Friday, March 21, 2014

Zoo News Digest 22nd February - 21st March 2014 (ZooNews 890)

Zoo News Digest 22nd February - 14th March 2014 (ZooNews 890)

Dear Colleagues,

It has been a while since the last Digest. My apologies. I have been wrestling with a health demon and it has rather distracted me and eaten into my time. I will go into hospital for surgery tomorrow and so, with luck I will be out and back to normal (if I ever was normal) a few days later. Over these weeks however I have managed to keep on top of watching the zoo news, getting it out onto the Facebook Page and keeping people informed. There is always something new and interesting. Blackfish fallout is still trickling through but Marius the Giraffe has not received a mention in a week or so. I though am going to bring up Marius once again because I want to make a point. You will recall that in
Zoo News Digest 8th- 21st February 2014 (ZooNews 889)  that I went on about how people used words/phrases to influence opinion. I picked out "Innocent Baby Giraffe" "Brutal Death" "Murdered" "Executed" "Slayed" "Tortured". I was very interested then to see what I had to say was picked up by Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., writing in Psychology Today. Here he demonstrated exactly what I had been writing about by using the word 'Murdered'. Seems that even psychologists can miss the point. I actually have a lot of time for what Marc Bekoff has to say about many things and have read two of his books. He is wrong however to describe me as someone who believes it is "fine to kill other animals as if they are worthless and unfeeling things." Nothing could be further from the truth.

It saddens me that some people are not interested in knowing the truth. A colleague of mine posted a photo of himself bottle feeding a baby tiger at a Dysfunctional Zoo in Thailand. He was obviously thrilled by the experience, hence posting the photograph. So too were his friends going by the comments and likes that he got. I posted up a link to the collection he was visiting and explained it was contributing to the cruel trade in tigers. He didn't like that and said he had seen nothing wrong in the collection (and he is a conservationist) and said DocAntle would be the person to explain the tiger situation. Doc Antle! For heaven's sake he is the man who caused the problem. So I posted up another link which explained the situation along with a few details. Now I spoke the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I used no profanity and simply intended to educate. What happened? All three of my posts were removed. So now we have a bunch of people who now want to go to Thailand just to bottle feed a baby tiger. This guy is happy to keep his photograph posted and so, in the long run contribute to the death of more tigers. As I said…it saddens me. I truly believe that posing with big cats and posting photos on Facebook puts out the wrong message. If it is your animal in your zoo, fair enough, but keep it in your family album….don't encourage tiger farming and canned hunting.

Lastly….please don't assume because I post a link that I am in agreement with what the author is saying. I post links to keep you informed. My choice of links are the sort of stories that would be discussed by zoo professionals in zoo canteens and staff rooms. I remain pro Good Zoo and very much anti Dysfunctional Zoo

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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Are Wildlife Sanctuaries Good for Animals?
Noelle, a three-and-a-half-month-old tiger cub with saucer-size paws, strains at her pink-and-purple leash. She seems to know what's coming as animal trainer Kelsey Johnson pulls out a warmed bottle of specially made formula. The cub suckles it greedily, and three visitors to Dade City's Wild Things, a Florida sanctuary and zoo, are called up one by one to get their pictures taken as they stroke the thick fur on her back, their faces alight with amazement.

For the next 15 minutes, the visitors get to interact with the rambunctious cub while Johnson attempts to corral it. A blur of orange-and-black motion, Noelle pounces on a squeaky toy and plays tug-of-war with a stuffed toy pig. When she leaps onto Johnson's shoulder with her teeth bared, the trainer flips the tiger over and roars in her face to chastise her. "It reminded me she was a wild animal," says Briana Greene afterward, awed by her encounter with the young predator.

Animal lovers go to wildlife sanctuaries because they want to see animals up close and because they believe sanctuaries are in the business of taking care of animals that have nowhere else to go. Nobody knows exactly how many exotic animals now live in captivity in the United States, though it's estimated that there are at least 5,000 tigers—more than exist in the wild. What is known is that many of these animals end up in wildlife sanctuaries

Banham Zoo trainer scoops international award in Texas
A trainer at Banham Zoo has winged his way to an international award following an annual conference across the pond in Dallas, Texas.

Andy Hallsworth, head animal trainer at Banham Zoo, and his team entered some of the zoo’s quaker parakeets into the Best Interpretive Behaviour of the Year category at the annual International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE) conference in February.

Despite being up against stiff competition, Mr Hallsworth and his team beat eight other entries to scoop the award.

‘When it was played during the awards ceremony, I was pleased to see that it got a great reception,” he said.

“However, there were eight other submissions in the Interpretive Behaviour category, including San Diego Zoo, California, all of which were showing equally impressive behaviours in their displays.

“I honestly didn’t think that we had much of a chance of winning so I was astounded and delighted to hear my name announced.

“I was so proud to rec

March 2014 | Vol. 29 | No. 3 | Date of Publication 21 March 2014
Feature articles
ZOOKEEPING: an article getting started as a keeper useful to any zoo director and other staff
Pp. 1-4
A Special Report: Pet lion living on a Rooftop in Kabul rescued by the Kabul Zoo Team
-- AzizGul Saqib, Pp. 5-6
Central Zoo Authority Preparations in hand for CBSG and WAZA conferences
-- Sally Walker, Pp. 7-9
Bangladesh Zoos go for a National Zoo Association
-- Sally Walker, Pp. 10-13
IUCN India Country Office welcomes new Country Representative - Sri Priya Ranjan Sinha
P. 14
Professor Gordon McGregor Reid awarded the IUCN Species Survival Commission Chair's Citation of Excellence
P. 15
Prioritizing Elephant Corridors in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu
-- Kannan, G, Jayakumaran Thampy, P.S., Arunachalam & B. Ramakrishnan, Pp. 16-19
World Pangolin Day celebration by Zoo Outreach Organization
-- R. Marimuthu, P. 20
Technical articles
Red Sand Boa Eryx johnii johnii (Russel, 1801) breeds at VOC Park Mini Zoo, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
-- R. Marimuthu and K. Asokan, Pp. 21-22
Zingiber neesanum (J. Graham) Ramamoorthy in C.J. Saldanha and D.H. Nicolson (Zingiberaceae) – a new record for Tamil Nadu, India
-- Binitha Pushpakaran and R. Gopalan, Pp. 23-24
Zinc Phosphide poisoning in Indian Jungle Myna (Acridotheres fuscus)
-- M. Sanjeev Kumar, Shivaraj Murag, R.K. Sanjukta, M.D. Venkatesha and C. Renuka Prasad, Pp. 25-27
Education report
Animal Welfare Fortnightly 2014-Reports from Participants
Pp. 28-32
Announcement: Amity University - Amity Institute of Wildlife Sciences, Back cover
P. 36

Update: Roadside Zoo Operator Posts Photos of Dead Birds, Raises More Questions
The death toll at The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park (“G.W. Zoo”) seems to be growing: Earlier this month, the G.W. Zoo posted disturbing photos on its Facebook page of two blue-and-yellow macaws and a Goffin’s cockatoo lying dead at the bottom of filthy cages. The photos show the birds surrounded by disintegrating newspapers and excrement, with no trace of food or water visible. The cockatoo had apparently plucked the feathers from his chest—something that birds do when sick or distressed. Based on the photos, it’s likely that the birds suffered fr

G.W. Zoo owner responds to PETA after a chimpanzee dies
The G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood is once again under fire from PETA after what they are calling a mysterious death of one of the zoo's animals.

