Monday, June 24, 2013

Zoo News Digest 22nd - 24th June 2013 (ZooNews 860)

Zoo News Digest 22nd - 24th  June 2013 (ZooNews 860)  

Dear Colleagues,

The internet is awash with well meaning but ignorant people. There is petition after petition to save this, that and the next. One that caught my eye recently was 'Save endangered White Tigers '. Can you believe it? You should. There are dozens of similar ones. These people mean well but through failure to do just a little bit of research compound the ignorance of others.
Then there are the intelligent ones like Marc Bekoff who, well meaning as he is appears unable to recognise that all zoos are not the same. Statements like "Zoos and aquariums are notorious for treating animals as if they're insensitive beings, moving them here and there for money, as if the animals don't care if they're taken from family and friends or where they live." (See Zoo News Digest for 14th -18th June)
I would not argue that there are zoos which fit the profile but it does not apply to all zoos. I have heard Marc talk and read one of his books and there is no doubt in my mind he is a caring person but when it comes down to such a blinkered view he is no better than the first group.

So who is to blame here? We are. The zoos who do care. We need to do something real, something sincere about closing down every single little slum Dysfunctional Zoo there is. Not every Dysfunctional Zoo is 'small' or 'slum' though. Zoos need to recognise that there IS corruption at play and that an old boy/girl network does exist. It moves outside of zoos to people with power. Many will deny it but it IS there. Bigger does not necessarily mean better. Twenty million dollar enclosures do not necessarily mean caring or conservation. Awards can and are bought in through the back door. You know it is true.

So once again I will have upset a few and made more enemies. Sobeit.

I have only once had my palm read. I did not believe what I was told then and I filed it away with other junk like Horoscopes which I practically never look at. Except that is in Dentist waiting rooms when there is nothing else to read. The article 'Primatology Palm Reading' is a little different and something I am sure many will enjoy.

Had my first Rhino horn offered on Sunday via LinkedIn. No, I'm not going to give the contacts name away. Actually thinking about it, it was the second time, but that's another story.

Good luck Calgary Zoo.

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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Update from Friday by Dr. Clément Lanthier, President & CEO of the Calgary Zoo
**Special Update to all Staff and Volunteers of the Calgary Zoo**

As I write these words, much of y...

**Special Update to all Staff and Volunteers of the Calgary Zoo**

As I write these words, much of your Calgary Zoo sits covered in water. To survey the island in a kayak this afternoon [Friday] was a surreal experience, one I thought I'd never have and hope never to repeat.

The Administration building, SCOW, ENMAX Conservatory and Kitamba Cafe all sit in several feet of water as they sit in some of the lowest areas on the island. Despite the damage to our infrastructure, I am very proud to report that our animals are secure and safe. For this, we must applaud the remarkable effort by so many dedicated employees, particularly those in Animal Care and Facilities, who worked together late into Thursday night to move as many animals as possible to higher ground within the zoo and to our Animal Health Centre.

Despite the many media reports, our big cats have not moved to the courthouse! With the exception of two pot-bellied pigs moved to the City's Animal Shelter and two zebras moved to the ranch, all our animals remain at the zoo. We are closely monitoring those animals that remain on the island -- I checked in on the camels, hippos, giraffes, elephants and gorillas myself today.

I know many employees want to come down to help but it simply isn't safe at this time. Only essential Animal Care staff remains onsite to care for our animals. From my tour today it is clear there is much work ahead. You can be sure that once the water has receded, you'll be hearing from your supervisor -- we will need the help of every employee and every volunteer.

It has also been inspiring to see the outpouring of encouragement and offers of support from people and organizations across our community and nation as well as from colleagues in the United States and overseas. I have no doubt we will need a lot of help to restore our zoo, so we are grateful that so many friends care and are ready to step up.

The Calgary Zoo will remain closed for the next two weeks. We are developing a plan to resume operations and begin the restoration. Employees can expect to hear directly from supervisors about how you can help, and everyone should continue to watch our Facebook and website for additional updates.

Please take care of yourself and your family. I look forward to working with you to rebuild our wonderful zoo.


