I had a message from Linkedin last week to say that my profile view was in the top 1% bracket for 2012. Wow I thought. How did I do that? It was not as if I tried or made an effort even. A bit of quick maths. There are 200 million Linkedin members. That make me one in with two million others. Doesn't sound so good when put that way. Look at it another way I am way ahead of 198 million users.
I was lucky enough to attend the first day of the 13th annual Conservation Workshop for the Fauna of Arabia hosted by the Environment and Protected Areas and held at the Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife, Sharjah. Unfortunately too busy to catch the other days. My love affair with Arabian Wildlife began in 1951 and has only grown since then... along with a bit of despair.
There has been less real 'zoo news' about since I last wrote. As can be expected there are the usual stories about white animals. Why? Because they appeal to the press and are photogenic. I don't hold with them 'promoting conservation' unless there is a large and very clear sign on their enclosure stating that they are unnatural purposely bred freaks of nature. Okay I agree the odd 'natural' one does pop out. I have no problem with that. Let them make their contribution to the gene pool. But herds of white wallabies or flocks of white rheas is completely wrong.
We have had Valentines Day of course. Every zoo and its sister has jumped on that for publicity and why not? The press love it and it does no harm. Difficult to come up with something really original though.
Then there are the almost weekly 'name the animals' stories. Okay it gets the publics interest but sometimes gets me a little annoyed when I read "Zoo needs help naming.....x y z animal". Perhaps Joe public think we are clueless? Auctioning off names is a great idea and generates funds. Why more collections don't go down that route I don't know.
So the Senate OKs Bill To Let Public Handle Bear Cubs because 'Bear ranchers argue that allowing people to interact with cubs is a vital part of their business'. Bear Ranchers? Just what is a Bear Rancher? Just the name rings of animal exploitation. It stinks of 'Canned Hunt'. Just like all those poor little Lion cubs being reared in South Africa. I don't really need to know more because anyone who deliberately hand rears anything specifically for public interaction is wrong in my books.
Then there is the pastor who wants his snakes returned "We use them in our religious ceremonies. And I believe...if I don't have them there to use, then I'm not obeying the word of God," he said. I am mainly Pantheist and so have no 'religion' as such...though admit to regular Buddhist Temple visits with my other 'wife' when I am back home in Thailand. I have however read the Bible and cannot for the life of me think of any mention of necessary snake handling.
I think we can all learn something from the Shedd Aquarium. See link.
Talking of love affairs, which I was earlier. My good 'friend' and her family visited the Dubai Zoo this week. She is not a zoo person. She said that they had thought that the Giraffe were worthwhile and that the Gorilla was amazing. They were however hurt to see a live mouse dropped into a tank with a snake. The mouse was not killed whilst they were there but they were horrified that this should take place. They really felt for the mouse and two of the family were moved to tears. Sound familiar? No doubt you have experienced or heard of similar reactions before. What may surprise you however is that my friend and her family are Chinese and of poor farmer stock.They genuinely cared for this wee mouse. I thought I should tell you this so you can think of it when you read comments on Facebook or Twitter condemning all the Chinese people because of the behaviour of a few. To me it is the same as lumping all zoos together.
Sticking with the mouse for a moment. I don't believe in 'live feeding'. In 99% of cases it is totally unnecessary. It is carried out partly out of laziness and partly to titillate the public or satisfy the morbid desires of the staff involved. I am no softy. I have in the course of my duties killed more animals than most people have had hot dinners but I hate cruelty. It is not as if I have never 'live fed' because I have but if live feeding can be avoided then it should be avoided. There is rarely a realistic reason for doing something so barbaric.
Giant Isopod. Fascinating...take a look.
'S.Africa opposes total ban on rhino horn exports' "because It would also "discourage the involvement of private landowners in the conservation of white rhinoceroses and undermine national"...Just what does that say to you? To me it simply says that what I have been saying all along is true. These so called 'conservationists' don't actually give a f*** about the rhino. They are in it for the money. As I said in the last Zoo News Digest somebody really needs to look into the bank accounts of some of these people.
