Friday, June 21, 2013

Zoo News Digest 19th - 21st June 2013 (ZooNews 859)

Zoo News Digest 19th - 21st  June 2013 (ZooNews 859)

Musk Ox Calf at Highland Wildlife Park
Photo Credit - Alex Riddell  

Dear Colleagues,

The only good thing about "Russian zoo shows off unique ‘liliger’ cubs" is seeing the word 'unique' used correctly for a change. The real sadness about this irresponsible breeding is that they will have no problem placing the cubs with equally irresponsible breeders elsewhere. Zoos which display freaks for cash are Dysfunctional Zoos and all else they do is questionable. Try and get beyond the hype and flashy self congratulatory websites and see what they are really doing.

Look at this "White tigress dies after delivering stillborn cubs in Delhi Zoo". Why did she die you may ask. Read on and you will find the reason "We are trying to increase the number through inbreeding," the official said..... Come on....pull your finger out CZA. I sometimes wonder if the people with authority know anything about the purpose of the modern good zoo.

Double congratulations to the Philippines for their plans to destroy their confiscation of Elephant Ivory. Why double? Because they don't intend to burn it and so create pollution. Truly this has to put out a message. Now let us have Africa publicly destroy all the stockpiles of Rhino Horn hidden away in bank vaults. There are a load of fat cats just waiting for the sale to become legal. I dare say they are bankrolling those asking for a relaxation of the laws. I don't believe that legalisation of sale is the way forwarded in spite of listening to Dr Duan Biggs.

Though Zoos are my main interest in life they are not the only thing. I am interested in a wide variety of things and write on some of these. My most visited articles on the internet this week were:

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
Suite 201,
Westminster Chambers
7 Hunter Street

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


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SeaWorld San Diego Unveils Penguin Breeding Program Success
SeaWorld San Diego has announced it has successfully produced the first penguins in the world conceived through artificial insemination.
"It's just amazing. It's an incredible feeling not only to work with these amazing animals but to know we're doing a lot of things that can help their species," said Lauren DuBois, Assistant Curator of Birds. 
On Thursday, DuBois unveiled one of four Magellanic penguins believed to be the first successful result of artificial insemination for any type of penguin.
There has been some work with artificial insemination with King penguins but that effort was unsuccessful.
“Timing is everyth

Is it too little, too late to save the Leadbeater's possum?
There are big problems to be solved to save Leadbeater's possum, Victoria's endangered faunal emblem. And it is good a new group formed by the Napthine Government has been charged with considering some of them.
But it is hard not to conclude that to date the state government has been dragging its feet.
The Leadbeater's possum is an elusive species. First discovered in 1867, it later disappeared only to be found again in 1961 after a long search.
Its future is also proving elusive, but any disappearance this time could be permanent.
The 2009 Black Saturday bushfires wiped out 42 per cent of its habitat, and conservationists and scientists say continued logging in the Mountain Ash forests to Melb

Restoring Trees to Save South Africa's Rarest Parrot
The Cape parrot needs more yellowwood trees to survive.
The green and gold Cape parrot (Poicephalus robustus) is one of the most endangered parrots in the world.

The only parrot endemic to South Africa, fewer than a thousand individuals survive in the last patches of its dwindling habitat of yellowwood forest.

As the Cape parrot's yellowwood fruit resource disappears, the bird has changed its diet—for example, turning to pecan trees—but it's not always able to find sufficiently wholesome food. Malnutrition makes it more susceptible to a deadly virus that in some years has infected as much as 100 percent of the birds. (Related post: "Africa's Most Endangered Parrot Revealed Like Never Before.")

National Geographic Emerging Explorer Steve Boyes is trying to pull the Cape parrot back from the brink of oblivion.

Boyes has a plan to restore the endemic yellowwood forests that once flourished across a wide swath of the southern tip of Africa, giving the parrots and other species that depend on the trees a chance to rebound. The plan involves many local communities that also stand to benefit from the return of the forests. It's a strategy in which villagers, parrots, and yellowwood trees share a healthy ecosystem for the benefit of all.

Boyes is in Washington, D.C., this week for the annual National Geographic Explorers Symposium, where he talked to us about his work, which is funded in part by the National Geographic Conservation Trust.

Q. Is South Africa's Cape parrot the world's most endangered parrot? Is there any good news to report following all the work you have done to save it?

