Saturday, November 23, 2013

Zoo News Digest 26th October - 23rd November 2013 (ZooNews 880)

Zoo News Digest 26th October - 23rd November 2013 (ZooNews 880)

Lujon, Argentina....a zoo which should be closed down.

Dear Colleagues,

I note that Surabaya Zoo is getting it in the neck once again. I would be the very last person to say that everything in their garden is rosy….it clearly isn't. There is much that needs to be improved and changed. My argument is that the collection is deliberately being set up to fail by corrupt politicians who are all sleeping in the same bed as the journalists who promote their cause. Sadly most people believe anything if they see it in print. I am led to understand that a team of zoo experts will shortly be looking into the situation there. I will be happy if they are 'experts' but from the little I do know I am already worried about their background and affiliations.

Did you see the story about the lion cubs at Gaza strip Zoo? Photographs splashed all over, day old cubs in hand. Two days later and the cubs were dead. I expected no less. It is sad of course but politics aside it is ridiculous to blame this on a blockade. These cubs died because conditions were inadequate and the people dealing with them just did not have the experience or resources.

It has been nearly a month since the last Zoo News Digest. I have been busy. There never seems to be enough hours in a day anymore to do all the things I need and want to do. I monitor the news daily of course and anything I find of real interest, 'real' news, I post out on the Zoo News Digest Facebook Page. So you will find more there. The biggest stories of the past month? A Beagle which can sniff out pregnant bears and a story of a lion killing another lion. The unfortunate keeper who was killed by cougars scarcely got a mention anywhere. I genuinely sympathise with her friends family and colleagues. Ignore the collection. It is often the case that I may run down and not have a good word to say about a facility but this does not mean that the staff are not good or caring….or sadly sometimes know no better. Many of us started out in crap collections but never knew it at the time. Then there are a huge number of staff who know they work in crap collections but stay there because they care about the animals, have families to support etc.

Returning to the 'Lion kills Lion' story for a moment. A sad event which was witnessed my some visitors. The thought has passed through my mind wondering how long it will be before one of those visitors sues for the stress caused.

The article 'Kanpur Zoo staff suffering from zoonotic diseases' I find very disturbing. I do hope that the zoo assists their staff to full recovery including any of the so called 'daily wage' employees and that no staff member loses their job. Sadly within the Indian sub-continent the 'daily wage' employee is looked on as non-permanent and therefore expendable regardless of the fact that these people are often the backbone of an establishment and often working their whole lives in such a role.

My surface mail mail box is just not working out. Mail is going astray. Even lost my last but one passport for a while. So for now please send all paper mail, books for review etc to :

Peter Dickinson
10 Cheshire View
Appleyards Lane

Bear in mind it is NOT where I live. My mail will be forwarded to me to wherever I am from there. My contact phone number remains the same:

00971 (0)50 4787 122


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Fota gets go-ahead for €7 million expansion
After collapse of Celtic tiger, wildlife park hopes Sumatran tigers will boost visitors
Fota Wildlife Park in Cork is pushing ahead with an estimated €7 million expansion plan after receiving planning permission this week for a development that will increase the size of the park by 40 per cent.
Fota will begin work on the first phase of the 26-acre development, costing some €2 million, early in the new year.
Sean McKeown, director of Fota Wildlife Park, said it hoped to have the Asian Sanctuary open to visitors by the summer.
It will include several Sumatran tigers, which are a protected species and rare in the wild, and plans to breed them.
It will also include visayan water pigs from the Philippines and visayan spotted deer.
The expansion plan is split into four phases, which Fota hopes to have completed before the planning permission runs out in five years. It currently only has funding in place for the first phase.
Mr McKeown said the park, which attracts close to 400,000 visitors annually and is one of Munster’s biggest tourist attractions, hopes to obtain some State funding, possibly through one of the Government’s job-creation

3rd International Flamingo Symposium

 Renee Radziwon-Chapman Killed By Cougar At WildCat Haven Sanctuary
A head keeper at a no-kill animal sanctuary in Oregon was fatally attacked by a cougar over the weekend. Officials at the WildCat Haven Sanctuary in Sherwood, Ore., say that Renee Radziwon-Chapman, 36, a keeper and vet technician, was alone in an enclosure with the animal when it attacked her.
Clackamas County Sheriff’s deputies and other local emergency crews received a call of a serious attack at the sanctuary at approximately 7 p.m. on Saturday. The Clackamas County medical examiner reported that Radziwon-Chapman died on the scene from injuries consistent with a wild animal attack.

