Saturday, December 7, 2013

Zoo News Digest 1st - 7th December 2013 (ZooNews 882)

Zoo News Digest 1st - 7th December 2013 (ZooNews 882)

Six month old Liliger cub in Novosibirsk Zoo. Source:AP

Dear Colleagues,

I did hear from Seoul Zoo. Mr Shim, the keeper attacked by the tiger is still in hospital in intensive care. Staff are praying for his recovery.

Please see the latest news from Garold Wayne InteractiveZoological Park (G.W. Exotic Animal Park) which is owned by Joe Schreibvogel.  This Dysfunctional Zoo has announced "THREE FEMALE LILIGERS ARE BORN AT THE GAROLD WAYNE INTERACTIVE ZOOLOGICAL PARK"….

They are obviously very proud of this criminal act. The press release goes on to say "These cubs are a conservation success and a first for a North American Zoo". I hope they are the last for a North America….or any country or zoo for that matter. Just where does "conservation" or "conservation success" come into it? It doesn't, not in the remotest of contexts. The article goes on to proudly claim that they were the first to breed Taligers a few years back. They obviously have not learned from their idiocy. They go on to say "Continuing the work of the sanctuary is dependent on donations from the general public." and "The sole purpose of the park is saving lives and educating the public." So they actually have the cheek of asking for money for the propagation of ignorance. This place is a member of the USZA, The United States Zoological Association….if the Association had any guts then it would immediately suspend the membership of this place. Zoos like this simply should not exist. But the USZA won't do a thing because a lot of their members do just the same sort of thing. It is very sad.

Interesting to note that they claim to be a sanctuary. I wonder what all the so called 'sanctuary' owners have to say....they are quick enough to jump on my back when I state that zoos and 'sanctuaries' are one and the same thing. In fact 'Good' Zoos are the true sanctuaries. Clearly though The Garold Wayne Zoo Park is not 'good' in any sense of the word.

The only 'good' that I so see in this whole sorry story is that the cubs have been left with their mother. I feel however that this will be a very short lived arrangement. They will be pulled for bottle feeding so that photos can be taken for the all too gullible press. The Daily Mail will love the story.

I note Dubai Safari is on track. Interesting. I live in Dubai and yet know nothing about the planned collection other than what I read in the newspapers. Just who are the companies, the planners, the 'experts' involved in this project?

Young couples indulging in Public Display of Affection in Ludhiana zoo are to policed. If this wasn't a move back to the dark ages of bigotry and ignorance then I don't know what is. I reckon we need to revive the flower power revolution of the 60's. 

I was delighted, at long last, to have a response to my comments about aquariums I made in Zoo News Digest 13th - 19thOctober 2013 (ZooNews 878). It was polite and informative and told me a lot about the good work being done by some aquariums. I was aware of it. My point is that it is just 'some' and the vast majority do not do anything at all. But my real question was and still is "Can anyone tell me of any aquarium where 95% of the animals (over 12 months old) are captive bred?".

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


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

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A male Lion and female Ligress gave birth to three female Liligers cubs on Sunday December 1st, 2013 at the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park near Oklahoma City. These cubs are a conservation success and a first for a North American Zoo. The Zoo is giving mom time to bond with and care for her cubs.

What's a Liliger you ask? The terminology of lion-tiger offspring is actually quite complicated. Here's a breakdown:

Liger: Offspring of a male lion and a female tiger, or tigress

Tigon: Offspring of a male tiger and a female lion, or lioness

Liliger: Offspring of a male lion and a female liger

Taliger is a hybrid cross between a male tiger and a ligress

The first known hybrid, a female Liliger named Kiara, was born at the Novosibirsk Zoo in Russia, in September 2012.

On November 29, 2013 a male Lion named Simba and a female Liger named Akara gave birth to the first Liliger in the United States. At approximately 3am on November 30, 2013, Akara gave birth to two more cubs at the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park in Wynnewood, OK.

This is not the only record for the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park. The world's first taligers were born on August 16, 2007 at The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park in Wynnewood, OK. Yung Yi is the world's first Taliger a cross breed of a Ligar and Tiger. Currently there are three Taligers living at the park.

