Saturday, February 1, 2014

Zoo News Digest 12th - 31st January 2014 (ZooNews 887)

Zoo News Digest 12th - 31st January 2014 (ZooNews 887)


Dear Colleagues,

Happy New Year to all. It is the year of the horse. I like horses, I always have done. In fact the earliest image of me outside of a cradle is perched on a horse. The house I spent my first couple of years in was in a field full of horses. Big dumpy clumpy things who used to pull Grievson's rag and bone carts. The horses would at times squeeze into the kitchen to steal the odd morsel. Then along came my women, all the early ones, including my ex wife, were horse mad. (Now most of my women are interested in buffalo...which I like too). I have owned horses but I have never been interested in riding them. I have done of course, but it really does nothing for me. My life since has been virtually all zoos and every one of them has had horses, wild or domestic. For a brief time before I hit the road to go travelling I worked with my son as his assistant farrier. It was a wonderful life of wide open spaces, hoof smoke, sweet tea and a huge range of temperamental equines (plus crazy dogs and cats of course). A great life and if I had to choose a career outside of zoos it would have been as a farrier. Not that I regret zoos. They and the animals within remain my first love. The horses though taught me a lot. I was totally unaware till I started working with them that I had a way with them. Difficult animals were easy for me. I would never claim to be a horse whisperer or any such thing...because I don't believe there is any such thing. What comes with years of working with animals is the ability to 'read' animals. This is why zoos need experienced staff. All the book learning in the world will not help you there. There has to that hands on practical experience. You cannot jump in from college and be an expert (another term I hate). It takes time. Give it time.  Ending this on a practical note I have also killed a lot of horses. Death is part of life in the zoo world. Every budding zoo keeper must realise this from the start. We sometimes have to do things we don't like. It doesn't mean we don't care, it means just the opposite. I freely admit to shedding tears all along the way. I still do, because I care.
So one and all. Wishing you all the best during the year of the horse. 

Paul the Octopus has a lot to answer for. The news this week has been inundated with stories about various creatures predicting the winners of the Super Bowl. The fact that these stories ever get into print give a very good idea of what newspapers consider 'news' these days. This is where Zoo News Digest comes in. My mission has always been to pick through the press and pick out those stories which will be of genuine interest to those working in the zoo profession and to filter out the rubbish. These are the news items which will be discussed in zoo staffrooms and offices by people who know the industry. I am indebted to those few kind souls who donate a little each year so that Zoo News Digest can continue. Thank You.

The article "Saving the last white tiger cub: Delhi Zoo goes all-out to protect newborn cub after all five of his siblings die" really pissed me off. You really have to read between the lines. The failure of the cubs survival rests solely on the zoos head. If they didn't have a security camera set up then there is no way they should or could have  known how many cubs there were. It isn't important to know, it really doesn't matter at all. What IS important is a quiet, secure, comfortable cubbing den away from human interference. The mother did NOT neglect or reject, the zoo neglected to provide for her needs. The fact that anyone can state they were rejected on birth proves my point. To go on further and state that she was not lactating….how on earth would they know? Did they try milking her? They compound the whole incompetent scenario by blaming the 'rejection' on the mothers 'angry temperament'. Then there is the dismissal when pointed out that "research that has proved the deleterious effects of repeated inbreeding - namely, immune deficiency, mental impairment and strabismus, a condition that causes the white tigers to be cross-eyed - Khan repeated his contention that the practice was a necessary evil." A NECESSARY EVIL? Come on…as I said….it really pissed me off. Lets gets some professionalism on board here.

It saddens me to see photos of people posing with baby animals posted on facebook. Such photos, especially with endangered primates only encourages people with cash to go out and buy their own 'babies' (mothers slaughtered to obtain them). You may argue that they are protected and could therefore not be transported without the necessary paperwork....well get real. It is happening every day. Stroking tigers and posting pictures is no better. These photos should be private. There are people out there who want to have the experience. So then the tiger farms proliferate. Cubs pulled from their mothers from hand rearing in places like the Tiger Temple, Sri Racha Tiger Zoo, Tiger Kingdom ....I could go on. Stop it. Keep your cutey photos to yourselves. They don't show how clever or knowledgeable you are. Quite the opposite. Show you care. People are quick enough to complain when some pop or movie star does it and then go on and do the same stupid thing themselves. And it is stupid if you think about it.

I'm wondering if whales rather than terrorists will cause the failure of the Olympics in Sochi.

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.

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 many thousands of readers in 160+ 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


Article: The Wild Horse, Yesterday and Today
Modern horses are part of the family Equidae. The fossil history of Equidae is well documented, but new evidence about its evolutionary history—and new interpretations of it—continue to accumulate.

The earliest known genus of the Equidae family is Hyracotherium, which included several terrier-sized species that lived 55 to 45 million years ago, during the Eocene epoch. Since then, multiple lineages of horses have evolved, with much diversification occurring during the Miocene, about 25 to 8 million years ago.

Over time, the number of digits on the limbs tended to decrease in number: While Hyracotherium had four toes on the forefoot and three on the hindfoot, in the lineage that led to modern horses these were reduced to a single digit on each limb. By about one million years ago, members of the one-toed genus Equus (Latin for “horse”) were found across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, in enormous migrating herds.