"You know, it was hard to deal with. Losing a family member and trying CPR and not being successful and it bothers you," said the owner of the GW Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Joe Schriebvogel. He says the recent death of Bongo, one of his female chimpanzees, has been a tough loss and one he didn't see coming.

Schriebvogel says, "During lunch time I came out to work with them and shift them to clean their cage and she stood up and came walking to me and just completely fell over. Just like you would with a heart attack or something else."

Schriebvogel, who is also country music artist "Joe Exotic", posted this video online he says to show how much he cared for Bongo.

But PETA claims the chimp's death should be investigated by the USDA.

"Here we have a chimpanzee who appears to have not received any veterinary care when she was apparently ill, who may have been confined with an incompatible cage mate," said Winders.

Schriebvogel said, "You know, the USDA has been here inspecting me at least 4 or 5 times a year since they've been here and if the USDA didn't think they were compatible they would've made me move them and separate them years ago."

PETA also says the animal park

Zoo unveils initiative to save sparrows
The Nehru Zoological Park on Thursday launched a ‘Networking of Sparrow Conservation Teams’ (NEST) that will work on conserving sparrow habitats and their nesting sites in and around the city.

As part of World Sparrow Day celebrations, Director of Zoological Parks in the State, P. Mallikarjuna Rao said the initiative would bring together NGOs, interested citizens and bird lovers in identifying nesting sites and conserving them.

“The zoo will act as a facilitator and the NEST will also strive at awareness building on the importance of sparrow conservation and also the role played by them as an indicator of healthy environment,” he said.

In and around the city, nearly 90 localities were identified as having a sparrow presence. Teams would visit these colonies and guide residents on the initiative.

Meanwhile, more than 100 fruit-bear

Limits on Ivory Sales, Meant to Protect Elephants, Set Off Wide Concerns
New federal rules aimed at blocking the sale of ivory to protect endangered elephants are causing an uproar among musicians, antiques dealers, gun collectors and thousands of others whose ability to sell, repair or travel with legally acquired ivory objects will soon be prohibited. Vince Gill, the guitarist and Grammy Award winner, who owns some 40 classic Martin guitars featuring ivory pegs and bridges, said he is worried now about taking his instruments overseas. Floyd Sarisohn, a lawyer from Commack, N.Y., said he will be blocked from auctioning any of the hundreds of chess sets with antique ivory pieces he has spent decades collecting. Mike Clark, owner of Collectors Firearms in Houston, said he fears he might have to “gouge the ivory inlay” from scores of commemorative handguns and rifles that long predate the ban, if he wants to sell them.

Thanks for the Controversy: What Anti-Zoo People Have Taught Me
All that follows are my personal opinions.

I am a zookeeper and have been for 7 years.

I have worked at 4 different places (3 zoos and 1 wildlife park)

I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology (emphasis in field biology/ecology) and a minor in Psychology.

The following are 10 broad generalizations of anti-zoo people logic that I've seen repeated over and over on various blogs, Facebook pages, etc. across the internet.

I realize that not all anti-zoo people will fit all of the categories and that all anti-zoo people aren't that extreme and maybe now people will be able to see how unfair it is when they lump all zoos into the inhumane category.

1. All zoos are created equal. To the anti-zoo individual this means that all zoos are the same. Whether they are big or small. Whether they are we

--------------------- in March 2014

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Chitwan is a mixed species exhibit at the Ostrava Zoo in the Czech 
Republic. The name of the exhibit refers to the oldest national park in 
Nepal, present or former range for the animal species of the Chitwan 
exhibit. These include Nepalese river fish, Asian small-clawed otter, 
Asiatic black bear, binturong and Hanuman langur.



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Is CITES Turning a Blind Eye to China’s Illicit Wildlife Imports?
China’s illegal imports of some 150 chimpanzees from West Africa have become a major animal welfare and conservation concern since it first became public some 3 years ago. This trade was still ongoing in 2013.

In addition, trade data reported under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) for 2010 showed that China had also declared the import of 10 gorillas. As with the chimpanzees, they were supposedly all captive-bred in Guinea-Conakry, which is not a range country for gorillas.

Of course, none of these great apes were captive-bred and the chances are very high that they were all Eastern lowland gorillas from the Democratic Republic of Congo. It would appear that CITES import permits were issued by China (the trade statistics from China are based on these permits) — but Guinea did not report the expor

Poking a sleeping tiger with a stick is not always a wise thing to do, but that act, along with rescuing animals from abusive or neglectful owners, is what this book is about. A house full of rabbits running loose, wolves sloshing around in flooded cages at a so-called sanctuary, and people with odd and unusual pets are all stories that the author has encountered during his more than thirty-year career as an SPCA inspector.
Who knows what animals their neighbor is keeping in their house, garage, or garden shed? Perhaps a six-foot long boa constrictor is loose in the crawl space, an adult cougar is tearing up the sofa, or the house is full of Pomeranians!
These are the animals that make up some of the fascinating stories shared in this book by a man who has spent a lifetime working with and on behalf of all animals.

Is It Wrong For Zoo Restaurants To Serve Meat?
Is it weird to eat a hamburger at the same zoo where you just pet a cow, or cooed over a panda?

It's natural to wonder about zoos and ethics after last month, when a Danish zoo killed one of its giraffes, with a bolt gun to the head, in front of some kids, then fed the carcass to lions in the name of animal welfare.

That zoo restaurants serve meat brings another set of questions, as reputable zoos don't just put cute animals on display. They also provide for and educate visitors about animal welfare. A paper in the latest issue of the Journal for Critical Animal Studies -- a peer-reviewed publication devoted to "animal liberation," an animal rights movement that takes more and less radical forms -- argues that these missions are at odds with the foods that most zoos serve to visit

Learn more


They are looking for organisation or individual who can donate us the animal rescue van.We get a lot of rescue call as result of community conflict and largely injured, abandoned as result of poaching and confiscation. But we do not have the means to reach in most part of the country side and yet these animals need to be rescued rehabilitated and release back to the wild. 

How Elephant Armies Built the Ancient World
Without elephants, the ancient Library of Alexandria might not have existed. Every war has, as a byproduct, cultural and technological innovation: in our world, the US Civil War led to medical advancements and the Cold War put us in space. In the classical era, it was the race to build elephant armies that changed the world.

By 275 BCE, Alexandria was the largest, most beautiful city in the world. Its buildings were made of limestone and marble, imported from places worlds away. Its relatively temperate climate meant that flowers were almost always in bloom, impressing foreigners both from warmer and cooler climes. Scholars from around the world came to study and work at the Museum and Library. Life in the city was good.

But it wasn't always that way.

Just seven years earlier, when Ptolemy Philadelphos (second of the rulers of the Ptolemaic dynasty) took the throne, Alexandria was but another city on the Mediterranean. In less than one hundred years, it went from a small seaside town founded by Alexander the Great to the city you learned about in your high school

Environment Ministry loses court battle to close Costa Rica's zoos
Public zoos will remain open in Costa Rica for at least 10 more years following a court ruling last Friday. An administrative court ruled in favor of nonprofit group FUNDAZOO, which administers San José’s Simón Bolívar Zoo and the Santa Ana Conservation Center, citing a contractual technicality that will allow the group to continue operating the zoos until 2024. The Environment Ministry, or MINAE, had said it would close both zoos in May.

