Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Zoo News Digest 28th September - 9th October 2013 (ZooNews 876)

Zoo News Digest 28th September - 9th October 2013 (ZooNews 876)

New Elephant Calf at Albuquerque Zoo

Dear Colleagues,

It has been a busy week and I have been away from my computer. Traveling on two days and my sons wedding taking up the best part of three others. I have a ton of emails to catch up on so I will forego most comments this week. Lots of news of interest though. See the links below.


I remain committed to the work of GOOD zoos, not DYSFUNCTIONAL zoos.

Not all of Zoo News Digest links and information appear here. Discover more with comments on the

Join me too on LinkedIn


This blog has readers in 157+ countries and in thousands of zoos, aquariums and other captive wildlife collections

Is your meeting/conference/symposium listed here?

If not why not? You want people to attend, don't you? Zoo News Digest is read by more professional zoo people than any other similar publication. I will advertise up till the event.


Please visit the
if you are looking for books for yourself or as gifts.
There is more than books there.

Follow me on

Please Think About This

Take two minutes to make a small annual donation to ensure the continuation of Zoo News Digest. Click HERE or on the donate button at the top of the Blog page. Quick easy and simple to do. Donations of any size, small to large are appreciated. In return you will receive more than 400 important or interesting zoo related postings per year plus notification of vacancies and meetings and symposia.

Looking for work in zoo?
Several new vacancies online
Check out
Got one to advertise? email me


Dolphin killing town in The Cove to open a marine park - and continue annual slaughter
Taiji will continue to hunt small whales and dolphins despite project
A Japanese town that became synonymous with the killing of dolphins after it was the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary on the controversial practise is to open a marine park that will allow visitors to swim with the animals.

The town of Taiji, in the Higashimuro District, continues to hunt for small whales and dolphins after commercial whaling was suspended in 1988.

The town was the subject of the 2009 documentary The Cove, which examined Japan’s infamous dolphin hunting culture and the controversial dolphin hunt that takes place in the town between September and April annually. The film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary the following year.

Organisers in Taiji have now begun preparing proposals that would see a part of the cove sectioned off to create a marine park, offering visitors the opportunity to swim alongside dolphins and whales, Masaki Wada, a local government official told AFP.

Once built, the marine park would span 69 acres and could be open within the next five years under current proposals. It would be located within close proximity of Hatakejiri Bay, where Taiji fishermen regularly corral dolphins into nets before slaughtering them.

Black whales and bottlenose dolphins captured in nearby waters would be released into a pool that would eventually be developed into a nature park for tourists.

“We already use dolphins and small whales as a source of tourism in the cove where dolphin-hunting takes place,” Wada said.

“In summer, swimmers can

Huge legal fees push former Zion operator into bankruptcy
Former Zion Wildlife Gardens operator Patricia Busch has been declared bankrupt after she failed to pay more than $171,000 in legal fees.

Associate High Court Judge Roger Bell made the order on September 26 after a hearing in Whangarei early last week in which Mrs Busch participated by telephone.

The District Court last year ordered her to pay $171,866 in legal fees, plus costs, to Whangarei law firm Henderson Reeves Connell Rishworth for legal work carried out between August 2008 and August 2010.

Ms Busch appealed against the District Court decision in the High Court but lost.

She argued that when she signed an agreement for Henderson Reeves to represent her, she did so on the understanding that the firm was representing her then-company Zion Wildlife Gardens and not her personally.

All the lawyers' bills, she said, were paid for by her company Zion Wildlife Gardens and she did not have the money to pay

World’s zoos battle threat to their penguins
Zoos all around the world love penguins. They’re cute, they don’t require much space, they never eat zookeepers. And children adore watching them, especially at feeding time.

But as carefree as they might look, torpedoing through the water or rocketing into the air like a Poseidon missile, zoo penguins are stalked by an unrelenting killer: malaria.

“It’s probably the top cause of mortality for penguins exposed outdoors," said Dr. Allison Wack, a veterinarian at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, which is building a new exhibit that will double its flock to a hundred birds. If left untreated, the disease would probably kill at least half the birds it infected, though outbreaks vary widely in intensity.

The avian version is not a threat to humans because mosquitoes carrying malaria and the parasites are species-specific; mosquitoes that bite birds or reptiles tend not to bite mammals, said Dr. Paul Calle, chief veterinarian for the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs New York City’s zoos. And avian malaria is caused by strains of the Plasmodium parasite that do not infect humans.

But for penguins in captivity, the threat is so great that many zoos dose their birds in summer with pills for malaria, said Dr. Richard Feachem, director of global health at the University of California, San Francisco.

Last year, six Humboldt penguins in the London Zoo died of malaria.

London is also where the first case of penguin malaria was diagnosed almost a century ago; it was found in a King penguin in 1926.

Since then, there have been many outbreaks of avian malaria, including at zoos in Baltimore, South Korea, Vienna and Washington, D.C.

The last major American one was at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines during the hot, wet summer of 1986. From May to September of that year, 38 of the 46 Magellanic penguins the zoo had just imported from Chile succumbed.

They died despite the efforts of the National Animal Disease Center in nearby Ames, Iowa. Veterinarians made the correct diagnosis from symptoms even though parasites were not found in blood samples until late in the outbreak. The birds died despite being put on a two-drug prophylactic cocktail of the sort that a tourist to Africa might take.