All surviving species of the family Equidae are members of this single genus, Equus. These species are:

Equus caballus, the common horse. All horse breeds, from Shetland ponies to Shire horses, belong to this species.
Equus przewalskii, the wild Przewalski's horse, or takhi, as it is known in its native Mongolia. Some systematists and conservation biologists consider this to be a distinct species, whereas others believe it is a wild subspecies of Equus caballus.
Equus asinus, the North African wild ass, domestic ass, burro, or donkey. The specie

The Art and Science of Hand-Rearing

 AZVT Focus Group: The Art and Science of Hand-Rearing * Registration Update*

The Association of Zoo Veterinary Technicians(AZVT; RACE Provider #639) is proud to partner with Safari West WildlifeFoundation  in presenting:The Inaugural AZVT Focus Group: The Art andScience of Hand-Rearing,
 which is being held March 10-13, 2014 at SafariWest Nature Preserve , in Santa Rosa, California.

American Association of Veterinary StateBoards (AAVSB) Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE) CE will beavailable for both Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians:
Maximum CE available for Veterinarians:  13.25hours
Maximum CE available for Veterinary Technicians:  16.75 hours

For workshop details and link to registration; please visit the Safari West Wildlife Foundation website.   
Registration with 3 overnights in luxury safari tent lodging and meals (double occupancy) closes February 1, 2014.  (PST)

Limited 2.5 day registration begins February 1 to March 1, 2014

All details and program description available on the website.

This program was reviewed and approved by the AAVSB RACE program for 13.25 hours of continuing education for Veterinarians and 16.75 hours of continuing education for Veterinary Technicians.  Participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or restrictions on certain methods of delivery of continuing education.  Please contact the AAVSB RACE program if you have any comments/concerns regarding this program's validity or relevancy to the veterinary profession.

City Cancelled Disbursing Fund to Ragunan Zoo
Jakarta Provincial Government’s plan to disburse fund to Ragunan Zoo (TMR) this year is cancelled. This is because the master plan of the zoo’s development is not yet finished. Thus, the fund is not budgeted in the 2014 City Budget (APBD). It is planned that the fund will be disbursed next year.

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said that the fund to be disbursed is around Rp 400-500 billion. But now, he is still waiting for the Ragunan Zoo revitalization master plan finished. “It seems that the fund to be disbursed next year in 2015. Not this year, because we’re still waiting for the pictures, the master plan finished,” he stated, Friday (1/31).

At this time, Jokowi admitted that he is still watching the direction and concept of upcoming Ragunan Zoo revitalization. Thus, he will not rush, so the concept would be more mature. “The direction and concept of Ragunan Zoo revitalization must be clear. If the master plan or blueprint was not ready, so be it. If it is ready, then go ahead use it,” he told.

According to Jokowi, the fund is disbursed to make Ragunan Zoo better, so the place can be looked up by international world. This is because aside that

Act like a king, hunt a houbara
The government has issued 33 special permits for houbara hunting to Arab sheikhs, allowing them to hunt the internationally protected bird. To escape the harsh winters of Central Asia, Russia and China, the houbara migrates to the temperate regions of our country, only to be relentlessly hunted by Arab royals. Included in the list of endangered species, its hunting by any means, including falconry, is prohibited. But why do the royals go after the houbara with so much relish? They contend that falconry is their traditional sport and houbara is an ideal prey for it. By one estimate, 6,000 to 7,000 live houbaras are shipped to the UAE every year. These birds are trapped through illegal netting and poaching. A typical hunting camp consists of about 300 men and incurs an expense of about $1 million.
Mary Anne Weaver covering houbara hunting for The New Yorker wrote: “As we waited on the tarmac, the arriving planes lit up the night sky. Flying in formation, observing protocol-apparently-an executive Learjet was followed by two customised Boeings and a fleet of reconfigured C-130s, which flew two abreast. They had all been designated ‘special VVIP flights’ by the Pakistani government. The lead planes touched down and a red carpet was hastily unrolled. As we approached the entourage, an Arab diplomat said with exhaustion in his voice ‘this is the sixth flight in one week’.” Weaver went on: “A local chieftain later told me, ‘You know, madam, these Arabs consider h

