Saturday, June 1, 2013

Zoo News Digest 1st June 2013 (ZooNews 853)

Zoo News Digest 1st June 2013 (ZooNews 853)


Dear Colleagues,

I was unaware that Karachi had a Golden Tabby Tiger. This is somewhat worrying. Okay, this animal is ill and may well die and I am sorry about that. Far better though if it had never been bred in the first place. The irresponsible breeders of mutants should be named and condemned for the damage they do to the conservation of good zoos worldwide. When they start dumping them on zoos like Karachi for big sums of money they should be prosecuted. Sticking with the story a moment, it states..."However, the untrained and non-professional officials of the Safari Park failed to provide the natural habitat to the Golden Tabby Tigers, which had resulted in"...What natural habitat?
You may recollect that Karachi Zoo was also sold some White Lions not so very long ago. Again I condemn the animal dealer responsible but I also cast scorn on whoever it is who makes decisions about the animals they purchase. They obviously know nothing at all about the conservation work that zoos are meant to be carrying out.

I did not know there was any sort of competition for 'spitting crickets' let alone a world record. I must admit however to having spat a few. Crickets can be tasty but when you get a musty one, it really has to go quickly...anyway I like Amarillo Zoo idea of Incredible Edible Insects. Something other zoos should try. Perhaps next they should go for Balut.

The story of the tiger leaping 18 feet to get out of an enclosure designed to hold tigers is going to be not just disturbing for India's zoo authorities but others in the zoo world. I have personally seen tigers in pens with fences of no more than 12 feet and no overhang. Come to think of it, one of these was the Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo which was supplied its tigers by that infamous anti- conservationist, Mr Antle.

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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Tiger jumps 18 feet enclosure, escapes from tiger safari
The wild male tiger which had strayed into Nandankanan Zoological Park on April 29 has escaped
from zoo’s tiger safari. The information was given by PCCF (Wildlife) J D Sharma this morning.
According to reports, the tiger jumped an 18 feet security net and escaped from the enclosure
last night. An investigation into the incident has been ordered by Sharma. However, he says that
there is no danger to tourists and visitors.
The tiger was kept in Nandankanan after it strayed in the tiger safari which led to panic in the
area. It was tracked through CCTV cameras. In a High-power Committee meeting held on May 15, it
was decided to keep the animal in the zoological park until its original habitat is identified.
The beast was kept in the tiger safari and was transferred to

Monkey Business: Eccentric Berlin Zoo Director Under Scrutiny
The Berlin Zoological Garden is a flourishing business. For weeks now, shareholders have been
pleased about the rising share price of a company that seems extremely healthy.
At the beginning of the year, the zoo's operating assets included 1,059 mammals, 8,454
invertebrates and 770 amphibians. The annual report listed two red giant kangaroos, a night
monkey and 14 capybaras as "remarkable breeding successes." What's more, the zoo is considered
the world's most diverse in terms of the species it houses, and visitor numbers are also near the top internationally.
Nevertheless, the supervisory board is worried. Stories have repeatedly surfaced about zoo
Director Bernhard Blaszkiewitz, whose management style has come under sharp criticism. Most
recently, for example, when he described his women employees as "0.1" -- the zoological code for
breeding females.

Gleiss Lutz, a major law firm with an international reputation, has now been hired to clear up
the matter. The firm -- which normally deals with big business clients like Commerzbank, Siemens
and Daimler -- spent weeks doing research between animal enclosures and feed storage areas,
interviewing dozens of zoo employees. It will soon present the supervisory board with the
strictly confidential results of its review, and then a decision will likely be reached over whether 59-year-old Blaszkiewitz can keep his job.

'Many Claims Are Being Made'

The list of the eccentric director's alleged foibles is long. For example, Blaszkiewitz reportedly types his correspondence on a typewriter and has his emails printed out for him. When arguing with employees, he likes to respond in Latin. He finds vegetarians suspect. He pities "people who eat bird feed in the morning," as he once said. "If that's what God had wanted, we would have a beak."

While visitors still remain mystified about the sudden and early death of Knut, the zoo's world-famous polar bear, many employees are at odds with the language used and instructions given by their director. In January Blaszkiewitz, a regular churchgoer, was reportedly critical of the fact that employees collect Christmas bonuses even though they are "un-Christian." He later apparently described Berlin's senator for women and integration as the head of the department "for women and Carnival," although Blaszkiewitz denies the accusation.

There is also sometimes trouble during the director's morning walkthroughs. Employees report that
Blaszkiewitz has balled up handwritten notes used to document the numbers of animals in various
zoo areas and thrown them at zookeepers' heads. The staff is not even permitted to move a park
bench without the director's approval.