While human malaria

Keeper Error Strikes Again
I have lost count of the number of keepers who have been killed or injured by Big Cats during 2013. It is a lot. Though entering an enclosure with a big cat is always 'an accident waiting to happen' so too is letting your attention waver or misjudging a situation from the outside of a cage.

The latest victim of keeper error was a female employee of the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park (G.W. Exotic Animal Park) which is owned by Joe Schreibvogel....the infamous 'Joe Exotic' who keeps and breeds Ligers and White Tigers. The collection has a very bad reputation.

The 20+ year old keeper had apparently placed her arm into the cage to work on a lock on a divider and was unable to extract it fast enough before she was grabbed by the tiger. Her arm was very badly mauled but it appears at this stage not to be permanently damaged. Details are scant. Some newsline headers


911 call released on tiger attack at GW Exotic Animal Park
Authorities released the 911 call from GW Exotic Animal Park after one of it’s employees was attacked by a tiger they were caring for. Below you can listen to that 911 call:

More Bullshit:

Orangutan And Dog: A Love Story


The insane world we live in:

School book-banning becoming excessive
"The children’s book “And Tango Makes Three” written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson is another book that was challenged. The book takes place in New York’s Central Park Zoo where two male penguins decide to make a nest together. When zookeepers see that they have become a couple, they give them an egg, which came from a male and female penguin couple. The penguins hatch the egg successfully and have a baby penguin together."

Follow the Penguins:

WAZA Launches New Online Professional Development Center
ROCHESTER, N.Y / Gland, Switzerland - Oct. 07, 2013 - The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) has launched its Online Professional Development Center (OPDC) as a service to its members. The initiative expands member expertise in the zoological field and furthers the excellence of animal care.

In collaboration with learning management system developer CypherWorx and subject-matter experts from San Diego Zoo Global Academy, WAZA is able to provide users with an interactive online learning environment that offers more than 300 self-directed courses and recorded webinars.

By offering the OPDC, WAZA teamed with zoological professionals from top institutions including San Diego Zoo Global, Birmingham Zoo, Lowry Park Zoo, National Zoo, Reid Park Zoo and Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. This network of experts allowed WAZA to offer courses with a broad applicability to animal care, human resources, horticulture, zoo operations and leadership training.

The content of each course was developed to support four core learning concepts: Expertise, Engagement, Excellence and Evolution. These fundamental qualities create a learning environment in which users can expand their knowledge of the field, gain confidence in learned material to ensure work performance accuracy as well as strengthen the zoological profession as a whole within the OPDC learning community.

To support the technology and services needed to launch OPDC, WAZA used CypherWorx's CollaborNation® Collaborative Learning Environment platform to create an online learning space.  This community-based web system can allow members to communicate, spread ideas, discuss topics and expand their knowledge about the field of animal-care.

"Our mission is to provide zoological professionals throughout the world with a learning resource to ensure keeper safety, animal health and welfare, enjoyment and safety of guests, and conservation," says Steve Stookey, chief operations officer at CypherWorx. "We are proud of our collaborative efforts in helping zoos and aquariums achieve these goals, and the mission continues as we add new educational online courses and webinars to share knowledge across the globe."
"E-Learning is the most convenient way of improving skills - people can do courses whenever they have time and with the new WAZA  Online Professional Development Center, vets, zoologists, keepers and other related professionals are offered a great selection of online training courses for a very reasonable price, WAZA members benefit! I am grateful to San Diego Zoo Global and Cypherworx for the wonderful cooperation which made this unique offer possible", says Dr Gerald Dick, WAZA Executive Director.

About CypherWorx
Founded in 2007, CypherWorx develops comprehensive eLearning solutions for membership associations, non-profit organizations and small business providers using a unique, collaborative business model that has won praise for its effectiveness and accessibility. Services range from course development to learning management system (LMS) integration under the NP Training WorksTM and CollaborNation brands. For more information, visit

About The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums
The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is a global organisation that harmonises the principles, policies, practices and strategy for zoos and aquariums worldwide. Via regional associations WAZA reaches over 1,300 leading zoos and aquariums. WAZA is the unifying representative of the global zoo and aquarium community and works in partnership with international conservation organisations such as  IUCN and non-government organisations to ensure high standards of animal welfare and to achieve conservation in zoos and aquariums (ex situ) and in nature (in situ).

WAZA Facts and Figures
Attracting more than 700 million visitors a year, the world's 1,300 leading zoos and aquariums have a unique potential to attract, inspire and mobilise mass public engagement for species and habitat conservation. By making a direct connection between people and wildlife, zoos and aquariums educate the public on biodiversity conservation, human welfare, livelihoods and poverty alleviation and hence promote environmentally sustainable development and social and political change. The additional funding produced from entrance tickets to zoos and aquariums is spent on conservation projects around the world, creating major conservation implementation and funding agencies. Collectively, this can match or surpass the contributions of some other leading global conservation organisations.

With 70% of the world's population living in cities by 2030, zoos and aquariums offer a vital connection to the importance of biodiversity in our lives.

