Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Zoo News Digest 12th - 16th July 2013 (ZooNews 866)

Zoo News Digest 12th - 16th July 2013 (ZooNews 866)

More Palm Oil!

Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted to learn that Manila Zoo, rather than send 'Mali' away now plans to get two more elephants to keep her company. You may recall that this was the suggestion that I made some weeks ago. I am no fan of Manila Zoo, it is one of the bad ones in the Philippines (there are not many good ones). It is however a lot better than Malabon Zoo which I note is just celebrating its 25th Anniversary. I have included a video of this below. Watch it. I feel that the footage showing the Orangutan may well shock some of you. Returning however to Manila Zoo for a moment....this popular collection does have the possibility of turning into a good collection if they are prepared to take advice from the right people.

It slightly bothers me that a certain zoo has started making false claims on Facebook. It concerns me because I know for a fact they are wrong but I don't want to embarrass them by stating otherwise. In fact they probably believe what they say is true...so that, in a way, probably doesn't make them wrong. Best I just let it whizz past me. They are doing their best.

Chimpanzees. Lovely animals. Some of my best friends were Chimpanzees. But to suggest legal rights suggests that someone is very mixed up. Okay legalise care standards and protection but until one of their kind can stand up in court and fight their case then the idea of 'legal rights' is insane.

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What is a species?
In recent years there has been a spate of news stories announcing new species discoveries from all corners of the Earth. But what exactly do we mean by ‘new species’? And how can scientists be sure this is indeed a new discovery? Guest blogger Sandhya Sekar from the University of Lincoln explains…
From the time we started living in groups, hunting and gathering food from the forests around us, it helped to name everything. Names made communication 
easier, clearer. Today, we talk about conservation measures for different endangered species; about scientists discovering new species. Definitive phrases 
like “scientists discover a new species of cave fish” – gives the word “species” an aura of certainty.
A recent count by science philosopher John Wilkins showed as many as 26 definitions of what makes a species. The purpose of this blog is not to elaborate the 
26 types – Wilkins has done a great job. It is simply to examine t

~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~

Hello ZooLex Friend, 
We have worked for your enjoyment!



Lion Country at Yorkshire Wildlife Park was designed to hold and manage three prides of African lion. The animals are given 24 hour access to their outdoor enclosures except in extreme weather and when the lake is frozen.
We would like to thank Simon Marsh 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 Madagascar! exhibit at the Bronx Zoo in New York:


We keep working on ZooLex ...

The ZooLex Zoo Design Organization is a non-profit organization
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Manila to improve zoo, acquire two more elephants
Coming soon: A bigger, better and modern Manila Zoo and possibly two more elephants to keep Mali, its most popular resident, company.
This was confirmed by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada who told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, on Tuesday, that talks were ongoing for a public-private partnership program with investors from Singapore who would spend P2 billion for the project.
“We will modernize the Manila Zoo,” Estrada said as he also announced that the city government had asked the Sri Lankan government for two more elephants.
Estrada said the city government had requested two more elephants from Sri Lanka to serve as Mali’s companions.
“She’s very smart and playful,” said volunteer caretaker John Chua, a veteran photographer who had taken care of the elephant for 12 years now.
Mali was seen filling up her trunk as she was being sprayed with water by a caretaker. Then the 38-year-old elephant would drink the water or squirt it to her body, much to the delight of the visitors of Manila Zoo.
If the water was trained to one of her feet, Mali would lift that foot and let you wash the underside.
Chua said rumors have reached him that Manila Zoo would be bid out and that Mali has been “sold.”
“Mali is Manila’s property. I am not talking about a deed of sale. It means that whatever campaign a group makes about Mali, you will not object,” Chua said.
He said a person from Manila City Hall had said, “Bakit may iba pa sa Peta na gustong bumili?”
Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has been calling for Mali’s transfer to an elephant sanctuary, saying that she is sick and lonely at the zoo. Mali was brought to the Philippines in 1977 as a gift to then First Lady Imelda Marcos.
Reached for comment, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada denied the rumored plan to bid out Manila Zoo and transfer Mali to a sanctuary.“The direct order from the mayor is to clean up an