Angel's sad story from the killing waters of Taiji, Japan
For this baby albino dolphin, still nursing yet ripped from her mother in the killing coves of Taiji, Japan, there can be no happy ending.
It may be Angel’s sad story that ultimately moves the mountain.
For this baby albino dolphin, still nursing yet ripped from her mother in the killing coves of Taiji, Japan, there can be no happy ending.
She’s like scores of other calves sacrificed in an annual Japanese dolphin hunt off the east coast of a nation that slaughters an estimated 20,000 of these marine mammals every year and spares a few, like Angel, to live in captivity in aquariums and amusement parks around the world. If she manages to beat the odds and survives at all.
Whatever the species — bottlenose, striped, Risso’s, small pilot whales — it doesn’t matter.
This year, there’s a difference. Angel’s story has prompted people with power — Caroline Kennedy, the U.S. ambassador to Japan; Yoko Ono; several other diplomats in Japan — to take a public stand.
Moreover, her story hit the headlines in late January in the leadup to the Sochi Winter Games, with all eyes on Russia and everything connected to the Black Sea site.
Marine mammal scientists believe dolphins from Taiji — made famous by the 2009 Oscar-winning documentary,The Cove — will be on display at Sochi.
The Olympics, which open next week, have been a financial boon to the captive whale and dolphin trade, including facilities in and around Sochi, according to Erich Hoyt, research fellow with the group Whale and Dolphin Conservation. President Vladimir Putin’s government has its eye on big tourist dollars after the games.
Three days before the Olympics begins, a dolphin will take part in the torch relay. It will pull a trainer, one hand grasping the dolphin’s fin and the other the Olympic torch, across a pool.
“They say the performing dolphin is from the Black Sea, which may or may not be true and is inappropriate at best” because Black Sea dolphins are threatened and considered an endangered species, wrote Hoyt in an email form his home in Dorset, England. He mocks industry claims they are “saving” the Japanese dolphins because “really they are complicit in and help perpetuate Taiji slaughter.
“Why would the Olympic Committee in Russia or internationally allow its name to be tarnished?”
The Russian embassy in Ottawa declined

2nd International Animal Training Conference 5-8th October 2014
‘A World of Wings’ Avian training professional Mike Simmons, will be showing us a free flight bird behaviour display with Ground Hornbills, parrots and storks (Weather depending!)
Mike will also be giving a talk at the conference about “A World of Wings” and how it was created with the aim of sharing the world of birds with a wide mix of audiences. The company primarily focuses on free flight birds shows to non-professionals but given the success of the bird training the company has branched out to training people in the care of birds.
A little bit about Mike Simmons and ‘A World of Wings’

Mike is an internationally recognised and award winning bird trainer. He started his career at Colchester Zoo when he was just 16 but has been obsessed with animals all his life. He has travelled the length of the country displaying his birds at venues such as Leeds Castle, Colchester Zoo and The Pet Show. He also gives lectures at college and universities and is an assessor for the LANTRA falconry qualification. Mike received an award from the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators in 2012 for the training achievements with Ground Hornbills, followed by an award in 2013 for his work with training a Bald Eagle.

The aim of A World of Wings is to promote birds and share them with people of all ages, in many different capacities from free-flight bird shows to specially designed interaction programmes and encounters. Instead of birds being trained to perform tricks, it is them who teach us to understand how to build a relationship built on trust, allowing us into their world. With this amazing partnership the birds have demonstrated amazing feats of intelligence and soar, glide and climb their way into the eyes and hearts of their audience.
For further information about this exciting conference then please visit our webpage:

This conference is just over half full and places are limited, so book now to avoid disappointment.

Oakland Zoo's push to save Puerto Rican crested toad
The East Bay's newest celebrities are mottled, wart-covered bug eaters with bulging yellow eyes.

At the Oakland Zoo, it was love at first sight.

The zoo is among the few in North America selected to breed the critically endangered Puerto Rican crested toad. Nineteen of the rare amphibians arrived a few weeks ago for unlimited crickets, rest and mating - a process biologists hope will result in thousands of tadpoles being shipped to Puerto Rico by this fall.

"These toads aren't just ambassadors. Their offspring are going back to the wild to repopulate the species," said the zoo's zoological manager, Margaret Rousser. "It's a huge weight on our shoulders. It keeps me up at night. ... But wh

Dear Colleagues,
The January 2014 issue of ZOO’s PRINT Magazine (Vol. 29, No. 1) 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)

January 2014 | Vol. 29 | No. 1 | Date of Publication 21 January 2014


Technical articles
New book! Zookeeping: An Introduction to the Science and Technology, Review by Sally Walker
-- Mark D. Irwin, John B. Stoner and Aaron M. Cobaugh, Pp. 1-10

Population and Habitat Viability Assessment Workshop PHVA for "Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens): a Species Conservation Strategic Plan"
-- Alankar Jha, Sanjay Molur, Kristin Leus and Angela Glatston, Pp. 11-15
Zoos through the lens of the IUCN Red List: a global metapopulation approach to support conservation breeding programs
-- Dalia A. Conde, Fernando Colchero, Markus Gusset, Paul Pearce-Kelly, Onnie Byers, Nate Flesness, Robert K. Browne & Owen R. Jones, Pp. 16-24

Length-weight relationship, condition factor and relative growth patterns of Channa punctata (Bloch) from Himachal Pradesh, India
-- Arun Koundal, Rani Dhanze and Indu Sharma, Pp. 25-29

Announcement: PRESS RELEASE: UN General Assembly proclaims 3 March as World Wildlife Day
P. 29

Length-weight relationship of five minor carp's from Western Himalaya, (H.P), India
-- Arun Koundal, Rani Dhanze and Indu Sharma, Pp. 30-31

Stray dog Canis familiaris preying on Threatened Birds in Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu
-- Jayakumar Samidurai, Babu Santhanakrishnan and Mahendiran Mayilsamy, P. 32