The Story "Unearthed elephant ring from Cleethorpes' Marineland Zoo will be preserved under barn at new Pleasure Island farm attraction" made me feel just a little bit old. I was curator of this place way back when and preserving something which had been unearthed sounds very archeological. As to the 'ring' I thought of a ring for chaining but when I read further I realised that was not what they meant at all. Using a ring to describe an elephant enclosure has a very circus sound to it and Cleethorpes was definitely not a circus. Many faults undoubtedly but I put that squarely on the purely commercial money grabbing owners of the place.
So, in a very short space of time we have had the biggest and the second biggest crocodiles die in captivity. One wonders which collection has the biggest now. Surely this must be 'Yai' held in the Samutprakarn Crocodile Park and Zoo. He was reputed to be 19ft 8 inches when I visited back in 2006.
I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos, not DYSFUNCTIONAL zoos.
This blog has readers from 154+ countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote D’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eire, England, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lapland, Lao, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Montenegro, Montserrat, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Northern Mariana Islands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Reunion, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uruguay, US Virgin Islands, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Wales, Yemen, Zambia.
International Zoo News Volume 60/1 January/February 2013
World's second-biggest crocodile Holey euthanased at Gold Coast's Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
QUEENSLAND has lost a second animal icon in a week, with the death of the world's second-biggest crocodile in captivity.
Holey, a 5.1m, 42-year-old saltwater crocodile, was euthanased at the Gold Coast's Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on Friday after vets discovered an aggressive
cancer had spread through its body.
Its death followed that of Australia's oldest elephant, 58-year-old Siam, at Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast on Tuesday.
Holey was believed to be the world's second largest saltwater crocodile in captivity after 5.48m croc Cassius on Green Island. A 6.17m crocodile, Lolong,
was previously the biggest in captivity but died in the Philippines earlier this week.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary senior vet Dr Michael Pyne said losing Holey, who had been at the park for 10 years, was like losing a family member.
“It was a very heartbreaking decision to euthanize such a majestic animal however it was a unanimous decision by a panel of resident and independent
consultant vets based
Town's tears for enormous 20ft crocodile called Lolong who died
A TOWN in the southern Philippines plans to hold funeral rites for the world's largest saltwater crocodile which has died after becoming ill in an eco-tourism park.
THE mayor of Bunawan town in Agusan del Sur province said the remains of the one-tonne reptile, named Lolong, will be preserved in a museum to keep tourists coming and prevent their community from slipping back into obscurity.
The creature, which measured 20.24ft (6.17 metres), was declared dead on Sunday a few hours after flipping over with a bloated stomach in a pond the park in Bunawan town.
Mayor Edwin Cox Elorde said the town had started to draw in revenue and new developments thanks to the crocodile.
"The whole town, in fact the whole province, is mourning," Mr Elorde said.
"My phones kept ringing because people wanted to say how affected they are."
In a news conference, Mr Elorde fought back tears as he recalled how the town took care of the crocodile not as an animal, but like an "adopted son".
Guinness World Records had proclaimed it the largest saltwater crocodile in captivity last year. The reptile took the top spot from an Australian crocodile that measured more than 17ft and weighed nearly a tonne.
The crocodile was named Lolong, after a government environmental officer who died from a heart attack after travelling to Bunawan to help capture the beast. The crocodile, estimated to be more than 50 years old, was blamed for the deaths of several villagers before Bunawan
Senate OKs Bill To Let Public Handle Bear Cubs
The Michigan Senate has approved a bill that would let the public touch and get photos with bear cubs in the state.
In December, Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed similar legislation because it also would have allowed more facilities to acquire and keep large carnivores. But he said
he supported a provision pertaining to bear cubs.
An Upper Peninsula bear ranch had to stop letting visitors pose for photos while feeding black bear cubs last year after being told it was illegal.
The bill would let the public handle bear cubs at 36 weeks old and weighing under 90 pounds.
“These are wild animals; they’re not domestic animals; they are not meant to be domestic animals,” said Tara Harrison, a veterinarian at Potter Park Zoo in
Lansing, who opposes the legislation. ”It takes thousands and thousands of years to domesticate animals. So even though they may tames these bears down, they
still are a risk to people.
“Anytime you take away an animals from its parents and you’re hand-raising them, they now have abnormal behaviors. And it’s not healthy for the babies — they
Giant underwater isopod on 4-year hunger strike, frustrating Japanese aquarium
Takaya Moritaki is tasked with feeding the giant isopods at the Toba Aquarium in Mie Prefecture. He prepares bowls of mackerel for the crustaceans and, for
one of them, it was the fourth year anniversary of its refusal to eat anything at all.
