Monday, December 17, 2012

Zoo News Digest 28th November - 17th December 2012 (ZooNews 839)

Zoo News Digest 28th November - 17th December 2012 (ZooNews 839)



Dear Colleagues,

The link on the new Dubai Zoo states that the venture will go 'beyond International Standards'. International Standards are mentioned again in the article about Mali the elephant in Manila Zoo. International Standards are often repeated with regards to zoos in India and Pakistan  The real worry here is that there are NO International Standards for zoos. Global Zoo Standards  were discussed back in 2006 but there have not been any governments falling over themselves to take up recommendations. So herein lies a problem....a very big problem.....just what are these people talking about? I would worry about the credentials of anyone talking about International Standards. The new Dubai Zoo is then in a position to actually set International Standards. If they were to use UK Zoo Legislation and Standards (which I still believe to be the best in the world*) as a starting point then they may well come out on top.

*Note: I am not saying that UK Zoos are the best, just that the legislation governing them is and it can be improved upon.

So the Bejing Zoo Cat saga has been settled? This is ridiculous, stupid and cruel. Pandering to the ignorance of an 'Animal Welfare Association'. I have said it before... I like cats. I like them a lot but they have no place in a zoo. The animals within the zoo are now at risk from disease. This sort of influential ignorance from so called animal lovers is becoming all too common. It demonstrates not caring rather than caring. It is the same situation with the Toronto Zoo elephants. Here the blinkered animal rights want to send these animals to a place where they know there is disease. It surprises me that they have not started going on about returning rhinoceros to Africa yet.

Do you believe that 'Animal Rights Activists poisoned Dolphins with Drugs'? Headline grabbing it is. I believe it is very possible. These people have no morals at all. I recall some years back having to check my car for explosive devices before I set out for work each day. Some of my comments in this blog have led to death threats. Worrying? Yes...not so much for me but for the people I love and so I kept my whereabouts unclear. I don't like these unreasoning activists regardless or their fancy names.

"wolves rescued from a zoo in Germany"....There's that word 'rescued' again. Rescued from what? These animals were transferred. Rescue suggests they were being badly treated.....were drowning, were in a burning house, trapped on the edge of a cliff. Rescue is not the word. Which takes me back to Ann the elephant 'rescued' from Bobby Roberts and taken to Longleat. Undoubtedly this elephant was being badly treated and so went from a bad place to a better place. But was she 'rescued'? I have asked the question several times already and never had an answer. She certainly wasn't confiscated so did money change hands in her move? If it did then she was purchased? If it did then she certainly was not rescued. As I have never had an answer I greatly suspect that I am right.

"Nambiti Private Game Reserve" have de-horned their Rhinos. It may seem a noble and sensible gesture. Now the poachers will leave the animals alone. So what happened to the horns? Like so many compacted toe and finger nail cuttings were they disposed of? Or are they now in some bank vault waiting for the 'illegal' price to rise and the government to allow sale. I could be wrong of course, perhaps they were destroyed but if not then I have not one good word to say about the Nambiti Private Game Reserve or any of these other so called 'conservationists'. They are just as bad as the poachers.

Samantha Berg has a lot to say in 'Former SeaWorld trainer reaches out to girl bitten by dolphin'. I wonder why if she thought the industry so wrong that the article should be spiced with photos of her with the animals she does not believe should be there in the first place. I also wondered why she even brought up 'The Cove' when she then rightly points out that the US dolphins were not caught in Japan but were born in captivity.

"Sea World Indoctrinating Kids With Darwinism, Says Apologist" made me chuckle. Can these people really be serious?

My only problem with the product to be produced by Rhinoceros Horn LLC is that it suggests that the real thing must have some sort of magical powers, which we know it doesn't. In fact an alternative may actually increase the demand for the 'organically grown' real thing.

Good Luck Gloria Lindsay Luby.

Lots of vacancies posted on the Zoo Jobs site (see link below) this week and a huge number of people viewing these. Also a lot of new 'likes' on the ZooNews Digest Facebook page.

My apologies once again for what is a belated edition. Believe me it is not for the want of trying to get it out. I spent a huge amount of money to ensure I had an internet connection when I moved into my new apartment. I do......but only now and again. The connection usually works when I have very little time to spare. The rival internet supplier on the other hand has a really strong signal. I am arguing with myself as to whether I should spend even more money with them.

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


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Councillor Vows To Fight Transfer of Toronto Zoo's African Elephants
A Toronto city councillor is vowing to do everything she can to stop the transfer of three aging African elephants from the Toronto Zoo to a California sanctuary, fearing their safety could be jeopardized and the zoo could lose standing with a national organization.
“It’s never over till it’s over,” councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby told The Globe and Mail Wednesday. “My heart and soul is in this and I believe in doing the right thing for our animals.”
On Tuesday, council voted 32-8 to send the trio – Iringa, Toka and Thika – to the 80-acre sanctuary run by the Performing Animal Welfare Society.
The vote came after both the CEO of the Toronto Zoo, John Tracogna, and its top veterinarian presented evidence to council that sending the elephants to the sanctuary would put them at risk of being exposed to tuberculosis.
The motion says the transfer between the zoo and the PAWS sanctuary must happen by Dec. 31.
But Ms. Lindsay Luby said she’s looking at all provincial and federal legislation that could stop the elephants from being sent to the facility.
“It’s hard to say exactly what it is … it’s a work in progress,” she said. “ But you shouldn’t send them to a place where they can get a communicable disease.”
A September report by Mr. Tracogna to the zoo’s board of management raised some of the most serious concerns about the PAWS facility. The zoo’s senior veterinarian had visited the sanctuary and suspected tuberculosis was present. The report said zoo staff were only invited to see one Asian elephant and three African elephants. PAWS staff caring for barns were wearing face masks that “strongly suggested that quarantine was in operation as a result of either a confirmed or suspected case of tuberculosis.”
Ms. Lindsay Luby said she’s also concerned that the zoo could lose accreditation with the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Losing accreditation could make it harder for the zoo to maintain some of its animal populations.
The zoo’s membership is already conditional with CAZA. Council had previously voted to send the elephants to the PAWS sanctuary in October, 2011, going against CAZA’s standards that all decisions regarding the welfare of animals must come from zoo professionals.
Tuesday’s vote simply re-affirmed council’s position.
Bill Peters, CAZA’s national director, said the organization will again review the Toronto Zoo’s accreditation. Sending the elephants to PAWS, a sanctuary that has not been accredited by CAZA, also went against their standards.
“We will have to have a meeting to consider this, but it does raise some serious questions if the transfer does go through as directed by city council,” Mr. Peters said.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, CAZA’s U.S. counterpart, has already pulled its accreditation of the Scarborough attraction, citing the actions of Toronto city council in the management of animals as the cause.
Losing accreditation with CAZA could make it harder for the zoo to take part in the breeding and conservation programs that are a major function of professional zoos, Mr. Peters said.
“Zoos that maintain a large range of exotic species, such as the case of Toronto, do need to be able to exchange animals with other accredited facilities in order to maintain their population with an appropriate level of genetic diversity,” he said. “It is difficult for a non-accredited facility to gain access to animals from accredited ones.”
Mr. Tracogna agrees that a loss of accreditation could negatively affect some of the zoo’s populations.
“If we lost accreditation that would be an area of concern. It doesn’t fully limit the ability of the Toronto Zoo … but definitely it would complicate things and it’s not our preferred option,” he said
But he added that he is optimistic accreditation will be maintained because of a new governing model that the zoo is continuing to refine, one he says is inline with the majority of zoological institutions in North America.
“We are having a series of discussions with the city manager’s office. If we get that in place that should strengthen our governance of the zoo and solidify the accreditation,” he said.
Mr. Tracogna added that it was too early to know exactly what council’s role would be, but that aspect of the governing model would be looked at carefully.
The zoo and PAWS are still sorting out the logistics of how the elephants will be transferred to the san

