The biggest story of the week was the Red Panda which escaped from Washington Zoo. This really took the attention of the press. It seemed for a while that there was nothing else happening in the zoo world. Not that unusual for a Red Panda to escape. They are always getting out. I have included links to others. These though are just the ones who made the press. I know of others and if it did not compromise confidentiality I daresay other zoos could tell me of another fifty without much difficulty.
A two headed turtle. What would you do? I would euthanase it (them). I certainly would not promote it. It has no place in the serious modern good zoo. It is a freak, and a disadvantaged one at that. It certainly does not want promoting. I have seen a few of these unfortunate little freaks exhibited in slum zoos which know no better. San Antonio, come on, be serious, be brave.
Put the poor little creature out of its misery and tell the public why you did it. That would be kind and educational. No zoo worth its salt takes advantage of freaks. What will it be next? A two headed kitten? There was one of those born just a few weeks ago. Taking advantage of the disadvantaged is wrong in my eyes. Puts me in mind of Montezuma's Zoo. What next?
I have included the link to 'Baby Chimp, Tiger Cubs And Wolf Puppy Are The Cutest BFFs Ever (VIDEO)' not because I think that it is cute in any way but because it is wrong. A baby chimpanzee on a leash. Why isn't it with its mother? Where did it come from? White Tiger cub, normal tiger cub, wolf cub. Not one of them with their natural mother. Why? Because they were abandoned at birth, the mother had no milk? Bullshit! They were deliberately pulled or purchased just so they could produce a nasty little video. If they were not then there is something drastically wrong with their husbandry procedures. I looked at the website for this place and I can see the wood in spite of the trees.
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An Indiana couple defending their home from prowling bobcats got the surprise of a lifetime when the massive creature they shot and killed ended up not being a bobcat at all.
State wildlife officials believe it was a leopard.
The massive cat, photographed stretched out in a Charlestown backyard early Friday morning has been tentatively identified as one better known to Africa, Cen
A History Of Daring Red Panda Escapes
he red panda looks like a fluffy raccoon-cat, frolics in the snow like an arctic otter, and is known to interrupt lunchtime in impossibly adorable ways. These are well-known skills and traits. What's not so well-known is that red pandas are also master escape artists. So we shouldn't be surprised that Rusty the red panda made a break for it last night from the National Zoo.
Red pandas may look like terrestrial animals like raccoons, but they're arborial--they're awkward and clumsy on the ground, which is super cute, but misleading. They're designed for life in the trees, with super-sharp claws for climbing. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums notes that, to prevent depression, red pandas have to be given items to climb on. "Provide climbing apparatus for older animals," it reads, "but beware: red pand
10 weirdest zoo animal escapes
Rusty the red panda is the most recent zoo animal to prove it truly is a jungle out there. On Monday, the National Zoo in Washington announced that little Rusty had gone missing.
Thankfully, by the end of the day, he was back in his enclosure and no longer wandering around the big city unchaperoned. Rusty's adventurous day in D.C. is, obviously, not the first nor the strangest story of an escaped animal running amok.
Don't worry, though, all these have rel
Rifle-wielding zoo staff risked their lives stopping hippo from escaping into Bow River during flood
Staff risked their lives to stop a hippo from escaping and to usher ailing giraffes to dry ground during the recent flood, a Calgary Zoo spokesman said Tuesday.
“It was a cross between ’The Poseidon Adventure’ and ’Jurassic Park,”’ said Jake Veasey, the zoo’s director of animal care, conservation and research.
Veasey and other workers spent the weekend at the African Savannah exhibit juggling two challenges at once: moving shivering giraffes out of belly-deep water and securing an angry hippo that had escaped his holding area.
A glass window had to be broken for Veasey to get into a building to tend to the giraffes — skittish creatures that don’t cope well with cold and stress.
The building was so full of murky, brown water that he had to don a wet suit and swim to the back of the building to get to the giraffe enclosure.
At that point, the hippos were still where they were supposed to be, but, just in case, a shipping container was placed over a window that the hippos could have swam through.
Water levels eventually rose high enough for the dangerous herbivores to swim
$4.5m redevelopment for Wellington Zoo
Wellington Zoo is in for a multi-million dollar redevelopment that will put more of New Zealand's wildlife on show.
The $4.5 million project, which will take up around a quarter of the zoo's land, will begin later this year.
Wellington Zoo spokeswoman Amy Hughes said the 'Meet the Locals' project is a love story to New Zealand.
"Going from the sho
SA Zoo's newest addition: 2-headed turtle
Unique turtles born June 18
A new addition at the San Antonio Zoo will have visitors doing a double-take.
Tuesday, the zoo announced a two-headed turtle was born June 18, part of what it calls a "quartet" of Texas cooters.
The zoo sent out a picture of the two turtles under one shell, named Thelma and Louise, in a press release Tuesday.
