Sunday, July 1, 2012

Zoo News Digest 24th - 30th June 2012 (Zoo News 822)

Zoo News Digest 24th - 30th June 2012 (Zoo News 822)

Dennis visits Edinburgh Zoo

Dear Colleagues,

I am seeing more and more articles and letters suggesting the legalisation of the sale of Rhino Horn. You can bet your bottom dollar that these are written by people (or people associated to them) with stockpiles of horn. Burn the stockpiles, burn all of it. Corruption seeps through the veins of so many ignorant greedy people.

Hello Giza Zoo....any news on the new Orangutan house yet? What of the evacuated chimps? The zoo world watches as you drag your feet. So very sad. Just how long will it take?

Still not a whisper about the baby Orangutan and Gibbon from Abu Dhabi (see past Digests). As the recognised world organisations that the collection belonged to knew that they had these you would think they would be just a little concerned as to where they went. It doesn't smell right to me.

I can hear teeth clenching and curses under the breath.....why doesn't he shut up? Why? Because these unfortunate little creatures don't have a voice of their own and the very people who should be saying something are not saying a damn word. They should be ashamed.
A recent advert on the Zoo Jobs website (several new vacancies posted) stated "We are not looking for an academic who has just left university so please do not apply unless you have the work experience as we require a practical person who understands the day to day operations of a busy zoo and a very diverse collection of animals. Qualifications are not important to us but a proven track record of good husbandry is." Now that is a bit different and one in which I am very much in agreement with. I am not knocking a university education. The best zookeeeper I ever met had a university background but there again so did the worst. You really cannot beat practical experience though. Three years hands on in this profession is worth more than three years in academia....but if you can marry up the!

It was inevitable that some of the less informed would actually complain about the baby chimp being killed in LA. These things happen. I have seen them myself. Sad? Yes! Distressing? Very very much so! Natural? Yes! Read Chimpanzee Infanticide at the LA Zoo: Common Occurrence or Cause For Alarm?

I liked this: "The fact remains that there are many unaccredited, unregulated animal enclosures that do not help the reputation of proper zoos. There are 2,400 such animal enclosures licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture and 2,188 are not associated with the AZA."
Read more:
Something really needs to be done here. The law should change. Nobody is saying that the AZA is perfect but it is the ONLY body who can sort out the 2,188. AZA membership needs to be a legal requirement. Let's sort out the hybrid factories, the freak shows, the huggy factories, the cruel and unnecessary and get serious about conservation.

Though I very much wanted to watch the turtle release at Madinat Friday I was tied up with other enjoyable pastimes, so I don't regret a thing. From what I understand though the release went very well. One of the turtles 'Bahar' features in 'Satellite Tracking'.

'Escaped-animal antics are good for ratings' I wrote about this very subject just a couple of Digests back.

I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos, not DYSFUNCTIONAL zoos.


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Please do visit this and sign it re Tripa. And then share and forward as widely as you are able.

Inokashira zoo hunts for 30 escaped squirrels, bags 38
Zookeepers who lost 30 squirrels after a typhoon damaged their enclosure said Thursday their recovery efforts had exceeded expectations — they now have 38 animals in captivity.
The bushy-tailed rodents made a break for freedom when a tree felled by a typhoon last week cut through netting at Tokyo's Inokashira Park Zoo.
But after days of trapping the sharp-toothed creatures, a spokeswoman for the zoo said the haul had been more successful than expected and 38 had been "recaptured."
"We still receive about four to five reports a day from witnesses," said Eri Tsushima. "We will continue setting traps as long as people keep reporting squirrel sightings to us."
Most of the animals were caught in the surrounding park area, and Tsushima said keepers would be checking that all of those taken into captivity had the microchips the zoo implanted into its own squirrels.
She acknowledged that the ranks of recaptured animals could have been swollen by the wild squirrels that live in the park.
"We simply don't know yet," she said.
The mass breakout came a month after the recapture of a Humbolt penguin that spent 82 days at large

Click on the above links to read the reports and see the photographs. This project still needs funds. See:

Escaped-animal antics are good for ratings
One of the interesting factoids accompanying the escaped-penguin story that delighted the media for the last three months is that Japan has more penguins in captivity than any other country. Tokyo Sea Life Park, the facility from which the male Humboldt penguin in question made his break, has 135. The appeal is obvious: Penguins are cute and easy to handle. No one became upset when the bird managed to get out of his enclosure and into Tokyo Bay. In fact, a certain type of commentator dominated social media, cheering the errant penguin on and lamenting his eventual capture. A few of these boosters named him Steve, as in actor Steve McQueen, the star of "The Great Escape." He was a rebel.
The escape of another species of wild animal made the news on April 20, when two female employees of the Hachimantai Bear Farm in Akita Prefecture were killed by bears that had climbed over the wall of their enclosure by means of a pile of leftover snow. Six were shot and killed on the premises and it was eventually determined they were the only ones that escaped, but at the time, since the number wasn't immediately known, local authorities warned nearby residents to be on the lookout for, as the Mainichi Shimbun reported it, "bears on the run." They were criminals.
The two narratives couldn't be more different in tone, but they conveyed a similar message by dint of the verb that unified them. "Escape" implied that the animals were leaving a situation adverse to their dispositions. The penguin and the six bears were simply doing what they were supposed to do, but because we live in a world defined by humanity their instinctual actions attracted unusual attention. Such concern became ludicrous last week when a bunch of squirrels escaped from Tokyo's Inokashira Park Zoo into the surrounding park. If the media hadn't covered the frantic effort to catch the squirrels would anyone have noticed, or, for that matter, cared?
In his essay on zoos in the June issue of Harper's, David Samuels says that we live in an epoch geologists have named the Anthropocene. In this age, "We should properly understand nature as a sequence of enclosures like parks and zoos," which essentially protect nonhuman life from the effects of human existence. Animals in the so-called wild are actually at the mercy of a new world that didn't form them. Once these creatures are in zoos or aquariums or safari parks, humans can re-create an environment more conducive to their biological makeup but contrary to what can only be called their essence as free beings.
In the case of the bears, the cognitive dissonance attendant to this dynamic can be deafening, since the rationale for their captivity is commercial. According to Wikipedia there are 10 bear farms (kuma bokujō) in Japan. Visitors to Hachimantai paid admission for the opportunity to feed the 38 bears from a distance. The bears internalized this routine and would thus "perform" for the customers by begging in a manner that could be considered either humorous or pathetic depending on one's sensibility.
Footage of these performances were often aired on animal-related TV programs or variety shows specializing in home videos, and invariably they were presented as being cute. Context is everything, because animal-rights groups will utilize the same footage as evidence that the bears have been perverted by their environment, and surround it with other visuals showing the animals pacing fitfully in front of walls and tearing one another apart in frustration.
On June 9, the owner of the Hachimantai Bear Farm was arrested by Akita prefectural police on suspicion of causing the two employee deaths because he didn't do enough to prevent the bears from escaping. His treatment of the bears didn't enter into it. He was already having money problems and said he would probably close the farm. The prefecture is now trying to figure out what to do with the remaining animals. It costs a lot of money to feed and take care of them, and if no other facilities agree to take in the bears by the fall they will be destroyed.
There is absolutely no discussion in the media or elsewhere that the bears might be returned to nature, presumably because they were never "in nature" to begin with. Their dependence on humans would likely cause them to seek out civilization when they get hungry, and as we occasionally see on the news, wild bears in Japan that come into contact with humans are almost always killed. Though Japanese brown bears and black bears are classified as being "threatened" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, thousands are shot every year as a result of contact with people. In 2005, such encounters resulted in 4,679 bear deaths and three human deaths.
Animal-welfare groups are soliciting donations to keep the bears alive until they can find homes, and according to an article in the Asahi Shimbun five facilities have expressed some degree of willingness to accept a limited number. The main obstacle is another attribute of the Anthropocene. Hachimantai has a number of breeds of brown bear, including Kodiak from Alaska and Ezo from Hokkaido, but some may be interbreeds. According to the Tokyo Shimbun, zoos avoid animals of indeterminate bloodlines because one of the main purposes of a zoo is conservation. Acquiring animals that don't represent pure lines is considered "inappropriate academically." In the Harper's essay Samuels traces this mode of thought back to Madison Grant, one of the founders of the Bronx Zoo in New York, whose obsession with "pure full-blooded stock" extended to humans. He was a clinical racist.
Though one could argue that such an approach has value in terms of conservation, it tends to have at best a secondary appeal to people who visit zoos, and zoos need visitors to survive, so operators supplement the edifying with the entertaining. Tokyo Sea Life Park is now holding a contest to name its recaptured penguin, which presently is known as #337. If the winning name is Steve, then


Following the BIAZA meeting at Paradise Wildlife Park, the Association of British and Irish Wild Animal Keepers (ABWAK)are pleased to offer BIAZA zoos the opportunity to sign up their keepers for Professional Corporate Membership for only £20 per person. (Usual price £30pp).

To take advantage of this offer, email: quoting BIAZAPWP.

This offer is open until 1st September 2012 and only available to those in BIAZA collections.

This is how it should be. All keepers who are serious about their profession should be a member of their professional body.


Thriller the Tiger’s Death Provides a Perfect Opportunity to Smear Michael Jackson

Tippi Hedren, former fashion model and most famous for her role in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, is the founder of the California-based Shambala Preserve (ROAR Foundation) that takes in ‘unwanted’ and ‘abused’ big cats in the same manner of Florida’s famed (and similarly insincere) Big Cat Rescue. Among the most famous of her re-homed felines are Thriller and Sabu, two Bengal tigers who originally belonged to pop icon Michael Jackson and lived at his notorious Neverland Ranch’s zoo before its closure in 2006. The rest of Jackon’s exotic animal menagerie were also placed with various sanctuaries, including giraffes, flamingos, many reptiles, and even orangutans and elephants. Recently, Thriller, Shambala’s most popular resident, has died of lung cancer

Taipei Zoo holds showcase for the ‘five poisons’
The Dragon Boat Festival, which falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, is traditionally seen as a time when evil spirits are awakened, but the Taipei City Zoo is using the opportunity to educate the public about these so-called “heinous” animals long misunderstood in traditional Chinese culture.
Snakes, scorpions, centipedes, toads and geckos — also known as the “five poisons” — were believed to be evil in ancient Chinese culture and thought to rule over unfortunate human beings during the festival.
However, the zoo hopes to debunk the myth by holding an exhibition featuring the not-so-adorable creatures, which runs through July 15 to raise awareness and to protect the animals.
Zoo spokesman Chao Ming-chieh (趙明杰) said that this myth stems from the fact that people back then were more prone to diseases and pestilence during the fifth lunar month, but not through any fault of the animals. Illnesses were more prevalent during this month because of the summer heat and humidity caused by the frequent rains at that time of the year.
The lack of refrigerators, advanced medical care and adequate sanitation facilities in those days also fueled the spread of diseases, for instance through unclean food and rotting garbage, he said.
“These creatures are often wrongly seen as a threat to human beings because of their appearances or habits, but the truth is we don’t have sufficient knowledge about them,” he said.
To familiarize people with the creatures, Chao said nearly 80 species that fit into the venemous category are on display at the zoo’s Amphibian and Reptile House.
Chao said the exhibition features animals such as the brown-spotted pit vipers, emperor scorpions, Asian common toads, Chinese red-headed centipedes and Mexican red-knee tarantulas.
However, when organizing the exhibit, the zoo staff encountered a challenge because — despite the myth — geckos are not venemous, Chao said.
“After some thought, we decided to use spiders as a substitute for the geckos,” he