Bare-bellied or Madras Hedgehog, Paraechinus nudiventris, (Horsfield 1851) in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
-- R. Marimuthu and K. Asokan, Pp. 33-34

Announcement: University School of Environment Management, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi - JRF Position in DST-SERB Funded Project
P. 34

Education Reports 
Pp. 35-36

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

Cheetahs' Iranian revival cheers conservationists
Wildlife experts hail success of UN-backed initiative to protect Asiatic cheetahs from extinction despite sanctions
Asiatic cheetahs, a subspecies of the fastest animal on earth, are extinct everywhere except in Iran, where they are considered to be critically endangered. But marking a rare success, conservationists at the Persian wildlife heritage foundation (PWHF) have spotted a group of five Asiatic cheetahs (also known as Iranian cheetahs) – a mother with four cubs.

Four wildlife experts from the PWHF saw the family group at the weekend as they were returning from a field trip in Iran's Turan national park, home to some of the largest populations of Asiatic cheetahs in the world.

"They could not believe what they were seeing ," Delaram Ashayeri, project manager at PWHF, told the Guardian. "They took out their camera and filmed it." The picture showing the five cheetahs, with four of them are looking directly into the camera, has since been shared repeatedly by Iran's huge online community.

The discovery comes after a decade-long campaign in Iran to protect the cheetahs from extinction and raise awarness, especially among indigenous people living close to their natural habitat.

"In the past year or so that we closely monitored Turan, we never spotted a family, especially female cheetahs with cubs," Ashayeri said. "It shows Asiatic cheetahs are surviving, breeding cubs are managing to continue life. It's good news against a barrage of bad news about these animals."

The conservation of Asiatic cheetah project (CACP), an initiative between Iran's department of environment and UN development programme, has led to at least 14 reserve areas being set up, mainly in central Iran, in Yazd, Sem

Rare Species Breeding Success At Sparsholt College
The mammal team at Sparsholt College’s Animal Management Centre have successfully bred highland streaked tenrecs (Hemcentetes nigriceps), a hedgehog type creature from the central mountains of Madgascar. According to the ISIS* global database (which represents more than 800 member zoos, aquariums and related organisations in almost 80 countries, containing information on 2.6 million animals – 10,000 species), there are only 13 captive highland streaked tenrec, four in a zoo in the Czech Republic and the remainder at Sparsholt College.

Chris Mitchell, Sparsholt’s Animal Management Centre Manager said: “The tenrecs came to the College from a private collection of animals from Madagascar based in Bath that was being rehomed due to the owner emigrating overseas. We had been warned that the animals had exacting husbandry requirements and a specialised diet that made them very tricky indeed to maintain in captivity. We were further warned that many institutions had tried to keep these animals in the past without success.“

After much deliberation, the College’s Mammal Team decided that the potential benefits to students outweighed the risk of failure and decided to try and rise to the challenge. The first of which was to establish the group of seven and settle them into their new accommodation and get them eating properly. Initially their diet was exclusively lobworms, sourced from a specialist supplier but their prodigious appetites proved rather expensive and so were i

Dear colleagues,

We would like to share with you the information of a seminar hosted by the Zoo Atlanta in the USA:

Cognition, Enrichment and Collaboration

The dates are March 10th - 12th 2014.

This seminar will explore animal cognition and enrichment techniques. Special sessions include the value of research as enrichment and the importance of collaboration between researchers and animal caretakers. The seminar includes lectures and research demonstrations.

For more information please visit

Thank you.

Best regards,

Sabrina Brando


The flight to Guwahati on 17th December, 2007, was late. As usual. I woke up late the next morning. As usual. Breakfast consisted of cheese sandwich and coffee. As usual. My friends came late to meet me. As usual.

 And then we set off to Umananda, an island situated in the Brahmaputra river just off the coast of Guwahati. The ferry ride took only five minutes and we embarked on the island that has a renowned Shiva Temple. However, we went there to see the free living Golden Langurs that call Umananda their home.
Many years ago, an animal trader namedto a priest on the island. The animals grew up as tame individuals and, after a period, reproduced. They were not caged but were free to roam the island. The Golden Langur being one of the rarest primates in the world (the animal was only discovered in the 1950s when it was christened with a scientific name) found principally in Manas National Park situated in Assam and Bhutan, the population on Umananda evoked significant interest amongst nature lovers. Possibly a unique case where wildlife trade has been benign, even beneficial, since the animals are so endangered and the translocated individuals on Umananda are a breeding group. And thus I was keen on observing and

Adelaide Zoo Celebrates Life of Iconic Flamingo
Adelaide Zoo is celebrating the life of its most iconic and oldest resident, the Greater Flamingo, after the difficult decision was made to humanely put the flamingo to sleep this morning as its quality of life had significantly deteriorated due to complications associated with old age.

The 83-year old flamingo affectionately known as 'Greater' was a favourite amongst zoo goers for generations arriving at Adelaide Zoo in the 1930s. Greater is best known for being the world's oldest flamingo and the last Greater Flamingo to have resided in

~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~  ~°v°~

Hello ZooLex Friend, 
We have worked for your enjoyment!