They'll be on exhibit inside the zoo's Fr
Double-Wattled Cassowary Lays an Egg
Tracking China’s Rare Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey
The golden snub-nosed monkey is unique to China and is seldom seen, but was captured on film by National Geographic for its television series, “Wild China,” a three-part special that premieres on Sunday.
The monkeys are so elusive that a lot is not known about them. Even their population numbers aren’t fully known.
China is fiercely protective of the monkeys. No zoo outside of China has ever kept one permanently, although they have been on loan. “Nightline” was lucky enough to be allowed to track the golden snub-nosed monkey with a guide.
Their home in China’s mountains is largely wild, but still protected – just in time, some say. Massive deforestation in China forced golden snub-nosed mo
Keighley charity fights to save tigers
A Keighley-based charity is helping to fight a disease – originally spread by domestic dogs – that makes endangered tigers and other big cats lose their fear of humans.
Canine distemper virus (CDV) is a pathogen that threatens some of the rarest feline species across the world. And Wildlife Vets Inter-national, based in Parkwood Street, has joined efforts to stop it from decimating the tiger population.
Big cat specialist and co-founder of the charity, Dr John Lewis, will visit Sumatra in September to offer advice and help launch a programme to shed new light on the causes and impact of CDV and other diseases. Once up and running, it will be the world’s first comprehensive programme to monitor diseases in w
Fear of Komodo dragon bacteria wrapped in myth
A team led by a University of Queensland researcher has proven that the fearsome Komodo dragon is a victim of bad press.
It has long been believed that Komodo dragon bites were fatal because of toxic bacteria in the reptiles' mouths.
But ground-breaking research by The University of Queensland's Associate Professor Bryan Fry and colleagues in the United States has found that the mouths of Komodo dragons are surprisingly ordinary and the levels and types of bacteria do not differ from any other carnivore.
This presents a powerful challenge to how most scientists and zookeepers have viewed the Komodo dragon.
“Komodo dragons are actually very clean animals,” Associate Professor Fry said.
“After they are done feeding, they will spend 10 to 15 minutes lip-licking and rubbing their head in the leaves to clean their mouth.
"The inside of their mouth is also kept extremely clean by the tongue.
“Unlike people have been led to believe, they do not have chunks of rotting flesh from their meals on their teeth, cultivating bacteria.”
In fact it seems the poor hygiene of water buffalo is responsible for perceptions about deadly toxic bacteria in the dragons.
Komodo dragons evolved in Australia and preyed upon young megafauna.
They now populate the islands of Indonesia where they prey on the introduced water buffalo, and on pigs and deer.
Professor Fry said attacks on pigs and deer were
The 4 Most Endangered Seal Species
I have a summer tradition. Every year, as close to the first day of summer as possible, I hop onto one of the many whale-watching tours that depart from Boothbay Harbor, Maine, and spend an afternoon on the ocean. On a good day we can end up seeing a dozen or so whales. On a great day we can see hundreds of incredible harbor seals swimming through the clear water or sunning themselves on the dozens of tiny islands dotting the horizon.
Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) have another name: Common seals. As you might guess from that sobriquet, harbor seals are, indeed, quite common, with worldide populations somewhere in the five million to six million range. Unfortunately, not all seal species are as populous or as secure in their place
Promoting the use of scientific evidence for bird conservation
Investigation continues of 2012 wolf attack at Swedish wildlife park
It may take a long time to find out exactly how a pack of eight male wolfs could attack and kill a zoo keeper at Sweden’s Kolmården Wildlife Park last summer. A year after the tragic accident, the police investigation into the tragic incident is far from reaching any conclusions.
The attack happened just an hour after Kolmården, located in eastern Sweden, opened its gates for the 2012 summer holiday season.
The 30-year-old female zoo keeper was alone in the wolf pen when the animals attacked and killed her.
This week, the park welcomes visitors for the 2013 summer season, but prosecutor Jan Andersson tells Swedish Radio that the investigation is complicated and could go on for another year.
“This case is unique and we’re dealing with complex legislation,” says Jan Andersson.
He adds that a great deal of information must be collected and carefully examined – and that takes time.
After the accident, the park decided to forbid visitors from entering the wolf pen to pet the animals. The Swedish Work Environment Authority lobbied for Kolmården to be prosecuted over the incident.
It also gave fuel to a heated debate in Sweden about how one should treat wolfs.
Speaking to Radio Sweden at the time, Gunnar Glöesen of the Swedish Hunter’s Association said:
“Kolmården is part of the wolf debate in Sweden. They have tried to teach the Swedes that the wolves are not dangerous, you can play with them, you can get cosy with them. Now the lesson that Swedish people have learned is that they are wolves, and should be treated as wolves.”
However, zoologist Hans-Ove Larsson dismissed attempts to link the events at Kolmården to the debate about the wild wolf population.
