Friday, September 19, 2014

Zoo News Digest 15th - 19th September 2014 (ZooNews 899)

Zoo News Digest 15th - 19th September 2014 (ZooNews 899)

From International Hoofstock Awareness Association

Dear Colleagues,

Very sad to learn of the death of William Oliver. A big loss. My sincere condolences to friends, family and colleagues.

Much in this Zoo News Digest on the inquest into the tragic death of Sarah McClay. Let's hope it will all be sorted so that she can rest in peace and her family have closure.

I find the idea of an 'All Giraffe Zoo' in Qatar quite fascinating because it is such an unusual idea. Although Giraffe are popular zoo animals I am none too sure how successful such a venture would be if it was just giraffes. Then there is the question of species/subspecies mixing (where are the taxonomists up to on that one?). The most Giraffe I have ever seen in one place is at Bangkok Safari World but they were a very mixed bag. The word 'Giraffe' is from the Arabic word زرافة Zarafa and they are definitely a popular species in Arabia. I have even seen a small herd in the Desert in Dubai a few years back. The herd on Sir Bani Yas island is now quite big. I don't know if the original animals I took there some years back still survive, or their progeny, but I would like to think so.

The article 'Cub’s death sparks talk of gene disorder in zoo tigresses' may have partly hit the point. I don't doubt that there is too much inbreeding going on in Indian Zoos….particularly as they strive to produce more white tigers. However I believe the real reason for all these cub deaths can be laid fairly and squarely at the door of inadequate provision of cubbing dens and keepers, vets and directors sticking their noses in to check that everything is okay. Not checking is the very best thing that they can do.

Sticking with tigers for just a moment….what has happened to the melanistic cub I reported on some weeks back? I have never heard another word. Now this could actually be good news. Perhaps someone is not checking….in which case everything will be okay.

I was sad to learn of the suicide by crocodile at the SamutPrakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo. I am puzzled why this should be choice for departure but no doubt it would be very quick. This place has probably more crocodiles than anywhere else on the planet and it definitely has the biggest.

Welcoming back two of my Penguin Team from the IMATA conference this week. I do hope that they had a good time. We missed them.

Some very disturbing news this week about people involved in 'zoo rescue' work. Please do not be taken in by flashy web pages or facebook pages. Check if they are a registered charity. Is your donation financing their jet lifestyle? I'm being serious here...don't get taken in.

Although I have been based in Dubai these past three years I prefer to maintain a UK address  for my surface mail. This has changed yet again. It is now:

Peter Dickinson, c/o 2 Highgate, Dolwen, Abergele, Conwy, North Wales, 

United Kingdom, LL22 8NP.

Bear in mind it is NOT where I live. You can send books for review, cheques etc to that address. I will get them eventually....although it may take months. If you prefer to send by courier to Dubai then please email me and I will send details. My contact phone number in Dubai remains the same:

00971 (0)50 4787 122


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

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A tribute to William Oliver 1947-2014
William Oliver will be remembered for his lifetime dedication to conservation and his unique, passionate and determined personality.

A dedicated conservationist, William Oliver was a close colleague and friend of many at Fauna and Flora International (FFI), and we were deeply saddened to hear of his sudden passing last week. Here we share a few tributes from FFI staff to honour one of conservation’s most colourful characters.

Qatar Has Plans to Build a $45 Billion Dollar Futuristic City For The World Cup, That'll Feature "Manmade Clouds"
illion dollars (another thing we're raising our eyebrows at) and will feature "19 districts" along with two golf courses, four islands, an all giraffe zoo, a mall, t

Rewilding Britain: bringing wolves, bears and beavers back to the land
A pair of highland ponies nibble grass as two kestrels swoop across the path. Up a rock face across this windswept valley deep in the Scottish highlands, a golden eagle is hunting for prey, its movements tracked by a GPS tag. Nearby are Scottish wildcats among the bracken – Europe’s rarest cat, with fewer than 400 left – plus red squirrels, black grouse, the occasional pine marten, shaggy highland cattle adapted to the harsh environment here, and, like much of the highlands, plenty of deer. Wild boar and moose roamed this corner of Sutherland until recently.

