Saturday, September 6, 2014

Zoo News Digest 1st - 6th September 2014 (ZooNews 897)

Zoo News Digest 1st - 6th September 2014 (ZooNews 897)

Dear Colleagues,

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it is not too late for the Edinburgh Pandas.

The article getting most coverage this week was that relating to the White Cobra. Well they have caught it now so that's going to go a bit quiet.

South Lakes Tiger Feeding is staying in the press and likely to hang around as long as there is going to be arguments about it.

The AR's won't let the Zoo Late's drop out of the news. Although no-one will deny there were one or two minor issues there really is no need to make such a big deal of it. There is far more good coming out of these evenings than harm.....but as AR's know nothing about animals they just aren't going to understand that.

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

Peter Dickinson
10 Cheshire View
Appleyards Lane

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

00971 (0)50 4787 122


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Tiger Melani, rescued from Indonesian 'death zoo' in Surabaya, dies
But more than a year of specialist care was not enough to save her, and she died in her sleep last month, Tony Sumampau, chief of Indonesia's zoo association, said.

The zoo association originally wanted to put her down in September last year but they changed their minds after a protest by activists.

"But she was truly suffering. You could see it in her face ... It was pitiful," Mr Sumampau said.

There are estimated to be only several hundred Sumatran tigers lef

Stop Zoo Lates parties, Peta, RSPCA and animal charities tell London zoo
‘Wild night out’ fundraisers put animal safety and welfare at risk, campaigners warn
London zoo should shut down its late night parties because they are threatening animal welfare, say the RSPCA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and five other animal charities.

In July, the Guardian revealed that drunken visitors poured beer over a tiger, stripped off at the penguin pool and broke the glass on a snake enclosure. Sources at the zoo raised concerns over the impact on animals’ sleep and stress levels at Zoo Lates events, which draw around 6,000 partygoers on Friday nights during summer and raise £800,000 annually for the zoo.

In a letter sent to David Field, the zoological director at the Zoological Society of London, the animal charities warn: “Scientific research shows that during normal opening hours, the presence of zoo visitors can have a detrimental impact on animal welfare. Zoo Lates, which take place outside normal opening hours, while animals would normally be resting, are likely to have an even greater welfare impact, pa

‘Brew at the Zoo’ this weekend
Brew at the Zoo is a 21+ event where people can sample over 100 different types of beer from more than 50 of the region’s finest craft brewers. Both domestic and imported beers will be included, with the heaviest focus on local New England beers. The whole gamut of beers will be represented, including porters, stouts, wheats, summer beers, ITA (India Pale Ales), Belgians, lagers and pilsners.

Guests will also be able to enjoy live music from acoustic performers and a traditional oom-pah band.

There will also be animal encounters, and everyone leaves w

Zoo hosts beer, wine fundraiser for tiger enclosure
Here’s your chance to see Plumpton Park Zoo without the kids in tow.
“Brew At The Zoo” is set for 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sept. 13 at the zoo on Telegraph Road near Rising Sun. This is a 21-and-over fundraiser, featuring an all-you-can-eat buffet and an open beer and wine bar.
“We’ll have live entertainment all evening,” said Nick Lacovara, who has owned Plumpton Park Zoo since 2010 with his wife, Cheryl. Questionable Character and The Brass Tacks are on the bill to play during the event.
A silent auction will augment the fundraising efforts with a variety of prints, photos, gifts and local services available for bidding.
All the money raised is targeted for the expansion of the enclosure for the tigers, Miracle and Alexis. The Siberian tigers arrived at Plumpton Park two years ago from a facility that was shutting down in Wisconsin. The zoo also brought back a pair of hybrid timberwolves.
Tickets are still available at $40 per person, which includes food and beverages and a souvenir mug. VIP admission is $

So this is how South Africa values its rhinos?
We have grown weary of South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa’s weak argument that South Africa, through its Constitution, aspires to protect rhinos through a philosophy of sustainable utilisation of natural resources.