Dr. Clément Lanthier is President & CEO of the Calgary Zoo

Animal Extinction - the greatest threat to mankind
By the end of the century half of all species will be extinct. Does that matter?
In the final stages of dehydration the body shrinks, robbing youth from the young as the skin puckers, eyes recede into orbits, and the tongue swells and cracks. Brain cells shrivel and muscles seize. The kidneys shut down. Blood volume drops, triggering hypovolemic shock, with its attendant respiratory and cardiac failures. These combined assaults disrupt the chemical and electrical pathways of the body until all systems cascade toward death.

Such is also the path of a dying species. Beyond a critical point, the collective body of a unique kind of mammal or bird or amphibian or tree cannot be salvaged, no matter the first aid rendered. Too few individuals spread too far apart, or too genetically weakened, are susceptible to even small natural disasters: a passing thunderstorm; an unexpected freeze; drought. At fewer than 50 members, populations experience increasingly random fluctuations until a kind of fatal arrhythmia takes hold. Eventually, an entire genetic legacy, born in the beginnings of life on earth, is removed from the future.

Scientists recognise that species continually disappear at a background extinction rate estimated at about one species per million per year, with new species replacing the lost in a sustainable fashion. Occasional mass extinctions convulse this orderly norm, followed by excruciatingly slow recoveries as new species emerge from the remaining gene-pool, until the world is once again repopulated by a different catalogue of flora and fauna.

From what we understand so far, five great extinction events have reshaped earth in cataclysmic ways in the past 439 million years, each one wiping out between 50 and 95 per cent of the life of the day, including the dominant life forms; the most recent event killing off the non-avian dinosaurs. Speciations followed, but an analysis published in Nature showed that it takes 10 million years before biological diversity even begins to approach what existed before a die-off.

Today we're living through the sixth great extinction, sometimes known as the Holocene extinction event. We carried its seeds with us 50,000 years ago as we migrated beyond Africa with Stone Age blades, darts, and harpoons, entering pristine Ice Age ecosystems and changing them forever by wiping out at least some of the unique megafauna of the times, including, perhaps, the sabre-toothed cats and woolly mammoths. When the ice retreated, we terminated the long and biologically rich epoch sometimes called the Edenic period with assaults from our newest weapons: hoes, scythes, cattle, goats, and pigs.

But, as harmful as our forebears may have been, nothing compares to what's under way today. Throughout the 20th century the causes of extinction - habitat degradation, overexploitation, agricultural monocultures, human-borne invasive species, human-induced climate-change - increased exponentially, until now in the 21st century the rate is nothing short of explosive. The World Conservation Union's Red List - a database measuring the global status of Earth's 1.5 million scientifically named species - tells a haunting tale of unchecked, unaddressed, and accelerating biocide.

When we hear of extinction, most of us think of the plight of the rhino, tiger, panda or blue whale. But these sad sagas are only small pieces of the extinction puzzle. The overall numbers are terrifying. Of the 40,168 species that the 10,000 scientists in the World Conservation Union have assessed, one in four mammals, one in eight birds, one in three amphibians, one in three conifers and other gymnosperms are at risk of extinction. The peril faced by other classes of organisms is less thoroughly analysed, but fully 40 per cent of the examined species of planet earth are in danger, including perhaps 51 per cent of reptiles, 52 per cent of insects, and 73 per cent of flowering plants.

By the most conservative measure - based on the last century's recorded extinctions - the current rate of extinction is 100 times the background rate. But the eminent Harvard biologist Edward O Wilson, and other scientists, estimate that the true rate is more like 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate. The actual annual sum is only an educated guess, because no scientist believes that the tally of life ends at the 1.5 million species already discovered; estimates range as high as 100 million species on earth, with 10 million as the median guess. Bracketed between best- and worst-case scenarios, then, somewhere between 2.7 and 270 species are erased from existence every day. Including today.

We now understand that the majority of life on Earth has never been - and will never be - known to us. In a staggering forecast, Wilson predicts that our present course will lead to the extinction of half of all plant and animal species by 2100.

You probably had no idea. Few do. A poll by the American Museum of Natural History finds that seven in 10 biologists believe that mass extinction poses a colossal threat to human existence, a more serious environmental problem than even its contributor, global warming; and that the dangers of mass extinction are woefully underestimated by almost everyone outside science. In the 200 years since French naturalist Georges Cuvier first floated the concept of extinction, after examining fossil bones and concluding "the existence of a world previous to ours, destroyed by some sort of catastrophe", we have only slowly recognised and attempted to correct our own catastrophic behaviour.