About San Diego Zoo Global Academy
San Diego Zoo Global Academy is a powerful online learning platform that harnesses the expertise of San Diego Zoo Global and its partners to offer courses that meet the specific needs of individuals in the zoological profession. For more information, visit

Ringling Bros. shows off elephant conservation center 

West Africa's newest zoo reopens its doors in Mali capital
Revamped Bamako zoo, whose residents include a baby elephant, baboons and a panther, hopes to do a roaring trade
Mali's national zoo reopened with little fanfare after two years of renovation. The facility provides visitors with a refuge from the traffic-ridden streets of the sprawling capital, Bamako, filled with cheap motorbikes imported from Indonesia, and where pavements and roadsides are brimming with small traders.

The six-hectare zoo – small compared with European counterparts – is home to three lions, a small elephant and baboons among the 100 animal species, which also includes 12 breeds of birds, such as white egrets and ostriches, and 58 varieties of fish. The zoo sits outside the city, on a hillside next to the national park, which has also recently received a facelift. The building is opposite what Malians call the colline du pouvoir – the hill of power. It gets its name from the gleaming white presidential residence on top.

On a recent morning, a few families me 

Zoo Revolution explores ethical debate about zoos
Doc Zone season premiere hopes to 'open people's eyes'
When filmmaker Geoff D’Eon was a boy in England in the late 1950s, his parents took him to the London Zoo to see the “Chimpanzee’s tea party.”

“They would dress the chimps in bowler hats and waistcoats and frocks and dresses, and they would put cups of tea and little cakes on the table and the chimps would play havoc and we’d roar with laughter and that was a form of entertainment and nobody saw anything wrong with it,” he recalled. “And then we would ride the elephants, not just look at them.”

D’Eon is the writer and director of Zoo Revolution, produced by Dream Street Pictures in association with CBC Television. It aired Thursday on the season premiere of Doc Zone. 

Watch the trailer for Zoo Revolution
D'Eon admits that when he was first asked to do a film about zoos, he was unaware of the “raging debate” over zoos and whether they do more harm or more good.

“Like anyone else, I’m opposed to cruelty to animals and I react badly. But for the most part, that’s not what I saw when I visited zoos,” D’Eon said in an interview.

That was before he started calling zoos and asking to film them and interview their staff.

Aquariums refused to participate

Many refused, including every single aquarium he contacted and the London Zoo, which he really wanted to include.

 “The hardest part of making the film probably was not getting the access to all the places we wanted to go,” he said.

But he noted that zoos are a huge industry that attracts 700 million visitors a year worldwide.

“There’s more people in North America that go to zoos than go to all the major sport franchises combined. So you’re dealing with an industry which is very conscious of its image and is very protective of its image.”

In the end, D’Eon managed to visit about a dozen zoos, from large city zoos to unaccredited roadside attractions.

Some, such as Zoos Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, were welcoming and proud of their work, which they believe is helping the public develop a connection with animals and builds support for conservation efforts.

Canadian zoos, D’Eon said, were “open to us visiting, with more hesitation.” The Toronto Zoo refused to talk at all about its elephants, which are slated to be sent to a sanctuary in California, after animal rights groups voiced concerns about the animals’ welfare.

D’Eon didn’t even tryl to interview the owners of the roadside zoos, which prohibited photography. Instead, he and hi 

Sturgeon conservation centre on schedule
The science facility being built to save the Nechako White Sturgeon from extinction is halfway to completion.

The Vanderhoof conservation centre is on schedule to open in spring, said officials on Tuesday. It is one of the key components to a "multi-pronged recovery plan" said Brian Frenkel, chair of the Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative's community working group.

"We are pleased with the progress of the facility and I’m very excited that this coming spring the conservation centre staff will be capturing brood stock - mature male and females - and raising the group of young sturgeon.”

Along with the hatchery component, the conservation plan also includes a research component that, said Frenkel, "aims to identify and remove survival bottlenecks for wild sturgeon and improve the health of the Nechako watershed for sturgeon and other species."

The construction and operation of the conservation centre is the responsibility Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, a private, non-profit fisheries organization. That organization's facilities manager, Cory Williamson, said “I am excited to see this project well on its way. Not only will the new facility produce young sturgeon to rebuild the population, it will serve as a centre for white sturgeon research in the north.”

The rare and mysterious fish likely cannot be saved by this facility alone, Frenkel added. The spawning habitat needs to be kept in good health and that requires commercial, industrial and public sides to all work together.

“While the sturgeon conservation centre is a key component of

China’s rarest seabird benefits from colony restoration
Until this year, there were only two known breeding colonies of the Critically EndangeredChinese Crested Tern Sterna bernsteini: the Mazu Islands off the coast of Fujian, and the Wuzhishan Islands off Zhejiang.
However, this summer an innovative tern colony restoration project has apparently established another.
Earlier this year, a small island called Tiedun Dao in the Jiushan Islands – an archipelago where Chinese Crested Terns used to breed – was chosen for colony restoration. The restoration team expected it would take some years before there was any hope of attracting the birds back. Their plan was to use decoys and playback tern calls to initially attract Great Crested Terns Sterna bergii to Tiedun Dao. It was hoped that the Great Crested Terns would initially colonise the island, their numbers would then gradually grow, and that Chinese Crested Terns, which have always been found

Goodbye Toronto Zoo elephants. We’re sorry.
Last Monday, I went to see Toronto Zoo’s three aging African elephants who are about to leave for a new home in California—if they survive the 60-hour journey. In the late afternoon sun, the elephants were outdoors walking slowly around their barren enclosure, lifting each foot gently as if trying out new shoes. Thika, 33, the youngest, was captive-born at the Toronto Zoo. Hard to imagine 33 years of life in so small and empty a space, awakening each day to so repetitive a journey. Occasionally they looked at the spectators, eyelashes blinking in the sun. They engaged with me for just one moment and then turned away.