A. Between 800 and 1,000 individuals survive in the wild. It's definitely one of the most endangered parrots, if not the most endangered parrot in the world. (Related video: "Rescuing the Endangered Cape Parrot.")

The good news this year is that the rate of psittacine beak and feather disease infection that plagued the parrot

World's oldest manatee swimming strong
The world's oldest known manatee is gearing up for a big celebration.

Snooty has been the star attraction at the South Florida Museum since the 1940s, and in a few weeks he'll be turning 65-years-old.

But before the party can begin, Snooty needed a visit from a doctor.

Once snooty was led into a small, enclosed pool, he knew what was coming.

The large mammal started pacing back and forth and swimming in circles just as Dr. Dave Murphy, Snooty's veterinarian, arrived.

Murphy said, "He's comin' up 65, so we thought we ought to take another look at him."

On July 21st, Snooty will turn 65-years-old. He's spent his whole life in captivity - born at a Miami aquarium

Legal trade in Rhino Horn, Dr Duan Biggs

International recognition for Calgary Zoo
The Calgary Zoo’s outstanding conservation and research efforts are being praised in the latest issue of Nature magazine.
The zoological society is currently attempting to assist the population numbers of several species, including penguins, snow leopards and hippos, in the wild.
The head of animal care at the Calgary Zoo, Jake Veasey, says the organization’s conservation efforts factored in his decision to work at the world class facility.

“It's the Calgary Zoo's vision to be the leader in wildlife conservation,” says Veasey.  “Obviously we can't achieve that by solely focusing on the animals and species we have here so it's absolutely fundamental to the reason that we exist as a zoo.”
The Nature publication’s artic

Gloucestershire man sentenced for zoo owl thefts
The former owner of a bird-of-prey centre has been given a suspended prison sentence for stealing rare owls.

Keith Beaven, 68, of Staunton near Gloucester, was convicted last month of stealing six owls and also illegally selling three protected black kites.

He tricked zoos into thinking he ran the National Birds of Prey Centre near Newent despite having sold it in 2008.

Beaven was given a 40-week sentence, suspended for 18 months, at Gloucester Crown Court.

He was also ordered to pay over £16,000 in costs.

The trial previously heard that Bea

Steve Leonard on Britain’s 5 best zoos
Celebrity vet Steve Leonard guides us around the UK’s farms and zoos, introducing us to cute, exotic baby creatures on his new ITV show
Tune in tonight to see tiny monkeys, baby rhinos and miniature hippos on ITV’s Nature’s Newborns (7:30pm, 18 June). We catch up with presenter Steve Leonard (Vets in the Wild) to learn more about the show – and his top five zoos in the UK to see these cute critters up close...

Across the UK animals are being born every day. That includes animals out in the wild, domestic species in our homes from our pets, and that also includes animals in zoos and collections. There are quite a lot of exotic babies as well. This show is really just a way of celebrating that, and seeing some of the people who look after these animals and what they go through waiting for the delivery of some amazing little ones. In some ways animals adapt and end up putting their youngsters in a situation where we need to intervene.

What’s been your best moment filming the series?

For me it was at my local zoo [Chester Zoo] looking at the baby black rhino. Rhino have taken a real hammering in Africa. We’re losing so many of them to the horn game. The captive population are now again proving to be a very vital part of the population where they’re kept nice and secure. Every time you get the rhino baby it’s just one more individual to help keep that population going. Th

213 Smuggled Bear Paws Intercepted At Chinese Border (VIDEO)
Chinese border officials were in for quite the surprise when they discovered some unusual cargo on transport from Russia: 213 smuggled bear paws.

Hidden inside the tires of a truck that was attempting to cross the border from Russia into Inner Mongolia, the load is reportedly the highest number of bear paws that has ever attempted to be smuggled into China.

Customs officials reported that local police arrested two Russian men in connection with the transport of the cargo estimated to be worth 2.8 million yuan (nearly $457,000), Reuters reports.

According to The Global Times, Chinese authorities discovered the large haul in late May. The truck's driver appeared to act suspiciously so Manzhouli officials scanned the vehicle, revealing the concealed goods.

In video footage of the recovery (seen above), Chinese officers remove the bear paws, which range in size from adult to cub, from the vehicle's five tires, including the spare. The animal paws likely belong to br

The Oryx Equation
The Oryx Equation from Jonathan Ali Khan on Vimeo.