Urgent repairs required to Chengdu Sanctuary following heavy rain

Following heavy rain at Animals Asia’s Chengdu sanctuary in China that has caused damage onsite, staff are planning urgent repairs to ensure their safety through the ongoing rainy season. Whilst the rain has currently stopped, the local government authority has issued a notice of expected further severe rainstorms, advising preparation for flooding from now until the 20th July.
It’s estimated that repairs will require tens of thousands of dollars, with the aim being not only to fix the damage caused but to also further strengthen the riverbank against future extreme weather. The river wall must be stabilised in the next seven days, and further measures to secure the sanctuary are being undertaken. An urgent appeal to raise funds has been launched.
Last week, with large parts of the site underwater due to torrential rains and flooding on surrounding farmland, the worst fear was that the riverbanks of the adjacent River Pi would burst.  Now, with over a month of the rainy season remaining, urgent repairs are needed.
Animals Asia founder Jill Robinson commented:
“The team reacted quickly to rapidly changing circumstances  as the river rose during the heaviest of rains and the release of water from the dam upstream.  
Our longstanding flooding protocols proved up to the task and were implemented superbly by the team in the most extreme of conditions.
“Now we need to repair the riverbank urgently and further strengthen it so that, as weather patterns continue to change, we can be proactive in the ongoing prevention of future floods.”
During the worst of the flooding, staff safely evacuated the brown bears housed closest to the river.  With the families of many local staff also facing flooding in their own nearby homes, most were allowed home.  A skeleton staff of around 40 remained.  This included security staff keeping a 24-hour watch on the river, with most personnel spending their nights attempting to sleep in the hospital at the highest point on site.  With several bears housed in dens on the ground floor, staff and resident dogs joined together sharing every available room on floor two.”
Meanwhile the remaining bears in bear houses were kept inside their dens with staff ensuring they continued to be fed, medicated and checked as the hours wore on
While the site remained largely intact the team witnessed nearby riverfront dwellings collapsing and being washed away.  Animals Asia took into account decades of flood records when originally constructing the sanctuary and their planning paid off.  While staff suffered sleepless nights alongside evacuated animals everybody was safe, and it is hoped future extreme weather can be faced with increased confidence.
Jill Robinson added:
“Our staff excelled in keeping the bears safe, dry and blissfully unaware in their beds throughout the ordeal.  Floods such as this are rare, but with weather patterns changing globally and here in China, we must ensure that urgent repairs and reinforcements guarantee the safety of staff and animals, and the future of the sanctuary itself.”  

Maya Gottfried
Senior PR Manager
Animals Asia
Tel: +1 (347) 885 9051
Fax: +1 (415) 677 9603
Website:  http://www.animalsasia.org/

Tuberculosis Risks in the African Elephant Herd at PAWS 'Sanctuary'

In Death Polar Bear 'Knut' Helps Science
Following the death of the polar bear Knut at Berlin Zoo, examinations carried out at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin showed that Knut was suffering from virus-induced encephalitis (acute inflammation of the brain). Researchers at Saarland University and IZW have now analysed his genetic material and discovered and characterised new sequences of endogenous retroviruses. The retroviruses were also found in another former resident of Berlin Zoo: the giant panda Bao Bao. The work of the research team indicates that these viruses were inserted into the genome of an ancestor of both bear species some 45 million years ago. These newly discovered viruses are very similar to those found in the genetic material of bats, cattle and even humans. 
Some of these viruses are suspected of being involved in triggering some diseases in humans. The study has now been published in a recent edition of the journal Virology.
Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are viruses that at some point in the past inserted themselves into the nuclear genome of a host's germ cell. Once integrated in a germ cell the virus would be passed on from one generation to the next and the endogenous retroviral genome would therefore be inherited to new species that evolve from the original host. 'ERV sequences and fragments make up about eight per cent of the human genome,' explains Professor Jens Mayer from the Department of Human Genetics at Saarland University. Endogenous retroviruses are found not only in humans, but also in other mammals such as horses, cattle, apes, koalas and, as has now been shown, in polar bears and giant pandas.
Working in collaboration with Professor Alex D Greenwood and Kyriakos Tsangaras from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin, Jens Mayer has been taking a closer look at the DNA sequences from polar bears and great pandas. 'W

Arowana breeding in korea.

