Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Zoo News Digest 5th - 6th June 2013 (ZooNews 855)

Zoo News Digest 5th - 6th  June 2013 (ZooNews 855)  

Dear Colleagues,

Another sad and unfortunate keeper death. Again it would seem, as is so often the case, down to keeper error. I very much doubt there is a keeper anywhere with three or more years under their belt who has not made the mistake of not latching a door properly. Happily most all live to tell the tale.....or keep it to themselves and learn a valuable lesson. In my experience it is the very best keepers who have been down this road. Either they were never found out or they were given a second chance. I am a strong believer in second chances.... because in life and in zoos we learn by our mistakes. Third chances I am not so keen on. I send my sincere condolences to family, friends and colleagues of the keeper in Novosibirsk Zoo. May she rest in peace.

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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Victoria Zoo uses $1 million bequest to help save Tasmanian devil
Zoos Victoria says it will invest a $1 million donation toward saving the threatened Tasmanian devil.

Melbourne couple Barbara and Peter Shearer bequeathed $1 million to the zoo in one of the largest one-off payments ever donated.

Rachel Lowry, director of wildlife, conservation and science with Zoos Victoria, says the money will help fund the Tasmanian devil breeding program at

"Certainly not every day or every year that we receive a million-dollar bequest, so it's something we're incredibly grateful for and really excited," she

"It means we can do some great conservation work."

There are 90 devils at the sanctuary that act as an insurance population

Black Jaguar Tears Keeper to Pieces at Russian Zoo
A zoo-keeper died after she was mauled by a female jaguar at a zoo in Novosibirsk, west Siberia on Tuesday, the zoo’s director has said.
The accident at the zoo, one of the largest in Russia, occurred when the woman entered the big cats’ cage to clean it. However, "a partition separating the
animals indoor pen from their open-air enclosure was unlocked," and "the predators attacked the female worker," police said earlier on Tuesday.
“A five-year-old black jaguar and her seven-month-old baby were inside the cage that the woman was cleaning,” zoo director Rostislav Shilo told reporters.
The local police had previously said the cats involved were tigers.
The animal broke the woman’s back instantly in the attack. The woman, 48, who died at the scene from her injuries, had worked at the zoo for two years.
The Tropic World pavilion, where the accident occurred, has been closed.
The zoo is a popular tourist a

Prague Zoo suffers flood damage in the millions
une, 2013: the lower part of the zoo is again under water. This time staff members are able to begin evacuations well in advance, seeing the relocation, for
example, of the zoo’s big cats. On Monday, as Prague awaited worsening conditions, still more specimens housed at lower levels were moved beyond danger,
namely the facility’s sea lions and penguins. Damage to the zoo itself, its head Miroslav Bobek said Monday has already being estimated at 160 million
crowns. He told Czech Radio this:
“The situation is very similar to 11 years ago. While the water has not risen quite as high, we are very concerned that the damage to buildin

Zoo showcasing 'five evil animals' ahead of Dragon Boat Festival
An exhibition featuring animals traditionally mislabeled as sinister symbols is currently on display at Taipei Zoo to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival,
seen as a time when evil spirits are awakened, zoo officials said Tuesday.

Snakes, scorpions, centipedes, toads and geckos -- also known as the "five poisons" -- were believed in ancient Chinese culture to be evil and their spirits
were thought to "possess" unfortunate human beings during the festival.

But zoo official Lin Hui-chen said the zoo hopes its exhibition, which runs until June 30, can help break the myth and raise awareness of animal protection.

Building on the momentum of the "Year of the Snake," Lin said, some of the creatures most feared by human beings will have a chance to show their true

"We put the exhibition in the Amphibian and Reptile House because presumably people entering that building have some interest in those creatures," she said.