Why elephants need circuses and zoos
The Times' editorial Monday on the L.A. City Council's proposed ban on elephants performing in traveling shows such as circuses paints a romantic picture of elephants as gentle giants. The editorial board seems to buy into the animal extremists' idealistic scenario of happy, fat pachyderms lazily wandering the open plains of Africa or the jungles of Asia, free of disease and conflict with humans.
The reality is far grimmer. The "wild" left for these magnificent animals is rapidly disappearing. Instead, these endangered and threatened animals are often contained within park ranges by fences, or, when no fences exist, villages and fields block historic migration routes, often leading to human-elephant conflict. In Sri Lanka, an island country with the highest elephant-to-human ratio, elephants regularly raid farmers' fields, and human-elephant conflict sometimes leads to deaths -- of both elephants and humans.
In Africa, elephants may walk for miles during the drought months to find water and food -- a harsh reality that elephants in captivity don't have to endure. Captive elephants don't face the threat of being killed by humans from gunshot, electrocution or poisoning as they compete for resources or because their ivory is a valuable commodity. While park rangers do what they can to protect elephants from poachers, too many are being slaughtered. Calves are orphaned and often die without human intervention.
The imaginary Eden created by animal extremists has elephants and humans coexisting without interacting and ignores the reality of thousands of years of history. In fact, Asian elephants have been working in their native lands with their native peoples for thousands of years, just as horses have in lands where horses and people are found together. The Times has not called for an end to bridles on horses, but instead has demonized the traditional tool for working with elephants.
Commands are taught first and foremost to permit personal interaction between humans and elephants, which in turn allows for the provision of better husbandry and veterinary care.  These movements are not taught through force or coercion, just as you would not beat your dog at home to make him sit. Elephants at zoos and circuses are taught primarily through a series of repetition and reward. Click here for a good discussion on training elephants as well as a better explanation of the Assn. of Zoos and Aquariums' policy referenced in the editorial.
It is a good thing that people can see elephants at the L.A. Zoo or up close through traveling circuses. The elephants act as ambassadors for their species living in their range countries. While it may seem pleasant for extremists,0,2105054.story

WCN Are Zoos Doing Enough? 2012
WCN Are Zoos Doing Enough? 2012 from Wildlife Conservation Network on Vimeo.

The Seattle Times Ignites Controversy over Captive Zoo Elephants
It seems as though investigative reporter for the Seattle times, Michael J. Berens, feels as though he’s latched onto another ‘story of the year’ in his recent written series that lampoons AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums)-accredited zoological facilities for their conflicts regarding the state of elephant captivity, their compromised efforts in maintaining a self-sustaining elephant population and successfully producing calves via techniques of artificial insemination. Lovingly entitled “Elephants are Dying out in America’s Zoos”, the report cherry-picks terms to maintain an overall disdainful interpretation of the methods zoos are using to increase their captive elephant populations. The article highlights that the infant-mortality rates in zoos are “almost triple the rate in the wild” at a “staggering 40 percent”.
The associated video report, called ‘Glamour Beasts: the Dark Side of Elephant Captivity’, implores the viewer that zoos fret over producing a viable captive elephant population simply because they are star attractions, with births of their young becoming an effective draw for crowds and in effect, increased donations.

I’m unaware if Berens is on the attack against zoos because of existing personal ideological sentiment, or if he’s been encouraged by the prospects of journalistic success

Elephant Care
Everyone likes elephants. They seem to touch a special spot in the soul of many. People care. People care about their plight in the wild and the threats they face from ivory hunters. It would be a sad and bleaker world without elephants. People care too about how they are kept in captivity, and rightly so.
Where the caring about captive elephant care goes wrong is when one reads or listens too only one side of the story. There are a lot of self styled elephant lovers and experts who condemn the keeping of elephants in zoos without having any real understanding of the issue. Most of these have never worked in zoos or with elephants. Theirs is book knowledge from the wrong books. Much of what they write or read about in newspaper articles or in Facebook groups betrays this lack of understanding and the same myths and lies are recounted.
Elephants are like people. Elephants have their own individual characters and temperaments. Within a captive situation this needs to be considered hand in trunk with its needs as a species.
There are, without a shadow of a doubt some captive elephants which are in urgent need of something different in their welfare. This does not mean that every elephant needs the

Zoo cat spat round 5
Beijing Zoo has agreed to put 45 shelters for stray cats back after negotiations with volunteers Wednesday, the Beijing News reported Thursday.
The negotiations between volunteers and Qian Jinchao, vice president of the zoo, came after Beijing Zoo removed all the cat shelters it built a month ago, leading to the deaths or disappearance of some cats.
Qian agreed to put the shelters in the north part of the zoo and promised not to destroy them in future. All the shelters, provided by Capital Animal Welfare Association, were put

Far North Queensland zoo owner hopes for deal
THE future of Shambala Animal Kingdom at Koah remains unclear after it was passed in at $950,000 at auction on Saturday but owner Elaine Harrison is still hopeful of finding a buyer this week.