“You have to separate the wild wolves totally from these tame wol
'Love' draws tiger back to zoo
Female tigers at Nandankanan zoo have managed to do what the forest officials couldn't. They have drawn back the elusive big cat, who had been giving sleepless nights to forest officials for the last few weeks.
The wild male tiger, which scaled an 18-foot-high iron wire mesh to flee the confinement of Nandankanan zoo on the city outskirts on the night of May 31, returned to the zoo on Sunday night. Officials said after the rare escape, the 'lovelorn' tiger stuck
The June 2013 issue of ZOO’s PRINT Magazine (Vol. XXVIII, No. 6) is online at <www.zoosprint.org> in a format that permits you to turn pages like a regular magazine.
If you wish to download the full magazine or certain articles click on <www.zoosprint.org/showMagazine.asp>
June 2013 | Vol. XXVIII | No. 6 | Date of Publication 26 June 2013
Central Zoo Authority and its MOU's: Central Zoo Authority goes International for improving its services
-- Sally Walker and Brij Kishor Gupta, Pp. 1-2
Interview with Jorg Junhold, Director of Leipzig Zoo & President, WAZA
Jorg and the Leipzig Zoo staff create a City Paradise . . . Gondwanaland, Germany (Press release)
Committee for Population Management
-- Jenny Gray, P. 10
Updating WZACS ... the World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy … Houston hosts!
-- Editor, Pp. 11-15
Forthcoming in Fall 2013 Z O O K E E P I N G - An Introduction to the Science and Technology Edited by Mark D. Irwin, John B. Stoner, and Aaron M. Cobaugh
Invertebrate Pollinator Conservation and Education Training Workshop Report: Conservation Beyond Research
-- B.A. Daniel, Pp. 17-20
Snake bites in Indian Zoos and after care of affected Animals
-- Bipul Chakrabarty, Pp. 21-22
Avifauna of Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu, India
-- V. Gokula, Pp. 23-29
Recollection of Exacum petiolare (Gentianaceae) and Mitreola petiolata (Loganiaceae) from Nallamalais, Andhra Pradesh, India
-- Byalla Sadasivaiah and Thammineni Pullaiah, Pp. 30-31
Observations on the marine carnivore gastropods feeding on moribund Puffer Fish Takifugu oblongus Bloch, 1786
-- Gadhavi M. K., H. K. Kardani, and Rajal Pathak, P. 32
Twin birth of Ratel (Mellivora capensis indica) in captivity: A case study at Nandankanan Zoological Park
-- Rajesh Kumar Mohapatra, Sarat Kumar Sahu and Sudarsan Panda, P. 33
World Environment Day Celebration 2013 Reports
Human Elephant Coexistence - Participant’s follow-up programmes
Amur Leopard Conservation
Five Shocking Zoo Attacks
Zoos: They're supposed to be places of fun and learning, where curious animal admirers can observe an array of fascinating creatures at a safe distance under controlled conditions.
But sometimes, even at zoos, when humans get too close, tragedy can strike. Click thr
Baby Chimp, Tiger Cubs And Wolf Puppy Are The Cutest BFFs Ever (VIDEO)
Unlikely friendships are the best kind of friendships.
This video from JoeExoticTV shows a baby chimpanzee, two tiger cubs, and wolf pup truly hitting it off. It makes for one of the cutest playdates of all time.
The babies are at the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park in Wynnewood, Okla., according to Yahoo!
Joe Schreibvogel, the entertainment director
In a unique conservation initiative in partnership with The Aspinall Foundation, DHL (http://www.dhl.com), the world’s leading logistics company, has delivered a family of nine silverback gorillas from Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent to the Batéké Plateau National Park, Gabon. (Photo: Gorilla Djala on straw at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park)
The gorillas were transported 9,000 km, departing from the UK to Brussels, and flown in a specially equipped Boeing 767 to Lagos, Nigeria, and then onto Franceville, Gabon. For the final leg of the journey they were flown in a helicopter to the national park in collaboration with the Gabonese authorities.
In addition to the animals, which have a combined weight of 620kg, no less than 1,200 kg of food and vets’ equipment accompanied them on their journey home to the wild.
To accommodate the gorillas’ transport schedule, DHL took two different aircraft out of commission and temporarily reconfigured its global network to ensure they could be delivered in as tight a timeframe as possible.
Western lowland gorillas are classed as a critically endangered species, and this is the first attempt ever at returning an entire family to its natural habitat. The Aspinall Foundation’s “Back to the Wild” initiative is part of its ongoing commitment to restock the wild with endangered and critically enda
Power of the Penis
Report warns about increasing export of endangered fish
Bowing to demands from the booming aquarium industry, India is said to have exported more than 1.5 million threatened freshwater fishes in the last seven years affecting the future of the country's aquatic diversity, says a report.
"More than 1.5 million freshwater fish belonging to 30 threatened species were exported from India during the years 2005-2012," says the study prepared by a group of scientists led by Kochi -based ecologist, Rajeev Raghavan.