If you haven’t seen a giant isopod before – or maybe have seen a picture and disregarded it as a hoax – it looks like a really big version of a pill-bug, or
a potato-bug, or a woodlouse. The resemblance is very keen because they’re closely related aside from the lifestyle and obvious size differences. The giant
isopod lives 100 meters under the sea. They are shrewd scavengers who have adapted to going for long periods of time without food. However, when food is
present, they can have ravenous appetites, sometimes even biting and cutting through underwater cables.
For Mr. Moritaki’s isopods though, this has not been the case. The Toba Aquarium has two giant isopods, one of them affectionately named “No.1”, which has
been on a hunger strike since 2 January, 2009. Mr. Moritaki has tempted No.1 with whole mackerel in front of the media, placing the dead fish in front of the
isopod’s face. At first, No.1 b
Reptiles and religion: Ky. pastor wants seized snakes returned, says he needs them for worship
A Kentucky pastor is fighting to get his snakes back after police in Tennessee confiscated them, CBS affiliate WKYT reports.
Pastor Jamie Coots says without the five snakes he's not obeying the word of God - plus, he says, his religious rights were violated when authorities seized
the reptiles during a traffic stop.
It started on Jan. 31 on Interstate 40 in Knoxville, Tenn, where it's illegal to have any type of poisonous snake. Pastor Coots, of the Full Gospel
Tabernacle in Jesus Name, in Middlesboro, Ky., was stopped by police for dark tinted windows, and they saw the snakes - three rattlesnakes and two
Coots had just purchased the reptiles for $800.
A Tennessee wildlife officer confiscated them.
"It's really frustrating to say the least," Coots told WKYT.
He said he's been fined before for his snakes, but they've never been taken away.
"Years we've traveled and went and got them
Small Reminder why we should not go into enclosures with big cats especially as it is never necessary
Shedd Aquarium set to become first smart-powered aquarium in U.S.
Shedd Aquarium, Chicago’s most popular cultural attraction, has rolled out a plan that will launch it as the first clean energy-powered facility of its kind
in the country.
“It’s a brand new initiative,” said Elise Waugh, a communications and public relations coordinator at Shedd. “It’s going to be something that other
institutions can look to as a model for their own.”
A Master Energy Roadmap aims to cut energy consumption of the 83-year-old indoor public aquarium in half by 2020. Robert Wengel, the aquarium’s vice
president of facilities, said about 10 million kilowatt-hours, enough to power 750 houses, are expected to be saved annually.
“It’s a comprehensive strategy,” Wengel said. “We’re going to go from an energy saver, which is what we are now, to an energy leader and to an energy
Shedd has begun the journey toward energy efficiency by changing the exhibits’ lighting systems
It’s time to look beyond the tiger
Fighting wildlife crime, other issues related to preserving India’s biodiversity don’t really get much of a mention
When it comes to the budget for conservation in India, the tiger gets the lion’s share, followed by the elephant trundling along in second place. Fighting
wildlife crime and other critical issues related to preserving India’s biodiversity don’t really get much of a mention.
As finance ministry mandarins get down to the business of drawing up the budget for the next financial year, they might do worse than ease up a little on
what seems to be an obsession with the tiger to the exclusion of all other species, although this is the 40th anniversary of Project Tiger, India’s flagship
conservation programme for the national animal.
The national budget for 2012-13, which was announced in March last year, allocated Rs.2,430 crore to the ministry of environment and forests, with Rs.340.06
crore of this going to wildlife preservation.
Project Tiger, the Union government-sponsored scheme under the National Tiger Conservation Authority, got Rs.167.7 crore of this, while Project Elephant got
Rs.22.58 crore. Fighting wildlife crime, which is wreaking havoc on India’s biodiversity and setting back decades of conservation efforts, got Rs.6.3 crore.
This when even insurgent groups are using wildlife crime as a means to fund their activities.
Project Tiger covers about 2% of the country’s geographical area. Is it robust enough to ensure conservation in a mega-diverse country such as India? At the
recently held standing committee meeting of the National Board for Wildlife, conservationists questioned the forests ministry about the preservation of
endangered species that are not within the tiger habitat. The only response seemed to be that the ministry couldn’t do much because of the lack of funds.