But if Paul Lister, the estate’s multimillionaire owner and the heir to the MFI fortune gets his way, two species not seen on this land for centuries could soon be added to the list: wolves and bears. Alladale estate, which Lister prefers to call a “wilderness reserve”, is one of the most ambitious examples of so-called “rewilding”, the banner under which a growing number of people are calling for the reintroduction of locally extinct species to landscapes. Bringing back species such as wolves, beavers and lynx, rewilding advocates say, can increase the diversity of other flora and fauna, enable woodlands to expand and help reconnect people with nature.

The unofficial figurehead for this movement, the outlines of which will become clearer with the formation of a new charity early next year called Rewilding Britain, is Guardian columnist and author George Monbiot. His book Feral, published in 2013, has been reprinted over 30 times in hardback and has led to a national debate over the merits of restoring the country to a wilder state.

“For me, it’s part of a wider effort to develop a positive environmentalism, which we desperately need,” says Monbiot. “[It’s about] creating a vision for a better world that is much more appealing than just laying out what is wrong with the current one, of having a rather more inspiring one than saying, ‘Do as w

Vietnamese delegates returning from South Africa call on the public to take action to save rhinos

Diva Hong Nhung and other members of the delegation on a fact-finding mission to South Africa just returned to Vietnam and called upon the public to join forces and help stop the killing of rhinos in South Africa and other countries.
Vietnam’s last rhino was killed in 2010 for its horn, but Vietnam is still considered one of the largest rhino horn consumer markets in the world. International criminal syndicates operate seemingly beyond the reach of the law, killing rhinos and hacking off their horns in South Africa before smuggling the horns to Vietnam and China. In Vietnam, rhino horn is not only considered a form of magic medicine, but is also perceived as an indicator of status amongst the rising wealthy classes. The increasing demand for rhino horn in Vietnam poses a serious threat to the survival of rhinos in South Africa and other countries.

During the trip to South Africa, the delegates visited Kruger National pa 

Elephant baby boom: Dublin Zoo welcomes third calf in ten weeks
The newborn female arrived on Wednesday morning, weighing in at 68kg - the weight of an average human woman.

The birth was “very calm and quick” and the new calf was standing within ten minutes, according to Paul O’Donoghue, Assistant Director at the Zoo.

“The calf’s mother, Bernhardine, is the oldest female and the matriarch of the herd,” he added.

She is the third newborn Asian elephant in ten weeks.

During the summer, Dublin Zoo became home to two other calves Kavi (born in July) and Ashoka (born in August).

Both baby elephants’ names were revealed to the public this week after a social media naming competition encouraged users to suggest Asian-inspired monikers for the mammals.

A naming competition will again be hosted on Dublin Zoo’s Facebook page to christen the newest member of the herd.

With the multiple births, Dublin Zoo, Dublin Ci

Military Lend a Hand to Create New Female Polar Bear Enclosure

60 military personnel have arrived in the Highlands to help create a new home for a female polar bear. Due to arrive next spring, the female will join Walker and Arktos, Scotland’s only resident males, with the hope of hearing the pitter patter of polar bear cub paws in the future.

Lodging at the Rothiemurchus Estate, the Engineers from 71 Engineer Regiment and a contingent from the South Dakota National Guard have kicked off work on the new 300 metre (984ft) walkway and one hectare polar bear enclosure being developed on the south west side of the Highland Wildlife Park  by the Park’s ‘Works Team’. The project commenced on Sunday 7th September and will run through until Thursday 18 September. It is a massive undertaking and includes work on four separate construction areas; the military personal are digging in over 200 posts by hand that range from 3 metres to 6 metres (9ft 10-19ft 8) high.

Steven Plowman, Highland Wildlife Park Property and Estates Manager, said:
“I was approached by the military personnel to see if we could offer them a task for their operatives; they were looking to do practical engineering work within the local community that allowed them to create something permanent for people to enjoy for many years to come. A win win for all. As a conservation charity we are also delighted to receive the donation (worth an amazing £45,000) of the military’s experience and labour. Incredibly, each post hole is dug by hand with fencing shovels and then the posts themselves are loaded onto army vehicles and taken out to the site of the new development.”