After the deaths of four elephants at the zoo in a space of four years, city council voted in 2011 to close down the elephant exhibit. They might have voted to allocate more funds for the zoo for better enclosures, but even in so wealthy a city as Toronto, with $20-million-plus condos and Lamborghinis all over the place, money and private donors couldn’t be found. The zoo’s 2014 budget has zero increases for operational costs plus cuts in maintenance. Wrangling over the elephants has gone on for years and now it all ends with Iringa, 44, Toka, 43, and “baby” Thika being trained to enter crates in which they will be tethered for a road trip that may kill them. Flying would have been better and there is still a chance that the Department of National Defence will relent and allow a plane to be used (not at taxpayers’ expense—The Price is Right celeb Bob Barker, an elephant saviour, has offered to contribute up to almost a million dollars for the journey) but there are only days left.

Zoos exist for a variety of reasons: conservation and research—although captive behaviour is unlikely to mirror life in the wild. Sometimes they serve political purposes: China’s giant pandas now on loan at the Toronto Zoo are a useful stage in our trade negotiations. The essential purpose of a zoo though is to allow us to see animals we would never encounter: a live Sumatran tiger of fantastic beauty or a rhino mud bathing. Zoos don’t exist for animals but for people—except possibly when people have encroached on habitat for human survival at the expense of driving a species to extinction. It’s a separate issue that a rapacious Asian demand for ivory is creating such terrible killing f 

Tom Kaplan: Billionaire King Of Cats
Thomas Kaplan, a slim, red-headed 50-year-old mining investor, sits in a midtown Manhattan office, staring at me with his intense hazel eyes. He is speaking slowly and deliberately–he doesn’t want me to miss a thing–about his abiding passion: saving endangered big cats and snakes, animal species that he considers to be as precious as the gold and silver that have made him a billionaire (his estimated net worth: $1.3 billion). Kaplan describes a love affair with these animals that began early on. As a child growing up in Fort Lauderdale, instead of playing football or baseball, he tracked bobcats for fun. He recalls one day when a girl from his neighborhood called him in a panic. A crowd of kids had cornered a large bluish-colored snake in a barn, and they were trying to kill it. Kaplan sprinted to the scene, picked up the snake and casually placed it around his neck. Then he took it home.

The snake was an Eastern Indigo, North America’s largest native snake, which reaches lengths of up to 10 feet. “They are quite voracious,” says Kaplan, fondly. “Their favorite snack is rattlesnake.” They are also in serious trouble, listed as a threatened species primarily because of habitat degradation
But Kaplan believes he has the means and the will to change that through his Orianne Society, a charity named after his daughter that fights to protect Eastern Indigo habitat in the southeastern United States. It is the second such wildlife charity that Kaplan has founded. The first, which launched in 2006, is Panthera, which aims to protect another of Kaplan’s childhood passions, wildcats. “If you want psychic gratification, one of the greatest ways is to know that you’ve made a real contribution to saving a species from blinking out during your lifetime,” he says.

He’s put his money where his mouth is. Over the past five years Kaplan and his wife, Daphne, have given more than $75 million to the causes of threatened big cats and snakes. His mission now, he says, is to bring others into the fold. As an enticement, he pays 100% of administrative costs for the two charities, which means every donor dollar goes directly to the field. “It’s completely inclusive. It’s not about, ‘This is my domain,’” he says. “My role is to create something that gathers momentum and is really welcoming to people who share this passion.” Public support has been steadily growing, but the Kaplans still do the lion’s share of the funding: half of the $10.5 million budget for Panthera, and two-thirds of the $2 million for the Orianne Society.

The Oxford-educated Kaplan, who made his hay on investment bets on silver, platinum and gold mining (he’s been called “the gold evangelist”), says he never intended to found conservation organizations. He initially funded programs at the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo, focusing on big cats. But he soon realized that more could be accomplished out in the field without the bureaucracy of a big organization. So he poached Alan Rabinowitz, the world’s leading big cat expert, and Luke Hunter, Rabinowitz’s number two, from the WCS to found Panthera and monitor the world’s remaining big cat populations.

The first roadblock: Rabinowitz didn’t have enough trained people for his staff. Kaplan’s response: “We must mint them!” So he and Daphne created the Kaplan Graduate Awards for big cat scholars and endowed WildCru, a graduate wildlife conservation management program at Kaplan’s alma mater Oxford University. “We’

Great Apes Summit Delegates Issue Statement on Palm Oil 
The Great Apes Summit, which brought together scientists, advocates, public policy experts, media professionals, conservation leaders, range state officials and program funders to discuss issues and propose solutions, was co-hosted by the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP), the Arcus Foundation, and the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival.