Her “strategy” ignores a host of biological, ecological and ethical values, emphasizing only the economic value of rhinos, whether they be dead or alive.

The view that putting rhino horn back into the marketplace through legal means as part of a sustainable use approach, is also wholly counter-intuitive. There is nothing sustainable about the current rhino crisis.

What’s more, even in economic terms, their arguments fall flat. Economic models purported by South African resource economists and local businessmen have been thwarted, according to analysis in peer-reviewed publications.

Learn more: Read IFAW’s report, Horn of Contention, about the economics of trade in endangered wildlife in general and on rhino horn in particular.

Then came the admission just last month that some of the rhinos would be relocated to private reserves. While on the surface it might seem like an honest and plausible approach to move rhinos from Kruger to places of “safety,” South African National Parks (SANParks) still has not addressed the controversy that it had signed contracts with hunting outfits in the Northern Cape Province for 260 rhinos. It is incomprehensible, unless of course you want to shoot a rhino.

Anyone watching from the outside must look at this an

Zoo can woo more visitors with aid from Oman government
 In many cities around the world, zoos have become an integral part of sightseeing tours but what is probably Oman's lone zoo has a long way to go before it becomes a must-see destination for tourists.

Located in Barka, Noman Park was created out of Ahmed Al Balushi's love for animals since he was a child and is now home to over 200 kinds of animals, including a lion and a tiger.

For Al Balushi, who owns and runs the park, he was living a dream when he bought his first animal, a donkey.

Playing God
With so many creatures under threat of extinction, and so little money to fund conservation efforts, some say it's time to pick who will survive.
The noise is piercing and poignant. It starts as a determined drill reminiscent of the "tut-tut" of Skippy - but delivered with a bit more chirrup - then accelerates to a pitch and pace rivalling that of a lorikeet. Then it goes quiet. That's it. The last call, made by the last Christmas Island pipistrelle bat. It lasts barely 40 seconds.
Before the Christmas Island pipistrelle left the world for good, he was recorded over three nights as he moved through the rainforest. Using ultrasonic pulses of sound to forage for food, this bat was feasting on the fly: expertly catching and consuming insects mid-air. If he was aware scientists were tracking him, he wasn't obliging them. More than 250 kilograms of equipment had been lugged to the tiny island outpost in the Indian Ocean, 1500 kilometres north-west of the Australian mainland, as part of a desperate attempt to rescue his species.
But he was having none of it. He gave the harp nets and mist nets the slip, zipping over the top, night after night. And he ignored a purpose-built 15-metre-long tunnel trap, despite it being set up in one of his favourite foraging spots, a corridor lined with thick rainforest vegetation. His calls, picked up by detectors, indicated he was active. He flitted between feeding sites and reassured researchers with frequent banter. But on the fourth night, the synchronised detectors planted on his island home met silence. Without

To Save A Species, Scientists Trick Jays With An Egg Bait-And-Switch
Portia Halbert is hiking through a quiet redwood forest in Butano State Park, an hour south of San Francisco, when she spots a blue egg on the ground — generally a very bad sign.

The blue eggs are laid by marbled murrelets, a small, endangered bird that eats out at sea and nests in the forest here. This egg was likely knocked out a tree by a bird, explains Halbert, Butano's park scientist.

But this egg is a bait and switch: It's not a murrelet egg at all, but a trick egg that Halbert made from a small chicken egg. "We paint them to look like marbled murrelet eggs," she says.

The real trick is inside the egg — and it's a rude surprise.

"We inject about .24 ccs of the chemical Carbocal" into the egg, Halbert continues. "It makes you feel ill or want to throw up."

The loss of old-growth forests along the Pacific coast have threatened the marbled murrelet. The birds nest in the forests, and lay only one egg per year.i
The loss of old-growth forests along the Pacific coast have threatened the marbled murrelet. The birds nest in the forests, and lay only one egg per year.