Douglas Richardson, Animals Collection Manager for the Highland Wildlife Park, continues:
“We are delighted to be welcoming a female polar bear to the Park next spring. It is still to be agreed exactly which female will arrive in the Highlands, but we hope to have confirmation shortly. The female will remain separate from the males, as she would in the wild, and during the breeding season we will introduce her to one of our males – likely Arktos to start with as he is the older of our boys. The two will spend some time together and we hope nature will take its course.

The last time polar bear cubs were born and reared in the UK was in 1992.  Creating an environment that will allow such an event to happen again will be incredibly positive for the Highland Wildlife Park and confirm that our unique approach to this threatened species’ husbandry – which will mirror what happens in the wild – is correct.”
The new enclosure will feature a pond for the female to splash and play in and plenty of natural ground for her to run and roll around on. In addition to the main enclosure, adjacent will be a smaller holding enclosure, also featuring a pond, for when the male comes to visit. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland have a history of designing state of the art polar bear enclosures that meet the animal’s needs to the highest level possible. Animal experts from the Park have since been invited to consult and advise on other polar bear enclosures both in the UK and around the world.

Also in development is a raised walkway through the vicuna enclosure. The viewing platform will wind up the hill to give a panoramic view of the female polar bear enclosure and also provide disabled access to visitors.

Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Mifsud RE, Commanding Officer of 71 Engineer Regiment said:
“This project, involving a blend of Reservists from 71 Engineer Regiment, Regular Sappers from our partnered Regular unit in Kinloss and military engineers from the South Dakota National Guard, provides an excellent opportunity to showcase the depth and diversity of skills required to plan, resource and deliver an ambitious project in such short time. It provides vital training for the Regiment's role on future operations. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to work with the Society again; this sort of work develops individual trade skills; inspires my soldiers and generates an enormous amount of interest from those who seek to add a new dimension to their lives as a Royal Engineer Reservist.”

On Wednesday 17 September a ‘handing over’ ceremony will take place. The Highland Wildlife Park will present military commanders with commemorative gifts. 

Has UK aquarium bred the world's rarest fish?
Tropiquarium has bred the Finescale splitfin, Allodontichthys polylepis — which it says is possibly the rarest fish in the world!

The fish is a livebearer belonging to a group of fish called Goodeids. There are about 40 species of Goodeids and their natural range is entirely within Mexico. Unfortunately, most of their habitats have high densities of human settlement and they are becoming increasingly altered and polluted. This has led to some species of Goodeid becoming extinct in the wild and others becoming critically endangered.

Layout plan of Night Safari to be finalized soon
Here's good news for wildlife lovers -- the Greater Noida Authority is all set to finalize the layout plan for the much-awaited night safari project in the city.

India's first and world's fourth largest night safari project is to be developed on 250 acres of land, adjoining the Gautam Budh University beside the Yamuna Expressway, at a cost of Rs 1,500 crore.

Uttar Pradesh chief secretary Alok Ranjan told TOI on Wednesday that "final touches are being given to the layout plan for the night safari project", following which ground work would st


Commissioners will decide fate of Sedgwick County Zoo’s elephants
Should they stay, or should they go?

The future of the Sedgwick County Zoo’s two elephants, Stephanie and Cinda, will be decided this week by five elected officials when they vote whether to spend $5.3 million of taxpayers’ money to support an expanded exhibit for the biggest land animals roaming the Earth.

If a majority of the Sedgwick County commissioners approves the spending, the South African elephants will stay and be joined by others. If a majority votes no, Stephanie and Cinda eventually will leave Wichita, where they’ve spent 42 years.

“This is driven by the need to keep Stephanie and Cinda here,” Gayle Malone, a board member of the Sedgwick County Zoological Society, said of the proposed $10.5 million, five-a
Read more here:

Life and Death in a Palestinian Zoo
Palestinian tourist infrastructure is minimal, as is the number of international tourists aside from pilgrims and the 'conflict tourists' who break their holidays in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem for a day trip to see the 'other side'. Those who do visit the West Bank rarely venture away from Bethlehem or Ramallah. But encircled by the Apartheid Wall, an hour or so north of Ramallah, the small town of Qalqilya hosts the West Bank's only zoo. Far from the conventional modern safari parks of Europe or the US, and despite its initial rather shabby appearance, for those willing to scratch the surface and uncover it's stories Qalqilya Zoo is a unique experience.