Continuing the work of the sanctuary is dependent on donations from the general public. The sanctuary has depended on the help of hundreds of others who have funded everything from cages to full-scale rescue operations in memory of loved ones who cared about animals.

The zoo has the largest number of tigers held in captivity in the United States. Founded in 1997 by Francis and Shirley Schreibvogel, it is home to more than 1,400 animals and 128 different species, and never turns down a rescue. The sole purpose of the park is saving lives and educating the public.

You can help the Zoo and new Liligers Cubs by visiting

‘It is wiser to shoot these man-eaters than to keep them in captivity’
Dr Ullas Karanth, a leading tiger conservationist, says their research shows that the density of tigers in Bandipur-Nargarhole is very high, leading to territorial wars within the area. Old and weakened tigers like this one get pushed out of their home ranges

A tiger that was sentenced to die by the state government was captured alive on Thursday. A life saved, a great victory for conservation measures in the state, one would say. But, a leading conservationist suggests that keeping such tigers in captivity may not — certainly in the long term — be a very wise move.

Dr Ullas Karanth, director of Bangalore-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and a reputed tiger conservationist, believes that the 12-year-old tiger captured on Thursday on the periphery of Bandipur Tiger Reserve had turned man-eater precisely because of the efficacy of conservation measures. The tiger, called BPT 117 by WCS which tracked it through its cameras for the last 10 years (see box on page 5) had lost four of its claws and was also injured in an attack on a porcupine.

Scientists at WCS have been studying the dynamics of tiger population for over two decades across the state and the findings of their research suggest that the population of tigers at Bandipur-Nagarhole is high — perhaps a little too high for the good of the big cats.

"Our research shows that the density of tigers in Bandipur-Nagarhole is as high as 10 to 15 tigers per 100 sq km," said Dr Karanth. "This is because of high rates of reproduction and an abundance of prey. The increased population naturally results in high mortality rates. About 20 per cent of tigers in the region are lost every year. This is part of natural tiger population dynamics."

Much of this mortality, Karanth said, is because of a battle among sub-adults to find new territories. Old and weakened tigers are usually pushed out of their ho

‘Baby Shamu’ killer whale born at SeaWorld San Antonio
SeaWorld has one more reason to be thankful this holiday season. Takara, a 22-year-old killer whale, gave birth to a calf Friday at 12:08 a.m. The yet-to-be-named calf is the 29th killer whale born in SeaWorld’s history, and it joins five other killer whales that reside at the San Antonio park.
Takara gave birth to a female calf – estimated to measure 7 feet long – in Shamu Theater’s main pool after being in labor for slightly more than one hour. Immediately after birth, the baby whale instinctively swam to the surface of the water for its first breath of air. SeaWorld veterinarians and animal care specialists, who have devoted the last several weeks to 24-hour watch of the expectant mother, were on hand to witness the birth.
“We’re delighted to welcome the newest Baby Shamu to our killer whale family,” said Chris Bellows, SeaWorld San Antonio vice president of zoological operations. “Successful births like this are further evidence that SeaWorld parks have created healthy, enriching habitats for these animals. Millions of guests visit our parks each year and gain a greater appreciation for killer whales and other species in our care. No other organization on the planet connects people with wildlife better than SeaWorld.”
This is the fourth calf born to Takara, a 16-foot-long, 5,000-pound killer whale. SeaWorld animal care specialists are cautiously optimistic about the progress of the baby and her mother.
“The mom and baby appear to be doing very well, and we’re hopeful that this is a strong and healthy calf,” Bellows said. “As with any newborn, the first few days are critical. We’re looking forward to the continued bonding of mom and calf, and the baby beginning to nurse. “
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates 10 parks across the U.S. including SeaWorld parks in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio; Busch Gardens parks in Tampa, Fla. and Williamsburg, Va.; Discovery Cove and Aquatica in Orlando; Sesame Place near Philadelphia, Pa.; and water parks Adventure Island in Tampa and Water Country USA in SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment inspires millions, through the power of entertainment, to celebrate, connect with a

New ‘Baby Blackfish’ Born at SeaWorld – Aka ‘Baby Shamu’
SeaWorld San Antonio announced the birth of a new baby orca with little fanfare today, (‘Baby Shamu’ killer whale born at SeaWorld San Antonio).