According to the Oregonian, Radziwon-Chapman hailed from Portland and had worked at the sanctuary for eight years. “Her relationship with the cats was amazing,” Jim Caliva, a board member at the organization, said. “She knew exactly what she was doing, but apparently there was a mistake. I don’t know what it could be."

Caliva said that she had relationships with all of the sa

List of fatal cougar attacks in North America

Chinese circus customers targeted by Animals Asia
Poster designs by China’s animal welfare activists are at the centre of a campaign to persuade local people and tourists not to attend an international circus festival in Zhuhai, Southern China.

Although government bans have been put in place to stop animal performance, the First China International Circus Festival has gone ahead, complete with animal attractions, despite widespread protest from local and international animal welfare campaigners.

With organisers expecting the circus to promote and benefit the region, activists are determined to demonstrate that animal cruelty only shows the area in a negative light.

Having started this week, the event will carry on until early December, during which the posters against animal performance will be displayed at train stations in Zhuhai and surrounding areas.  Under the slogan “Not Born to Perform” they graphically highlight the cruelty involved in animal performance.

The posters are as a result of an Animals Asia Competition this year with the aim of encouraging local designers to come up with images to counter future animal performances.

Animals Asia is also one of 31 organisations that has put its name to a letter sent to the Ministry of Culture by Chinese NGO Nature University.  The letter reminds the MoC that it is effectively breaking its own government’s guidelines against animal performance as put in place by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and State Forestry Bureau.

The international acts include elephants and chimpanzees from Thailand as well as dog shows. Other reports have also suggested Bengal tigers will perform. Concern has also been raised over the transportation of animals from overseas.

Recently campaigners in Jinan were celebrating when local objections shut down an animal performance with assistance from local authorities. But with the First China International Circus Festival going ahead - questions are being asked as to why the rules are being overlooked on this occasion.

Animals Asia’s Animal Welfare Director said:

“There is huge investment involved and we know that is what we are up against.  This is not just about a circus - the festival is seen as promoting tourism and investment in the region. We argue that they couldn’t be more wrong - animal performance has no place in modern China and negative international reports on the festival further damages China’s image.

“There is a double failure here - firstly by allowing this festival they are attracting negative headlines rather than the positive interest they’d hoped for.  Secondly by completely failing to understand modern and international attitudes to animal cruelty they are demonstrating an incredibly old-fashioned outlook. We hope that when local people and tourists see our posters they’ll think twice before attending. Investing in animal performance in order to promote an area is entirely misguided on so many levels. Why invest in a sunset industry?”

Animals Asia founder Jill Robinson added:

"The astonishing thing is how people in China are no longer tolerating performances that see such obvious exploitation and suffering to the animal entertainers. The outcry would have been unthinkable even five years ago.  The fact is today so many people here see animals as much more than playthings to make them laugh for just a few seconds in a ring."

From Richard Gibson
Hi everyone.
Apologies for the unsolicited and impersonal email but the world needs your help........

About 20yrs ago I went on my first ever international field trip as a professional (if very young and wet behind the ears) zoo herpetologist. I know, hard to believe I'm that old.
This trip was to visit a remote location in Jamaica where the endemic rock iguana Cyclura collei had just been rediscovered after years of presumed extinction, and then to help the local zoo set up a headstart programme - much as we do with tuatara here at Auckland Zoo.
Twenty years later, through the heroic (and I'm not exaggerating here) efforts of a small band of iguana-focussed individuals, fighting against the odds in a country that seems to value its wildlife even less than most, the iguana is in better shape in the wild than it has been for more than a century.

BUT, the govt of Jamaica is now proposing a deal with China to build an enormous international shipping port, right on top of the iguanas last remaining habitat. Home also to several other rare and endemic species and the largest surviving continuous tract of tropical dry forest in Jamaica, perhaps the Caribbean.
It will be a complete disaster for the iguanas and will almost certainly bring about their extinction in the wild with a matter of years.

Please see the associated information below if you'd like to know more but in the meantime, the one tiny thing we can all do to help is sign this'll take you less than 2mins. Please make the time.....