Until the Second Intifada, the zoo was a popular attraction for families keen to see giraffes, zebras, hippopotamuses and other assorted creatures that they had previously only seen in books. By 2002, with Qalqilya under daily Israeli attack, the zoo's resident veterinarian Dr. Sami Khader felt compelled to add a new string to the bow of his already overloaded workload. As tear gas and Israeli bullets filled the town's streets, they also began to spill over in to the zoo's compound. One night, as Israeli soldiers entered the zoo whilst shooting, animals panicked and 'Rudy' the prized male giraffe hit his head against an iron bar and fell. Rudy soon died of a stroke due to a build up of blood pressure caused by the accident. Rudy's partner, 'Brownie', fell in to a deep depression after seeing her dead mate and miscarried the baby she was carrying. When tear gas again filled the zoo's air, Brownie suffocated and died. It was at this stage that Dr. Sami decided to become a taxidermist:

'I spent most of my time here during and just after the intifada working on taxidermy. The first giraffe took me 6 months alone. Nothing is wasted here and this is what we have, we need to preserve everything so that people can learn about animals'.

Today, the few visitors who do reach the zoo can see an array of live animals and also visit Dr. Sami's other 'attractions' including the museum of stuffed animals. Alongside the giraffes are a zebra, jungle cat and others that died du

Thousands of Chinese pharmacies reject bear bile products
Animals Asia has announced that over 1,900 Chinese pharmacies have joined its Healing Without Harm programme - pledging to turn their backs on bear bile products.
The news was released to the Chinese and international media at a press conference today (Monday, September 15th, 2014) in China’s Hunan province.
In the past year, the campaign has increased the number of bear bile free shops and pharmacies from around 260 in August 2013 to 1,945 today.
Key new signees include chain pharmacies Hunan Yang Tian He Pharmacy Group (870 stores) and Hunan Qian Jin Pharmacy (372 stores), as well as pharmaceutical manufacturers Hunan Fang Sheng Pharmaceuticals and Changsha Qing Er Kang Biological Technology. Changsha Maria Hospital has also joined the campaign.
This year’s conference was organised by Animals Asia and the Hunan Drug Industry Trade Association, with the Changsha Wildlife Conservation Association as co-organiser.
Pivotally, the conference was attended by the director of Changsha City’s Food and Drug Administration. This marks the first time the previously industry-only platform of Healing Without Harm has broadened to a governmental level, and is in-line with Animals Asia’s commitment to seek win-win solutions for all parties toward the goal of ending bear bile farming.
Animals Asia founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE said:
“We’re delighted that people are pushing to be a part of this campaign now. Healing Without Harm is a key part of our efforts to end bear bile farming and this initiative has seen an unprecedented rise in traditional medicine doctors and pharmacies supporting alternatives to the use and prescription of bile. It’s fundamentally important to reduce the market and the availability if more bears are going to be helped, and this is just what we are seeing here.”
More than 10,000 bears are still kept on bile farms in China in tiny cages. The bears regularly suffer painful bile extractions, as their bile is a prized ingredient in traditional medicine.
Animals Asia’s Deputy Manager of the China Bear Programme Susan Xu said:
“Having contacted many pharmacies and pharmaceutical factories over the past year, we have been overwhelmed by the number who agreed to abandon bear bile products as they and their customers have come to know more about bear bile farming.
“Increasingly pharmacies, traditional medicine practitioners and pharmaceutical leaders are interested in hearing more about the alternatives and no longer want to be a part of the bear bile industry. There is a real momentum behind the cause right now as awareness increases and more and more practitioners are supporting Healing Without Harm.”
While medical practitioners and pharmacists remain key recipients of the campaign’s message, demand for the products is also being reduced by awareness raising campaigns. Actor Zhang Yi is one of the latest big names to lend support. He starred in Healing Without Harm postersrecently seen at Hangzhou Airport, which serves 23 million passengers annually.
Jill Robinson added:
“Traditional medicine practitioners consistently tell us that bear bile farming is against the very ethos of traditional medicine which advocates harmony with nature. Every bile extraction causes unimaginable suffering for a bear, so fewer products on the shelves translates very simply into less pain. Every item containing bear bile cleared from a pharmacy’s shelves equals less cruelty.
“We thank all those people who are joining the campaign. What was a trickle has become a flood. So many people in China recognise that bear bile farming has had its day.”
Bear bile is extracted using various painful, invasive techniques, all of which cause massive infection in the bears. This practice continues despite the availability of a large number of effective and affordable herbal and synthetic alternatives.
Most farmed bears are kept in tiny cages, sometimes so small that the bears are unable to turn around or stand on all fours. With the reckless use of antibiotics, bears can be made to endure these painful conditions for up to 30 years. Most farmed bears however are starved, dehydrated and suffer from multiple diseases and malignant tumours that ultimately kill them.