If not, the various animals will be sent to zoos in Australia and wildlife parks in Indonesia for breeding and conservation programs.
Ms Harrison said it was disappointing that the zoo, formerly called the Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve, did not sell under the hammer.
People were always fearful or worried about buying a property at auction, she said, although the agents were hoping to be able to present some written offers this week.
The property, in two lots, was available as a fully functioning zoo or as a beautiful piece of land with a number of buildings along with an application for a 30-person luxury lodge and 18 cabins.
But if anyone wanted to keep Shambala Animal Kingdom running as a zoo, they would have to be quick as Ms Harrison said she was due to sign the contracts on sending the animals to other zoos soon.
"The animals are going to be going to where they are going but I still have a couple of days," Ms Harrison said.
She said potential buyers knew she was signing up with three Indonesian safari parks for some of the larger animals in the next few days.
If the property did not sell

Animal rights activists ‘poisoned dolphins with drugs’ claims zoo boss
A ZOO boss has accused animal rights activists of murdering two dolphins with a heroin substitute in a plot to get the park closed down.
The male dolphins suffered slow, agonising deaths during a weekend rave festival hosted by the zoo last year.
Officials believe that clubbers fed the marine mammals lethal doses of buprenorphine.
The party drug — also used by doctors for pain relief and opiate addiction — suppressed the dolphins’ natural instinct to rise to the surface to breathe.

Now Roby Gasser, director of the Connyland park in Lipperswil, Switzerland, has accused two unnamed former keepers of deliberately poisoning the dolphins to stop the zoo’s captive breeding programme.
He claims the keepers — now animal rights activists — deliberately sacrificed the dolphins to get the marine park shut down.
Mr Gasser said: “The Swiss law for the protection of animals

Extinction need not be forever
Biotechnology can help to save endangered species and revive vanished ones. Conservationists should not hesitate to use it, says Subrat Kumar
Charismatic mammals such as cheetahs and tigers are important for wildlife tourism. Yet in India, these and other species are in trouble — or worse. Cheetahs are already extinct here and the country's tiger population was put at just 1,706 in a census last year, down from an estimated 40,000 at the start of the twentieth century. The plight of the tiger is so dire that in July, India took the serious step of banning tourism in core areas of tiger reserves. The ban, which affected 41 tiger parks across the country and drew protests from tour operators and conservationists alike, was not lifted until October, when the government announced tighter regulations for visitors.
Pressures such as habitat loss have led to progressive decline in tiger numbers. Poachers are a bigger threat, and India lacks the funds, manpower and infrastructure necessary to curb the killing of these magnificent mammals. Efforts to protect surviving populations need to be stepped up. But it is high time that we, as a modern society, took on the problem of conservation with greater use of the advanced tools given to us by the tremendous scientific

Primatologist warns of possible great ape extinction
Chance could be lost to learn more about human biology
Great apes, humans' closest relatives, are nearing extinction and people should fear losing the biological knowledge that would die along with them, a primatologist says.
Craig Stanford, co-director of the Jane Goodall Research Center at the University of Southern California, says that four types of great apes — chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans — may become extinct within the next century.

In his new book, Planet Without Apes, Stanford writes that this is a result of habitat loss, poaching, a bush meat black market, disease and political instability.

In an interview that airs Saturday on CBC's Quirks & Quarks, he says humans share the majority of their DNA sequence with great apes, specifically chimpanzees and bonobos, with only a handful of differences in their genetic makeup.

"We're obviously made of the same fabric," he said. "We're made of the same cloth, and when we look at them, we are seeing ourselves."

Losing the great apes would also mean losing

Exclusive: SeaWorld close to filing for an IPO - sources
SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, controlled by Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) and best known perhaps for its performing killer whale Shamu, is close to filing for an initial public offering, according to three sources familiar with the situation.
Orlando, Florida-based SeaWorld may try to raise $500 million to $600 million in the IPO, the sources said on Friday.

SeaWorld has selected Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) to lead the offering, which could come in early 2013, the sources said.

Goldman Sachs did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Blackstone and JPMorgan declined to comment.

Blackstone acquired SeaWorld

Weird Fish Marine Reserve

Morgan Is Not The Only One Having Problems Hearing!
Thursday 13 November saw the yet another judgement from the Dutch courts on the fate of the young, female killer whale “Morgan” who stranded on the Dutch coast in June 2010 and was rehabilitated by the group SOS Delfijn and employees from Dolfinarium Harderwijk.  The animal was deemed unsuitable for release and was moved to live with a group of other killer whales at Loro Park Tenerife, Spain in November 2011.
The recent hearing stated that the permit to move “Morgan” should only be issued if the goal was research or teaching. The judgment conclude that the park on Tenerife conducts research and performs an educational function and therefore the whales move was legal.
The court further saw no reason to believe that the welfare of Morgan danger in Tenerife. If The Orca Coalition disagree they are open to take legal action in a Spanish court.
 Details of the background of this case can be found HERE
This current judgement is the latest litigation brought by The Orca Coalition  a group of animal-rights activists including the Free Morgan Foundation who -along with their supporter Dr. Ingrid  Visser - wish to obtain this animal for a reintroduction experiment in Norway.
Dr Visser has been for sometime an active critic of the care of cetaceans in zoos and aquaria particularly killer whales.  Whilst she has researched killer whales in the wild and was founder of the New Zealand based Orca Research Trust, she was also a Plaintiffs Next Friend in the infamous law-suit in October 2011 by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) against Sea World theme parks; a case which citing slavery and involuntary servitude under the 13th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States for five killer whales display at the parks.  The law suit failed and was subsequently dismissed. 
Ironically, Visser is now herself a possible recipient of legal action due various statements she made against those currently housing and caring for “Morgan” the killer whale in the above cited court hearing.
On the 10 December Dr Visser revealed in an article published in the Digital Journal that she had been threaten with legal action regarding her claims of aberrant behaviour and mistreatment of “Morgan” by Loro Park.  She stated that this was emailed to her on 30 October prior the appearance at the most recent court hearing on 1 November 2012 to which this current judgement relates.
The Digital Journal article was penned by Elizabeth Batt  who along with writers such as David Kirby and Tim Zimmerman have been active in promoting the activities of various animal-rights groups and individuals opposed to the display of cetaceans in zoos and aquaria.  Interestingly, Zimmerman’s web site was allegedly cited in the threatened legal action as a media outlet used by Visser.
This current development does beg some serious questions however as to the timing and motives of this revelation.  Primarily, why was Visser’s dramatic statement not presented at the time of the formal hearing on 1 November either in court or as a press release?  Rather than released via a sympathetic journalist to the public weeks later and a days prior the publishing of the judges ruling on “Morgan” and her welfare.  It could be suggested