Time for Morro Bay Aquarium to close, say conservation groups
It's been called the 'worst aquarium in the nation ... Seal Guantanamo,' and the 'saddest aquarium on earth.' Under fire since the 90s, conservation groups are stepping up their efforts to have Morro Bay Aquarium closed down.
The aquarium, home to three sea lions, a harbor seal and other aquatic animals, first opened its doors in 1960, and pro-animal groups say that little has been done to upgrade the facility since then.
Naomi Rose, the senior scientist for Humane Society International (HSI), even told the New Times, that the small aquarium in Morro Bay, California, "receives more public complaints than any other similar facility in the country."
Owned by Dean and Bertha Tyler, the aquarium is virtually unchanged in 53 years of operation. It is an issue that is creating waves across the animal protection community and garnering heat from the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), who is suggesting that the Tylers are currently operating the facility under false advertising.
Signs posted at Morro Bay Aquarium claim that all of its seals are rescued and rehabilitated, "yet it lost its license to rehabilitate animals in the 90s," said Paige Nelson from the conservation group, Fins and Fluke. "One sign reads Marine Rehabilitation Center," she explained, "then other signs state: These animals were born at Marine World, Orlando, Florida and Feed the performing seals," Nelso

New way to keep track of orangutan
Primates in Tabin forest site embedded with special devices to help in conservation work
LAHAD DATU: A NEW tracking device that can be embedded into the orangutan is revolutionising the way the animals are tracked and will soon help researchers understand how to help the primates survive in the jungles of Sabah.
The Tabin Orangutan Project (TOP), which is co-managed by Orangutan Appeal UK, a United Kingdom-based non-governmental organisation, and the Sabah Wildlife Department, is the first in the world to use the embedded-type tracking device on the orangutan.
Previous attempts to track orangutan with collars and other tracking devices were not successful because the animals were adept at removing them.
Each device cost E350 (RM1,454) and has enough power in its battery to last a few years. Data had been collected using the devices since 2010, said primatologist James Robins, who heads TOP. Robins is currently tracking eight orangutan and half of them are females.
"One of our orangutan just gave birth a few weeks ago and we are now tracking both mother and child. Both are doing well."
He said there was a misconception that conservation work was over the moment captured or displaced orangutan were rehabilitated and released into the wild.
"Nobody knows what happens to them after that because it is hard to follow them. This is the purpose of this study," he said.
The data collected will be used to publish a series of papers, which would discuss everything from their feeding to ranging behaviours.
This will then serve as a blueprint for forestry and wildlife departments in countries with orangutan popula

BRENDAN WENZEL - Excellent Art
Take a few minutes to look at this site. It may brighten up your day.

Ecology: Conservation in captivity
Barbara Durrant heard about San Diego Zoo's reproductive-research department while she was pursuing her doctorate in reproductive physiology in the late 1970s. “I wrote to the founder and got a wonderful letter back saying, 'Yes, we're starting this new research effort here. When you finish your PhD, get back in touch with me,'” recalls Durrant. In 1979, she began a two-year postdoc at the zoo in California.

Looking for a second project towards the end of her stint, Durrant began collecting viable eggs, sperm and embryos from animals that had died, and storing them in the facility's Frozen Zoo, one of the world's first major collections of cryopreserved cells from zoo animals. In 1980, she initiated the Germplasm Repository — a collection of frozen reproductive cells from endangered species that capture genetic diversity, allowing it to be reintroduced into gene pools. In so doing, she helped to launch the field of gamete research. After her postdoc ended later that year, the zoo offered Durrant a permanent research position. Now director of reproductive physiology at San Diego Zoo Global, the conservation organization that runs the zoo, Durrant heads a team that designs reproductive-research programmes for rare and endangered species including giant pandas, rhinoceroses and Przewalski's horses. “The greater scientific community is coming to understand the importance of genetic diversity,” says Durrant. “And zoos harbour the greatest genetic diversity anywhere outside of t

Zoo’s plan to relocate elephants will stress animals, ex-veterinarian says
More than 30 years ago in a Sri Lankan jungle, then-Calgary Zoo veterinarian Darrel Florence fashioned a homemade device from a 7Up container and a garden hose, then used it to feed formula milk to three 200-pound infants.

Florence travelled to the island country in 1976 to visit an elephant orphanage and select three rescued calves — Kamela, Swarna and Bandara — to bring to their new home at the Calgary Zoo.