The 'only hope for lions'
Half of Africa’s 30 000 surviving wild lions are likely to die off within the next 20 to 40 years unless they are fenced off from humans or protected more intensively.

This is the conclusion reached by a group of more than 50 wildlife researchers in a study published in the latest issue of the journal Ecology Letters.

The main author, Professor Craig Packer, of the University of Minnesota, concludes that the future of the king of the beasts in Africa is so bleak that fencing them off from human settlements may be the only hope for their long-term survival.

The article was based on studying lion population densities in 42 conservation areas in 11 African nations.

The researchers found that lion population growth rates were highest in South Africa and Namibia, as well as in parks which were fenced off, privately managed and not vulnerable to trophy hunting.

“Given current population sizes and recent trends, all of the fenced-off populations are expected to remain at or above their full potential for the next 100 years,” they said.

But less than half of the unfenced reserves in Africa were likely to retain more than 10 percent of their carrying capacity for lions for the next 20 to 40 years. This included most unfenced conservation areas in Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon and Ghana.

The authors say many conservationists have recognised that large carnivores should be kept apart from humans, but the lion-proof fencing option was not used in several countries for aesthetic reasons, because of high costs, or because they did not want to cut off animal migration routes.

As a result, conservation agencies in east Africa and other areas had tried to promote human-wildlife co-existence projects or mitigate conflict by setting up buffer zones and compensation schemes.

“However, our analysis suggests that human-lion coexistence should only be considered in areas where large-scale megafauna and pastoralist migration precludes any form of fencing.”

Alternatively, the authors say the other option would be to fence people into protected enclaves inside some of the large wildlife areas such as the Niassa National Reserve in northern Mozambique.

Co-author Dr Luke Hunter said: “These findings hig

Learn more HERE

Kangaroo testicles a hit with Chinese as aphrodisiac
KANGAROO testicles are bound for China as a sex drug branded as a new aphrodisiac.

As kangaroo numbers explode in plague proportions across the Outback, the love potion made out of powdered roo testicles has become a boom trade.

Aphrodisiac named for IMF chief

According to popular online shopping websites, China has gone nuts over the tonic which sells for between $30-$150 for a bottle of 100 capsules.

In a great leap forward for the kangaroo meat industry, drought-stricken graziers hope the new trend will stiffen Chinese resolve to consume more of the Aussie icon. But Australian medical experts warn the drug, based on testosterone, is untested and without scientific data to support its claims of a super-sexed libido.

"The kangaroo is the symbol of Australia and highly reproductive,'' reads one label. "The male kangaroo may mate with 40 female kangaroos and produces twice as much semen as a bull. Essence of Kangaroo is extremely potent as it is rich in natural hormones, proteins, zinc and iron, which are able to increase physical strength and enhance the sexual energy.''

Roo ball expert John Kreuger, 73, of Townsville, a 40-year veteran of the testicle trade, this week meets with Chinese investors to buy his business "for the end product''.

He said the Chinese buyers wanted

How SeaWorld Keeps the Body Clocks of Its Antarctic Penguins on South Pole Time
You know that out-of-sync feeling you have for those first few days after Daylight Savings Time? Where your internal body clock is telling you that it's one time while the light levels outside are telling you that it's an entirely different time?

Well, then imagine how tough it must be to be an Antarctic penguin on display in Orlando. Where -- because you're now living in the Northern Hemisphere rather than the Southern -- you're a full six months out-of-sync. And because the light outside is telling you that it's Fall while your internal body clock is telling you that it's Spring, you now don't know whether to mate or molt.

Well, back in 1983, the animal care specialists at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment recognized that being over 8,000 miles away from home might be an issue for these aquatic, flightless birds. Which is why -- when they were building SeaWorld San Diego's Penguin Encounter exhibit some 30 years ago -- SeaWorld not only installed a ridiculously large air conditioning unit (to keep this habitat at a brisk 30 degrees) but also hung an elaborate lighting rig which then allowed them to replicate Antarctica's seasonal light cycle.

Now you have to understand that no one in zoological circles had ever done something like this before. Combining quartz halogen lights, LEDS, metal halide lights, quartz halogens and theatrical sunset lamps to replicate what the sunlight was supposed to be like in another part of the world.

