and Safari Park.
The information required by Interpol included details about the credentials of Mr Ahmed.
According to sources, the zoo director replied to the FIA letter saying that the zoo never had an official agreement with Osaka Traders whereas the lions brought by the company were the property of Sindh wildlife department. Regarding the four elephants, the director stated that they were bought by the Safari Park.
The Safari Park director had forwarded the matter to the KMC administrator.
The FIA, according to a source, had contacted different departments, including the customs and Sindh wildlife department, and it was confirmed that Irfan Ahmed was a Pakistani animal importer. Officials had also relied on the information that had appeared in the press.
Four elephants and as many lions housed in the zoo and Safari Park had been ‘imported’ by Osaka Traders. The elephants reportedly arrived from Tanzania in 2009 under an agreement with the defunct city district government of Karachi (CDGK), while the lions were confiscated at Karachi airport by the customs in 2010 as the animals were allegedly brought in on an expired permit.
The lions, which arrived from Germany, first landed at Islamabad airport and then at Karachi. The customs after an investigation found both the ‘importer’ and the national flag carrier guilty and imposed penalties on them while the animals were declared a government property and kept at the zoo as the wildlife department had no facility to keep wild animals.
The company, however, challenged the verdict and a case

Why We Don’t Believe In Science
Last week, Gallup announced the results of their latest survey on Americans and evolution. The numbers were a stark blow to high-school science teachers everywhere: forty-six per cent of adults said they believed that “God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years.” Only fifteen per cent agreed with the statement that humans had evolved without the guidance of a divine power.
What’s most remarkable about these numbers is their stability: these percentages have remained virtually unchanged since Gallup began asking the question, thirty years ago. In 1982, forty-four per cent of Americans held strictly creationist views, a statistically insignificant difference from 2012. Furthermore, the percentage of Americans that believe in biological evolution has only increased by four percentage points over the last twenty years.
Such poll data raises questions: Why are some scientific ideas hard to believe in? What makes the human mind so resistant to certain kinds of facts, even when these facts are buttressed by

Scientists See Spots on Prehistoric Horses
According to a group of international genome researchers, one population of prehistoric Eurasian horses were either black, bay, or leopard-spotted bay and white. And given their Ice Age climate, those rock-and-snow-looking coats might have been ancient horses' best camouflage.
Consistent with 25,000-year-old cave drawings, genetic sampling of ancient horse bones confirm that horses carried genes for black, bay, or leopard-spotted coats, said Arne Ludwig, PhD, of the Leibniz-Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and the Research Group for Evolutionary Genetics, in Berlin, Germany.
By examining the DNA of 31 horses that lived between 15,000 and 20,000 years ago in modern-day Siberia and Europe, Ludwig found six of the sampled horses had spotted coats (18 were bay and seven were black). Ludwig said this marks the first time horse fossils have been tested for the leopard spotting gene--known by scientists as the "LP allele," which North American researchers identified in 2010.
These prehistoric Appaloosa-like horses could have had a considerable evolutionary advantage in the snowy, rocky steppes where they lived, Ludwig said. But that's only true if they were "heterozygotes," the term the researchers used to describe horses that possessed the kind of LP allele mutation that causes visible colored

Stinky Frogs Are a Treasure Trove of Antibiotic Substances
Some of the nastiest smelling creatures on Earth have skin that produces the greatest known variety of anti-bacterial substances that hold promise for becoming new weapons in the battle against antibiotic-resistant infections, scientists are reporting. Their research on amphibians so smelly (like rotten fish, for instance) that scientists term them "odorous frogs" appears in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research.

Pack of eight wolves maul woman keeper to death at Sweden's most popular zoo

And a few weeks ago

Swedish teenage girl hurt in freak wolf attackA fifteen–year-old girl who was visiting Sweden’s Kolmården Safari park a few weeks ago had to be rushed to hospital after one of the wolves suddenly attacked her and bit into her thigh.
“She panicked and it showed, and then one of the wolves bit her,” said Mats Höggren, zoological head of the park to local paper Norrköpings tidningar (NT).
When the attack occurred, the girl was visiting the park out of opening hours with some family members, accompanied by an employee at the park who is a friend of the family.
According to Höggren, the girl’s panicked reaction to seeing the animals was unanticipated as none of the others had realized she was actually scared of the wolves.
“Somehow they weren’t aware of the girl’s fears,” said Höggren to NT.
When she acted frightened, the animal’s natural reaction was to pounce, explained Höggren.
According to daily Aftonbladet, this is not the first time that visitors to Kolmården have been injured when