The exhibition will feature six species: brown spotted pit vipers, emperor scorpions, Chinese red-headed centipedes, Asian common toads, Tokay geckos and
Mexican red knee tarantulas

Taipei Zoo criticized for nocturnal animals’ deaths
Taipei Zoo has become a deathtrap for nocturnal animals after more than a score died after a renovation project forced their relocation, a Taipei City
councilor said on Tuesday.
Zoo statistics show that 12 nocturnal animals have died since the Nocturnal Animals exhibition area was closed in September last year so the site could be
converted into an indoor tropical rainforest display. About 70 percent of them were rare or endangered species, such as Malayan porcupines, pygmy slow
lorises, Siberian weasels and jungle cats, the statistics show.
According to the zoo’s Web site, the 118 inhabitants of the Nocturnal Animals exhibit were gradually moved to other exhibition halls in October, even though
the NT$380 million (US$12.7 million) rainforest project is still in the bidding process. Cons

The animal park where zoo worker Sarah McClay was killed by a tiger will close on Friday to allow staff to attend her funeral.
arah McClay, 24, died on May 24 after being attacked by a Sumatran tiger as she worked in the enclosure at the South Lakes Animal Park at Dalton.

The attraction will close on Friday and reopen at 10am on Saturday. An inquest was opened into the death yesterday. Sarah’s partner and her mum Fiona McClay
attended the ten-minute hearing at Barrow Town Hall.

Engineer David Ross, 24, confirmed to coroner Ian Smith that he ha

China threatens to take back Schönbrunn pandas
The Chinese government has threatened to take Schönbrunn’s panda’s away if the Austrian government meets the Dalai Lama again.

The foreign minister and deputy president Michael Spindelegger (ÖVP) was presented with a scarf by the Dalai Lama in Vienna’s Stadthalle last year and the
chancellor Werner Faymann met the spiritual leader of Tibet for dinner in Do & CO.

But according to reports in the Austrian paper "Die Presse", 12 months on and the anger of China's communist party has not died down, with the Chinese
ambassador to Vienna still putting pressure on officials to break relations.

In official terms, the relationship between Austria and China is praised but between the lines, it is understood that a visit by the Dalai Lama would be a
strain on the bilateral relationship. The latest report now suggests that Beijing has made this clear by threatening to take away all pandas at the
Schönbrunn Zoo.

The 10-year hire agreement for the panda-couple officially came to an end in March this year but zoo officials announced even before Christmas that Yang Yang
and Long Hui would be allowed to stay another 10 years in the Viennese zoo, as the managers had come to an agreement with the "China Wildlife Conservation

Eveline Dungl, who is responsible for the pandas at the zoo, said: "We signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the duration of the transitional period.
There is obviously a political background that needs to be cleared too."

Chinese officials only want to sign the contract when there is return to a "good bilateral atmosphere", as formulated by a diplomat.

The situation is thought to have relaxe

Pittsburgh zoo mauling suit hinges on liability
The Whitehall woman suing the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium over the mauling death of her only child could be named a defendant and face stern scrutiny in
court if zoo leaders try to limit their liability, legal analysts warn.
Yet, they say odds are slim that the wrongful death complaint filed on behalf of Elizabeth Derkosh, 34, and her husband, Jason, 37, will reach a jury. Both
sides should have plenty of reasons to negotiate in private and keep the rare case away from a public trial, the analysts say.
“I can only imagine what this poor mother has gone through in dealing with this. Having to relive it over and over again on the stand and in deposition would
be horrible,” said Christopher Robinette, an associate professor with Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg. “Of course, from the zoo's perspective,
it's very bad publicity. You can get hit with an enormous (judgment) from a sympathetic jury.”
Neither zoo officials nor Derkosh family representatives answered questions on Monday from the Tribune-Review.
Attorneys for the Derkoshes initiated the lawsuit on May 23 in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, alleging the zoo “blatantly ignored” a warning about a
wild dog exhibit where Maddox Derkosh, 2, fell from his mother's arms into the enclosure on Nov. 4.
Zoo worker Lou Nene told horticulture curator Frank Pizzi he was worried a child could tumble into the exhibit of African painted dogs because he often saw
parents hoist youngsters onto a railing or hold them up to see the animals, according to the complaint. Pizzi told Nene that wasn't his concern, the
complaint says.
If that allegation holds up, lawyers said, it could become a crucial illustration that the zoo should have spotted a problem.
“It would be evidence of the fact that the risk was known to the zoo. The zoo could no longer say, ‘We never imagined that could happen,' ” said S. Michael
Streib, a Duquesne University law professor. “If an ordinary worker can see the risk, it certainly should be apparent to people who have expertise in risk
management for these types of animals.”
Still, that wouldn't necessarily absolve Elizabeth Derkosh of responsibility if the case lands before a jury, Streib and other analysts said. The Derkosh
complaint shows she lifted and held Maddox on an observation deck to give him a better view.
He lurched forward and slipped from her grasp, descending onto a debris net and then bouncing onto the ground among the dogs, according to the complaint.
Medical examiners identified more than 220 injuries on his body.
Downtown-based attorney Gary J. Ogg said the case could become a legal tug-of-war if the zoo alleges Elizabeth Derkosh was negligent by lifting her son.
“Letting him fall into the