India’s wildlife conservation measures are largely lopsided, species-specific and biased towards megafauna, with an extraordinary fascination for the tiger.
A popular theory advocated by some conservationists goes like this—If you save the tiger, you also save the forest ecosystem, as the tiger is at the apex of
the food chain and is an excellent indicator of the health of other species.
Why this obsession with the tiger? “There are many species that are dying, but not many are bothered. What about species in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
or the Himalayas, where we do not have tigers? How will Project Tiger save them? What about riverine and marine species and the vast grasslands of Gujarat
and Rajasthan?” asked Asad Rahmani, director, Bombay Natural History Society, and a member of the national board.
“Project Tiger is a success, but a greater support of all types of habitat protection and biodiversity conservation is needed,” Rahmani said. “Remember, the
tiger is only a part of biodiversity.”
India is one of the 12 mega-diverse countries in the world. It is home to 7.6% of all mammalian species, 12.6% of birds, 6.2% of reptiles, and 6% of
flowering plant species on the planet.
Altogether, 132 species of plants and animals from India are tagged as critically endangered in the Red List of threatened species drawn up by the
International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The tiger is not on the list and, out of 15 critically endangered bird species in India, eight are not found in any tiger reserve.
In 1972, when the tiger was notified as the country’s national animal, replacing the Asiatic Lion, the Great Indian Bustard was all set to be nominated the
national bird, but it lost out to the peacock, as the name got embroiled in arguments over pronunciation. Today,
S.Africa opposes total ban on rhino horn exports
South Africa announced its opposition to a total ban on rhino trophy exports, saying it has beefed up hunt rules amid a poaching crisis that has killed 96
animals this year.
The government backed a recommendation by the UN wildlife trade regulator CITES secretariat that a proposal halting trade in rhino trophies and products be
rejected at an upcoming meeting.
"We also welcome CITES’ acknowledgement of the recent significant steps taken to improve the management of rhino hunting," said environment minister Edna
Molewa in a statement.
Kenya has proposed that a zero export quota be put in place in Swaziland and South Africa, which has the world's biggest white rhino population and allows
It is one of dozens of proposals on the global wildlife trade that will be voted on at next month's meeting of the 176-member country body in Bangkok.
The CITES secretariat said that South Africa had taken "significant steps to improve its management of rhino hunting".
Rather than trophy hunting having a negative impact on white rhino population, it said "available information suggests the contrary".
South Africa overhauled its rhino hunt rules amid a scandal over abuse of permit system that saw prostitutes organised to pose as marksmen to smuggle horns
to the international market.
The stricter rules had "resulted in a significant reduction in the number of hunting applications received", the environment ministry said.
The proposed ban, of several years, would halt a potentially sustainable and beneficial management model, said the CITES secretariat.
It would also "discourage the involvement of private landowners in the conservation of white rhinoceroses and undermine national and local rhino management
strategies", it added.
The proposal would also apply more restrictions than in other countries where rhino
J/Brice to design outlets at $40m Jeddah aquarium
US-based hotel and resort design firm J/Brice Design International has been appointed to design three restaurants at the upcoming Sea Wonders Aquarium in
The restaurants include an American-themed family restaurant called Ocean Drive after the art-deco revival in Miami’s resort area; a chic Japanese sushi
restaurant, and a shisha bar, located on the Red Sea shoreline The Promenade.
“Our participation in this remarkable center is a logical addition to our immersion in the Saudi marketplace, serving as a springboard for future cultural,
educational, and entertainment themed projects as the nation strives to meet demand for notonly hotel properties, but for entertainment, conferences,
academic facilities and other associated consumer outlets during this period of major expansion,” J/Brice Design CEO and founder Jeffrey Ornsteins said in a
The US $40 million Sea Wonders Aquarium, developed by The Fakieh Group, will comprise 7000 marine animals of more than 200 species, including sharks,
dolphins and sea lions.
The aquarium, which includes conference facilities, can accommodate 14,000 visitors a day
Today at Big Cat Rescue Feb 9 2013 Big Cat Rescue Wins
Legal victory against tiger cub exploiter!