Will elephants die out in 20 years?Elephants are the largest living land animals on Earth today.The animal is a symbol of wisdom in Asian cultures and is famed for their memory and intelligence.  At the start of the 1980s there were over a million elephants, during that decade 600,000 were destroyed for ivory products. According to Samuel Wasser of the University of Washington, who is widely recognized as an authority on the subject, today perhaps no more than 400,000 remain across Africa.
It is a tragedy beyond reckoning and humanity needs to pay attention to the plight of the elephants before it is too late.
In the last few years an epic surge in poaching has resumed the killing thanks to the penchant for ivory in the Asian market and especially in China where ivory is now selling for over $1500 a kilo.
Recently Julius Kipng’etich, the head of the Kenya Wildlife service, made a plea at the Library of Congress in Washington DC in an unprecedented appeal for the world to save Kenya’s and Africa’s elephants from the plague of poaching that has in recent years seen the decimation of tens of thousands of elephants.
It is an appeal that follows from Kenya’s determination to torch about ten tons of ivory last July near Tsavo National Park in a show of disdain for the destroyers of elephants and disgust at the resumption of poaching. If this level of killing continues, if elephants continue to be slaughtered for trinkets and statuettes, in ten years time, most of Africa’s elephants will be gone and an ineffable symbol of majesty and wonder and the lynch pin in the ecology of an entire continent will have been consigned to oblivion.
The recent Senate Hearing in Washington DC called Ivory and Insecurity — The Global Implications of Poaching in Africa underscores the significance of this issue.
For while wildlife is at stake, Dr. Ian Douglas Hamilton, founder of Save the elephants, and John Scanlon the Secretary General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and Senator John Kerry, underscored not only the implications of elephant and wildlife poaching, but also the criminal syndicates who make billions on the illegal wildlife trade and its impact on local populations in Africa, global security and even terrorism.
An urgent and concerted international will is needed to fund law enforcement to protect what remains of the elephant population of the world.
Growth in human population is a major concern. Millennial old elephant migration paths have been disrupted. Climate change is a menace to the elephant and all life.
But the wanton shooting of the innocents to satisfy vanity has reached a level of madness no-one can ignore, perhaps made most clearly in the recent destruction of 400 elephants in the Central African Republic by armed militia from Sudan.
The killing of elephants is not just a wildlife issue. The world now understands that it is a global issue.
How amidst NATO’s missile defense problems in Europe, a possible nuclear Iran and the economic failings of modern nations, unemployment and inflation, can the future of the elephant be so urgent?
It is not on the radar of the media nor is it a priority for most people. The answer comes from our ability to affirm life in its moral, ethical and I would urge humanity to consider, in its spiritual dimens

Animal cruelty and circuses don't always go hand-in-hand
Circus owners Bobby and Moira Roberts have been accused of mistreating their elephant, but the big top can be a safe and happy place for animals
Roll up, roll up for a ringside seat as the circus steps into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, yet again. This week, it's the trial of Bobby and Moira Roberts, the owners of Bobby Roberts Super Circus, who are accused of causing Anne, Britain's last circus elephant, unnecessary suffering. They are accused of keeping her chained to the ground and failing to restrain an employee from beating her. They deny the charges.
It's the first prosecution of a circus personality since Mary Chipperfield's conviction for cruelty to a chimpanzee more than a decade ago. But for many, the words "cruel" and "circus" have become so entwined that many progressive, all-human shows have stopped using the C-word altogether, preferring the trendier term "cirque". The six animal circuses that remain, meanwhile, parade their horses, camels and llamas before dwindling audiences. Is it time we consigned the spectacle of performing animals to history?
A couple of years ago I would have said yes. But then, like many who condemn 'cruel circuses,' I hadn't been to one since childhood. I was brought up to believe that forcing animals to perform tricks is mean and distasteful. But when research for my book Circus Mania! in 2009 took me to a show at the Great British Circus, the UK's last circus with wild animals, to my surprise I came away with a different point of view.
Some things did make me cringe. When a horse went down on one knee to "bow" he looked as awkward as I felt watching him. But I was mesmerised by the gentle interaction between trainer Martin Lacey and his five Bengal tigers. There were no snapping whips or brandished chairs. The effect was similar to a domestic cat owner tapping a table and encouraging his pet to jump onto it in return for a reward. The tigers appeared intelligently engaged and it was hard not to believe Lacey's assertion that they enjoy their "organised play" in the way a dog enjoys fetching sticks thrown by its owner.
Backstage at Circus Mondao, I found camels, zebras and llamas completely comfortable being petted by visitors. As a performer pointed out: "If they were mistreated, they'd shy away from people, wouldn't they?" A protest against this circus in April accused the owners of animal exploitation, but while my subsequent interviews with current and former trainers convinced me that there have undoubtedly been instances of cruelty – just as there are cruel pet owners and brutal parents – training animals is not in itself unkind or exploitative.
In 2007, the Labour government backed a report that concluded there was no evidence that circus animals were kept in worse conditions than animals in other captive environments. Circuses generally move once a week over distances of 30 to 50 miles, which means the animals are less confined than often supposed. During the day the big cats mix freely in generous exercise enclosures, while the horses and camels I saw were kept in paddocks and frequently taken for walks. Lacey's tigers have been bred in captivity for several generations, and have often been reared by hand, so are used to humans from birth. If they didn't like their trainer, would he dare put his arm in their mouth?
The future of the circus undoubtedly lies in the theatrical daredevilry of all-human spectaculars such as Cirque du Soleil. In March, animal welfare minister Lord Taylor announced that the government would be banning travelling circuses from using wild

Bullhooks are OK, petting zoos are banned, under legislation awaiting vote by Atlanta Council todayBullhooks could be used on circus elephants, and petting zoos would be banned in Atlanta parks, under two proposals the Atlanta City Council is slated to vote on today.
The bullhook issue is part of a broader bill that a senior advisor to Mayor Kasim Reed said is needed so that Atlanta can take back its animal control ordinances from Fulton County. Fulton bans bullhooks. The petting zoo ban is part of a broader effort by the city parks department to control undesired activities.
Both measures are expected to sail through the council, given that they appear on an agenda crowded with matters including the planned adoption of the city’s 2013 budget, which takes effect July 1.


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