SeaWorld Unleashes 8 Assertions About 'Blackfish' and Filmmakers Respond
It's rare that corporations targeted in documentaries hire a film publicist to make sure that critics and journalists are informed of the company's response to a film.  McDonald's didn't work to do damage control with film writers when "Super Size Me" opened, though there were rumors it would.  It's common for industries and corporations to erect damage control mechanisms for the public.  In the famous case chronicled in the New Yorker, David Koch seems to have pulled his support of WNYC because they aired Alex Gibney's "Park Avenue."  "Gasland" director Josh Fox's follow-up to his fracking exposé makes clear the natural gas industry's attack on his film.
This weekend, indie film publicists had competing clients, when SeaWorld lashed out at Gabriela Cowperthwaite's film "Blackfish," the Sundance documentary that was picked up by Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films.  Starting with the death of orca trainer Dawn Brancheau, "Blackfish" tells the history of SeaWorld and other like theme parks and notes the ways in which the conditions at these parks are harming the whales that are kept in them and are putting humans in danger.
After keeping mum for some time, this past Saturday, SeaWorld released a list of eight problems they had with the film through film publicity outfit 42West.  
The list of issues with the film came addressed to "film credits" with the subject line "A dishonest movie."  SeaWorld's assertions were introduced by saying, "Although 'Blackfish' is by most accounts a powerful, emotionally-moving piece of advocacy, it is also shamefully dishonest, deliberately misleading, and scientifically inaccurate. As the late scholar and U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously noted: 'You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.'"
After enumerating their complaints with the film, the letter ended, "These are only the most egregious of the film’s many misrepresentations.  'Blackfish' is similarly misleading and inaccurate in its account of the other fatal incidents in which Tilikum was supposedly involved, what happened at Loro Parque, the training and qualifications of SeaWorld trainers, and the care and living conditions enjoyed by SeaWorld’s orcas. And the list goes on…and on."
"Blackfish" opens in Los Angeles and New York this week, and it expands to other markets in subsequent weeks.  It will air on CNN this fall.  
Below are SeaWorld's eight assertions (which, as noted above, could have been more), and the filmmakers' response to them.  Though the situation is clearly complicated, the filmmakers rightly point out that the film often does portray some of the perspectives addressed in SeaWorld's assertions.  Potential viewers beware, SeaWorld's assertions involve spoilers. 
SeaWorld Assertion 1
The insinuation that SeaWorld stocks its parks with killer whales captured from the wild. In fact, SeaWorld hasn’t collected a killer whal

Man jumps fence, runs through San Francisco Zoo African exhibit
A man jumped a security fence and ran through the African Savannah exhibit at the San Francisco Zoo on Sunday, then bolted from zoo staff and nearly into a monkey enclosure before police took him into custody.
According to a statement from the San Francisco Zoo, the intruder was seen climbing the fence at about 11:15 a.m. Sunday, July 14. He ran through the exhibit and then climbed out of it, back into the public viewing area.
The man was spotted again near “Greenie’s Conservation Corner,” a garden area near the primate exhibits and the outdoor penguin pool. Zoo personnel confronted him there, but the man took off running.
He ran to the upper level of the Primate Discovery Center and then down one of the center’s stairways. When zoo staff approached him there he jumped into a planted area near an exhibit housing mandrills, an African monkey that can weigh up to about 80 pounds.
Zoo personnel locked the mandrills in their indoor space and called San Francisco police. Officers arrived and took the man into custody at about 11:42 a.m., the zoo stated.
Sgt. Dennis Toomer of the Police Department confirmed Monday that police responded to the incident and cited a white male for trespassing. Toomer stated

Rudi the Orangutan Gets His Heart Checked

Yet Another Tiger Attack
On the 7th July a visitor to the Wat Or Noi Temple in Nakorn Pathom, Thailand was attacked and severely injured on the arm and hand.
The temple currently has five tigers and has been keeping these since 2003. The Abbot claims that the animals were legally acquired and are registered with the Wildlife authorities. It is likely that the tigers were acquired from either the 'other' Tiger Temple or the Sri Racha Tiger Zoo which over breeds their inbred Tiger hybrids to a degree of extreme concern.
There are a number of Temples in Thailand which seek to imitate the unglorious success of the main Tiger Temple. Claiming to offer sanctuary these operations actually have no place in Buddhism and are merely fronts to rake in money and offer cheap (and sometimes not so cheap) thrills to gullible tourists.
The Abbot of the temple, Luang Pu Dharma Issara, has stated that the Temple will foot the bill for any medical treatment required.
Zoos in Thailand breed Tigers in large numbers and there is a huge question mark as to where the animals disappear to.

Design of Dudley Bug centre is monstrous, claim campaigners
Campaigners desperate to save Dudley Hippodrome today branded its replacement as ‘monstrous’ and they have vowed to fight a scheme for a Dudley Bug-shaped £3 million centre on the site.
Dudley Zoo has unveiled designs for a new education and conference centre aiming to pay homage to the town’s prehistoric past.
It has been designed to recreate the famous Dudley Bug fossil shape. But campaigners have hit out at the plans, saying the futuristic Trilobite Building would look out of place shadowed by the 11th century Dudley Castle.
They threw back claims from officials that the Hippodrome was an ‘eyesore’ and a ‘blight’ on Castle Hill by rounding on the architecture of the planned multi-million pound centre.
Campaign chairman Geoff Fitzpatrick today said he feared the building would become a ‘white elephant’ for the town. “I think it looks monstrous and I can’t quite believe they think this would be in keeping with the medieval castle,” he said.
“The Hippodrome is a great example of an art deco styled building that fits in place with the buildings like the Station Hotel nearby.
“We knew these ideas would be coming. We always thought they’d want to knock the Hippodrome down so that they could expand the zoo. It won’t stop us. If anything, we want to show that we won’t go away and that we will keep fighting.
“They’ve not given permission to dem