The 90-centimetre-tall, year-old pachyderms were crate-trained for two weeks to ready them for their journey across the ocean in a trip that required three flights, plus a truck ride from Edmonton to Calgary. All along the way, Florence bottle-fed the young animals.

“It worked very well,” he said.

Today, the Calgary Zoo’s four Asian elephants — including Kamela and Swarna from Florence’s Sri Lankan trip — are poised for another long journey as part of the facility’s relocation plan for the animals.

According to Florence, this trip is one the elephants shouldn’t have to make.

Florence, a zoo vet from 1975-1980, says to relocate the aged animals now to a new place is too stres

Russian zoo shows off unique ‘liliger’ cubs
The zoo in Novosibirsk, Russia’s third-largest city, is home to a unique animal — the liliger. That’s a big cat breed where the father is a lion and the mother is a lion-tiger hybrid, called a liger. The first liliger was born in the zoo last year and now there’s a second litter of three, all of them females.

White tigress dies after delivering stillborn cubs in Delhi Zoo
he Delhi Zoo lost yet another striped cat last week when a white tigress died of septicaemia contracted after delivering four cubs.

The eight-year-old tigress, Khushi, died last Thursday. 

"She (tigress) managed to deliver one live cub last Monday while two were stillborn. Another one was stuck inside her womb, which caused the infection," Curator of Delhi Zoo, R A Khan said. 

The cub, which was delivered alive, died after a few hours, he said. 

"We tried our best to save Khushi, putting her on medication all throughout the delivery process. She was under stress while trying to deliver the last cub, nor was she allowing us to remove the other cubs," Khan said. 

The tigress' condition deteriorated soon after the last cub was taken out dead. 

"It is a sad incident for us given that we los

Loan of white elephant refused
Myanmar on Wednesday turned down a request from Thailand for a loan of one of its auspicious white elephants to mark the countries' 65 years of diplomatic ties next year.
Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul earlier this month asked his counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin for the elephant, which he proposed to house at Chiang Mai Zoo.

"The Myanmar foreign minister told Surapong that it would be difficult to transport the white elephant to Chiang Mai," said a statement posted on the Myanmar president's official website on Wednesday.

It added that the government was ready to arrange special flights for people in Chiang Mai to come and see white elephants in Myanmar.

Myanmar has eight white elephants in capti

Dolphins are not healers
Imagine this. Jay, an eight-year-old autistic boy, whose behaviour has always been agitated and uncooperative, is smiling and splashing in the pool. A pair of bottlenose dolphins float next to him, supporting him in the water. Jay’s parents stand poolside as a staff member in the water engages him in visual games with colourful shapes. She asks him some questions, and Jay, captivated by his surroundings, begins to respond. He names the shapes, correctly, speaking his first words in months. With all this attention Jay is in high spirits; he appears more aware and alert than ever before. A quick, non-invasive EEG scan of his brain activity shows that it is indeed different from before the session.

Jay's parents, who had given up hope, are elated to have finally found a treatment that works for their son. They sign up for more sessions and cannot wait to get home and tell their friends about the experience. They are not surprised to find that dolphins have succeeded where mainstream physicians have not. Everyone believes that dolphins are special — altruistic, extra gentle with children, good-natured. And any concerns the parents might have had about the welfare of the dolphins have been allayed by assurances from the trainers that they are happy and accustomed to the role they are playing. After all, as the parents can see for themselves, the dolphins are smiling.

‘Jay’ is a composite character drawn from the dozens of testimonials that appear on dolphin-assisted therapy (DAT) websites, but stories like his, stories about the extraordinary powers of dolphins, have been told since ancient times. Much of our attraction to these creatures derives from their appealing combination of intelligence and communicativeness, and the mystery associated with the fact that they inhabit a hidden underwater environment. Dolphins are the Other we’ve always wanted to commune with. And their ‘smile’, which is not a smile at all, but an anatomical illusion arising from the physical configuration of their jaws, has led to the illusion that dolphins are always jovial and contented, compounding mythological beliefs that they hold the key to the secret of happiness.

The mythic belief in dolphins as healers has been reiterated down the ages from the first written records of encounters with these animals. In Greco-Roman times, dolphins were closely linked with the gods. Delphinus was a favourite messenger of Poseidon, who repaid him for his loyalty by placing an image of a dolphin in the stars. The Greek poet Oppian of Silica declared around 200 CE that ‘Diviner than the Dolphin is nothing yet created.’ Aristotle was the first to recognise that dolphins are mammals. Indeed, the root of the word dolphin, delphus, means womb, and underscores the long-standing belief in an intimate (even chimeric) connection between dolphins and humans.