The South America Aviary at Zoo Heidelberg is a mixed species walk-through exhibit that immerses visitors into a richly planted space with a tropical atmosphere where animals can be comfortably observed using a diversity of microclimatic niches and enrichment opportunities.

We would like to thank our intern Hannah Gaengler for translating this presentation.

Here is the German original text:

We would like to thank Sandra Reichler and Sabrina Linn from Zoo Heidelberg for presenting this exhibit.



Thanks to Eduardo Diaz Garcia we are able to offer the Spanish translation of a previously presented exhibit at the Zoo GaiaPark de Kerkrade in the Netherlands:

Amazonia - Las Islas de los Monos


We keep working on ZooLex ...

The ZooLex Zoo Design Organization is a non-profit organization
registered in Austria (ZVR-Zahl 933849053). ZooLex runs a professional
zoo design website and distributes this newsletter. More information and

Pagasa: Philippine Eagle bred in captivity turns 22
TWENTY-TWO years ago on January 15, the wildlife conservation community worldwide was astir, for in a quiet conservation center in faraway Davao City, the first ever captive-bred raptor was successfully hatched.

Twenty-two years hence, the Philippine Eagle center in Malagos, Calinan, scheduled a whole day of interaction with students to drive in the importance of nature conservation.

Twenty-two years hence, Philippine eagle Pagasa, the first Philippine eagle hatched in captivity remains in captivity.

“Perhaps only that 22 years after Pagasa’s birth, we continue to struggle with the key threats to our national bird’s survival,” Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) executive director Dennis Joseph I. Salvador said when asked what his reflections are with regards Pagasa’s birthday.

As it is, the conservation efforts of the PEF have come a long way as it was already ale to hatch 25 captive bred eagles.

It’s in the wilderness, now dominated by man, where the main challenge is being fought.

“Shooting and habitat loss persist despite broad public awareness,” Salvador said. “Adding to these are the Damocles sword of chance events such as calamities and diseases like H5N1 now H7N9.”

Pagasa, having been in captivity since he hatched, can live up to 40 years old. Those in the wild have very little chance of living an adult life free from hazards.

Many are being shot.

The latest, rescued eagle Minalwang who was released back to the wild on Mt. Balatukan in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental was found dead no October 11, 2013, just barely two months after its release in August 2013.

The bird was not the first that died soon when released back to the wild after rescue and rehabilition at the center.

The legs of eagle Kagsabua released on Mt. Kitanglad Natural Park in Sumilao, Bukidnon, was found buried beside a river in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon four months later in 2008.

Hagpa released in June 2010 was shot dead four months later.

Also believed killed is Hineleban, who was released in Mt. Kitanglad in October 2009, after a male eagle carcass was found in Barangay Lupiagan in Bukidnon, Bukidnon on January 15, 2010.


Pagasa, or Hope because his hatching gave hope to the conservation movement, is the offspring of Diola, a female from Calinan, Davao City, and Junior, a male from Agusan. His surrogate mate partner at the center is Eddie Juntilla.

He has sired his first chick, which hatched on February 9 last year.
The chick Mabuhay was bred through cooperation insemination of female eagle Kalinawan (Peace), a 29-year-old eagle rescued from Zamboanga del Sur, and Pagasa.


Pagasa’s hatchday cam complete with a hatchday cake.

Students, parents, teachers, and other guests joined the celebration that started with a 9 a.m. mass last Wednesday.

The day’s activities included an educational presentation abo

Changing climate is killing penguin chicks in Argentina
Extreme weather along the Argentine coast is killing chicks of Magellanic penguins that roost there. A 28-year study of the birds has found very hot years and very wet ones claiming as many as 50 percent of new chicks in the worst of times.

“Penguin [chicks] don’t do well when they get wet,” said Dee Boersma, a researcher at University of Washington who’s been tracking the birds at the Punta Tombo peninsula, the largest colony of Magellanic penguins, since 1983.

New chicks that encounter a rainstorm before they grow out a waterproof coat get drenched and die of hypothermia, she reports in a study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE. "If you've ever had a down sleeping bag, and got it wet, all the insulating properties are lost," Boersma explained.

Not every one of the extreme weather events was deadly — only 16 of the 233 storms the team observed killed chicks. But climate researchers predict storms hitting the Argentine coast are just going to get worse.

"We're going to see years where almost no chicks survive if climate change makes storms bigger and more frequent during vulnerable times of the breeding season as climatologists predict," Ginger Rebstock, Boersma’s co-author on the study, said in a release.

"This year we’re not going to have any chicks that will die from rain," Boersma said. "But we’ve had a lot of chicks that die this year from heat, because it’s been hot."

Weather isn’t the only thing threatening the Magellanic penguins; they’re starving as well. In a 2008 study, Boersma showed that decreasing sea ice meant the birds needed to swim up to 40 miles farther to reach their food, she told the New York Times then.