And that's precisely what Halbert is counting on. The tainte

Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center Tour, Phnom Pehn, Cambodia
I think it was Nicci who found out about the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, and suggested that we go there. I would like to take credit, though. I think that it’s on par with discovering fire, or inventing the wheel, or figuring out that Junior Mints should be store in the fridge. These are important developments in humanity’s history. I really want to be the one who made the whole petting-an-elephant thing possible for me and Nicci.
But getting credit is not the important part (she said to herself, unconvincingly). Nor was it petting the elephant (she said this even less convincingly. Seriously, who the fuck was she kidding?) No. The important part was that we got to support an international organization that is trying to make Southeast Asia a safer place for both animals and humans. (Yes.)

But also? I got to pet an elephant. (YES.)

In a perfect world, the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center wouldn’t exist. Nor would Wildlife Alliance – the organization behind it. They wouldn’t be necessary; animals and humans would all coexist happily. Wasps wouldn’t bite, tigers would be free to roam around without fear of poaching, and there would be rainbows EVERYWHERE.

I suspect that poop collection would be a huge problem. Or maybe not. I’m talking about a perfect world, after all.

But that’s not the world in which we live. We live on a planet where animals are hunted to extinction, are mistreated and abused and mutilated. In that reality, Wildlife Alliance exists. And I’m glad they do.

Wildlife Alliance is a wildlife and environmental conservation organization that’s based in the U.S., but it operates in Cambodia. Like an over-achieving high school stude

More authentic wildlife encounters at Singapore zoo?
A visit to the Singapore Zoo could one day mean more encounters with animals right in one's path, without any visible barriers.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) chairman Claire Chiang said last night that the company's reputation is based on an open-concept zoo.

"Having animals walk alongside you has become a reason why tourists come to the Night Safari. In our expansion, we will follow this open-concept philosophy," she said in Mandarin. Having a personal, first-hand experience with animals will help with our conservation message, she added.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Thursday that the zoo would be made bigger and better by as early as 2020.

Komodo dragon at S.A. zoo gets acupuncture
Bubba, a 20-year-old Komodo dragon at the San Antonio Zoo, has received acupuncture treatment for the past several weeks to treat degenerative bone disease in both knees.

Bubba, who has lived at the zoo for his entire life, recently has had difficulty moving, said Rob Coke, the zoo's senior veterinarian and vet advisor for the Komodo dragon Species Survival Plan.

To help treat Bubba, Coke said he and his team have employed acupuncture, in addition to traditional medicine, to h