Many of you have followed our two year long legal battle against Joe Schreibvogel and GW Exotic Memorial Animal Park. Schreibvogel constantly breeds tiger
cubs to use to make money by charging people to pet or take photos with them, both at his park and on a “road show” that exhibits at malls and fairs. As part
of our increasing focus on advocacy work, we have contacted these venues to educate them about why we believe this was mistreatment of the animals and why it
was also bad business because it offended the many people who love animals and oppose this exploitation.
Among his many other unprofessional responses and attacks on Big Cat Rescue and Carole personally, in 2010 Schreibvogel decided to use the name Big Cat
Rescue Entertainment for his traveling exhibit. He created a logo where the words Big Cat Rescue looked very much like our logo, and even starting using a
phone number with our area code, to create confusion and damage
Gentoo penguin dies at Calgary Zoo after swallowing wooden stick
A Gentoo penguin has died at the Calgary Zoo after swallowing a wooden stick it found inside it’s enclosure.
The news was revealed to the Calgary Sun this week, more than two months after the incident.
The penguin died as a result of complications from surgery, autopsy results found an abscess in her esophagus.
It’s the second confirmed death of a bird at the zoo, after a Great Grey Owl became trapped in a connecting gate and died while it was being transferred.
There’s no word yet as to how the penguin found the stick and how it wound up in its environment.
Dr. Steven Emslie with the University of North Carolina chalks it all up to an unfortunate accident.
The marine biologist, whose made a career out of working with Gentoos, tells 660News the birds are naturally curious and playful.
“It was probably picking it up and somehow accidentally swallowed it,” he says. “It may have been thinking it was perhaps food because they feed the penguins
with food on the ground there.”
He admits while he doesn’t have all the facts, he believes it could have been at the zoo or in the wild.
“Unless it happened again, I wouldn’t really be concerned about
Foreign Funding Saves Sun Bears in Balikpapan
A plan to relocate rescued sun bears from a sanctuary in Balikpapan has been scrapped after the Vietnamese and Dutch governments stepped in with an offer to
fund the care of the animals.
Andi Burhanuddin Solong, the speaker of the Balikpapan City Council, said on Tuesday that the offer of aid was made two weeks earlier, adding he was
surprised that the plight of the bears had drawn international attention.
“The representatives from the Vietnamese and Dutch governments asked that we not move the sun bears away from that location,” he said.
“They have expressed their readiness to provide operational aid for the care of the six sun bears in the sanctuary, and I agree that they should stay.”
The plan to move the bears and turn the 9.5-hectare site into a commercial campsite was initially proposed by the City Council and the municipal
Last month, Andi said it was no longer feasible to maintain the sanctuary as a conservation
Sultan Thaha Airport to become “zoo airport”
Jambi Governor Hasan Basri Agus said on Wednesday that the Sultan Thaha Airport in the province would become a “zoo airport” as it would be integrated with
the Taman Rimba Zoo in Jambi.
“Integrated with the zoo, the Sultan Thaha Airport will become a zoo airport and this is the one and the only zoo airport in the world,” he said. The airport
would also be integrated with an MTQ compound which was home to several buildings which replicated Jambi traditional houses from each regency and
municipality in the province. It was also possible to have a hotel in the area, he said.
Hasan said flight passengers could first visit the zoo before they proceeded to the airport’s departure terminal. With the zoo airport, passengers could also
have a great place to spend time if t
Unearthed elephant ring from Cleethorpes' Marineland Zoo will be preserved under barn at new Pleasure Island farm attraction
WORKMEN have unearthed historical artefacts dating back to when enormous creatures roamed Cleethorpes – but we're not talking dinosaurs.
The old elephant ring from Cleethorpes Marineland Zoo has been discovered deep underground during work on the new Furry Friends Farm attraction at Pleasure Island.
The ring has remained in perfect condition since the zoo closed in 1974 – but its discovery will unearth fond memories for many.
Pleasure Island owner Melanie Wood – whose father, Robert Gibb, coincidentally worked for the zoo – is thrilled
Thriving Afghan zoo’s plans to expand worry its champions
In 2001, as the Taliban government collapsed, the Kabul Zoo had been almost destroyed by years of war and neglect. Exhibits were bombed out, and many of the animals had been maimed, been eaten by hungry Afghans or died of hunger.