Published in the latest issue of international journal, Biological Conservation, the report says the trade in threatened species comprise 30 per cent of the total exports of at least five million aquarium fishes.
Of the 1.5 million threatened fishes, the major share was contributed by three species - Botia striata (Endangered), Carinotetraodon travancoricus (Vulnerable) and the Red Lined Torpedo Barbs (Endangered).
Most wild-caught aquarium fish originating from India come from two global biodiversity hotspots of Eastern Himalaya and Western Ghats, known for their remarkable freshwater biodiversity, says Raghavan.
With the reported aquarium fish trade exports from India were worth in excess of 1.6 million USD for the seven-year period, the scientists warn that the collection of fish for aquarium pet trade in such large numbers is a major threat to its wild population.
"Aquarium trade is known to be a current, or potential future threat to at least 22 endemic freshwater fishes of India, of which 12 are already threatened. Several threatened species that are regularly exported from India have very restricted areas of occupancy," the report said.
Nine of the 20 threatened species that were exported during 2005-2012 show a continuing decline in their populations.
In India, the country that harbours the most number of endemic freshwater fishes in continental Asia, collection of such species for aquarium trade is entirely unregulated as t
Reykjavik Zoo: Staff Eats Zoo Animals
Staff in the Reykjavik Zoo eats the animals that are slaughtered in the fall. Zoo directors host a big garden party and BBQ feast in the fall, where everyone eats the animals they took care of in the summer. On top of that, Zoo staff can buy the rest of the meat very cheap. "The staff has been offered to buy the meat at cost price. We are obviously not allowed to sell the meat to the public and by doing this, we utilize the meat." said Sigrún Thorlacius, assistant director of the Reykjavik Zoo & Family Park.
The staff prefers to eat zoo animals When asked if the staff knows they are eatin
Dubai Crocodile Park comes to amuse tourists and students
Dubai Municipality on Thursday has signed a Dhs10m agreement with White Oryx Investment LLC to set up the first crocodile park in the Middle East and one of the best crocodile preservation park in the world. The BOT project is expected to complete in 24 months.
This was announced by Eng. Hussain Nassir Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, during a special press conference after the agreement signing attended by Assistant Director Generals, other top officials of the civic body and representatives of the contracting company.
Lootah said: "This ambitious project would be a turning point in the history of Dubai tourism and research projects as the proposed crocodile park would encompass different crocodile species in future stages of the park development enabling the tourists and research students to learn a-z about the crocodile, a gigantic animal existing for last 220 million years."
"Being a metropolitan city that has been enjoying the total turnover of 10 million tourist per year, Dubai is always keen to put its enduring efforts in the field of sustainable development along with natural and wildlife conservation creating a number of natural reserves such as Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, Mushrif Park and Desert Conservation Reserve in addition to several initiatives to protect animals like turtles, Arabian Oryx, hawks, camels and horses," he said.
Khalifa Abdullah Hareb, Director of Assets Management Department said the main objective of the crocodile park is to offer a unique destination of wildlife tourism combining nature and adventure along with its diversified tourism attractions including upcoming mega tourism project in the emirate of Dubai.
"The park in 20,000 m2 would strengthen the role of the UAE in the protection of endangered animal species working closely with educational institutions as an alternative and pedagogical tool that encourages the interest of youth in natural sciences," Hareb said.
"This projects would adopt an eco-friendly approach like all other projects of the civic body through sustainable use of eco-friendly materials, resources, waste, renewable energy and creating a most suitable environment for the crocodiles for a hassle free living, interaction and reproduction," he added.
The site is located in the north east of Dubai, about 10 km from the international airport, which represents an important link between the desert and the main touristic hub of the beach coast.
The site also benefits of a strategic location and an easy access in addition to being close to 'Mushrif Reserve, and the Dubai Safari' Projects that is coherent with the nature of project surrounded by a wildlife neighborhood along with other adjacent natural attractions of Al Warqaa, Al Mizhar and al Mirdif.
Mohamed Oueslati, General Manager of White Oryx said that we hope to successfully implement this
most awaited and project in sync with the expectations of the Dubai Government, Civic Body, citizens and residents of Dubai in additions to millions of tourists and research students who are expected to visit the park. "The visitors will enjoy an exciting tour in total immersion into natural sceneries facing hundreds of crocodiles in natural water. The design of the pathway strongly
Nile crocodile from Madagascar coming to Dubai
In two years from now Dubai will have its own crocodile habitat
Black bear breaks into zoo
A neighbor called the Knoxville Zoo late Monday night and alerted a ranger, saying there was a bear in a nearby park, according to Tina Rolen, assistant director of marketing at the zoo.
A short while later, the ranger saw what he presumed to be the same bear climbing over a fence and into the zoo. But it was unclear where, exactly, the ursine interloper wound up.