Edinburgh Zoo's elephant sex-education video makes kids sick
A BOY almost fainted after watching the graphic video which showed an elephant giving birth.
A ZOO’S sex education programme for primary pupils left kids feeling sick.
One young boy almost fainted when his class, from a primary school in an exclusive district of Edinburgh, were shown a graphic video of an elephant giving birth.
And the Edinburgh Zoo video left several other youngsters feeling queasy, a mum claimed yesterday.
The pupils, aged 10 and 11, from Sciennes Primary were also asked to shout out the names of sex organs on a visit to the monkey enclosure.
Anja Shiefler, whose 10-year-old daughter Ivy was on the trip, said: “The film about the elephant was quite full-on and there was one little boy who felt quite sick and was about to faint.
“Quite a few of the pupils

Arctic wolves rescued from German zoo given new home in Lincolnshire
Four white Arctic wolves rescued from a zoo in Germany have been given a new home in Lincolnshire.
The seven-month-old Hudson Bay Wolves are now settling in at Woodside Wildlife and Falconry Park, in Newball, near L

Simon Cowell wants a pet penguin
Media mogul Simon Cowell wants a pet penguin after falling in love with the flightless birds from watching Jim Carrey children's film 'Mr Popper's Penguins'.

Cowell, 52, has decided that he wants one of the birds for his own after becoming a fan of them in the film, which sees Carrey's character's home get invaded by Gentoo penguins, reported Showbiz spy.

"Watching 'Mr Poppers Penguins' again. I love this film. I really do want a pet penguin (sic)," he tweeted.

Eating Horseshoe Crab

The Dirty War Against Africa’s Remaining Rhinos
The killing of rhinoceroses has escalated dramatically, especially in South Africa, which is home to 75 percent of the world’s rhino population. The slaughter is being orchestrated by brazen, highly organized gangs that smuggle the rhinos' horns to black markets in China and Southeast Asia.

West Midland Safari Park lions in Japanese circus
THE director of West Midland Safari Park says he would never have supplied four white lion cubs if he had known they would have ended up performing in a Japanese circus.

Bob Lawrence said he was shocked at claims by animal rights group the Captive Animals Protection Society that the lions were now performing in the travelling Kinoshita Circus.

Eight cubs were born at the safari park, near Bewdley, and four were sent to entertainment firm Amazing Animals in Chipping Norton in 2010, which passed them on

Happy feet make for a happy penguin
ALISON Edmunds isn't your average masseuse. Instead of applying her fingers to tense human necks, her massage therapy is geared to penguins.

''When I tell people that I massage penguins, the response is shock,'' she says.

But, according to Ms Edmunds, the positive effect that massage can have on an animal, just like on a person, is often immediate.
''They may not be able to say 'Ahh that feels better!' and go back to their office job, but they'll walk off and join the flock, and have a swim, and do their normal thing.''

Massaging penguins is a virtually unheard-of practice, but Ms Edmunds - an animal husbandrist at Melbourne Aquarium and qualified remedial masseuse - says physical therapy takes a ''holistic approach'' to healing and is a genuine treatment option.

''These days, we often pop a pill, and we've put that

Kiev Zoo: animals die of… corruption
A scandal has rocked a zoo in Ukraine’s capital of Kiev. Its owners bought 12 rare Chilean flamingos but what they got was 9 pink flamingos common in Central Asia and North Africa.

The 25,000 dollar deal with a private businessman was signed by the Zoo director who was later sacked for money laundering. Experts claim it’s not the first case and recently the Zoo has been actively involved in local political games.
The Zoo will hardly get its money back while the birds have been allegedly smuggled to Ukraine as neither of them is ringed which is a common practice for official breeders.
This is not the first animal smuggling case at the Kiev Zoo, says the head of SOS Animal Rescue, Tamara Tarnavskaya.
"This is 100% about money-making. The same happened last year when the Zoo bought a very pricey smuggled monkey who died pretty soon but even after its death, the Zoo asked for funds on food and medicines for the animal. The birds are now on quarantine waiting for a court decision."
The scandal arose in the run-up to the forthcoming elections of Kiev’s Mayor which are due in spring 2013. The Zoo has become the favorite weapon in the information war led by local campaigners, says Ukrainian analyst Yuri Ruban.
"The Zoo case is not only about the birds’ color it’s about creating a negative or positive image of the Kiev government. Currently, we have no Mayor but a bunch of politicians who would like to take the chair and are using the Zoo in their battles."
Political battles are leading to animal deaths. In 2006, the Kiev Zoo was excluded from the European Association

Former SeaWorld trainer reaches out to girl bitten by dolphin
Jillian Thomas was feeding a dolphin at SeaWorld Orlando when it partially launched out of the water and grabbed the girl's hand. Now a former SeaWorld trainer is reaching out to the 8-year-old.
Last month Thomas was feeding the dolphins at Dolphin Cove when a marine mammal lunged toward her during the feeding and grabbed her hand. The dolphin was attempting to get the paper tray of fish that Jillian was holding at the time.
The attack left four puncture wounds on the young girl's arm and was captured on video by the girl's parents who wanted to warn other parents of the dangers of feeding wild animals. The video soon went viral and Jillian's story was picked up by mainstream media.
Many reports applauded Jillian for being concerned about the dolphin and for expressing a desire to become a SeaWorld trainer one day. But a former SeaWorld trainer reached out to the young girl in the hope that she would reconsider her decision.