That’s when the North Carolina Zoo stepped in with more than $400,000 it had collected in donations. Other foreign groups pitched in, and the donations eventually reached nearly $2 million.
The result: Despite being no larger than a suburban U.S. high school campus, the zoo has become one of the most popular leisure attractions in Afghanistan – so popular, in fact, that ticket sales generate more money than it costs to operate the attraction.
Now Kabul’s mayor wants to make the zoo more than five times larger – with more animals, more space and more crowd-pleasing species from places such as Africa.
Those who helped revive the zoo say that might be a big mistake.
"Getting them to understand what they can do that will be sustainable, given their resources and the climate there, is difficult," said David Jones, the director of the state-owned North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, which covers 150 times more land than its counterpart in Kabul.
Jones, who’s long been involved in helping zoos in the developing world, said the idea of a sprawling zoo with more species from more places raised a host of issues, including simply the cost of heating and cooling animals’ housing in Afghanistan’s climate, which is known for its big swings in daily and seasonal temperatures.
Jon Coe, one of the world’s best-known zoo designers, was hired in 2011 as part of a $120 million aid package to improve the city from the U.S. Agency for International Development. His design for the zoo emphasized native species, education, conservation, the health of the animals and sustainability over flash. The area for animals would grow only moderately. The emphasis would be on species native to Afghanistan. Land across the Kabul River that’s been earmarked for expansion would become a conservation-minded river park tied in with the zoo.
The idea was a zoo that Kabul could afford to run properly even if the foreign funding that now fuels the city’s budget dries up, Coe said in an email from his home in Australia.
His design, though, has failed to satisfy the mayor, Mohammed Younas Nawandish, a short, mustachioed, wildly popular buzzsaw of a man dubbed "The Builder of Kabul."
For one, Nawandish says, the animal enclosures must expand across the river, where Coe had foreseen a family-friendly park.
"The condition of the zoo is very good, but unfortunately we don’t have a lot of animals," Nawandish said in an interview. "We will change that. It will be an excellent park, and at the same time a zoo, and it will be very nice."
Nawandish, a civil engineer by training, is famed for 17-hour workdays and striding the streets of the city day and night, looking for things to improve. Backed with Western aid money, he’s paved miles of dirt roads, built dozens of parks and playgrounds, installed streetlights and planted thousands of trees. He has huge plans to construct entire new neighborhoods.
As for the zoo, he wants animals that will amaze.
"I want elephants,” he said.
Tales of what happened to the animals during the nation’s civil war and the period of Taliban control are part of the zoo’s lore: A handful of unpaid zookeepers dodged bullets to get supplies to the animals. Taliban soldiers slept in the zoo, eating the rabbits and deer, and shooting other animals for fun.
The aquarium was damaged in the fighting and shelling destroyed a parrot enclosure. Most famously, Marjan the Lion lost an eye, his hearing and his teeth to a grenade. He died in 2002, but he remains a symbol of the zoo.
As the zoo’s plight became known, the N.C. Zoo Society, the North Carolina Zoo’s private fundraising arm, hoped to get about $30,000. Instead, more than $430,000 poured in. The money helped rebuild exhibits, pay staff and buy animal feed. The North Carolina Zoo also helped with animal care, staff training and a business strategy.
The zoo today is clean, and the modest enclosures and animals appear to be in good condition. There’s a food stand, a Ferris wheel, security cameras, more than 100 species of animals and insects, and 40 employees. Officials claim that attendance was 600,000 last year.
The zoo now has an education center that 30,000 students visited last year, and it’s been allowed to join international zoo groups, including the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which will give it access to high-quality training for the staff.
The zoo is popular in part because it’s a safe, peaceful refuge, particularly for women and children, in a city that has few.
On a recent Friday, despite snow on the ground and near-freezing temperatures, hundreds turned out. Several of them liked the mayor’s plan.
Abdul Aziz, 45, a taxi driver, had eight members of his family in tow.
"You’re always coming into the zoo and seeing the same animals each time," he said. "This is my third visit this winter, but the animals are the same. We certainly want more animals. Expansion of the zoo gives us the opportunity to come every week, maybe, and get familiar with different kinds of animals."
The mayor says the bigger zoo will pay its way by attracting more people. Jones is skeptical, though, because the market size won’t change. It’s unlikely that many people would travel from outside Kabul to go to the zoo, he said.