Following years of complaints about the two public zoos’ conditions, MINAE announced last July that it planned to convert them into cageless bio-parks, and either release or place in rescue centers some 400 animals.

Following that announcement last year, FUNDAZOO filed a lawsuit citing a clause that would automatically renew its contract to operate the zoos every 10 years. In order to halt the contract’s renewal, MINAE would have to notify FUNDAZOO more than a year before the contract ended.

According to the suit, MINAE was obligated to notify FUNDAZOO that it would not renew its contract before March 7, 2013.  While MINAE filed the resolution on March 6, FUNDAZOO was notified, via email, the following day. The court ruled that this late notification constituted a breach of cont

The Brutes In The Dehiwala Zoo
What goes on at the National Zoological Gardens at Dehiwala is anybody’s guess. So, no one seems to be interested in animal welfare in the Zoo although it has come to the surface that its inmates are suffering and starving to their furthest extreme.
It is alleged that the animals are not fed properly although the income of the Zoological Garden goes on swelling daily.
“This has to be investigated to find out whether it is the fault of the management or the zoo keepers. What we understood is the zoo keepers are the culprits, still the management cannot pass the blame on to them. It is the management’s responsibility to see whether the food stocks released from the stores are given to the inmates or robbed,” said an environmentalist.
Meanwhile, The Sunday Leader visited the Dehiwala Zoo last Tuesday to find out how its inmates are fed and whether they are properly looked after. After giving a small ‘tip’ to a zoo keeper, this reporter was able to find out how the food released to the inmates was stolen.
Inhumane activities
“The food released to certain animals goes missing on its way to the cages. It was highlighted in several papers. As a result some of those who were involved in this racket lost their jobs. However the racket is still going on. I sometimes wonder whether the senior officials too are involved in it because it is difficult for the zoo keepers to rob the food given to the inmates without the senior officials support,” the sources said.
He further said that it was because of starvatio

US kiwi expert awarded NZ's highest accolade
US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Marie Damour congratulates Smithsonian National Zoo senior bird keeper Kathleen Brader for today becoming an Honorary Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Ms Brader received the honour for her kiwi-conservation efforts at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC. During her 25 years at the zoo she has successfully hatched and raised six kiwi, created a kiwi education campaign, chaired the Species Survival Program and written numerous publications on protecting the endangered bird.

Ms Damour said Brader’s award placed her among a rare group of non-New Zealanders distinguished by the honour.

"Her devotion and commitment exemplify the partnership between the United States and New Zealand on conservation and cultural recovery," she said.

Recently, Ms Brader oversaw a project which collected kiwi feathers to be repatriated to New Zealand.

The feathers were ceremonially gifted to New Zealand Ambassador to the United States Mike Moore in September 2012 before being returned to New Zealand and presented to Auckland Zoo and Ngati Whatua. The feathers were eventually used in the weaving of traditional Maori cloaks.

The Smithsonian now collects feathers from zoos in the US and Europe and sends them to Maori elders in New Zealand each year.

"Kiwi feathers have a great cultural significance to Mao

Panda Power

The Grisly Bear Burlesque: Must We Treat Animals Like Circus Acts?
The moral underpinnings of a zoo in the modern world are tenuous. When we got our first zoos in the collectors’ society of the 19th century, they were used to bring exotic things to us. Occasionally, they even contained humans with varying levels melatonin in their skin; there was little difference between a zoo and a circus.

But we have different notions of animals in this part of the world now, and of our relationship to them. Thanks to Cirque de Soleil, many circuses have left performing animals behind. Our modern zoos, meanwhile, are meant to be institutions of education and preservation—it’s why we often support them with our municipal taxes, why we pay to take our kids there, and why they occupy the generally respectable place in society that they do.

Which is why the recent naming of a new polar bear cub at the Toronto Zoo has been so galling.

First, zoo staff compiled a list of potential names for the little guy people could vote on, one of which turned out to be a nonsense word they first claimed was Inuktitut for “beauty.” Once some Inuit pointed out the word didn’t actually mean anything, they apologized and removed the definition. Not the name itself, though—they kept that. After all, it still sounded eskimoey, and polar bears are eskimoey, so, great, right? Besides, a lot of people had already voted for it. (The fact they did so w

Celebrating Plants and the Planet:

Nature is made more wondrous to us when biologists reveal unexpected
relationships, intimate connections that seem to defy "common sense." These
also make the most affecting educational stories to get a visitor's or
school child's attention. March's news links at (NEWS/Botanical News) are
here to get your attention:

. Keystone species are often the top predators but not always.
Herbivores can also determine how an ecosystem develops. Take the rhinoceros
for example. And then, take it away.

. An herbivore might even be an ecosystem unto itself. Consider the
sloth with its algae and moths. Everything we thought about that
relationship is wrong. The truth is even more interesting!

. Can a temperate rain forest thrive without salmon? The awe-inducing
story of how the ocean feeds the forest.

. On the other hand, can a coral reef thrive without the forest? How
healthy forests support healthy reefs.

. Many tropical plants enlist ants for defense, and it is a
successful strategy. But what else can ants do? One orchid species evolved a
new service ants could provide.

Count on the BBC to reveal what animals are really saying. Take a break from
saving the world to watch

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.


Warren Buffett’s son to spend $23.7 million in effort to save South African rhinos
American philanthropist Howard G. Buffett, the elder son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, arrived Thursday on a mission to preserve South Africa’s rhinos and protect them from poaching.
Mr. Buffett is scheduled to meet Friday with government officials and conservationists to discuss the slaughter of rhinos, whose horns are prized in Asian nations for their spurious medicinal properties. He will deliver a $23.7 million check to aid the conservation effort.
In an interview with The Washington Times, Mr. Buffet said that, although he is motivated by the need to protect wildlife, a major concern is that profits from poaching are helping fund rebel wars across Africa and terrorist groups around the globe.
“This is a criminal network that reaches around the world,” said Mr. Buffett. “Proceeds from ivory, rhino horn and other goods are funding conflicts in Africa and radical groups elsewhere.
“The best way to stop this is to cut off the money to those organizations, and that’s a part of what we’re doing while also saving the rhino,” he said. “In many ways, this is an experiment in peace, and hopefully we can replicate it in other parts of the world.”
Rhino horn can fetch up to $3,000 per ounce in China and Vietnam, where it is sold as a cure-all for ailments from impotence to cancer, though doctors say it has no medicinal value.
Last year, more than 1,000 were killed in South Africa, which is home to about 20,000 white and black rhino

The Horror Of Canned Lion Hunting -- And What You Can Do To Stop It
I’m not much of an activist. I’ve never been one to leave a warm house for a cold street, holding signs or marching, but on Saturday, March 15, I’ll be doing just that.

I am taking part in the Global March For Lions to stop canned hunting in South Africa. People in 55 cities around the world will march in hopes of raising awareness and educating people on ways they can help stop this barbaric act. (See below for ways you can help.)

The event in New York City begins at 11am in Washington Square Park.