Blaszkiewitz, a biologist who wrote his dissertation on the zoo's mammal population, has run the
Tierpark zoo in the eastern part of Berlin for the last 22 years, and in 2007 he was also put in charge of the Zoological Garden in the western section. Together, the two zoos make up Zoo AG, whose shares are so popular that families pass them from one generation to the next, partly because shareholders are given free entry.

Blaszkiewitz declined to be interviewed by SPIEGEL, and he also refused to answer detailed questions in writing. His spokeswoman was unwilling to confirm or deny individual accusations.Supervisory board Chairman Frank Bruckmann says that Blaszkiewitz "has done a good job" over the years. But, he says, "many claims are being made at the zoo," and there are both real and perceived facts about the case.

No Proof of Allegations

Blaszkiewitz has not only been criticized for his interactions with people, but also for his treatment of animals. Once, when he broke the necks of stray kittens in a manner "appropriate for the species," so as to protect his zoo animals from illness, media headlines derided him as a "kitten killer." Not to mention, says Claudia Hämmerling, the Berlin Green Party's spokeswoman on animal policy, Blaszkiewitz has many animals kept in cages that are too small, promotes inbreeding and does business with shady dealers. But no one has ever provided any proof of these allegations. "The final piece of evidence was always missing," says a former supervisory board member.

Nevertheless, some zookeepers have left to find better working conditions elsewhere. Thomas Günther, for example, was responsible for the elephants at the Tierpark in eastern Berlin before moving to Munich to perform the same job. Günther, 41, a man with long hair and rough hands, proudly shows off the animals in his care. Four elephant cows and a calf live in a space of about 3,000 square meters (about three-quarters
of an acre) in Munich. In Berlin's Tierpark, 16 elephants currently share their quarters with rhinos and manatees, spending their nights chained in stalls. "It really turns your stomach," says Günther.

There are frequently accidents in the Berlin enclosures, which Günther believes are completely outdated. The European Elephant Group has documented several attacks on employees at the Tierpark. Just last March, a zookeeper was knocked to the ground, suffering a shoulder injury. "In Berlin, they could have substantially improved the animals' quality of life at a relatively low cost, and they would have avoided problems as a result," says Günther.Other charges relate to what happens to animals once they leave Berlin. In 2008, Blaszkiewitz faced the suspicion that the Zoological Garden and the Tierpark had sold nine tigers and jaguars
to China, where they were allegedly killed and processed into remedies to enhance sexual
performance. "I can't rule it out," the di

Tabby Tiger in deteriorated health condition shifted to Zoo
The cruelty never ceases to exist on the captive animals of Karachi’s Safari Park and Karachi
Zoological Garden. The 2 parks had the highest number of different species of captive animals and
the tragic death of variety of animals is also different tale that was packed with horrors and

The Safari Park had shifted the left-alone Golden Tabby Tiger (male) to the Karachi Zoological
Garden.The male tabby tiger had been kept in an environment that causes him to fall sick. The canine
tooth and a nail of front foot were missing while the tiger limped when walking. It was presumed
that the male tiger could also cease to live like the tigress so the KMC administration had
decided to shift the male tiger to the Zoo.

The sources privy to the ongoing development told Pakistan Observer that the health of male tiger was deteriorating and could die any time. The administration wanted to reinstate the suspended official of the Safari Park and for that reason; the decision of shifting male tiger to the Zoo was made.

The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) had in recent past procured a pair of Golden Tabby
Lion from a local animal trading company in Lahore on barter system. The KMC had exchanged 65
precious animals and birds of different species worth millions. However, the untrained and non-
professional officials of the Safari Park failed to provide the natural habitat to the Golden Tabby Tigers, which had resulted in tragic death of the Tigress on day 11 in the Safari Park.

The KMC administration had suspended the Safari Park Director Salman Shamsi and Senior
Veterinarian and additional Director of the Park Dr Kazim and an enquiry was conducted to
ascertain the real cause of death of Tigress. The KMC had also conducted an enquiry on death of 4
lion cubs died at the Zoo and the then Director was also

Madagascar pursues stolen tortoises in Thailand

Madagascar has sent an emergency mission to Bangkok following the recent largest ever seizure of
smuggled ploughshare tortoises (Astrochelysynophora) by the Thai authorities.
The purpose of the mission, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust said in a press release, is
to assess the health of tortoises trafficked out of Madagascar in a suitcase in March.
The illicit wildlife from the island nation have been kept at a rescue centre since their seizure
in Bangkok.
However, the animals have been reported to be in poor health while a number have already died,
most likely due to the inadequate care they received from the smugglers durin

A Really Cool Plan
Detroit Zoo unveils plan to build new $20-million penguin exhibit
Ron Kagan, executive director and CEO of the Detroit Zoological Society, doesn't exactly talk
with the animals, but he did sense some measure of envy among the penguins after the zoo's polar bears moved into their new home.