Mind you, the folks at SeaWorld San Diego didn't stop there. They then went on make daily adjustments to the Penguin Encounter's lightning pattern. So that -- for the flightless birds living in this exhibit space -- the sun would first rise and then set at the exact time as it would down at the South Pole. They even made an effort to simulate Antarctica's springtime light and wintertime dark.

As you might imagine, a behind-the-scene effort like this -- especially back in the early 1980s -- was very hands-on. With the animal care specialists at SeaWorld San Diego (not to mention the electricians who worked at this theme park) constantly flipping switches, adjusting dimmers and replacing light bulbs a

KC Zoo uses beagle to detect possible Berlin pregnancy
The Kansas City Zoo has joined other zoos from around the country to find out whether a beagle named Elvis can let them know when their polar bears are pregnant.
The 2-year-old has been specially trained for a year by a Shawnee, KS, handler who has taught dogs to sniff out everything from explosives to bed bugs. A Cincinnati Zoo animal conservation scientist had the idea after reading about studies on using dogs to detect cancer.

Elvis has been checking out samples of 22 female bears from 14 zoos, while his handler logs his reactions.

The Kansas City Zoo submitted feces from Berlin to be a part of this study.

"While there is no other test for polar bear pregnancy, this study is part of the research mission the Kansas City Zoo strives to be a part of. Whether the result is positive or negative we will continue to care for Berlin as we have been – as though she may be pregnant," the zoo said in a written statement.

Kansas City Zoo officials said Berlin is being housed in her "quiet, behind-the-scenes area" where "denning" can take place. Nikita, the 6-year-old male bear, had been pestering this summer the 23-year-old Berlin, and she was moved to give her more alone time and make her comfortable if she has cubs. The two bears mated this spring.

"Polar bears can project pregnancy-type behaviors even though they may not be pregnant. Either way, zo

Tanzania Suspends Campaign Against Elephant Poaching To Investigate Reports Of Killings
The government of one African country has reportedly suspended its campaign to crack down on elephant poaching.

According to the Agence France Presse, Tanzania shelved its anti-poaching operations on Friday in order to investigate reports of wrongful property seizure, torture and killings that were allegedly perpetrated by officials during the campaign, dubbed "Operation Terminate."

Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Khamis Kagasheki defended the program, arguing: "I admit that there is an ugly side in the operation," he said. "But what is happening now in arresting culprits and impounding tusks is part of the success of the operation."

Illegal ivory poaching is a big problem in Tanzania, a country that is estimated to have lost about half its elephant population to poachers in the last decade, primatologist Jane Goodall said last year.

However, the recent crackdown against elephant poaching has been swift and thorough. Tanzanian officials promised the c

Wildlife centre at Vandalur zoo replaces night safari
The advanced research institute for wild species, proposed to be set up in Vandalur zoo, will come up on a portion of land earlier earmarked for a night safari project.

In 2007, a night safari was proposed on the 92-hectare rescue and rehabilitation centre of the Anna Arignar Zoological Park at a cost of Rs. 256 crore but the project was shelved due to paucity of funds.

Now, around five acres of that space will be used to set up the advanced research centre for wild species. “The new centre will be a state-of-the-art facility for research on rare species, especially endangered ones, including the lion-tailed macaque (LTM) and Nilgiri langur,” said an official of the State forest department.

The Advanced Institute of Wildlife Conservation Centre (AIWCC) will be set up at a cost of Rs. 27.13 crore and will provide information on wildlife, apart from hosting a research laboratory.

It will feature four divisions — on migratory birds, survival of species, genetic study and education. On the migratory birds, the centre will study the migratory pattern, routes, species and locations they visit.

The species survival division will deal with specific studies on 13 identified indigenous species including LTM, Nilgiri langur, elephants, tigers and black sheep, while the genetic division will look into gene composition and associated functions.