Some nations move more slowly than others. In 1992, an international summit produced a treaty called the Convention on Biological Diversity that was subsequently ratified by 190 nations - all except the unlikely coalition of the United States, Iraq, the Vatican, Somalia, Andorra and Brunei. The European Union la

So You Want To Be a Dolphin Trainer…

The most common question our team is asked is how to become a dolphin trainer. For me, being a dolphin trainer was a childhood dream, so I geared my education and experience toward achieving this goal at a young age. Growing up in Chicago, I attended many lectures and visited both the Shedd Aquarium and Brookfield Zoo as often as I could. After high school, I participated in a volunteer program for a summer at a research facility in Hawaii, which only solidified my dreams and allowed me to understand further the path I needed to take.

The most important advice I can give someone who has the desire to join our incredible team is to understand that this is not a 9-to-5 job; it is a lifestyle. I can turn my computer off when I leave for the day, but of course cannot do the same with the animals. Any applicant must be willing to work weekends, various shifts and even holidays as animals do not take holidays and snow days off!

First, the basics: It is recommended to have a degree in psychology (we work with the animals using operant condition), biology (so there is a basic understanding of anatomy and physiology) or zoology (the study of animals). Also, participating in internships provides hands-on experience (like the ones we have here at the National Aquarium) and are great ways to get a glimpse into the field, make connections and gain practical skills. One must also be a comfortable swimmer and typically be scuba certified.

With the basics covered, moving into the field can be a challenge. The field is very competitive, and there are not as many opportunities due to the number of facilities in the country. Being willing to move around and to keep options open will definitely help to broaden the field opportunities.

Each facility is structured differently. In general, however, the amount of experience will directly correlate to the level of responsibility and opportunity (as with any career choice). 

Here at the National Aquarium, we have aides, assistant trainers, trainers, and 

Keeper Killed in Bear Attack

On Tuesday afternoon a 58 year old keeper working at the Kaiyang Animal Zoo in Xinmi, Henan province of China was attacked, killed and partially eaten by a Brown Bear before his body was etrieved. The bear was darted with tranquiliser darts and transferred to the Zhenzhou An

Unique Birth: Gorilla Twins 2013-06-13 Burgers' Zoo Arnhem, The Netherlands

Belize Aquarium Proposal

Another Tiger Attack

On Friday, 21 year old Marissa Dub entered a Tiger enclosure at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Clay County, USA. The tiger had been split off into an adjacent holding cage but unfortunately the door had not been latched correctly.
'Raja' an eighteen year old tiger was able to the enclosure and attack Marissa, jumping upon her and taking hold of her head.
Staff were able to intervene quite quickly and rescue Marissa using established emergency procedures, which included spraying the tiger with a hose pipe. The injured victim was airlifted to hospital where sh

Calgary Zoo to remain closed until early July

The flooding of St. George’s Island and the subsequent cleanup effort has prompted the Calgary Zoo to close its gates on the eve of the start of Calgary’s busiest tourist season.
Officials made the decision to close the zoo for the next two weeks after surveying the gounds by kayak.  The administration building, SCOW, the ENMAX Conservatory and the Kitamba Café remain under several feet of water.
All of the zoo’s animals are safe and accounted for.
In a statement released on the Calgary Zoo Facebook page, the President & CEO of the Calgary Zoo, Dr. Clément Lanthier, confirms all of the zoo’s residents remain at the zoo with the exception of two pot-bellied pigs which have been transported to the City of Calgary’s Animal Shelter and two zebras which have been relocated to the zoo’s ranch.  The zoo’s big cats have not been transported to cells at the courthouse.
Zoo officials are urging employees to stay away from t

Zoo Negara to get a world-class facelift

ZOO Negara will be getting a facelift soon to be on a par with other world-class zoos.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said many of the current facilities were unsuitable and needed to be upgraded to attract more visitors.
"The ministry has discussed this with the prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) and he has agreed to the upgrading and improvement of the entire environment at the zoo. A budget is being prepared to be tabled at the cabinet meeting."
He said the facelift would also allow the zoo to start operating at night, like the Singapore and Taiping zoos.
"We will prepare a conducive environment to allow the zoo to operate at night.
"This will bring in more tourists to the national zoo," he said after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Wildlife and National Park Department and the Malaysian Zoological Society on the Giant Panda Protection and Research programme yesterday.
The MoU outlined the two departments'

Experts continue to ponder Greenwich anteater birth

Animal experts continue to ponder the unexpected and unexplained arrival of a giant anteater that was born at a Greenwich conservation center in April.