Animals Asia runs sanctuaries in China and Vietnam and has rescued over 500 bears including those at a bear bile farm in Nanning which it is also converting into a sanctuary.

Singapore Zoo to launch campaign on rhino conservation
Beyond being used for perceived medicinal purposes, the rhinoceros horn has become a status symbol and is also being used a “hangover cure” after a night of heavy drinking by the affluent in South-east Asia, recent studies have shown.

All these have further threatened rhinos, with last year being a record set for rhino poaching in South Africa. Home to around 75 per cent of the world’s total rhino population, 1,004 rhinos were killed in South Africa last year — and more may be killed this year, exceeding 2013’s record.

To raise awareness on the plight of rhinoceroses in the wild and to stamp out the illegal trade of rhino horns, the Singapore Zoo is launching a month-long rhino conservation awareness campaign that starts tomorrow (Sept 20). This campaign will be held in conjunction with World Rhino Day (Sept 22), said Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) in a statement today.

As part of the campaign, named Rhinos in Trouble: The Hornest Truth, visitors to the zoo are encouraged to donate their nail clippings to symbolise their commitment to rhino conservation. Rhino horns are made of keratin, a material also found in human hair and nails — and science has proven that the rhino horn is only as useful as a medicine as human hair and nails are. Nonetheless, international trade of rhino horns

Elephant undergoes surgery in Tbilisi Zoo (VIDEO)

Israel imports Israeli sand cat from Sweden
Thus are the absurdities that their looming extinction forces in the name of preservation.
Earlier this week, a stunningly beautiful and extremely rare male sand cat landed at the Ben-Gurion International Airport, after roughly a day's flying time from Sweden.

The pure sand cat, or Felis margarita, is in extreme danger of extinction. Originally endemic to Israel and Jordan, this small, chunky wildcat is now totally extinct in the Middle East, though some members of a sub-species reportedly still prowl the deserts of Saudi Arabia, North Africa and central Asia.

Spy on penguin families for science
Penguin Watch (, which launches on 17 September 2014, is a project led by Oxford University scientists that gives citizen scientists access to around 200,000 images of penguins taken by remote cameras monitoring over 30 colonies from around the Southern Ocean. The project brings together scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division and the UK, who normally work on opposite sides of Antarctica.

Recent evidence suggests that populations of many species of penguin, such as chinstrap and Adélie, are declining fast as shrinking sea ice threatens the krill they feed on. By tagging the adults, chicks, and eggs in remote camera images Penguin Watch volunteers will help scientists to gather information about penguin behaviour and breeding success, as well as teaching a comp

Star zoo animals draw crowds but they wont save their species
Brazilians head to the polls in October to decide on their new president. The country’s votes always produce surprises such as the election of a clown in 2010 and in 1959 the election of a rhinoceros named Cacareco with 100,000 votes as a city councillor of São Paulo.

Cacareco was arguably Brazil’s first celebrity animal but the Belo Horizonte Zoo, through captive breeding, has produced the first two “Brazilian” gorillas in the past month. Once their names have been chosen, these baby gorillas will no doubt become celebrities. The zoo just needs to be careful with the naming – after a public competition in the 1970s its first gorilla was called Idi Amin Dada, after the African dictator.

London Zoo’s most famous resident Guy the Gorilla became a national icon in the 60s and 70s; he too was named after an infamous character, 17th century would-be terrorist Guy Fawkes. Superstar zoo animals long pre-date so

Chimpanzees are inherently warlike, finds a new study
Chimpanzees in the wild become violently aggressive on their own, rather than being driven to warlike behaviors as a result of proximity to or interaction with humans, according to a new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

This runs contrary to a previous, high-profile study, which said interference from man was a key predictor of chimpanzee violence against other chimps.
The new work, by some 30 ape researchers, looked at data from 18 chimpanzee communities over five decades and had 152 killings by chimpanzees to analyze.