In ancient Rome and Mesopotamia, dolphins adorned frescoes, artwork, jewellery and coins, and in ancient Greece the killing of a dolphin was punishable by death. The Minoan palace of Knossos on Crete, dated to 1900—1300BC, contains one of the earliest and best-known ornamentations depicting dolphins in a fresco on the wall of the queen’s bathroom. In Greek mythology, Taras, son of Poseidon, was said to have been rescued from a shipwreck by a dolphin sent by his father, hence the image of the boy on a dolphin depicted on historical coinage.

The perception of dolphins as lifesavers is connected with beliefs that they possess magical powers that can be used for healing. The ancient Celts attributed special healing powers to dolphins, as did the Norse. Throughout time, people as far apart as Brazil and Fiji have traded in dolphin and whale body parts for medicinal and totemic purposes. Despite being saddled with these dubio

The great zoo swap: gaurs out, rhinos in
Visitors to Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur, may get to see a pair of greater one-horned rhinoceroses within the next couple of months.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday requested her counterpart in Assam to send the one-horned rhinos in exchange for a pair of Indian gaurs.

In a letter to Tarun Gogoi, the chief minister of Assam, she said: “We have a sufficient number of Indian gaurs, which we can give in exchange to the government of Assam. The Indian gaur is one of our flagship species.”

Ms. Jayalalithaa, who is also the chairperson of the Zoo Authority of Tamil Nadu, said the zoo at Vandalur was the largest in the country, and one of the largest in South-east Asia.

Annually, two million people flocked to the facility, which had been categorised as a ‘Large Zoo’ based on species diversity, number of endangered species and area. The zoo was known for following modern captive animal management principles in its day-to-day administration, she said.
The zoo at present has 1,400 individual animals belonging to 143 species. A greater one-horned rhino was in the zoo from 1985 to 1989, when it died. Ever since, there has not been a single representative of this magnificent species in the Vandalur zoo, she said. Considering the number of visitors to the zoo and the popularity of the animal, it would be fitting if the zoo could once again house these animals, she added.

Wildlife officials said that they have already kept a 1,500 sqft.-enclosure ready for the new arrivals from Assam. A senior official of the wildlife departm

Blackfish - Official Trailer (HD) Documentary, Orca

When it comes to trophy hunting, rural African communities don’t get the gold
As few as 32,000 African lions are believed to remain in the wild today.

Over the last 30 years, African countries with the highest hunting intensity have seen the steepest declines in lion populations.

Despite these facts, advocates for the trophy hunting industry regularly claim that hunting supports conservation as it provides huge benefits to economies in rural African communities.

The truth is it doesn’t.

A new report released by Economists at Large—commissioned by the International Fund for Animal Welfare and our colleagues at Born Free and Humane Society International—analyzes the available literature on the economics of trophy hunting and reveals that these rural communities actually derive very little benefit from hunting revenue. 

Nature tourism is a significant part of the economy of some African lion range countries, but revenues from trophy hunting tourism in Africa account for just 1.8 % of overall tourism. In fact, a recent Synovate poll finds th

International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos is marked on June 20
June 20 marks the International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos (IDAEZ), a global event aimed at bringing mammoth attention to the plight of elephants in zoos, and ending their suffering.

Elephants are highly intelligent, complex and self-aware individuals who have evolved for long distance living. In the wild they range tens of miles a day, live in large, tight-knit family groups, and communicate with one another at great distances. Yet zoos keep elephants in tiny exhibits of a few acres or less, where lack of movement and standing on hard surfaces cause painful foot infections and arthritis, the leading causes of euthanasia in captive-held elephants. The stress and boredom typical of intensive confinement results in abnormal behaviors such as repetitive swaying and head bobbing.