Samantha Berg worked as an Animal Trainer for SeaWorld of Florida for 3-1/2 years from February of 1990 until August of 1993. Berg worked alongside SeaWorld’s beluga whales as well as the killer whales of Shamu Stadium.
Berg now works as a licensed Acupuncturist and is a member of Voice of the Orcas, a group of former SeaWorld trainers who have banded together to reveal the truth behind one of the most popular marine mammal entertainment parks in the world.
Some of Berg's letter appears below:
Dear Jillian,
My name is Samantha Berg, and I used to be a SeaWorld animal trainer. (That's me in the photo,) In fact, just like you, it was my dream when I was your age.
I saw the video of what happened to you at SeaWorld when you were bitten by one of the “petting pool” dolphins. That’s a very scary experience, and I’m glad you are OK.
I also saw that you still want to be a dolphin trainer. I’m impressed that your injury hasn’t frightened you away from your dream. But

Shedd's 'Penguin Hops' beer on tap at Revolution Brewery
Revolution Brewery is using hops from Shedd Aquarium's gardens to brew a new beer -- Penguin Hops.

"In our gardens we have lots of native plants. We have lots of vegetables to show people what that looks like and we have hops," Christine Nye, horticulture manager at Shedd Aquarium, said. "The stuff that beer is made of."
The aquarium planted the hops there several years ago, but this year suddenly there was a bumper crop.
"They went crazy," Nye said.
But what good are hops without a brewery? That's like a penguin without water. So Revolution Brewery on Chicago's Northwest Side came into the picture. That's where the magic brews the hops - and water, malt and yeast - into beer. They're calling it Penguin Hops.
"That's the name the Shedd Aquarium came up with," Wil Turner, head brewer, said. "We were contacted by them and they said they were growing their own hops outside. And they asked if we would be

Three of our rhino horns are missing! Items worth tens of thousands stolen from Leicester museum
Three rhinoceros horns worth tens of thousands of pounds have been stolen from a museum’s secure storage area.
The items, which have been in New Walk Museum’s collection for 50 years, may have been stolen for sale on the black market

South Africa: Nambiti Private Game Reserve's Rhinos Dehorned
Criminal acts call for tough measures and that's the reason Nambiti Private Game Reserve's rhino population has been dehorned; the process having been completed on 22 November 2012.

"The whole exercise went off very well and I am extremely happy with the teamwork and professionalism we witnessed," said Clarke Smith, chairman of the KwaZulu-Natal game reserve. "It's distressing to have to tranquilise such magnificent creatures, but it is necessary and for their own good. I feel a lot more comfortable now that the entire rhino population had been dehorned."

This option, to beat the abhorrent and criminal act of poaching, was the result of much thought and debate. "We see dehorning as one of the strategies to address poaching and applaud any efforts to retain population integrity," said Francois du Toit, CEO of African Conservation Trust.

Pressure from external communities

"Our core focus is on addressing issues of pressure, particularly from external communities surrounding the reserves. To that end we hope to be able to work with Nambiti to develop community conservation agriculture as a means of building a natural resource-based economy, which will reduce pressure on pure tourism as a means of income for these communities."

According to veterinary surgeon Dr. Silke Pfitzer, dehorning a rhino does not hurt the animal provided the procedure is done correctly. Rhino horn, she said, was similar to finger

U.S. Government Lends $105M to Brazil—to Build Aquarium
The U.S. Export-Import Bank, an agency of the federal government, is lending $105 million to the Brazilian state of Ceara to help build an aquarium in its capital city of Fortaleza.

“An anticipated tourist attraction, the aquarium will boast four floors housing 25 large tanks containing approximately 15 million liters of water and showcasing 500 marine species and 35,000 individual specimens,” the Export-Import Bank said in a press release.

“The aquarium will also feature interactive exhibits, two 4D cinemas, one 3D cinema, and an educational platform dedicated to the research and preservation of aquatic life along the Brazilian coastal regions,” said the U.S.-government-controlled bank. “When completed, Acquario will rank as the largest aquarium in the Southern Hemisphere

The Life Sentence
India’s zoos are in a shambles, conservation needs new ideas
Behind Bars
 •In ’06, India had 159 recognised zoological parks, but adding illegal ones, it could number 350-500
•Zoo conditions deplorable, tragedy like at Nandankanan in 2000 when 11 tigers died, always a risk
•Captive breeding not working out, why not spend the money on habitat management in wild?
•Illegal wildlife trade booming in India, evidence to show that zoos are part of the supply chain
Kiara is irresistibly adorable, but as pictures of the tiny Liliger cub went viral, conservationists across the globe started questioning her very existence. Bred in captivity, Kiara is the offspring of a Liger (itself born of a lion-tigress mating) crossed with a lion. In short she is a mutant, a genetic mish-mash of felines bred in captivity that would never exist in the wild. The Novosibirsk zoo in Russia can expect a roar from the public when little Kiara is put on display but, really, the cub is little more than an extravagant experiment with zero conservation values. Closer  home, a more gruesome zoo-related incident

Sea World Indoctrinating Kids With Darwinism, Says Apologist
A young earth creationist is accusing Sea World of "evolutionary indoctrination." Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, says the new dinosaur exhibit at the marine mammal park in Australia pushes Darwinism on children.
Ham's family visited Dinosaur Island, the new attraction at Sea World on the Gold Coast, Australia, which opened in June and will remain open until next summer. After the trip, his son-in-law concluded, "As we saw at Sea World, most parents had no idea what they were doing to their children by taking them to this new 'temple' of evolutionary secular humanism and letting them be indoctrinated in this anti-God religion."
Ham made additional observations on his blog Tuesday, saying that the exhibit has one purpose: "to convince children and mums and dads that Darwinian evolution is fact and that birds are actually dinosaurs (because dinosaurs supposedly grew feathers and became birds)."
For years, Ham, whose apologetics ministry is behind the Creation Museum, has warned that the teaching of evolution to children contributes to the undermining of the authority of God's Word. On top of that, many churches are also rejecting the inerrancy of Scripture and compromising the account of creation in Genesis, he has argued.
"When you believe in millions of years of evolution and add it to the Bible, you actually have to change what the Bible clearly says," he told The Christian Post in an earlier interview. "You have to reinterpret it. That unlocks the door to say that you don't take this as written. You reinterpret it from outside influences, which means that you tell the next generation that you can't take the Bible as written. So you just undermine biblical authority."
Much like the Creation Museum, Dinosaur Island at Sea World features animatronic dinosaurs. Children also have the chance to dig for fossils and play educational games