SeaWorld continues with its policy of naming all orcas individually but giving them all the stage name Shamu,  a made up name created by mashing the words ‘she’ and ‘Namu’ together.  Namu was the name of the second killer whale ever taken into captivity, he was a Northern Resident orca adventitiously found inside a salmon net in British Columbia waters near the community for which he was named.  A female was caught from the Southern Resident orca clan to keep him company, and she was called she-Namu, or Shamu.

While the Northern and Southern clans get along peaceably enough they aren’t known to intermingle in the wild.

Blackfish is the colloquial name given to orcas by the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest, a people who understood and respected the nature of killer whales. It is also the name chosen for a documentary that exposes incidents of aggression by wh

Killer queens: Meet the bloodthirsty big game huntresses who claim to be animal lovers - despite having slain more than 70 species across the world
The uproar over an American TV host who bragged about killing a defenceless lion before posing for a picture with its corpse may have persuaded many big game hunters to keep their heads down.
But these bloodthirsty beauty queens have come out in support of the practice which was cast into the spotlight by Melissa Bachman, drawing new attention to the popularity of hunting among women.
Olivia Nalos Opre, 36, and mother-of-two Mindy Arthurs, 39, have shot more than 70 spe

Lady guards to crack down on PDA in zoo
Visitors may still find it hard to spot a big cat or a Himalayan snow bear in Ludhiana zoo, but there is every possibility of them being surprised with the sight of well-equipped lady guards who will be moving around in the premises cracking down on young couples indulging in Public Display of Affection (PDA).

Taking note of TOI's report highlighting about growing nuisance of PDA by youngsters at the Ludhiana zoo, the forest department has decided to take some fresh measures including deployment of well equipped women guards.

These women guards will be on the move around the zoo in forest vans which are equipped with Global Positioning Response System (GPRS). These vans would be seen moving in the interiors of the zoo, which have become sought after places for PDA by young couples.

"Very similar to PCR vans, our department too has some forest vans with GPRS facility, which would be on duty at the zoo. Also, the women guards in the department shall be given this responsibly to ensure that the practice of PDA stops right away in the zoo," said Baljeet Singh Brar, the District Forest Officer.

In its December 5 issue, TOI had highlighted how PDA by youngsters had become a nuisance and a cause of embarrassment for many visitors including those coming with children to the zoo.
Warnings would be issued to the first timers and

New $4.5 million lab battles for life of dwindling Devil's Hole pupfish
Three fish the color of a dingy dime, only smaller, hover near the bottom of tanks No. 6 and 7 at a new research facility 90 miles west of Las Vegas.

At 3 weeks old, they are already historic.

Never before has a Devil's Hole pupfish been successfully hatched in a lab from an egg collected from the wild.

If researchers at the Ash Meadows Fish Conservation Facility can perfect this process, they might be able to grow enough pupfish to stock an elaborate "lifeboat" they just built and save the species from extinction.

But more anxious weeks and months lie ahead, as the small team of biologists coaxes the recent hatchlings toward adulthood and, hopefully, a new captive breeding program.

"It's a five-step process, and we're on step three," Darrick Weissenfluh, a fish biologist who manages the conservation facility for the U.S. Fish &Wildlife Service, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal (

He and his team of three contract employees officially opened the $4.5 million facility at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, less than a mile from Devil's Hole, in late July.

It was built using proceeds from the sale of federal land in Clark County, but its annual operating budget of about $250,000 will come out of three separate fu

Croc attacks: a new website with bite
Crocodiles have a rather off-putting character trait: they bite. It’s fair to say few people like being bitten. We like being eaten even less, and reserve our most morbid fears for creatures that dare to consume us. Many find it quite unnerving to live and work in areas where humans are demonstrably not at the top of the food chain.

It is surprising that we’ve done so little work to track clashes between crocodiles and humans, including where, when and why they occur.

This week Big Gecko and Charles Darwin University are launching CrocBITE, a worldwide crocodilian attack database that does exactly that.