In addition, many zoos still use a cruel, circus-style

Outlook Is Grim for Mammals and Birds as Human Population Grows
The ongoing global growth in the human population will inevitably crowd out mammals and birds and has the potential to threaten hundreds of species with extinction within 40 years, new research shows.
Scientists at The Ohio State University have determined that the average growing nation should expect at least 3.3 percent more threatened species in the next decade and an increase of 10.8 percent species threatened with extinction by 2050.
The United States ranks sixth in the world in the number of new species expected to be threatened by 2050, the research showed.
Though previous research has suggested a strong relationship between human population density and the number of threatened mammal and bird species at a given point in time, this study is the first to link an expanding human population to fresh threats of extinction for these other species.
The lead researcher created a model based on 2000 data to forecast future threatened species connected to human population growth projections, and published the predictions in 2004. In this new study, that model's predictions were confirmed by 2010 actual figures. The scientists then used the same model, containing data on 114 countries, to extend their predictions to the middle of this century.
"The data speak loud and clear that not only human population density, but the growth of the human population, is still having an effect on extinction threats to other species," said Jeffrey McKee, professor of anthropology at Ohio State and lead author of the study.
The findings suggest that any truly meaningful biodiversity conservation efforts must take the expanding human population footprint into consideration -- a subject that many consider taboo.
"Our projection is based on human

Philippines To Destroy Five Tons Of Illegal Ivory, Symbolic Victory For Elephant Conservation
The Philippines has announced it will destroy five tons of seized ivory, a major symbolic step for a nation known for playing a major role in the illegal ivory trade.

“The destruction of the items would hopefully bring the Philippines’ message across the globe that the country is serious and will not tolerate illegal wildlife trade, and denounces the continuous killing of elephants for illicit ivory trade,” Mundita Lim, director of the country’s Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB), told National Geographic.

PAWB, the country’s leading wildlife agency, said it plans to destroy all the ivory it is currently holding with the exception of 106 pieces that are to be repatriated to Kenya and a few pieces for training, law enforcement and educational purposes.

This large-scale ivory destruction is the latest episode in the ongoing Filipino ivory saga. While the Pacific island nation said it plans to destroy its ‘entire’ five tons of ivory holdings, it is somewhat mysteriously less than half of the total ivory seized by the Philippine government in recent years.

Filipino customs agents reportedly seized 7.7 tons of illegal ivory in 2005 and an additional 5.4 tons in 2009. However, a later audit revealed the customs 

agency was missing almost six tons of the reportedly confiscated ivory. The discrepancy resulted in a lawsuit filed by PAWB against the government’s customs agency.

The customs agency eventually turned over its 2009 seizure to PAWB. The wildlife organization later had its storeroom broken into, resulting in the theft of over 1.7 tons of ivory. The thieves reportedly replaced the stolen tusks with plastic replicas.

The Philippine government is scheduled to destroy the smuggled ivory on Friday using industrial rollers. Other nations have symbolically burned confiscated ivory caches, but local environmental groups said it would send the wrong message and generate too much smoke.

IBM analytics help small zoo, museum engage visitors
Summary: Data from admissions, exhibits, merchandise sales and membership is being used to get a better handle on popularity and preferences.
A small zoo in Washington state and history center in Colorado are using IBM Big Data analytics solutions to analyze detailed information about ticket sales, exhibit preferences and merchandise sales. Their goal: to get a better handle on patterns that might help improve marketing and resource management.

In both cases, the technology was integrated and deployed by IBM business partner BrightStar Partners (which is part of distributor Avnet's services division). 

(Disclosure: I've been involved with the IBM enterprise customer analytics team on several educational seminars over the past four months. The case studies I'm writing about today have nothing to do with my work for that team, which involves moderating a Web seminar series.)

The first system, for the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, has already resulted in a dramatic increase in online ticket sales. The 29-acre zoo, which employs about 80 people full-time, attracts more than 600,000 visitors on an annual basis. Its analytics technology is being used to monitor and evaluate 

data collected at visitor exhibits and special event sites, as well as on social channels such as Facebook. That information is being used to create simpler and more targeted marketing campaigns. So far, the zoo figures this has helped improve online ticket sales by up to 700 percent.

Those insights are available to zoo employees through iPads, which can be used to view financial information, attendance statistics and retail information. 

In one example of how this information is being used, a recent renewal promotion was emailed to members with membership about to expire. There was a 6 percent buy-in, compared with the 3 percent buy-in that normally comes from renewal campaigns sent out via snail mail, according to information shared by IBM.

The zoo plans to move to mobile ticketing in the future, which will allow visitors to use their smartphones to "check in" at specific exhibits. This will help the staff get a better handle on popularity, as well as how long people stay in certain places, IBM said.  

The second system is for the History Colorado Center in Denver; it is linked to the rollout of new point-of-sale (POS) technology.