The ranger had to wake up the zoo’s four resident bears on Monday to conduct a "nose count."
“They weren’t too happy with us,” said Rolen. After multiple sweeps the next morning, zoo employees once again counted only the four bears that are supposed
Visitors feel pity for Ragunan Zoo occupants
A group of mothers left an enclosure of sun bears after losing interest in watching a child feed
the animals with peanuts.
“Why are the bears so skinny and where is the guide? There’s supposed to be a guide here, isn’t there?” said one of the mothers, while passing through an enclosure in Ragunan Zoo in South Jakarta one afternoon.
Meanwhile, another visitor, Harpendi, complained not about the animals but the enclosures. “Some of the enclosures are not clean. I feel pity for the animals,” said the 26-year-old visitor from Bekasi, West Java, after seeing the monkey section.
Harpendi, who has been visiting the zoo since childhood, said that the condition of the zoo was better than the last time he visited but he hoped for more improvements.
Harpendi, who came with his girlfriend, compared the zoo with Taman Safari Indonesia zoo in Bogor, saying it was more enjoyable watching the animals in the wild-like habitat than in cages.
“It was more expensive than the price here but it was worth it,” he said.
Taman Safari charges its customers between Rp 85,000 (US$8.6) — Rp 150,000 per visit while the tickets at Ragunan Zoo are only Rp 8,000 for an adult and Rp 6,000 for a child.
Ragunan Zoo, a favorite picnic destination and the biggest open green space in the capital city with around 4 million visitors per year, was recently criticized as uncreative and unimproved by Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.
Basuki said he was disappointed with the current management. “Ragunan Zoo lies in a very spacious
area, but the conditions for the animals are very concerning,” he said. As many as two animals – a giraffe and a hippopotamus — died in the zoo recently.
The head of administrative staff at the zoo, Bambang Triyono, confirmed the deaths, saying on Thursday that the giraffe died of old age in the third week of May.
“The giraffe was 27 years old, whic
Ragunan Zoo to Compete With Singapore Zoo: Basuki
The Jakarta government has installed Hashim Djojohadikusuma to manage an overhaul of Ragunan Zoo (TMR) following allegations of poor conditions and dubious animal health at the South Jakarta enclosure.
“We want TMR to be like Singapore Zoo,” Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama said on Thursday.
“They have 20 hectares of land and entertainment for visitors, including night safaris. In the future, we want Ragunan to be as good as that.”
The appointment of Hashim, brother of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and an animal-loving tycoon with interests spanning paper and palms, is being seen as a boon at City Hall, which hopes to tap into Hashim’s international network to achieve something close to parity with the Lion City.
Basuki said that, although he had not visited the zoo in person, information he had received indicated conditions at the zoo — from soil quality to animal health — were unacceptable.
“We chose Hashim because he is not corrupt and because handling animals is already his favorite pastime,” the deputy governor said. “Furthermore, he has a wide network in other countries. We hope that he can collaborate and cooperate with zoos abroad.”
In addition to potentially fostering cooperation with regional zoos, Hashim will be asked to audit the zoo’s budget and its 2,000 animals.
Basuki 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.
An anonymous source at the zoo said that several animals had died and been buried on the grounds since May. Ragunan Zoo denied this allegation but confirmed that its only giraffe and a hippo had both died of old age.
The Jakarta Globe spoke to a recent visitor to the
Iconic Singapore Zoo celebrates its 40th birthday
Despite hard lessons along the way, zoo is now one of the world's best THE thought of a panther or bears escaping from the Singapore Zoo - regarded as one of the top zoos in the world today - and its staff keeping quiet about it may be hard to fathom now.
Yet that was exactly what happened 40 years ago, when its staff were still inexperienced, said one of the zoo's pioneer zookeepers, Mr Alagappasamy Chellaiyah.
But the iconic zoo, which celebrates its 40th birthday today, has come a long way, he added.
The 62-year-old, who joined the zoo in 1971 and is now the assistant director of zoology, recalled when two su
Saiga Success: Critically Endangered Antelope Population Doubles in 5 Years
Well it’s about time I had some success to report about the saiga (Saiga tatarica), the critically endangered antelope species native to Kazakhstan and nearby countries in central Asia.
Just a few decades ago saiga populations numbered in the millions. The fall of the Soviet Union brought uncontrolled poaching across the saiga’s range, and 95 percent of the animals were slaughtered for their meat and horns, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine. By 2010,
the first year I wrote about the saiga, the total population had fallen to an estimated 81,000 animals in five isolated populations.
But 2010 was the first of three disastrous years for the saiga. That year, 12,000 saiga died in Kazakhstan from pasteurellosis, an infection that afflicts the lungs. Another mass die-off occurred exactly one year later, this time claiming 450 animals. One year later it happened again. That time nearly 1,000 saiga were found dead from pasteurellosis—although some people actually blamed a Soyuz capsule returning a crew from the International Space Station that had recently landed nearby.