I note that the Gecko was substituted here. Just as well as the harmless little lizard gets a bad rap.

Czech zoo keepers save rare bird's life with Coca Cola
The Decin zoo keepers have successfully applied Coca Cola to save the life of a young Laughing Kookaburra, a rare exotic bird that suffered from serious digestive troubles and faced imminent death, the zoo said in a press release Thursday.
The Laughing Kookaburra, a species originating in Australia and very difficult to breed, hatched recently and the keepers, rejoicing at the arrival, put it in an incubator.
It fared very well for the first days. Afterwards problems emerged, however, the zoo expert Roman Rehak said.
The young bird suffered from digestive problems and was unable to accept food properly. That is why the keepers started to administer Coca Cola to it.
"It is a well-proved method. It is also known by a number of mums who give this drink to their kids if their bellies hurt," said Rehak, adding

Animal Welfare and Habitat Design Conference.
October 22nd to 26th 2012.
Stirling, Scotland.

How does zoo habitat design improve animal welfare?

A multi-faceted program to examine how an animal’s biological, psychological and emotional needs can be met through carefully considered habitat design.

International guest speakers from zoos and field research projects presentingon how the needs of both great apes and elephants should be addressed in the modern zoo environment.

Cost for the 5 days will be £295 with an optional additional £35 cost for a conference dinner at the 4 star Highland Hotel in Stirling.

To pre-register or for further information please send your details to Chris Lucas or Alasdair Gillies at:


Old but good story

In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University .

On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Peter approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee, inspected the
 elephants foot, and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it. As carefully and as gently as he could, Peter worked the wood out with his knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot.

The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Peter stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away. Peter never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty years later, Peter was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Peter and his son Cameron were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Peter, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the encounter in 1986, Peter could not help wondering if this was the same elephant. Peter summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing, and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Peter legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.

Probably wasn't the same elephant.
 Not sure if the story is true.... actually doesn't matter.
 Point is...these are wild animals and please don't treat them any other way.


Only 200 Orang Utans Left At Rawa Tripa
It is predicted that there are now only 200 orang utan left at Rawa Tripa areas. In 1990, almost 2,000 orang utan were registered.
This was stated by Conservation Director of SOCP, Dr Ian Singleton, in his press release Monday, June 18, 2012. The Rawa Tripa areas in the Nagan Raya Regency and in West Aceh have a size of 61,03 hectares. According to Ian Singleton, the decreasing number of orang utan population in the said areas is caused by the ongoing forest conversion into palm oil plantations. "To think that Tripa used to be a territory with the highest numbers of orang utan population in the world," he said.
On June 16, Singleton's side saved a male orang utan baby from the people who tried to sell the baby to a member of the investigating team. "This rescue constitutes a great,20120619-411590,uk.html

Unusual Import: Six elephants from Laos to make Japan their new home
Technically they are not an import, but a loan from the generous Laotian government, who have agreed to send across six elephants to Japan. The animals will make the Tohoku Safari Park in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture; Iwate Safari Park in Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture; and World Monkey Park in Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture, their new homes. The loan is for a short span of three years and the animals are expected to arrive in July.
There has been an animal kingdom imbalance in the Tohoku region, ever since the Great East Japan Earthquake. To compensate the loss, officials from the company that operates the safari park decided to request the Laotian government to loan them some elephants. The population of wild and domestic elephants in Laos is somewhere between 800 and 1,300 and a number of them are used for moving large items.
The Japanese government have consented to the proposal and pushed it forward with the Laotian Prime

The IRKA is hosting anther rhino photo contest for the 2013 Rhino Conservation Calendar & I was hoping you could help spread the word (see below). Last years calendar is was big success & I am hoping this year does even better. The funds raised from the 2013 calendar will be going to the Sumatran Rhino Project, i.e. Ratu & baby.