The mystery started last year, when Armani, a 10-year-old female giant anteater, delivered baby Alice on Aug. 6 at the LEO Zoological Conservation Center.

That birth was expected, and staff at the center had already placed the baby's father, 4-year-old Alf, in a separate enclosure -- as male anteaters are known to commit infanticide.

Alf was kept separate long after the baby was born. The staff allowed them to reunite only a couple of months ago.

But one morning in early April, a tender went into Armani's enclosure to find a newborn anteater, now named Archie, who had been delivered sometime during the previous night.

The gestation period for anteaters is six months, and Armani and Alf had not been back together long enough to give life to yet another pup.

Alf, who had been inside the enclosure when Archie was born, miraculously hadn't noticed the newborn.

"It's a bit of a mystery," Marcella Leone, founder and director of the conservation center, said last month.

The surprising news has not only the conservation center staff continuing to wonder, but it is attracting the attention of animal experts around the country.

While some animal specialists believe the two anteaters somehow got together sometime in October of last year, Leone has stood by her belief that this incident could be a case of delayed implantation. That is when fertilized eggs remain dormant in the uterus for some time.

"I believe it's some sort of suspended pregnancy, diapause or possibly the ability to suspend sperm, as bats do," she said.

She does not believe the two animals ever managed to get together during the time staff was purposefully keeping them apart.

"Our protocol was to keep them apart a month before a birth was due and once the mother was with her young, as the male could possibly hurt the young in order to rebreed," Leone said.

"And I believe in our staff," she said.

Experts questioned in May didn't think the delayed implantation explanation was likely.

Stacey Belhumeur, species survival plan coordinator for the North American population of giant anteaters, and a zookeeper at Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Ariz., said that while delayed implantation has been observed in sloths and armadillos, which are in the same group of mammals as giant anteaters, it is unlikely for an anteater to undergo the same phenomenon, because a female's uterus clears out during birth.

But another expert, new to the conversation, is keeping an open mind about the possibility.

Dr. Don Gillespie, who has been a staff veterinarian in zoos around the world, and has conducted much of the research on ant

Dancing Superb Lyrebirds Surprise Ornithologists

Orca bloodlines show rampant inbreeding in captive orcas

After Loro Parque in Spain, announced the death of a 10-month old SeaWorld-owned orca named Vicky, questions were raised over SeaWorld's breeding program.
Rejected at birth by her mother Kohana, Vicky was hand-raised by Loro Parque, staff. As with her brother (Adán) before her, both young orcas were born as the result of inbreeding by their owners, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment LLC.
Their questionable lineage saw their dam, Kohana, bred to her own uncle (Keto) twice, making the two young killer whales blood-related to 21 out of 26 SeaWorld orcas. Why Kohana rejected her babies remains a puzzle, but many experts believe that it was due, in part, to the female orca being ripped from her mother's side at just 19-months of age and impregnated way too young.
Despite the claims of providing superior care for its cetaceans, once an orca enters a marine park facility they are treated as livestock. Orcas bred at the park can be shipped anywhere at any time. They can be loaned out for breeding purposes (as in the case of Loro Parque orcas), or reclaimed, as in the case of Ikaika who was caught up in a custody battle after SeaWorld demanded his return from Marineland in Canada.
Artificial insemination enters the equation
Across the captive cetacean industry, there are few standards governing breeding. At the discretion of the marine park, they can breed an orca or any other cetacean, at will. Having perfected the art of artificial insemination, most of them now do. Yet occasionally, accidents also happen.
Taku (now deceased) for example, impregnated his own mother Katina. She gave birth to a female calf named Nalani in 2006. As revealed in David Kirby's book: Death at SeaWorld, Nalani has the regrettable distinction of being the world's first fully inbred captive orca.
It isn't the first time it has happened. At SeaWorld Orlando, a dolphin named Ariel also bred with her uncle, a male dolphin named Razzl