With nearly 2000 incidents recorded across 16 species, 50 countries and 150 years, it provides a strong baseline to better understand croc a

The trials of a tiger mother
In returning big cats to the wild, Quan Li has proven her critics wrong

Quan Li says she fell in love with tigers when she first saw them in a Beijing zoo as a girl, unaware that one day she would help save these tigers from extinction.

Quan, a former fashion executive who started a charity to help introduce South China Tigers back into the wild in 2000, has proven that rewilding tigers works, because the five animals she took from China to South Africa have now turned into 14.

Not only that, but Quan hopes to pass on her expertise to other people and organizations to help other endangered species.

"I was confident they would survive from the beginning, because tigers are very versatile," she says. "They adapt geographically to different habitats, because there are different tigers in different parts of Asia and they all come from the same ancestor."

The process of rewilding, which the Chinese government started in the late 1990s and Quan helped to develop and make international, teaches tigers hunting skills step by step by first feeding them carcasses of small game, and then live animals similar to those previously provided dead.

"Tigers spend up to 28 months in the wild with their mother to acquire the skills for survival," Quan says. "It's like humans having to learn how to read and write, so it is possible to help tigers regain these skills."

The story of Quan's rewilding project started in 1988, when she holidayed in Zambia, wanting to see wildlife in their habitat, and was inspired by the way local government conservation groups looked after animals.

Quan then contacted the Chinese government with the suggestion of helping to look after tigers the same way, and was told it was in fact starting a project to rewild South China tigers in Meihuashan, a conservation area in Fujian province.

At the time, China had a little more than 60 South China tigers, but they were breeding poorly and had health problems.

Quan persuaded the Chinese government to let her try her idea, but instead of Meihuashan, she chose South Africa because she felt the country

Noah’s Extremely Bad Animal Husbandry Advice
Ark Encounter is a proposed creationist theme park centered around a 510-foot “replica” of Noah’s Ark to be built in Kentucky. The park is based on a literal interpretation of a 6,000-year-old Earth and biblical global flood, and is financed in part by state tax breaks and municipal junk bonds.

From the first announcement of the park in 2009, live animal displays inside a giant wooden boat were part of the plan. That’s kind of what the story of the Ark is all about. Just how they are going to jam lots of animals into an artificial, closed environment with loud tourists and a bunch of other animals (some of which are predators), has been a bit hazy.

In a 2010 interview, Mike Zovath, Senior Vice President of Answers in Genesis, who is overseeing the construction of the ark, explained:

“the ark is to be built with wooden pegs and timber framing by Amish builders, Mr. Zovath said. Animals including giraffes — but only small, young giraffes — will be kept in pens on board.
‘We think that God would probably have sent healthy juvenile-sized animals that weren’t fully grown yet, so there would be plenty of room,’ said Mr. Zovath, a retired Army lieutenant colonel heading the ark project.”

That’s pretty much in line with published statements from the owner of the Ark Park, Answers in Genesis. By their estimates, 16,000 land animals and birds, including dinosaurs, were on the ark. Before you ask, provisioning for dinosaurs wasn’t a problem for Noah:

“Carnivorous dinosaurs—if any were meat-eaters before the Flood—could have eaten dried meat, reconstituted dried meat, or slaugh

Dear Colleagues,
The November 2013 issue of ZOO’s PRINT Magazine (Vol. 28, No. 11) is online at <> in a format that permits you to turn pages like a regular magazine.

If you wish to download the full magazine or certain articles click on <>

ISSN 0973-2543 (online)

November 2013 | Vol. 28 | No. 11 | Date of Publication 03 December 2013


Feature articles
P. 1

IUCN SSC CBSG Strategic Meeting and Annual Meeting
Pp. 2-3

CBSG Launches the “Zoos and Aquariums for 350 Movement”
P. 4

Handbook for Climate Change Movement for Zoos and Aquariums
Pp. 5-13

Lee Simmons awarded the Ulysses S. Seal Award for Innovation in Conservation

The 68th WAZA Conference, held at Disneyland, Orlando, Florida, 14-17 October

WAZA’s Heini Hediger Award 2013 awarded to Dr. Miranda Stevenson ... ZooKeeper, Curator, Zoo Director, Zoo Association Director
Pp. 22-24