If you follow this blog or have enjoyed my pictures over the last couple of years, you know that I have a deep love for Africa and its magnificent wildlife. So when I hear about practices like canned lion hunting, my rage is so intense it’s hard for me to think clearly.

I’m not suggesting that this is the only danger threatening the survival of lions, or other species for that matter, in fact there are so many things it’s a bit overwhelming, but I find the fact that canned hunting is a legal practice partic

InstantWILD: a revolution in field conservation
8 April 2014 - – 6:00 pm - 7:45 pm
Huxley Lecture Theatre
ZSL London Zoo
One of the greatest challenges for wildlife conservationists is access to real-time data on species abundance and distribution, habitats and threats. Traditional monitoring and data collection methods often limit the space and time in which data can be collected owing to cost, resources and practicality of working in harsh environments. Advances in technology have the potential to revolutionise the way we collect, transmit and analyse data, allowing us to better conserve species and habitats. Given the urgency of wildlife protection in both terrestrial and marine environments, ZSL is developing innovative remote surveillance tools to overcome these challenges. InstantWILD enables camera traps to automatically transfer images via satellite for real-time image identification. With the addition of machine-learning technologies, such as automatic human-detection algorithms and pressure sensors, the scope and efficiency of InstantWILD will allow conservation biologists, park rangers and land managers to retrieve critical, time-sensitive data and respond immediately to threats. These advancements provide much needed information for adaptive protected area management on both local and global scales.
Speakers: Jamie McCallum, ZSL; Krystian Mikolajczyk, University of Surrey; Dave Anderson, Seven Technologies; Tom Hart, University of Oxford
Booking is not necessary for this event - seating is allocated on a first come, first served basis.
3 course dinner with the speakers
A dinner will follow this Science and Conservation Event and everyone is welcome. Dinner places cost £35 per person including two glasses of wine and reservations should be made before 5pm on Wednesday 2 April

Croatia's second city to close 'worst zoo in the world' after reports of 'nightmare' conditions and 'depressed' animals
A zoo described by tourists as 'the worst in the world' will close its doors.

Animals from the zoo in Croatia's second city, Split, will now be relocated to various other zoos, Mayor Goran Kovacevic told the national news agency Hina.

Monkeys will be sent to Germany while a solution for a 14-year old tiger is still being considered, he said.

The wide-selling Jutarnji List published a story earlier this week detailing the conditions animals were living in, such as small, dirty cages and poor conditions in the zoo, which have seen visitors posting disconcerting reviews on the website

One reviewer said: “This is a terrible place for animals that live i

Zookeepers find it hard to say goodbye to beloved elephants
Jenn Godwin remembers the first time she came face-to-face with elephants. “I got to feed them and touch their trunks,” she says of that first encounter in 1989, when as a three-year-old she participated in a Calgary Zoo preschool program. “I fell instantly in love.”

Like thousands of other children, it was a love that followed Godwin throughout her childhood.

For her, though, it was more than a passing fancy. Godwin’s heart was set on a career with zoo animals. She went to the University of Saskatchewan to study biology while volunteering in her off time at animal refuges in Africa and Latin America. Three years ago, the now 28-year-old fulfilled her long-held dream to come back to the Calgary Zoo and is now one of five keepers at Elephant Crossing.

“They choose you,” she says of the inimitable relationship forged between humans and elephants. “I never thought I could be so in awe of an animal — they are the most intelligent, complex around.”

It is with understandable reluctance, then, that Godwin is now preparing to say goodbye to the zoo’s Asian elephants. Spike, the 31-year-old male, left last fall for his new home at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, Fla.; next month, Godwin and her fellow keepers will accompany females Swarna and Kamala, both 38, along with Kamala’s 23-year-old daughter Maharani on their four-day journey to the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

“It is going to be incredibly sad to let them go,” she said on Thursday, as she and her fellow keepers met with some of the zoo’s most loyal supporters in a celebratory send-off ceremony. “Most people, when they think of a zoo, they think of elephants. B


Chicago's animal matchmakers play cupid for America's zoos
When breeding exotic zoo animals, things can get pretty hairy.

Just ask the staff of the Population Management Center at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Apparently, family and population planning isn’t just a problem in the human world.

“The animals do most of the work – but we do a lot of the work behind the scenes,” said Sarah Long, center director.

A lot of work indeed. The logistics of moving a large, adult male elephant across the country to breed can be quite complicated – and dangerous. Even more complicated is figuring out which animal to mate with which, and then getting that certain male elephant to mate with a certain female – whether artificially or naturally.

“Even with elephants, natural breeding is really what’s successful,” said Long.

The Population Management Center, in partnership with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, is the central management facility for preparing breeding and transfers, and demographic and genetic analyses for all association-accredited zoos in the U.S. Essentially, the staff based at Lincoln Park is America’s zoo animal matchmakers.

At a recent event hosted at the Lincoln Park Zoo’s Regenstein Center for African Apes, Long joined Lisa Faust, vice president for conservation and science at the Lincoln Park Zoo, in delivering a talk entitled “The Science Behind Zoo Sex,” explaining the complicated nature of the center’s work. For $17 a ticket, visitors enjoyed a lighthearted lecture and an evening of wine and hors d’oeuvers, mingling amidst the chimpanzee and gorilla enclosures well after zoo closing time.

“Thanks for coming out on such a cold night to hear about hot animal sex, hopefully it will keep you warm and cozy in here,” joked Long, kicking off the good-humored discussion.

Even in an age of advanced reproductive technology, she noted that it isn’t as simple as artificially inseminating female an

Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research

Metal twisted by zoo grizzlies a heavy addition to exhibit
One of the sculptures in a newly opened art exhibit might well be titled: Bears versus Bars.

The “Zoo Views: Arts & Artifacts” exhibit opened this week at the Arts Castle in Delaware. It features art from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, including metal bars that were once inside the grizzly-bear enclosure.

The resident bears, Brutus and Buckeye, managed to pry the bars loose — some from a grate over a drain, and others from between windowpanes.

The bruins then twisted the bars, apparently just for fun.

Zoo officials decided to solder some of the bars together. They had previously been on display at the zoo.

“I can personally say (the bars) ... are very heavy,” said Karen McCullough, co-director of programming at the Arts Castle. “That would not be an easy thing for a person to do."

The exhibit consists of about 60 items, covering a wide range of genres. It opened on Tuesday and continues through April 19.

The idea came about when Arts Castle officials thought a collaboration with the zoo — also in Delaware County — would make sense.

The next step: to come up with a theme that meshed with the Arts Castle’s education initiative for the county’s third-grade students.

“One thing the third-grade curriculum focuses on is comparing and contrasting all kinds of things,” McCullou

A Global Evaluation of Biodiversity Literacy in Zoo and Aquarium Visitors

North Korea’s New Beautification Project: Pyongyang Zoo
Under Kim Jong Un, North Korea has gone on a building and beautification drive in and around its Potemkin capital of Pyongyang.

The fruits of that push to make the elite feel content include waterparks, a dolphinarium, a riding stable, and further afield, a ski resort in the southeast of the country.

The latest target for development appears to be the Pyongyang Zoo, which has featured frequently in state media reports in recent weeks. A bulletin published on Wednesday says Mr. Kim visited the zoo himself recently, where “projects are under w

Rhino captured in Danum
A female Sumatran rhino was captured deep inside Danum Valley, Monday, raising a desperate last hope that experts may be able to use it to get some baby rhinos sired in captive breeding to avert a local extinction of the species in Sabah.