 Please send us your best rhino photo to be entered into the rhino
 photography contest, which begins TODAY & ends July 31st, 2012! 12 winners of the contest will be featured in the IRKA/IRF’s 2013 Rhino Conservation Calendar. This year the calendars will raise funds for the Sumatran Rhino Project.
 Contributors can submit 1 photograph in a JPG or JPEG file format & an Entry Form (on IRKA website) July 31st to The
 total file size must be less than 5MB or 250 pixels per inch. Photos don’t necessarily need to be a digital photo from a digital camera either; it can be a digital scan, as long as the end result is a JPG or JPEG file.
 Questions? Please check out IRKA’s website for more information

Panda Politics: Tokyo’s Outspoken Governor Puts His Paw in it Again
When a giant panda gets pregnant, it’s news. Especially in Japan, a country that has waited decades for a baby panda to be born. But the good news that Shin Shin, a giant panda at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo on loan from China, appears to be with child, has quickly been turned into bad news by Tokyo’s outspoken governor.
Gov. Shintaro Ishihara suggested Shin Shin’s potential newborn be named Sen Sen or Kaku Kaku, a word play on the disputed islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. Mr. Ishihara, laughing, proposed the names at the end of a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday in response to a question asking his thoughts on Shin Shin’s possible pregnancy. “This will give China control [of the Senkakus] when the baby pandas return to China,” he said.
Beijing fired back on Friday.  ”Ishihara’s scheme to undermine China-Japan relations is a clumsy performance. It will only tarnish the image of Japan and Tokyo,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a

City subsidizes zoo by $12M a year, audit shows
The Toronto Zoo’s annual audited financial statement shows the city subsidizes the attraction by $12 million a year, further evidence as to why penny-pinching Mayor Rob Ford wants to unload it and have a private interest running things.
Following a consultant’s report suggesting various budget cuts last year, Toronto City Council voted to gauge interest from outside parties in buying, leasing, or operating the zoo — or some other type of arrangement.
A city official says paperwork to that effect will probably be issued within a few weeks.
However, a poll last year of 1,046 Torontonians conducted by Forum Research shows the general public isn’t champing at the bit for a sell-off. The poll found 73 per cent opposed to closing or selling the Toronto Zoo.
Joe Torzsok, chair of the zoo’s board of management, says the city’s subsidy is much lower than it used to be.
“The zoo is getting better over time.  In 1980, taxpayers were picking up 63 per cent of cost of the zoo.  Today the subsidy is only about 25 per cent,’’ he said Monday.
And with a 57 per cent increase in attendance in the first four months of this year compared with the same time last year, or 92,423 more visitors — a jump attributed in large part to the warm winter — there’ll be less reliance on the city’s

South Africa: 3 Dozen Rhinos Exported to China from North West Province Over 2 Years
Between 2008 and 2010, at least 38 rhinos were exported from North West Province in South Africa to China.
According to a document published by South Africa’s Parliamentary Monitoring Group, permit records obtained from O.R. Tambo International Airport revealed importer addresses.
26 of the rhinos were sent to “NQ1 Siulong Artery, Hangfu (or ‘Hanfu’) Road, Hangzhou, Zhejaing Province”; four to “No. 59, Hutouji Road, Fuzhou, Fujian Province”; two to “No Zero Xin Gongyuan Rd., Nanchang”; two to Luoyang Wangcheng Park, No. 312, Zhongzhou Middle Road Xigong District, Luioyang City Henan Province; and four to “Tianci Xu, Sanya Longhui Breeding Co, Ltd. Tailing Village Tianya, Sanya (City), Hainan Province”.
North West exporter names were not provided.
Rhinos exported from Gauteng and Limpopo Provinces
The same document stated that four rhinos were sent from Gauteng Province to Changsha Zoo in China by an exporter named as Jimmy Magill in 2010.
As we wrote earlier, at least 30 rhinos


1. Numbers: proponents of legalising the trade in rhino horn say that rhino numbers have increased due to rhino farming. That is so, but numbers alone are not a true measure of conservation. Rhino farming will certainly increase numbers, but breeding animals in relatively small camps for their horns has nothing to do with conservation, and everything to do with factory farming. Let us not lose sight of what real conservation is: the preservation of natural, functioning eco-systems. Artificially breeding up numbers of semi-tame rhino in fenced camps for commercial purposes is merely taking the wild out of our wildlife.

2. Enforcement: any scheme to legalise the trade in rhino horns rests upon the assumption that governments can be a) un-corrupt; b) efficient; and c) effective. (efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right thing). The less said about this subject the better, other than to observe that a shakier foundation for a legal trade in rhino horn is hard to imagine.

3. Hunting and poaching: in natural eco-systems, it is the weak and sick who are killed by predators, and this strengthens the genes. The human predator (trophy hunter or poacher, same thing) puts the process of natural selection in reverse, killing the big and strong. Hunting and poaching are therefore equally destructive to wildlife populations. The hunting / poaching of farmed rhino is a closed circuit and should not be considered part of conservation.

4. Delays in legalising the trade in rhino horn are being caused by “donor agencies,” say the proponents, and go on to suggest that these “donor agencies” are lobbying against a legal trade in horn for selfish financial reasons i.e. they are bandwagons who profit from the current plight of rhinos and for that reason do not want to see an end to the ban. This is like arguing that Policement and Judges must love criminals because without them there would be no need for Judges and Policemen. Such a silly claim should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

5. Proponents claim that those who oppose legalising the trade in rhino horn are “costing the country about R2 million a day”, being the difference between the 448 rhino we are losing every year, and the value of the legal sale of horn. This is a dangerous over-statement: first, it assumes that on the day trade is legalised, all poaching of rhino will stop at once. Second, it assumes that only ethically obtained horns will come to the Central Selling Organisation, and that no corruption will siphon off funds in to private or political pockets.

6. Proponents claim that all rhino poaching will be resolved by legalising the trade, because:-
i. A centralised selling organisation (CSO) would sell only ethically obtained rhino horns to only Chinese parastatals.
ii. the traditional medicine market in China would be fully supplied and prices of horn would drop.
iii. Lower horn prices would mean less poaching.
iv. all the proceeds of sale would go ‘into conservation’ and be used exclusively to protect rhino and game parks.