Zoo's Who? - Adrian, Birds Team Leader

Kohl’s announces $1.5 million donation to Zoological Society
Kohl’s Department Stores, based in Milwaukee, is supporting the continuation and expansion of Kohl’s Wild Theater programming at the Milwaukee County Zoo with a $1.5 million donation to be rolled out over three years.
Kohl’s Wild Theater was launched in 2010 with a $1 million donation from Kohl’s philanthropic arm known as Kohl’s Cares and operates through a partnership among Kohl’s Cares, the Milwaukee County Zoo and the Zoological Society of Milwaukee.
The family-friendly theater programming features live, interactive performances on zoo grounds. 
Performances convey conservation messages through drama, puppetry and songs.
Kohl’s recently announced donation, to be given to the Zoological Society, will provide the resources to add to the program’s collection of theater shows with 15 total, bring in new puppets, and enhance the zoo’s stage and theater venue with a raised stage floor and a shaded stage area among other amenities.“Kohl’s Wild Theater has become one of the best zoo theater programs in the country thanks to Kohl’s tremendous support,” said Dr. Bert Davis, president and chief executive officer of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee County. “We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with Kohl’s and provide quality programming designed to inspire children to car

White Lion Cubs: See The 7 Adorable Baby Lions Born At Himeji Central Park In Japan [PHOTOS]
Seven white lion cubs have been born to a zoo in Japan during the last month. Three different lions at the Himeji Central Park Zoo have given birth to white lion cubs. The latest litter of white lion cubs are just about nine-days old and will go on public display later next week, the Daily Mail reports.
The three sets of white lion cubs were born to three female South African lions on June, 6, 26 and 30. The cubs were shown to the press on Tuesday in all their adorable glory. According to the Mail there are only 300 white lions around the world. A white lion cub can only be born through inbreeding.
The Mail also reports that the white lion cubs are the first of their kind to be born in Western Japan. The white coat trait is a result of a recessive gene shared by both the cub's parents.Wild white lions are native to the Greater Timbavati region of South Africa. Although the scientific community considers the wild white lion extinct due to the hunting of males for sport and th

Should chimpanzees have legal rights?
The ‘animal personhood’ movement believes dolphins, great apes, and elephants deserve to be able to sue — and now it has a plaintiff.
SOMEWHERE IN AMERICA—its lawyers won’t say where—a chimpanzee is about to have its day in court.
In the next few months, an animal advocacy group called the Nonhuman Rights Project plans to file a case on behalf of its first animal client. It has already chosen the plaintiff, a captive chimp, on whose behalf it plans to file a writ of habeas corpus and ask a state court judge to grant the chimp’s liberty.Their goal is to win animals a toehold in the world of legal rights—a strategy that is the culmination of more than two decades of writing and legal work by lawyer Steven Wise and an allied group of attorneys, scientists, and animal activists. They hope to have an animal declared a “person” in a court of law, breaking down a legal barrier between humans and other species that has stood for millennia.
Over the last century, animals have enjoyed a steady march in legal protections. Once treated no differently than inanimate objects, today they can’t be abandoned, beaten, or deprived of food, shelter, or veterinary care. Despite these protections, however, animals are still legally considered property. And for Wise and others, given what we now know about the biology and inner lives of animals, this is no longer a tenable distinction. It is time, they argue, to grant at least some species fundamental rights 

Zoo's Who? - Tony, Big Cat Keeper

Wildlife group seeks new protections for disappearing Tennessee salamander
Lurking in waterways with its long, slimy body and beady eyes, the hellbender is Tennessee's largest salamander, not to mention a survivor of ancient times.
For at least the last two decades, though, as water quality in many parts of the country has declined, the hellbender's population has dwindled, threatening its very existence, wildlife advocates say.
Recently, the Tucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washingtonagainst the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect hellbenders unde