One of the scientists taking part was David Morgan, research fellow with the Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. For 14 years, Morgan has studied chimpanzees in the forests of Republic of Congo. We caught up with Morgan via e-mail to ask about the study.

Q: How do your new findings change our understanding of chimpanzees?

Tiger maul victim's brother talks of "haunting terror"
Zookeeper Sarah McClay, who was mauled to death by a tiger, must have been terrified as she lay dying in the enclosure, her brother has said.

Stephen McClay, 28, says he is "tortured" by the idea her death was a slow one.

It is 16 months since Mr McClay lost his 24-year-old sister in the attack at South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria.

Miss McClay was in a staff area when male tiger, Padang, got in through an open door and dragged her outside into its feeding enclosure, an inquest heard.

She suffered serious head and neck injuries and died hours later in hospital, before her family - mother

Mauled tiger worker had 'dream job'
A woman mauled to death by a tiger at the wildlife park where she worked was doing her "dream job", her mother has told an inquest.
Sarah McClay, 24, suffered multiple injuries when she was attacked at South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, on May 24 last year.
Miss McClay, from Barrow-in-Furness, was going about her routine duties in the big cat enclosure at the park when she came into contact with a male Sumatran tiger.
She was taken by air ambulance to Royal Preston Hospital but later died from her injuries.
Police said at the time of her death that the enclosure concerned consisted of a number of indoor and outdoor compartments connected by lockable doors. Keepers were required to enter various parts of the enclosure in the course of their routine duties.
However, systems were said to be in place to ensure that animals and keepers remained apart at all times.
Speaking on the first day of the inquest, which is being held in front of a jury, Fiona McClay, from Linlithgow,West Lothian, told the hearing in Kendal that her daughter was "a meticulous person to the extreme" who was "settled in her life".
She said Miss McClay had worked as an animal carer at the park for approximately three years.
South Cumbria Coroner Ian Smith asked her what h

Family of zoo keeper mauled to death by tiger that walked through open door before attacking her say they still need answer after inquest
Sarah McClay died after a tiger escaped its enclosure due to 'defective bolt'
The tiger grabbed Ms McClay's neck causing deep puncture wounds
Her mother Fiona criticised park owner David Gill over Sarah's death
Sarah's boyfriend David Shaw said he had his own idea of what happened
The inquest jury returned a narrative verdict in line with the evidence 

Sarah McClay inquest: Zoo owner 'fired rifle' at tiger
The owner of a zoo where a tiger mauled a keeper to death has described how he fired a rifle at the animal after the attack.

Sarah McClay, 24, died in May last year after a male Sumatran Tiger left her with deep wounds at the South Lakeland Animal Park near Dalton-in-Furness.

An inquest heard David Gill fired a rifle at the animal as it was standing over her motionless body.

The shot scared it into the tiger house so emergency services could get to her.

'Ran like crazy'
Zoo owner Mr Gill told how he ran to the scene when he heard on the park radio the tiger, called Padang, "had got Sarah".

He made his way to the side of the enclosure armed with a rifle but could not get a clear shot.

He said: "I took real good care to look at Sarah. She didn't move at all. She was completely still."

A colleague radioed him to say she had a

Last updated at 18:06, Wednesday, 17 September 2014
COLLEAGUES of Sarah McClay paid tribute to her dedication and passion for her job when they gave evidence to the inquest.

Jo Dennis is the animal manager who has worked at the zoo for 12 years and helped Miss McClay through her training.

She told the hearing today: “She was good at everything she did. She took on board everything you told her.

“She was very good at recording things. She was screwed on; she knew what she was doing in all aspects of her job. She was very thoughtful and took time to listen to what you were saying. I had no doubt in her competence.”

Niall Gilchrist, now of Dorset, is a former deputy animal manager at the Dalton zoo, who left in September 2012 but interviewed Miss McClay for her job and was responsible for some of her training.

She joined in March 2011 and started off on the bird section.

Mr Gilchrist told the hearing: “After she had been there for a period, she would pick up on things and point things out to me, which showed good awareness and understanding of the animals.