About 1,000 miles south of the Magellanic penguin

Patiala zoo in state of neglect
Time and again the mini zoo authorities here have been making tall claims of upgrading and renovating it. However, with no sign of concrete plan in line the upgradation of the zoo seems like a distant dream.
According to the information available, the mini zoo, is officially a deer park. The conversion of this deer park to mini zoo was put on hold, because as per the norms of the Zoo Authority of India, a deer park can be converted into a mini zoo only after the inclusion of three carnivorous animals.

Save the Dates!
April 28-29 2014
IMATA Northeast Regional Workshop
Hosted by
New England Aquarium
Boston, MA
Join us for 2 days of exciting presentations, panel discussions, behind the scene tours, and animal training sessions.
Possible presentation and discussion topics include:
·         Disaster planning (a follow up to last year’s discussion)
·         Evaluating enrichment programs
·         Species breeding programs
·         Interaction training and programs
·         Animal introductions
·         Aggression

Presentations: If you are interested in giving a presentation please prepare an abstract and submit it to Candy Paparo at  Abstracts must be received by April 1st.
Registration: To register please email Kim at by April 25th.
Cost: $15/day for IMATA members, Zoo or Aquarium staff and volunteers.  Please bring employee/volunteer ID or proof of IMATA membership.
$20/day if you do not fit in an above category.  All are welcome!
Accommodations:  More information to come.

For more information please contact Kim Cummings at or Candy Paparo at


Turkey's Antalya home to longest tunnel aquarium
Not content with being one of Turkey’s top tourism spots, the country's coastal Antalya province has now gone one better - it hosts the world's longest tunnel aquarium.

The tank containing the 131-meter long, 3-meter wide tunnel hosts more than 10,000 species of fish and sea creatures from all around the globe.

Visitors watch as fish swim around life-sized replicas of an Italian warplane that crashed into the Mediterranean during World War II, a ship and submarine wrecks.

The complex housing the main tank contains over 40 theme tanks, with titles such as “World Oceans,” “Turkish Seas” and “Three Islands,” and was built on a 30,000 square-meter area.

It also includes “Snow World,” a special snow-covered 200-meter square section featuring igloos, a “Santa Clause” house and cafes.

Kemal Kumkumoglu, the aquarium's chief-executi

Pakistan’s Controversial Dolphin Show
An outcry over an upcoming event draws attention to animal rights in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s first-ever “Dolphin Show” opens to the public on the January 15. To be held at the Maritime Museum in Karachi, the organizers were due to host the event last year, but the plan had to be called off due to security concerns.

Featuring Stephen the beluga whale, Boris the dolphin and Memo the sea lion, the show is slated to run over two months, as reported by The Express Tribune. However, the event’s duration may be extended, depending on public response and ticket sales.

With foreign trainers flown in from Russia and Egypt to train the mammals to jump, sing, paint and perform a host of tricks to a local audience, the show is fast attracting media attention, public hype, and some outcry.

“Shows like this are very cruel,” Maheen Zia, the Co-Founder of PAWS (Pakistan Animal Welfare Society) (an NGO based in Karachi), told The Diplomat. “It gives the wrong message; to use such sensitive, intelligent animals, by pulling them out of their natural habitat and exploiting them like this for entertainment purposes.”

Given the country’s poorly maintained zoos and general lack of care and respect for animals in general, the much-touted Dolphin Show stands as a feather in Pakistan’s cap of gross animal abuse and neglect. The Lahore Zoo, for instance, is in an appalling state, with animals such as tigers and lions crammed into small cages. The animals are listless, rotting away in enclosed spaces. Little wonder then, the significant number of tigers that have perished over the years.

“Unfortunately the mindset in Pakistan is that if a human life is worth nothing in this country why should there be a hue and cry about animal rights here? Such regression and ignorance is rampant amongst so many educated people I know,” Zainab Chughtai, a Lahore-based lawyer, said to The Diplomat, adding, “There is no doubt that this show will be nothing but a display of savagery and torture on these creatures, passed on to mindless masses as entertainment.”

“We feel strongly that the planned dolphin show will neither be beneficial to the animals nor the general public. There are sufficient opportunities for public to see w