Journal of Threatened Taxa
ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print)
The International Journal on Conservation & Taxonomy
August 2014 | Vol. 6 | No. 9 | Pages: 6153–6292
Date of Publication: 26 August 2014 (Online & Print)
DOI: 10.11609/JoTT.26aug14.6153-6292
Reproductive ecology of Syzygium alternifolium (Myrtaceae), an endemic and endangered tropical tree species in the southern Eastern Ghats of India
-- A.J. Solomon Raju, J. Radha Krishna & P. Hareesh Chandra, Pp. 6153–6171
Taxonomy, distribution and diversity of Ficus palmata Forssk. subsp. virgata (Roxb.) Browicz (Moraceae) in India
-- Rinkey Tiwari, Jana Venkata Sudhakar, Awadhesh Kumar Srivastava, Lal Babu Chaudhary, Garimella Venkata Suryanarayana Murthy & Anjala Durgapal, Pp. 6172–6185
Comparison of insect biodiversity between organic and conventional plantations in Kodagu, Karnataka, India
-- Shamika Mone, K.M. Kusha, Devcharan Jathanna, Mustakh Ali & Anurag Goel, Pp. 6186–6194
Distribution and habitat preferences of tiger beetles (Coleoptera: Cicindelidae) of the riverine ecosystems of Sri Lanka
-- Chandima D. Dangalle, Nirmalie Pallewatta & Alfried P. Vogler,  Pp. 6195–6203
Diet of rural breeding Barn Owls Tyto alba (Scopoli, 1769) in Madurai, southern India
-- A. Mohamed Samsoor Ali & R. Santhanakrishnan, Pp. 6204–6213
Notes on the diet and habitat selection of the Sri Lankan Leopard Panthera pardus kotiya (Mammalia: Felidae) in the central highlands of Sri Lanka
-- Andrew M. Kittle, Anjali C. Watson, P.H.S. Chanaka Kumara, S.D. Kashmi C. Sandanayake, H.K. Nimalka Sanjeewani & T. Saminda P. Fernando, Pp. 6214–6221
Canopy utilization pattern of Western Hoolock Gibbon Hoolock Hoolock (Mammalia: Primates: Hylobatidae) in the Inner-line Reserve Forest of Barak Valley, Assam, India
-- Mofidul Islam, Parthankar Choudhury & Parimal C. Bhattacharjee, Pp. 6222–6229
Aerial surveys for pack-ice seals along the Ingrid Christensen and Princess Astrid Coasts, East Antarctica
-- R. Suresh Kumar & J.A. Johnson, Pp. 6230–6238
Wildlife art and illustration: modeling in ferrocement - some experiments in Auroville, India
-- M. Eric Ramanujam & S. Joss Brooks, Pp. 6239–6248
Pteridophytes of Thorangtlang Wildlife Sanctuary, Mizoram, India
-- H.A. Barbhuiya & S.K. Singh, Pp. 6249–6268
SEM study of gemmules and spicules of Indian Trochospongilla latouchiana Annandale and Chinese T. latouchiana sinensis Annandale (Porifera: Demospongiae: Spongillina: Spongillidae)
-- Shriraj S. Jakhalekar & H.V. Ghate, Pp. 6269–6277
A reappraisal of the fungus genus Phalangispora with the rediscovery of Pbharathensis on leaf litter of Mangifera indica from the northern Western Ghats, India
-- K.C. Rajeshkumar, Pp. 6278–6281
Notes on Caralluma adscendens (Roxb.) Haw. var. attenuata (Wight) Grav. & Mayur. (Apocynaceae: Asclepiadoideae)
-- K.M. Prabhu Kumar, U.C. Murshida, Binu Thomas, Satheesh George, Indira Balachandran & S. Karuppusamy, Pp. 6282–6286
New records of Athyma whitei Tytler, 1940 (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Limenitidinae) from northeastern India: a recently reported species from India
-- Monsoon Jyoti Gogoi, Pp. 6287–6289
A note on the high elevation distribution record of Red Panda Ailurus fulgens (Mammalia: Carnivora: Ailuridae) in Tawang District, Arunachal Pradesh, India
-- Degin Dorjee, Rajarshi Chakraborty & Pijush Kumar Dutta, Pp. 6290–6292

Who murdered my gorillas? Kent zoo keeper who returned family of primates to African jungle sees experiment end in a bloodbath - and the prime suspect is a jealous ape
Expressing his emotions has never come easily to Damian Aspinall, but as the conservationist and casino tycoon gazes at an extraordinary sequence of photographs from his recent visit to West Africa, there is sorrow in his eyes.
Taken two months ago, when he and his eldest daughter, Tansy, 25, journeyed to the vast wildlife reserve his foundation runs in Gabon, the pictures capture the uplifting moment when a family of gorillas raised in his Howletts animal park in Kent took their first, tentative steps to freedom.
The Aspinalls had known the ten gorillas all their lives and regarded them almost as their own kin. And they watched in awe as the troop, which had been kept for months on a river island where they learned to forage for food and fend for themselves, loped across a wooden br

Edinburgh Zoo panda may no longer be pregnant
Edinburgh Zoo is concerned that the UK's only female giant panda may no longer be pregnant.

Keepers said Tian Tian had now passed her due date and hormone analysis from last week suggested that "something might be amiss".

They said there was still a remote chance the panda might give birth this year but the evidence suggested it was more likely to be "bad news."

Tian Tian was artificially inseminated in April.

Iain Valentine, director of giant pandas for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: "She is still displaying some of the behaviours of a pregnant panda, but the scientific data from the urine analysis of her hormones is becoming more atypical.