Indian zoos to draw on German expertise
In an attempt to bring Indian zoos at par with their international counterparts, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) will be signing an MoU with Germany’s Leipzig Zoo on Saturday. Under the agreement, apart from exchange of animals, Indian zoos will also get an opportunity to utilise the expertise of its European counterparts for training of its manpower and also understanding their management practice.
 The tie-ups with zoos of other countries have so far been restricted to exchange of animals. However this time the CZA has initiated the process learning the working style of the world class zoos.

The 130-year-old Leipzig Zoo is one of the oldest and the most modern zoos of the world. The zoo has over 850 species of animals and offers an experience of various continents.

The zoo has themes created on continents including Asia, Africa and South America. It offers a rich experience of the rain forest in Gondwanaland, to apes in Pongoland and the historical founder garden.

The member-secretary of the Central Zoo Authority, BS Bonal and the director of the Leipzig Zoo, Jorg Junhold, will be signing the MoU

International Congress of Zookeepers - Keeper Notes

Future of Underwater World Singapore remains uncertain
SENTOSA’S Underwater World Singapore is keeping mum about future plans even after the opening of Resorts World Sentosa’s Marine Life Park, with its only response being slashing of ticket prices.
Between December 1 and 31, all visitors to the attraction,  which is operated by the Haw Par Group, will pay a flat price of S$15 (US$12.30) per person ­– a rate last seen in the 1990s. Currently, an adult pays S$25.90, while a senior citizen pays S$20.80 and a child pays S$17.60. As part of the promotion, every paying adult can bring a senior citizen or a child in free of charge.
When questioned by TTG Asia e-Daily about the attraction’s long-term strategy, a spokesperson reiterated in an e-mail: “Our primary objective is to offer value to our customers and we have been, and we are likely to continue rolling out promotions that will allow both tourists and locals to experience Underwater World as part of their holistic island journey. Visitors can also look forward to attractive price promotions during special periods.”
Hong Thai Travel Services’ assistant general manager for inbound tours, Tony Aw, revealed that he had asked the attraction as early as 2010 about its future plans, but was not given a satisfactory reply.
He said: “I am afraid Underwater World is going to lose out substantially, as visitors will undoubtedly flock to the Marine Life Park despite the higher admission prices because of its novelty and its sheer size.”
Helen Goh, director of marketing (inbound), Vacation DMC remarked that Underwater World had been overshadowed by the Marine Life Park, which

What is the future of Lincoln Park Zoo's rabies program in Africa?
As the fight against rabies expands to new fronts globally, Lincoln Park Zoo plots its future in Tanzania, where a vaccination program for domestic dogs has been woven into the fabric of daily life
Tucked in a quiet corner of the bustling area occupied by this town's bus station and central market, the setup doesn't look like much: a few of the country's ubiquitous four-wheel-drive vehicles, some men in dress shirts, and a red bucket and a couple of picnic coolers that are at least as beat-up as the trucks.
Atop the bucket, though, is a gleaming array of hypodermic needles, starkly clinical amid the dust and scattered garbage of the market. On the far side of the vehicles is an even more extraordinary sight in Tanzania: dogs on leashes.
Some of the makeshift tethers are rope and some are chain, sudden restraints on a free-range life. As the dogs stand with their mostly boy handlers in an irregular line, they bark and whimper periodically. One dog occasionally challenges another, and the men keep a wary eye on the few animals that seem especially

Court rules orca Morgan's removal to Spain was not unlawful
The removal of the orca Morgan to an amusement park on Tenerife was not unlawful, judges in Amsterdam said on Thursday.

An organisation of marine wildlife experts known as the orca coalition had gone to court in an effort to have the decision reversed. They argue Morgan, who was found in the Wadden Sea in a severely weakened state in 2010, should have been released into the wild instead.

The export licence for Morgan was granted on the grounds the orca would be used for educational purposes. The judge in Amsterdam said this was the case, news agency Novum reported. Nor is there any reason to think Morgan's health is in danger in the amusement part, the judge said.

Morgan's supporters argue she is constantly

Zoo Miami’s New Cheetah Ambassadors Arrive From S. Africa
Zoo Miami’s newest new four legged ambassadors have arrived in South Florida.

They are two male cheetahs which were born in captivity on March 6th of this year at the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre just outside of Pretoria South Africa.  The facility is world renowned for its work with cheetahs and it is also the birthplace of Zoo Miami’s first cheetahs, Savannah and King George, well over

Get elephant Mali out of Manila Zoo now - solons
Lawmakers pushed for the immediate transfer of Mali, a female Asian elephant, detained at the Manila Zoo for over 30 years to Thailand where the animal can live in a sanctuary.

Cagayan de Oro City 2nd district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez asked the local government, the Bureau of Animal Industry and the Protected Area and Wildlife Bureau to conduct the immediate transfer through House Resolution 2885.

Mali, who has been suffering from poor conditions, had recently been making headlines as different groups including the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals appealed to lawmakers and Manila Zoo administrators for the animal's relief.

Rodriguez, supported by Abante Mindanao party

Dubai Zoo new facility to be bigger and better
The Dubai Zoo is a subject that has seen many residents asking what has taken it so long to find the animals a new home.

And though there may be some skepticism surrounding the new Dubai Safari facility planned, as announced in May this year, Essa Al Maidour, Deputy General Manager of the Dubai Municipality’s Engineering and Planning Department, says the project is important for the emirate and that they are committed to ensuring it is the best it can be.

He said: “Zoos are an essential component in a city, both recreationally and educationally speaking. When you educate children you educate them by playing, similarly when they see the animals, touch them and feed them, we will be teaching them how to take care of them.”