And who could blame them if their feathers were a tad ruffled? The Detroit Zoo's Penguinarium, after all, was ahead of its time when it debuted in 1968, offering for the first time a natural environment where 60 penguins could live in a three-sided habitat encircled by a large pool. The design allowed the penguins — Kings, Rockhoppers, and Macaronis — to "fly" through the water, much as they would in the open sea.

The Penguinarium was first renovated in 1985. Three years ago, Kagan and his team set out to redesign the exhibit. Much like the initial planning for the bears' Arctic Ring of Life, Kagan quickly set aside the renovation idea in favor of a newly constructed exhibit, to be called the Penguin Conservation Center, or PCC.

Here, for the first time, Kagan unveils the zoo's plans for the $20-million exhibit, to be built just north of the historic Wildlife Interpretive Gallery near the zoo's entrance on Woodward Avenue. Projected to open in 2016, the PCC will be the largest project ever undertaken at the Detroit Zoo.

HD: What research did you undertake in planning for the PCC?
RK: Just as we did with inventing the next generation of polar bear experience, we wanted to build a home for the penguins that was centered on conservation. Penguins live in Antarctica, the southern portion of South America, and in other extreme environments. As part of our master plan, we wanted to take what was a brilliant design of the Penguinarium in the 1960s and utilize all of the latest research and technology to bring forward a world-class experience. We've undertaken advanced research, or reconnaissance, and I've visited Antarctica twice in the last two years, once with our chief life-sciences officer, and once with one of our board members. We met with various research stations to really understand the unique and extreme environment of Antarctica. We also delved into the 100-year-old experiences of Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, who led incredible expeditions to Antarctica that were a testament to survival, endurance, and courage. Our goal was to make the PCC as accurate and authentic as possible. What are the stories and the
unique aspects of the penguins that we should be telling people, and how does that fit into what is a rich environmental story?

HD: What will visitors experience as they approach and enter the exhibit?

RK: The outside of the building will be an interpretive image of a tabular iceberg, almost like a crevasse or a fissure breaking through the water. Shackleton was in our heads as we set about to design the structure, both inside and out. The white exterior, with its different edges, will look like an iceberg. As ice gets older, it gets compressed, and the ice begins to turn blue. The strange colors and forms give us enormous creative license. There will be a waterfall from the top of the building to signify a thawing iceberg, and there will be a pool of water in front where people can play. We'll also convert it into a skating rink during the winter. There will be
lots of solar tubes that will feed natural light into the building. The building will stretch 50 feet from top to bottom, and half of that is water. It will be quite a ways underground. You cannot see penguins under the water in the wild, but when you're in the lower level of the buildin

Zoo to serve edible insects
Amarillo Zoo hopes to entice visitors with some odd snacks of the creepy-crawly kind in a Saturday event.

“Incredible Edible Insects” runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the zoo, 2401 Dumas Drive.
Visitors can sample a variety of insect-based dishes, including some by chefs Mark Coffman of
Sava Italiano and Bud Andersen of “Back to the Table with Chef Bud.”
Among the allegedly tasty treats are superworms — the larval stage of the small ground beetle —
that will be frozen, then toasted in the oven.

“They’ll have a popcorn or burnt popcorn taste. .... It’s interesting,” said zoo educator Haley Wilde. “We dip them (in chocolate) in such a manner so you can still see the legs and everything to give it that extra ‘eww’ factor.”

Also on the menu: chocolate “chirp” cookies, with toasted crickets tossed into chocolate chip
cookie dough; and “six-legged surprise,” or basic, flavored toasted crickets.

Visitors can also try to break the world record for spitting a cricket,

Scientists find evidence of success restocking American burying beetle
The American burying beetle is making a comeback in Missouri, but more help is on the way next week.
Last summer, a team of conservationists from the St. Louis Zoo, the Missouri Department of
Conservation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nature Conservancy released 118 pairs of
the beetles on a Southwest Missouri prairie.

“They did very, very well,” said Bob Merz, a zoo official and director of the Center for American
Burying Beetle Conservation. The center is part of the zoo’s WildCare Institute, dedicated to
saving animals in the United States and around the world.

Ten days after the 2012 release, Merz, accompanied by another zookeeper, excavated about one
third of the sites where the beetles had been relocated. They found that 27 of the 39 broods checked had larvae, and concluded that 81 of the 118 broods most likely had reproduced. That is
close to the reproduction rate the scientists had in the lab, Merz said.

They also found a t

'Just a money-making venture': Campaigners fail to stop opening of Trafford Centre Sea Life 
Animal rights groups have failed to stop a controversial Sea Life aquarium from opening in Manchester’s Trafford Centre next week.