A brief bio about our new WAZA President, Dr. Lee C. Ehmke
P. 25

More about Dr. Lee Ehmke... recently confirmed President of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, WAZA
P. 26

WAZA Regional and National Associations Open Meetings: 14-17 Oct, 2013
Pp. 27-29

2014: B.S. Bonal invites WAZA Plenary to the WAZA Annual Conference to be held in New Delhi, India hosted by Central Zoo Authority
P. 30

Odisha: 59th Wildlife Week and Award for Wildlife Conservation - another honour for one of ZOO’s oldest members
Pp. 31-32

Book Review - Faunal Heritage of Rajasthan, India, General Background and Ecology of Vertebrates (Volume 1 & 2), B.K. Sharma, Seema Kulshreshtha and Asad R. Rahmani (Editors)
Pp. 33-34

Technical article
Unipedal stance in birds: some observations
-- Arunachalam Kumar, P. 35

2014 First Quarter - Environmental Calendar
P. 36

Thanking you

Sally Walker
Editor, ZOO’s PRINT
Zoo Outreach Organization
96, Kumudham Nagar, Vilankurichi Road, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 641 035, India
Ph: +91 422 2665298, 2665450, Fx: +91 422 2665472

Dubai Safari: new zoo phase 2 is on track
 Hidden behind the security perimeter along Al Aweer Road, diligent workers are busy giving the animals of Dubai Zoo a new lease of life.
The second phase of Dubai’s new zoo has started and the project’s deadline for the end of 2014 is on track, a municipal official confirmed on Thursday.
“If you drive by Dubai Safari on the main road, opposite Dragon Mart, you cannot see anything as the work is far out. We already have a contractor who recently started carrying out the infrastructure work, as well as the water feature,” Mohammad Mashroom, Director of General Projects Department at Dubai Municipality, told Gulf News.
The wadi area at Dubai Safari is one of the main features of the project, as it will be built in conjunction with a waterfall, and some of t

Les Zoos dans le Monde

Bears Tortured! Tribal Elders Sue Cherokee Bear Zoo to Stop the Horror
The grisly scene could have been straight out of a horror movie. Bears kept in deep concrete pits devoid of soil, grass or any other environmental essentials. Distressed bears pacing in circles, their teeth broken from attempts to chew through the metal cages. Months-old baby bears, which otherwise would stay with their mothers for well over a year, instead separated and put into bird cages to entertain the crowds, forced to live on dog kibble and Hawaiian Punch.

This was a bear’s life at the Cherokee Bear Park, and it is the sight that traumatized Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal Elders Amy Walker and Peggy Hill, they say. The two are suing the Cherokee Bear Zoo on the Cherokee Reservation, citing consistent and repeated violations of the federal Endangered Species Act. The suit was filed on December 3 in U.S. District Court in Bryson City, North Carolina.

The park is one of three on the Cherokee reservation, one of which was shut down earlier this year by the federal government for similar treatment of the animals. Though authorities closed Chief Saunooke Bear Park last January, according to the Huffington Post, Cherokee Bear Park and a third one, Santa’s Land, remain open.

"It's shameful that the Cherokee Bear Zoo is still displaying intelligent, sensitive bears in tiny concrete pits," said Walker. “It's obvious to anyone who sees them that these bears are suffering, and they will continue to suffer every day until they are sent to a sanctuary where they'll finally receive the care they need."

In the lawsuit, which names Barry and Collette Coggins of the Cherokee Bear Zoo as plaintiffs, the Davis and Whitlock firm in Asheville, North Carolina cite the Cherokee Bear  Zoo as having “barren and archaic concrete pits which significantly disrupt and impair the grizzly bears’ normal

North Yorkshire zoo given world-class status
A NORTH Yorkshire zoo has been awarded world-class status in recognition of its breeding programmes and conservation projects.

Flamingo Land theme park and zoo has been a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and its European counterpart (EAZA) for many years.

BIAZA and EAZA are professional accredited bodies that represent the best zoos in Britian, Ireland and in Europe – and although all zoos must comply with strict government regulations, to be a member of an accreditation body the zoo must comply even mor

Melbourne Zoo's elephant calf Sanook dies overnight after playing with suspended tyre, his favourite toy
HE death of Melbourne Zoo's baby elephant Sanook appears to be the result of a tragic accident.