The education division will deal wit

Hunting for Corpses: Vultures Lured Back to Germany
Vultures are slowly returning to Germany, driven out long ago by an unwelcoming populace. At the behest of conservationists, loosened "carcass regulations" in Europe have made the search for food less daunting -- but some still wonder if the birds will be able to survive.
Griffon vulture number 259 is no longer able to fly. A bullet from a small-caliber rifle wielded by an unknown shooter shattered the ulna and radius of the bird's wing in June. Veterinarians tried to rehabilitate the vulture, using physical therapy to strengthen its wing muscles and even applying leeches to improve circulation, but nothing worked.
"It's over for him," says Wolfgang Rades, director of Herborn, a bird park in the central German state of Hesse. Rades casts a concerned glance toward the vulture, where it crouches on a pile of stones in a corner of its enclosure, looking a sad sight on this cold, damp morning. Yet for Rades, the bird is also a sign of hope. "He's an ambassador for others of his kind living in the wild," the biologist says. "Many more vultures will follow him, if we humans allow them to."
Griffon vulture 259 is among the vanguard of a new avian presence in Germany. Vultures are returning to the country, slipping stealthily into German airspace and often flying at heights of over 1,000 meters (3,300 feet). Ornithologists, glider pilots and hang gliders have all spotted these carrion-feeders above cities such as Hanover and Freiburg and regions such as the Black Forest and the Swabian Jura (see map).

"At least 50 to 60 vultures have been sighted in Germany this year," says Dieter Haas from the Vulture Conservation Initiative (GESI) based in Albstadt, southwestern Germany. "And many more are sure to follow."

Ornithologist counted 26 griffon vultures just in mid-June in the area outside the town of Tessin in northeastern Germany. And from April to August, a bearded vulture named Bernd delighted bird lovers by flying all the way from the Alps to the B

Ethics and Living Collections: A View from the Zoo! Lecture Notes
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the title lecture, part of the University of Michigan’s Department of Museum Studies series, It’s Alive! Re-Discovering Institutions of Living Collection.   Our presenter was Ron Kagan, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Detroit Zoological Society.

Zoos are members of the museum community; they offer meaningful social, cultural, educational, and physical environments to a human community.  Zoos and aquariums add living animals, the natural community, to this equation.  While in the museum community, Kagan advocates for different terminology when discussing its structure and collection.  Instead of using the term owners to describe the artifacts in a zoo’s collection, he encouraged the use of the term guardians and the idea of guardianship when thinking about human relationship to the living artifacts in a zoo’s collection.  When thinking about the idea of collectors of artifacts in a museum collection, Kagan sees zoos as conservators of the living resident population, the animals.

Like all museums, zoos are faced with ethical decisions when considering their role as guardians and conservators of their artifact collection.  One of the major questions, like human health care concerns, are whose interests are primary when it comes to patient care?  Unlike our healthcare system, zoos have hundreds of species needing 24/7 care.  The Detroit Zoo is moving towards a more patient centered-care model for its collection; Kagan believes if the animals come first, the zoo experience will be better for the people visiting the collection as well.  Humane care is a paramount concern at the zoo.  The Berman Academy for Humane Educ

Crane breeding center crowded as birds age
The Okayama Prefectural Nature Conservation Center in the town of Wake, known for having the nation’s largest population of Japanese cranes, has been wrestling with overcrowded breeding facilities as the birds age.

Officials say that the unexpected longevity of the Japanese cranes, also known as red-crowned cranes, in the center is affecting their reproductive ability.

According to the prefecture, building new breeding facilities may be difficult due to budgetary constraints.

The center’s officials, however, emphasize the necessity of coming up with solutions to maintain the number of young cranes.

“If we leave the situation as it is, only the number of old cranes will be on the rise while the population of young birds will decline,” one official said. “There is a risk that there will be no Japanese cranes left in Okayama in the future.”

After the center began to breed Japanese cranes in 1991, the population in the center’s facilities has risen to the current number of 42. Without natural enemies in the environment they inhabit, the population has been aging, with the average rising to 18 years old. The officials describe this as equivalent to the age of the baby boomer generation for humans.

The oldest crane in the facility is 36 years old.

Amid the rapid aging of the bird population, allowable space in the 24 habitats, each measuring about 180 sq. meters, is nearly fully utilized. Even though the younger cranes are laying eggs, the center has to give up letting the cranes hatch them because of the limited breeding space.

To alleviate the situation, the prefectural government intends to increase the number of breeding facilities outsi

Kanpur Zoo staff suffering from zoonotic diseases
In a startling revelation, a number of Kanpur zoo employees have been found to be affected by 'Leptospira' and 'Brucellosis' bacteria. This has been reportedly claimed in a report submitted by a leading diagnostic centre of the city to the Kanpur zoo authorities, giving complete description of the health status of the entire zoo staff.