To ensure that they get everything right with the new zoo, the municipality has involved international experts who are specialised in zoo and safari construction in the project. They have teams dealing with engineering work and infrastructure as well as teams dealing with biology and following the animals’ requirements and necessary specifications.

Their main aim with the new zoo is to provide a living space for the animals, not keep them penned in.

Al Maidour said: “It’s a safari for the person visiting and for the

41st Annual EAAM Symposium - European Association of Aquatic Mammals
15th to the 18th of March 2013

Marine Animal Welfare
A View To A Kill
A recent survey reported in the UK’s The Guardian newspaper makes very interesting reading on a number of levels.  It was reporting on a survey carried out by the animal-rights lobby group The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in regards to the Japanese’s attitude to whaling and the consumption of whale products.  The poll was commissioned and undertaken by the Nippon Research Centre - a total of 1,200 people were surveyed aged 15 to 79 across all geographical areas in the country.

The survey found that 26.8% of people agreed with Japan's hunting of about 900 whales each year whilst 18.5% opposed the hunts - the rest were undecided.  Of those polled 88.8% had not bought whale meat in the past 12 months.  The IFAW tried hard to make a positive spin on this last statistic by declaring in a press briefing: "The people of Japan are taking whale meat off the menu”.  But as always this issue is far more complex and the poll seems actually to suggest a total failure on the part of the animal-rights and environmental lobby to persuade the Japanese to stop hunting whales – which also should include the

Cleveland zoo to airlift tadpoles to Puerto Rico
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will airlift nearly 5,000 crested-toad tadpoles to Puerto Rico for release into the wild.
The venture begins Monday in an effort to bolster an endangered species in Puerto Rico.
Hatched last week, the tadpoles are narrower than a pencil eraser.
Within two to three weeks their tails will drop away and they will morph into the familiar frog-toad conformation.
The tadpoles are small enough to fit on a dime.
Zoo conservation and science curator Kristen

A gift for Mother Nature

In the big business of elephants, breeding is a key issue, Oregon Zoo finds
Tusko was a catch.
Born in the wild around 1971, with genes that weren't over-represented in the captive population, he was considered one of the most valuable Asian elephants in North America.
Oregon Zoo administrators, strategizing to reignite a breeding program that had once defined the institution and brought it international acclaim, but which had been dormant more than a decade, set their sights on the 13,300-pound bull living at a California elephant ranch.
Way back in 2005

Canadian zoo association gives Marineland passing grade
A national agency that oversees the care of animals in captivity says Marineland's lone killer whale is in good health.
The Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) conducted an unannounced inspection at the Niagara Falls theme park Nov. 27 to assess several areas, including the health of Kiska.
The female killer whale has been alone in a tank since November 2011 after Marineland was forced to return its male orca, Ikaika, to SeaWorld San Diego.
Former Marineland trainer Christine Santos told Toronto media in October that Kiska was bleeding sporadically from her tail.
In a CAZA accreditation report completed Nov. 29 and obtained by QMI Agency, the agency's business manager Greg Tarry said he reviewed copies of Kiska's medical records for November and was also given copies of the daily observation sheets completed by staff.
"This animal appears to be in good health and is eating a full ration," Tarry wrote, adding there were no signs of bleeding or injury. "It is my opinion that there is no cause for concern on the part of the (CAZA) commission regarding the health of the animal at this time."
According to the report, Marineland staff and management were "open and candid in their comments and provided any and all information and assistance requested" during the inspection.
"There were no concerns identified during the inspection that the commission need react to at this time," Tarry wrote.
The inspection also included a water

Feces study gets the poop on gorillas’ diet
Chemical traces in animals’ droppings reflect recent shifts in food consumption
Chemical signatures in a gorilla’s feces reveal a lot about short-term changes in its diet, a new study finds.
What an animal eats tells scientists how it survives in its habitat and adapts to environmental changes. But observing animals dining in the wild isn’t always practical. Now, researchers have tracked monthly shifts in the diets of wild mountain gorillas by measuring different forms of carbon in the animals’ feces.
Researchers monitored eastern gorillas (Gorilla beringei) in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southwestern Uganda over a 10-month period from 2002 to 2003, collecting the apes’ scat and samples of the animals’ favorite foods — leaves, fruit, fruit peels and wood.
Back in the lab, the scientists subjected the dung and plant foods to a rigorous chemical analysis. Specifically, they measured isotopes, different forms of a particular element, such as carbon. Such isotopes are present in distinct amounts in various foods. By measuring the ratio of two carbon isotopes in the gorilla droppings, researchers reconstructed what foods the apes had been feasting on at different times of year, noting a peak in fruit consumption from February to March and from June to July. The study appears online December 10 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Stable isotope analysis has been used (before), but not to study endangered African apes,” says anthropologist

Sumatran tiger sperm bank
In a crouching posture and with a sharp stare for any approaching figure, a tiger gave a loud roar audible some 10 meters away. It was Ara, a once deadly 17-year-old female Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) now kept at Taman Safari Indonesia (TSI) conservation park in Cisarua, Bogor.
“Its right front leg was cut off after getting entangled in a trap set up by oil palm growers in Riau in 1997,” Irawan, head of the park’s education division, told The Jakarta Post at the TSI’s Sumatran Tiger Captive Breeding Center (PPHS) recently.
Ara is one of the nine rare Sumatran tigers now being bred in captivity at PPHS. Discovered at the age of two, it is among those originally caught by local people in the forests of Sumatra. Some of them are old while others are physically impaired. These tigers are considered unfit for release into the wild.
The breeding ground covers 1 hectare of the TSI’s total area of 186 hectares on the slopes of Mount Pangrango. Closed to the general public, PPHS is the world’s only Sumatran tiger captive breeding center.
This center is tasked with rescuing the last of the three tiger sub-species once belonging to Indonesia, after Balinese tigers (Panthera tigris balica) and Javanese tigers (Panthera tigris sundaica) were declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 1940 and around 1980.
Interestingly, the rescue is not only conducted through the natural process of reproduction, but also by building a Sumatran tiger sperm bank, so as to better guarantee the conservation of the last tiger sub-species in the country.
In 2007, at a workshop on the prevention of Sumatran tiger hunting and trading organized in Medan, North Sumatra, wildlife watchdog group Traffic Southeast Asia’s regional program officer Chris Shepherd said Sumatran tigers might go extinct by 2015.
Hunting, habitat fragmentation and forest burning have threatened the existence of Sumatran tigers, now listed as critically endangered animals, the highest category of threat. According to Shepherd, no less than 50 Sumatran tigers were traded in 2006, in whole form as well as in body parts.
Forum HarimauKita, a tiger rescue forum, referred to hunting and conflict with men as major threats to Sumatran tigers. Between

Why White Tigers Should Go Extinct
Everything you’ve been told about this exotic, royal, endangered species is wrong.
A white tiger is a striking creature. Tigers are always impressive animals, but when you take away the orange, the result is a big cat that looks like a phantom out of a dream. They seem almost magical, and yet I firmly believe that the world would be a better place if there was not a single white tiger in it.