Brush-tailed wallaby breeding program outfoxed
A 15-year project to return the cute and small brush-tailed wallaby to western Victoria has been put on hold because foxes keep eating them.
In November last year, 17 captive-bred wallabies from Adelaide Zoo were released into the Grampians, where they had been extinct since the 1990s. By April, according to an internal Department of Environment and Primary Industries report, only five were still alive.
Only one death was a confirmed killing by fox, but four other bodies were recovered with signs of being chewed. Three collars and radio tracking devices were also recovered (but no bodies), and another collar was found buried and attached to a head. Another two wallabies were found dead from head trauma.
According to the report, at a meeting at Melbourne Zoo on March 8 - which was attended by staff from DEPI, Parks Victoria, the Adelaide Zoo, University of Melbourne researchers, and ACT Parks - it was decided to suspend further releases, pending

Bid to save spotted deer in Negros bears fruit
The Biodiversity Conservation Center of Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation now has 14 Visayan spotted deer (Cervus alfredi) after another fawn was born in June.Dr. Joanne Justo, the center’s curator, said on Thursday that the newborn fawn was born on June 24, but its gender had yet to be determined. It is the fourth offspring from breeding pair Girom and Sandy.
“The Visayan spotted deer is the largest endemic species of the Western Visayas faunal region,” Justo said.
She added that the species has been classified as critically endangered and is found only on Negros and Panay islands.
Justo cited deforestation, hunting and pet trade as factors in the decline in the number of the spotted deer.
The center was established in 1996 to serve as a breeding and rescue station for endangered and endemic animals found on Negros Island and other parts of the country.
Aside from the Visayan spotted dear, it also has rare warty pigs, leopard cats and bleeding heart pigeons, among other endangered animals.
The center breeds the species in captivity and releases mature animals back into the wild.The release of mature animals back into the wild, however, is done only after it is proven that the animals’ habitat would be adequate and well-protected for their survival, according to Robert Harland, a trustee of the foundation.
In the meantime, the center is involved in animal exchanges or “breeding loans” with

Les Zoos dans le Monde

Zoo's water use much higher than SeaWorld
SeaWorld has tanks big enough for an orca to do aerial flips, separate pools for seals, belugas and dolphins, a water theme park and a manmade lake that three ski boats can race around.
Yet last year, it used less than a third of the water the San Antonio Zoo did.
The zoo's is 99 years old and its water policy and infrastructure are showing their age. The zoo started when there was no limit on the amount of water that could be pumped from the Edwards Aquifer. Now a three-year

25th Anniversary of Malabon Zoo

Theodore Reed, leader in the modernization of zoos, dies at 90
Former keeper of the National Zoo, Theodore Reed was at the forefront of a movement that transformed zoos from barred enclosures into verdant, open showcases and research centers.
Upon joining the staff of the National Zoo in 1955, veterinarian Theodore Reed was greeted by antiquated animal dwellings — some dating to the 1890s — and a budget so spare he bought medicine for his new charges at a local drugstore and wheedled reimbursement later.
Within a year he was running the Washington, D.C., zoo, which struggled along until a horrific event galvanized its keepers: A toddler was pulled into a cage by a lion and mauled to death in 1958.
The tragedy led Congress to appropriate funds that allowed Reed to vastly modernize the wildlife park. Over the next quarter-century, he was at the forefront of the transformation of zoos from barred enclosures into verdant, open showcases. He also pushed for them to serve as scientific research facilities, a now commonplace occurrence.
Colleagues regard Reed as a giant in the field but to the public he remains best known as the zookeeper who accompanied two panda cubs from China in 1972 as they flew to their new home, which is officially known as the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. Record crowds soon lined up to see Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, whose mating and pregnancy travails turned into a national obsession.
Reed, 90, died July 2 at a nursing facility in Milford, Del., from complications of Alzheimer's disease, said his son, Mark Reed, executive director of the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kan.
"If you wanted to see what was next fo

Damian Aspinall vows to keep Howletts and Port Lympne open... despite fact zoos 'aren't viable'
Zoo owner Damian Aspinall says he has no intention of closing Howletts or Port Lympne - despite publicly declaring animals should not be kept as prisoners.
The 53-year-old had sparked fears he may shut the parks in Canterbury and Hythe after saying zoos should be phased out in 20 years.
But on Twitter this week he said the parks will remain open while there is a “need for real conservation”.
The father-of-three took over the animal parks from his late father John, who died in 2000, and continues the conservation work he started through The Aspinall Foundation.
Speaking on BBC 5 Live recently, Mr Aspinall spoke of the foundation’s recent project to send gorillas from his parks out to start new lives on a reserve in the Gabon in Afr