“She had quite a measured approach to things. She was progressing, I would say, a little bit quicker than average and impressed me with her work ethic.”

Marketing manager Karen Brewer has worked at the zoo for 15 years and, as part of her role, kept a record of training documents.

She confirmed Miss McClay had been

A POST-MORTEM examination showed among Miss McClay's unsurvivable injuries were deep puncture wounds to the neck, the back of her body, both arms and her left foot.

There was crushing to the spine in the neck and at the top of the chest on the right side, along with fractured ribs and underlying injuries to both lungs.

Bruising and abrasions to her head and back were consistent with her being dragged along the ground, the inquest heard.

Reopening the inquest at County Hall, which is scheduled to last up to six days, Mr Smith told the jury of six women and four men that the nature of the case was “extremely unusual”.

He told them: “Your job is to decide the facts. To decide what actually happened because it is not altogether clear at this stage.”

To aid them a scale model of the tiger house has been made which the jury inspected today.

A short video of the park’s tiger house, filmed last June, was also shown in court.

The tiger enclosure – which housed a male and a female Sumatran tiger on the left side and two jaguar big cats and an Amur tiger on the right – consists of a number of compartments both indoor and outdoor connected by lockable doors which all worked independently.

Jurors were told their attention would be focused on the left side of the enclosure.

Within the enclosure was a light den and a dark den for the tigers, and a keeper’s corridor.

Keepers were required to enter various parts of the enclosure in the course of their routine duties such as cleaning.

However, systems were in place via sliding metal gates to ensure that animals and keepers remained apart at all times.

Owen Broadhead, a senior environmental health officer with Barrow Borough Council – which licenses the park – told the inquest that he was the first officer from the local authority, responsible for health and safety at work, to attend the scene on the day, along with police.

He told the inquest that a bolt on the top of the dark den door, which opened on to the keeper’s corridor, was found to be defective.

He said: “The bolt could not held be back. When it tried to close into the frame (of the door) it would bang against the frame which left a gap of 20 to 25 millimetres.

“If the bolt was working properly it would be held back and would close tightly into the frame.”

He agreed with lawyer David Rogers, representing the wildlife park, that his inspection of the door took place some hours after the incident had happened and there ha

AN inquest into the death of a Cumbria zoo keeper who was mauled by a tiger has heard that her injuries were "multiple and unsurvivable".

Sarah McClay was attacked by Padang, a Sumatran tiger, and dragged 100 yards into the enclosure as she worked at South Lakes Safari Zoo on May 24 last year.

The 24-year-old was airlifted to hospital where she later died as a result of her injuries. A hearing to establish the full circumstances surrounding her death started in County Hall, Kendal, today.

It is being conducted by Mr Ian Smith, the coroner for south and east Cumbria, and could last until next Monday.

The inquest heard a pathologist's report which said Miss McClay suffered "multiple and unsurvivable" injuries as a result of a tiger attack.

The jury was also shown a video showing inside the tiger enclosure and a scaled model, created by the Health and Safety Executive on behalf of Barrow Borough Council.

Owen Broadhead, health and safety officer, with Barrow council, talked the jury through the layout.

Mr Broadhead said an investigation on the day of the incident showed there was a default to a bolt on one of the gates in the tiger house - and the same issue was present when he returned a week later.

He said: "The bolt couldn’t be pinned back. It would bang against the frame and leave a gap in the region of 25mm. If the bolt worked properly, it would be pulled back and closed tightly to the frame.

"If it was working properly, it would be closed properly and fit in the frame.”

Mr Paul Rogers, solicitor for the zoo, sat close to the attraction’s boss David Gill, who will not be asked to give evidence until Thursday.

Mr Rogers said: “It’s fair to say the inspection was on the day of the accident, some hours after the incident had happened and of course, as we know, there had been quite a lot of activity in that area at the time the tiger attacked Sarah.