The £6.5million attraction owned by Merlin Entertainments sparked outrage among campaigners who
feel it is an infringement on animal rights to exploit them for the entertainment of humans.
Although Merlin gives monetary contributions towards conservation efforts it was revealed that
just £250,000 – 0.02% – of their £1billion pound revenue from 2012 was directly donated to marine

The grant was given to a turtle sanctuary in Greece, in statistics released to the Captive Animals Protection Society. Manchester Animal Action, who campaign locally against all forms of animal exploitation, said the
public have the wrong idea about the work of aquariums.

“People who do go tend to have been convinced that aquariums are vital conservation projects simply because they contain some threatened species, and that the aquatic animals – particularly
fish – do not suffer pain or stress as terrestrial animals do when kept in captivity,” a Manchester Animal Action spokesperson said.

“However, we know that this is simply not the case – aquariums such as Sea Life exist as money
making entertainment ventures and the animals imprisoned there do suffer.”

In 2006, Manchester-based charity the Captive Animals Protection Society (CAPS) released
Suffering Down Deep an investigative report into aquariums in the UK.

The study found that 90% of animals in the UK’s aquariums showed abnormal ‘stereotypical’ behaviour, an indication of mental distress and 74% of UK aquarium’s animals were held with physical damage – including lacerations, infections, deformities and abnormal growth.

The CAPS spend time at events and doing stalls in order to raise awareness about the welfare and ethical issues that surround animals in aquariums.

The Merlin Entertain

The Females of the Madagascar Sucker-Footed Bat are Missing
For the last six years, Paul Racey has been trying to find a female eastern sucker-footed bat. He has failed. The bats only live in Madagascar and since 2007, Racey’s team have tramped through the country’s eastern forests with nets, bags, and devices that detect the bats’ sonar. They’ve captured 298 individuals, some many times over. But every single one of them was male.

Where are the females? Why are they so ridiculously hard to find? And why do they segregate themselves from the males? No one knows. After so much fruitless searching, Racey doesn’t even have a good hypothesis.

All he knows is that the females must exist. For a start, a Smithsonian team once collected a female sucker-footed bat around 30 years ago, and it’s still housed in their collection. Also, Racey keeps on finding young males every year. “You can hold their wings up to the light and see bits of cartilage round their joints, which haven’t ossified fully,” he says. So, the bats must be reproducing. “There have to be females. It’s just that we can’t find them, and it’s very embarrassing.”

To put this in perspective, Racey has spent his entire career studying bats and has worked in Madagascar for 20 year

Costa Rica poachers 'kill turtle activist'
An environmentalist campaigning for the protection of endangered sea turtles in Costa Rica has been found dead in a suspected killing by smugglers.

Jairo Mora was reportedly found face down with his hands tied on Moin beach, 170km (105 miles)
east of the capital, San Jose.

Vanessa Lizano, the owner of the turtle sanctuary where Mr Mora worked, said he had been killed because of his work.

Sea-turtle eggs are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world. Ms Lizano told the BBC: "Jairo went on patrol with some volunteers and they were attacked by armed men.
"It was him they wanted, because he was the one who was always looking after the nests."

Ms Lizano said that poachers in Costa Rica can make up to $300 (£200) per day smuggling turtle

Dolphins too stupid for suicide, says Ocean Park vet
Ocean Park yesterday countered claims that a dolphin had tried to kill itself by saying the species was not "intelligent enough" to commit suicide.

However, one marine conservationist said the remark was an insult to dolphins.

According to Nimal Fernando, senior veterinarian at the park: "Dolphins can't really commit suicide. The mental ability to make a decision to kill yourself is beyond a dolphin's reasoning capability."

But Samuel Hung Ka-yiu, chairman of the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, said: "We aren't intelligent enough to judge whether or not dolphins have enough intelligence to kill themselves.

"You can't use human standards to measure dolphin intelligence."

Claims that 14-year-old Indo-Pacific bottlenose Pinky had attempted suicide at the park's Marine Mammal Breeding and Research Centre were triggered by a video that went viral on Facebook last week showing the dolphin slamming herself against a pool wall.

It led to Civic Party lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching asking the police to investigate whether Pinky had been subjected to animal abuse.

Ocean Park responded to the video by explaining that Pinky, who was born at the park, is in the habit of leaping up close to the edge of the pool and occasionally her lower body touches the side.

Allan Zeman, chairman of Ocean Park, also weighed into the furore yesterday. "I'm very upset by a lot of people that believe that Ocean Park has done something wrong," he said. "We do everything we can to protect the animals."

He added that the park was alone in Southeast Asia in being accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; its operations were audited on a regular basis by the association; and it had a team of more than 60 qualified husbandry and veterinary staff to care for the marine mammals - with 29 solely dedicated to the dolphins.

Zeman said police had visited the place and taken pictures.

"The police are so busy with so many things," he said. "If you've done nothing wrong, you've got n

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


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