The diagnostic centre had conducted medical check up of the zoo employees and confirmed the presence of these bacterias in zoo employees. In September and October, the zoo authorities had got their employees to undertake medical tests at a leading private diagnostic centre. The tests performed by this centre revealed that the staffers are suffering from various zoonotic diseases and need proper treatment.

The decision to conduct the medical check up for zoonotic diseases of the entire zoo staff was taken by the zoo veterenarians Dr RK Singh and Dr UC Srivastava.

According to reliable sources, as many as 30 zoo employees are affected with leptospirosis disease (caused by bacteria Leptospira) alone. Some 10 zoo staffers are affected with brucellosis, including the zoo director, Kuruvilla Thomas and zoo veterinarian RK Singh.

Dr Ashish Srivastava, a doctor (member) of a medical panel constituted by the Chief Medical Officer, Kanpur Nagar, on his visit to Kanpur zoo for conducting the health check up of the zoo staff, told TOI that "the zoo director and zoo veterinarian are affected with brucellosis bacteria but there is nothing to worry and neither there is any threat of spread of any epidemic".

"Those who stay in contact with the animals, e

New Doha Zoo to occupy 75 hectares
The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) yesterday unveiled the final master plan of the New Doha Zoo project that seeks to develop the facility in the model of a safari park, with dedicated areas for animals from different continents.
The area of the New Doha Zoo will be 75 hectares, seven times the size of the current zoo, and will be divided into several regions that will represent the natural and climatic features of three continents.
There will be an “Africa Safari,” with forests and savannas; an “Asia Woodland,” which is characterised by charm natural features and mountains; and a “South America rainforest,” with dense and rainy forests.
“And there will be rainy parts in this region to enrich the visitors’ experience who will feel that they are truly walking in one of the dense tropical forests of South America”, Ashghal President Nasser bin Ali Al Mawlawi said yesterday, while unveiling the final concept plan.
Ashghal has appointed KEO International Consultants as the project’s Design and Construction Supervision Consultant in cooperation with HHCP+PJA with a QR230m contract. Work on the project would begin next year and the new zoo is expected to be open to the public by the end of 2017.
Al Mawlawi signed the contract along with KEO International Consultants CEO Donna Sultan.
Upon completion, Al Mawlawi said, the New Doha Zoo will be one of the biggest and most beautiful zoos in the region.
The zoo will be interweaved with a public park with no fences that obstruct the vision; and therefore, will not affect the landscape of the surrounding streets, but will add an aesthetical dimension and green spaces to them. A bridge will connect the zoo with the Aspire Park on the opposite side.
Each region of the zoo can be discovered through multiple safari trips that will take the visitors on memorable journeys across the zoo and its vast green landscapes to watch the wildlife species of each of the three continents. There will be car trips, trekking on foot through safe passages, trips by boats and Children’s Safari that commensurate with their age and maintain their safety.
More than 12,500 trees will be planted, some are local and others are brought from different geographical areas, in addition to the current 1,000 trees in the zoo.
The zoo will have a training centre for animal care, and allo

Celebrating Plants and the Planet:
Plants could make us better. Those who use them benefit. Those who emulate them benefit even more. November’s news links at (NEWS/Botanical News) might give you some new ideas:
·        Rolled up leaves enable Spix’s disc-winged bats to better hear each other’s calls in order to organize meet ups. Foolish humans with smart phones!

·        How can a cactus survive in a desert? Cacti use their spines to collect fog and then absorb the water into their leaves.

·        Pitcher Plants have created the most slippery substance on earth. Scientists followed their lead to invent a better glass.

·        Orchid mantises can be confused with orchid flowers. The mantises are even better at attracting pollinators than the flowers are. Except the mantises call them “dinner.”

·        The scientists at MIT are always looking for the next great technology. They are studying structural mechanics at the “school” of plants.

Since plants demonstrate so many surprising adaptations perhaps they can replace us. One artist began by growing human hands from plants. Well, sort of:

Please share these stories with associates, staff, docents and – most importantly – visitors! Follow on Twitter:  – a new story every day as well as hundreds of stories from the past few years.