Mumbai's beloved elephants will stay put
Two of the city’s largest residents can trumpet in glory about being able to live on as Mumbaikars. Four years after it directed all zoos move their elephants to natural habitats, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has now permitted the Byculla zoo authorities to retain its pachyderms Lakshmi, 55, and Anarkali, 48.
In November 2009, the CZA had ordered all zoos in the country to shift elephants to national parks, tiger reserves or sanctuaries due to concerns over trauma due to lack of space for free movement.
According to civic officials a two-member expert committee had visited the zoo following the CZA’s directions. “Subsequently, a sub-committee formed to take the call on the shifting of the elephants has decided that we can retain the elephants,” a joyous senior civic official told dna. Zoo director Anil Anjankar, too, confirmed the development. “This is the first communication since the CZA’s 2009 order,” he said.
Forest officials from various states had visited the zoo to check the elephants but did not get back. “Due to their advanced age, the forest officials felt they were unsuitable for work like patrolling or pulling logs. Once they realised this they were not interested in the elephants,” added the official. “There were concerns about their inability to adjust to new surroundings after relocation too.”
According to him, “The duo has lived together for many years and can’t be separated. Whoever wanted them would have to take both of them.” This was one of the reasons cited by zoo authorities while writing to CZA several times asking for an exemption to the relocation.
While rules stipulate that elephants should be retired after 65 years, both Lakshmi and Anarkali 
have been captive in the zoo for more 

Subic records first live birth of captive dolphin in the country
Ocean Adventure Subic announced Sunday that one of its bottlenose dolphin gave birth last week  (July 7) to a healthy calf making it the first live birth of a captive dolphin in the country.
In a statement, Ocean Adventure said Vi, an 11-year-old bottlenose dolphin gave birth to a healthy 1-meter long calf which weighs approximately 12 kilos.
Vi’s regular ultra sound in February revealed that she was pregnant.
Vi trained with a special dolphin “puppet” to encourage nursing behavior throughout her 12-month pregnancy.
Ocean Adventure said that at present, the mother and calf are doing fine but added that the next 30 days will be critical for the baby dolphin.
Experts were brought in by Ocean Adventure to sup

'Lovelorn' leopard escapes cage, recaptured within hours
A female leopard kept captive at a forest nursery in Moharli breached the bars of its enclosure and escaped into the wild on Sunday morning. Her freedom came after over four and a half years of captivity. It lasted barely six hours.
Forest officials surmise that the leopard had escaped in search of a mate. "A male leopard had been visiting the forest nursery for months. The female had become aggressive lately," said ACF Arun Tikhe.
Rescue workers tracked the leopardess on the game trail along the border of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve. It was tranquillized and recaptured in a daredevil operation by afternoon and brought back to forest nursery.
The forest nursery at Moharli houses four leopards. Three are these are the ones captured during combing operations in the wake of a series of attacks by leopards on villagers in the buffer zone of TATR. The fourth leopardess is the one captured in Mul range, when man-animal conflict was at its height there in January 2009. She was kept at Somnath camp run by Maharogi Seva Samiti in Mul for over three years and was shifted to a specially built large cage at forest nursery in Moharli in October 2012.
Escape of the leopardess came to notice at around 7am, when a sanitary worker went to the cage for routine cleaning. "The cleaner saw the door of the cage aja

Jurong Bird Park releases more hornbills on Pulau Ubin
Three more captive-bred Oriental Pied Hornbills were released into the wild on Wednesday, in a bid by the Jurong Bird Park to diversify the giant bird's genetic pool. "Increasing (the genetic pool)...is important to the conservation of the species because it allows for a healthier population of these birds. With more genetic diversity, the species is less susceptible to diseases," said Dr Minerva Bongco-Nuqui, avian curator at the Bird Park.
The birds had been fed whole fruit weeks prior to their release onto Pulau Ubin, to acclimatise them. They were then given a thorough health check on Monday, and measured for research purposes.
Since 2009, the Bird Park has released nine birds from its collection onto Pulau Ubin and the mainland. There ar

NH author’s ‘Tapir Scientist’ a kid-friendly read
“The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America’s Largest Mammal” by Sy Montgomery; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 80 pages; hardcover; $18.99.
In New Hampshire author Sy Montgomery’s new jungle journal, she’s on the trail of a lowland tapir in Brazil’s vast Pantanal (“the Everglades on steroids,” she writes).
Part of the “Scientists in the Field” series, “The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America’s Largest Mammal” features Montgomery’s every detail alongside Nic Bishop’s lush photography of the elusive, snorkel-snouted mammal. The author says the tapir “looks like a cross between a hippo, an elephant and something prehistoric.”
The expanse of grasslands and subtropical forests is captured, largely fortified by Bishop’s powerful imagery. Armchair scientists will enjoy the gadgets – from microchips to remote camera traps – and her lovely verse, which helped Montgomery earn the moniker “part Indiana Jones, part Emily Dickinson,” by The Boston Globe.
“I think the ‘Indiana Jones’ part came from the time I worked in a pit with 18,000 snakes,”
Montgomery said. “But unlike the movie character, I was not surrounded by poisonous snakes, but ha