“My point is, we don’t know when that bolt beca

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African wild dog escapes from zoo enclosure
An African wild dog escaped from its enclosure on Saturday morning, causing the temporary closure of the Singapore Zoo's main entrance.
A reader told The New Paper that the animal had escaped from its exhibit at about 8.45am, when there were already visitors at the zoo.
Wildlife Reserves Singapore, which manages the zoo, said in a statement that an African Painted Dog - another name for the African wild dog - left its enclosure at about 8.50am and keepers "activated safety protocols immediately".
The movement of the animal, which was restricted to Wild Africa and Tropical Crops zones, was tracked throughout the incident, the statement added.
By 9.20am, the animal was rounded up by the keepers and confined. Wildlife Reserves Singapore said no visitors, staff

Zoo clings to faint panda hopes
Zoo officials still hope that Edinburgh could soon welcome a new panda cub.
Tian Tian, the giant panda also known as Sweetie, was due to give birth on August 31, but analysis of her hormones became “atypical”. She and her male partner, Yang Guang, remain

An Iriomote wild cat released back into the wild after recovering from injuries in a car accident
An Iriomote wild cat, classified as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, was injured in a traffic accident on Iriomote Island in August. The Iriomote Wildlife Conservation Center of the Ministry of the Environment, which had been taking care of the cat, released it into the forest when it recovered from injuries on the evening of September 3.

This is the first time an Iriomote wild cat has been released into the wild after a traffic accident.

The released cat is a five-month old female.

A college student passing by found the cat lying still in the middle of the prefectural road on August 26.

After being notified, the Wildlife Conservation Center sheltered the cat. She had a scrape on her forehead. The cat’s pupils looked odd. The center determined that the cat had been hit by a car because it had suffered injuries to the head.

The cat received medical treatment fro

Tiger cubs get a big birthday bash at Australia Zoo
FROM the look of what yesterday's rain did to Big Brother winner Tim Dormer's frizzy mane of hair, Australia Zoo tiger cubs Hunter and Clarence could have been forgiven for thinking staff had bought them their own lion-like toy as a first birthday present.

Thankfully, milk ice blocks, balloons and pinatas diverted attention away from the exuberant Tim, named a Wildlife Warrior ambassador, who will soon travel to the north Queensland bush with the Irwins on a crocodile research trip.

"I'm thrilled to be part of this special day," Tim, who is now working in radio in Sydney, said.

"This global ambassador role is such a privilege. I grew up loving animals. I was the kid running around catching bugs, studying them and then releasing them.

"I am part-way through a science degree in biodiversity and conservation and now I'm able to inspire other younger people to care for the

So very very stupid!

Cub’s death sparks talk of gene disorder in zoo tigresses
Death of the 15-day-old cub born to Royal Bengal tigress Ipshita on Sunday dashed all hopes of Lucknow zoo to raise a tiger cub born on its soil after nearly two decades. The zoo last had tiger cubs in 1995.

The female cub died after being abandoned by her mother Ipshita. "The cause of death, it appears, is a 'genetic' disorder. But we would certainly investigate this further," said the zoo director Anupam Gupta.

But why have the two tigresses at Lucknow zoo, Sona and Ipshita, not been able to deliver and raise a single cub all this while? While Sona has delivered stillborns, Ipshita abandons her cubs within days of delivery. "Sona, it appears, does it deliberately. She would jump and land on the floor with a thump while carrying a child," says a zookeeper. Ipshita does not lactate and is said to be "dull on motherly instincts".

Ipshita has undergone abortion twice in the past. In November 2009, four cubs born to her died of cardio-respiratory failure. "Then too she had started abandoning her cubs one after the other after they started showing signs of weakness," says a zookeeper. Subsequently, Lucknow zoo authorities said they would study the family tree of the two tigresses to trace the "problematic gene". The findings, if any, have not been made public. After 2009, it was in 2014 that the tigers were paired for mating.

One of the biggest losses due to this situation is that two m

Depressed woman commits suicide by crocodile in Samut Prakan
An elderly woman committed suicide by jumping into a crocodile pit at the Samut Prakarn Crocodile Farm & Zoo.  Wanpen Inyai, 65, left her home on Rom Klao Road in Bangkok's Min Buri district on Friday...
DNA testing of tissue taken from the corpse confirmed her identity, said Pol Col Preecha Iamnui, Muang Samut Prakarn police investigator. Witnesses saw the woman intentionally jumped into the croc pond...

Johnny Martinez out as Washington Park Zoo director
 The board of the Parks and Recreation Department unanimously voted Wednesday to ratify the decision to fire Johnny Martinez, who had been zoo director until Friday.
No details were given for the cause of his termination.


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