These arguments sound so plausible, yet they are all fatally flawed. Once again, they rest on false assumptions.
1. This assumes that both the CSO and the Chinese parastata

63 elephants die in 2 years in Bengal
Altogether 63 elephants died in West Bengal either naturally or by accident in a span of two years, while 139 people were killed in elephant attacks during the same period, state forest minister Hiten Burman said here today.
Giving details on the elephant reserve in the state, Burman said that there was a stock of 652 elephants comprising 529 in North Bengal and the rest 123 in South Bengal.
Out of the 63 elephant deaths between January 2010-2012, 49 were in North Bengal and 14 in South Bengal.
Of the 49 elephant deaths in North Bengal, 27 were natural and the rest accidental, but in South Bengal of 14 deaths, seven were natural and as many accidental, he said.
Out of 139 villagers killed in elephant attacks, 88 were in North Bengal and the rest 51 in South Bengal, he said, adding that a total of 425 persons were injured in such cases.
Replying to a question, the minister earlier said in the state Assembly that the state government disbursed total compensation of about Rs 1.44 crore for the loss of human lives and injuries in elephant attacks.
While Rs one lakh was given in cases of death of a person, Rs 50,000 to each of those rendered immobile, he said.
Regarding damage by elephants, the minister

Zoos: Controversy or Conservation?
Zoos have played an interesting and sometimes controversial role in human history. At their best, zoos are a stronghold of conservation and preservation dedicated to biodiversity, education, and research. At their worst, zoos make a spectacle of wild animals by keeping them in unnatural, enclosed habitats with inadequate amounts of space and mistreating them.
The first record of zoos existing is from around 1250 B.C.E. in ancient Egypt. Birds, lions, and giraffes were captured and exhibited by the Egyptians for what is speculated to be entertainment purposes. But the modern zoo has come to represent an entirely new field of work: conservationism. Since 5,624 plus species of vertebrates are currently threatened with extinction, the zoo has come to play the role of protector. Zoos have taken on the task after growing speculation and skepticism about keeping wild animals in captivity. Presently the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) estimates there are about 10,000 zoos worldwide.
Zoos have become more than just spectacle and recreation. Zoos work for conservation and preservation on local, national, and international levels. Zoos have gone far beyond the simple goal of merely keeping animals in captivity alive. Now zoos are proactive in their efforts and attempt not only to conserve species and maintain biodiversity, but also reintroduce endangered species back into the wild and make efforts to restore their habitats.
Zoological institutions, conservation organizations, non-government organizations, donor organizations and biologists all depend on the research and conservation efforts funded by zoos. Zoos and aquariums alike do a lot in the name of conservation, most importantly educational efforts. Behind Jacques Cousteau and National Geographic, a 1992 Roper poll study showed that zoos and aquariums were the third most trusted messenger of wildlife and environmental issues. More so, they make efforts to support and help local wildlife and raise and donate financial support. When working on projects with fellow conservationist groups (AZA zoos have partnered with more than 600 nonprofit, government, and private groups) they send medical, educational, and operational supplies. That is quite the task given that AZA accredited zoos carried out 2,230 research and conservation projects in 2003. Their projects were located in over 80 countries. Most AZA zoos also raise awareness through lectures, classes, and publications, and donate expertise by sending vets and other staff to projects or educational facilities. Zoos also try to sell indigenous wares in their gift shops.
Yet there is also the issue of uncertified zoos, like those that do not belong to organizations like the AZA. In the United States alone there are 2,400 licensed “animal exhibitors.” Of those only 212 of which are members of AZA. Being a member of the AZA insures that there are high standards of animal care, scientific support, and conservation efforts. Since many zoos in the United States and many others around the world do not follow these standards it is hard to say that zoos in general are ultimately making progress in conservationism and preservation.
The fact remains that there are many unaccredited, unregulated animal enclosures that do not help the reputation of proper zoos. There are 2,400 such animal enclosures licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture and 2,188 are not associated with the AZA. David Hancocks, a zoo director of 30 years, also stated that less than 3% of zoo budget goes to conversation and most of the budget goes towards marketing and enhancing the entertainment factor at zoos.
But efforts have been made to support conservation efforts. The Toledo Zoo and The Bronx Zoo are progressive zoos, which have innovative restoration programs and make real progress towards achieving their conservation goals. The Bronx Zoo especially makes use of designing exhibits with environmentalism and animal behavior in mind. Whatever your opinion on the matter, you can support either the efforts of Zoo Check or the Bronx Zoo. Zoo Check is a nonprofit organization that makes sure zoos are not participating in any malpractice of conservation efforts or maltreatment of animals.

Manicured turtles swim for science
Scientists tracking the dispersal of hatchling loggerhead turtles have resorted to the nail salon to help fit tiny tags to the endangered creatures.
The Florida team tried several ideas to attach the technology to the animals, which measure less than 20cm in length.
This included making little harnesses, and using tough epoxy adhesives.
But it was only when the turtle shells were prepared like a manicurist primes fingernails that the satellite tags would stay on for a useful period.
"My collaborator typically has very fancy toenails that are nicely manicured with painted waves and other designs on them," recalls Kate Mansfield, a US National Marine Fisheries Service scientist in Miami.
"We gave her manicurist a call and her manicurist recommended we use an acrylic base coat. We went out to our local pharmacy and picked some up and tried it on the turtles. We prepped the shell, sanded it down a little

Rhinos under threat (Not recommended for children)