We, the delegates to the Great Apes Summit, gathered 21-24 September in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA, and committed to the conservation of apes and their habitats, are concerned that the rapid and under-regulated expansion of oil palm plantations across Asia and Africa poses a significant danger to the long-term survival of all ape species in the wild. We therefore issue a coordinated response that seeks to protect priority forests and the apes they contain, including chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, orangutans and gibbons, and seek to promote the use of sustainably sourced palm oil through the following six action points:

1.Governments to suspend any development of palm oil concessions until areas of High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) are identified, including existing protected areas and areas off-limits due to national planning laws.

2.Governments to cease any expansion of plantations into existing protected areas, and commit to expanding protected area size and connectivity of forested areas through a combination of a) enforcement of national laws, b) improved management practices, c) participatory community engagement, and d) public exposure of non-adherent companies.

3.Governments and producers to develop rules for palm oil concessions that a) prevent deforestation and promote use of previously non-forested land, b) improve yields on existing plantations as opposed to expansion of land area, c) discourage use of toxic pesticides, d) promote the human rights of the workforce, and e) implementation of an accessible, transparent system of reporting on these commitments through independent third-party auditing.

4.Purchasers, processors, traders, and retailers to investigate and publicize current supply chains and halt sourcing from companies that a) are involved in current deforestation or new peatland development, b) not identifying and protecting HCV and HCS areas in their concessions, c) involved in developments on peatland, and d) breaking national environmental and conservation laws.

5.The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to monitor existing Principles and Criteria (RSPO P & C) and strengthen protocols, where necessary, to ensure that standards are enforced in a transparent way and members are accountable for their actions, with special attention to: a) no clearance of protected forests, HCV forests or areas off-limits due to National Spatial Planning regulations, b) no clearance of HCS forest, c) no clearance of peatlands or new planting on previously cleared peatlands, d) consideration of existing ape population ranges prior to development of concessions e) immediate public reporting and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, f) fixed time limits for members to certify plantations and associated smallholders, and g) enforcement of current standards.

6.Consumers (companies and individuals) and financiers to a) immediately shift to sustainably sourced palm oil and palm oil products, b) cease partnerships with, and funding support for, suppliers that do not implement RSPO P&C, c) commit to a clear timelines to transition certified palm oil sourcing to fully segregated physical product, d) direct purchases to suppliers willing to go beyond current RSPO standards, and e) commit to a zero deforestation policy with clear targets and timelines.

We can strengthen the palm oil regulatory processes and act together to halt the illegal or under-regulated expansion of plantations that threatens ape species and their habitats. Experts predict that by 2030 over 90 percent of ape habitat in Africa and Asia will have been disturbed by the expansion of development projects, and the palm oil industry represents a significant portion of that development. Failure to act now will have serious consequences that could hasten the extinction of chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, orangutans, and gibbons.

For more information, please visit

Activists blast 'animal safari' show
Animal rights activists have expressed concerns about the welfare of wildlife featured at a show at Seacon Square. The shopping mall's exotic animal show is entitled "Seacon Pet Planet: The Safari" and...

Sex is matter of life, then death for male marsupials
A new study suggests that some species of marsupials mate with such vigour and intensity that it quite literally kills them.

The scientists say that males die in large numbers after mating with as many partners as possible in sex sessions lasting up to 14 hours at a time.

A key factor in this costly coitus is the promiscuous behaviour of females who all breed at the same time of year.

The study is published in the journal PNAS.

Suicidal reproduction or semelparity is well known in many species of plants and fish but is rare in mammals.

This new study looks at the mating behaviour of 52 different species of small, insect eating marsupials in Australia, South America and Papua New Guinea.

They found that in some of these animals, such as the antechinus, the phascogale and the dasykaluta, male attempts to father offspring cost them their lives.

Lust for life?
This "dying-off" trait is more likely to be found in species living in regions where food was plentiful in one period of the year.

This makes the females of the species more likely to shorten their mating seasons so they only give birth when there is plenty to eat.

The marsupials just keep ramping it up more and more and are driven to spend all their time mating competitively”

Ragunan Zoo: Not yet a world-class attraction
The city administration offered Ragunan Zoo in South Jakarta the financial support it needed to become a world-class tourist destination, but the offer was refused by the management.

Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo offered to disburse up to Rp 500 billion (US$45.5 million) for the project, with the only requirement being a master plan that would be valid for a century.

“The preparation to make the blueprint and macro design for the zoo should start now. The administration is ready to release the funds as long as there is a clear program,” he said on the sidelines of the public dialogue at the zoo on Tuesday.

The newly installed zoo supervisor, business tycoon Hashim Djojohadikusumo, declined the offer, saying that the blueprint could only be formulated next year.

“We can request budget funds the following year, once we finish collecting public feedback,” said the younger brother of Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) patron Prabowo Subianto.

Zoo director Marsawitri Gumay said that the zoo was in dire need of more funds to improve infrastructure, such as animal enclosures.

Marsawitri said the zoo needed at least Rp 50 billion to cover its annual operational costs. She said it relied mainly on the city fund of Rp 33.5 billion and ticketing revenue. The zoo, which welcomed 4.2 million visitors in 2012, hopes to reap Rp 28.5 billion from ticketing this year. The current amount collected this year is Rp 20 billion as of this month.