Fishing cat joins sharks, penguins and otters at SciQuarium

It would be ironic indeed if the most popular exhibit at the new Carolina SciQuarium turned out to be a cat. But the executive director’s big gamble — adding an exhibit on the Asian fishing cat — is already getting rave reviews from early visitors. Not that Glenn Dobrogosz would EVER say “I told you so.”
Dobrogosz wanted the new 22,000 square-foot aquarium to be unique, and it’s off to a strong start:
* It’s the state’s first inland aquarium.
* It’s the first AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) accredited aquarium in the United States to be LEED-certified.
* Its addition makes the Greensboro Science Center the state’s only aquarium, museum and zoo in one attraction.
The $11.5 million project was paid for with bond money and private fundraising, and is just the first project in

Maharajbagh zoo violates CZA norms, has 40 deer

Ignoring Central Zoo Authority (CZA) norms, Maharajbagh Zoo in the city continues to keep about 40 deer. According to the CZA, only 10 deer ought to be kept in the zoo. The zoo authorities had consulted the forest department last year to decide where to release the excess deer. It was suggested they be released in the Navegaon forest. By the time the zoo authorities came down to freeing the animals, monsoon was over and claiming 'wrong timing' they did not act. They said this time they hoped that they would be able to do it in time.

However, this time also formalities could take up time. A senior zoo official said the process would only begin in a month and a half and it would take another month and a half to get all the work done. By that time, monsoon would again be over and moving the deer to forest may stall once again. Monsoons are generally considered id

Primatology Palm Reading: The Primate Hands Family Tree! 

The human hand and the non-human primate hand share a number of general characteristics; however, each primate sub-family species actually has it's own unique characteristics! This article presents an overview of the common characteristics seen in individual primates species, plus how these are similar or different to the human hand. Primatology palm reading gives us a better understanding about how behavior is resulting from structure & function. Can the hand structure signal anything specific regarding behavior? 

Primate Education Network

Political Animals And Other Catastrophes
housands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. They have never forgotten this, and up to today, as every cat lover knows, nobody owns a cat. As one wise man said, "There are many intelligent species in the universe. They are all owned by cats."

Cats are smarter than dogs - you will never get eight of them to pull a heavy sled through deep snow. They have also infiltrated the English language. There are 516 words beginning with 'cat', including catalogue, cataclysm, catafalque, catastrophe and catnap. There are even abbreviations like the one in this joke.

A woman brought a very limp parrot into a veterinary hospital. As she lay her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird's chest. After a moment or two, the vet shook his head sadly and said, "I'm so sorry, Polly has passed away."

The distressed owner wailed, "Are you sure? I mean, you haven't done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something." The vet rolled his eyes, shrugged, turned and left the room, returning a few moments later with a beautiful black Labrador. As the bird's owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination t

Take A Picture - Save A Rhino
The International Rhino Keeper Association (IRKA) is holding its annual rhino photo contest, where the top photos will appear in the 2014 Rhino Conservation Calendar. In 2013, we sold out of all 500 calendars in 3 months’ time. We are hoping to order more calendars this year to keep up with the demand. The calendars were sold literally all over the world & we are expecting sales to continue to increase!

 in June 2013

~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~

Hello ZooLex Friend,

We have worked for your enjoyment!



The red panda exhibit at Zoo Zlin in the Czech Republic is part of the zoo's Asia theme zone. The exhibit presents an Himalaya habitat and the culture of Tibet and Buddhism by using specific landscaping and decorative elements.

We would like to thank Tomas Divilek, Head of Education Department at Zoo Zlin for preparing this presentation for the ZooLex Gallery:



Thanks to Eduardo Diaz Garcia we are able to offer the Spanish translation of the previously presented exhibit for Sumatran tigers at the Heidelberg Zoo in Germany:

Tigre de Sumatra:


We keep working on ZooLex ...

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Surapong needs to study elephant history
Re: Myanmar turns down Thai request for white elephant, National, June 20, 2013.

The news that Myanmar turned down Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul's request to borrow a white elephant to display in Chiang Mai zoo was interesting.It shows Surapong was incognizant of the role of elephants in Thailand and Myanmar.