Aquarium birds are lucky to live in penguin paradise
It's time for a trip to the beach. I can't stay away any longer. So I meet Tom Dyer at my favorite spot in the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas: the bench in front of the penguin exhibit.
"This is probably the most popular bench in the Aquarium," he says.
There's only one problem with it. People keep standing in front of us, laughing and holding up phones to take pictures and videos of the penguins.
There are 29 of them hanging out at the beach and swimming in the 4,000-gallon saltwater sea -- 26 black-footed African penguins and three Chilean rockhoppers. Both species are tropical and are happy to be living in hot, humid Louisiana. The Africans are native to the southernmost tip of Africa, where temperatures can climb to 100 degrees. Some of these birds are just visiting New Orleans, though.
"We're foster-parenting four young males that are going to Ripley's in Myrtle Beach (S.C.)," Dyer says.
We watch them, and I can't stop smiling.
I have loved these goofy little guys since I first visited them in 1991, a few months after the Aquarium opened. If they were in the circus, they'd be the clowns, tumbling one after the other out of a tiny car driven by Dyer. His title is "senior aviculturist," but he's really the ringleader of the penguins.
"Look at Dennis," he says. "I don't know how many times I've told him he can't fly."
Dennis is one of the rockhoppers that were added to the exhibit in 1996. They're easy to spot because of their reddish beaks and the spiky yellow feathers sticking out from their heads that make them look like pint-sized punk rockers.
Dennis is standing on a ledge flapping his flippers, trying to impress Rocky, the female. There has always been competition between Dennis and Bunny, the other male rockhopper.
"Dennis thinks he's Superman," I say.
The Africans show off in the water and congregate on the beach, nibbling on plants and letting out the raucous brays that give them their other name: "jackass penguins." They're about the same size as the rockhoppers but have a more understated look, with bodies and heads that are "banded" or dappled black and white. Dyer recognizes every one of them.
Ernie turned 30 in January, he tells me. He has lived twice the average life span of an African penguin.
"The only thing wrong with Ernie is that he has cataracts," he says. "At feeding time he just stands there with his neck stretched out and his mouth open, waiting. He looks like an Audubon print."
Dyer catches me up on the latest gossip. Where there are penguins, there is always drama. They supposedly mate for life, but sometimes stuff happ

Three-month-old chimpanzee Gracie snatched from arms of her mother and battered to death by aggressive male as zoo visitors watched
Stunned visitors to Los Angeles Zoo witnessed the brutal death of a three month-old infant chimpanzee at the hands of an adult male on Tuesday.
The male chimpanzee is said to have snatched the female infant out of the hands of its mother at around 3.30 p.m. and swung its body violently around until the chimp was fatally injured.
While zoo workers could not intervene during the attack out of concerns for their own safety, they did eventually take the dead infant to a separate area in the chimp enclosure with its mother Gracie and grandmother so that they could both see it had died.
'Gracie is being allowed to keep the infant overnight to allow her the opportunity to grieve,' said LA Zoo spokesman Jason Jacobs.

Chimpanzee Infanticide at the LA Zoo: Common Occurrence or Cause For Alarm?
Sometimes, zoo animals behave unnaturally. Most animals on display at zoos are not really designed for captive living. If you’ve been to a zoo, no doubt you’ve noticed evidence of this: a tiger who paces back and forth, or a monkey that does nothing but circle the enclosure. Life in captivity can even result in various forms of self-harm: a bird that plucks out its feathers, or a horse that bites at her own body, occasionally drawing blood.
Sometimes, zoo animals behave naturally. They mate. Or refuse to mate. They groom eachother. They get sick. They get better. They care for their young. They sleep – a lot.
They fight.
 It must have been extremely unsettling for a handful of zoogoers to watch a male chimpanzee kill a three month old infant female chimpanzee at the LA Zoo on Tuesday. She was the first chimpanzee to be born at the LA Zoo in thirteen years and was therefore, in a sense, symbolic. It’s a serious setback for conservation efforts, since there are fewer than 300,000 chimpanzees living in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The chimpanzee colony at the LA Zoo, now numbering fifteen members, is one of the largest in the country, and is considered a model for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan Program.
It is sad whenever an animal at a zoo dies, especially at so young an age. I am certain that members of the LA Zoo’s staff – especially those on the Great Ape Team who worked directly with the unnamed infant – will be grieving along with Gracie, the mother.
In a statement, the zoo expressed its surprise and regret:
Chimpanzee behavior can sometimes be aggressive and violent and the Zoo is sorry that visitors had to be exposed to this. Gracie is being allowed to keep the infant overnight to allow her the opportunity to grieve. This is a heartbreaking and tragic loss for the Zoo and especially for the Great Ape Team who have worked diligently to care for the infant and its