After three deadly years I did not expect this week’s report: the Kazakh government now says that its country’s saiga population has increased to 137,000 animals, more than double what it had been five years ago. In a statement, the Kazakh Ministry of Environmental Protection credited the increase with an international memorandum signed by Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia to preserve saiga habitat and grow their populations. As part of that agreement, Kazakhstan has taken some efforts to reduce the impact of new roads and other infrastructure in saiga habitat.
That has apparently helped the antelopes to migrate and i
Want to Understand Mortality? Look to the Chimps
Pansy was probably in her 50s when she died, which is pretty good for a chimpanzee. She passed in a way most of us would envy — peacefully, with her adult daughter, Rosie, and her best friend, Blossom, by her side. Thirty years earlier, Pansy and Blossom arrived together at the Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park near Stirling, Scotland. They raised their children together.
Now, as Pansy struggled to breathe, Blossom held her hand and stroked it. When the scientists at the park realized Pansy’s death was imminent, they turned on video cameras, capturing intimate moments during her last hours as Blossom, Rosie and Blossom’s son, Chippy, groomed her and comforted her as she got weaker. After she passed, the chimps examined the body, inspecting Pansy’s mouth, pulling her arm and leaning their faces close to hers.
Blossom sat by Pansy’s body through the night. And when she finally moved away to sleep in a different part of the enclosure, she did so fitfully, waking and repositioning herself dozens more times than was normal. For five days after Pansy’s death, none of the other chimps would sleep on the platform where she died.
This account was published in 2010 in the journal Current Biology, but it’s not the only time scientists have watched chimpanzees, bonobos and other primates deal with death in ways that look strikingly like our own informal rituals of mourning: watching over the dying, cleaning and protecting bodies and displaying outward signs of anxiety. Chimps have been seen to make loud distress calls when a comrade dies. They investigate bodies as if looking for signs of life.
There are many cases of mothers refusing to abandon dead infants, carrying and grooming them for days or even weeks. Still, it’s rare to capture primate deaths, especially those of chimpanzees and bonobos, in detail. It happens just often enough that many scientists are starting to think there’s something interesting, maybe protohuman, going on.
But this sort of speculation is laden with epistemological issues: are the scientists guilty of anthropomorphizing their subjects? Are these just isolated events? Are they more likely in captivity? Stories like Pansy’s are mere anecdotes in a world that demands testable hypotheses, and they color the fringes of a continuing scientific debate: Can we find the basis for aspects of our culture in the behavior of other primates?
Earlier this month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a proposal to put captive chimpanzees on the federal endangered species list. (Wild chimps have officially been endangered since 1990.) The goal is to clear up a bureaucratic catch that treats some chimps different from others, but it has big implications for what we can do with the animals — both as medical-research subjects and comic relief on screen. It’s also part of a shift in how we perceive chimps: Are they just animals, or are they something closer to us? Understanding how chimpanzees cope with death is part of that increasing sense of closeness.
Brian Hare, an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University, is convinced that an ape death he witnessed gave him a glimpse into something significant, especially because the animals acted so thoroughly against their own interests. “As a person, I can tell you what it feels like to watch,” says Hare, who describes the experience as emotionally intense. “As a scientist, though, you’re supposed to rely on ideas that can be tested and falsified. And how could you possibly do an ethical experiment here?” Hare studies how chimpanzees and bonobos solve problems, and in 2007 he happened to see one of our closest evolutionary relatives die. He was at a bonobo orphanage in the Democratic Republic of Congo when Lipopo, a newcomer to the orphanage, died unexpectedly from pneumonia. Although the other bonobos could have moved away from his body and traveled anywhere in their very large, heavily forested enclosure, they chose to stay and groom Lipopo’s corpse.
When their caretakers arrived to remove the body, the vigil morphed into a tense standoff.
In the video Hare took, Mimi, the group’s alpha female, stands guard over Lipopo’s body. When the
caretakers try to push the corpse out of the enclosure with long poles, Mimi fights them, viciously. She grabs the poles with both hands, wrenching them away from Lipopo. She calls to other bonobos, who help her fend off the humans from two sides. Even when the vet arrives with a tranquilizer gun, Mimi stands her ground, her mouth open wide in a scream that’s inaudible in the silent film. Mimi wasn’t related to Lipopo. In fact, she barely knew him, Hare told me. But Mimi was willing to risk an encounter with a gun to protect the body of a mere acquainta
Qantas puts total ban on all shark fin
Qantas yesterday announced a ban on carrying all shark fin, joining the growing number of airlines to impose a total ban on the controversial cargo following a campaign led by Hong Kong environmentalists.
The Australian carrier took the step a day after telling the South China Morning Post it would carry shark products only from sustainable sources on its flights in future.
Lisa Brock, executive manager for Qantas Freight Enterprises, said yesterday the airline had decided not to carry any shark fin from any source - including so-called sustainable sources - immediately.