That is provided the new "girl" turns out to be cyst-free and reproductively healthy and fertile.

"The rhino fell into a pit trap dug at a site on a known rhino trail deep inside the Danum Valley Conservation Area about six hours' walk from Yayasan Sabah's Borneo Rainforest Lodge," Dr Sen Nathan, Asst Director-cum-Chief Veterinarian of Sabah Wildlife Department told Daily Express.

"It turned out to be quite an agg ressive female and no report of injury on the animal had been received from the field so far," Dr Sen noted.

The Bornean Rhino Alliance (BORA) and Sabah Wildlife Department set up the trap, after camera traps identified the presence of the rhino in the area and intensified this joint effort when the State Cabinet approved the capture of remnants of rhinos in Sabah's forests last year.

All rhinos captured will now be used for all-out captive breeding in Sabah or in proven zoos overseas to save them from dying out from old age or illegally hunted for their horns.

Extinction of the species appears certain because it's world population had plummeted to an all-time low of less than 100 and it is believed that most females, even the wild ones roaming in protected areas, are probably cyst-infested and incapable of reproducing.

Experts at the International Sumatran Rhino Crisis Summit in Singapore last April issued an emergency and crisis recommendation to capture wild rhinos to sire as many and as fast as possible by using and leveraging on the most proven captive breeding experts and most successful facilities in the world.

The State Cabinet gave the green light to send Sabah's lone captive male rhino Tam to Cincinnatti Zoo to mate with female, Suci, in June, and also allow experts from Cincinntti Zoo such as Dr Terri Roth to help mate Tam and any new female captured from Danum.

As of 7pm Monday night, the newly captured rhino remained in the pit, Dr Sen said.

"As far as I am concerned, it's good news only after we have

Saving a crushed egg with tape and glue: Why you should care about the kakapo
Conservationists in New Zealand are celebrating after an extremely rare kakapo chick hatched from a cracked egg held together by nothing more than tape and glue. The bird joins a global kakapo population of just 125 birds – but what makes these animals so unique and why are they worth saving?

Latest from the International Congress of Zookeepers

Edinburgh Zoo pandas prepared for next mating bid
Zoo bosses have started work to prepare their giant pandas for breeding in the hope of welcoming a cub to the attraction.

Tian Tian and Yang Guang have been taken off show while experts take a semen sample from Yang Guang, which may be used for artificial insemination. Meanwhile, an internal examination will be performed on Tian Tian to ensure she is in the best of health.

The popular panda cam will also be unavailable for a few days due to pre-breeding preparations.

The would-be parents have failed to reproduce since their arrival at Edinburgh Zoo two years ago. But with another breeding season getting under way, it is hoped it will be a case of third time lucky for the attraction.

There was heartache last year as, after months of waiting, the zoo confirmed that Tian Tian was no longer going to have a cub.

Experts believe the ten-year-old bear conceived and carried a foetus until late term but then lost it.

Panda expert Jeroen Jacobs said the zoo would face another challenge breeding the bears, which are notoriously hard to reproduce.

He said: “There is always a 50-50 chance that breeding will be successful. The keepers will do everything they can to make it work and use the expertise they have gained over the past two years.”

Both animals have produced offspring before, with Tian Tian previously giving birth to twins. Female pandas are fertile for only two or three days each year, usually between March and May.

Earlier this month it emerged Yang Gua

Zoo forced to put down 28 animals in three years
AN endangered chimpanzee, a snow leopard, two Chilean flamingos and two Labrador dogs are among 28 animals Dublin Zoo has been forced to euthanise in the last three years.
Figures released for the first time by the zoo reveal an average of almost 10 animals are put to sleep each year.

Confirmation of the figures comes in the wake of international outrage over the decision by Copenhagen Zoo to euthanise a healthy 18-month-old giraffe called Marius because his genetic make-up ruled him out as a potential breeder.

The animal was dissected in front of a watching crowd before his remains were fed to the zoo's lions, tigers and leopards.

Dublin Zoo director Leo Oosterweghel condemned the the event, calling it "cold, calculated, cynical and callous". Mr Oosterweghel said there were viable alternatives because zoos in the UK, Europe and the Middle East offered to house the giraffe.

Dublin Zoo has insisted all of the animals that have been euthanised at the zoo were put to sleep because they w

Of inbreeding and surplus captive wildlife
The tragic death of Marius, the giraffe, at Copenhagen Zoo has again brought to mind the question of inbreeding and surplus animals in zoos all over the world.
Zoos always seem to think they have an important role to play in educating the public, but to have Marius dissected publicly as a kind of lesson in humane slaughter has nothing to do with education or dietary habits of wildlife, but everything to do with getting rid of an animal that happened to be no longer useful to the industry.
Even as Marius grabbed the headlines news emerged of yet another five lions at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire, UK which were put down because of genetic problems caused by inbreeding.
Both these zoos argued that they had no choice as these animals were ‘surplus’ to requirements. Marius a victim of giraffe breeding success by European zoos, but the zoo has no space to house this victim. As for the family of lions, they were becoming too aggressive in their cramped home. A question which begs to be answered is why were these animals bred at all?
Definitely the answers from Copenhagen zoo are only self serving and hypocritical. The zoo’s claims to have interest in the welfare and wellbeing of individual animals and their populations, yet when an animal has outlived its usefulness it is killed.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) doubts that culling is the zoo’s solution to maintain a healthy giraffe population to ensure unrelated giraffes breed. Marius is not from an endangered giraffe subspecies. Even if he were, there is no mechanism or intent of zoos to ever release giraffes back into the wild nor is there a reason to do so, so there is no valid conservation purpose for giraffes to be bred in captivity. The only reason to breed giraffes is because of their popularity as display animals.
It has long been recognised that as long as there are zoos, there will be unwanted animals. So long as there are unwanted animals, more like Marius wi

Scientists study whether orangutan Mahal's death points to greater threat
Cutting-edge genetic diagnostics may help the Milwaukee County Zoo determine whether a new threat to its primates is lurking on zoo grounds or the shocking death a year ago of the popular young orangutan named Mahal was a fluke.

Mahal's rapid and severe disease progression raises concerns about the health of captive apes in similar settings, a team of researchers led by Tony Goldberg of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Veterinary Medicine concluded in a paper published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The 5-year-old orangutan's rapid decline could indicate an underlying condition, such as an immune deficiency, that was unique to Mahal. Or, a previously unrecognized species of tapeworm that infected practically every organ in Mahal's body may be inherently virulent and pose a threat to others.

"Moreover, the close evolutionary relationship between orangutans and humans raises concerns about the parasite's zoonotic potential," the team reported.

In other words, could the previously unknown species of tapeworm adapt to human hosts and cause a potentially deadly infectious disease in people?

In the wild, the rare Ebola virus — first recognized in 1976 near the Ebola river in the Congo of Africa — is a threat to both humans and other primates. It causes Ebola hemorrhagic fever with a 50% to 90% mortality rate.