According to history, during the Ayuthaya period, a Burmese king, who had not a single white elephant to show his greatness, asked for one from several in Siam's possession as a gift. When Siam refused, he attacked Ayuthaya, burned it, and took all the white elephants tha

Penguins:Sentinels of Ocean Health
Penguins have a natural charisma that has helped them to capture the hearts and imaginations of people around the world. These flightless Southern Hemisphere seabirds spend their time primarily in the water, but they come ashore to breed and nest. That makes them ideal environmental sentinels, signaling changing conditions in the ocean and along the coasts that can harm them and other marine life.
Because they come into contact with human activity such as fishing and beachfront development during their travels, they are among the most endangered seabirds. About two-thirds of penguin species are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of threatened species.

Man takes care of sick elephant; slams animal rights groups
An animal lover here yesterday rued the manner in which some prominent animal rights groups were suddenly concerned by the plight of an ailing elephant named Bijlee, and using her to garner publicity.
“I request them not to shed crocodile tears for Bijlee, who is in our care and improving with each day of medication, proper diet and lots of love,” Animals Matter To Me (AMTM) chief Ganesh Nayak told IANS.
Nayak claimed that 11 days ago, when Bijlee had collapsed on the road, he had called up several 
of prominent animal organisations for help, but got no response. 
“My organisation is mainly concerned with rescuing cats, dogs and other smaller animals. For us, lifting an elephant was truly a mammoth task, but we did it, and now she is recovering well,” Nayak said.
Irked by the manner in which some well known larger organisations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) chose to wake up after so many days to express concern for Bijlee, Nayak alleged that they are “now trying to encash on our good work, claim credit and sideline AMTM.”
“We don’t need film stars who strip for them to make money but do not help where it is genuinely required; we need just one Amitabh Bachchan who promptly sent out appeals for us through his blog and Twitter,” Nayak said.
Elaborating, he said that since the past 11 days, Bijlee, 54, was being kept strapped on a crane as she cannot stand or sit due to weak hind leg bones. Among other things,

White elephants: A shade of distinction in royal Thai tradition 
In the morning mist behind a small village in Tak's Umphang National Park, a 30-year-old elephant 
emerged and walked towards a group of people eager to see if it was actually a white elephant as 
had been... 
As it approached, ML Phiphatanachatr Diskul, a veterinarian attached to the Royal Household 
Bureau, instructed the mahout sitting on the elephant's neck to command it to kneel down. He then 
began carefully...

Upgrading the Zoo
When was the last time you went to the zoo? 
Unless you’re a primary school pupil on a school outing, chances are it’s been a while.
If you take some time to visit, though, you might be impressed. Over the last few years, the Emperor Valley Zoo has been undergoing extensive renovations, and is bringing in more animal exhibits to thrill and educate its guests.
The animals on display are not just for show either — the zoo has, and plans to expand, a prolific breeding programme.
“It is a thing of the past where zoos try to get animals from the wild. Wild populations are so small. Most zoos are getting better at breeding their exhibits to exchange and even reintroduce back into the wild,” zoo curator Nirmal Bipta told the Sunday Express on Wednesday.
In 2011, Phase One of the Zoo Enhancement Project was completed, including a world-class otter exhibit and flamingo enclosure, ideally to create new life.
And hopefully this will pay off soon. A few months ago seven-year-old Susie the otter, the lone occupant of the enclosure when it was unveiled, was joined by two-year-old Khatuma, and while otters are naturally playful creatures, Bipta says the two have become quite attached and affectionate with each other. 
“They are at their prime breeding age. We are hoping they will breed; a litter usually comprises one to four offspring. We have built a nice shelter for mother and young away from the public; we have been told this is one of the best giant river otter enclosures in the world,” Bipta said.
The zoo’s West Indian flamingos are also getting ready to procreate—the beautiful neon pink birds 
were building nests out of mud when the Sunday Express visited. In total there are 12 males and 
nine females—so far, but Bipta was confident of some new arrivals.