Koala extinctions already a reality
Koalas are already considered extinct in Avalon, north of Sydney, and are in danger of disappearing from many other parts of Australia. The iconic animal
that tourists queue up to cuddle is suffering the ravages of disease and sustaining horrific injuries on logging plantations.

As koala habitat continues to be destroyed for urban and industrial development, thousands of the animals are dying as a result of car hits and dog attacks.
Bushfires continue to kill thousands more.

At Australia’s recent national koala conference – “Their Future is in our Hands” – speakers called for immediate and collaborative action to save the animal.

“My heart breaks every time I hear of the death of a koala,” said Meghan Halverson, president of the Queensland Koala Crusaders. “We need to be a united
voice for the koala. If we don’t band together, we are going to end up with an empty Australia.”

In 2012, the koala was listed as vulnerable in Queensland, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory, but campaigners say this is not enough and
the animal should be listed as endangered throughout the country.

The Australian Koala Foundation is drafting a Koala Protection Act, which it intends to have tabled in parliament after the September elections, most likely
in early 2014. Even if the Act is eventually passed, the process is expected

Newts dying in Iran! Brooklyn Zoo saves them
he Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn is now home to five members of a critically endangered species.

They’re called Kaiser’s spotted newts.

The Wildlife Conservation Society says the colorful amphibian has been found only in a 5-square-mile region in Iran.

But it says the species may b

Albino gorilla snowflake the product of in-breeding
He was the world’s only known albino gorilla and for decades drew crowds to his enclosure at Barcelona Zoo. Now, 10 years after he died of skin cancer scientists have solved the mystery of his rare pigmentation.
Researchers have discovered that Snowflake was a product of incest and that his mother was mostly likely a niece who mated with her uncle.
Using genetic sequencing on blood samples taken from the silverback a Spanish research team were able to establish inbreeding as the cause for his rare albinism.
They found that 12.5 per cent of Snowflake’s genetic make-up was identical making it increasingly likely that the albino gene, called SLC45A2, was passed on.
The findings could help the study of the albino condition in humans.
”We discovered that in-breeding greatly increases the chances of albinism,” said Dr Tomas Marquez Bonet from Barcelona’s Institute of Evolutionary Biology, who led the study. “This

Manchester Sea Life Centre first place in Europe to offer underwater walk
Manchester Sea Life Centre is the first place in Europe that offers guests the chance to walk in the Sea Trek experience.

The new aquarium, opening 6 June at Manchester's Trafford Centre, allows visitors the opportunity to get up-close to the fish in the 11.4ft tall tank.

There are 35 species in the tank, totalling 1,092 specimens.

As well as fish, a giant green turtle is on display in Sea Trek. Ernie, the turtle's given name, was rescued from the Cayman Islands two months ago.

Curators explain he would have been made into turtle soup, but Ernie was rescued along with around 15 other turtles.

The tank contains species of sharks, t


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