On regular days, the 147-hectare zoo is visited by around 3,000 people, this number rises to 20,000 people on weekends and can reach 60,000 during school holidays. During peak seasons, such as Idul Fitri, visitors can number over 140,000 each day.

“With such a tight budget, we cannot make infrastructure improvements. Most of the enclosures need to be replaced, not to mention street vendors who enter the zoo and littering visitors,” Marsawitri said.

She told The Jakarta Post that the zoo might need to build more attractions to bring in more money.

Hashim said the zoo’s management planned to address 12 infrastructure projects, including filtering dirty water from the 6.8 hectare lake, fixing the cinema, improving electronic security devices and fence maintenance.

He said the zoo management was deciding if it was feasible to increase the entrance fee, which he said was the cheapest in the world.

“We need to study the hike first. Rp 4,000 is than a pack of cigarettes and the ticket price affects the facilities and employees’ welfare.”

Currently, weekday tickets at Ragunan Zoo only cost Rp 4,000 for an adult and Rp 3,000 for children. The prices are doubled on weekends and holidays. A ticket to Su

Ragunan Zoo

Zoo keeper raises money for endanger monkeys
Jodie Dryden, a zoo keeper at Drusillas Park, has raised more than £1000 to help an endangered species she looks after at the zoo in East Sussex.

She arranged a charity quiz to raise funds for the critically endangered Sulawesi black crested macaque.

Circus cancelled as Chinese stress animal welfare
A circus featuring animal performances was cancelled after citizens called for a boycott and tipped off authorities, which activists have billed as a victory for a growing animal welfare movement in China.

The promotional material for Jinan Animal Carnival Festival's suggested the shows would have bears lying on their backs twirling flaming rods, tigers riding horses and a monkey riding a goat.

Chinese regulations ban animal performances, but animal rights activists estimate hundreds of shows still take place each year. They say animals are kept in poor conditions and trained under fear and stress to perform tricks.

A local Communist Party-run newspaper, the Qilu Evening News, reported that citizens had organized an online boycott of the nearly-three-week festival that was due to open in late September and tipped off the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, which has responsibility for zoo management. The paper said the ministry issued an "urgent notice" for the festival not to go ahead and that the organizers had refunded tickets.

The ministry refused to comment on Wednesday. Some microbloggers on Sina Weibo objected to animals being made to perform for people's pleasure and they noted the official ban.

The organizer, Jinan Municipal Horticulture Greening Administration, and host, Jinan Quanche

First rhinos to ever set foot in Chile 
At an estimated US$29,480 per pound, rhinoceros horn demands a higher price on the black market than gold. Lured by the exorbitant price, poachers killed a record number of southern white rhinos this year, heightening fears that the near threatened species will soon face extinction.

In an effort to preserve the species, two young white rhinos were brought to Chile last month to create a breeding program. The first rhinos ever to set foot on Chilean soil, the rhinos,  “Oliver” and “Hanna,” were made available for public viewing at the Buin Zoological Park in the Santiago Metropolitan Region on Saturday.

“This why we have a male and female and hopefully they’ll be able to facilitate conservation through a breeding program,” Francisco Córdova, veterinary sciences graduate and educational tour guide at the Buin Zoo, told The Santiago Times.

“Our job is to keep them in the best possible condition, keep them busy and in a good frame of mind with a life that is very similar to the one that they have in the wild,” he says. “We want them to be happy.”

Francisco goes on to say that the wild is not always the best place for these animals, especially in South Africa where the he said the problem of poaching is “terrible.”

Poachers in South Africa — home to 83 percent of Africa’s rhinos and 73 percent of the world’s rhinos —  have already killed more rhinos this year than any in the past and scientists say the death rate could start exceeding the birth rate in just three years. In 2008 under two dozen rhinos were reported poached in Southern Africa — that figure rocketed to 668 in 2012, and the number is expected to tip 900 by the end of 2013.

Rhino poaching has also caused human deaths as increasingly frequent shootouts are occurring between poachers and security forces. S

World's largest aquarium: Palm Deira
Serious interest and demand as salesmen are swamped with inquiries
Four islands already built by Dubai-based Nakheel on Palm Deira project will be used to launch a new mixed-use development.

Nakheel will build a 250-room hotel with one the islands being home to one of the world’s largest aquariums.

The Deira project, covering 1600 hectares, will be a waterfront destination, adding over 40 kilometres, including 21 kilometres of beachfront, to Dubai’s existing coastline. The cost of the project was not disclosed.

“This project will contribute significantly to the Government of Dubai’s tourism strategy. Nakheel intends to offer special payment plans and incentives for hotels to develop on these new islands,” Nakheel Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah said in a statement.

Three hectares have been dedicated to hotels and resorts and 424 hectares for mixed-use developments.

Nakheel will be developing whole of the south island (called: Island A), building a creek side destination which will be accessible by road bridges or abras running to and from the mainland.

A night market designed in the style of a Arabic souk will be built, having over 1,400 retail units and restaurants with a number of anchor stores.

There will be an amphitheatre with a capacity 30,000 people; a creek marina to accommodate large yachts and a range of additional marinas offering mooring facilities directly outside residences. The island will also have a number of waterfront plots for hotels, resorts and serviced apartments.