"This restriction has been put in place to avoid participation in the supply chain of shark fin that has been sourced through the unacceptable process of finning," she said.
Air New Zealand, Korean Air and Seoul-based Asiana Airlines have announced blanket bans on the
carriage of shark fin.
Cathay Pacific and Fiji Airways, formerly Air Pacific, say they will carry only sustainably sourced shark fin.
The bans follow a year-long campaign by some 60 environmental groups in Hong Kong to stop shark
fin being flown into the city. More than 10,300 tonnes of shark fin were imported to the city last year.
Alex Hofford, executive director of MyO
Silves-born Iberian lynx released last week in Spain
Two Iberian lynx, that were born last year at the Silves reproduction centre as part of an Iberian species recovery plan, were released into the wild last Friday, 21 June, in the Guarrizas valley.
Of the Iberian Lynx released into the wild so far this year, 11 were born at the Algarve-based CNRLI reproduction centre, in Silves.
This latest release, according to a statement from the Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation (ICNF), involved the help of the public and the presence of Portuguese nature conservation authorities, along with their counterparts from the Spanish regions of Extremadura and Andalucía.
It was a moment, the ICNF said, that “symbolised the programme’s contribution to preserving the species” as well as a nod to international and inter-institutional cooperation. In total 11 of 19 cubs that have been reintroduced to their natural environment (six females and five males) under the reproduction programme were born in Silves, where they were also taught to hunt and survive in the wild.
Cubs Jazz and Joaninha were released into the wild last Friday, culminating a programme that began in March 2013 with the release of four other cubs born in Silves; two in Guarrizas and two in Guadalmellato. A further two Algarvian cubs were released in Guadalmellato in early June, followed by a fifth pair that were released on 18 June, also in Guarrizas. Their first few days of freedom are monitored by radio and satellite.
The 2013 Spanish reintroduction plan foresaw the release of 19 cubs in an attempt to salvage the critically endangered Iberian Lynx population.
It is believed there are only a handful of Iberian Lynx living in their natural habitat, in southern Iberia, making them the world’s rarest cats and most endangered feline.
So far this year 17 cubs have been born at the CNRLI centre in Silves, 15 of which are currently also being taught to live in the wild, in preparation
Sea TurTle CSI
It's All in the Genes
By now, we’ve all seen a television show or movie featuring clever police detectives using high-tech laboratory analyses of microscopic tissue samples to catch criminals. But in a new twist of that familiar story, today scientists are using similar forensic approaches to solve long-standing mysteries about sea turtles—and male sea turtles, in particular.
Unlike female sea turtles, which are evolutionarily obliged to haul themselves onto sandy beaches to lay eggs, male sea turtles get to spend their entire post-hatchling lives in the comfy confines of the ocean. Because female turtles—and their hatchlings—are so readily available to humans for study, they have been the focus of monitoring and conservation projects worldwide for decades. But with virtually no information about males (see “Unsolved Mysteries” in SWOT Report, Vol. II), our understanding of how sea turtle populations really work is severely limited. Here’s where the sea turtle detectives come in.
Hidden in a hatchling’s DNA is its entire family history, including who its mother is, who its father is, and to what nesting population it belongs. By applying DNA fingerprinti
Aquarium in China is hiring MERMAIDS to entertain visitors
LOOKING for a new career? Love the water? This could be the job mer-MADE for you.
An aquarium in China is hiring mermaids to entertain visitors by swimming around all day in a giant tank.
Rather than trying to track down the mythical sea creatures, bosses at the Donghu Ocean Aquarium in Wuhan are inviting applications from mere humans.
A current employee - in full costume - has been visiting job fairs in the city to drum up interest.
But applicants must meet a strict list of requirements: female, strong swimmers, at least 5ft 4in tall - and willing to spend all day in a lycra swimming costume with a fin on the end.
Those lucky enough to land the job will pick up a salary of 72,000RMB a year (about £7,680) - twice the average wage in
Lemur Stumpy celebrates 27th birthday at zoo
BIRTHDAY boy Stumpy shows it’s grape to live to a ripe old age.
The ring-tailed lemur celebrated his 27th year with a fruity feast at Five Sisters Zoo in West Calder, West Lothian.
Lemurs usually only live to their early 20s — and experts reckon Stumpy’s the oldest of his kind in captivity anywhere.
The dad-of-five later played in trees and nibb
Scandal at the Zoo Craiova: lion four months, kept hidden and discovered by authorities
Authorities have discovered another Craiova Zoo lion cub, aged four months, which was hidden by the head zoo, after a week ago, a lioness gave birth to four cubs, which, however, did not survive and representatives zoo hid situation.
Mayor of Craiova, Olguţa Lia Vasilescu, announced in a press conference that the zoo was discovered a lion aged four months, which authorities had not been announced.