Thieves steal exotic reptiles from Australian zoo
hieves stole a horde of exotic reptiles from an Australian zoo, including a baby alligator, leaving their keepers fearing they could be destined for the black market.
Twenty-three creatures, mostly snakes, lizards and geckos, were taken from their enclosures at 
the Australian Reptile Park north of Sydney during a night-time raid on Sunday, senior curator 
Liz Vella said.
"They had smashed through the enclosures and broken doors," she told AFP, in a robbery which lasted about seven minutes.
"These guys obviously came in with the purpose of taking the animals. They definitely knew what they wanted."
Vella said officials were still speculating on the motive behind the robbery, but usually such thefts were by young people who "wanted a bunch of reptiles for their home and to show off to their friends".
"(But) it's definitely a concern that they will try to sell them on the black market," she said.
She said the black market value of the animals sold together was only about Aus$10,000 (US$9,000)

Australian animal thefts: a worthless emu and a koala who fought back
From snakes and penguins to alligators and monkeys, thieves have stolen a variety of animals from 
Australian zoos and parks
While jewellery and cash seem more obvious hauls for thieves, animals have been the target of several robberies in Australia. Known motivations for nabbing an animal run from drunken pranks gone wrong to presents for girlfriends, and animals reportedly used to pay for drugs.
Koala too scary, so thieves took crocodile
Thieves attempted to steal a koala to exchange for drugs in 2006 but when it put up too much of a fight they took a crocodile instead. The 1.2-metre freshwater crocodile weighed 40kg and was dragged over a 2.4-metre fence at Rockhampton Zoo in Queensland. Zoo keeper Wil Kemp told reporters how the koala had managed to fight the thieves off. “Apparently [the koala] scratched the shit out of them,” he said.
Stolen monkey 'mistaken for possum'
In 2010 a marmoset monkey named Cheeky was taken from Nowra Wildlife Animal Park and found two 
days later in the bedroom of a 20-year-old woman after police received an anonymous tip-off. The woman told police she was minding the monkey for a friend and though it was a possum. "It was very stupid of me," she told a court, and sh

Elephant sanctuary to open soon
THE first phase of the elephant sanctuary in Kinabatangan here will be opened in September, lifting hopes for the survival of the species in Sabah.
The opening phase of the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary was recently completed with a handling paddock, staff quarters and a store built at a cost of RM1.8 million.
Initiated by the Sabah Wildlife Department and non-governmental organisation Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT), the centre will serve as a rescue and treatment centre for injured or displaced elephants, as well as for conducting awareness programmes and activities.
This will be followed by the second phase, which will cost RM5.2 million, to develop a 25ha plot in the sanctuary. A forested area has also been identified for rehabilitated elephants to be released into.
Both were part of the Elephant Conservation Action Plan that will see a bigger area turned into a full-fledged sanctuary measuring more than 1,200ha, which will cost up to RM30 million to establish.
Sabah Wildlife Department director Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said the first two phases of the programme could cater to between 12 and 16 elephants.
"Injured elephants will be treated at this centre before being released into forests and wildlife reserves.

9 Young Giraffes Find New Home in Qingdao
Young giraffes are seen at their pen at the Qingdao Forest Wildlife World in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, July 14, 2013. Nine young giraffes settled in the zoo Sunday after their long journey from South Africa. These new tall r