The three remaining islands will also feature hotels, resorts and residential, commercial and r

Sumatran Rhino Caught on Camera in East Kalimantan
Camera traps have caught a glimpse of the elusive Sumatran rhino in the last place conservation experts expected to look: the jungles of East Kalimantan, the World Wildlife Fund-Indonesia announced on Wednesday.

“The team is delighted to have secured the first known visual evidence of the Sumatran rhino in Kalimantan,” the organization said in a press release.

The Borneo subspecies of the Sumatran rhino was thought to be extinct in Indonesia. About 25 of the critically endangered rhinos may remain in Malaysia’s Sabah state, according to WWF-Indonesia.

Conservation experts first stumbled on footprints that looked suspiciously like rhino tracks during a trek through the jungle to monitor orangutans in East Kalimantan. WWF-Indonesia and district officials then set up sixteen camera traps in the West Kutai district and waited.

It took three months, but in late June officials caught first sight of the two-horned rhino. A similar rhino appeared on camera on two other occasions — on June 30 and Aug. 3, WWF-Indonesia said. The animal was seen wallowing in the mud and wandering through the shots in search of food.

It is unknown if the footage is of one rhino or two, WWF-Indonesia said.

“This physical evidence is very important, as it forms the basis to develop and implement more comprehensive conservation efforts for the Indonesia

Socorro Dove Returns to Mexico for First Time in Over 40 Years
 For the first time in four decades, the critically endangered Socorro Dove has returned to its native country of Mexico, thanks to a captive breeding program involving 33 organizations in 12 countries.

The Socorro Dove was endemic to Socorro Island on the Revillagigedo Archipelago, approximately 400 miles southwest of the west Mexican city of Puerto Vallarta. The last record of the species in its natural habitat dates from 1972. Introduced mammals likely drove it to extinction through predation and habitat destruction.

Mexico’s role in the conservation breeding program was ramped up earlier this year when six Socorro Doves were moved from facilities at New Mexico’s Albuquerque BioPark to Africam Safari, located near Mexico City. Today, facilities in Europe, the United States, and now Mexico breed Socorro Doves in their aviaries as part of the globally managed breeding program. Altogether, there are approximately 70 doves in Europe, 37 in the U.S., and six in Mexico.

In recognition of the effort, an official ceremony was held in September at Africam Safari zoo in the city of Valsequillo, Puebla, Mexico. The ceremony was attended by the coordinating team of the Socorro Dove Project, members of the conservation community, and representatives of Mexico's ministries of the interior (SEGOB), the environment (SEMARNAT), and the Mexican Navy (SEMAR). During the ceremony, a commemorative plaque was offered to the Mexican Navy and all institutions participating in the international conservation breeding program whose efforts made possible the repatriation of this endemic dove.

Dr. Luis Baptista, founder of the Island Endemics Foundation, initiated the Socorro Dove Project in 1987-1988 after corroborating that a viable population existed in human care. The ultimate goal of the project is to return Socorro Doves to Socorro Island. After Baptista’s death in 2000, Juan Martínez-Gómez joined the foundation and crafted a collaborative program with the Mexican Navy. By 2004, a breeding station funded by the Island Endemics Foundation and the Mexican Navy had been built on Socorro Island. However, in 2005, concerns about the potential for spreading avian influenza from Europe prevented the return o

The man who bred 120 tigers in rural Lincolnshire
Following the birth of the first tiger at London Zoo in 17 years, a former circus owner talks about his life breeding tigers in rural Lincolnshire.

At the height of his career in the 1970s, Martin Lacey was known as the "man that fear forgot" - being the only one to put his head inside a lion's mouth.

That was just part of his work to run the now-closed Great British Circus, which has also included breeding more than 120 tigers at his home in Keal Cotes.

Now aged in his 70s, Mr Lacey plans to retire, with most of the tigers will now go to his sons' circus in Germany.

His work has included starring in the children's TV show Magpie and training some of the tigers used in the Esso adverts.
He said he had enjoyed a fantastic career and "had certainly done his bit" to help with tiger conservation.

"This year we've had 12 cubs in Lincolnshire and 12 in Germany," he said.

"Most will go to my sons' circus, but we are able to let any surplus go to zoological gardens, which reduces the need to bring in any animals from the wild.

"We are definitely doing well in the conservation stakes - we also bred reindeer here this year, and that's not easy."

However, changes in public attitudes to performing animals mean he has faced criticism in recent years.

The UK government has announced that a ban prohibiting the use of wild animals in circuses in Britain would come into effect in 2015.

Under the terms of the draft W

The team at Monkey World – Ape Rescue Centre in Dorset, are proud to announce the safe and rare arrival of baby twin chimpanzees, Thelma and Louise!

The beautiful twin girls were born last week, on September 25th, and have an extended family of 19, including mum, Cherri.  Monkey World’s female chimpanzees are given birth control pills to avoid over-populating the 65-acre primate rescue centre and because there are still more chimpanzees around the world that need rescuing. Cherri was put on antibiotics last winter for a chest infection, which caused her contraception to fail. As the park’s birth control  ‘outlaws’, the twin girls have been aptly named Thelma and Louise - after the famous movie fugitives!

Albuquerque zoo welcomes new elephant calf
Albuquerque’s zoo is welcoming the newest member of its elephant herd.