While working in 2008 on an award-winning series about Mahal and efforts of zoos to protect dying species such as orangutans, Journal Sentinel reporter Jan Uebelherr and photographer Jack Orton needed to have clean tuberculosis tests before they could come in close contact with the orangutans because the red-haired great apes are susceptible to many of the same illnesses as humans.

Goldberg, a veterinarian and international expert in the identification of emerging and rare diseases in humans and other primates, termed the threat level of the newly identified tapeworm "medium-orange," or intermediate, during an interview this month.

A few dozen of the 1,500 known species of this particular group of parasites can infect humans and other primates, according to Goldberg. The tapeworm linked to Mahal's death was a previously unknown species in a newly categorized genus that has been found in weasels in Africa or North America.

Mahal's tapeworm was in its larval form; larval tapeworms infect the tis

Japan takes baby steps toward a proper debate about animal rights
On Jan. 10, convenience store chain Family Mart started selling a new bentō (boxed lunch) with a heavy-duty name to complement its hefty ¥600 price: Famima Premium Koroge Wagyu-iri Hamburger Bento, which “contains” high-quality Japanese ground beef. For an added touch of extravagance, it also came with a side of foie gras.

A month later, the company withdrew the product after receiving complaints about the foie gras, which is made from the fatty livers of geese. Animal welfare groups claim the manufacture of foie gras amounts to animal cruelty since the birds are force-fed. A Family Mart PR person told Tokyo Shimbun that the company only received 22 complaints, but that it was enough to persuade it to pull the item. The reporter hinted that the company may have actually withdrawn it due to bad sales, but in any case, it’s significant that complaints related to animal rights would be taken seriously by a Japanese business and picked up by the media. It’s not a topic that’s usually covered unless non-Japanese are involved.

Like Caroline Kennedy. The new U.S. ambassador to Japan recently attracted media scrutiny for a tweet expressing her and the U.S. government’s objection to the dolphin “drive hunt” taking place in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture. Ever since “The Cove” won the Oscar for best documentary of 2009, the world has come down on the whaling town for its yearly cull, which involves scaring dolphins into a cove, separating some for sale to aquariums and marine shows, and killing others for food. Taiji says the condemnation is unfair, since this is how the town makes its living. People who object are hypocrites because humans raise cows and pigs for slaughter. What’s the difference?

Protests are viewed by the Japanese press as a form of cultural bias: Those who complain think dolphins are special, more intelligent than other animals and thus should not be killed for food. But recent editorials in the Tokyo and Asahi Shimbuns, prompted by the Kennedy tweet, downplay the cultural-chasm theory. Asahi says it is more about “how we want to live as human beings.” Why are dolphins special? The feeling is that there is “less distance” between our two species because dolphins are biologically equipped to “communicate,” thus giving them the means to display “intelligence.” And the more an animal “fulfills the condition

Famed Milwaukee County Zoo orangutan’s death caused by strange infection
Mahal, the young orangutan who became a star of the Milwaukee County Zoo and an emblem of survival for a dwindling species, led an extraordinary life.

It turns out, the young ape died an extraordinary death, too.

Rejected by his biological mother at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colo., and eventually flown to Milwaukee aboard a private jet to live with a surrogate mother, Mahal became one of the Milwaukee County Zoo’s star attractions. His unexpected death at age 5 in late December 2012 was a shock to the community that came to know him through a popular newspaper feature series in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and a book that recounted his diffic

North Korea Puts Yorkshire Terriers In Zoo
A zoo in North Korea has reportedly welcomed its newest animal attraction - a pack of Yorkshire Terriers.

The miniature dogs have been introduced to Central Zoo in the capital Pyongyang, according to state media.

Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said the dogs are now learning "several feats", although it did not elaborate on the type of tricks they might perform.

North Koreans not familiar with 'Yorkies', which were bred in Yorkshire to catch rats and mice by scuttling around clothing mills, were given a helpful guide to the pint-sized pet.

"Each one has long hair - tan on its head and legs and blue grey on its body," KCNA reported.

"It is 22-24cm tall and weighs 2.5-3.5kg. It lives about 14 years on an average."

A picture released by KCNA appeared to show three Yorkshire Terriers in seemingly good condition.

However, Central Zoo was previously condemned by travel publication Lonely Planet, whose website claims most of the animals kept there "look pretty forlorn".

"Worst off are the big cats, nearly all gifts of long-dead communist big wigs around the world - the wonderful lions, tigers and leopards are kept in woefully inadequate compounds, and many have lost the plot as a result," it says.

"The zoo's two elephants an

Rewilding: Bring in the big beasts to fix ecosystems
Top animals shape ecosystems, so some conservationists want to unleash big beasts like elephants and lions to restore the countryside

THE sky is purple and the wind is fierce on top of the cliff. David Burney has to shout as he explains what we're looking at. Below us is the Makauwahi Cave, which contains the remains of plants and animals going back thousands of years. It is revealing what the Hawaiian island of Kauai was like before people arrived. Here you can find the bones of moa-nalo, the giant flightless ducks that once ruled Hawaii.

For millions of years, these plant-eating fowl roamed the islands, taking their pick of the lush vegetation. There were no large predators to threaten them. Then came the Polynesians. They probably started feasting on the plump, defenceless birds as soon as they had jumped out of their canoes. "It was an instant luau" – a feast – says Burney.

The ducks were soon wiped out, and the onslaught was only just beginning. European settlers introduced rabbits and goats to Hawaii, and the defences that native plants had evolved against the ducks' thick beaks were little use against sharp teeth. Today, many of the original plant species of Kauai are extinct, replaced by invasive weeds. "For years, I documented extinction," says Burney, who has spent much of the past two decades unearthing fossils here with his wife Lida Pigott Burney. "I felt like the county coroner."

Then, a few years ago, the Burneys decided to go beyond studying the past, to recreating it. They searched for surviving native plants and began to plant them on disused farmland near the cave. The Makauwahi Cave Reserve was born. Here, endangered yellow hibiscus flowers called ma'o hau hele, brought from nearby islands and from Kew Gardens in London, stand out starkly against the dark sky. Burney points out a lone loulu palm tree, one of the last of its kind, which he planted after finding it in the cave's fossil record.

But even on this small site of just a few acres, keeping weeds in check is a major battle. What if, Burney wondered, the giant ducks were still around. They might feast on the weeds in preference to the beak-resistant native plants. So he decided to try a little experiment. As we arrive at an enclosure, one of his surrogate ducks comes to meet us. It is a giant tortoise named Cal. Burney says Cal and his fellow duck impersonators are doing what he hoped. They prefer to eat non-native plants, and they are thriving and laying eggs.

The Makauwahi Cave Reserve is a tiny example of what's come to be known as "rewilding". The term means different things to different people, and in the widest sense of putting aside land for wildlife, it has been going on for more than a century. But the rewilding moveme

Say Hello to New Inmates
The city’s Nehru Zoological park will have a pair each of African lion and cheetah to attract public in the coming days.

The young Lions and Cheetahs were gifted to the zoo park by the Saudi Prince Bandar Bin Saud Bin Mohammad Al Saud last year.

The Prince, during his visit to the city for the Conference of Parties-11 in 2012, had promised to gift the animals.

According to zoo authorities, the lions and cheetahs have completed their quarantine period and are ready for display.

On a suitable date, they would be released for public view, officials informed. Three tiger cubs and two leopard cubs were placed on display in the last week.