Al Ain Zoo Strengthens Partnership with Jersey Zoo

-- Al Ain Zoo welcomes British VIP delegation to discuss further collaboration on wildlife conservation initiatives --

Abu Dhabi, 13 November 2013: As part of its commitment to the conservation of endangered species, Al Ain Zoo recently welcomed a delegation from Jersey Zoo, accompanied by H.E. Senator Sir Philip Bailhache, Minister of External Affairs of the Government of the British Channel Island of Jersey, and Jonathan White, Chairman of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, which is named after the famous author and naturalist, Gerald Durrell.

Al Ain Zoo and Jersey Zoo, who have long shared a collaborative relationship, met to discuss future joint projects and development activities. Among key topics was a joint training programme focused on animal husbandry, which is the selective breeding of animals between zoos, ultimately contributing to the preservation of endangered species.

Commenting on this campaign, H.E. Ghanim Mubarak Al Hajeri, Director General of Al Ain Zoo, said:

“Al Ain Zoo is delighted to welcome our visitors from the British Channel Island of Jersey, including the Gerald Durrell Foundation. Our commitment to wildlife conservation is strengthened by such collaborations, and this is one of our numerous strategic partnerships and programmes, both in the UAE and overseas.”

Such visits highlight that, further to offering visitors the opportunity to explore a diverse collection of approximately 4,000 animals, Al Ain Zoo is also an active player in efforts to prevent the extinction of many of these same species. The zoo works in partnership with entities around the world, such as Jersey Zoo, to share best practice in animal conservation, develop human capital through training programmes, and to enhance animal husbandry capabilities.

Author and naturalist Gerald Durrell established the Jersey Zoo in 1959, pioneering the concept that zoos have an essential role to play in the conservation of wildlife. His vision was of a safe haven for the world’s most threatened animals, where they and the efforts required to save them would engage the public. It would also serve as a centre for training conservation specialists from around the globe in endangered species recovery.

Al Ain Zoo is a member of the World Association for Zoo and Aquaria (WAZA) and is actively involved in several internationally coordinated conservation projects, working with other like-minded organisations such as Jersey Zoo, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, the Species Survival Commission, San Diego Zoo, the Northern Rangelands Trust of Kenya and the Sahara Conservation Fund.

The zoo is open daily from 9am to 8pm.

Ragunan animals to get one day off
In a bid to ensure the welfare of animals at Ragunan Zoo, the management has decided to close every Monday to give the animals a day of rest.

Ragunan Zoo spokesperson Wahyudi said zoo workers and veterinarians would therefore be better able to focus on taking care of the animals on the day of closure.

“It will also decrease the stress level of the animals due to visitors’ voices and disturbances,” he told The Jakarta Post recently.

Wahyudi said the city administration was working on the legal basis for the day of closure, which had been recommended at a public hearing.

“We hope we can implement it as soon as possible,” he said.

Business tycoon Hashim Djojohadikusumo, who recently took over as chief supervisor, recently recommended that the management give the animals a day off by closing once a week.

“The task given [to supervisors] by Jakarta Governor Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo is to optimize Ragunan Zoo as a conservation center,” he said.

He added that it was important to protect the animals so as to maintain their well-being.

“A day off will be good not only for the animals’ mental health but it will also allow carers to pay extra attention to the animals,” he said.

Hashim said giving the animals a day of rest was the least the zoo could to improve the facility.

He said the zoo management planned to tackle 12 projects, including filtering dirty water from the 6.8 hec

BBC Wildlife Camera-trap Photo of the Year 2013 – the winners

Doctor Who and the Big Cats
Keepers at Santa Barbara Zoo clearly are sci-fi fans (and have a sense of humor)
TARDIS SIGHTING: Doctors are not unusual sights around zoos and animal parks. They're usually inside pens or nurseries, stethoscopes in hand, tending to the beasties. But a time-traveling Doctor, who arrives with his own spanning-the-centuries machine in tow, is another matter. Which

Perth Zoo elephant gets massage therapy
Talk about being pampered.  Perth Zoo's 56-year-old Asian elephant Tricia is receiving 25 minute back and shoulder massages twice daily using a specially designed massage pad usually used on horses.
Perth Zoo Senior Vet Dr Simone Vitali said he hoped the massages would starve off the aches and pains of old age as the elephant stomps towards her twilight years.
And it's not just massage keeping Tricia in tip to

Sad news: Gaza Strip zoo's newborn lion cubs have died
The adorable pair of lion cubs born at a Gaza Strip zoo and amusement park on Monday have died, according to an Agence France-Presse report.