Melbourne Zoo director Kevin Tanner said CCTV footage on Tuesday night showed Sanook getting stuck in a large suspended tyre he was playing in at 7pm.

"Sanook managed to manoeuvre it in an unusual way that caused his head to become caught," Mr Tanner said.

"This placed pressure on his neck and would have prevented him from breathing."

Mr Tanner said a post-mortem was carried out on Wednesday morning, confirming the tragedy.

"This is a tragic accident that has left our keepers, vets and staff community devastated," Mr Tanner said.

The tyre had been one of the calf's favourite toys, as it had been for his siblings Mali and Ongard.

The zoo said tyres were commonly used in zoos aroun

Captive breeding programs for Asian elephants need better methods for collecting semen, according to researchers.

Crushed by habitat loss and poaching, Asian elephants are at risk, and their future rests heavily on captive breeding programs. Highly varying quality in Asian elephant semen samples has made captive breeding programs difficult.

The study, published in PLOS ONE, suggests that sperm quality itself is not the problem, but rather that collection techniques do not reliably stimulate all the organs needed to produce seminal plasma, the surrounding fluid that supports sperm function.

Public indifferent as Formosan black bear nears extinction
Even as Yuan Zai, the baby panda at Taipei Zoo, consolidates its position as the darling of the Taiwanese public and the documentary film Beyond Beauty: Taiwan from Above plays to rapt theaters, there remains a distinct lack of awareness in the country about the conservation of the Formosan black bear, of which maybe as few as 200 survive in the wild.

The president of the Taiwan Black Bear Conservation Association, Huang Mei-hsiu, laments that the endangered indigenous species has been thrust to the margins by the hype surrounding the panda cub. All species are equally precious, Huang said.

The Formosan black bear was voted Taiwan's national wild animal in 2000, but deadly traps are still found everywhere in the mountains. Recent media reports say trekkers in Taiwan's central mountain range have found parts of bear paws, proof that illegal bear hunting continues.

"There are only 200 Formosan black bears left in the world, while the number of pandas has increased to 2,000 thanks to artificial reproduction methods. People here still wrongly believe that Formosan black bears often attack people. But in the 200 cases of black bears being spotted by trekkers, the animal ran away as soon as they sensed the presence of humans in 75% of all the cases. Bears are actually more afraid of humans than humans are of them, so they run away quickly," Huang said.

The apparent indifference in Taiwan is in stark contrast to the efforts to save giant panda — considered a national treasure and an emblem of the conservation movement — on the other side of the strait. China has established over 40 conservation areas in the panda's natural habitat of Sichuan province, and nearly 1,000 people are mobilized each decade to count them in the wild. I

Of Tiger and Lion Bones and the Legalizing of the Rhino Horn Trade
At the CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP16) in Bangkok earlier this year, I attended a press conference where the South African Minister for the Environment announced that South Africa had tried a wide range of measures to curtail rhino poaching, but she confirmed that so far they had failed and it was now time to look at the option of legalizing the trade. This proposal will result in a heated debate for months or years to come. Discussions will be very polarized with neither side willing to make compromises on what they see as core principles.

I have visited several ranches in South Africa and seen happy, live rhinos enjoying what to me looked like a good quality of life. It made for a pretty convincing argument that having a dehorned rhino grazing with its calf is a better option than an orphaned calf trying to suckle on its slaughtered mother.

However, on my last trip to Laos and Vietnam, in October this year, I once again investigated the trade in tiger bone—another traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) product in the same league as rhino horn—and I found a situation that might have relevance when discussing the proposed legalizing of the rhino horn trade.

First, a bit more background on the tiger bo

A state agency on Thursday took reporters to a place where few people have been – and even fewer will go in the future.

The exotic animals facility in Reynoldsburg was custom-built from the ground up – there was no template or model to base it on. Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels says the building the agency ended up with is flexible in its design and secure in its operations.

“This building is about 20,000 square feet. We have 30 large animal enclosures here. We have four primate enclosures. We have a room here that will house snakes and reptiles when that regulatory authority kicks in,” Daniels says.