There are plenty of Afghan animals that could form the heart of a terrific zoo along the lines Coe suggested, Jones said. Among them are one of the world’s most diverse groups of cats, including snow leopards and Asiatic lions. Other exciting species include the Markhor, a massive mountain goat with bizarre spiraling horns.
"They’ve got a lot that is really interesting, and
www.zoolex.org in February 2013
~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~ ~°v°~
Hello ZooLex Friend,
We have worked for your enjoyment!
NEW EXHIBIT PRESENTATION
The African House for Giraffes at Prague Zoo is part of a mixed species exhibit. Giraffes, zebra, gnu, ostrich and antilopes are displayed together in an outdoor African savannah exhibit. Meerkat can be seen next to the building whose design is inspired by African villages. Indoors, visitors can see red river hog, aardvark and various African bird species.
PUBLICATIONS ON ZOOLEX
Recent additions to publications on ZooLex:
National enclosure standards in New Zealand and Switzerland:
- Containment Facilities For Zoo Animals. MAF Biosecurity New Zealand.
Standard 154.03.04. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Wellington, New Zealand (2007).
www.zoolex.org/publication/2007_new_zealand_standards.pdf (628 KB)
- Minimum Requirements for the Keeping of Wild Animals.
Schweizer Tierschutzverordnung TSchV vom 27. Mai 1981
(Stand 4. Sept. 2001) SR 455. Bundesbehörden der Schweizerischen
Eidgenossenschaft. Bern, Schwitzerland (2001).
www.zoolex.org/publication/2001_switzerland_standards.pdf (56 KB)
Suggestions for barrier designs by the Indian Central Zoo Authority:
- GUPTA Brij Kishor (2008) Barrier Designs for Zoos.
Central Zoo Authority. Ministry of Environment & Forest, India.
www.zoolex.org/publication/gupta/gupta_barrier_design.pdf (50,7 MB
Chimps at Chester Zoo use grooming as a currency
Chimps at Chester Zoo use grooming as a currency, according to new research from an LJMU scientist.
Dr Nicola Koyama from LJMU’s Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology, found evidence to support a mating market with the chimps at Chester Zoo, with sexually receptive females receiving and being able to demand more grooming from males.
The research, which has been published in the journal ‘Animal Behaviour,’ showed that, over a three-year period, males gave more grooming to females when they had swelling on their bottoms (indicating the time of ovulation) and when there were fewer females with swelling they were able to demand more grooming from the males.
The scientists also discovered that males who
Knut the polar bear becomes museum display
Adorable in life, still attracting admirers in death: Knut the polar bear's hide has been mounted on a polyurethane body and is going on display in a Berlin museum.
The Natural History Museum on Friday unveiled the statue prepared by taxidermists featuring the famous Berlin Zoo bear's fur and claws, with the synthetic body and glass eyes.
The display runs through March 15. Knut will then be added to the museum's scientific collections.
Knut was hand-raised after his mother rejected him. He rose to stardom in 2007 as a cuddly cub, appearing on magazine covers, in a film and on mountains of merchandise. He died in 2011 after suffering from encephalitis.
The museum dismissed
TARONGA Western Plains Zoo has a long-term plan to solve the mystery deaths of four female white rhinos almost a year ago.
Senior keeper of white rhinos Pascale Benoit yesterday revealed the zoo had frozen and stored samples in the hope that future scientific advances could make them useful in determining why the animals died.
Ms Benoit, who still wipes away tears when she speaks of the dead rhinos, has previously stood at the open-range zoo's white rhino exhibit and counted 10 of the "magnificent" and endangered creatures.
There were five females and two males in residence when the killer illness reared its ugly head in early 2012.
The only female to survive was Mopani, that, like staff at the zoo, has struggled to comprehend the dramatic loss.
Yesterday Ms Benoit reported that she was seeing the "old Mopani come back" thanks to a 2.5 tonne beauty that may kick-start the white rhino breeding program.
Female white rhino Likewizi was born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo but has lived most of her life at Victoria's Werribee Zoo.
Her return to Dubbo, to become a companion to Mopani and a mother, is lifting spirits.
Mopani and Likewizi are becoming thick as thieves.
"It was almost a godsend for Werribee to return Likewizi to us," Ms Benoit said.