There are only about 4,000 tigers, at most, remaining in the wild. Yet there are probably tens of thousands of captive tigers around the world (there is no official census). This would appear to make a compelling case for the existence of zoos and private collections. If tigers can survive and breed well in captivity, then perhaps more can be introduced to the wild when safe habitat becomes available. Yet that system isn’t working the way we think it does. A huge number of the captive tigers are hybrids of various subspecies and are so inbred that they will never be suitable for reintroduction to the wild. No tigers are more emblematic of this problem than white tigers.

I recently asked friends on Facebook to write down their thoughts about white tigers without searching for any new information. Some very intelligent people were under the impression that white tigers are a variety of Siberian tiger, camouflaged for a snowy climate. Others applauded zoos with white tigers for supporting conservation of white tigers while lamenting a lag in reintroduction efforts. Only one out of 27 respondents knew that white tigers are not a subspecies at all but rather the result of a mutant gene that has been artificially selected through massive inbreeding to produce oddball animals for human entertainment.

These Are 12 Of The World's Weirdest Zoos

Pygmy Elephants Get Protection Boost from Genetics
To help protect a diminutive elephant researchers are taking an innovative look at the pachyderm's genome.
The goal is to understand the genetic diversity of pygmy elephants on the island of Borneo. Numbering about 2,000, these babyish-looking elephants are the most endangered subspecies of Asian elephant. They live primarily in the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo, where they are threatened by the loss and fragmentation of their forest, often by development associated with palm oil, widely used, edible plant oil.
"We are interested in looking at the diversity of elephants around the whole distribution range in Sabah," said study researcher Reeta Sharma, a postdoctoral fellow at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC) in Portugal.
Sharma and colleagues want to see how genetic diversity is distributed within the Borneo elephant population and how the fragmentation — or breaking up — of their forest habitat is affecting it by, for example, isolating groups of elephants. Increased isolation can be problematic because it means inbreeding, which can lead to more sickly and vulnerable animals. Their results

Saving Rhinos: crowdfunding campaign on to fund ethical alternative to rhino horn launched by Rhinoceros Horn LLC
Rhinoceros Horn has launched a campaign on crowdfunding site,, to raise funds for an ethical alternative to rhino horn. The company hopes to raise $300,000 USD in order to manufacture and ship its product--a keratin protein powder that its co-founders are teaming up with Keraplast Technologies to produce. The campaign indicates that the product is biologically identical to crushed rhino horn powder and will be used to curb demand for rhino horn in Southeast Asia, and so reducing incentives for poachers to kill endangered rhinos in India and South Africa.

News of this campaign comes just as the number of rhinos killed reached an all-time high of 618, surpassing last year's record of 448. In the last five years, the number of rhinos poached has increased by 4,650 percent from 13 in 2007. Rhino conservation experts recently warned that rhinos will be extinct within ten years if these trends were not reversed. Despite international law protecting rhinos as endangered species, rhino poaching is rampant as poachers kill rhinos for their horn. The illegal contraband is then smuggled into Southeast Asia where it is used for traditional medicine and as a recreational drug.

"This is a serious problem and there is no easy answer," said company CEO, Huyen Hoang. "But any long-term solution must curb demand for rhino horn in Southeast

Questions about Oregon Zoo elephant calf's future put captive breeding in the spotlight
Consider Tuesday's flap over the Oregon Zoo's newborn elephant a peek behind the legal, biological, logistical and philosophical curtain of captive breeding.
Those who follow zoo news, whether they're fans or foes, expressed worry and outrage after the Seattle Times reported Monday night that the 300-pound female calf born Friday in Portland might "be fated to a life with a controversial traveling elephant show."
Anyone minding Oregon's websites and social media could nearly hear a collective: What? How could it be?
Oregon Zoo officials raced to set the record straight. Kim Smith, director, stood at a bank of microphones shortly after 8:30 a.m. and said: "That calf has always been intended to stay here. ... Her family is here. ... It was never a question for us."
Have Trunk Will Travel, the private California elephant ranch that will own the calf once she’s 30 days old, never questioned, either, that the calf would stay at the zoo.
"Have Trunk Will Travel has no intention and has never had any intention of coming to take Rose-Tu’s calf,” Kari Johnson, co-founder, said in an email. "Have Trunk Will Travel supports Oregon Zoo’s vision for elephants and has great appreciation for the way they care for elephants. We are very proud of the significant contribution we have made together for Asian elephants. We could not be more excited about the birth of this new calf.”
A female calf is particularly valuable to the zoo as it works toward a long-stated vision of a large, matriarchal herd. Zoo officials say that scenario is

PERRIS: Elephant trainers angry over article
A recent article in the Oregonian ruffled the feathers of animal lovers in our northern neighbor-state
Great fanfare welcomed a baby elephant born in the Oregon Zoo on Nov. 30, but the article revealed the calf didn’t belong to the zoo. It belonged to Have Trunk Will Travel, a private organization in Perris.

While the article was factually accurate, the way it was phrased made it sound as though the Perris breeder was going to take the baby away from its mommy in about a month, said Keri Johnson, co-owner of Have Trunk Will Travel.

So she and her husband, Gary, fired back at the Oregonian with the letter below.

The Zoo Biology Group is concerned with all disciplines involved in the running of a Zoological Garden. Captive breeding, husbandry,cage design and construction, diets, enrichment, man management,record keeping, etc etc


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