Campaign to stop illegal bear bile exports from China to South Korea
A campaign to end the cross-border trade of bear bile from China to South Korea is being launched today by Animals Asia and the Korean Animal Welfare Association (KAWA), at a ceremony in Seoul, South Korea. The public awareness campaign will inform tourists and travel agencies in South Korea that bringing bear bile into the country from China, is illegal.
Every year, 300,000 South Korean tourists visit bear bile farms in China, according to information from local travel agencies, and 30 percent of these purchase bear bile and bring it back with them to South Korea. This is despite the import of bear bile to South Korea being illegal under Section 269 of the domestic import tariff.
The campaign will see the animal welfare groups working with local travel agencies to inform the public that they should not purchase bear bile and bring it into South Korea. The campaign will discourage tour companies from including bear farm trips as part of their itineraries and encourage tourists to refuse to purchase bear bile should they be taken to a bear farm.
Hyecho adventure travel, a South Korean travel agency will take part in the launch ceremony and join the campaign by informing their clients of the illegality of importing bear bile. They will promote the rescue and protection of bears.
Travel Times Korea, a weekly trade newspaper for the travel industry, and Travie Magazine, the monthly travel magazine in South Korea, will join the ceremony and provide free advertising for the campaign. Travel Times Korea is distributed to all travel agencies in South Korea, and Travie is widely read by the public.
The animal welfare groups will then approach other travel companies in South Korea, providing leaflets and posters, and inviting them to join the campaign.
Toby Zhang, China External Affairs Director, Animals Asia commented:
“Bear bile farmers in China are selling large amounts of bear bile to tourists from South Korea every year. Many tourists are unaware that it is illegal for them to take the bile back to South Korea with them. They also don't know about the cruelty involved in farming bears, or the concerns on the safety of farmed bile. Without these sales, China’s bear farming industry would be much reduced. We are hopeful that this campaign will help to end bear bile farming in China.”
In some Asian countries, moon bears are kept in small cages for up to 30 years, and have their bile extracted through catheters, needles and open wounds. Starved, dehydrated and riddled with ailments, this is a living hell for the bears. The bile is used as a form of medicine. Animals Asia is working to end the barbaric bear bile trade, which sees more than 14,000 bears kept in cages on farms throughout China and Vietnam.
Animals Asia is an animal welfare group that campaigns to end bear bile farming, and the only organisation with a bear sanctuary in China. The Animals Asia team has been rescuing bears from the bear bile industry since 1994. KAWA is a government-registered non-profit group in South Korea that supports and promotes animal welfare and was founded in 1991. KAWA works to reduce suffering and create change for all animals through public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, and protest campaigns.
In addition to the animal welfare and public health concerns, bear bile farming is also a conservation issue. Asiatic black bears are classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) lists Asiatic black bears in appendix 1, the most critical category of endangerment.
Leading conservationists believe that bear bile farming is having a negative impact on the Asiatic Black Bear population, with many farmed bears found to have been illegally caught in the wild. The bear farming industry promotes the use of bile, and drives demand, which in turn is thought to lead to the capture of more bears.


Journal of Threatened Taxa
ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print)

June 2012 | Vol. 4 | No. 6 | Pages 2617–2672
Date of Publication 26 June 2012 (online & print)


Species diversity of small mammals at Gunung Stong State Park, Kelantan, Malaysia
-- Vijaya Kumaran Jayaraj, Nurul Farah Diyana Ahmad Tahir, Noor Amirah Udin, Noor Farahin Kamarul Baharin, Siti Katijah Ismail & Siti Noor Azwa Zakaria, Pp. 2617–2628

Predicting effects of rainforest fragmentation from live trapping studies of small mammals in Sri Lanka
-- Mayuri R. Wijesinghe, Pp. 2629–2636

A postulate for tiger recovery: the case of the Caspian Tiger
-- C.A. Driscoll, I. Chestin, H. Jungius, O. Pereladova, Y. Darman, E. Dinerstein, J. Seidensticker, J. Sanderson, S. Christie, S.J. Luo, M. Shrestha, Y. Zhuravlev, O. Uphyrkina, Y.V. Jhala, S.P. Yadav, D.G. Pikunov, N. Yamaguchi, D.E. Wildt, J.L.D. Smith, L. Marker, P.J. Nyhus, R. Tilson, D.W. Macdonald & S.J. O’Brien, Pp. 2637–2643

CEPF Western Ghats Special Series
Freshwater fish fauna of Krishna River at Wai, northern Western Ghats, India
-- Sanjay S. Kharat, Mandar Paingankar & Neelesh Dahanukar, Pp. 2644–2652

Aizoaceae (Magnoliopsida: Caryophyllales) - a new family record to the flora of Andaman Islands, India
-- L. Rasingam, Pp. 2653–2655

Xerophyte Caralluma stalagmifera var. longipetala (Asclepiadaceae): a new record to the flora of Karnataka, India
-- M. Ramachandra Naik & Y.L. Krishnamurthy, Pp. 2656–2659

Belosynapsis vivipara (Dalzell) C.E.C. Fisch. (Commelinaceae), a vulnerable spiderwort, rediscovered after sixteen decades from Maharashtra, India
-- Shrinath Kavade, Subhash Deokule, P. Lakshminarasimhan, Prakash Diwakar & Sachin Punekar, Pp. 2660–2663

New distributional record of a rare sedge Kobresia (Cyperaceae) from Sikkim, India
-- Bikash Jana, R.C.Srivastava, D.G. Long & G.P. Sinha, Pp. 2664–2666

Microgomphus souteri Fraser, a new addition to the Odonata (Insecta) fauna of Kerala, southern India
-- K.G. Emiliyamma, Muhamed Jafer Palot & C. Radhakrishnan, Pp. 2667–2669

A Contribution to the Herpetology of Northern Pakistan: The Amphibians and Reptiles of Margalla Hills National Park and Surrounding Regions — By Rafaqat Masroor Published by Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, New York, USA, ISBN: 978-0-916984-83-0, 20 April 2012, 217pp. (14x22 cm), Price $ 45
-- Book reviewed by Raju Vyas, Pp. 2670–2672

In case you wish to receive Table of Contents every month please send an email to <> with no subject or text.