"There has been a complete turnaround."
Motherhood it not a fait accompli for Likewizi, yet to produce a calf.
She left Dubbo in 1989 because her sire was the only male in the white rhino enclosure.
Across the next six months Likewizi will undergo a series of fertility tests.
"The plan is we'll do some hormone therapy just before she goes with the bull," Ms Benoit said.
"A little bit similar to what they do when preparing for IVF.
"If we get her to breed, that's going to be a bonus, and we can start increasing our numbers again."
The zoo has its eye to the future and across the world, searching for the reason why its treasured inhabitants died without explanation.
"We keep monitoring other populations and wild animals, the feelers are out there just in case we see it anywhere else," Ms Benoit said.
The senior keeper sai
Revealed - secrets of the Torquay penguin keepers
On land they are funny little people, waddling like cartoon characters. In water they are torpedo-swift swimmers – they dart past the underwater windows with a sideways glance that seems to say "Fooled you!"
Living Coasts, Torquay's "coastal zoo", is home to two species, Africans – officially listed as endangered – and macaronis. It is one of the largest flocks of penguins in the UK. The main penguin keepers are Lois Rowell and Amy Fitzgerald.
Like all top zoos, Living Coasts has a mission to make a difference. It puts money into international research to help penguins in the wild and gives to SANCCOB, the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds.
"Keeping penguins is not like keeping other birds," said Lois. "They can be difficult," admits Amy. "But penguin keeper is my dream job. I love how penguins interact with people, how they respond to and recognise their keepers. They have a fun, happy-go-lucky nature."
Lois explains that it's harder to keep crested penguins than African penguins.
"African penguins are used to weather like ours, although the sea currents are colder. The macaronis come from sub-Antarctic islands where temperatures are more extreme. They could overheat here if not carefully managed. They need plenty of shade, and we have an industrial fan which sprays a fine mist of cold water."
The breeding habits of macaroni penguins are unusual. They lay two eggs – the first is only about 60% of the size of the second, has less chance of being fertile and is usually kicked out of the nest before the second is laid.
Lois says: "African penguins are burrow nesters, so to check the nest we have to lie down and use a torch. This can be quite hazardous if the penguin objects, as they have very sharp beaks. I have had a torch broken by an angry penguin!"
What do you have to look out for when you are caring for penguins? "As with any colony bird, some individuals are more outgoing than others," says Amy. "It is important to ensure timid birds get every-thing they need."
Living Coasts has a reputation for being good with penguins. What's the secret?
"Experience, enclosure design..." says Lois. "The sand is deep, so the Africans can dig down to nest. We add half pipes to stop the burrows collapsing, but otherwise the penguins dig their own nests.
"Also, there's natural seawater from Tor Bay. The enclosure is large and the location is ideal, right on the coast with plenty of clean sea air."
How many of the penguins can the keepers recognise? "All of our penguins are tagged for ID. We keep detailed records of parentage
The moment a killer whale calf was born in SeaWorld San Diego
A killer whale at San Diego SeaWorld has given birth to a 300lb calf.
Kasatka gave birth after an hour of labour, following a
Marineland lawsuit accuses former trainer of plotting to steal walrus
Marineland has sued whistleblower Phil Demers for trespassing on the park’s property, claiming he also schemed to steal Smooshi the walrus.
Marineland has sued former trainer Phil Demers for trespassing on the park’s property, claiming he also schemed to steal Smooshi the walrus.
The $1.5 million suit against Demers, who worked as a senior marine mammal trainer, says he unlawfully stormed the park during a live stadium show on closing day last Oct. 7. Demers was with other activists, says the suit.
Demers was one of eight initial whistleblowers who told the Star last August that sporadically poor water had caused blindness and other health problems among seals, sea lions and dolphins.
In an interview Thursday, Demers said he “never went in” and has proof from others who were involved that day in a protest outside the park.
“The notion that I’m ‘plotting’ to steal Smooshi is absurd,” he said. “I also doubt my second floor apartment would hold a walrus.
“My hands are full enough with my cats.”
The suit says: “Mr. Demers and others agreed on or about October 7, 2012 to unlawfully gain entry into Marineland at a time known only to them, utilizing Mr. Demers’ knowledge of Marineland security as a former