In addition, zoo authorities will welcome a deadly King cobra and a male tiger from Pilikula zoo. The King cobra and tiger are expected to reach the zoo in another one week.

Considering the failure of zoo’s vulture breeding centre that is yet to breed a vulture, also due to the absence a healthy young vulture, the zoo authori

Two Animals Dead in a Day at Surabaya Zoo
Within the span of just 11 hours on Wednesday, Surabaya Zoo lost two more animals, bringing to 11 the number of animal deaths this year at the facility dubbed by the international media the “zoo of death.”

Agus Supangkat, a spokesman for the zoo, confirmed on Wednesday that a female anoa — basically a miniature water buffalo — and a male dromedary camel were the latest animals to have died there. He said there was nothing unusual in the deaths, citing old age in the case of the anoa and a skin disease in the case of the camel.

“There are no physical bruises on the anoa’s body,” Agus said.

“We tried our best to save its life, especially considering how the anoa has been under the medical team’s watch.”

He said the anoa, named Happy, was on a list of 84 animals categorized in January as being ill or disabled.

The camel, Estem, was also on the list. He had reportedly been diagnosed with a skin disease several months earlier and the condition was said to have worsened recently.

“The medical team was actually able to treat the disease, but it flared up again,” Agus said.

Estem was among Surabaya Zoo’s first generation of camels, having arrived in the city from Australia in 1994 along with five other camels.

The six camels later reproduced, bringing the zoo’s camel collection to 20 animals, some of which were later traded to other zoos across Indonesia.

Agus said the remaining animals on the medical watch list were being constantly monitored by veterinarians.

“Those animals are under close watch because they are ill or are very old, and that’s why they need to be under the medical team’s watch,” he said as quoted by

“From the 84 that are under close watch [reported in January], three have died, leaving 81.”

The series of animal deaths at the zoo, dating back to 2006 and peaking at around 500 a year since then, have come amid a flurry of management changes and takeovers at the country’s oldest zoo.

The Surabaya administration is now in charge of the facility, but has been denied a much-needed conservation permit to run the zoo from the Forestry Ministry, leaving it powerless to implement the sweeping changes experts have called for to improve conditions there.

Animal rights group ProFauna has urged an extra day of closure

Hopes for White Tiger Cubs at Buenos Aires Zoo
Two female Bengal tigers arrived at Buenos Aires Zoo on Thursday, where zookeepers hope they will mate with the zoo's rare male white tiger and produce a litter that will include white tiger cubs.

The lucky bachelor, a white Bengal named Rhiano, was born here seven years ago and zookeepers believe he is ready to mate.

With the arrival of the two tigresses, Indra and Maya, the zoo hopes to produce more tigers with the exotic coloration.

Though Indra and Maya both have normal colouration, they have the recessive gene that can cause a genetic condition that strips their fur of the orange pigment, leaving the animal with snow white fur, black stripes and blue eyes.

"They've come to our zoo to mate with our male, Rhiano who is a male who was born at the Buenos Aires Zoo seven years ago. He is a white male. The females are orange, but they have white recessive traits in their genes so there is a high chance that there will be white tigers in the litter, or yellow tigers with the whit - See more at:

Conservation and science to lead zoo educational Islands project
AN inspiring educational project is to form part of the largest zoo development in the UK.

In just over 12 months’ time, Chester Zoo will unveil Islands, a £30m scheme which will transform the Cheshire attraction.

Linked by a series of bridges and including a journey on water, Islands will be home to animals and plants from the South East Asian islands of the Philippines and Indonesia, including Panay, Papua, Bali, Sumatra, Sumba and Sulawesi.

At the heart of Islands, on the recreated isle of Sumba, will be a new education building – called Sekolah – which has been modelled on traditional Indonesian architecture. Just as in the remote villages, Sekolah, meaning school, will be the social and cultural hub of Islands.

The zoo already works with schools and communities both in the UK and around the world through its many conservation programmes. Through Sekolah, visitors will be given an insight into the lives of others and discover more about conservation science.

Teaching sessions will be held in the classroom together with curator-style talks, a varied programme of bespoke short films with commentary from the zoo’s educators, animated and intuitive story-telling for younger audiences and hands-on workshops featuring tools for conservation science, including microchips, microscopes and data loggers.

The school house has been given a welcome boost from The Wolfson Foundation which has pledged a grant to help with its building.

Chester Zoo’s Education Programmes Manager, Dr Maggie Esson, said: “The zoo is an environment rich with animals and plants and steeped in knowledge of conservation and science. We already teach 30,000 students in taught workshops and a further 80,000 come to the zoo for an educational visit on a teacher-led experience.

“Through Sekolah we will help pass on our knowledge, across all stages of the curriculum, to a further 30,000 people through student and other groups. Alongside reading, writing and arithmetic there is a real need for students to learn more about the information-loaded world we live in.

“This can include global collaborative learning, research skills, analysing and interpreting data and critical thinking. With this in mind, we wi

Wildlife park featuring exotic animals of South America and Australia planning to open between St Neots and Cambridge near Caxton
A farmer will fulfil his life-long dream when he opens a South American wildlife park near Caxton.
Animal enthusiast George Topham plans to showcase his private collection of more than 70 exotic animals on a 15-acre site north of the A428.
Eltisley Wildlife Park, as it will be known, will “bring a taste of South America to the region” and promises to “offer a unique experience to the people of South Cambridgeshire.
Mr Topham said: “It just started with a few llamas as family pets but since then our numbers of animals have grown as we’ve become increasingly fascinated not only with the animals themselves but the places where they live.
“We keep alpaca, which we’ve started to show locally. It has been a real labour of love for the whole family and we are hoping to expand on our experience of these wonderful animals and share our knowledge with visitors.”
Mr Topham also hope the animals can be a way to get Cambridgeshire’s school children out of the classroom.
He added: “It’s also fulfilling a real need in local schools to take learning out of the classroom and broaden local children’s knowledge of the rest of the world through these fascinating creatures.”
The park will be home to llamas, alpacas emus, and a Patagonian Mara.
They will also have the world’s largest rodent in residence, the Capybara.
The process of opening a wildlife park or zoo is complex. Mr Topham had to print a public notice in a local and national newspaper and will now begin jumping through the necessary hoops to get his zoo licence.
The decision on whether he gets one falls to South Cambridgeshire District Council.

Rhino trade conference will see sparks fly!
Are calls to legalise rhino horn trade intensifying the poaching crisis? In the face of a catastrophic 7 000% increase in rhino poaching since 2007, the South African government is preparing to ask the international community to approve the legalisation of rhino-horn trade.

Labrador Duck: Not extinct after all?
Dead duck? Or science amok?
Treated as a species and described from specimens last collected in the 1870s, the Labrador Duck (Camptorhynchus labradorius) is supposedly extinct. Thus waterfowl expert John C. Phillips (1922, vol. 1, p. 34) commented that, "During the ornithological history of this country only one species of North American duck has disappeared, namely, the Labrador Duck."
Labrador Duck is a synonym of Pied Duck, the vernacular name used by early writers such as John James Audubon, who in his famous Birds of America (1840-1844) listed it under the binomial Fuligula labradora.¹

But in fact, it seems that descriptions of this "species" were based on specimens of what were probably natural hybrids of Steller's Eider (Polysticta stelleri) and Common Eider (Somateria mollissima). Indeed, the obvious eiderlike character of these ducks is reflected in the French name for C. labradorius, "Eider du Labrador." Like eiders, they were sea ducks that fed on small shellfish, most commonly mussels, and thei

Nellie, the World's Oldest Dolphin in Human Care, Turning 61 Thursday
The world’s oldest dolphin in human care – a bottlenose who lives in Florida – turns 61 Thursday.