"There is still a chance she will give birth to a live cub as her progesterone levels have not yet returned to base."

Mr Valentine added: "I must stress

Young African elephant latest arrival at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm near Bristol
A NINE-YEAR-OLD African elephant named Janu is the latest arrival at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Bristol.

The young bull is one of two elephants due to arrive at the zoo as part of its Elephant Eden project, which is the largest elephant habitat in northern Europe promoting welfare advances.

Janu, who has come from the Port Lympne Reserve in Kent, will now be company for female elephant Buta and marks the beginning of the establishment of the new herd at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.

Energetic Janu is being given on loan to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm by Port Lympne and will be followed by Kruger, the parks remaining mature bull elephant, on a permanent basis. The decision to move the elephants to Noah’s Ark was agreed by all parties with the welfare and long term future of each animal the primary focus.

Female African elephant Buta arrived at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in February from Knowsley Safari, Merseyside.

Elephant Eden is designed to offer enrichment and welfare advances for elephants already living in captivity, and is the largest of its kind.

With extensive grazing areas, sand yards, mud wallows and a state-of-the-art heated elephant barn, it offers sig

Forget tigers, look out for the ladder: Zoo keepers banned from putting food for the animals on top of 20ft polls because of health and safety
Zoo keepers have been banned from climbing ladders when putting food for their tigers on top of 20ft poles.
Putting the food on the poles allows the rare cats to climb and follow their hunting instincts, as well as entertaining thousands of visitors.
But Barrow Borough Council has decreed it is too dangerous and imposed the health and safety ruling on South Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton, Cumbria.
It comes after a keeper was blown off her ladder this year in strong winds and suffered a broken collarbone.
The zoo said its staff, who are estimated to have fed the tigers this way about 75,000 times in the past 18 years, now wear helmets, while the ladders are strapped to the poles.
In a statement from the zoo posted on their Facebook page, it said: 'Even though the keepers now wear helmets, strap the ladders to the poles firmly and have permanent foot fixing points for the ladders, Barrow Borough Council wishes to stop us from feeding in this way as they claim it to be too dangerous for the staff.'
It added that the ban would completely stop the ‘exciting’ feeding time practice and ‘our unique way of stimulating our cats’.
Feeding the endangered Sumatran tigers this way was ‘a scientifically proven way’ of improving their health, fitness and welfare, the zoo said.
The zoo said it had tried rope pulley systems and long poles to get the

BBC explores the therapeutic origins of a 1930s zoo
The history of zoos is eccentric, erratic; spotted with the spectacular as well as the cruel. But one of the more interesting beginnings of a zoo has to be that of Chester Zoo. And this is the story that the BBC’s latest drama, Our Zoo, is setting out to narrate. In 1930, with a family and a few animals, George Mottershead bought Oakfield Manor and some land. The zoo opened in 1931, and by the time he died in 1978, aged 84, George’s dream of a “zoo without bars” was flourishing.

The BBC’s dramatisation of his story is especially interesting because it has an incredibly human angle. A World War I veteran, it quickly becomes apparent to us that George needs just as much saving as any of the animals comes across.

In the first episode we learn that George suffers from shell shock, a hangover from World War I. This results not just from seeing traumatic events but the accompanying sense of helplessness, an utter lack of control. By 1918 the British Army had dealt with over 80,000 cases of shell shock, and this was ce

BBC accused of animal cruelty for using wild animals in new six-part series about a revolutionary zookeeper who refused to cage wildlife
Liz Tyson, of the Captive Animals' Protection Society (CAPS), told MailOnline: 'The use of wild animals in entertainment is both cruel and unnecessary.
'It is shocking that the BBC has used the public's licence fees to fund this outdated practice.'
The BBC series, which screens on September 3, follows the journey of George Mottershead who, in 1930, transformed a derelict plot of land into a sanctuary for exotic animals - which is now one of the world's most popular zoos.
He had been inspired to create a zoo 'without bars' after witnessing caged animals at a zoo in Manchester. The estate today covers a total of 500 acres, of which the zoo takes up 110.
Recreating George's journey, Our Zoo features penguins, monkeys, a camel, and bears.
However, it has emerged the animal actors were scouted from scandal-hit firm Amazing Animals, which was exposed for sending lion cubs born in the West Midlands to a Japanese performing circus.