The Montgomery Zoo and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Center for Conservation & Research 
of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) are excited to announce the birth of a male Indian rhino calf produced by artificial insemination (AI). This is the first known calf, of any rhino species in the U.S., to be produced by AI and be born and thrive in captivity.
In February 2012, CREW’s Reproductive Physiologist, Dr. Monica Stoops worked in partnership with 
Montgomery Zoo’s staff to perform a standing sedation AI procedure, inseminating Jeta, the Montgomery Zoo’s 12-year-old female, who is on an extended breeding loan from the San Diego Wild Animal Park, with frozen-thawed semen from the resident male rhino, Himal. Dr. Stoops collected Himal’s sperm in 2004 and stored it at -320°F in CREW’s CryoBioBank in Cincinnati for eight years before it was brought to Alabama, thawed, and used in the AI procedure. The Montgomery Zoo staff monitored Jeta’s pregnancy over the 15-16 month gestation period and on June 5, 2013 she gave birth to a healthy calf. This is the second calf born to Jeta at the Montgomery Zoo and it weighs approximately 90 pounds.

This is a significant birth and scientific achievement for the Montgomery Zoo, CREW and the Zoological Association of America (ZAA) since the Indian rhino is an endange

Panda Gives Birth To Twins At China's Conservation And Research Center; First This Year
A giant panda has given birth to twins, the first pair of the endangered species born in the world this year, according to a wildlife center in southwest China.

The China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan province said the panda named Haizi gave birth to the two cubs 10 minutes apart on Saturday.

Staffers at the center, which is part of the Wolong Nature Reserve, say one cub is a female and weighs 79.2 grams (2.79 ounces). Haizi has yet to release the other cub from her embrace.

Giant pandas have difficulty breeding, with females fertile for only two or three days a year.

Pandas number about 1,600 in the wild

Foxes are scared of lions’ urine.
Cats, squirrels, rabbits and foxes are just a few of the uninvited visitors who can gorge on your plants and ruin your crops. Hannah Stephenson looks at ways to keep them at bay

The other day, I wandered up the garden to find that some of my favourite emerging phlox had been razed to the ground, devoured by something which left just the stems at ground level.

Rabbits? Could be. But no, the next day the culprit returned for second helpings - a large black cat with a penchant for perennials, so now I’m keeping a powerful water pistol by my patio door to scare off any such intruders.

CATS: There are a number of battery-operated deterrents on the market which, when switched on, pick up movement with an infra-red detector and then emit ultrasonic, high-pitched frequencies that reputedly scare off the culprits. They are not audible to humans and the usual range is about 10m (33ft) over an arc of 70 degrees.

Another solution is to put down citrus peelings or lemon scent where the cats are causing the damage, or prickly prunings around their favourite plants.

They are less likely to use your garden as a litter tray if they have no access to bare soil - especially dry, loose soil. If you have a gravelled area, try replacing it with larger stone chippings or pebbles.

Unwanted CDs can be threaded on twine with knots in between to keep them apart. String these acro

Beastly behavior
When Li Ling was growing up in Beijing in the 1980s, it was not uncommon for old men to bring chained monkeys onto the street to perform. Crowds would gather to watch and reward the animal's antics by throwing money.

A couple of months ago, Li took a trip to Tanzania, where she saw dolphins in their natural environment, leaping out of the sea in front of the boat. Deeply moved, she vowed to never take her 2-year-old son to see captive animals performing. 

"We could swim with them. The dolphins were crazily happy and danced all around us," she said. "We then decided we would not go see animal shows again. They should live in their natural habitat."

She posted her photos of the dolphins on Sina Weibo, China's most popular microblogging service, and called upon the public to stop attending exploitative animal performances. 

In recent years, more and more people in Beijing are becoming conscious that animal rights extend to freedom from abusive training and handling practices for performance animals. In 2010, the State Forestry Administration requested that all wild animal shows in China be stopped because of their abusive nature. 

Still, the shows continue. At the Wenlin Zoo in Taizhou, Zhejiang Province, a chained tiger was forced to pose for photos with tourists. In March of this year, handlers at the wild animal zoo in Hefei, Anhui province forced a sea lion to perform ballet, chase balls and stand on its head. 

According to a 2011 report by China Zoo Observatory, 50 percent of city zoos and 89 percent of aquariums feature circus-style animal performances, many involving potentially dangerous acts such as walking on a wire and boxing. 

Mang Ping, an organizer of a Weibo ca


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