"I was surprised to hear about this young lion.'s Female and was separated from the lioness and lion.'s A healthy baby," said Lia Vasilescu Olguţa.
Cub was kept in a cage, hidden by management, and was discovered after handover process ended after the dismissal Zoo manager, Ion Cojocaru.
"The Commission found that the inventory we have a lion. Manager told me that they had observed and he wanted to declare the Environment Agency later. Cub was locked in a room without knowing the himself. preclude I have been kept chickens for sale ", said turn Florin Lungu, director Autonomous Public Domain Administration Craiova.
On the other hand, said that the mayor of Craiova July 15 authorization of the Zoological Garden of Craiova cease and an application was made by the National Sanitary Veterinary Authority to extend the operation for another 60 days, during which will begin reconstruction.
"Today I received a request to extend the operation of the Zoo, and we sent it on. We have received funding from the Ministry of Environment for the reconstruction of the Zoo, at the moment is the ESPP. Where we get the opportunity Extension will have to relocate animals to other zoos in the country, "said Olguţa Vasilescu.
She said he did not believe that employees wanted to sell lion cubs, but that they were afraid of being punished for DSP forbade allowing livestock breeding in captivity at the zoo because there are
Two-headed turtle and 7 animals to make you see double
Blue Planet Aquarium Reopens to Become Northern Europe's Largest
The Blue Planet Aquarium has reopened with much fanfare and an imaginative new facility. A bird's-eye view of the reinvented Blue Planet reveals a spiraled structure that is full of motion and synergy. The unique design of the building is meant to resemble the natural, circular motion of wind and water. The aquarium now holds a grand total of over 1.8 million gallons of water, 53 different aquarium displays, and some 20,000 ocean animals.
To create the largest aquarium exhibit, known as The Ocean, custom R-Cast acrylic was needed to hold the 1.05 million gallons of water - that is 4,373 tons of liquid. The viewing window itself is 18 inches thick, 52 feet long, and 26 feet tall, which allows for spectacular views of a variety of sea life including rays, sea turtles, and barracudas. This exhibit also holds the aquarium's largest animal, the hammerhead shark, with specimens up to 23 feet in length.
R-Cast acrylic was also used in the construction of a transparent sea tunnel that takes visitors through the depths of The Ocean exhibit. The tunnel is seven feet high and 10 feet wide, giving visitors an intimate viewing experience while being surrounded by the array of exotic sea life.
The clarity of R-Cast gives the illusion the acrylic is perhaps ghostly-thin, while in reality it is an ample five inches in thickness.
The revamped Blue Planet Aquarium was designed without a set tour route with the idea that visitors would receive a more individual experience by circling their way from site to site. The fans, or wings of the aquarium, are divided up by different water regions and extend from the center forming the shape of a giant whirlpool. Each individual exhibit has a unique theme and entrance featuring tailored sound and image displays to establish the desired atmosphere.
"One truly remarkable feature of this aquarium was the effort to include exhibits that represent different areas of our wonderful planet," said Matt Houlihan, Executive Vice President. "R-Cast was the perfect fit for the largest displays where it was paramount t
10 exotic animals that have escaped their cages in Utah
Wind turbines can be a great source for renewable energy, but it's hard to ignore the threat they pose to birds. The white-throated needletail is the fastest flying bird in the world. It's also one of the rarest. Until this week, it hadn't been seen in Britain since 1991. When one turned up on the Isle of Harris, people from all over the country came to see it. Some were able to get a glimpse of the beautiful bird
Police Find 16 Tiger Traps in Sumatra Believed to Be Supplied by Outsiders
Police from the Sumatra Tiger Patrol in the Kerinci Seblat National Park have found 16 tiger traps spread by hunters across the national park area so far this month, the biggest hauls since the launch of the patrol program.
“The initial phase of field patrol includes a special trap-elimination program which is done annually. This June, it has found and disabled at least 16 tiger traps,” Risdianto, field manager of the field patrol team, known as PHS TNKS, said in Jambi on Monday, as quoted by Antaranews.com.
Sumatra’s forests are home to at least 600 tigers, according a study by conservation groups published in 2012.
Risdianto said the 16 tiger traps were found in two separate areas by two different units. Thirteen traps were found in the Kerinci territory, while another three were found by the patrol unit in Bengkulu.
“In the Kerinci area, the officers found traps spread in 13 different points within the TNKS [Kerinci Seblat National Park], around the Muara Imat Village in the Batang Merangin subdistrict,” he said.
Nine of the 13 traps were found within the premises of the national park, while four were located within farming areas that belonged to local farmers.
The finding of these traps is said to be the biggest since the special patrol police program kicked off, raising suspicion of the possible involvement of outside parties who had provided the funds for hunters to make the traps.
According to Risdianto, before the program started, patrol officers had never found more than 10 traps.
“We suspect that this finding is linked to the involvement of outside parties, such as buyers, and that these individuals had provided the capital for hunte