The secrets in the hearts of China’s brave moon bears
The hearts beating inside stoic moon bears, previously caged by China’s bear bile industry, have been put under scrutiny by veterinary cardiologists from the University of Liverpool.
Hannah Stephenson and Chris Linney both travelled from Merseyside to Animals Asia’s China Bear Rescue Centre near Chengdu, to work with sanctuary vets charged with treating the bears that the organisation rescued from the bear bile industry.
They both spent ten days on site performing echocardiograms, ECGs and overall cardiac evaluations. During their visit, the team was able to examine 29 moon bears and take an in-depth look at the heart problems they face.
Animals Asia China’s Bear and Vet Team Director Nic Field said:
“We currently have a growing number of bears rescued from bile farms with radiographic evidence of abnormal heart size or shape, suspected aortic aneurysms as well as bears with clinical signs consistent with hypertension.
“One of the primary aims of this visit was for cardiology specialists to assist in confirming suspected diagnoses, determining causes of the development of disease, reviewing our current management of these cases and advising on additional appropriate treatment to improve their long-term health, welfare and quality of life.”
The bears at Animas Asia’s sanctuary had previously spent up to 30 years constrained in tiny cages while suffering daily bile extractions. As a result, following their rescue, Animals Asia vets assist in rehabilitating each bear by providing ongoing treatment and medication to ensure they maintain a good quality of life.
Resident Veterinarian Mandala Hunter-Ishikawa added:
“We have been tremendously fortunate to recently obtain a new, high quality ultrasound unit with a cardiac probe that allows us to better visualise the heart and valves, assess chamber size, valve integrity, and assess cardiac function. The visiting cardiologists were able to thoroughly evaluate bears of concern and train our on-site veterinary surgeons on how to obtain high quality images, accurate measurements and assess cardiac function with the use of echocardiography.  “This will also allow us to compile a database of normal images and measurement ranges to compare cardiac cases for future reference, and also to more appropriately manage current and future cardiac cases.”
Chris and Hannah were also able to offer advice to the team on appropriate management and medication for cardiac cases. The collaboration with Chris and Hannah will continue, as there is more work to be done to analyse data and determine the reasons behind the heart issues.
The pair were also able to share their knowledge and provide training to local vets who have worked with Animals Asia in the past.
Chris said:
“We were extremely fortunate to visit and work with Animals Asia's rescue centre providing full assessment of some of the resident moon bears for heart disease. Our assessments identified a number of heart abnormalities for which there are treatments which we hope will give them a better quality of life to enjoy during their years at the sanctuary. A large number of the bears we assessed had significant heart disease including dilated hearts, dilated great vessels and high blood pressure, and we have worked hard with the resident vets to provide the necessary care and medications to help treat these serious conditions.
“We were overwhelmed with the high level of care given to the bears by the vets and bear workers at the sanctuary and were honoured to join the team. The moon bears have been through a difficult time and it was evident that they were so relaxed and at peace in the sanctuary. There still remains a lot of work to be done regarding their heart disease and we hope to continue our collaboration and team work with Animals Asia to help more moon bears.”
Animals Asia would like to extend its special thanks and gratitude to Chis and Hannah for taking the time to share their experience and knowledge with our team. Their contribution has been invaluable and we are much looking forward to future collaborations. We would also like to thank former resident vet, Joanna Reynard for initiating this visit.

Crested ibises destroying own eggs
Crested ibises at the Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center in Sado, Niigata Prefecture, and other facilities are destroying their own eggs, apparently as a result of stress from being kept in cages.

The Sado facility’s Reintroduction Center is hurrying to address this problem with the birds, which are designated special natural treasures.

Since July 2011, the Environment Ministry has in principle allowed crested ibis eggs to hatch naturally in the parent birds’ nests, to promote captive birds’ eventual return to the wild. However, a conspicuous number of birds have been attacking their eggs in recent years.

In spring last year, 26 out of 89 fertilized eggs were destroyed at breeding facilities including the Sado center, the Izumo Japanese Crested Ibis Breeding Center in Shimane Prefecture and Ishikawa Zoo in Ishikawa Prefecture.

Staff have confirmed such behavior as parent birds poking the shells of eggs to destroy them as chicks begin to peck their way out and killing the chicks, as well as male crested ibises dropping just-laid eggs out of nests.

The Sado center believes that stress builds up as a result of the birds being kept in cramped cages, leading to excessive reactions to the eggs.

To address the problem, the Sado center is considering playing recordings of chicks’ voices just before eggs hatch. In the past, many breeding pairs have succeeded in hatching their eg

Celebrating Plants and the Planet:

The plants around us tell stories that stretch back tens of thousands of
years; stories about us. January's news links at
<> (NEWS/Botanical News) look
back and then forward:

. Have you ever wondered about the fruit of the calabash or the Osage
Orange? They are ecological anachronisms made anachronistic, in large part,
through human activity. Who else once roamed these forests of ours?

. In Western Australia there are rock paintings like no others.
Nearby are baobab trees like no others in Australia. Perhaps one can explain
the other.

. While in Madagascar, baobabs whose seed dispersers were hunted to
extinction now struggle to survive. Who were those animals and can they be
brought back?

. Nearer to home (wherever that is for you) human activity is
changing landscapes, ecosystems and climate. Seed evolution is changing, too
and perhaps not in a good way.

. On a global scale, terrestrial ecosystems tie up excess carbon,
slowing global warming. A new understanding of human activity affecting the
balance of deforestation and reforestation may help us avoid cooking

Science aside, it's Saturday. Time to dance with the peacock spider

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

Zoo Horticulture
Consulting & Design
Greening design teams since 1987

Over 1,000 Madagascar reptiles stranded in S.African transit
Over 1,000 tree frogs, chameleons and lizards from Madagascar are stranded in South Africa after storms in the United States forced their connecting flight there to be cancelled, Johannesburg zoo said on Friday.

About 400 of the 1,685 reptiles flown in from the Indian Ocean island nation on Wednesday have already died from the stress of air travel and shock of being removed from their natural habitat, a zoo official said.

The surviving reptiles have found a temporary home in the Johannesburg zoo, where they will be quarantined for 30 days.