Nellie is a cherished resident of Marineland Dolphin Adventure south of St. Augustine. She was born in the park on Feb. 27, 1953 and went on to star in several television shows filmed at Marineland’s first dolphin stadium and become Jacksonville University’s mascot.

The bottlenose dolphin has far exceeded the average life span of dolphins in the wild and those in aquariums and zoos, Marineland Dolphin Adventure said in a news release.

“Nellie’s long life is a testament to the extraordinary level of care she has received since birth,” the park said.

Marineland Dolphin A

Axolotl found in Mexico City lake after scientists feared it only survived in captivity
A rare, salamander-like amphibian has been spotted in its only known natural habitat, after researchers feared the creature had disappeared from the wild.
Mexican biologists have seen, but not caught, two axolotls during a second attempt to find them in the Xochimilco network of lakes and canals of Mexico City.

The researchers took to the muddy waters of lake Xochimilco in small boats last year, and searched for weeks for the amphibian, but to no avail.

But biologist Armando Tovar Garza, of Mexico's National Autonomous University, said that members of the team carrying out the search had seen two axolotls during the first three weeks of a second survey expected to conclude in April.

“We weren't able to capture them...because the behaviour of the axolotl makes them very difficult to capture,” he said.

“But we have had two sightings. That's impor

Hungry for hoppers – the economic value of Thailand’s Wrinkle-lipped Bats
With an ever-increasing human population size in Asia, the need to identify sustainable practices to ensure food security is a priority. An article published by Wanger et. al. demonstrates that a single cave-roosting bat species, Chaerephon plicatus (the Wrinkled-Lipped Bat), substantially contributes to the suppression of a major rice pest in Thailand, the white-backed planthopper. Through complex extrapolations, the authors report that the population of eight million C. plicatus could prevent an annual loss of nearly 3,000 tons of rice in Thailand alone, with a monetary value of over $1.2 million USD. Through the prevention of crop loss by white-backed planthoppers, this single bat species likely protects food for 26,000 people ever year. Furthermore, the authors advocate for the protection of common yet functionally significant species, such as C. plicatus, rather than simply focusing cons

Alaska Zoo plans $8 million expansion of polar bear exhibit to triple current space
The Alaska Zoo plans to upgrade and expand its polar bear exhibit, with work scheduled to begin this summer on the $8 million project.

The expansion will triple the current space, KTUU ( reported.

The two-phase project includes plans for a transition center for orphaned or injured cubs, a maternity den and new public viewing area.

The first phase will include a cub transition center and the maternity den, according to zoo executive director Pat Lampi.

The second phase will double the zoo's capacity for adult bears, with a braided water stream and upgrades to the yard. Also included will be construction of a large, elevated walkway for visitors.

The expansion will allow the zoo to care for as many as six cubs.

The zoo has a five-year permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to respond to orphaned cubs. It's the only such permit issued in the nation.

"We're very pleased that they entrust us with that," Lampi said.

According to zoo officials, there has been an increase in orphaned cubs from the North Slope. Lampi said that with increases in arctic activity and changing sea ice, his facility wants to be ready.

"We're looking toward the future — not knowing what's happening on the North Slope, but indications are that

Action leap for imperilled frogs
Thirty percent of frogs in South Africa could become extinct due to habitat destruction and pollution.

Leap Day for Frogs encourages the public to take a leap of action for endangered frogs.

There are 160 frog species in South Africa. The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) will have a National Awareness Day tomorrow.

Ordinary citizens can play a meaningful role in the protection and conservation of frogs, said Dr Jeanne Tarrant, manager of the EWT’s Threatened Amphibian Programme (EWT-TAP).

The campaign aims to put frogs on South Africa’s conservation map by providing information on what people, businesses and the government can do to reduce their negative impact on habitats and create environments conducive to frogs’ survival.

This will be the second annual awareness day for South African frogs.

It will comprise events, activities and opportunities that focus on threatened species for schoolchildren.

These include KwaZuluNatal’s critically endangered Pickersgill’s Reed Frog, the Eastern Cape’s critically endangered Amathole Toad and the Western Cape’s endangered Leopard Toad.

Tarrant will teach local residents in Mtunzini how they can help the Pickersgill’s to survive.

In Kloof, a family outing – including kid’s activities, an illustrated presentation and a guided walk in Glenholme Nature Reserve – is planned.

The critically endangered Pickersgill’s Reed Frogs are present in only a few areas on the KZN coast, and were a veritable needle in a h

Vultures to be bred at 8 more centres
The Centre is expanding its vulture conservation programme across eight centres to save the endangered species and arrest the steady decline of their population.
The move to emulate successful vulture breeding and rescue centre in Pinjore comes ahead of the ambitious plan to release these birds, bred in captivity, into the wild by 2016-17.
Six hundred pairs of each of the three critically endangered species — white backed, long billed and slender billed — will be released. For this purpose, 25 pairs of the three species will be needed to breed in each of the eight centres.
At a meeting last month, officials from Central Zoo Authority, zoo directors, chief wildlife wardens and forests officers involved in the Vulture Conservation Breeding Programme agreed to send captive-bred vultures to Rani in Assam; Rajabha

Endangered rhinos may be moved to Australia as ‘insurance’
Conservationists in talks with Taronga Zoo in effort to bring animals from South Africa, where poaching is rampant
Dozens of South African rhinos could be moved to Australia in a last-ditch bid to save them from rampant poaching and create an “insurance” population for the species.

Businessmen Ray Dearlove and Allan Davies, founders of the Australian Rhino Project, are in discussions with Taronga Zoo to support the increasingly desperate fight to save the species from extinction.

Last year, a record 1,004 rhinos were illegally killed in South Africa, up from 668 the year before. Most of this poaching takes place in the Kruger National Park, with rhino horn now worth about $20,000 a kilogram.

Rhino horn is highly prized in south-east Asia, where some people erroneously believe that it cures various ailments. The black rhinoceros is considered critically endangered, with one subspecies, the western black rhinoceros, confirmed as extinct last year.

The growing poaching problem led to the idea of relocating rhinos to Australia, considered by South African conservationists as being an ideal habitat for the species.

Taronga Zoo operates a Sydney-based site as well as Taronga Western Plains Zoo near Dubbo, which already houses a small population of black and white rhinos.

A zoo spokesman confirmed to Guardian Australia that talks with Dearlove and Davies had progressed.

“At their request, Taronga Zoo last year contributed to the completion of a feasibility study about the concept and viability of importing rhinoceros to boost existing breeding programs in Australia to assist in securing a future for the species,” he said.

“A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the zoo and the Australian Rhino Project to further progress the requirements of such a program and involvement of

I have never seen this in Pattaya. There was one doing the same at Bangkok Safari and I am inclined to think it is there. Clever....but it disgusts me.


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Peter Dickinson
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