Bisons In Sofia Zoo Were Poisoned
The two bisons that died in the Sofia Zoo this week have been poisoned, according to the Food Safety Agency, quoted by the 24 Chasa daily.

Tests to established what poisoned them are still ongoing. The leading version is some type of fungus in the fodder, with which they were fed, but the version of deliberate poisoning is not excluded.

According to the deputy chief of the Bulgarian Veterinary Association Krasimir Kamenov, quoted by the newspaper, it was somewhat likely that someone in the zoo deliberately poisoned the animals in order to discredit the long-time director of the zoo Ivan Ivanov.

Ivanov was dismissed by Sofia

Joburg Zoo investigates antelope acquisition
The antelope arrived in South Africa without the necessary clearance certificates and were later put down because they were injured, dehydrated, and traumatised.
Johannesburg Zoo’s accreditation to the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (Waza) has since been suspended.
“Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo were advised on Wednesday that our accreditation with PAAZAB (African Association of Zoos and Aquaria) has been temporarily suspended,” spokeswoman Jenny Moodley said.
“We’ve also lost our accreditation to the Waza (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums).”
City Parks advised Waza it had approached Prague Zoo to provide them with information regarding the acquisition of the antelope. However, Prague Zoo thus far had not been willing to share any documents with the Johannesburg Zoo.
The zoo has since appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to secure the information, and determine if anyone had negotiated the transaction on behalf of the Johannesburg Zoo without the necessary authority.
“PwC have been commissioned to conduct an independent audit,” Moodley said.
“Were any person found to be transgressing our internal processes, they will be handled through the disciplinary process.
Moodley said the zoo would continue to operate.
“We unfortunately, due to the suspension of our accreditation, won’t be in a position to negotiate the transfer of animals from another zoo,” she said.
“The animals in the zoo will be taken care of.”
On August 7, City Parks said it had not entered into negotiations with the Prague Zoo regarding the acquisition of the eight antelope.
The Johannesburg Zoo had agreed to offer its accredited quarantine facilities for when the antelope arrived in South Africa.
“This facility is used extensively due to its proximity to the OR Tambo International Airport,” City Parks said in a statement at the time.
“In terms of accepted industry practice, the zoo negotiated that in lieu of the service fee for the use of its quarantine facilities, that two of the sitatunga will be retained by the zoo, for its conservation programme.”
When the antelope arrived in South Africa the correct documentation was lacking, especially for the schmallenberg virus, found in Europe.
The agriculture, forestry and fisheries

Zoo expert says cobra captured in California neighbourhood has intact venom glands
A monocled cobra that roamed a California neighborhood for days could have given a potentially deadly bite, a snake expert said Friday.

"There's no indication that it's had its venom glands removed," said Ian Recchio, curator of reptiles and amphibians at the Los Angeles Zoo.

The snake, about 3 feet long, was captured on Thursday in a neighborhood in Thousand Oaks, where it had been slithering around since at least Monday.

Reports that it had bitten a dog that evening raised concerns, and authorities warned people to watch their children and keep their pets indoors.

A veterinarian later said it appeared the dog was simply injured while trying to get away from the snake.

Still, authorities were wary because the bite of a monocled cobra can kill a person within hours if untreated.

The snake was taken to the Los Angeles Zoo Thursday evening and will be transferred to the San Diego Zoo, which has a supply of antivenom for Asian cobras, Recchio said.

A monocled cobra gets its name from the ring-like mark on the back of its hood, but the cobra found in California lacked the mark because it is nearly pure white.

The blue-eyed snake lacks pigment, a condition


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Peter Dickinson
Dubai: ++ 971 (0)50 4787 122

Skype: peter.dickinson48

Mailing address:
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