Thanking you

Sanjay Molur

Founder Editor, Journal of Threatened Taxa
Wildlife Information & Liaison Development (WILD) Society / Zoo Outreach Organization
96, Kumudham Nagar, Vilankurichi Road, Coimbatore 641035 Tamil Nadu, India


Family's pet piranha bites off toddler's fingertip
A US man cut open his family's pet piranha after it bit off his toddler's fingertip, according to reports.
The mother initially blamed the family's pit bull after finding the 18-month-old girl crying and bleeding on June 19, police said.
But the father suspected otherwise and turned his attention to the fish in the tank near where the child had been playing, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
After finding the fingertip he took it and the child to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.
A hospital spokeswoman

Men who would own tigers – why such a dangerous choice?
With 3-4 million domestic animals dying each year in shelters, what is it that lures someone to buy a tiger instead of a housecat? Is it the danger, is it the fame and ego gratification, is it the profit motive, or is it something we don't expect?
Looking at four tiger-owning men in the news, there seems to be a common thread.
Terry Thompson is the tiger owner everyone's heard of lately. Last year, he committed suicide by shooting himself, but not before setting loose over 50 of his caged exotic animals. Few will forget the carnage as authorities shot the tigers, lions, leopards, bears, and others frightfully fleeing through the fields on a rainy night in Zanesville, Ohio.
Thompson had long bragged that breeding tigers was his passion, that’s why he owned them. But he had other passions. Months before the massacre, he’d been released from a year-long stint in prison. The Vietnam vet's illegal arsenal of 133 firearms had been seized by federal agents – ranging from automatic weapons to sawed-off shotguns to a
sniper rifle. The IRS was after him for over $55,000 in taxes and penalties and court judgments for unpaid debts were mounting.
Though his life revolved around animals, he had a history of animal cruelty. Three animals died at his farm and he was arrested for “depriving them of the necessary sustenance and for impounding or confining them without supplying a sufficient quantity of wholesome food and water.” Jack Hanna described the conditions at the farm as “horrific and absolutely filthy.”And yet, Thompson claimed to love animals.
In the exotic animal world, Sam Mazzola was as well known as Thompson. Mazzola’s life, and his death, were just as shocking. This tiger owner was found dead after asphyxiating himself with a sex toy. He had been handcuffed to his waterbed, his head covered in a zipped up mask, waiting for a man he was in a relationship with to arrive.
Known as a wild animal showman for over 20 years, Mazzola had fled two counties, paid fines, fought several criminal charges in order to hold onto his tigers, bears, and other exotics. Traveling the bar-and-carnival circuit, he made money off his animals allowing people - many very drunk - the chance to wrestle his wild animals.
When a caretaker was mauled to death by one of Mazzola’s animals, the USDA stripped him of his license to exhibit - but he continued. He was convicted on federal charges of exhibiting and selling exotic animals without a license, threatening federal agents and falsely claiming that an inspector solicited a bribe. He spent time in prison for trafficking in cocaine, too.
Karl Mitchell pops up as another well-known tiger owner with a dubious past. His “obsession” with tigers was featured on Animal Planet’s “Fatal Attractions.” The episode filmed him inside the cages, showing his prowess as he boxed and slapped his tigers. Though he claims that "what I do on my property, inside my gates, is my own personal business," Mitchell has had years and years of fines for violating the Animal Welfare Act.
While in California, his animals were seized by authorities who characterized him as “a dangerous person and a serious liability to any person or animal he’s involved with.” All of his cats were covered in feces and mud from head to toe, they were skinny and the stench was overpowering, IFAW representatives onsite said.
Nevada TV reported Mitchell was busted a dozen times in just six years for, among other things, burglary, carrying loaded guns in public, assault, intimidating witnesses and felony stalking of his estranged wife.
George Knapp, a Peabody Award winning investigative reporter, said “Mitchell has shown contempt for government authority and law enforcement for decades. He's been arrested, fined, shut down, thrown into prison, exposed by media, hounded by animal-welfare agencies and organizations -- and none of it has mattered to him one bit.”
Despite all this, Mitchell is still promoting his tiger busines. His website features once in a lifetime edu-tainment for tourists who want to pet and romp with baby tigers or swim with tigers – for a price. Tigers bring money.
Another controversial man who chooses dangerous tigers over domestic cats is Craig Wagner, a self-proclaimed wildlife specialist. He travels around the country with his tigers performing his “Endangered Cat Show.”
Wagner boasts that his job is "the most dangerous job in the world." In over two decades of working with cats, he claims he’s undergone 25 hours of major surgery, had 350 stitches and suffered 2,000 punctures from bites. Though Cyndi Gamble, his Minnesota business partner, was mauled to death by a tiger when she entered its cage, Wagner still enters his tiger cages to entertain his visitors. Gamble's gruesome death was featured on Animal Planet's “Fatal Attractions,” too.
Wagner is featured in Alan Green’s book Animal Underworld. It documents his history of animal abuse, criminal activity ranging from drugs to domestic assault, animal welfare violations, and jail time. It also details an outstanding arrest warrant for him in Wisconsin.
Game wardens there found a “continuing pattern of hungry animals without water,” some for as long as five days. “His starving tiger killed the black leopard and ate it. In return, Wagner allegedly beat the cat with a 2x4.”
Avoiding arrest, Wagner left Wisconsin and set up the Center for Endangered Cats in Minnesota, where he continued to make a living exhibiting and bree

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