The big animal cages are made of six gauge wire and have six padlocks each. A transport cage is locked into place against the cage opening to move the animal in. There are heavy steel panels separating the cages that can be opened from outside them, so an animal can be moved to the adjacent cage while its cage is cleaned and food and water is provided.

A cage must be closed and locked before another can be opened, and never is a caretaker and an animal inside a cage at the same time.

Daniels says if an animal would get out of its cage, there are 17 cameras and motion sensors that monitor the cages and take and send pictures to staff if there’s movement. Then there are gated locked doors inside the rooms and in the main area, and there are two exterior fences, the taller one 12 feet tall and electrified.

But Daniels says all that security isn’t just for the

Lawsuits Could Turn Chimpanzees Into Legal Persons
This morning, an animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) filed a lawsuit in a New York Supreme Court in an attempt to get a judge to declare that chimpanzees are legal persons and should be freed from captivity. The suit is the first of three to be filed in three New York counties this week. They target two research chimps at Stony Brook University and two chimps on private property, and are the opening salvo in a coordinated effort to grant “legal personhood” to a variety of animals across the United States.

If NhRP is successful in New York, it could be a significant step toward upending millennia of law defining animals as property and could set off a “chain reaction” that could bleed over to other jurisdictions, says Richard Cupp, a law professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, and a proponent of focusing on animal welfare rather than animal rights. “But if they lose it could be a significant step backward for the movement. They’re playing with fire.”

The litigation has been in the works since 2007, when animal rights attorney Steven Wise founded NhRP, an association of about 60 lawyers, scientists, and policy experts. The group argues that cognitively advanced animals like chimpanzees and dolphins are so self-aware that keeping them in captivity—whether a zoo or research laboratory—is tantamount to slavery. “It’s a terrible torture we inflict on them, and it has to stop,” Wise says. “And all of human law says the way things stop is when courts and legislatures recognize that the being imprisoned is a legal person.”

NhRP spent 5 years researching the best legal strategy—and best jurisdiction—for its first cases. The upshot: a total of three lawsuits to be filed in three New York trial courts this week on behalf of four resident chimpanzees. One, named Tommy, lives in Gloversville in a “used trailer lot … isolated in a cage in a dark shed,”

Zoological Collections and Animal-Rights. They do not make good bedfellows.
Some zoological collections and their staff think there is nothing wrong with supporting or forming alliances with the animal-right movement.  To this end, I commented about this some weeks ago with reference to the sheer gullibility of some zoo and aquarium keepers in voicing their support for the film 'Blackfish'. 

Recently another example of this folly can be observed in an article regarding the Ringlings Brother Circus and a proposed ban on the ankus by Oakland City Council.
A quote that is worth noting in the article is that:
"The Humane Society of America, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and the Oakland Zoo all support the proposed ordinance."
 Now whatever zoos and their personnel may feel about circuses, one thing that needs to be made clear is that zoos keeping elephants in 'open contact' will use tools such as an ankus - or as the animal-rights activist like to call it: a bullhook; these groups know it is important to emotionally label objects that meet their disapproval hence terms such as 'concrete prisons' when describing some zoo and aquarium exhibits.

Moreover, whilst their facts might be poor, the animal-rights groups certainly understand how emotionally loaded arguments are essential to bring support and - more importantly - financial donations to their cause.

To this end, a case that comes to mind in the UK (of the folly of thinking you can curry favour with the animal-rights movement) is the case of the Brighton Sea Life Centre.
In early 2006, Merlin Entertainment's Sea Life Centres wanted to build an otter and seal exhibit outside Brighton Aquarium; the company had acquired the site for its transformation in to a Sea Life Centre in 1991. 

When they took over the aquarium, they also acquired two long-term captive bottlenose dolphins housed in the aquarium.  Sea Life's management decided rather than relocate these animals to another zoological collection they would collude with various animal-rights groups and give the animals over to the ill-fated 'Into the Blue' dolphin release project.

Rather naively, Sea Life thought it was likely that when they submitted their plans for the proposed development of a seal and


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Peter Dickinson
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