Previously, the museum was only able to track very high-level information, such as the number of tickets sold in a given time frame. The new software, however, has been able to dig deeper: for example, now the center knows that 40 percent of its ticket sales are typically made to families, which is actually 

pretty unusual for a museum of this type.

The new system provides a central view of data patterns across ticketing, the retail store and food establishments. It is also aligned with museu

ane Goodall Institute and Disney Conservation sends once again mentor Hilda Tresz, International Behavior Specialist to Egypt Central Zoos - Giza Zoo - to follow up progress of Chimps and Elephants. The General Organization of Veterinary Services of Egypt headed by Military General and Doctor Osama Selim, once again welcomes cooperation with the Jane Goodall Institute, through mentor Hilda Tresz (Phoenix Zoo) International Behavior Specialist. Hilda Tresz, mentor of Jane Goodall Institute received in the airp

Slow demise
DEMAND for wildlife parts is pushing many species to the brink of extinction. In China, where a rising middle class flaunts wealth by displaying ivory at home, traders call elephant tusks "white gold". But elephants, tigers, rhinos and other "charismatic megafauna" are not the only animals in trouble.

On March 15th, days after conservationists discussed clamping down on wildlife smuggling at a recent CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) conference in Thailand, Thai authorities seized over 300 live tortoises at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport. They arrested a Thai man and Malagasy woman who attempted to claim a suitcase from Madagascar. In it, authorities discovered 54 ploughshare and 21 radiated tortoises (both species are "critically endangered" under CITES). The same day, CITES authorities found another batch of tortoises in an unclaimed suitcase at the airport’s carousel.

In discovering 54 ploughshares, authorities made the largest recorded seizure of a rapidly declining species. Experts estimate that as few as 400 individuals remain in the wild. Eric Goode, who heads the Turtle Conservancy, says the turtles do not appear to have been bred in captivity. This means that the smugglers removed 14% of the wild population from Madagascar. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, in the first three months of 2013 authorities in Madagascar and Thailand confisca

Ragunan Zoo Denies Spate of Animal Deaths
Officials at Ragunan Zoo in South Jakarta have confirmed that two animals died at the facility recently, but denied reports of a spate of mysterious deaths.

Bambang Triyono, the head of administrative affairs at the zoo, said on Thursday that the zoo’s only giraffe had died in late May, while a hippo had died this month.

“The giraffe died of old age,” he said as quoted by

“In the wild, it could probably live up to 20 years at most, but in captivity it can live up to 30. So it’s testament to the quality of our care that it managed to live until 27.”

Bambang added that the hippo had died of digestive tract and kidney complications and that it was 18 years old.

“It could have lived to 20 or 25 years, but it died because of illness, and this has been confirmed by a necropsy by experts from IPB [Bogor Institute of Agriculture].”

Bambang stressed that widely circulated rumors that a host of other animals had died recently, including an orangutan, a leopard and a rare pigeon from Papua, were not true.

“Any talk of the Victoria crowned pigeon or other animals dying is false. Only two animals died recently. So there was no mass die-off,” he said.

He was responding to reports in the local media, quoting an unnamed source from the zoo who claimed that dozens of animals had died since late May under mysterious circumstances and were buried in secret on the zoo grounds.

The source put the number of dead hippos at two, and claimed that 20 crowned pigeons had died, along with an orangutan, a leopard, a zebra and two deer.

Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama previously took the Ragunan staff to task for what he called at the time their poor management of the 120-hectare facility.

He said the city administration had allocated Rp 40 billion for the running of the zoo each year, but that poor management had left the animals unhealthy and the zoo even less popular than Taman Safari in the Bogor highlands.

The Jakarta Globe spoke to a recent visitor to the park who was horrified to see a half-meter-wide hole torn in a rusty fence enclosing the saltwater crocodile exhibit.

“An inquisitive child could easily fit through and in one step fall right into the croc pond,” said Veronica Koman, a West Jakarta resident.

Indonesia’s zoos have long courted criticism for the poor state of animal welfare, with Surabaya Zoo deemed among the worst, dubbed the “zoo of death” after dozens of animals died there of starvation, ill-treatment or other unnatural causes.

One of the most horrific deaths there was of a giraffe in

Zoos urged to halt imports of African elephants
Wildlife experts have called for Chinese zoos to stop importing elephants from Africa, saying they cannot meet the animals' physical or psychological needs.