"They are not fit for travel, they cannot leave, there is nowhere to go at the moment," the zoo's chief veterinarian Katja Koeppel said as another staff member took a dozen buckets of live crickets from her office to feed the newcomers to the zoo.

"So they gave them to us," she said. "My problem is trying to keep them alive."

The zoo has yet to identify all the species received but Koeppel said it had already established th

Africa’s only polar bear mourns death of partner
Wang, the only polar bear in Africa, has taken the death of his life-long partner very hard, tearing up toys and grass in the enclosure they shared. Two weeks after his loss, he is still grieving.

Geebee, 30, was found dead in the pool of her Johannesburg Zoo enclosure after a heart attack. The two had been partners since they arrived at the South African zoo in 1985.

“When we found her dead he wouldn’t let us to her,” the zoo’s chief vet Katja Koeppel said. “He refused to go back into the night room. He stayed out in the sun.”

If not pacing about, Wang stood by Geebee’s body and barely ate his rations, she said. After 24 hours, Ms Koeppel had to sedate Wang to retrieve Geebee’s remains.

For days afterwards, he was inconsolable, cutting up his toys and even bending the steel door of his pen, she said.

Geebee arrived nearly three decades ago from Canada, while Wang came from a zoo in Japan. Despite

Florida's Rat-Saving Labors Aren't Paying Off
Apparently rats raised at Disney aren't prepared for the real world.

A new study warns that Florida's efforts to breed endangered Key Largo woodrats in captivity are doomed. Critters brought up at a Tampa zoo and at Orlando's Disney World don't have as many babies as they do in the wild, and when released back into their natural habitat, the rats are more vulnerable to predators like hawks and feral cats.

"When we kept looking at the data, what we found was that you really couldn't breed enough woodrats to make it a viable strategy for population recovery," Robert McCleery, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Florida, said in a statement.

Save the rats

It might be hard to imagine conservationists rallying around rats, often considered disease-spreading invaders that have no problem keeping their population numbers high. But the Key Largo woodrat, a nest-building nocturnal rodent, is in danger of going extinct in its native habitat in Key Largo, the largest of the Florida Keys. [In Photos: A Stunning View of Rat Island]

Current population estimates of the species vary; a 2012 study in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution suggest between 78 and 693 indi

Will orcas be put on display at Sochi?
How do you hide something that weighs as much as six tons, is 20 feet long and requires hundreds of pounds of food every day?
That's the mystery researchers and conservationists are trying to solve, the location of eight orca whales they believe have been captured in Russian waters.

Rumors surfaced that two of the whales were going to be put on display at the 2014 Winter Olympics. And that ignited a firestorm.

An online petition, widely circulating on Twitter, demaned that the Russian company White Sphere not put the orcas in a dolphinarium in Sochi. At last count, the online petition had 400,000 signatures.
There were numerous reports that the Russian company had captured the orcas in the Sea of Okhotsk and that at least some of the whales were in holding pens near Vladivostok. The Russian Fisheries Agency wouldn't respond to questions regarding quotas for orca captured in Russian waters.
"We have information from within Russia that two of them were shipped to China," said Erich Hoyt, a Research Fellow with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation. "We have confirmation that two of them have gone to Moscow — however none of these four [other] orcas are anywhere on display."

But there's not any proof that White Sphere has the whales — or has any plans to display them at Sochi. A spokesperson said the company doesn't "deal with the capture of wild animals or the transport of them." The spokesperson said the company was aware of the online petition and expressed concern about the uproar.

It's believed the two Russian orcas that went to China will be displayed at a new Chinese theme park called Ocean Kingdom. Ocean Kingdom features the world's biggest aquarium and advertises a massive collection of sea life including beluga whales and whale sharks. But it doesn't advertise having orcas on display. Ocean Kingdom wouldn't comment on whether it planned to display orcas.

There has been a strong backlash to marine parks keeping orcas in captivity. It may be in part due to the impact of the 2013 documentary film "Blackfish," which examines the 2010 death of an orca trainer at SeaWorld. It also highlights the methods used to capture wild orcas.

"Definitely you can see that marine parks around the world are being much more covert about what they're doing with dolphins and orcas," said Tim Zimmermann, associate producer and co-writer of "Blackfish." "Ten years ago, I think you would have had [marine parks] advertising and proudly saying they would be displaying killer whales. But these days it see

Saving the last white tiger cub: Delhi Zoo goes all-out to protect newborn cub after all five of his siblings die
It was through a tiny room reeking of raw meat - bloody water pooled outside its door - that we were taken to meet Kalpana in her enclosure at the National Zoological Park (NZP), or Delhi Zoo as it is colloquially known.
Lying in a corner of the cage, the seven-year-old tigress was alarmed by the arrival of strangers in an area otherwise restricted to them, and began pacing her boundaries.
As she looked up, Kalpana's glacial blue eyes were unflinching in their stare. One of NZP's five white tigers - one male and four female - she has been the subject of headlines globally as the mother whose neglect killed five of her cubs, even as the sixth fights for his life at a vet facility in the zoo.


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:
10 Cheshire View
Appleyards Lane
United Kingdom

"These are the best days of my life"

No comments:

Post a Comment