Alagba: Incredible story of Ogbomoso’s mystical tortoise
Ogbomoso is a sprawling town strategically located along Ibadan-Oyo-Ilorin road. The major highway that links the southern part of the country with the north through South-west axis runs through Ogbomoso.
This historic city, which is one of the places that have been a source of attraction to visitors and tourists, is the palace of the town’s traditional ruler, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi, Ajagungbade III.
For those visiting the place, what appears to be the magnet drawing them there is a 324-year-old 
tortoise popularly called Alagba by residents.
According to those living in the palace, the tortoise has lived in the palace for over 300 years. 
This is not the only spectacle about Alagba. Since its arrival in the palace, the tortoise, which is said to have mystical powers plays host to different calibres of people including royal fathers, tourists from foreign countries, ailing individuals seeking divine healing and people seeking longevity.
In an encounter with the tortoise’s caretaker during a trip to Ogbomoso recently, it was gathered that the tortoise receives up to 150 visitors daily.
According to Samuel Ojo, the current caretaker, the tortoise was brought into the palace several years ago by one of the past traditional rulers of the town, Oba Toyese Ikumuyi, Ajagungbade I. Ojo further revealed that the monarch saw the tortoise while returning from the war front, and consequently brought it to the palace.
“This is the history handed down to us from our forefathers. We all grew up to see the tortoise in the palace. Out of curiosity, we inquired from our parents why the tortoise was brought by the king and we were told that the king’s initial aim was to keep it as a pet, but that when it was discovered that it had some mystical powers, a decision was taken to take care of it,” he declared.
Ojo further revealed that a detached apartment was later put up for the tortoise within the palace.
“Since that time this tortoise has become part of our life not only in the palace but also throughout the town. You cannot talk of Ogbomoso without talking about the tortoise.”
On how the tortoise acquired its mystic powers to perform various miracles credited to it, Ojo said: “My brother, it is only God that can explain it. But what I know is that several people come here every day seeking to be cured of one form of ailment or the other, and they believe that whenever they touch the tortoise that their problems will be solved. This is why you see all these visitors here. They are not here for picnic, they are here to see the tortoise because they believe that it has powers to provide solutions to their problems,” he said.
Recalling a time when a traditional ruler from the Southwestern part of the country came to the palace, Omo said that the monarch was carried to the palace by his aides, but that as soon as he touched the tortoise’s head, the monarch regained his health.
“There are many instances that I have witnessed here where the tortoise was only touched and you see people jubilating that their ailment had disappeared.”
Asked whether the tortoise has any taboo , Ojo said: “There is nothing extraordinary or unusual about the tortoise. But when you come here, there are certain rules you must observe. As they say, when you are in Rome, behave like Romans, when you come here you don’t call the tortoise by name you address it as Alagba which mean the elderly one in Yoruba language. Not only that, you then prostrate or kneel down depending on your sex before you proceed to touch the tortoise on the head or any part of its body, and then table your requests.”
Reiterating the importance of addressing the tortoise as Alagba, Ojo said failure to do so would make the tortoise unhappy.
“If you come here, and you refuse to follow the rules then this tortoise will not cooperate with you. If you don’t address it as Alagba, you will just notice that the tortoise will suddenly become cold towards you, and before you know what is happening it would gradually move towards its resting place. There were occasions when the tortoise got provoked, and for some days, it would not come out of its resting place. There have been some occasions when some visitors from far places had to wait for three days or more for the tortoise,” he stated.
On the kind of food the tortoise eats, Ojo said it could eat anything as long as such item is edible.
“The tortoise eats anything eaten by human beings. At times, we serve it moin-moin, rice and fish, bread and tea and even r

When killer whales attack
Theme parks would have us believe they’ve been tamed. But a new film, 'Blackfish', says killer whales are being driven mad in captivity – with deadly consequences.
On February 24 2010, news channels across the world reported that Dawn Brancheau, an experienced trainer of killer whales at SeaWorld Orlando, had been found dead in the pool. A huge male orca, 
Tilikum, had leapt out of the water as Brancheau had been talking about the creature to a group of visitors, grabbed her with its jaws and dragged her under the water, where she drowned.
Initially, there were calls for the “rogue” whale to be put down. But as the facts began to emerge, the story grew darker and more complicated, as revealed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s astonishing new documentary, Blackfish. “I first heard about the story on the news,” the director told me, on a visit to London. “I didn’t understand it. I had a lot of questions.” Those questions led Cowperthwaite to an extraordinary human drama, framed by the greater drama of our troubled relationship with animals that we claim to love, yet which we allow to be treated in appalling ways.
Brancheau was a marathon runner; she’d been growing her hair to donate as wigs for cancer sufferers. Tied in a ponytail that day, her hair became a toy to Tilikum. As the whale grabbed it, Brancheau broke free. But he grabbed her again, dragging her to the bottom of the pool. The audience were quickly led away as the horror played out.
Tilikum scalped Brancheau. Her fellow trainers had to prise open the whale’s jaws to release her body. Part of her arm came off in the animal’s mouth, which he then swallowed. It was a terrible scene. SeaWorld reported it as a tragic accident. But Cowperthwaite’s film suggests it was more than that.
I saw my first whale in the unlikely surroundings of Windsor Safari Park in the early Seventies. In those days of the “Save the Whale” campaigns, my sisters and I had become obsessed with whales, and pestered our parents to take us to Windsor. We arrived in time to watch the opening act, a troupe of bottlenose dolphins. I remember feeling uneasy as they balanced balls on their beaks, jumped through hoops, and caught their reward, a fresh fi


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