"The lions named Fajr and Sijil (Dawn and Clay in Arabic) died today due to a deterioration of their health at birth," zoo supervisor Shadi Hamad told the AFP.

Zoo officials said they lacked adequate resources to bring the cubs back to health due to the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

"The cause of death is a lack of experience and resources for the birth and treatment of cubs," Hamad said. "Food and medicines for such a situation are not available."

The cubs were born at the Hamas-run Bissan amu

Conflict at Indonesia's Surabaya Zoo leaves animals to languish and die, including endangered Sumatran tigers
Thousands of exotic animals, including endangered Sumatran tigers, are languishing at a renowned Indonesian zoo where a bitter conflict is leaving animals to suffer and die.

The Surabaya Zoo was once the pride of South-East Asia, but overcrowding, small enclosures and squalid conditions have seen the number of animal deaths at the zoo run in to the hundreds - possibly thousands - over recent years.

There are 3,500 animals in Surabaya Zoo, including endangered orangutans and 15 tigers.

During the past three months alone, 50 animals have died, including an endangered Indonesian orangutan. Three tigers, dozens of Komodo dragons, and a gira

The Tiger in Surabaya Zoo

Al Ain Zoo Welcomes International Partners for
Arabian Sand Cat “One Plan” Conservation Workshop
- Regional and international institutions meet to produce first regional population management plan and design a research project to study the sand cat in the wild -

Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, 18  November, 2013: Al Ain Zoo recently initiated and hosted the Arabian Sand Cat One Plan Conservation Workshop, a two-day event focused on continuing the drive to conserve the Arabian sand cat.  The workshop saw 30 experts from regional and international institutions – including the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission (IUCN) – convene at the zoo, which is home to the largest ex situ (captive) population of the species worldwide. 

The institutions collaborated during the workshop to produce the first regional population management plan for the Arabian sand cat, ensuring that the captive population is sustainable and remains genetically healthy. Participants further worked together to design a research project to study the Arabian sand cat in the wild (the in situ population), as very little is known about the elusive species.

Commenting on the initiative, H.E. Ghanim Mubarak Al Hajeri, said:

“Given the international zoo community’s move towards bridging the gap between ex situ and in situ conservation, Al Ain Zoo hosted this workshop to produce the first One Plan for research and conservation of the Arabian sand cat. The ex situ element will focus on collections in the Arabian region and the in situ research will focus initially on Abu Dhabi. 

The initiative sees Al Ain Zoo well positioned to continue driving the conservation of this species, as we house the largest captive population of the Arabian sand cat worldwide, and is a strategic component  of our commitment to leading the conservation of arid wildlife overall.”

The sand cat inhabits the deserts of Arabia, North Africa and Central Asia, with the Arabian sand cat being a distinct population. Degradation of the desert environment has led to the decline of many species, including the sand cat. IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species lists the cat as ‘near threatened’, however the threat to many local populations in the region is suspected to be much higher. In fact, the Arabian Sand Cat is classified as ‘endangered’ in both the UAE’s and Abu Dhabi’s regional IUCN Red Lists, with only four reliable sightings in the Emirate since 1995.  Due to the mysterious nature of this species, it is challenging to estimate exactly how many individuals are left in the wild. Factors including overgrazing, habitat loss and accidental poisoning aimed at foxes and dogs mean that the wild population could be under threat. 

In addition to leading the establishment of the Arabian Zoo and Aquarium Association, Al Ain Zoo is a member of the World Association for Zoo and Aquaria, and is actively involved in several internationally coordinated conservation projects, working with other like-minded organisations such as Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, the IUCN Species Survival Commission, San Diego Zoo, the Northern Rangelands Trust of Kenya and the Sahara Conservation Fund, to conserve and re-introduce threatened arid land species such as Arabian Oryx and Scimitar-horned Oryx to their natural habitat.

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Crocodile Swamp is an exhibition of various reptiles and fish species at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park with a focus on large crocodiles from tropical regions. The exhibition spaces are maintained at a temperature of 25°C, at night at 18°C. The building is mostly heated by passive solar heat and with woodchip or pellets from zoo waste timber and local forestry timber.



Thanks to Eduardo Diaz Garcia we are able to offer the Spanish translation of the Fishing Cat exhibit at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia:


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