Zoo officials will introduce the second calf delivered by 20-year-old Rozie, an Asian elephant, at a news conference this morning.

Rozie gave birth to the female calf after 22 months of gestation.

The calf makes for the seventh elephant at ABQ BioPark.

Elephant manager Rhonda Saiers says both mother and daughter are doing well. Saiers says the calf is learning to nurse and will meet her sister, Daizy, and grandmother, Alice, in a few days.

The zoo says the calf will not yet be part of the public exhibit.

The zoo plans to let the public vote on a name for th

Rare Snail Bred in Edinburgh Flies Back to Tahiti
Three species of tree-snails that are among the most endangered species in the world are due to be reintroduced to their former Polynesian home following the success of an international zoo conservation project involving the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS).

Three varieties of Partula snail will be released - Partula affinis, Partula nodosa, and Partula hyalina - which have been bred at Edinburgh Zoo and 16 other zoos around the world, into their native home of Tahiti in mid-October. RZSS will release 90 of the Partula affinis variety, a species that was thought to be extinct for many years until last year 12 individuals were found still surviving on one single tree.

Edinburgh Zoo houses six species in total and Partula snails have been bred at the Zoo for almost 25 years in a tiny off show room the size of a broom cupboard. Needing very specific husbandry, amongst other things it is vital to get the temperature, humidity and light levels exactly right; even the slightest change in these parameters can have a detrimental effect. Edinburgh Zoo was even given the very last captive individual of the Partula taeniata simulans variety, which the Zoo then bred back to a safe level of several hundred, as luckily that individual had been fertilised and produced viable young. RZSS regularly send snails to other institutions so that captive populations are located in more than one location as a precautionary measure.

An historical landmark, not only for Polynesian tree snails, but for wildlife conservation as a whole, this reintroduction is a result of a consortium of committed zoos working together as part of an international breeding programme. The Partula Global Species Management Programme has been vital in securing a future for Partula snails and returning them to their native Tahiti is an exciting first step in the reintroduction phase for all the species in the breeding programme.

Originating from the steep volcanic forested islands of French Polynesia, Partula snails provide valuable insights into the mechanisms of evolution. Partula snail populations were decimated after the predatory ‘rosy wolf snail’ was introduced from Florida in the 1970s to rid the islands of a previously-introduced alien species - the giant African land snail - but instead the rapacious predator devoured the tiny native snails.

Ross Poulter, Presentations Keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, who has cared for the Zoo’s snails for the last ten years, said:

“We are extremely proud that the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland has played such a key role in this species reintroduction back to their native wild. This type of conservation and eventual reintroduction back into the wild when conditions are again sustainable embodies exactly what RZSS is about. The global programme has managed to keep alive a species that otherwise would have been lost to the world. Now, with the wonderful support from the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund, who gave money to build the wildlife reserve, we can put the snails back where they belong, and help restore some of the natural heritage of Polynesia, for future generations of Polynesians.

“The new reserve is situated in the Te Faaiti valley, which is government land and a protected National Park. The actual reserve is amazingly only 12m by 9m and has been confirmed as the world’s smallest nature reserve! The reserve has been cleared of invasive plants and animal species, and when we arrive we will give the snails a couple of days to get used to the climate before releasing them. During this time we also plan to build and erect a protective sun shade.”

Whilst on this trip, Ross will also search for a lost population Partula clara in the Fautaua Valley on Tahiti and locate and health check known populations of other rare Partula varieties on Mt Marau, above 1000m, in Tiapa Valley and Maramuu Valley.

The Partula Global Species Management Programme that RZSS is part of cares for 17 taxa in 16 European and American zoos, which also carry out and fund extensive field conservation work in collaboration with the French Polynesian Government.

Wildlife Crime Vietnam
Wildlife Crime Bulletin (issue August 2013)
The main content of this issue includes:
-       Think smart: Putting confiscated wildlife legally back into the trade compromises the efforts of law enforcement and puts wildlife at risk
-       Learn from the failure: Confiscate marine turtles when they are discovered
-       Enforcement alert: CITES adopts stricter controls on freshwater turtle and tortoise trade
-       Quick reference on CITES changes
-       Case review: Provincial decision conflicts with protection of rare and endemic species
-       Enforcement advisor: Why bear farmers should not be compensated Enforcement alert for giving up their bears
-       In the spot light: National Awards honor outstanding achievements in wildlife protection law enforcement
-       Remarkable wildlife crime cases

March for Elephants - 4th October
See images of the march here

Zooquaria 83 - Autumn 2013

New Gorillas for Belo Horizonte
The arrival of two new Gorillas is confirmed for this Saturday, October 12. The male Leon, 14 years old, female and Lou, 9, will be the companions for Imbi, who has lived alone since March this year when Kifta died.
Gorilla 'Idi Amin', who was 38, died


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


Join Zoo News Digest Facebook Page

updated daily


Follow me on

(Click on Follow at the top of the Hubpage)


Peter Dickinson
Dubai: ++ 971 (0)50 4787 122

Skype: peter.dickinson48

Mailing address:
Peter Dickinson
Suite 201,
Westminster Chambers
7 Hunter Street
United Kingdom

"These are the best days of my life"

No comments:

Post a Comment