Monday, May 27, 2013

Zoo News Digest 25th - 27th May 2013 (ZooNews 850)

Zoo News Digest 25th - 27th May 2013 (ZooNews 850)

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Dear Colleagues,

Latest on the tragedy at South Lakes.

VERY IMPORTANT (I will repeat this several times over coming weeks as I know some people do not read every issue)- After several years my postal address has changed. It is now:

Peter Dickinson
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Westminster Chambers
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Tiger that killed zoo worker 'dragged her into its enclosure'
Police contradict idea that keeper went into tiger's pen, and do not believe there was a risk of animals escaping to public areas
A zookeeper mauled to death by a tiger was attacked while carrying out routine duties, police have said.

It has emerged that Sarah McClay, 24, was in the staff section of the big cat enclosure building at South Lakes Wild Animal Park, Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, when the rare Sumatran tiger confronted her.

Animals are supposedly prevented from entering the staff area and officers are investigating how it got in.

Detective Chief Inspector Bob Qazi said: "We are still trying to establish exactly how and why the tiger has been able to get from the pen into the staff area and at the moment believe this to be because of a human or system error, or mechanical failing, or a combination."

The owner and founder of South Lakes Wild Animal Park, David Gill, had previously claimed that McClay "inexplicably" broke health and safety rules and was actually inside the animal's enclosure when she was attacked on Friday.

He had said: "After investigation by the authorities here and the police, it does seem that she just basically failed to follow the correct procedures.

"For some unknown reason, an inexplicable reason, because there is no reason for why she did it, she open

STRUGGLING to hold back the tears, South Lakes Wild Animal Park owner David Gill has described the harrowing moment he shot at two of his endangered tigers as they viciously attacked one of his zookeepers.
Within 30 seconds of Sarah McClay entering the tiger enclosure, Mr Gill was on the scene, but as he told the Evening Mail, there was little anyone could do after the attack by Alisha and Padang, the zoo’s two 11-year-old Sumatran tigers.

“I was first on the scene, within half a minute,” he said.

“I shot at them, I tried to kill them... but I couldn’t get a clean shot because I was so frightened of shooting her as well. It was horrible. I couldn’t do what I knew I had to do.”

Mr Gill explained how Padang, the male Sumatran, had instigated the attack - something which would be considered “normal” in the wild.

“The male is the dominant cat, he will always attack first,” he said. “The males are twice the size of the females and Padang had taken control.”

Despite Mr Gill’s bond with t

Zoo takes terrible toll on animals
Melani the Sumatran tiger heaves herself painfully to her feet, walks to the fence and is hand-fed a few pieces of chicken cut into small chunks. She's skin and bone, but she eats less than a child might before returning to chew, like a sick domestic cat, on the grass.

There are less than 400 of Melani's kind still roaming the dwindling forests of Sumatra, and soon this zoo-bound specimen will also be dead, after spending most of her life in squalor in Surabaya Zoo.

She suffers from an unidentified wasting disease which means her food, even when it's minced, passes through her, almost entirely undigested.

She's the latest casualty in a zoo that's become infamous for killing its occupants. International expert Ian Singleton believes it and almost all other zoos in Indonesia should be closed down ''or at very least forced to upgrade dramatically'' under strictly enforced deadlines.

Last year the world was alerted to the problems at the zoo in Indonesia's second-largest city when a giraffe died and was found to have a 20-kilogram ball of plastic in its stomach.

Last month, Rezak, another Sumatran tiger, died. He was old but also had lung disease contracted in a tiny, permanently damp, cage.

''The holding facilities were shocking, wet all the time,'' says Tony Sumampau, the head of the Indonesian Zoological Parks Assoc

Second chance for rare turtles
One hundred rare turtle hatchlings have been released into the Mekong River in Cambodia as part of conservation efforts, after receiving a traditional Buddhist blessing from monks.

Listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and found mainly in Southeast Asia, the critically endangered Cantor's giant soft-shelled turtle was believed to be extinct in Cambodia until it was rediscovered in the Mekong River in northeastern Kratie province in 2007.

Since that rediscovery, Conservation International (CI), a US-based environmental NGO, has made inroads into protecting the species and ensuring its continued survival

UAE reaffirms resolve to fight wildlife crimes
Nation’s commitment to protect flora and fauna evident in intervention to stop illegal shipment of tusks
The timely interception by Dubai Customs authorities, to prevent the illegal shipment of elephant tusks, signifies that countries opposed to smuggling and selling of endangered species of animals or their body parts, are escalating their operations against poachers.
The mass slaughter of elephants for ivory is resulting not only in endangering the species and lowering their numbers, but also in promoting the ivory trade, which is illegal in most countries. It is believed that a staggering 50,000 elephants may have been killed for their ivory last year. This leads to a waning of numbers. The UAE is a proactive player in regulating and controlling international trade in wild flora and fauna. Stringent federal laws have been set up to thwart the ambitions of those who indulge in such activity. Punitive measures are also set in place.
More than the laws that are formulated, however, it is also up to individuals or customers who must play their part in curbing this illicit activity. Awareness is crucial. Think before you buy works m

Zookeeper Sarah McClay dies after being mauled by tiger at Cumbria animal park
24-year-old woman was taken by ambulance to Preston Royal Infirmary
A 24-year-old woman has died after she was attacked by a tiger inside an enclosure at a zoo in Cumbria.

Police said Sarah McClay was attacked at the South Lakes Wild Animal Park, near Dalton in Furness. She was taken by air ambulance to Royal Preston Hospital following the attack, where she later died.

Police and Barrow Borough Council are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Ms McClay's family were "very shocked and distressed" and had requested privacy to grieve, police said.

Cumbria Police said the animal was later securely locked in its enclosure and there had not been any risk to the public.

The wildlife park closed early following the attack, as officials from Cumbria police and Barrow Borough Council arrived to investigate the circumstances leading to the incident.

David Gill, the o

Endangered Species: Egypt's gazelles
Egypt’s gazelle population has decreased consistently and drastically for the past four decades mainly due to two factors: unregulated hunting practices and habitat destruction.

Three species of gazelle used to live across Egypt. The Arabian gazelle is thought to have completely disappeared, as the most recent footprints of this mammal were found in the 1930s in Wadi al-Arish at the border with Israel.

The slender-horned gazelle’s population is difficult to estimate, but according to Omar Attum, professor of biology at Indiana University Southeast who closely studies Egypt’s gazelles, the number of slender-horned gazelles is likely no higher than a hundred.

“Slender-horned gazelles have low population densities. There have been some records of them in Siwa recently, but I really worry as the revolution in Libya has made weapons more widely available in a very large and porous border area,” he explains, stressing that whenever there is an armed conflict anywhere in the world, wildlife is threatened.

Richard Hoath, British naturalist and author of the book, “A Field Guide to the Mammals of Egypt,” explains that the population of slender-horned gazelles is limited to an area southwest of Fayoum. “This gazelle is strictly a desert species; it is able to survive without drinking water its entire life, provided it can feed on desert shrubs and bushes,” he explains animatedly.

The most common gazelle in Egypt today is the Dorcas gazelle, which lives in stony deserts and coastal plains with vegetation. Gazelles in desert areas play an important role of keeping the ecosystem balanced, as some

Animals escape from Alberta zoo; staff say holes cut in fences
RCMP are investigating after workers at a private zoo in Alberta say pen fences were deliberately damaged this weekend, allowing a number of exotic animals to escape.
According to GuZoo Animal Farm staff members, more than 11 holes were cut in pen fences sometime between late Saturday evening and early Sunday morning. A number of animals, including yaks, buffalo, Barbados Blackbelly sheep, coyotes, ostriches and a sika deer escaped.
Staff members say the perimeter fence of the family-owned zoo was not damaged and workers were able to corral the animals and return them to t

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