In January, four young elephants were imported from Zimbabwe, two for Xinjiang Safari Park in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and two for Taiyuan Zoo in Shanxi province. However, one at Taiyuan Zoo died soon afterwards.

Joyce Poole, an elephant behavior study expert with Elephant Voice, an NGO in the United States, said confining wild elephants to cages should be stopped.

Elephants are complex animals who like to live with their family and in herds, she said. They have the habit of walking long distances each day to hunt for food, meet spouses and to conduct other social activities.

"Foraging is an intellectual challenge," Poole said, pointing out that elephants learn many skills while on the move.

Liu Xiaoyu, a volunteer with the China Animal Observer Group, a Beijing-based NGO, said she has seen several elephants at zoos nationwide hurting themselves, which she says is a sign of depression.

"Once elephant (at Taiyuan Zoo) kept rubbing itself against the walls. It definitely felt uncomfortable," she said.

According to her research, zoos target young elephants because they are easier to import than older animals. As a result, exported young elephants can easily experience serious depression from being apart from their families.

Mang Ping, a professor with the Academy of Chinese Culture, said the death of the elephant at Taiyuan Zoo last year clearly showed the zoo did not prepare for its arrival.

"How can animals that come from tropical rainforests survive in sub-zero temperatures in northern China?" she asked. "Besides the poor conditions, unethical and immoral methods imposed by zoo staff for performance training are also disastrous for elephants."

But Zhang Jingsong, a senior engineer with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said: "China can export pandas to zoos in other countries, why can'

Prairie animals raised by zoo, released into wild
What do the ornate box turtle, the meadow jumping mouse and smooth green snake have in common?
They're all prairie-dwelling animals whose numbers have declined in Illinois because of habitat loss, pesticides and the exotic pet trade.
They're also being bred and raised at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo as part of a collaboration with wildlife agencies to conserve species and restore balance to 

Illinois' grassland and sand prairies.
Lincoln Park Zoo released 18 ornate box turtles this week in the Upper Mississippi River National Wild

Breeding white tigers pointless
The Vandalur zoo now has more than a dozen white tigers which is an all-time high in capitive breeding of the animal. Of the tigers  surviving, the zoo 

authorities are thrilled over the successful breeding of the white tigers in the past four years, as they attract crowds. However, the conservationists are annoyed.

Wildlife lovers fear a genetic disaster waiting to happen as most of these  white tigers suffer from   deformities and congenital disorders. “Wait and watch, cubs with cleft palates, cross eyes and irregular heartbeats with mortality rate will be born at the zoo,” warn highly placed sources.

“White tigers are not a separate species or subspecies that must be conserved, but merely a colour anomaly due to certain genes. Preserving white tigers by breeding them in captivity serves no conservation purpose, and is not only a complete waste of tax payers money, but also an unnecessary distraction from the actual task of tiger conservation” opined conservationist, Shekar Dattatri. Biologist, A. Kumaraguru, who has worked on DNA modules of tigers in Western Ghats said, 

“Apart from looking at captive breeding, a promising tool in conservation of endangered species, it has the following risks which makes it against nature. 


Wellington Zoo wins big at Gold Awards
Last night Wellington Zoo won the prestigious Vibrant Gold Award at the 2013 Wellington Gold Awards – its second Gold Award in the last four years, after taking out the Green Gold award in 2010.

The Wellington Gold Awards celebrate the best business performers operating in the Wellington region since 1999. An audience of around 800 people were in attendance at this year’s glamorous event, which took place at the TSB Bank Arena on Wellington’s waterfront. The event itself was not without drama – with wild weather causing a power outage that briefly interrupted proceedings.

Wellington Zoo was up against a strong field in the Vibrant Gold Award category – including Beervana, Rydges Hotel, The New Zealand Art Show and The Hobbit Premiere.

“We are extremely proud to be Gold Award winners again” said Wellington Zoo Chief Executive, Karen Fifield.

“This award caps off another fantastic year of achievement for Wellington Zoo. Last week we celebrated 10 years as a Charitable Trust, and an

New law could leave Sumatran elephants homeless
Demand for palm oil - a substance found in many everyday products - is threatening some of the world's most endangered species.

The rapid expansion of palm oil plantations in Indonesia has already led to the clearance of large tracts of rainforest, driving out animals like tigers, orangutans and Sumatran elephants.

Campaigners fear a new law may soon be passed which would open u


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